Yesterday afternoon saw my second webinar in two days, this time a session on digital literacy, podcasting and elearning led by Graham Attwell of Pontydysgu. Around 40 people took part from many countries. Because of the way in which the session was run (which I’ll discuss in yet another blog post), the following is just a few impressions from the event rather than a proper report. The archived session will be available online soon for those who would like to learn more about this topic.
The session was split into three sections: digital literacies and new pedagogic approaches; what is a podcast and how should it be used in education; and how to make a podcast.
Graham pointed out that traditional LMSs use a traditional, didactic, ‘push’ approach to learning. In the new era of ‘elearning 2.0′, this should change to a more constructivist approach; however, there are many activities around at the moment that are constructivist in name only – as always, there is a need to examine what we’re actually doing instead of just optimistically applying labels like plasters and hoping they stick.
One quote, from Harry Jenkins, which particularly struck me was: ‘We need to shift the focus of the conversation about the digital divide from questions of technological access to those of opportunities to participate and to develop the cultural competencies and social skills needed for full involvement’. Graham cited the example of George W Bush discussing what he’s ‘used on the Google‘ to help illustrate this point, and Senator Ted Stevens’ own personal internet is also always worth remembering (no, it’s not funny).
Clarence Fisher’s ‘eleven skills for participation’ were mentioned, and are worth repeating: play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgement, transmedia navigation, networking and negotiation.
It was interesting to learn that I’m not the only person who dislikes the term ‘podcasting’ because of its close relationship to Apple and the iPod. A few alternatives were suggested, with ‘audio report’ being the most popular, but – as with the whole Web 2.0 business- it’s not got that snappy, cliquey, in-the-know connotation that will probably leave us with podcasting for some time to come.
It’s also worth mentioning that enhanced podcasts (enhanced audio reports?) which allow users to embed still images such as the ubiquitous PowerPoint slides into podcasts, can be created with tools such as Garageband, Audacity and Divicast; we made presentations from our joint Assessment and MDR SIGs meeting available as Breeze presentations, integrating MP3 recordings and PowerPoint presentations and received a generally favourable reaction.
A key part of the new models of education and elearning is sharing, yet I felt that Graham made one of the most important points of all when he said that it’s about ‘learning to share, learning how to share, and learning how to have the right not to share’. That’s something that will be very relevant to the TrainersPod webinar he’ll be leading on eportfolios in the new year: I’ll certainly be there.