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Ed tech must reads: column #84

First published in Campus Morning Mail 6th June, 2023

Celebrating 10 Years of H5P: Empowering TEL in Higher Education from The Edvisor

One of the best things that the Internet gives us in terms of Technology Enhanced Learning is the ability to create interactive and engagement multimedia learning resources. As technology has developed, this has become increasingly accessible to educators with even the most basic digital skills. H5P is a powerful free open source tool and Amelia Di Paolo (UTS) walks us through some of its most useful features in this handy primer for the TELedvisors Network blog.

A Strategic Institutional Response to Micro-Credentials: Key Questions for Educational Leaders from Journal of Interactive Media in Education

Progress on integrating Micro-Credentials into tertiary education in a meaningful way has been frustratingly slow over the last 15+ years, given the opportunities this modality offers to provide highly targeted qualifications supporting lifelong learning. Brown, McGreal and Peters provide a comprehensive summary of progress made in this space in Europe, North America and Australia and provide insights into the ways that a general lack of understanding of the model has hampered implementation at scale.

Why do digital transformations fail? From Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes was one of the key players when MOOCs hit the scene, so he is worth listening to when it comes to big picture discussions about under and over-hyped education technologies that are meant to change the world. This 96 min presentation to this year’s Canadian Network for Innovation in Education event ranges across the Technology Acceptance Model, AI (of course), Blockchain and Metaverse.

How to create livelier asynchronous discussions from Chronicle of Higher Education

Amidst all the discussions of fancy education technologies, the humble discussion forum is probably the one that appears in the most LMS units and yet is often also the one that we struggle to generate engagement with. This brief post from Beckie Supiano provides five simple suggestions for sparking interaction, including requiring students to weave in researched evidence and share their thought processes.

10 minutes chats – Generative AI from Monash Education Academy

These bite-sized discussions of core ideas in the Gen AI space hosted by Tim Fawns seem promising and I look forward to seeing the remainder in the series, releasing here weekly. In this episode he discusses how we need to reframe our thinking of GenAI with the Open University’s Mike Sharples.

And that it is for the penultimate edition of this column. CMM is closing up shop at the end of next week, so stay tuned until then for information about where you will next be able to tune into my Ed Tech must reads.

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Ed tech must reads: column #83

First published in Campus Morning Mail 30th May, 2023

Learning to work with the black box: Pedagogy for a world with artificial intelligence from British Journal of Educational Technology

Margaret Bearman and Rola Ajjawi (Deakin) make a strong case for embracing uncertainty when it comes to the use of GenAI tools in learning and teaching, given that the technology is largely an unknowable ‘black box’. Instead of focusing our efforts on trying to understand these tools, they suggest orienting students to quality standards surrounding AIs and creating meaning opportunities to engage with the tools.

Minute Papers: the ultimate teaching tool for busy educators from Teche

Reflection is learning is often paid lip service but its value in embedding understanding of concepts is often sadly underutilised. Karina Luzia from Macquarie Uni discusses a highly effective and easy to deliver teaching activity in the form of the Minute paper. (60 seconds, not tiny). This asks students to ask a couple of quick questions at the end of a class about what they feel they have learnt in the session and what they are still struggling with. In addition to allowing learners to contextualise the material with the rest of their understanding, overall student progress is very quickly on display to the educator.

Cameras Optional? Examining Student Camera Use from a Learner-Centered Perspective from TechTrends

It’s been a little while since the vexed question of whether educators should/could require students to keep cameras on in Zoom sessions but it is nice to see some tangible evidence instead of feelpinions. Trust & Goodman (UMass) apply psychological principles to find that there can be very valid reasons for students to struggle with being on camera that impact their learning. The authors do offer suggestions on working with learners to find a balance that comes closer to meeting the needs of everyone.

US Sues Online Learning Company Over Students’ Data Privacy from Human Rights Watch

This is a US story but concerns about Big Tech misusing personal data are universal. In this rather egregious example, Edmodo is being sued by the US Govt for using school students’ data to deliver targeted ads to them during the shift to online learning in the pandemic.

