Archive for the ‘Teaching and Learning’ Category

In my last post I noted the technologies on the horizon for adoption in teaching and learning as reported in the NMC Horizon Project Short List 2013 Higher Education Edition report.

One of the anticipated developments foreshadowed by the report within a 2-3 year adoption period is referred to as the Internet of Things (IoT). But what exactly does that term mean and how is it likely to transform education? IoT is also referred to as “Machine to Machine” (M2M) communication, and refers to objects or entities which have attached sensors and form part of an ecology of interconnected nodes that can communicate via the Internet. The NMC report refers to these entities as “smart objects” which have four attributes: they are small and easy to attach to almost anything; they have unique identifiers; small store of data or information; and can communicate that information to an external device on demand. A recent TechRepublic (2013, p. 6) report,  explains “Almost anything to which you can attach a sensor—a cow in a field, a container on a cargo vessel, the air-conditioning unit in your office, a lamppost in the street—can become a node in the Internet of Things”.

Here is a diagram taken from the TechRepublic e-book, The Executive’s Guide to the Internet of Things, which explains the principles.

TechRepublic's 2013 illustration explaining the anatomy of the Internet of Things

TechRepublic’s 2013 illustration explaining the anatomy of the Internet of Things

So what is the relevance of the Internet of Things for Teaching, Learning, Research, or Creative Inquiry?

The NMC report (2013, p. 7) suggests some interesting possibilities including:

  • TCP/IP-enabled smart objects that alert scientists and researchers to conditions that may impair the quality or utility of the samples.
  • Pill-shaped microcameras used in medical diagnostics and teaching to traverse the human digestive tract and send back thousands of images to pinpoint sources of illness.
  • TCP/IP enabled sensors and information stores make it possible for geology and anthropology departments to monitor or share the status and history of even the tiniest artifact in their collections of specimens from anywhere to anyone with an Internet connection.

If you are interested in exploring these possibilities further, register with TechRepublic for free and download their e-book, The Executive’s Guide to the Internet of Things (2013). Also refer to the NMC Horizon Project Short List: 2013 Higher Education Edition

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Many of us have been monitoring the trends documented in the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) Horizon Project , which has been charting the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, research, creative inquiry, and information management since 2002. NMC has been working on an updated edition of its 2012 Higher Education Edition and recently released an interim report: the NMC Horizon Project Short List: 2013 Higher Education Edition shortlisting emerging technologies identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period. The results of the shortlisting process  are available via the  NMC wiki  www.horizon.wiki.nmc.org.

In summary the following 12 educational technologies have been short listed as emerging over the next five years:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Flipped Classroom
Massively Open Online Courses
Mobile Apps
Tablet Computing

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Augmented Reality
Game-Based Learning
The Internet of Things
Learning Analytics

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
3D Printing
Flexible Displays
Next Generation Batteries
Wearable Technology

You can download the short list report and interim report from the following links.

Download the Short List PDF

Download the Preview PDF

The final version of the 10th edition is expected to be published in February 2013.

You can also keep up to date with NMC Project publications via the NMC iPhone/iPad EdTech Weekly App, which delivers “curated, relevant, and timely edtech projects and news to your iPad or iPhone every weekend” (NMC description from iTunes Store). The app also includes the Horizon Report series on emerging technology for all of the educational sectors in a searchable format.The cost is $2.99 via iTunes.

New Media Consortium's EdTech App displayed on an iPhone and iPad

New Media Consortium’s EdTech App for iPhone and iPad

Check it out via iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nmc-horizon-edtech-weekly/id499356877?mt=8

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I came across an interesting article in the Australian Higher Education supplement this week, which is written by Carolyn Thompson, “Webtools whitewash students online“. Carolyn reports on a growing trend among US universities including Syracuse, Rochester and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which are offering their students tools to help them manage their online identity. The article describes the growth in these brand identity services as a response to research that shows that of the 2000 hiring managers from CareerBuilder completing a recent survey, nearly two in five companies reported that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, with another 11 per cent indicating their intention to begin this practice.

The article describes in some detail BrandYourself.com, which is the brand identity service Syracuse University is making available to their students. This sounds like a valuable tool for academics who are coordinating capstone courses in which career building skills are embedded, particularly given the growing importance for us to prepare our graduates to make effective use of information services and social media.

