RSC East Midlands newsletter "intouch" - Spring 2005

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The JISC Regional Support Centre (RSC) for the East Midlands produces a termly newsletter "intouch" that highlights current practice in e-learning/ILT in the region.

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<ul><li><p>Spring 2005 Volume 3 Issue 2</p><p>the termly newsletter produced by RSC East Midlands</p><p>Welcome from the EditorWelcome to the first In touch of 2005. I hope you all enjoyed your well deservedbreak, and are settling back into the new term. </p><p>The new year brings with it a new editor of In touch. Im sure youll be pleased to see that</p><p>I have kept the format that you are by now so familiar with. I am, however, very keen to</p><p>hear your views. If theres anything new youd like to see in the next edition, please let me</p><p>know, and if youd like to submit an article, just email me at support@rsc-east-</p><p>midlands.ac.uk </p><p>On the back page you will see that this terms events focus on other JISC services, with a</p><p>host of workshops being delivered by Netskills and JISC infoNet. If youre interested in free</p><p>and open source software, then look out for the OSS Watch Roadshow on February 23rd.</p><p>To book on any of our events, visit our website at www.rsc-east-midlands.ac.uk</p><p>Rachael Stacey, e-Learning Advisor (HE)</p><p>Forthcoming</p><p>EVENTSJanuary25th Netskills Workshop -</p><p>Design Solutions for e-learning</p><p>26th Netskills Workshop -Content Solutions for e-learning</p><p>February3rd JISC infoNet Workshop -</p><p>An Introduction to RecordsManagement</p><p>8th JISC infoNet Workshop -Creating a ManagedLearning Environment</p><p>10th Using ILT in Biology23rd OSS Watch Roadshow</p><p>March1st LRC Forum8th JISC infoNet Workshop -</p><p>Effective Use of VLEs</p><p>TBC HE ForumTBC Technical Forum</p><p>For further details see our websitewww.rsc-east-midlands.ac.uk</p><p>I N S I D ET h i s i s s u eTechDis Accessibility Box</p><p>Adult and Community Learning sector ILT/e-learning strategy: From development to implementation</p><p>The First East Midlands ILT Fair</p><p>The JISC Effective Practice with e-Learning guide</p><p>Providing and Supporting JANETConnections: Who Does What?</p><p>Starting your Learning Journey</p><p>Forthcoming events</p><p>College Focus: South Leicestershire College</p><p>Hints and Tips: The Use of Electronic Voting Systems</p><p>Often when we think about assistive technologies, images of complex kit and highly specialised software packages are</p><p>brought to mind. Although there are plenty of different types of equipment on the market to justify this image, we quite</p><p>often neglect the low-cost good practice for all solutions, readily available to most of us in colleges.</p><p>TechDis, the JISC educational advisory service for accessibility needs, hasrecently supplied each Regional Support Centre with a collection of assistivetechnologies. The Assistive Technology Boxes contain a host of hardwareand software, which can be used to enhance teaching and learning forstudents with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. Whilst some of thetechnologies are specialist, such as trackballs, joysticks and specialistkeyboards, what is most striking about this kit is that many of the technologiesare more main-stream such as MP3 players anddigital movie creators, and also low-tech.</p><p>The low-tech items in the kit range from regularpost-it notes &amp; copyholders to indexing cards &amp;highlighter pens, items which we wouldntnormally associate with assistive technology. So,what would be the disability rationale for using ahighlighter pen? Maybe students with dyslexia findthat highlighting text in a variety of differentcolours helps distinguish words from one another,and in doing so may well help break particularsentences down into smaller more manageablechunks. There is also evidence to suggest thatstudents with impaired vision often benefit fromhighlighting words and sentences, an ordinary highlighter pen as anassistive technology because it is simply effective in making text stand outfrom the page.</p><p>So, what does all this mean for your college? Under the guidance ofTechDis, the RSC has been taking the Assistive Technology Box out to</p><p>colleges to allow staff the time to look at the kit and assess its potentialuse in their particular area. What we have found is that a lot of collegesalready have video cameras, MP3 players, digital cameras and many of thelow-tech items mentioned earlier, but that it isnt badged as assistivetechnology so isnt used as such. We hope that by coming out and visitingyour college we can demonstrate how much of this equipment, with theparticular accessibility needs of your students as the focus, can be put to</p><p>good use. That isnt to say that we dont also haveaccess to highly specialised pieces of kit, so if youor a particular student want to try something outbefore spending a large sum of money then gettingaccess to the Assistive Technology Box may be agood way of doing so.