Wednesday, July 31, 2013

What's the point of scenario planning? (#SP4Ed)

Scenarios can’t predict the future, so what’s the point?
Scenario planning is not about predicting or forecasting the future, but rather setting possible situations that occur in the long-term, then working backwards.  Getting feedback from everyone in the organization, each member provides ideas, problems, situations, etc. that could unfold going forward (i.e., based on the established long-term timeframe).  All of the ideas are collected and categorized, then grouped again into fewer themes, until three or four probably scenarios result.  The idea is that virtually all of the feedback received from each member of the organization links to at least one of the four scenarios.  Based on these few probable scenarios, current strategies are compared with any new strategies that would best prepare them for all possible scenarios that might unfold.  Stakeholders begin working with these strategies in preparation for any of the possible scenarios that emerged from this analysis.

Scenario planning begins with a future situation that is probable and one that is based on the current situation. Afterwards, milestones with respective due dates are developed in reverse, back to the present.  The point is to not rely solely on historical events, empirical evidence, and rational thought, but rather introduce more intuitive and creative thinking that lead to more qualitative and descriptive scenarios that harness organizational strategies, encompassing institutional mission and vision statements, objectives, and values.  Scenario planning is meant to precede and complement more quantitatively-driven decision making, and does not set out to replace it. 



Sunday, July 28, 2013

Scenario Planning for Educators: Introduction

Scenario planning for educators (SP4Ed) (hashtag #SP4Ed) begins tomorrow.  The course is described as follows:
SP4Ed is a free micro Open Online Course (mOOC) offered by the e-Learning Research Lab at the University of Canterbury in collaboration with the OER Foundation. The two week course will simulate the scenario planning process for navigating uncertain education futures.
The SP4Ed mOOC is offered in parallel with the Change with Digital Technologies in Education course (EDEM630) in the Postgraduate Diploma in Education (e-Learning and Digital Technologies) at the University of Canterbury. OERu learners will be participating with registered EDEM630 students.
I've been involved in various Wikieducator efforts over the years, and have always enjoyed the learning experiences that stem from an online community that promotes ongoing cooperation and collaboration around (professional) learning (for more details).  

My personal learning network (PLN) is probably best illustrated by visiting my about.me page.  My research interests are in researching PLNs and the teaching and learning of an additional language.


My educational philosophy is to facilitate others in becoming more apt to form valid, reliable, and unbiased arguments, provide innovative solutions to real-life problems, make decisions that resolve cognitive conflict by developing understandings through a difference of opinion or perspective, and create innovative ways of communicating with others. My role is to move learners from being dependent, to independent, on to being interdependent individuals who are not afraid to take chances, share their successes and failures with others, and are concerned for the well-being of not only themselves, but for others as well. My goal is to help others become more daring, sharing, and caring individuals.


My goals for this learning (growing) exchange is to become better connected with others who share a similar educational philosophy and to gain further insight into the mechanics (i.e., material-semiotic of ideas, technologies, and social interaction) of conducting such an exchange. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

#Gamification in the (language learning) classroom...how engaging, effective, and efficient can it be?

This Sunday, we're hanging out to discuss gamification.  How do you use games to motivate learners?  If you'd like to know more, visit the event page.

Gamification

Gamification, coined by Nick Pelling back in 2004, is the use of game thinking and game mechanics in a non-game context to engage users and solve problems (Wikipedia). Ahmed (2012) list the following elements in his Guide to Gamification


  • Progress paths – The use of challenges and evolving narratives to increase the likelihood a task will be completed.
  • Feedback – Instant feedback on the user's actions. In business this is usually slow, however in gamification you need to feedback in real-time to help the user on their journey.
  • Rewards – Think of the best way to give the user a pat on the back, such as a target they can increase. This can include power, leadership or responsibility.
  • User experience – In 2012, there is no excuse to for users to be unsatisfied with how a game looks or functions. Develop engaging, straightforward graphics and an intuitive interface that helps users on their journey.
  • Social elements – The social viral loop has to be built into your platform. For centuries, games have been played with friends and family, and gamification and social media help to amplify this. Think about the ability to challenge people or have the ability for the user to boast about their score via Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms.
 What's your opinion about the notion of gamification and how these elements fit into your own teaching practice?