Sunday, 12 September 2010

Right Way To Go?

I'm hoping that my readers will give me guidance here. I don't know if I'm wasting my time and I'd like reassurance before I go on in the same direction. I'm going to invite my online PLN (Personal Learning Network) to come and be critical of my work...

(Please read then click links at bottom)

I've started building a Wiki with a curriculum of essential technology skills for teachers in developing countries.  These are pretty basic things that we, in the 'developed world', have learnt in classes or through osmosis during the last thirty years. Bear in mind that these teachers will have had very little previous exposure to technology, and English is a second language at best. I want to build a resource which self-motivated teachers can follow themselves, or follow with a little assistance.

The next step for me is likely to involve making a number of screencasts as well as continuing to build the rest of the Wiki. It's going to need quite a lot of effort so this is a good point to stop and review.

The "Provisional Driving Licence Curriculum" lists target skills and knowledge/understandings for email, web, photo-editing and so on - basic, essential stuff.  I'm currently undertaking this work for Adopt Sri Lanka, to enhance cultural exchanges between schools in Sri Lanka and English-speaking parts of the world. However, the units of the curriculum could have much wider application - not just by me but hopefully by other folk around the world if it's of sufficient quality and scope.

Please take a look and let me have your suggestions or comments below.  And finally, dear PLN, please tell me if you think I should open the Wiki up and invite folk to contribute tips, resources, tutorials, assessments. Do you think anyone would be willing to help, with no guarantees or rewards, and if they would, what are the problems you foresee?

Provisional Driving Licence - start at Essential Web

and if you've read this far you might like these Technology Resources!

Thank you,
Clive (@CliveSir)


  1. Woops, I would not even know where to begin. My FIRST, and as yet unanswered question, would be "What is the nature of the culture that I hope to engage?", this at a much deeper level than the questions that you pose implicitly in your second paragraph. Until I understand others' motivators, I am lost.

  2. Not sure I fully understand your Q, Phil, but here goes! The culture will be self-motivated folk of any age able to understand the language and aims. And I would hope they could use dictionaries, online or off, to help with language. Most learners will be guided by folk like me, I expect, but who knows - maybe that's too limiting. Imagine Sugata Mitra's Hole in Wall and Self Organised Learning Environment - this kind of resource might be a bootstrap.

  3. Hi Clive

    If you can use anything pre-existing that would make a lot of sense as developing all the resources to meet criteria is a huge task.

    You might want to ask pple for possible links to anything pre-existing that they have/know of that covers any aspect of this. Eg we did a recorded interactive demo/webinar on using Photofiltre for very basic editing (overview and recording link here ). anything that has the visual is helpful for ESL students.

    If you have links to pre-existing resources you can intro them using your own html doc with links (this is how I work with online literacy students (both ESB and NESB)

    Hope this helps

    Jo Hart

  4. I will "try" to answer you (again implicit /wink) question. In my perception (perhaps uniquely my own and skewed?) the motivators you describe could be labelled as "second order motivators", which themselves arise from "first order motivators" (do I sound like Maslow?) examples of which include "Why do I bother to get out of bed in the morning? Why do I like (or dislike) such-and-such a person? What am I doing with my life, and why am I in this world?"

    Once I have some (at least) vague understanding of answer to these questions, then I can contextualise my questions (to start with) and my offerings (afterwards) in the hope that my audience might find them engaging.

    But all the foregoing is merely a reflection of the way I operate in the classroom, and may be entirely irrelevant to your original question.

    But thanks for posing it anyway.

  5. Jo, Thanks for commenting! Yes, I saw your webinar and reviewed photofiltre myself, and @ccoffa (Celia) suggested it too. However, for me, Picasa won the day. Although limited in some ways, it is simple and very able tool, and is regularly being improved. Underrated IMO. It had everything my learners needed and more. And it helps organise photos too!

    Yes, I will obviously try to use as many existing resources as possible. For one thing, they're mostly better than anything I hope to create! For another, I don't have the time. BUT, sometimes they're too fast or heavily accented, and sometimes they're misleading or just plain wrong!

    Yes, will use any pre-existing resources I can. I have already started to link a few into the Wiki in places. I expect I'll link in collaboratively-produced documents too. It IS a big task but I don't think it's impossible!
    Thanks again Jo. Much appreciated!

  6. Sorry for delays. My internet connection slows after 18:00. I'm sure they turn down the 3.5g wick! I type a reply and meanwhile the connection fails and I don't know about it till I hit SEND! And, of course, all is lost :(
    Please bear with me! And it's gone again. Hopeless. Ctrl-C.

  7. Phil, your questions seem to be more about your own self-motivation. That's a whole new can of worms!

  8. Hello, I just skimmed through your wiki and found it easy to navigate and very understandable. Last week I met with a non profit group that works with young families. They had invited me to discuss using social media to support and connect with parents. You have concise accurate information about many of the things I touched on with them. I live in a rural area of northern Wisconsin. I think you would likely get a positive response if you open it up.

  9. I think a key here will be providing a way for users of different language access these resources. It will be worth partnering with locals to translate the resources, and to examine which of the resources you are providing are appropriate to the educational context.

  10. Hi Clive,

    I had a look at this earlier today and I like the idea. I've actually propsed something similar to assist with professional development for the teachers at my school (only in the example stage at present as I wait for official permission). For that, I proposed 3 main uses:

    1. As a 'pool' for sharing ideas and collecting useful links.

    2. To host screencasted presentations, both for professional development and 'how to...' videos. Like you, I would make some myself and 'borrow' some that are already in existence as well as encouraging my colleagues to make their own.

    3. To expose the edtech newbies to web2.0 tools by using them in the wiki e.g. Voicethread for introducing ourselves, Wallwisher for gathering brief comments, for collaboratively producing a document.

    I would suggest making the wiki as accessible as possible by inviting people who will use to it as a resource to also contribute and embedding examples of the tools for them to use and become familiar with.

  11. Thanks Evelyn and David. Much appreciated!

    E: My wiki is very raw right now, but I'm happy for anyone to use it if it might be helpful. You're prob right about opening it up - great things were never achieved by one alone!

    D: Yes, a translation would be good but a lot of work - especially when trying to keep it up-to-date. But food for thought - thank you.

    Both: It is great to have your comments and to feel that you've really understood what I'm aiming at!