ocTEL introductory post and big question

Task: post a short summary about yourself and your experiences with technology enhanced learning.

My name is Gemma Holtam. I work as a Tutorial Learning Mentor (TLM) and Advanced Practitioner in Information Learning Technology (ILT) at Barnsley College.

As a TLM I teach a careers module where I use a number of ILT tools including voting systems, blogging applications and video creating software. As an Advanced Practitioner in ILT I am interested in developing the use of ILT to support and enhance teaching and learning for dyslexic students. This interest has developed from my own experiences as a dyslexic student and how technology has revolutionised the way I learn. This has included using audio recording equipment to record lectures so that I am able to go over them after class making note of any content that I missed or have already forgotten. I also use screen tinting software so that I am able to reduce the visual stress when using my laptop and using iBooks and the notability application to make note taking a lot less stressful.

This is the second time that I have participated in a MOOC so I’m hoping to enjoy the experience a lot more compared to my first experience. I’m expecting not to participate in every module but to dip in and out of the bits that interest me. I also expect that most of my learning will take place after the course has finished during the times when I’m able to sit down and read through the posts that I had previously missed. My main motivations for taking this course are to connect with other educators who are interested in TEL and to gain a few ideas that I can use in my own practice.

Dyslexia text

How a dyslexic might see text

Task – Reflecting on your own work experience and ambitions for developing your teaching,  what is the most important question about TEL for you?

How can technology be embedded in to everyday teaching and learning to support and enhance the needs of dyslexic students as well as the other students in the class?


ocTEL – My plan of attack

Yesterday I decided to participate in the Association for Learning Technology’s (ALT) Open Course in Teaching Enhanced Learning (ocTEL). After taking part in the ETMOOC earlier in the year I feel more prepared for this experience and have a plan of action for my first week. I thought it might be useful to share my plan with other participants, especially the ones new to the whole MOOC experience as it can feel extremely over whelming at first.

My first task is to plan how I can manage my time effectively by deciding which activities I can realistically complete. Due to being on annual leave, I have more free time than usual so I’m planning in participating in 2.5 induction activities, these are activities 0.1, 0.3 and parts of 0.4. One of the strengths of this course is that at the start of each activity page there is a section called ‘If you only do one thing this week..’.This section is for anyone who only has time to complete one activity that week and outlines which tasks to follow. I’m sure I’ll be using this section frequently once I’m back at work as although I am interested in the course as a whole my main objective for taking this MOOC is to develop my connections with other educators who are interested in technology enhanced learning. Although I’m part of a small community at my own institution it would be nice to develop a wider circle to bounce ideas off and discuss our interests.

Week one activity list

Week one activity list

This leads me on to the second point in my plan. As I have a ridiculously poor memory I found it difficult to keep track of the people and posts that interested me as part of the last MOOC, however before I left the course I was involved in a Twitter conversation with two participants who explained that they had been making a note of everyone they communicated with during the course as well as what they discussed with each individual so that they could continue to develop these connections after the course. This also created a kind of go to list for advice and inspiration on the different areas and software covered as part of the MOOC. So right from the start of this course I am going to comment on blog posts and join in with discussions in order to create connections I am then going to creating a list of the people I connect with, their blog addresses and twitter name so that I can start developing my personal learning network with regards to technology enhanced learning.