Tag Archives: teaching

Setting the scene for reflections on DigPedLab Vancouver 2017

Beccy Dresden
Senior TEL Designer
The Open University

DigPedLab Vancouver 2017 – Background

Beccy Dresden was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

A bit about me….

I’m Beccy Dresden, a Senior TEL Designer (TEL = technology enhanced learning) at The Open University, where I’ve worked for nearly 18 years. I joined the OU from a professional publishing background, and have supported the development of modules on subjects as diverse as law, languages, social work, and English grammar.

My department – the TEL Design team – works in partnership with academic experts, Learning and Teaching Innovation portfolio colleagues, and students and tutors, to design, produce, support and evaluate OU modules. The team’s work draws on and contributes to the learning, teaching and innovation evidence base of the University, and embodies emerging technologies and research to reinforce the OU’s position as the UK leader in supported online and distance learning. The modules we produce are now digital by default, but we are keen to ensure that the online experience we offer our students is driven by pedagogy, not technology. Within the TEL Design team, my particular areas of interest and scholarship are:

  • the use of social media in HE (both in terms of student-facing content, and as a tool/platform in the continuing professional development (CPD) of academic and professional support staff), and
  • developing digital capabilities (again, in terms of both students and staff at the OU).

Those areas of interest are what led me – via Twitter, Martin Weller, and Lawrie Phipps, among others – to discover Hybrid Pedagogy and their Digital Pedagogy Lab Institutes, or DigPedLab for short.

About DigPedLab Institutes

Ever since I applied for the UCISA bursary back in April, I’ve struggled to explain clearly and concisely to people quite what a DigPedLab Institute is – even those working in the ed tech sector have given me slightly puzzled looks – and each institute is slightly different, so it’s not even a single thing. To focus on the one I attended, in the organisers’ words:

DPL Vancouver is a three-day institute that explores the role and application of digital technology in teaching. Three tracks offer intensive peer-driven learning with and discussion of open education, new media, and critical digital pedagogy.

Participants choose between one of three tracks and work collaboratively in small workshop-style classes. Each track is open to all backgrounds and skill levels. Each day of the institute begins with discussion that will play into the day’s work. A continental breakfast will be provided before sessions begin mid-morning, followed by lunch. Afternoons will be split into multiple sessions and will include keynote presentations, workshops, and other activities. Each day will end before dinner. The learning community we create together will be welcoming to a wide range of skill levels and interests.”

The tracks on offer in Vancouver were:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I chose Digital Literacies led by Bonnie Stewart.  This track was described as:

“focused on the development of participatory, networked literacies that enable collaboration, contribution, and critical sense-making within information abundance. It fosters a critical orientation toward tools, portfolios, and digital presence within networks. Participants will discuss and experiment with various technological tools from the chalkboard to moveable chairs, computers, mobile devices, social media platforms, and learning management systems. Individual sessions and workshops will focus on teaching philosophies, discernment practices for using digital tools in courses, emergent learning, digital composition, and discussions of the impact of the digital on traditional and critical pedagogies.”

Apart from wanting to be taught by Bonnie, whom I have long admired for her clear-sighted and thoughtful-yet-practical approach to complex digital pedagogy issues, I thought that learning about new critical perspectives for evaluating digital tools and approaches would be invaluable for me and my department.

My further blogs are really just an overview of an intense, inspiring, and challenging weekend that – nearly five months later – is still affecting how I approach my work and my social (media) interactions every day.

Technology Enhanced Active Learning and Active Learning Spaces

Emma Fletcher
Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor
York St John University

EDUCAUSE 2017

Emma Fletcher was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

At the recent EDUCASE 2017 conference, which I was able to join courtesy of a UCISA bursary, I was able to attend a session on Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs), named by EDUCAUSE as the top strategic technology of 2017 due to the popularity and innovation of ALCs. Active learning classrooms (ALCs) are designed to create affordances that support active learning pedagogies (which research has demonstrated are better when compared with more passive types of learning).

Presented by D. Christopher Brooks and Malcolm Brown (from EDUCAUSE), Melody Buckner  (University of Arizona), Adam Finkelstein (McGill University) and Sehoya Cotner (University of Minnesota), the session explored the research around ALCs as well as looking at the teaching practices that work best in them. There were examples from research, at the University of Minnesota, where the traditional teaching (large lectures) was compared with smaller ALC style teaching. This showed that students in traditional classrooms achieved as expected, however ALC students outperformed against their expected grades. One message that came out of the session was that potential of ALCs can only be realised if you have good teaching. Changing the space may mean that the instructor doesn’t know how to teach in the new space (teachers may try and use the traditional lecture style in the new spaces so, for example, students would have their back to lecturers) and active learning gains are achieved by academics teaching to fit the learning space.

