Monday, May 25, 2009

Presentation Focus

Most SDI students have completed their first presentation and this has helped many focus on exactly what products they hope to produce by the end of the course. Some students have made considerable progress on their projects while others appear to be just getting underway now.

This year's class have had less class time that last year's and it's showing up in less project documentation - as well as fewer teacher presentations. We've decided to run classes on Tuesday afternoons for a while to address this. It already appears to have had an impact because almost 3/4 of the class completed significant documentation last week.

I've shown a few slides from different presentations in this post. This week students will hopefully display these on their own journals.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Building SDI Journal Posts

Your SDI journal provides documented evidence of your experience, skills and understanding of:

  • project management
  • communication
  • project implementation
  • research
  • In other words the journal provides formal evidence supporting the four criteria for the course.
To achieve your desired final award it can help to structure journal posts so that they include four components:

  1. Description
  2. Analysis
  3. Reflection
  4. Connection


  • What have you been doing?
  • How did you do it?
  • What resources did you require?
  • Who did you need support from?


  • What were the results?
  • How did it work?
  • Which research does this relate to?
  • What pattern or trend is emerging?


  • How do you feel about what has happened?
  • Have the results met your expectations?
  • What have you learned? What has surprised you?
  • What questions have emerged?
  • What planning, knowledge, skills, resources... do you need for your next step?


  • What connections have you made with people, organisations, theories, ideas...
  • Reply to comments others have made on your post (come back later and check).
  • Comment on other journals in the SDI class - or journals/blogs/forums related to your project.

Don't forget to include pictures, graphics, screenshots, video clips, audio, links to relevant sites to enhance your post. If you don't have any multimedia clipart such as the one in this post can help illustrate a point as well as make your journal more interesting for the reader.

Not all posts will include all these elements but over 2 or 3 posts you should cover most of them.

Heather and I will make comments on you posts to help you - and you can comment on each others posts to do the same :-)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Elluminating Presentation?

I decided to try using Elluminate to record a presentation.
Students - check your email for the link to week 7's presentation.

Elluminate is really for live online presentations so I wonder if the class would like to try participating in a presentation online one week. That would give the freedom to choose a time so that people could join from campus or from home - remembering that not everyone has broadband at home.

I wonder if people would interact more or less online - because you can use chat and voice.

Coaching for Success

Cognitive coaching is about helping a person get to where they want to be. It isn't about helping them get to where you think they should be - that's teaching or consulting or parenting or bossing. It's more about listening - active listening.

I'm doing an 8 day course in cognitive coaching - and although I'm only half way through I better understand how to ask questions that help people to help themselves - an ideal skill for Student-Directed Inquiry.

In fact the official description of cognitive coaching is
to produce self-directed persons with cognitive capacity for high performance both independently and as members of a community.

You couldn't get much closer to the aim of this course!

Cognitive coaching is about 3 types of conversation - planning, reflecting and problem-resolving. In those conversations the coach does a lot of active listening and uses a range of strategies to help the person being coached to use their own skills to think through an issue to reach their goal.

The second half of the course begins in June - in the meantime I need to practice what I know. Lucky students! :-)

While cognitive coaching is designed for face-to-face conversations I think I can also use it online - in the comments I write on journals. I have already begun to use my new training when writing comments and I'll be interested to see how the responses compare with those of last year's students.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thinking Outside the Pyramid

One aim of this course is to challenge students to think in new ways, develop skills in innovation and to do new things... in their areas of interest.

It is not easy to challenge our thinking. Much of our thinking is based on assumptions - some of which may not have been questioned. We may discuss and debate issues endlessly without ever questioning our underlying assumptions.

One way to question our assumptions is to look at enigma and paradox. The enigma I chose was the Great Pyramid. Some believe that the Great Pyramid is not an enigma at all but others contend that we have interpreted the 'facts' based on assumptions that have not been sufficiently questioned.

They argue that there are too many anomalies that do not fit the accepted historical worldview. Not only that but if we use a different worldview then those anomalies begin to make sense in a consistent way.

But changing accepted thinking is not easy. Scientist Max Planck said “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it”.
The presentation and audio have been uploaded to the class moodle page.

We will look at worldviews again a few weeks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

And it Begins...

Student-Directed Inquiry has begun for 2009 and students have some great project ideas - more on that later... I'm team teaching the course this year with Heather Banks and we will also be using the skills of Dirk Koudstaal who I taught with last year.

This year I've been using SMS directly to student mobiles from my desktop - all in one batch - and including a link to a Google Site I set up to provide course info until everyone is registered in Moodle. Having somewhere to save information that doesn't require registration is proving very useful as new students continue to join the class so I may keep using it.

I've decided to keep posting in last year's journal so people can see what's happened before. Over the next few weeks I'll add new pictures and links so that it becomes the 2009 class journal :-)

Yesterday half the class of 25 students met to hear about the course and talk about their project ideas. All the slides, audio and handouts are now on the class Moodle (for students only). I've also uploaded the slides and some video to the web so that it can be shared on this journal.

There probably isn't much point in showing the video - it's better to see clear slides and hear the audio - but I'll add one anyway.

Tomorrow we will meet the second half of the class... and hopefully the IT issues that have prevented students from using email and any Web 2.0 tools on campus will have been resolved.

Some students have started their activity logs using Twitter and as well as following them I've collected everyone together using Twitter100. I hope to see the whole class on Twitter - with regular updates - within a week.. Nudge... Nudge... :-)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the Road...

Since completing this course and seeing the excellent results obtained by students - results that I partly attribute to our use of ICT to provide a flexible and personalised learning environment - a number of teachers have asked to hear more.

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by regor2012

I've prepared a presentation to help me explain why we chose particular Web 2.0 services, how students used them and why I think they contributed to higher than expected student achievement in the course.

Later today I'm hoping to get some feedback from teachers at another college during the presentation through Blogger and Twitter to show a little of how Web 2.0 services function.