Education and Learning: a helpful distinction from Third Space Perspectives – Exploring Integrated Practice.

If there is one thing I have noticed in HE it is the love that many people have for a robust debate about the best terminology to use in a given situation. I throw my hat into the ring here, making a case that we can add clarity to the purpose and activities of Third Space staff (learning designers, education technologists etc) with judicious use of the terms ‘learning’ and ‘education’.

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Ed tech must reads: column #82

First published in Campus Morning Mail 23rd May, 2023

Can large language models write reflectively from Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence

Among the strategies often presented for designing assessment tasks to counter the GenAI menace is having students write personal reflections about their learning that unfeeling robots would be likely to struggle with. While anecdotal evidence suggests that it might be catching up quickly, Li et al. from Monash and UniMelb note that this assumption is largely untested in current research. They found that ChatGPT is now able to generate “reflections” that outscore human reflections in Pharmacy related subjects. Interestingly they also claim to have built a classifier that is able to detect GenAI produced work with higher accuracy than human assessors – assuming students work within a given set of relatively specific prompts that the classifier has been trained on.

Artificial Intelligence resources from TEQSA

One might hope that a regulatory body such as TEQSA would be up to speed on the emergent GenAI space, and their resources page is encouraging. Assembling a host of guides and explainers from Australian universities (including some that my colleagues and I worked on), you can find useful information on assessment, incorporating AI tools into teaching and engaging with students.

Impact of generated AI on the landscape of higher education – Webinar Thurs June 1, 1pm AEST from HERDSA

Rounding out our GenAI news, this webinar from the Victoria branch of HERDSA next week features Ass. Profs Trish McCluskey (Deakin) and Danny Liu (USyd) as well as students from law, engineering, commerce, and neuroscience. The student voice is still somewhat underrepresented in these discussions, and it is good to see that being addressed.

The value of recognition programs: The new PSF and beyond – Webinar Thurs May 25th, 12pm AEST from ASCILITE TELedvisors Network

A common concern raised in learning and teaching circles in Higher Ed is that teaching is undervalued, and career progression is still overly centred around research prowess. A growing number of Australian universities are working to shift the culture by participating in the UK based Advanced HE’s HEA fellowship program. This program is informed by the Professional Standards Framework and QUT’s Prof Abby Cathcart provides an update of changes to the PSF and the larger implications for accrediting and recognising expertise in learning and teaching in the sector.

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Ed tech must reads: column #81

First published in Campus Morning Mail 16th May, 2023

Deskilling on the job from Danah Boyd | Apophenia

The question of how Generative AI technologies will change the future is frequently asked and even more frequently (and badly) answered but rarely as thoughtfully as in this post from Danah Boyd, a researcher at Microsoft. She approaches it through the simple frame of whether work will be automated or augmented and raises the vital issue of how we prevent core skills from atrophying if we outsource our tasks to the machines.

The impact of ChatGPT on higher education: what have we learnt? Webinar from TEQSA/CRADLE, Monday June 5th 2-4pm (AEST)

For a more immediate perspective, it is coming up to six months since ChatGPT was released and we have now had a teaching period or two to see how this is reshaping learning and teaching in Higher Education. This joint webinar from TEQSA and Deakin’s CRADLE brings together Rowena Harper (ECU), Simon Buckingham Shum (UTS), Phillip Dawson and Margaret Bearman (Deakin) and Helen Gniel (TEQSA) for an academic perspective on where we are currently.

49th edition of Professional Development Opportunities in Educational Technology and Education from Clayton R Wright

This thesis length document is probably the most comprehensive listing you will find of conferences, webinars and other events in the education technology and education space. US based events are heavily represented but there are also a host of events from around the world. If you are of a mind to plan your travel/PD through to September 2026, this is the list for you.

Google Announces 8 New Top Level Domains Including One For Lawyers from Search Engine Journal

There are two reasons that this story matters. The mild one is that you can now register a web domain ending in either .phd, .prof or (if you feel fancy) .esq. The more eyebrow-raising one is that this list also includes .zip and .mov. Given that these are both common file extensions – .mov representing Apple video files – the potential for confusion and malfeasance in web links is alarming. Be wary.

