Image courtesy of Steve Snodgrass
In 2010, the BBC produced a documentary series called The Genius of Design. I was taken with how design has changed over the last century and the influence it has had on so many areas of our lives. The other day, I heard a technology focused radio program which had an unusual guest considering his speciality. He is a woodworker who designs and crafts incredibly beautiful bespoke wood planers. He was in town to speak at a technology conference on the design process and how this can influence both form and function, no matter what the end product. While his target audience in this case was software and web designers, his message sparked some ideas for me in the area of curriculum and course design.
When I arrived at home, I did a little digging online and I stumbled on this ‘design manifesto’ by Stephen Hay. Stephen takes readers through the process of how to be more consistent and creative with their design work. Obviously, this is written for a different audience, that of web designers, but after reading this short document, I was intrigued at how much this parallels the design process in creating courses and programs for education. Stephen sets out five steps in the ‘design funnel’: Continue reading Designing
Image courtesy of Keith Kissel
I have a feeling this is going to be a rather short post, but this thought has been taking up space in my brain for too long and needs to get out. I also have a feeling that this isn’t going to be as clear as it seems to be in my head at the moment. Here goes nothing.
I think we have become lazy when it comes to preparing lessons. Okay, that is a bit harsh, but I think there is at least an element of truth to that. When I became an English language instructor back in [date as been removed to protect the age of the writer], we didn’t have the internet; we had to make our lessons from scratch! Actually, that isn’t entirely true, we did have a shelf full of books with some lesson ideas and photocopiable activities (thanks, Jill Hadfield!). I remember spending hours planning, prepping, cutting, glueing, copying, stapling, etc., just to get ready for the next day (I even used stencils and clipart!). I wouldn’t say that my lessons were anything fabulous (actually, I shudder in horror at some of the things that I did), but I did attempt to tailor my lessons to the group I was teaching.
My fear at the moment is that we have become so reliant on the what and not on the why. Continue reading Considering
Image courtesy of Jack Hynes
I’m back! For those that actually read my blog, I apologize for the long hiatus. In keeping with the spirit of this blog and my single word titles, I give you my one word excuses: testing, marking, moving, celebrating, moving, searching, moving, buying, interviewing, accepting, learning, teaching, preparing, sleeping. There, does that help?
There have been a few things floating around in my mind lately (but only a few), most of them related to assessment. My current frustration is with ‘teaching to the test’, often associated with washback (not to be mistaken for backwash which is just gross). I am getting ahead of myself. Let me back track a bit. Continue reading Testing
Image courtesy of Jaymis Loveday
Yesterday, I stumbled upon this article by Ian McGrath on the use of metaphor to describe how teachers and students view coursebooks in the English language classroom. The article was interesting in itself and I may eventually get around to exploring it in depth in a future post, but the topic did cause me to think about which metaphor I would use to describe coursebooks. My metaphor came quickly enough and started to snowball after that. I will try my best to unravel it a bit for you. Continue reading Travelling
Image courtesy of the San Jose Public Library
When I was a young boy growing up in British Columbia, we had an educational channel on TV called The Knowledge Network. One of the unique features at the time was that you could take distance classes from Athabasca University that used content being broadcast on The Knowledge Network as part of the lecture material for the course. I remember thinking as a kid that this was pretty cool.
Fast-forward to today and this is hardly groundbreaking. We can access material on-demand and on various platforms. We can even interact with one another using Skype or Google Hangouts, attend webinars, and tweet with professionals from around the world including renowned authors, professors, and other professionals.
So, where does this leave us? The latest trend is in the area of blended learning called flipping. Continue reading Flipping