Top 5 sites every edtech professional should know about

Some of you may be familiar with these and may have found them useful too, if not I am sure you will:) These are sites that I have found myself coming back to regularly and that help me to design blended and online activities to engage my course colleagues (I don’t say students as my ‘students’ are professionals working in edtech and education related fields and I see them more as colleagues).

  1. Gilly Salmon: The e-tivities page has useful resources that can help educators design learner-centred blended and online activities. I think it’s a bit more accessible for the majority of educators and is a nice lead into slightly more complex processes such as her Carpe Diem approach to learning design.
  2. Jan Herrington’s site describes a model of authentic learning. It is useful for folks thinking about designing authentic learning activities in particular.
  3. Nancy White and her colleagues from Full Circle Associates put together this online community toolkit. While it might be a bit dated, it is still useful, as well as her online facilitation wiki.
  4. Open educators and researchers Catherine Cronin and Maha Bali really inspire me and I think they are both really great exemplars of open education practitioners. Even if you just ‘lurk’ on their blogs for now, you are likely to pick up some great tips if you’re thinking about blogging and how to start engaging with others in an explicitly open way.
  5. Technology mediated assessment feedback via the Learning with New Media research group at Monash University has been useful to me in various ways. Last year colleagues and I used audio recordings for formative feedback on student assignments and we are currently working on a journal article. I also really like how this particular page is structured. It got me thinking about how to structure online self-help staff development resources.

What I’d love to see is more colleagues from Africa developing similar online resources. Perhaps there already are some really good ones out there and I’ve just not come across them? Please share:) I am also looking forward to course colleagues Top 5’s that they will share via Twitter using the hashtag #EdTechUCT

Image CC0 via Pexels.


On pointe: learning to ‘dance’ with PowerPoint

In the LTHE (Learning and Teaching in Higher Education) course today we finished presenting our critical reflections of a planned teaching activity. Our course convener mentioned that many of us read from our slides and perhaps would have been more creative if not for our approach to using PowerPoint. The dreaded bullet lists – you’ve done it, seen it, been there…

For many of us, presenting with PowerPoint keeps us on the tips of our toes. HODs want lecturers to submit these artifacts as part of their lecture material, students want it as notes, lecturers like it because it helps us to structure our lessons. But how can we do things differently with PowerPoint?

We can start by using visuals instead of words or only include key ideas.  I found some websites with good tips that can help us get started with learning to ‘dance’ with PowerPoint:

Steve Jobs & Guy Kawasaki — Powerpoint Best Practices

Top 10 Evidence-Based, Best Practices for PowerPoint

Garr Reynolds – Top 10 Slide Tips

The best of SXSW 2014

Please forgive the dance metaphor. As an amateur belly dancer I could not resist:)

Interestingly, science writer John Bohannon also makes a connection between dance and PowerPoint, using dance INSTEAD of PowerPoint. Watch his TEDx talk here.

I attended a workshop on teaching with visuals a while ago and feel that my presentations have improved, but I am not ‘dancing’ yet. I guess I’m still working on a choreography without bullets.

Embedding presentations in a blog post

This is my ‘dummy’ blog which I use to scaffold, explain and demonstrate using the WordPress blogging platform for creating ePortfolios.

Let’s look at sharing PowerPoint presentations.

I could say:

‘Download my presentation Children as ‘produsers’ from the 2013 Google Summit here.’

Alternatively, I can embed a SlideShare presentation and users can browse it on my blog or log in to SlideShare to download the presentation. Not only does this make my blog more visually interesting, but SlideShare also has analytics so I can see how many downloads, shares, likes, etc this particular upload had.