ETF Newsletter
EdTech Factotum is an occasional newsletter of 3 interesting things I have read, watched or listened to in the world of educational technology, open education, and online & blended learning. Check out previous newsletters or subscribe to the weekly newsletter.

Here are 3 things I read & found interesting this week.

Annotating audio on the web

Interesting post from Jon Udell that could have some application for Hypothesis users. Jon (who is the Director of Integration for Hypotheis) has been tinkering with methods to make annotating audio on the web possible. His post is technical, but it gives a glimpse into how he is thinking about the challenge of linking to and annotating multimedia on the web.

While this is still early days, Jon's experiments show that annotating audio is something that can be done using the built in HTML5 media players that come standard with most current browsers. Here is an example from NPR that Jon has annotated.

Screenshot of how an audio annotation could work in Hypothesis

To be clear, this is not something that Hypothesis supports right now (afaik). This is more like Jon working on the open taking a first crack at it (indeed, the annotation I tested from NPR worked in Firefox and Chrome, but not MS Edge, which illustrates the early experimental nature of his work). But it does appear that annotating audio and video is on their roadmap.

As someone who has worked a fair bit with audio on the web (going back to the turn of the last century when Real ruled the online airwaves), it feels like this should have been a nut that was cracked a long time ago. But with HTML5 media players built standard in most browsers today,  it seems like a much more doable project today than 10 years ago when you still needed fairly complex Javascript libraries or proprietary players just to get audio & video playing on the web.

Considering how much more multimedia is on the web today, it isn't hard to see how linking and annotating could both be incredibly useful tools for educators.

Source: Annotating web audio, Jon Udell, January, 2018

K-12 OER podcasts

An excellent podcast series from Athabasca University's Dr. Connie Blomgren and Verena Roberts examining some of the specific open education issues within the K-12 sector in Canada.

This is a nice - and much needed - addition to the OER canon in Canada. While OER in post-secondary is becoming increasingly well supported through OER and Open Access initiatives across the country, it doesn't appear to be the same in the K-12 sector. Granted, this could be a perception on my part as I do tend to focus on the higher ed vs K-12 landscape.

There are some well known open education advocates and practitioners interviewed for this series of podcasts, including current eCampus Ontario Executive Director Dr. David Porter, former Hewlett Foundation (and now Wikimedia Foundation) program director TJ Bliss, Royce Kimmons, OER Hub Fellow Dr. Beatriz de los Arcos, Commons Sense Media's Bill Fitzgerald, and UNESCO OER Chair Rory McGreal, just to name a few.

The podcasts were funded by the Alberta ABOER Project, whom the organization I work for (BCcampus) has done work with in the past.

Source: K-12 OER Podcasts, Dr. Connie Blomgren and Verena Roberts, Athabasca University

Microlearning at Google

At BCcampus, we have regular CoP meetings of the managers where we share various tips and ideas. I am facilitating the next session, and have used the occasion as an excuse to dig into a project that I have been interested in for awhile now, the Google Re:Work project.

Re:Work is a Google project that researches and examines their own internal HR practices, and develops some best practices based on their research. I'll likely write more about this in the future as I find the Re:Work project interesting and helpful.

During their Re:Work research on what makes an effective team, Google discovered that the number one attribute that was common among all their high functioning teams was Psychological Safety (there are a total of 5 attributes, if you are interested). All members of effective teams feel safe and supported to take risks with each other, and to appear to be vulnerable in front of one another.

To help reinforce this idea of psychological safety among their managers, Google has employed microlearning in the form of email reminder prompts to their managers. They call these Whisper Courses. Over the course of 10 weeks, managers are regularly sent email "nudges" with ideas and tips they can try in their meetings or one on one's with employees to help develop psychological safety within their team.

Being Google, everything is measured and it appears these microlessons are working, with managers who implement the tips seeing a marked increase in their managerial effectiveness surveys.

I am a fan of this type of learning. Highly focused, bit-sized and likely very relevant for the intended learner who, being adult learners, highly value immediate relevancy in their learning.

Google has made the templates of their Whisper Courses available for others.

Source: Whisper courses: on-the-job microlearning with email
Debbie Newhouse and Regina Getz-Kikuchi, Google December 12, 2017

Like this? Feel free to forward onto a friend or colleague who may be interested in subscribing. Unless otherwise noted, all content CC-BY Clint Lalonde.
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