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Ed Tech must reads – Column 10

First published in Campus Morning Mail, 19th October 2021

Watch Party Lectures: Synchronous Delivery of Asynchronous Material from Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education

Something that I’ve noticed recently in online conferences is an increased use of pre-recorded presentations. My initial response to this was a sense of feeling somewhat ripped off, but in better sessions I have realised how well this can work. Presenters are freed up to engage in simultaneous chat as the video plays, answering questions and following the audience down new discussion paths that would not be possible in a synchronous session. Emily Nordmann (University of Glasgow) is one of the leading lights in scholarship of lecture capture. This paper with her colleague Carolina Kuepper-Tetzel describes their recent use of this innovative approach with lecture “watch parties” with students. Once lecturers get past the strangeness of watching themselves, they and the students report real benefits from this mode of teaching.

Platinum (LMS) picks for 2021 from Craig Weiss

I’ll preface this with a large caveat that I am wary of anyone who describes themselves as “the most influential person in the world for learning systems” and whose evaluation criteria include being signed up to their own business’s “Customer Excellence Pledge”. That said, this list of 30 Learning Management Systems (LMS) recommended by Weiss offers a handy resource for anyone exploring options in the LMS space and it covers a range of organisational contexts. I recognised just one name on this list, D2L.

Troll farms reached 140 million Americans a month on Facebook before 2020 election, internal report shows from MIT Technology Review

It’s no secret that Facebook has an oversized grasp on the world’s psyche but this report from the MIT Technology Review still manages to chill in terms of how effectively this is misused. In 2020, 19 of the top 20 “American” Christian pages in terms of views were based in troll farms in Eastern Europe with suspected ties to Russian Intelligence. These aren’t even pages that people have signed up to, simply those that Facebook presents as ‘related content’. More than anything, stories like this highlight the urgency of embedding digital and media literacy and critical thinking in every level of the education system.

12 ideas to refresh your teaching in less than 10 minutes from The Educationalist Alexandra Mihai draws on a range of resources in cognitive psychology and faculty development to provide 12 brief activities (and wider practices) to bolster student learning in classes. Ranging from keeping the lesson plan visible for signposting/contextualisation to retrieval practices and activating prior knowledge, these are all things that can be picked up with minimal preparation.