Thursday, 17 July 2014

Day 4 #BYOD4L Collaborating bty @suebecks

Image source: http://pixabay.com/en/network-networking-networked-365944/

SHU Face to face #BYOD4L meet-up

During this workshop we looked at using Blackboard Collaborate and with the help of Lee Coddington, E-Learning Assistant in ACES, held a live Collaborate session using our tablets. We access Blackboard using the Collaborate app and I think were all genuinely surprised how quick and easy this was to do. Lee began by demonstrating the various areas and we started to take note of what was either not accessible or different to the web version and also what did work well. 

In the spirit of the collaboration theme today we agreed to each share a point by adding it to a Padlet board Anne Nortcliffe set up (from her iPad and shared  by tweeting the link).

On the whole we felt the Collaborate app provided a good experience but the lack of tools for the white board was a big negative for all of us. Helen Rodger also made a valid point that it will be important when running our own sessions to be aware of the devices students are using. (information is available from the dashboard) A planned whiteboard activity for example could exclude tablet users. 

What was valuable about this session was that we had the opportunity to try out the technology but also to discuss the issues we picked up. I felt we all went away both more confident of using this tool but also curious to explore further how it could be used in our own learning and teaching. I think it is important to provide time for us to experiment hands on and this seems much more rewarding when done together. As we each in turn stumbled with an aspect, there was someone there to help. Secondly it is good to reminds ourselves of what it feels like when being introduced to something new. Supported and scaffolded learning is even more important when introducing new technology. It is so easy for the technology itself to get in the way of the learning if newcomers don't feel confident. The concept of a sandpit to 'play' with the technology is something to consider. Checking people are all at the same starting point and encouraging peer support is also valuable.

Below are the observations we made about Blackboard Collaborate using tablets. 



The Tweet Chat

This was led by David Hopkins, Julie Gillin and Sam Illingworth. Having led a number of chats with David I knew that it would be a good one and that he would ease the new facilitators into the role. The team did a sterling job. I was thrilled to bits to find that Steve Wheeler (@timbuckteeth) had given a shout out about our chat alongside the one he was leading #edenchat.
As a result there was an interconnected tweet chat going on with some participants from both chats dipping into the other. The conversations were rich throughout the hour. One aspect was considering what we need to think about when collaborating. Steve and I talked about humility, give and take, patience, giving each other space for contributions, and negotiation. Face to face collaboration we can take account of visual cues and whilst in the same room engage in conversation to raise and answer questions. Online this process needs to be nurtured and is unlikely to be so instant. Of course the asynchronous affordances of collaborative tools can bring their own merits allowing for messages to be left, keeping just one version (for example using Google Docs) and blend back and forth with face to face updates. 



My interactions with Chrissi Nerantzi also included Jane Hart and Harold Jarche as we once again explored the sticky area of collaboration and cooperation. 

The full chat has been captured (as each evening) on Storify:




Collaborative Writing 

This has been something I have been doing for some time now with Chrissi. She has been a very supportive friend during our shared writing and I am continuously learning from her. Throughout BYOD4L participants have shared similar stories. As facilitators we have planned the Tweet Chats and other aspects of the course using GD. 

Using Google Docs (GD) you are able to write both synchronously and asynchronously. The use of coloured text, the chat box and comments boxes allow you to highlight areas, raise questions and generally interact.This seems to work really well for word documents. PowerPoint and the Google Drive equivalent don't integrate so well where there are images and whilst collaborative planning can work well in GD, once the slides are uploaded to PowerPoint there is work to do to reinstate the images and some of the formatting.

Are there other ways in which you write collaboratively? I'd love to hear.

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