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Book ‘Teaching in a Digital Age’ now ready and available


For the last two weeks I have been frantically re-editing my online open textbook, ‘Teaching in a Digital Age.’ I am relieved and pleased to announce that the book is now finished – or at least as finished as an open online textbook will be, as it’s possible, indeed essential, to continue to add or remove materials to keep it up to date.

So if you get the chance, log in to the book, have a look at it, and, if you can find the time, send me your comments.

The target group

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Blended Learning Visually Explained for Teachers

Blended Learning is one of the major learning concepts that came about as a direct result of the impact of technology integration in education. In blended learning students and teachers get to experiment with a multimodal teaching method in which the digital and virtual learning is blended with the face-to-face one. However, one of the misconceptions circulating among those who are  less enthusiastic about the use of this learning method in classrooms is that blended learning is nothing else but replacing teachers with technology. The infographic below debunks this myth and features the numerous benefits of blended learning.

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How Teachers Will Change the Future of Tech

Imagine for moment if all teachers were technophobic. What would that mean for technology development in the long term? Sure, we’d have some self-taught geniuses, like Bill Gates, who would figure out computer programming all on their own. But they would be outliers, and the majority of students would grow up with the same fear of technology as their teachers. Studies have already shown how this happens with math: a recent survey of seven hundred elementary school teachers found that over a third of them had math anxiety, leading their students to also develop anxiety about the subject.

This means that teachers can have a profound effect on whether their students embrace technology, in the classroom and beyond. The way that teachers present technology skills will also affect what kinds of technological thinkers their students become. Teaching coding as a stand-alone skill is a great way to train future computer programmers. Integrating technology into other subject areas such as history, English and the arts will teach students to use creative, technology-based problem solving skills in many areas. Both are great skills to have.

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10 Drivers Of Blended Learning In Education

Blended learning is the use of both face-to-face and eLearning approaches to deliver learning experiences (as opposed to direct instruction).

Whether you’re mixing a formal learning management system with in-person lectures, or a flipped approach that combines YouTube videos with in-class group work and individual instruction, these are all examples of blended learning.

The infographic below from the good folks at Digital Learning Now offers a basic framework for implementing blended learning (Create conditions for success, Plan, Implement, Improve), and then interestingly offers to “drivers” of blended learning, including online state testing, cost, and the critical ability to personalize learning.


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Blended Learning Is About More Than Technology

Done right, blended learning breaks through the barriers of the use of time, place, path to understanding, and pace to allow each student to work according to his or her particular needs—whether that be in a group or alone, on practice problems or projects, online or offline. It preserves the benefits of the old and provides new benefits—personalization, access and equity, and cost control.

The question is how educators can capture these benefits. Blended learning is not inherently good or bad. It is a pathway to student-centered learning at scale to allow each child to achieve his or her fullest potential, but it is not a guaranteed success.


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Experiences in Self-Determined Learning: Moving from Education 1.0 Through Education 2.0 Towards Education 3.0

Self-determined learning or heutagogy is fast gaining interest from educators around the world interested in an evidence-based approach to learning. Grounded as it is on brain research and extensive research into how people learn self-determined learning is particularly popular among those interested in innovative approaches to learning. This edited book is the perfect primer on self-determined learning or heutagogy. It consists of an introductory chapter explaining the main concepts and principles of this exciting approach to educational practice. This is followed by 16 chapters describing the experience of practitioners in using the approach. These experiences come from a wide variety of interests including school education, higher education, workplace learning, consulting, lifelong learning, training, and community education. Full of links to resources, curated sites,and discussion forums, this is a valuable ‘how to’ book for the interested practitioner and theoretician alike..

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10 Self-Evaluation Tips for Technology Instructional Specialists

10 Self-Evaluation Tips for Technology Instructional Specialists

Successful technology integration must include an element of reflection to stay focused on how individual teachers and learners will use this technology in the classroom.

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Why Should Techies Care About Education Theory?

Debates about education are by no means new: What’s the best way to teach? What’s the best way to learn? What should the curriculum be? Who should have access to specialized knowledge and specialized training? How does technology impact all of these questions? (See Plato’s The Republic, for example, on what the education of “philosopher kings” should entail or Plato’s Phaedrus on the dangers to learning of technology (well, of writing).)

Rather than outline the history of education or the history of education theory from Plato the philosopher to PLATO the online learning system, here is a brief overview of 5 of the 20th century’s most important educational theorists. Their influence can still be felt today, both in how we view the educational system and the educational process. As is the case with most theories, these individuals’ work has been adopted, refuted, tweaked, and ignored to varying degrees.

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Micro-Credentials: Empowering Lifelong Learners

Despite the vast shift in how we pursue knowledge, little has changed with how we credential those who acquire knowledge. We still primarily credential learners based on seat time and credit hours, and often only recognize learning pursued through traditional pathways.

I’ve seen many teachers expand their knowledge of teaching strategies via Twitter chats or at Edcamps. Yet, when it came time to report continuing education credits, teachers still only reported professional development "hours" that involved seat time and structured in-service days. If we want to support personalized learning for our students, we should model those practices with our teachers. One way to achieve this is with a credentialing system that more accurately represents a teacher's specific skills and knowledge.

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The world's largest photo service just made its pictures free to use

If you go to the Getty Images website, you'll see millions of images, all watermarked. There are more than a hundred years of photography here, from FDR on the campaign trail to last Sunday's Oscars, all stamped with the same transparent square placard reminding you that you don't own the rights. If you want Getty to take off the watermark, you'll have to pay for it.

Starting now, that's going to change. Getty Images is dropping the watermark for the bulk of its collection, in exchange for an open-embed program that will let users drop in any image they want, as long as the service gets to append a footer at the bottom of the picture with a credit and link to the licensing page. For a small-scale WordPress blog with no photo budget, this looks an awful lot like free stock imagery.

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A Useful Framework For Transparency In Education

Increasingly teachers are encouraged to work in professional learning communities, data teams, and other structures intended to encourage teachers to work together to unpack standards, plan instruction, assess learning, analyze data, revise instruction, re-analyze data, and then evaluate the impact of individual teaching strategies.

The idea of both vertical alignment (i.e., same content area, different grade level) and horizontal alignment (same content area, same grade level) both depend greatly on visibility–what’s being taught, when, and how.

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Digital school strategies

What are the biggest tech-related challenges facing schools?

It's about encouraging reluctant teachers to adopt, embed and apply new technology effectively within authentic teaching and learning contexts. We also need better in-service training and orientation. If teachers use new interactive whiteboards in the same way they used ordinary whiteboards, they're missing the point, failing to capitalise on the excellent functionality and, worse still, depriving students of diverse interactive learning experiences. 

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Tips on technology integration for apprehensive educators

If you try to jump straight to modification or re-definition, you will most likely create significant frustration for both yourself and your students, and will be reluctant to continue with a transition that offers significant promise.


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Dos and Don'ts for Creating a School Culture for EdTech

There are Dos and Don’ts for creating a school culture for EdTech. By changing instruction, creating a technology culture and choosing a visionary path, a school can help its students get excited about learning.

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