Goals of the Active Learning Initiative

The third day of the EDUCAUSE conference, had a  further technology session presented by Virginia Lacefield, Enterprise Architect at University of Kentucky, looking at ‘Evaluating the Impact of Technology-Enhanced Active Learning Classrooms on Students and Instructors: Lessons from our First Full Year’.

Between 2014 and 2016, the University of Kentucky had opened 17 new Technology Enhanced Active Learning (TEAL) spaces at the university and carried out an evaluation of the impact of these on teaching, student learning outcomes and retention. The data collected consisted of surveys from both students and instructors as well as classroom observations and course grades. The classroom observations (adapted from the University of Minnesota developed instrument) were timed observations where every five minutes they marked down what the students and instructor were doing.

The observations showed a great deal of variation between classes. The findings of the staff survey showed that 18% of staff did not plan to use active learning strategies and 29% of staff planned not to use the TEAL equipment. 126 of the courses taught in TEAL had enough data points for comparison, 35 of these courses had significant grade differences for all students (29 had a positive difference favouring the TEAL sections, six had a positive difference favouring the non-TEAL sections). When they looked at retention, they found that there was significant correlation between number of TEAL courses taken and second year retention. As a result they are increasing the support for staff to help support the use of TEAL, such as technology/pedagogy open houses, scheduled one-on-one support appointments, giving advance notice of classroom assignment and communicating about available support resources.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other highlights of the EDUCAUSE conference included:

 

 

 

Preparation for EDUCAUSE 2017 #EDU17

Emma Fletcher
Technology Enhanced Learning Advisor
York St John University

 

 

 

Emma Fletcher was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

As a UCISA bursary winner for 2017, I got the opportunity to attend the annual EDUCAUSE conference, this year held in Philadelphia, PA.

Before setting off for America, I downloaded the EDUCAUSE app, which was invaluable over the course of the conference. This allowed me to look at the agenda for the conference and start to identify some of the sessions I wanted to attend. The conference had general sessions as well as parallel sessions over the three days I was attending. The sessions were divided into tracks, with driving innovation in teaching and learning being the main one I focused on. Inevitably, whilst attending the sessions I chose, I worried I had selected the ‘wrong’ ones!

I arrived in Philadelphia a few days before the conference, to allow me to acclimatise and get my bearings. This was my first trip to America. Philadelphia itself is a lovely city – I would definitely recommend a visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conference location was a short walk from my hotel, so I headed there bright and early on Wednesday morning to register and collect my badge (which I personalised with stickers at the ribbon station). The venue itself, the Philadelphia Convention Centre, was huge! My step count over the course of the conference can attest to this! The EDUCAUSE staff were friendly and welcoming, with someone on hand to point you in the right direction (which was likely with such a sprawling venue and a number of parallel presentations).

 

Next generation Digital Learning Architecture

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Stout
Support Services Manager
Leeds Beckett University

EUNIS 2017

Ed Stout was funded to attend this event as a 2017 UCISA bursary winner

Dr. Rob Abel, Chief Executive Officer of IMS Global Learning Consortium, came across from the USA to talk us through his thoughts on the future of Digital Learning Architecture in Higher Education at EUNIS 2017. He very quickly put strong emphasis on the importance of a digital transformation strategy within HE institutions and outlined that IT should be an enabler to teaching and learning innovation. Dr. Abel’s presentation had so much content, in truth it was difficult to keep up. He gave us an overview of the tools and technology in place within the HE market for teaching and learning as outlined in the photo below: (apologies for poor image quality)


 

 

 

 

 

 

An outdated architecture for learning had different systems uniquely silo-ed with little to no interoperability:


 

 

 

 

 

 