Elsevier is losing editors from Dr Glaucomflecken

The recent mass exodus of editors from Elsevier’s NeuroImage journal is discussed beautifully in this biting video from ophthalmologist and academic TikTok comedian Dr Glaucomflecken.

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Ed tech must reads: column #80

First published in Campus Morning Mail 9th May, 2023

How does assessment drive learning? A focus on students’ development of evaluative judgement from Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education

Assessment is clearly an integral part of learning and determining whether learning has occurred, but less thought is often given to how it shapes what students are learning and how. This insightful article from Fischer, Bearman, Boud and Tai at Deakin’s CRADLE (of course) takes an ethnographical approach to exploring how physics students navigate a number of summative assessment tasks. It notes that they make independent evaluative judgements about they way they study as much as their work itself and highlights the value of authentic assessments at a program level and partnering with students on curriculum design.

How to customize LLMs like ChatGPT with your own data and documents from TechTalks

Given the towering stack of (virtual) articles in my own reading list, there is a certain appeal in the idea of feeding it to a robot and simply asking my questions. This article outlines the practicalities of this somewhat involved process, but it should be noted that the ‘token’ (words or word fragments) limits on Large Language Models such as GPT4 range from between 2000 to 32000, so it is likely able to ingest more a mound than a mountain of papers. But one day.

How to cite ChatGPT from APA Style

I am highly aware that some people feel that citing ChatGPT is akin to citing Clippy or Grammarly but this is the world we now live in and as GenAI tools become part of our work processes they need to integrate with other practices. The APA explains here why the use of GenAI differs from ‘personal communications’ and offers a format for in-text and reference citations. It also notes the importance of adding an appendix detailing the prompts and processes used with these tools.

The Five Pathologies of EdTech Discourse About Generative AI from OnEdTech Blog

Now that everyone with an opinion seems to have self-identified as a GenAI expert, which at least gives the epidemiologists in the room a breather, a lot of the discussion in this space seems to have settled into a number of repeated talking points. This post from Glenda Morgan examines five key themes that emerge whenever a new Ed Tech appears (MOOCs, Learning Analytics, Mixed/Augmented Reality) and considers their validity in this new context. This includes a preoccupation with trendiness, exaggerated results, technology solutionism, overemphasis on application to learning and moral panics.

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Ed tech must reads: column #79

First published in Campus Morning Mail 2nd May, 2023

Prompt engineering for educators – making generative AI work for you from Teaching@Sydney

This post from Danny Liu (USyd) offers some simple but effective prompting suggestions to support retrieval practices, learning through analogies, lesson planning, simulations and more.

Quick Start Guide to ChatGPT and AI in Higher Education from UNESCO

The entire UNESCO guide here is concise and timely but I particularly like Mike Sharples’ table of the range of roles that GenAI tools can play in learning and teaching, with tangible exemplars. It ranges from alternative ways to express an idea to personal tutoring all the way to creating games to help engage learners.

You’ve Got Mail: A Technology-Mediated Feedback Strategy to Support Self-Regulated Learning in First-Year University Students from Student Success

The transition from High School to Higher Ed can be a challenge for many students, with the assumption that as adult learners they will take greater responsibility for their own learning. Early interventions have long been considered vital in supporting new students to engage and develop self-regulated learning practices. This study from Sauchelli, Heath, Richardson, Lewis (UniSA) and Lim (UTS) indicates that while technology mediated emails to students – generated based on learning analytic data – appear to increase motivation, they do not necessarily affect student learning strategies and more support for these may be needed.

Valuing teaching: exploring how a university’s strategic documents reflect institutional teaching culture from International Journal of Academic Development

While all universities have learning and teaching strategies and commitments to educational excellence, in practice the extent to which learning and teaching is valued (compared to research say) can have a marked affect on quality. This Canadian paper from Shaw et al. analyses institutional strategic documents based on a six point Teaching Culture Framework. They, unsurprisingly, found that the loftiness of the language often conflicted with useful, actionable specificity about what exactly the institution believes good learning and teaching should look like in practice.

