Saturday 3 January 2015

Introducing The Really Useful #EdTechBook

Final edits are now complete and my chapter contribution to the Really Useful #EdTechBook has been signed off! The book is the brainchild of David Hopkins (@hopkinsdavid) who reached out to his professional learning network and 'commissioned' authors to write about their use of edtech and learning technology. I am delighted to hear that Catherine Cronin will be writing the foreword.

I have written about the role of the 'Blended Professional' and my use of educational technology in the various roles I have. 

You can follow updates on Twitter about the launch of the book and interviews with the authors by following #EdTechBook. David interviewed me back in October about how the use of technology affects my daily working life. It was a fascinating conversation and took place online using Google Docs. David posted a question and I responded and so the conversation developed. Having access to Google Drive and Google Docs along with many other useful apps directly on my smart phone means that I can write, read and respond wherever I am. This interview took place using my phone whilst I was sat in the hairdressers! 

Book description

Technology has invaded our working and recreational lives to an extent that few envisaged 20 or 30 years ago. We’d be fools to avoid the developments in personal, mobile, and wearable technology. Even if we tried we’d still have to deal with other developments and distractions in classroom and learning technology like smart boards, blogs, video, games, students-led learning, virtual learning environments, social media, etc. More than this, however, is how the advances in technology, the economic and physical miniaturisation of computing devices, have impacted education: the students, the teachers, the classrooms, the spaces, the connections, the aspirations, etc. 

‘The Really Useful #EdTechBook‘ is about experiences, reflections, hopes, passions, expectations, and professionalism of those working with, in, and for the use of technology in education. Not only is it an insight into how, or why, we work with these technologies, it’s about how we as learning professionals got to where we are and how we go forward with our own development. 

In this book respected individuals from different education sectors write about many aspects of learning technology; from Higher Education (Sue Beckingham, Peter Reed, Dr David Walker, Sheila MacNeil, Sarah Horrigan, Terese Bird, Wayne Barry, Inge de Waard, and Sharon Flynn), Further Education (Rachel Challen and James Clay), to Museums (Zak Mensah), workplace learning (Jane Hart, Julian Stodd, Julie Wedgwood, and Lesley Price) and primary schools / early years education (Mike McSharry). With a foreword written by Catherine Cronin, from the National University Ireland, Galway, the breadth and depth of the experiences here are second to none. 

The knowledge these leading learning practitioners, researchers, and professionals, share, under the same cover, is a unique opportunity for you to read about the variety of approaches to learning technology, the different perspectives on the same technology, and how technology is impacting our culture and learning infrastructure, from early-age classrooms to leading research Universities and from museums and workplace learning providers. It is about our passion for our work and our desire to make our work better through our own learning and development. 

My Chapter abstract

The title of my chapter is: “The Blended Professional: Jack of all Trades and Master of Some?” 

Within the last decade we have experienced an unprecedented growth in the use of technology in education. The adoption of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) for many universities has been widespread. Granted the speed of which this has been integrated is influenced by local policy, the academics themselves and the support available to learn how to use the VLE and its suite of tools. However there has been a shift from just having a small central eLearning team who reached out to encourage staff to use the VLE, to a growing need for a wider pool of people to support colleagues who want to learn why and how technology can be used to enhance their teaching practice. Today the VLE is just one aspect; mobile learning and educational Apps, social media and webinars are just some of the many examples being used to develop communication, collaboration and social learning. Some institutions (or indeed faculties within them) have looked to create roles for Learning Technologists to support such development, and yet others have relied on the early adopters and enthusiasts to assume this role. This chapter will look at some short case studies and reflections of the ‘blended professionals’ who are advocates of #EdTech and how the need to wear different hats to meet very different objectives can present surprising results when supported within a community of practice.

Find out more about where you can purchase either the paper or ebook versions here:

Contributory authors: 
  • Catherine Cronin: Foreword 
  • Wayne Barry: "…and what do you do?": Can we explain the unexplainable?
  • Zak Mensah: “Why do we do what we do?” 
  • Peter Reed: “The structure and roles of Learning Technologists within Higher Education Institutions” 
  • Rachel Challen: “Learning Technologists as agents of change: blending policy and creativity” 
  • Julie Wedgwood: “The skills and knowledge of a Learning Technologist” 
  • David Walker and Sheila MacNeill: "Learning Technologist as Digital Pedagogue” 
  • Lesley Price: “Times they are a changing ...or not?” 
  • Sue Beckingham: “The Blended Professional: Jack of all Trades and Master of Some?” 
  • Julian Stodd: “How gadgets help us learn in the Social Age” 
  • Terese Bird: "Students Leading the Way in Mobile Learning Innovation” 
  • Inge de Waard: "Tech dandy, or the Art of Leisure Learning" 
  • Sharon Flynn: "Learning Technologists: changing the culture or preaching to the converted?" 
  • Mike McSharry: “This is your 5 minute warning!” 

Further chapters by Sarah Horrigan, James Clay, and Jane Hart.

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