Technology Enhanced Learning Session for PGCAPP

Today I delivered my Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) session for Module 2 of the University of Leicester’s Postgraduate Certificate in Academic and Professional Practice. This session is designed to build on a more practical session delivered during Module 1. This session is more focused on links to literature and principles of designing TEL interventions. I designed this session in a Flipped approach, requiring the participants to carryout some pre-session study to enable them to get the most out of the in-class activities. This post will give an overview of the whole session and reflect on the feedback gained.

Before the session participants were asked to:

Having viewed the resources they are prompted to consider these reflective questions:

  • What technology have you used within your teaching?
  • Why did you choose to use this?
  • How has it impacted on student learning?
  • Where do you think you, and the university more widely, are on the benchmarking tool, and what are the key areas for development?

Furthermore, participants were invited to share any TEL related themes they would like to discuss further in the session on a Padlet wall (which would also be used in the session). Sadly, none of the participants contributed in advance, which is a unfortunate because when delivering this session previously I asked the “what do you want to get out of the session?” question in-class, getting the participants to write ideas on whiteboards. This had worked really well and guided conversations, but eat too much time out of the session. I future session a middle ground alternative approach will be sought.

Finally they were asked to Bring Their Own Device to the session to contribute to the in class activities.

The session itself starts with outlining the objectives:

  • Explore the principles of designing Technology Enhanced Learning interventions
  • Consider national benchmarks that help identify areas for enhancement
  • Design an intervention and present ideas using Bring Your Own technologies

I then position TEL, drawing upon this quote from the HE Reflections blog, arguing that Technology is an enabler within this interplay.

Pedagogy can be defined as the interpenetration of curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment whose contextual emergence depends on the agency of teachers and students

Then, building on the pre-session activities, the participants are asked to work in groups to initially recollect the three Types and Concepts that Kirkwood and Price’s (2013) outline in there article and align any TEL interventions they have attempted to these definitions, sharing their experiences with fellow group members and also posting a short description on the Padlet wall. This section is always appreciated by participants because the session is interdisciplinary, they appreciate to hearing practices from other subjects. Furthermore, by getting them to post them on the Padlet wall they have a record to refer to latter. I let them discuss for approximately 20 minutes.

These discussion are then affirmed by getting the participants to vote using Participoll on which of the Types and Concepts their intervention fall into. This helps to facilitate discussion around the examples and also provides an opportunity to introduce Audience Response Systems as a method of engaging learners in classroom discussions or carrying out formative assessment.

Flipped Classroom technology examples
Flipped Classroom technology examples

As an illustration of a ‘transformation of existing teaching practices’ I introduce the Flipped Classroom framework and describe how technologies can support each stage by adapting this Faculty Innovation Center (University of Texas at Austin) graphic with examples.

The second half of the session focuses on the JISC NUS Benchmark statements, again facilitated by an activity. Participants are put in pairs and given one of the benchmark statements. They are asked to consider where they believe the institution and own current practice sits on the scale and what interventions they could start to introduce to move up the scale. To present the outcomes of their discussion I ask them to create a ‘digital artefact’ and share this on the Padlet wall. When design this exercise I had visions of participants recording videos or audio files outling their discussions. On the whole they tended to go for images.

Example JICS NUS Benchmark statement
Example JICS NUS Benchmark statement

Once posted on the Padlet participants are asked to provide feedback to one another’s ‘artefacts’. Participants are given half-an-hour for this exercise, which isn’t very long. Nevertheless the purpose of this activity is not what they produce, it is not really even about the benchmarks. It is about inspiring the types of group, problem solving activities that practitioners can introduce into their Flipped Classrooms or as alternative methods of assessment. Asking learners to create a undefined ‘digital artefact’ prompts creativity, working in groups develops team-working and the tight time to produce something requires time-management. Illustrating that Flipped Learning enables the content and subject to be applied and critiqued, whilst skills are developed.

The session is wrapped up with a reflection and the resources live on on the Padlet. The feedback from the session tends to be positive. Attendees are always excited by Padlet and Participoll and can imagine integrating them into their teaching.  As stated previously, the discussion is always seen as inspiriting. Those that tend to be more negative towards the session express they would like more practical examples of more technologies. With one participant stating: “Would have preferred a bit less theory (even though I know its important) and more examples of innovative apps/websites we could use”. As this session is part of an assessed programme, I believe the theoretical is important, but what I do need to consider are what are the best methods to demonstrate, showcase and enable academics to experience innovative technology usage in learn?

References

JISC (2016) Jisc NUS Benchmarking tool – the student digital experience. JISC. Available at: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/6140/1/Jisc_NUS_student_experience_benchmarking_tool.pdf

Kirkwood, A. and Price, L. (2013) ‘Technology-enhanced learning and teaching in higher education: what is ‘enhanced’ and how do we know? A critical literature review’. Learning, Media and Technology 39(1). Available at: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17439884.2013.770404

 

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