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Darren's discussion posts

  • Darren 11 Apr 2020 7:46am () in Enabling e-Learning forum: What does an online programme of learning look like?

    A common issue that I can see across many of the plans that have been put in place is that fully online learning does not have (or need) a timetable. Replicating school routines online will just create a congested, stressful experience for learners. You may timetable some synchronous time, but otherwise, keep it light and keep it fluid. Set out a plan for a week to a fortnight with what to do outlined within that time. This gives learners the chance to work through at their own pace and in their own time. They will move from being in reactive mode to proactive.

    I would also challenge the idea that learning has to be simple, functional and chunked into small bits. It does not have to look like this at all. How are you going to keep learners engaged with that sort of approach? They can completely ignore it if they want to. Why not a few 'rich' tasks that leave plenty of space for other things to happen. 

    A few ideas here.



  • Darren 12 Sep 2017 12:47pm () in Gamification

    If you are talking about gamification as Natasha mentioned then you should question whether it should be used at all imho. If you are talking about using gaming in the classroom then the latter definitely has worth - for any student.

  • Darren 27 Sep 2012 3:08pm () in Community website

    Yes I was going to mention that myself.  it would be nice to have a place I can point people to learn more.

  • Darren 27 Sep 2012 10:14am () in Community website

    A couple of weeks ago the Communications Working Group met and one of the key discussion points was a way of marketing the VLN community to a wider audience.  As a result we wanted to see if everyone supported the development of a VLN Community website that was a public face for us.  Something that looked professional and had a distinct domain name that was recognisably ours.  This wouldn't mean the end of other community pages, as this is website would not be designed for us to interact in.  Both Pete and I are happy to work on this for next year - any thoughts?  Anyone else keen to get involved.  Perhaps if we are to do this we need to consider rebranding to avoid confusion between our community and the VLN site (where we are just one of many communities).

    Perhaps we also need to consider developing a presence wthin some social networking sites like Facebook, Google+ and twitter.  Again, any thoughts on this?

  • Darren 07 Aug 2012 3:06pm () in Modular Courses

    I agree guys.  We had this discussion in our last eSchool meeting and there were a few challenges highlighted.  The course endorsements is annoying and one I didn't immediately think of.  The other is going through another major round of course enrolments mid year - no fun, but not insurmountable.  There are others of course, but that doesn't mean it isn't worth considering.

  • Darren 07 Aug 2012 2:38pm () in Monitoring your online programme

    That is a great idea from my perspective Michael.  Would be fantastic to have a national perspective on the quality of courses.  Does need the agreement of everyone else of course.  Any thoughts from others on this?

  • Darren 27 Jul 2012 1:45pm () in Modular Courses

    Sorry last thread from me, but this is something we had raised a few years back and I wanted to breath some life into it again - why not modularise courses to allow greater flexibility to the learner?  I suspect I know the barriers, but I am interested in thoughts.

  • Darren 27 Jul 2012 1:43pm () in Establishing Communities of Practice

    I certainly agree that networking with other eTeachers is extremely useful for teachers' professional learning and this doesn't have anything to do with subject area.  And maybe you are right - teachers feel their needs are being met although I would be surprised.

    I can only speak for CantaNet eTeachers, but their ongoing professional learning is sporadic and ad hoc (I would be surprised if many other clusters are different).  They have two days face to face at the end of the year, termly VC meetings, and ongoing discussions within our course area in Educo.  The latter has been a revelation this year, but there is no systematic programme of professional learning to improve practice.  This is one of the criticisms Kerry Steven's thesis levelled at the VLN a couple of years ago and I tend to agree.  It is something that will be on the table in our upcoming strategic meeting in Tekapo.  My point is that I would be surprised if many eTeachers feel their professional learning needs are being met from within their own network so I wouldn't think that would be a barrier to COPs across the VLN.  I would like to point out that I don't really know what you are doing within OtagoNet on an ongoing basis Ken, so I am prepared to be corrected on that.  In fact I would be happy to be.  

    Subject related COPs would provide the possibility (and only that) of eTeachers collaborating on their courses.  So three L3 Physics eTeachers working together to better meet the needs of the learners.  Why have three individual courses with no real connection between them?  I realise there are major barriers in teacher thinking to overcome there, but I would sure like to try.

    I also agree on the importance of face to face opportunities, and that is also a barrier.

    I suppose we need to decide whether it is worth pushing and if so what are the solutions?

  • Darren 26 Jul 2012 12:01pm () in Monitoring your online programme

    How do the various cluster monitor their online programme?  We know we all do NCEA analysis, but what else do we do?  Does anyone else run surveys on students experience?  Anyone else using exit surveys or something similar to gather data on why students withdraw from courses?  Perhaps we could all use the one tool so we can gather common data from across the VLN.  Thoughts?

  • Darren 26 Jul 2012 11:58am () in Communication

    Thanks for that Pete.  I agree with what you have to say and I don't think it would actually be that difficult.  What is a way forward here - do we need to consider other tools like google+?  Perhaps we could spend some time on this in the next VC?