Good afternoon and thank you for attending my presentation.
Free resources are rubbish and useless.
I teach special needs students focusing on GCSE and A-level English and literacy. The current cohort includes students with visual and auditory difficulties, autism and dyslexia. During a lesson searching for additional resources a student made the comment that free resources are rubbish. I knew that it was not entirely true but realised they lack the ‘ proper information on how to search relevant OER’ and find ‘fit for purpose’ resources and that this can have an influence on how they perceive free or open resources.
Literature evaluation benefits from multiple perspectives, and collaboration, communication and problem solving are viewed as key 21st century skills These perspectives as well as Robin DeRosa’s passion for open education inspired me to create and curate an alternative mini-MOOC using Trello to address these requirements. At a conference Robin DeRosa encouraged the conference attendees to share their work even if it is ‘deeply flawed’ She described her own work, that she had to leave due to a change in her work circumstances as ‘deeply flawed’ but that it didn’t matter as other people are now working on it. While I doubt that her work was really flawed, I understood what she implied. It is challenging to display your work to the world, but in my opinion literature analyses from only one perspective will always be ‘flawed’. Savonick wrote in her blog that written answers attempted collaboratively by her students are always stronger than individual answers. She explains that literature language is so complex and the more eyes and ears that are tuned in to a passage the more nuanced and unpredictable the observations are . My own experience from many years of teaching confirms her observations. The more perspectives and ideas there are about a text, the better your opportunity to uncover your own understanding.
We were working on Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde when the student expressed his feelings about free and open resources as it is a set text for GCSE literature studies, but it is also a text with powerful themes that are as relevant today as it was in Victorian Britain. I realised my students needed guidance in searching for open resources that are ‘fit for purpose’ BBC Bitesize(nd) has useful resources but it is only available online and questions are mainly multiple choice types. Other resource included those from individual schools and universities, but with no licences allowing it to be copied or adapted. Websites such as Shmoop has too many advertisements as can be seen here
Nearly half of the page is covered in advertisements of which many have flashing images. These were too distracting for my students and the resources are only available online. Many of my students need to adapt their resources for font size, colour and text only documents. We were also looking for more complex and challenging questions that they could attempt together.
Inspired by DeRosa’s ‘flawed work’ anecdote we searched for a platform, where I could share my own flawed adaptable resources with my students and where they can collaborate on the text, but also a space to share the resources as open and adaptable to others who might need it. Martin K and Moon blog on the effective use of Trello as an educational space, even thought it was designed as a project management site. I could see the potential as a space to create and curate educational resources. My school, however, was not too keen on the students using an outside platform and I had to rethink the process. I decided to create the mini-MOOC on Trello while the students used the school VLE for collaborating. It is not ideal as I couldn’t test how well the site performs as a collaborative space. I have one independent student who joined my Trello team. I uploaded some of his work and he uses the chat area to ask questions.
On Trello you can create a board for different topics as can be seen here. This board is for GCSE revision resources and all the resources can be seen when the board is open. This board is open and public but can be closed if you wish to do that.
There is a list for each text as can be seen here. One for Jekyll and Hyde, another for Macbeth and so on.
Each chapter in the book is on a separate card as you can see from these screenshots. At the bottom here, you can see the amount of attachments uploaded and the conversations here. When you click on the picture a list of attachments is available as can be seen here.
When you click on an attachment it opens in the browser or if it is a Word, PDF or PowerPoint file it can be downloaded. I specified in the opening notes that all the downloadable files are reusable and that anybody who wants to make their adapted resources available can contact me on Twitter. The invitation is still open.
Those who had a look at the Trello board would have noticed that most of the resources are PowerPoint and Word documents as these are the easiest to adapt. One of my students changed all his resources to a black background and replaced all the pictures with superman. If superman helps him to study better, I am happy. He is autistic and was appalled when I asked him if I can show his resources at the conference, but I am sure you can imagine how it looks. Trello turned out to be very effective for the creation of an alternative mini-MOOC.
Why I refer to it as an alternative mini MOOC. I didn’t follow the traditional MOOC style. I find the structure effective and therefore created a card with resources for each chapter, typical of MOOC’s. I decided against using videos. While videos are popular with student , it is not always the most effective as Weller said ‘talking head videos are seldom exciting’ and Richardson is concerned that watching without some form of interaction won’t promote ‘deep learning’ . A literature text needs to be analysed and discussed. You need to take time to think about a sentence or a word and why it is important. It is better to find your own interpretation than to be told what it should be.
Traditional MOOC’s also tend to rely on multiple choice questions which is not ideal for literature analysis. I attempted to create more complex questions and in Brown’s words ideas to ‘tinker with’ to ‘produce knowledge’ . Especially for the students I work with, some form of scaffolding is many times necessary to get them thinking and I created the questions to provide this as can be seen here.
The text in black is what I wrote, and the red is what the students added after considering the question. This mini-MOOC will be most effective with small groups or to use in a class with the assistance of a teacher. But it can also be of value to anybody who want to study the text as informal learning.
My plans for dissemination I have been using Twitter and Scoop.it as well as Facebook and Tes to create some interest and find collaborators. Robin DeRosa kindly tweeted my project and connecting with her opened more networking opportunities for me.
I am however still on the ‘periphery’ in most of the networks and I believe it will take some time to find new collaborators I will continue to try and convince the school about the benefits of collaboration for the students, to not only learn about the text but also to learn about the skills necessary to excel in the 21st century.
H818 OU Conference presentation
This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND
Jekyll and Hyde: An
curated on Trello.
Background and Inspiration:
Special needs GCSE and A –level students.
‘ lack of proper information on how to search for relevant information’
(Athabasca University et al., 2000)
Lack off skills to find ‘fit for purpose’ (Kawachi, 2014) resources.
Background and inspiration
Literature evaluation benefits from multiple perspectives. (Savonick, 2018)
Collaboration, communication and problem solving – key skills for 21st century
(Lombardi, 2007; Johnson et al., 2015; Brown, 2008)
Robin De Rosa (2017) – ‘deeply flawed’ work.
Jekyll and Hyde
Set text for GCSE.
The powerful theme of duality is still relevant (Rankin,
Individual schools and universities
continues On the ‘periphery’
(Lave, 1991) in most
Takes time to build a
become a member.
collaboration to the
school as an
essential skill for the
Trello Board, Contact
• Contact: @pearlgypsy
• A link to the mini-MOOC
and all references are
available on Cloudworks.
• Thank you to Daleen and
Garreth for pictures and