Digital badges – Part 2: Earning your first badge

navigator-badge-supergirl

If you’ve set up a Mozilla Backpack account already (see my last post for instructions), then you can have a go at earning your first digital badge. This is what I did first.

Note: You won’t receive the badge if you don’t have the backpack account already set up. But that won’t stop you from doing the five challenges or activities.

Also, if you get stuck on one of the copy and paste challenges, it’s most probably because you did not copy and paste all of the text. Some of the text was hidden on my computer when I did challenge 3.

See how you get on. If you really get stuck, someone already made a video here.

 

Digital badges – Part 1: Getting started

One of my goals at the moment is to explore the world of digital badging and micro-credentials. Digital badges are:

a validated indicator of accomplishment, skill, quality or interest that can be earned in various learning environments.

If you’re interested you can follow along as well. Here is how I made a start:

  1. Checked out the home page of Open Badges, the platform that I’m exploring. This is a good jumping off point for more information about what digital badges involves and how you can get started.
  2. Watched the video above for an overview. The context in the video is the USA, but don’t let that put you off.
  3. Set up my Mozilla backpack here. This is one of the places where you can store digital badges that you earn.

Want to help your kids with reading?

My friend James is developing free resources for parents to help kids with reading. There’s video tutorials, PDF downloads, comprehension questions, and all kinds of  stuff.

This is very cool Kiwi content that you should support. You can also watch and listen to James reading the stories out loud.

There’s a low-key focus on teaching and learning reading comprehension strategies and building vocabulary through original stories.

More about James’ background and own story here.

TESOL Option for NCALNE (Voc): Anyone Interested?

TESOL NCALNE

Here’s another experiment… an NCALNE (Voc) qualification option for experienced and trained teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL).

This might apply to you (or someone you know) if you are in this kind of situation:

  • You teach an ESOL course that is funded by the TEC. Examples might include SAC1 and 2 funded training, Intensive Literacy and Numeracy (ILN), or Workplace Literacy (WPL).
  • A condition of funding is that tutors must have the NCALNE (Voc) qualification.

Our NCALNE (Voc) option for teachers in this context might work for you if you also meet these conditions

  • You have existing TESOL experience and qualifications
  • Your teaching practice includes your own TESOL-specific versions of the kinds of evidence that we’re looking for.
  • You’re prepared to compile a portfolio of this evidence and complete a couple of stand-alone assessments so that we can ensure that you meet all of the qualification requirements.

Interested…? Hit me up in the comments. I’m going to need some people to trial the process and see if it’s viable.

7 More Designs For the Underground Advertising Campaign On Learning

I just posted 6 designs for your underground advertising campaign on learning. Here are 7 more that I think are even better.

Please share, print, and distribute. Any favourites? Let me know in the comments

1. NOW WITH BACON

IMG_2453

2. THIS IS NOT LIKE SCHOOL

IMG_2449

3. AND NUMERACYIMG_2451

4. EVEN WHEN YOU USE WORDS 

IMG_2455

5. DON’T BE AFRAID 

IMG_2461

6. STOP IT

IMG_2463

7. START A CONVERSATION

IMG_2459

6 Designs For The Underground Advertising Campaign on Learning

Here’s your mission: Start an underground viral advertising campaign for learning. In particular, adult learning. And by adult learning I mean something that includes foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy.

Share these images. Print them out and give them to people. Particularly those doing the education part.

Any favourites? Let me know in the comments.

1. ADULT LITERACY AND NUMERACYIMG_2442

2. I HEART LNIMG_2440

3. LEARN HOW TO LEARNIMG_2443

4. LN

IMG_2444

5. LEARN TO LOVE WORDS AND NUMBERSIMG_2447

6. XXX EXPLICIT ADULT EDUCATION IMG_2448

How To Develop Great Teaching Materials In 5 Steps

Screenshot 2015-08-25 22.11.00

It’s no secret that I love the process of developing new resources. That’s something that hasn’t changed over quite a few years of teaching and training.

My process for materials development has changed quite a lot of the last few years though.

I have 5 rules for myself for this process. Well, they’re more like guidelines.