What if now it was quicker and easier to make systems work in harmony, to benefit the connected learner? Well, Dr. Abel, in collaboration with Malcolm Brown (EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) and Jack Suess (University of Maryland), had previously written a paper in 2013 analysing “A New Architecture for Learning” which highlights the need for an IT department to be agile, flexible and allow for personalisation when integrating new innovative learning technologies. Seamless interoperability between both current and future developed systems is the key to success; not simply an over-reliance on a current Learning Management System (LMS), but an ecosystem developed beyond it. Dr Abel referenced a very useful paper produced by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative in 2015 entitled “The Next Generation Digital Learning Environment” which is worth your time to read and is available here

Dr. Abel then took the opportunity to take us on a high-speed tour of the benefits and impact of Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), which include:

  • Reduced integration time and cost by a factor of 100-1000x
  • Ubiquitous across 70+ learning platforms
  • Hundreds of certified LTI apps of varying types
  • Foundation of interoperable edtech ecosystem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMS Global have publicly released Caliper, a learning analytics interoperability framework that enables the collection, storage and transportation of data about learning. The Caliper framework removes the limitations of a single LMS system and opens up a broad range of benefits to be realised through the integration and interoperability of multiple systems. It is worth noting that it is being taken seriously by many HE institutions and partners, so is not one to simply toss aside without further investigation.

Seven things you should know about Caliper

This blog post first appeared on http://www.edstout.co.uk/2017/06/25/day-2-reflections/

The role of learning in human development

julie120

Julie Adams
Academic Skills Tutor
Staffordshire University
UCISA DSDG (User Skills Group)

 

 

Learning Technologies 2015: Day 2 – Professor Robert Winston – the expanding mind

This keynote was for many the highlight of the conference – one audience member commented during the question session that hearing Professor Winston alone was worth the conference fee! It is hard to capture the presentation effectively in a few words as he took us on a journey through human development covering the amazing development, creativity, power and adaptability of the human mind, using a wide range of video clips from his TV programmes, plus images and music.

I will try to capture some of the most interesting and relevant parts of the talk and try to look at how these might be of relevance to us.

Some fascinating facts:

  • The human brain is the most complex object in the universe with 100 million neurones – but we only use a small fraction of these. He showed an interesting video showing how we learn.
  • We decide within 0.3 of a second of meeting someone whether they are trustworthy!
  • Opera singers use more muscles than anyone else – including athletes – and use their brains in an advanced way, becoming highly competent with repetition. He believed that anyone could become a competent pianist with practice. Personally, I know that for this I would needs lots and lots of practice!
  • Every two of us have more brain power than any one Nobel prize winner. So we should collaborate more!
  • One of the most amazing facts to me was that there have only been around 5000 generations of modern humans. Thinking of how we have developed since the earliest stone tools to the technology of today, it seems an incredible change in a relatively short time with the most change happening recently. “Our minds are so developed, they are changing and expanding rapidly in a way that’s never been seen before,” he said.

He described the importance of visualisation in learning new skills and this made me wonder how new technologies such as wearables and immersives that have been mentioned in several sessions at the conference might impact on how our brains work and how we learn.

Finally, one quote struck me as very relevant to those of us who deliver any type of learning or training. Professor Winston said that when we left the room after his talk the structure of our brain would have changed, because we have learnt something. So remember that we are doing that every day to all those we teach.

Learning Technologies 2015

Looking forward to Educause

JulieVoce
Julie Voce
E-learning Services Manager
Imperial College London
Chair, UCISA-DSDG Academic Support Group

 

 

 

Next week I will be attending the Educause conference, thanks to a bursary from UCISA. It will be my first time and I am both excited and daunted about going. Over the years several colleagues have told me what an excellent conference it is, especially for learning and teaching, so I am excited about finding out more about the use of technology for learning and teaching from a US perspective. With around 7,000 delegates, it is also quite a daunting prospect, especially given the size of the conference agenda, which required several hours’ consultation to plan my schedule.

As the E-learning Services Manager at Imperial College London and Chair of the UCISA Academic Support Group, my areas of interest are the strands on ‘learning and teaching’ and ‘e-learning/connected learning’ and there certainly appears to be a number of interesting sessions. Popular topics include mobile devices, flipped classroom, learning spaces, learning analytics and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). I’m particularly interested in the following sessions:

As part of the conference, Peter Tinson and I will be presenting a poster on Tuesday afternoon on the UCISA Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Survey. With my TEL survey hat on, I’m also keen to attend the sessions by the Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR) as they run a survey on student and staff use of technology.

I’ll be tweeting throughout the conference and we’re hoping to spark some discussion around the TEL survey so please do follow me at @julievoce.