Integrating learning design research and practice

I want to recommend Matt Bower’s 2017 book Design of technology-enhanced learning; integrating research and practice (Emerald Publishing).

The focus is on design thinking and learning design, and how they can be enhanced by the use of technology. Matt delivers a solid analysis of the evidence-based research on educational technology.  He provides useful suggestions and examples for practice at the “coalface”, that is, in the classroom.  This book outlines the underpinnings for good pedagogical practice and for designing exemplary learning experiences using Web 2.0, social networking, mobile learning and virtual worlds.

What makes a good online tool?

Tanner Higgins, Director of Commonsense Education, posts a paper, What Makes a Good EdTech Tool Great that is, well, common sense!  With experience in editing many reviews of online tools, he outlines seven points that developers would be wise to heed and cites examples of good practice:

  1. Listen to teachers and students
  2. Identify a real, solvable problem
  3. Do an exhaustive competitive analysis
  4. Create clear, concrete messaging
  5. Focus on learning design
  6. Make privacy a priority
  7. Give teachers and students agency

It’s worth a read!

Snippets from holiday browsing

The summer break is over!  Reality returns!  So what snippets, bits and pieces crossed my path over this glorious break?

Edsurge asks  “Has your School reached an edtech plateau?” suggesting several ways to “move the needle” for administrators, teachers, parents.  There is nothing new here, but common sense for those wanting to lift the game.

Here comes yet another Top 10 list. Edsurge publishes its Top 10 S’Cool tools of 2016.  (Love the S’Cool name!) Most of them have not previously been on my radar.

Education HQ caught my attention today with Lesson idea: get students cracking with codes.  The Caesar cypher, Morse code and the Enigma Machine are explained as reasons to start discussing and playing with codes (not necessarily coding).

An ABC Splash email reminded  me of the wonderful classroom resources available to both primary and secondary teachers.

For those interested in perspectives from countries other than Australia, NFER (National Foundation for Educational Research, UK) has posted a list of the hot topics from 2016.  Of interest to me are the blog posts Research in schools: experience and tips from the frontline and The rise of Edu-Twitter: chat, collaboration and CPD.

I’m sure there is more. What have I missed?

Voicethread revisited

I am always amazed that my colleagues have not shared my excitement about Voicethread as a potential tool for communication and collaboration.  What is Voicethread?  Upload a stimulus image, slideshow, document or video clip, post a provocative question, then have students respond, either in text or verbally.

Here’s a short introduction to creating a Voicethread:

I am delighted to learn that Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia is embracing Voicethread, integrating it into the learning management system, iLearn, as a tool for collaboration and asynchronous chat.


How to Google Search for Free to Use Material

Just because it’s online does not mean that it is free to reuse.  It may be copyright.  Here’s how to search for material that you can reuse…attributing the source, of course!

  • Using Internet Explorer, go to Google and start your search
  • Once the research results are on the screen, go to the cog icon, drop down the arrow beside it and choose Advanced Search

  • At the advanced search screen, scroll down to Usage Rights, drop down the arrow beside the box and choose Free to Use or Share.

Web 2.0 Tools and Blooms Taxonomy

In his wiki Educational Origami, Andrew Churches, Curriculum IT Coordinator at an Auckland School, outlines Blooms taxonomy and explains what Web 2.0 online tools fit the Blooms levels of thinking skills.

For example, for the creating level of Blooms, there is a list of tools for video production, image manipulation, project management, game creators, podcasting and more, as well as start sheets.

The site is a little messy, but worth browsing for digital resources aligned to pedagogy.


Pearltrees is a place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web. A pearl holds anything you find interesting on the web. Click it to open it, drag and drop it to move it. A pearltree is a collection of web pages. It works like a folder for pearls. You can open it, close it, browse it, move it into an other pearltree or send it anywhere to share some of your interests. We haven’t played with it yet, but think it looks most useful for us, and for students.

Top 100 Learning Tools

The Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies is a resource site for the use of new technologies for working and learning set up by Jane Hart. Each year, Jane compiles contributions from hundreds of learning professionals across the globe to find out their top tools for learning. The 2010  list reflects the tools most likely to be used by the technically savvy education professionals as well as providing a faabulous starting point for many. As an added bonus 77% of the tools in this list are free! You can also view the top 100 in their various categories.
2011 is the 5th annual survey of learning tools, with 303 contributions so far (click here to see the list) and to be finalised on 13 November 2011. You can make your contribution for your Top 10 here.
Below is the Top 10 for 2011 so far. You may use many of these tools already so will be interested in the trending list, which shows the tool’s rank in each of these years:| 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
1 – Twitter – microsharing tool  155 votes   1 |  1 | 11 | 43=
2 – YouTube – video-sharing tool  137.5 votes  2 |  3 | 18 | 22=
3  – Google Docs – collaboration suite  104 votes 3 | 5 | 7 | 14
4 – Skype – instant messaging/VoIP tool  77 votes  6 |  11= | 4 | 3=
5 – Wikipedia – collaborative encyclopaedia 65 votes   16 | 17 | 13 | 26=
6 – WordPress – blogging tool  63.5 votes   8 | 6 | 5 | 6
7= Prezi – presentation software  59.5 votes  12 | 28 |  – |  –
Facebook – social network 59.5 votes   9 | 31= |  24 | 17=
9 – Dropbox – file synching software 56 votes   13 | 71= | – | –
10= (Edu)Glogster – interactive poster tool 55.5 votes   25 | 55= | – | –
diigo – social annotation tool  55.5 votes   15 | 22= | 35= | 72=
Moodle – course management system 54.5 votes   10 | 14= | 9 | 12=
The Top Tools for schools and education include Edmodo, Wordle, Voicethread, (Edu)Glogster, Wallwisher, animoto, Google Earth, Livebinders, Storybird, xtranormal, Aviary, Voki, TeacherTube and Toondoo. See our descriptions of these on our resource area or click on the links above to visit our relevant pages.