  1. Solve a problem. My students tend to drive new resource creation. They just don’t know it. Most of my resource creation happens as a reaction to common problems in the learning process.
    • At the moment, many of my students are stuck on Assessment 4 in the course that I teach. In this assignment they have to collate several different kinds of evidence. I have a checklist, but I wanted to create something visual. Here’s the checklist. For my poster though, I’m only interested in the far left hand side.
      Screenshot 2015-08-25 21.56.19
  2. Start analog. I make a point of starting with my non digital tools first. I like to get the shape of the idea sketched out on the white board or in my journal. Or usually both.
    • Here’s my first draft of a poster for Assessment 4 on the white board. I started portrait and then redrew it in landscape on the left.
      WB
    • Here’s my second draft. I want people to see the different kinds of evidence they have to collect. And then make the links to their Study Guide and Assessment Guide. This time I’ve redrawn the poster in my notebook.
      Journal 2
  3. Finish digital. From the white board and journal, I move on to the digital tools. Currently, I’m learning to use Adobe Illustrator. This is a new tool for me and I’m still figuring it out.
    • Here’s a couple of printouts from early versions of the handout that I was working on.
      printouts
  4. Iterate as fast as possible. I go through many different versions before I’m happy with the final product.
    • Here’s the current version in Illustrator.
      Screenshot 2015-08-25 14.27.52
  5. Realise that it’s never finished. One of the things I realised early on in my teaching career was that my resources needed to be dynamic. The content needs to evolve, rather than remain static.
    • Here’s a screen shot of the PDF of the resource (for now anyway).
      Screenshot 2015-08-25 22.11.00

Damon Says: Do We Need A Literacy of Learning? A Kind of Meta-Literacy?

I think i’m going to start a new series of posts that all start with “Damon Says”.

My family frequently hear this refrain around the house when the conversation turns to learning (which it does a lot since we work in education and we homeschool as well).

My friend and colleague Damon Whiten really has his finger on the pulse of current research, theory, and what works in education, and in particular literacy and numeracy.

Click through to read his post and my comments as well. If you’ve got thoughts on this, then head over to Damon’s blog and post there.

Using the Speak to Communicate Progression to Assess Confidence

speak to commThis is a bit rough and ready, but I wanted to get down some thoughts on using the Speak to Communicate Strand that have been rattling around in my head for a while now.

Here’s the problem

  • Lots of tutors and trainers notice an increase in the levels of learner confidence that they see over time with regards to speaking and communicating, but they don’t know how to measure this or talk about it in a robust way.

For example, from a classroom training point of view, if you’re working with a group, particularly if the group includes older adult students who don’t speak English as a first language, and you notice that many are withdrawn, shy, won’t make eye contact, struggle to participate and so on, you’re likely to make at least a mental note that they are lacking in confidence.

From an employer’s perspective, you might observe that some workers dislike making small talk on the factory floor, or actually hide behind pieces of machinery so that they don’t have to engage in any kind of interaction.

Another scenario, might be that a trainee cannot deliver a clear set of instructions or tell another person a procedure for how to do something.

Here’s a possible solution

The Learning Progressions that we work with in New Zealand for determining the literacy and numeracy demands and assessing learner proficiency provides a way to describe and work with learners’s abilities for speaking (just as it does for reading and numeracy).

Speaking is not part of the focus of the TEC’s Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool, so it tends to get sidelined. However, most trainers, tutors, and employers would agree that listening and speaking are critical in the classroom and workplace.

This is probably doubly important for employers as it’s something that is visible to them in terms of the sometimes limited interactions that they might have with workers and employees.

I think that we can look at the Speak to Communicate strand and incorporate our ideas of “confidence” in a way that makes sense for both trainers, learners, and employers (and the TEC).

Here’s what I suggest:

  1. Start with the actual speaking and listening scenarios or tasks that people really have to do. Here’s a couple for starters below. Brainstorm some that are generic and some that are site or context specific:
    1. Introduce yourself to others
    2. Discuss a workplace issue or concern that relates to an area that you are familiar with.
    3. Discuss a workplace issue or concern that relates to an area that you are not familiar with.
    4. Deliver a short presentation to a manager outlining possible changes or improvements to workflow.
  2. Map the speaking demands using the Speak to Communicate strand and progressions. If you’re doing this work, you should have done the NCALNE (Voc) training and have a good idea on how to do this already. The image above is not meant to replace the actual strand, but I scribbled out some of the key words in each step as a way of getting a very rough and ready analysis of certain kinds of scenarios. Don’t take my word for it – go and look at the whole strand, but for example:
    1. introduce yourself to others: Step 1 – 2
    2. Discuss a workplace issue or concern that relates to an area that you are familiar with: Step 2 – 3
    3. Discuss a workplace issue or concern that relates to an area that you are not familiar with: Step 3 – 4
    4. Deliver a short presentation outlining possible changes or improvements to workflow: Step 5 – 6
  3. Come up with real samples and examples of the actual language you’d expect to hear for each scenario (like you would when creating a judgement statement for an assessment schedule for NZQA purposes). Create your own master guide for each scenario showing the kinds of language that you’re expecting and how much of it you need to hear before you can make a judgement that the learner is confident in relation to that particular aspect of the interaction.
  4. Use a “Confidence” traffic light system for each relevant step for each scenario that you’re assessing. Probably, I need to expand on this somewhere, but here’s what I mean in a nutshell: For each relevant step that relates to a particular scenario you can assess your learner as follows:
    1. Red: Not confident
    2. Amber: Developing confidence in this area
    3. Green: Can do this with confidence
  5. Summarise the results if you need to report to an employer or manager. You don’t need to give everyone all of the detail, but it is important to work from a system that is part of what we’re already using, i.e. the Learning Progressions. This avoids coming up with a new system based on flakier measures of confidence that aren’t tied to actual learner performance of specific tasks.And then when it comes to reporting to employers or managers you can say things like this:

“We measure speaking proficiency and confidence on a scale of 1 to 6 steps with 1 relating to simple, formulaic interactions like greetings and 6 relating to more extended, complex work-related interactions like a short presentation.

When Jones started our training he was only able to handle low level speaking tasks at steps 1 and 2 with any kind of confidence.

In the last 6 months we’ve seen him develop his knowledge of work related vocabulary, express his own point of view about different issues, and speak about less familiar topics including health and safety concerns.

This means he’s now between steps 3 and 4 and can handle some more complicated work-related speaking activities with confidence.

By the end of the training he should be able to deliver a short formal presentation as well as give verbal instructions relating to some of our key standard operating procedures (SOPs).

At this point he will have shifted to step 5 and 6.”

Hat tip: Dave Curtis

How do you survive as a teacher or tutor in a rapidly changing education landscape?

Happy place

So… what to do about it? If you’re like me you probably think a lot about what you need to do to survive and hopefully thrive in a rapidly changing educational landscape.

Or if you don’t think about it you should…

You can hide for a while from the massive changes ahead for work, education, and play, but it’s better to do it on your own terms.

The answer, or at least, the answer for me, is this:

  • think more like an entrepreneur in the weird world of education.

This means that you’re on the path to becoming an edupreneur. Yes, it’s a word.

Having your own education business is not a prerequisite to thinking like an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter where you fit in the organisation, you can start thinking more like an entrepreneur.

How do you do this? It’s about changing your mindset for starters. And the simplest way to do that is to start using the some of the tools that entrepreneurs use to manage and do their work.

What kinds of tools am I talking about? You want use tools that enable you do these things:

  1. Use cloud-based technologies: Often we do need physical time in physical locations with physical learners. But what about your other work including admin tasks? Are you set up to do this from anywhere? Can you cut the chain to your desk? Can you cut the chain to your laptop? What tools do you need to do this?
  2. Seek customer feedback: This sounds basic. But what feedback do you get from your learners and others in your sphere of influence. How do you know that what you’re delivering is any good? Does your evaluation process give you any useful information?
  3. Iterate your education product: The best products, including education products have been through, and continue to go through countless iterations – that is, cycles of change and tweaking and improvement. This is where high quality feedback from your learners and others is critical if you want to rise above the plateau of mediocracy that plagues much of education. These innovation cycles can be small, but they are necessary if you want to create
  4. Develop and publish audio content: Can you create rich audio content for your learners? How do you feel about listening to the sound of your own voice? As a 21st century educator you need to feel comfortable with the sound of your own voice. Do you know how to record digital audio content? Have you ever listened to a podcast? Could you podcast chunks of your content? What tools do you need to do this?
  5. Develop and publish video content: Can you create rich video content for your learners that they can access anywhere anytime? Do you know how to record digital video content, edit it, and upload it to Youtube and other platforms? What tools do you need for this?
  6. Communicate without relying on Email: Email is horribly broken for most people who work in any kind of bureaucracy. What alternatives do you have to email for communications? Can you message your learners or your team? How do you broadcast key messages from your organisation? What about key messages from you personally? What’s the best platform? How can you engage your learners in a conversation outside of face-to-face interactions and email? Again, what tools do you need here?

Rate yourself on a scale of 1 to 5 for each of the above… Any thoughts?