I started day 2 of DigiFest, JISC’s flagship technology conference by tending to the farm on my tractor– a simulated farm of course, but what I took from the experience is that a.) tractor drivers make it look easy, b.) you can’t drive a tractor like you drive a car, c.) how amazing would it be if we could offer these types of simulations as regular practice as part of the university education experience for ALL students? Simulations, have of course, been used for many years in medicine, aviation and the armed forces, but I’m always eager to think about how we could use such technology in disciplines like English or Politics. Some of you may be reading and think, ‘nope, it can’t be done’, but I think that just limits our creativity and our potential. What if our English students were in Venice while reading Othello? Or our Politics students were actually at the United Nations making critical decisions while sitting in a classroom on the 4th floor of Weymouth House? Would that not just be an amazing experience, would it not enhance the learning that would take place? So what’s stopping us? (Besides money of course!!) Seriously tho, what’s stopping us? I WANT to have this conversation.
One of the key themes that emerged from this conference was people. Every session I sat in, whether it was about digital strategy, enhancing the student digital experience or what next-generation learning environments look like, at the end of it all, it all comes back to the people. This conference wasn’t about all the cool tech (well it was), but it was really about what the cool tech could enable people (educators) to do. If you’ve sat in on any of my technology workshops in the last six months, you know that I’m always spouting, ‘don’t use technology for the sake of it, it needs to make sense to both you and your students; it has to enhance the learning experience’–and that was one of the key messages that emerged here at DigiFest.
Digital leadership is a cycle of understanding the potential of technology, which may fundamentally change how we work; it’s about implementing best practice in our context and then reviewing and staying on top of developments in the field. Working with technology requires us to be agile, flexible, innovative and creative, but at the heart of it is YOU. And how YOU work. And how YOU teach YOUR students.
Here in CEL we work hard to work with you and support you in developing your technological footprint. For some of you, it’s using Padlet in a lecture; for others it’s making the move to audio feedback (shout out to the nursing lecturers in HSS who are getting ready to make this move! YAY!). For others still, virtual reality is routine and is starting to feel a bit ‘old’.
My job as TEL theme leader is to work with you where you’re at, and expose you to bigger and better things that you may not know about that can make your life easier, while also enhancing the already great teaching that you provide. So what now?
Well now we update our TEL Toolkit. I have 200+ new technological tools to test out before we launch across the campus and I’m looking for volunteers! If you’re interested and can spare 30 mins in a week, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks to those colleagues who’ve already e-mailed me, I’ll be in touch soon! If you’re not already using the TEL toolkit, log on; it takes 5 mins and see all the amazing things you could be doing (and that could be saving you loads and loads of time!!)
If you haven’t been to one of our TEL workshops, what are you waiting for?!
• Wednesday 14th March, 1-4pm in S117 is a session on using Social Media in the Classroom.
• Tuesday 20th March, 12-2pm in PG30a are Theme Leader Drop In Sessions, bring your questions about TEL, assessment, feedback–we can help!
• Wednesday 21st March, 1-3pm in P421, join Learning Technologist Dave Hunt as he shows you Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality–come wear the headset–it’s sooo much fun!!
• Wednesday 18th April, 1-3pm in S102 is a session on the ‘Best of Brightspace’–come see the amazing things you COULD be doing on Brightspace–it doesn’t just have to be a repository anymore!
• Wednesday 24th April, 10am-12pm in FG19, more drop in sessions with YOUR theme leaders–come see us!
Of course, if you’re a little shyer than most, please feel free to email me with any of your TEL questions and I’m more than happy to help: email@example.com
Look forward to seeing you or hearing from you soon!