Bluesky does not “own everything you post” from Dr Casey Fiesler (Twitter)

Bluesky is the long awaited or hoped for Twitter replacement from Twitter creator Jack Dorsey. Invitations to the beta-release are already selling for hundreds of dollars. In “news” that crops up from time to time, someone read the Terms of Service and noticed that the platform asks for a non-exclusive licence to publish your posts. Casey Fiesler explains why this is boiler plate language needed by all social platforms and not a grand IP theft conspiracy.

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Ed tech must reads: column #78

First published in Campus Morning Mail 26th April, 2023

I have a cunning plan from Guerilla Warfare blog

Kane Murdoch (Macquarie) has worked in the academic integrity investigation space for many years and has seen a lot. With this AI being discussed almost as much as the other one, he shares a bold vision for re-shaping assessment in Higher Ed by doing away with grading for first year assessments and focussing more on feedback to foster a love of learning rather than grade grubbing in students. It has generated no small amount of discussion on Twitter.

Sounds good to me: A qualitative study to explore the use of audio to potentiate the student feedback experience from Journal of Professional Nursing

The importance of feedback in student learning is (rightly) getting far more attention than it once did. This study from Anne Kirwan, Sara Raftery and Clare Gormley at Dublin City University describes their analysis of responses from 199 nursing students to written and audio feedback, indicating that students benefited significantly from the latter.

Sensemaking Lectures from GRAILE

Coming back to the other AI, George Siemen’s (and co.) Global Research Alliance for AI in Learning and Education (GRAILE) organisation has launched a 12 month speaker series covering the deeper issues that we need to face in the new age of Artificial Intelligence. The program kicks off on May 10th with noted futurist Bryan Alexander considering the next 10 years.

Entangled pedagogy: why does it matter to educational design from ASCILITE TELall Blog

In discussions about the role and prominence of technology in 21st century learning and teaching we often hear the belief that pedagogy should always come first. Tim Fawns (Monash) continues his line of thinking that pedagogy and technology are now so utterly intertwined that this is neither practical nor helpful. Instead, he posits that we need to aspire to a state where purpose, context and values are emphasised other either.

The H5P Report from EdTech Designer

H5P is an incredibly powerful and accessible open source tool for creating a range of interactive learning resources. Benjamin Waller, a Canberra Institute of Technology education designer has launched a polished and informative (8 min) vodcast keeping people up to date with the latest news and features in the H5P world.  

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Ed tech must reads: column #77

First published in Campus Morning Mail 18th April, 2023

What is Auto-GPT? Everything to know about the next power AI tool from Zdnet

Another day, another mind bending development in AI land. One of the new exciting new toys is AutoGPT, a Python app published to GitHub on the 30th of March. It can access the Internet and uses GPT4 to iterative set itself a series of tasks to perform to achieve whatever goal you initially set for it. Essentially you can tell it to do X, it will identify that it needs to do A, B and C to achieve this and then also that it needs to do D, E and F to get A done. Then it goes off and does it, checking in with you from time to time that it is on track. One example cited mentions that AutoGPT had been asked to create an app and recognised that the user didn’t have Node software. So, it worked out how to install that, did that and continued. Wild times. I’m not entirely sure what the educational applications are but it might have saved Aneesha Bakharia (UQ) some time.

Introducing my latest AI creation, EduWeaver from Aneesha Bakharia

Aneesha Bakharia was one of the expert panellists in the TELedvisors/CCCL AI webinar earlier this year and continues to impress with her new AI based online module creation tool, Eduweaver. It allows users to nominate a topic and the tool outputs a set of simple text content and MCQ pages. She offers examples covering Meteorology, Learning Analytics, Javascript and more.

Auto-GPT Unmasked: The Hype and Hard Truths of Its Production Pitfalls from Jina

As with most new tools, AutoGPT has its challenges to work through. This in dept post from Han Xiao, founder of Jina AI offers a fairly comprehensive breakdown of some of the practical challenges that users might face with this just-over-two-week-old technology. It gets techy but the jist isn’t too hard to pick up.

