Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 7 seconds

Reflecting Allowed

Keeping up with the #edtech field…

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 7 seconds

There are many things I do to keep up to date with the ever changing ed tech field… And I’d like to invite others to share their own strategies.

First, let me explain where I am coming from and why this is important to me: I have been working in the field of faculty development for a while, and I need to know what’s new so I can gauge its potential for other faculty to use; I also like to share with my colleagues at work and online, faculty developers themselves, so we can all experiment and benefit and share. I also teach ed tech to school teachers, and I like to both show them what’s new, and teach them how to keep updated with what’s new so they can keep learning as they go…

If you’re really invested…
For ed tech specialists, my fave two places to go are:

1. Twitter hashtags #edtech and #digped – I have both as permanent columns on tweetdeck

2. Joining MOOCs about ed tech (e.g. #edcmooc, #octel, #blendkit2014) or ones with lots of ed techies (e.g. #rhizo14) – you can still follow the hashtags on twitter and blogs afterwards, or view the google plus or facebook groups of some of these to find resources or join discussions on ed tech. I usually learn by serendipity by just being part of those communities and reading what other people are doing

You can also look at social bookmarking sites like Scoop.it and Diigo and follow groups or people who curate ed tech content

Image below via Flickr by mkhmarketing CC-BY 2.0 20140609-215807.jpg

But if you’re not as invested, you’re a teacher/faculty member who wants to stay up to date but not invest too much time…

Cool places on the web to learn quickly about ed tech

Educause (a rich resource of articles, past conference material, etc.) – and particularly, the ELI 7 Things You should Know About series. If I have been out of touch for too long (e.g. While on maternity leave), I go there and check put the latest few. I love these because they’re two-page docs that highlight pedagogical issues, how the tool/strategy has been used by teachers before, what opportunities and challenges arise, and how you might think about using it.

From a pedagogical perspective, one of my favorite light-reads for ed tech is the Keep Learning blog. You can sign up to get an email for each new post, which helps. See for example some of Chris Friend’s writing on ePortfolios, such as this latest post. I also like Sean Michael Morris’ articles on digital pedagogy, such as this one about spontaneous asynchronicity, or this review of collaborative writing tools. Check it out yourself!

There are other interesting online magazines or mailing lists that might interest you. The Chronicle of Higher Education has an ed tech section called Wired Campus (funny name, what with all the wireless going on haha) for news, and the prof hacker blog is simple, practical and to the point. You can also find interesting stuff on Inside Higher Ed and Faculty Focus (not always ed tech).

I also like to search or browse MERLOT’s section on faculty development. It’ll have all sorts of good resources on good ed tech and you’ll be able to see what others think of it.

UCF have a really cool (but still incomplete) repository of online teaching: Teaching Online Pedagogical Repository which has examples and artifacts of how faculty have used certain online tools in pedagogical ways

If you’re going to get academic…

I do, of course, also look at journals that focus on ed tech. I like Hybrid Pedagogy for a critical perspective via blog-length/style peer-reviewed academic articles, but I also read IRRODL and JOLT. I do peer reviews for these latter two, and that alone helps me stay up to date a little 🙂 I find it easier to keep track of open access journals, though of course if I am doing research for a purpose I will read others.

On Campus Resources
If your university offers workshops or one-on-one help, take advantage of those! Workshops may introduce you to things you never heard of, or teach you how to use something you never used but are interested in. One-one-help can be faculty development support, helping you think through which strategy and tool would help meet your needs, or it can be tech support on how to get something going. Colleagues at my center developed this website with key tools for different pedagogical purposes

So what made me finally post this blogpost that I had been drafting for, oh, 5 months or so? You guessed it! I’m giving a workshop and want to get more ideas 🙂 I am particularly looking for good sites that share links to diff ed tech tools by pedagogical function/potential – something that’s not just a list, you know?

