Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

Keeping up with the #edtech field…

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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…=>

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