Recommended Podcasts: Ed and Ed-Tech

Here are a few excellent podcasts that I’ve come across about education and/or education technology.  They are either entirely about education technology or they are more general series which have some interesting episodes in them about education.

  • Teaching with Tech Podcast (University of Sussex)
  • The Edtech Podcast (Sophie Bailey)
  • Tech Tent (BBC World Service)
  • Click (BBC World Service)
  • 50 Things That Made the Modern Economy (BBC World Service)
  • Thinking Allowed (BBC Radio 4)
  • The Educators (BBC Radio 4)
  • Computing Britain (BBC Radio 4)

My current favourites are: the Teaching with Tech Podcast (running since Sep-16), and Thinking Allowed from Radio 4 on which I’ve found some interesting education and technology episodes.


Hierarchy of attention

I was wondering if there was a definite way to self-identify my most efficient learning style (in the VARK: Visual, Auditory, Reading, Kinaesthetic sense).  What is the hierarchy of input stimuli to which I most respond ?

A couple of events may have partially answered it for me …

I was listening to a podcast while watching my son’s football training.  At times when something interesting happened in front of me I completely missed the audio track and kept having to re-play it.   So it seems like Visual trumps Audio in my brain.

Likewise my parents have taken to putting subtitles on when watching TV.  If I’m watching TV at their house I can’t stop reading the subtitles, even though I can hear it perfectly well.  This means that I spend more time reading the on-screen text than watching the picture.   So it seems like Text/Reading beats a Visual stimulus.

I’m not sure by what method I’d test Kinaesthetic attention.   But I think that I’ve indicated a learning (or input) preference for myself:   (1) Text > (2) Visual > (3) Audio.

Podcasts: essential and dreadful

I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about disability lately, in preparation for the first module of my OU study which relates to online learning and the support of disabled students.  Having completed dozens of revisions of my first assignment, I felt that it was almost ready for submission.  So, I decided to have a change and download something different to listen to on the bus.

I chose a couple of podcasts on academic writing.  After an hour of listening to various short episodes I was gripped with the feeling that my assignment needed a lot of work!  A number of rewrite/revisions later I do feel that it is significantly better.  So the initial feeling of dread, and the wish that I’d listened to some music instead, has been replaced by relief and gratitude.

To anyone who hasn’t tried them, I really recommend listening to podcasts.  For study purposes it’s a great way to keep engaged with your subject.  It can be fitted into and around the rest of your life, and turn what might otherwise be wasted time into an enjoyable and effective support of your formal study activities.

Accessible theme

I’ve changed my WordPress theme to Twenty Fifteen, since this is one of a small list of themes described as accessibility-ready.  I recently performed some WebAIM accessibility software simulation exercises as part of my OU course.  As a result I now realise how difficult it is to know how accessible a website is unless you test it, or as in this case, use a recommended theme/template.  Of the free templates available, I like the design of this one best.

Referencing with Word

ReferencesI’ve been trying out a new tool … and created this Microsoft ‘Sway’ presentation to show how to use Microsoft Word to manage references and citations in your documents.  These tips may save you time and help to reduce errors – they did for me.

LINK: View the Sway presentation – using MS Word for referencing

RE: Open University (OU) referencing format:

The OU version of Harvard referencing – which I am now using – is different from the reference list output produced by Microsoft’s Harvard settings.  However, the other benefits still make it good to use:

  • you collect the source referencing data correctly as you write (or at least sufficient to find it again),
  • your inline citation text is formatted and easy to spot,
  • the reference list is automatically updatable,
  • at the end of the writing process you can see at a glance which sources are in use and which have been edited out.

Reformatting to meet OU referencing criteria means that after the final edit, you need to manually copy and paste the reference list and make the minor alterations necessary to reformat in the OU style (according to the OU guidance document).

Also note that an OU module guide that I read stated that for secondary referencing (which is demonstrated in the Sway presentation) you should not list the original source in the reference list as it would imply that the original source had been read.

Other comment:  Microsoft Sway is a very visual tool.  Since recently studying the topic of accessibility in learning, and without re-visiting this tool to study it further, I think that I probably won’t use it again to distribute information.