I created my own profile to test out the service and I will be interested to monitor how the system helps me to manage my various social media profiles. You can check out my own BrandYourself profile here: http://denisewood.brandyourself.com/

Brandyourself profile page

Creating a profile page via the BrandYourself.com website

You can create your own profile for free from the main website: http://brandyourself.com/

Another interesting website that aggregates information from your social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook to create an online profile is Vizify.com

Vizify profile page

Vizify aggregates information from social media sites to build a visual online profile

Some great online tools for educators to use with their students to help them learn about identity management using social media. Unfortunately, both sites have W3C Level A web accessibility compliant problems – especially vizify given its very rich visual display. Now here’s an opportunity for an entrepreneurial type to develop a similar tool that is W3C compliant!



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My last stop in South Africa before returning to Australia was the University of Kwazulu Natal, Durban, South Africa, where I presented two papers at the International Association of Media and Communication Research (IAMCR ) conference, which was held from the 15th – 19th July, 2012 at the Howard College Campus of the University of Kwazulu Natal.

One of the highlights for me was the panel session featuring  South Africa’s female Public Protector, Advocate T.N. Madonsela, Sunday Times investigative reporter and champion of South African press freedom, Mzilikazi wa Afrika, Nelson Mandela’s Rivonia trail lawyer and human rights legend, Advocate George Bizos and  The Mail and Guardian’s award-winning investigative journalist, Sam Sole.

Opening plenary session at the IAMCR conference at the University of Kwazulu Natal, Howard College Campus in Durban

Opening plenary session at the IAMCR conference at the University of Kwazulu Natal, Howard College Campus in Durban

I presented the following co-authored papers at the conference:

  • Addressing the digital divide through the use of accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in South African schools – co-authored with Rolda Rapotu focusing on our research in Limpopo Province
  • Engaging young people in participatory research through traditional, digital and social media – co-authored with Gerry Bloustien focusing on our various research projects employing participatory and emancipatory research design.

Further information is available from the conference home page: http://www.iamcr2012.ukzn.ac.za/

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I facilitated a hands-on workshop for academics from the University of the Western Cape and the University of Cape Town on the last three days of my visit to the University of the Western Cape. The workshop provided participants with an introduction to 3D virtual worlds, both publicly owned and open source platforms, and background information on how these virtual worlds are being used in education, research and for a range of social activities, as well as hands-on experience interacting and building in the 3D virtual world, Second Life.

The following two images were taken during the workshop – the first photo showing workshop participants and the second, the avatar representations constructed by participants.

Participants who attended the 3D virtual learning workshop conducted at UWC

Participants who attended the 3D virtual learning workshop conducted at UWC

Avatar representations of workshop participants

Avatar representations of workshop participants

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Is Twitter Educational?

Educators from the Medical University of Notre Dame in Sydney are using Twitter to provide additional articles and resources to their students. This is being done in the hope of turning passive listeners into active listeners which will enable collaboration and community building.

But is this likely? Can social media platforms be used by students for education, rather than lurking crushes and uploading LOL-worthy photos?

Bryanna Griffin caught up with UniSA lecturer and social media researcher Denise Wood to find out if Twitter is the new informal educator.

Listen to the interview on Radio Adelaide MediaRites 2012 (May 22, 2012): http://bmediaradioadelaide.com/mediarites-2012/program-11-may-22-2012/

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I have recently returned from presenting an invited paper on e-learning and students with special needs at the International Conference on e-Learning and Distance Learning (eLi 2011) held at the AlFaisaliah Hotel, Riyad, Saudi Arabia from the 21st-23rd February 2011.

The key topics  covered at the conference included e-learning between theory and practice – international views, design and development issues, new software and technologies, management and delivery of e-learning, quality assurance in e-learning and distance education and evaluation and assessment issues.

There was also an exhibition  running in parallel with the conference, which provided an opportunity for participants to get acquainted with latest products and services in the filed.

Visit the conference website: http://eli.elc.edu.sa/2011/en/content/conference

Imagethink.net undertook visualisation art of each presentation. Their two visualisations of my presentation and that of Professor Lorenzo Cantoni appear below:

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


I also spoke about the conference, as well as our recent trip to South Africa (see previous post) with Peter Greco, host of Leisure Links on Radio 5RPH on my return from Riyadh. The following url links to the audio file from that radio segment: Interview with Peter Greco recorded on Radio 5RPH on the 26th February, 2011


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