</p><p>Although training can be useful and stimulating itis often quite difficult, for all sorts of reasons, tocarry fresh momentum and enthusiasm into theclassroom, especially frustrating when theprocurement of equipment is the main barrier. Wehope to minimise this frustration by offeringcolleges access to particular pieces of kit in theAssistive Technology Box on a loan basis. So, if</p><p>you want the RSC to visit your college to provide training for and access tothe Assistive Technology Box then contact us on support@rsc-em.ac.ukand we can work out a session that best suits your staff, and ultimately bestserves your students.</p><p>Chris Bell, Specialist Colleges Advisor</p><p>intouch</p><p>TechDis Accessibility Box</p><p>This activity took place during the initialassessment/induction section of a TeacherEducation programme at South LeicestershireCollege.</p><p>After being given a brief introduction to the topicof constructivism, the learners (all in-servicetutors) were given a task brief: The learners had towork in a small team to research constructivismwithin a specified time frame and agree adefinition of constructivism that could besummarised on one power-point slide. The teamhad to create the slide themselves. They also hadto produce an electronic handout for their peersthat summarised their research, linked theresearch findings to their own teaching practiceand included internet and journal references. </p><p>The aim of the activity was to encourage thelearners to work together in groups to researchconstructivism through the use of ILT and toexperience the constructing of a construct.Prior to engaging in the activity, the learners hadcompleted a right brain/left brain learning styleanalysis and the results were used to mix thegroups up (as part of the task, they would laterreflect on the group work processes). </p><p>This activity was beneficial on many levels - </p><p>It demanded the use of ILT - Web research,Power-point presentation (all student centred). </p><p>The activity also required group work andprovided the learners with an opportunity toreflect on the impact of learning styles in agroup task situation</p><p>Because of the diversity of the student populationin terms of experience and prior attainment, theactivity promoted peer tutoring and the</p><p>development of independent and interdependentlearning skills.</p><p>Learners learnt that they could learn withoutteaching - particularly pertinent to traineeteachers. For some this was their first experienceof developing understanding of a topic withoutteacher input</p><p>The course tutors were able to formatively assessnot only learning of the topic, but approaches tolearning. We were able to provide support wherenecessary and identify gaps in terms of ILT skills.We were also able to observe and assess theaptitude of learners for collaborative learningactivities. </p><p>The learners thoroughly enjoyed the activity andmost of them said that they found it fun - forsome the first time that they had been able touse the F word in learning!</p><p>Jackie RossaDevelopment Manager Teaching and LearningSouth Leicestershire College</p><p>South Leicestershire College</p><p>C O L L E G EFOCUS</p><p>Constructing Constructivism through ILT:</p><p>Hints and Tips:What are they?</p><p>Electronic voting systems (EVS) combine software that allows you to createinteractive, multimedia tests, quizzes and other activities, with hardware inthe form of handsets (rather like a TV remote control), which allow learnersto respond at the press of a button.</p><p>How do they work?</p><p> An activity is designed using the software.</p><p> The activity is then projected on to a screen.</p><p> Learners select their response using the handset.</p><p> A receiver picks up the responses and stores them on a computer.</p><p> Answers are automatically marked and can be viewed as reports,statistics or graphs.</p><p>Why use EVS in teaching and learning?</p><p>To engage the students i.e. not only to wake them up and cheer them up,but to get their minds working on the subject matter, and so to promptlearning (Draper 2002).</p><p> Assessment - both formative and as practice for summative assessment.Marking is automatic and instant; the learner knows immediatelywhether they have answered correctly and how their performance relatesto the rest of the group; the teacher can instantly gauge theunderstanding of individuals and the group as a whole and adapt thelesson accordingly.</p><p> Formative feedback on learning. Questions at the start of a lesson areused to identify a topic for more detailed coverage. The same or similarquestions at the end of the lesson provide feedback on the learning thathas taken place.</p><p> Formative feedback to the teacher on the teaching. Regular feedback onthe course or a specific lesson allows effective changes to be madeimmediately.</p><p> Peer assessment. Where student presentations are made to the group a seriesof questions can be used to gather instant feedback on their performance.</p><p> Generate discussion. Learners register (thus committing themselves to anopinion) and then discuss their answers to a posed question.</p><p>Increase participation. Privacy of choice allows the less confident learner toexpress an opinion without inhibition.</p><p>Improve interaction. Active learning improves attention, interest,understanding and recall.