Empowering learners for the age of AI from Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence (Open Access)

For a slightly more scholarly take on the current mess/age of wonder, this recent issue of Computers and Education: Artificial Intelligence features articles from George Siemens, Dragan Gašević, Lina Markauskaite, Kirsty Kitto, Simon Buckingham Shum, and a host of other luminaries on many facets of what we can and should do next with AI in education.

We need to change the way universities assess students, starting with these 3 things from The Conversation

And now for something (almost) completely different, this article from Joanna Tai, Margaret Bearman, Mollie Dollinger and Rola Ajjawi proposes some simple yet essential changes in the way that universities handle assessment, including more student choice, more feedback and greater inclusivity.



The appearance of computers in the workplaces at the turn of the 21st century has added ‘algorithmic thinking’ and ‘computing literacy’ to the repertoire of thinking skills and literacies that have been seen as essential for successful functioning and employment in society (surname, 2012). The proliferation of personal computers and other digital devices in people’s everyday lives raised the need for different kinds of skills and literacies, such as ‘ICT skills’, ‘media literacy’ and ‘digital literacy’ (Markauskaite, 2005, 2006). The recent emergence of big data, machine learning, robotics and Al gave the birth to ‘data literacy’, ‘computational thinking’, ‘AI literacy’ and other new skills (Bull, Garofalo, & Hguyen, 2020; Long & Magerko, 2020; Mandinach & Gummer, 2013). Simultaneously, the increasing interconnectivity, complexity, and fast changes in knowledge and skills needed for everyday life and jobs have shifted the attention from technology-centred skills and literacies to a broader set of generic competencies, such as creativity, analytical thinking, active self-driven learning, and global citizenship (World Economic Forum, 2018, 2020).

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Ed tech must reads: column #76

First published in Campus Morning Mail 11th April, 2023

We tested a new ChatGPT-detector for teachers. It flagged an innocent student. From The Washington Post

Now that institutions (that didn’t opt out) have access to the new Generative AI reporting functionality in Turnitin, initial reports from testing aren’t exactly aligning with the vendor’s claims of accuracy. This (admittedly small) test against 16 real and fake samples generated by high school students by a WaPo journalist correctly identified 6, got 3 wrong and got mixed results on the remaining 7. This is certainly a space many people in education will be watching closely.

6 Tenets of Postplagiarism: Writing in the Age of Artificial Intelligence from Learning, Teaching and Leadership

I must admit, I had been surprised by the urgency with which the ed tech sector has moved into the new space of AI detection. I mean, clearly there is money to be made but given the looming arms race, having a product with a compelling level of accuracy seems essential. This post from Sarah Eaton (and conversations with colleagues during the week) highlights the idea that the ability to cheat with computers does have the potential to greatly reduce ‘traditional’ types of plagiarism. Eaton describes the prospective new landscape in an eye-opening way.  

2U Lawsuit Claims Looming Education Dept. Guidance Breaks the Law from The Chronicle of Higher Education.

I shared a story a bit over a month ago about the US Dept of Education announcing plans for stronger oversight over Online Program Managers (OPMs), third party partners that work with institutions to deliver online courses. One of the big players, 2U, has decided that they don’t care for this and are going to the courts. Clearly this doesn’t directly affect providers in Australia but I am sure that TEQSA and similar bodies are paying attention.

We Settled for Catan from The Atlantic (Paywall – free trial)

Ian Bogost is an academic, video game designer and provocateur, so I always have time for his hot takes. This article celebrates the work of recently departed German boardgame designer Klaus Teuber, creator of the renowned Settlers of Catan. Bogost’s angle is notable for pointing out that Catan isn’t a Great game but it’s ordinariness and simplicity makes it accessible and enjoyable to a far wider audience than most boardgames. He argues that this is in some ways more important than being the smartest game on the shelf and I think there are possibly lessons in that which can be applied to learning and teaching.