Book Review: How to write a lot

How to Write a Lot, Paul J Silvia, APA Washington, 2007. This is a great little book. Apart from its content and central message (which is obvious), I love the style. There are no boxed asides, no “Top Ten Hits from the Best Writers“, no planning charts,  or any other visual false idols, which make you feel like you are going to be a better writer having looked at them. Instead, it’s like a book of old, containing just paragraphs of text (imagine that!), with a simple but elegant imprint. The occasional New Yorker cartoon matches the author’s dry sense…

Virtual worlds in chemistry higher education

This post examines some examples of the use of emerging technologies for chemistry education, focussing on the virtual world second life and web-based virtual platforms. Second Life Second Life is a virtual, online world where users can interact and engage with others while moving through a created virtual space. While perhaps better known for less than desirable uses, academic institutions are putting a lot of resources into creating Second Life spaces, including the Open University and DIT. Anecdotally, chemistry is sometimes given as an ideal subject to use in Second Life, allowing for anything from testing out reactions to showing…

Is there a role for m-Learning?

Mobile learning is often heralded as an answer to several problems in higher education. Students can access material anytime, anywhere, doing anything. Lecturers can provide lots of detail and supplementary material knowing that students can access it on the bus to college, while jogging in the gym or even in the library! I wonder about the reality of any of these claims, even allowing for hyperbole. In this post I aim to look at m-learning is, and potential “real” uses in practice. A 2007 Educause article on mobile learning provides an overview of the potential of m-learning (Corbell and Valdes-Corbell,…

Online Induction and Socialisation: Reflection

This post summarises some points of reflection having completed the first week of the module “Supporting Virtual Communities”, on the DIT Msc Applied E-Learning. The first week of the module had the theme induction and socialisation, and I have incorporated some thoughts on the week, prompted by the reflective prompts given by the module tutor, Roisin. Before these thoughts, we were given an article to read from the Crafting Gentleness Blog, which prompted some thoughts on my view of e-learning. The use of e-learning as a teaching method could be seen as a panacea for all education problems – design…

Social Network Sites as an Academic Induction Tool

This post provides an annotated bibliography of some work on using social media (in particular Facebook) as a pre-registration/pre-university/induction tool. The references given can also be found at my Delicious site. Some examples of the use of Facebook for induction purposes are given at the end. Facebook, social integration and informal learning at university: ‘It is more for socialising and talking to friends about work than for actually doing work’ [Link] This is a really interesting paper on the use of Facebook as a pre-university networking tool. The study was carried out in the University of Leicester and respondents to…

Constructivism in Chemistry

This post summarises what it means to me as a chemistry teacher/lecturer to subscribe to the theory of constructivism in chemistry education, highlighting the teaching and learning stances that are adopted to align with this viewpoint. Some counter arguments to the principle of constructivism in chemistry are given which fall into two general categories: epistemological arguments and pedagogic arguments. Overview Constructivism is a theory of learning which describes how learners build on existing or prior knowledge to incorporate new knowledge, based on their learning experiences. The theory is based on the principle that knowledge is not “discovered”, but constructed in…

VLEs: Are they dead or not?

In our first week of our Trends in E-Learning module, we’ve been looking at the VLE is dead debate. The seed for discussion was Martin Weller’s blog post (now over two years old) which makes the valid point that there are several independent third party (free) applications out there that address most if not all of the needs a VLE does, and do it a lot better because each individual application is that company’s core business. I’ve been thinking about my own relationship with VLEs as a practising lecturer, and a student, and as someone who has, if I may…

Maths for Chemistry Resources

Published 11th themed resource (along with a few sub resources from these not given below) on my site Maths for Chemistry today. Five more on basic chemistry calculations on the way! It’s amazing how much I’ve learned about Articulate in doing these, and interesting to track my own development ability (slowly improving 🙂 ) 11. Titration calculations 10. Basic Statistical Analysis 9. Paired t-test 8. One-sample t-test 7. Mass-mole calculations 6. Completing an F-test 5. Student’s t-test 4. Functions and Calibration Plots 3. Raoult’s Law 2. Logs in chemistry 1. Simultaneous Equations in Chemistry

Button in Articulate

Having watched @elearning‘s Screenr demonstrations on using icons and following on the same theme from before on my toggle switch demo, I was interested in seeing how to use animation in PowerPoint to mimic a button depress. This demonstration shows how a shape over the button on each slide which rapidly disappears (Exit animation) gives the impression of a button press. It needs tweaking but it *could* look good! Demo 1 shows an example Demo 2 shows the effect of different fade rates – seems the faster the better!