</p><p>Support from the RSC</p><p>The RSC has a set of voting pads and can run practical workshops for youwhere you get the chance to try out the tool and explore what it can do. Ifyou would like to arrange a demonstration, please contact Judi Millage:millagej@loucoll.ac.uk</p><p>Judi Millage, ILT Advisor</p><p>ReferencesDraper S et al (2002). Electronically enhanced classroom interaction. WWWdocument: www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/ilig/why.html Visited 24/08/04.</p><p>The use of Electronic VotingSystems in Teaching and Learning</p><p>w w w. r s c - e a s t - m i d l a n d s . a c . u k w w w. r s c - e a s t - m i d l a n d s . a c . u k</p></li><li><p>Page 3</p><p>intouch</p><p>Adult and Community Learning sector ILT/e-Learning strategy:From development to implementation</p><p>intouch</p><p>As your full strategies have now been submitted, and I can imagine withgreat relief, Id just like to take a little time to look back at whats beenachieved here in the East Midlands.</p><p>For many of you developing your strategies has been a huge increase inyour existing workload, for others you have been given the specific roleto develop your organisations awareness and commitment to ILT and e-learning. Either way this has been quite a journey and has demanded ahuge commitment from you and your service. I think a good way tomeasure how much hard work has been done is to consider what yourpersonal understanding of ILT/e-Learning was before you becameinvolved in developing your strategies and what it is now and,importantly, how this is beginning to transform your service! Just from mytime spent with you Id say theres been a huge shift in the way you seetechnology enhancing the learning and teaching within yourorganisations, the next stage is to make all this happen!</p><p>Implementing your strategies</p><p>So, youve written your strategies, (and I wouldnt dare say this was theeasy bit!!) however the next step should be the really interesting onewhere you put it all into action. So where does the RSC go from here interms of support available? I will continue to support the ACL sector, andlook forward to it, but here at the RSC we have many areas of expertisewithin our team and they are looking forward to becoming involved withthe ACL sector also. Below are some examples of ways we can supportthe implementation of your strategies:</p><p>Support for E-Guides</p><p>In addition to the E-guides programme we aim to offer ongoing support to</p><p>your E-guides so they dont feel isolated once their initial training iscompleted. The support could be in the form of additional training, helpwith their cascade plans or just a phone call to our help desk.</p><p>Variety of ILT/e-Learning workshops</p><p>We run a number of workshops from project management to creating simplee-resources in MS office. Check the website regularly for details of events.</p><p>Forums</p><p>We run a number of forums where those interested meet up to discusstopics relevant to them. We would very much like to welcome the ACLsector to any of these forums and one we think may be of real use to E-Guides, (and likewise to their FE counterparts) is the Ferl PractitionersProgramme forum. Details of forums will be posted to the website and theACL discussion list.</p><p>What support do you want?</p><p>The above is just a taste of support available; the key focus this year is foryou to say what kind of support you really need to help you implementyour strategies. Late January we will be organising a meeting to discuss theways we can support you, so please start thinking of ideas. </p><p>On a final note I want to say thank you for being a great group to supportyou have made my job a real joy. Im really looking forward to this yearand seeing all the hard work you have done over the last year continue tohave a positive impact on the way you deliver your learning and teaching. </p><p>Sharon Hutchings, ACL Advisor</p><p>The provision of a JANET connection involves aclose collaboration between a number ofdifferent organisations. Unfortunately, thereisnt one magical JANET organisation thatprovides all of the equipment for the connectionitself and the technical support for aninstitutions link to the outside world and therest of the Internet.</p><p>Although there are many different organisationsinvolved in the provision of a JANET connection,for the readers of this newsletter, the mainorganisations involved are UKERNA (UnitedKingdom Education and Research NetworkingAssociation), the EMMAN (East MidlandsMetropolitan Area Network) and the JISC EastMidlands Regional Support Centre.</p><p>UKERNA (United Kingdom Education andNetworking Association)</p><p>UKERNA is responsible for management of theJANET network. Some of the roles undertaken byUKERNA involve the provisioning and operatingthe highly resilient, high-speed, high-bandwidthcore of the JANET network, (often referred to asthe JANET backbone), negotiating with regionalnetworks, such as the EMMAN, to provideregional connectivity for education and researchinstitutions, working with the JISC (JointInformation Services Committee) and the variouseducation and research funding councils toensure continued funding for the developmentand expansion of the JANET network and theprovision of training, events, publications andservices to help connected institutions make bestuse of their JANET connection.</p><p>UKERNA is responsible for the management of theJANET network as a whole and operates the JANET</p><p>backbone on behalf of connected institutions.</p><p>This...</p></li></ul>