Please share your thoughts here as well…=>

16 thoughts on “Keeping up with the #edtech field…

  1. I find this site quite useful :http://dirt.projectbamboo.org/

    It describes itself as a “registry for Digital Research Tools” but it has very comprehensive lists of tools that can be used for educational purposes too. It is very useful because it lists the tools by functionality

    I need a tool to…
    Analyze data
    Search visually
    Author an interactive work etc. etc.

    It also describes each tool in sufficient detail

  2. I like to use Zite and Flipboard to aggregate feeds. Zite is particularly useful as a recommendation engine. Then I use tools like Pearltrees to map fields.
    Pinterest is good For visual stuff.
    Some bloggers are great for the latest edtech app people like Ana Christina Pratas on Twitter/G+/Scoop it. Then other more reflective on practice – S.Downes, S.Wheeler, etc. I like to map networks of thinkers, practictioners.
    Twitter #edtech #mlearning #mfl #octel #rhizo14 etc like u Maha 🙂

    1. Thanks, Simon. I like the differentiation between bloggers who share the latest, and those who reflect on practice. Thanks for the additional hashtags. Does the octel one last beyond the MOOC?

  3. That’s very comprehensive, Maha! I would just add that for me, I like to also follow K-12 teacher development websites just to increase the focus. I follow PBSTeachers, Edutopia and Annenber Learner that are full of resources for educators whether through lesson plans or covering newest alternative education models, to name just a few.

  4. Hi Maha
    I just read Sean Morris’ Keep Learning: Learn, Teach, Share: Tools for Collaborative Writing piece http://learning.instructure.com/2014/02/tools-for-collaborative-writing/ This was informative as I didn’t realize there were so many options for collaborative writing online. I teach a course for grad students in which they learn methods for teaching reading and writing. Though it’s not the course I’m going to redesign in the blended format, we use some online tools in this course as well. We also read articles on collaborative writing. In the future, I’d like to add an assignment that has the MA students use and critique online collaborative writing tools (maybe I’ll also have them read Morris’ post). I noticed that Morris explained that he and his coauthor have worked together for 13 years and my experience has shown that authors who know each other well can collaborate more easily. So, one issue is how you can best scaffold learners who may be less well acquainted. Another issue I’d like to read more about, in relation to using these tools, is assessment options. I will try to explore these two concerns in the near future!

    1. Hey Lori, glad you found that article useful. Strangely enough, I recently collaborated online with someone I had only known for about a month, online! We wrote an article together and started an international network for educators 🙂 I can tell you the story when we meet 🙂
      But I do know this is not the norm, so I get your concern about people who had not worked together before. Let’s bring this issue up for group discussion this week?

  5. Hi again Maha
    Have you read “8 Things You Should Know About MOOCs” http://chronicle.com/article/8-Things-You-Should-Know-About/146901/ in the Chronicle’s Technology section? The article discusses a large-scale study (over half a million users). They’ve found that most of the MOOC users are male (76%!) and most are in North America (this latter point is not surprising but I hope MOOCs will soon reach a much broader population geographically). I wonder what contributes to the imbalance of male vs. female students, especially because there are more female college students both in the states and in institutions like AUC…I have some guesses about this but I’d like to know what you think.

    1. I know what you mean… Strangely even though MOOCs is one of my research fields, and Chronicle is part of my regular reading, I don’t remember reading that article (will check it out after I reply now). One of the things I do know about MOOCs is that most ppl on MOOCs already have a degree, and many have a masters or even PhD (ahem). I don’t want to come up with any theories as to the majority males in that study, coz every idea that came to mind was stereotyping in some way! I do know, though, that despite the many shortcomings of MOOCs, they seem like a good outlet for women, especially those who are less mobile (I actually made that particular point at a recent panel at the launch of Edraak)… So you’d expect more women to be taking them… Would love to hear your theory on this 🙂

    2. Did you check the “by course type”? That answers the male female thing. Most EdX MOOCs and many of the early ones were Comp Sci and sciences. Not that i personally think women are less interested in sciences (i am a computer scientist myself) but i am guessing there’s something there. Still a stereotype. But you’ll see for soc sci and humanities, you get more a balance of men/women

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