Future Pedagogy (Three Short Papers 0086, 0213, 0215)
The aim of this paper is to share warming stories about tutor engagement with new technologies, with a view to inspire teachers and institutional leaders. It adheres to the premise that dispositions and attitudes towards change are, to a great extent, learned informally, in non-educational contexts. From this position it sets out, through a storied approach, to foreground such informal learning and expose it as accessible to all. This marks a strategic shift in gaze from the student's to the tutor's learning experience, acknowledging that ‘teaching is not just something [academics] ‘do’ for a living, but it is in fact who they ‘are’ [and] central to their identities.’ (Sappey and Relf, 2010, p.6).
The paper supports Cappelli and Smithies’ (2009) view that ‘a ‘top-down’ vision rarely works and instead it is the community who realise the vision and begin to set the agenda.’ (p.73). It is concerned that despite substantial evidence that bringing about changes in pedagogic practices can be difficult, there is a gap of convincing approaches to help in this respect (ALT, 2010). In this context, this project takes a ‘bottom-up’ approach and synthesises several life-stories into a single persuasive narrative to support the process of adapting to digital change.
This research adopts a narrative methodology as the approach most likely to acknowledge the complexity of people's lives and to honour ‘lived experience as a source of important knowledge and understanding.’ (Clandinin & Rosiek, 2007, p.42) The researchers formulated a ‘generative narrative question’ (Flick, 2009) to gather life-stories from a small sample of faculty colleagues who had declared themselves to have adapted comfortably to digital change. Participants’ personal stories were then systematically collected and analysed to form a single, compelling narrative. The project identifies the small, every-day, motivating moments, cultural features and environmental factors in people's diverse lives which may have contributed to their positive dispositions towards change in relation to technology enhanced learning.
It is expected that this narrative will serve to support colleagues in other institutions to warm up to ever-changing technological advances and that the issues raised will stimulate a lively discussion.
This short paper presents the comparative case study of the use of Really Simple syndication (RSS) feeds to automate provision of recent, relevant and academically credible research sources to students in both undergraduate and part time professional postgraduate taught (PPGT) programmes of study ascertaining an initial perspective on the level of digital literacy utilised by students.
Previous research (Beetham,2005, Lippincott, 2007) and anecdotal evidence, suggests that PPGT students perceive the learning journey in a different light to that of the undergraduate student body with student feedback evidencing that PPGT students are time restricted when undertaking study and frequently declare challenges in locating appropriate research data to provide their studies with validity, reliability and rigour. Students then place a reliance on the module tutor and central university resources to provide additional guidance to locate resources that in turn also impacts upon the time available for efficient and effective study. The teaching tool of the RSS feed of cutting edge research material relevant to the programme and module (e.g. research modules in all programmes) automatically delivered electronically to the student as an additional source of information is intended to enhance the independence of the student and ameliorate the challenges faced without replacing the study skill of critical review.
The paper explores the potential efficacy of this practice, from the student perspective, in a cross-faculty, comparative situation. Tutor and student feedback provides the basis for consideration of potential future adoption, or not, of RSS as a suggested method of automated real-time data acquisition and sharing. Consultation evidences that this utilisation of RSS is not currently in use within the university virtual learning environment
The research questions are: What value if any does this add to PPGT learning, what technological difficulties are experienced by academic and student in utilising this technology, how can we develop strategies to identify and present appropriate sources to students via RSS feeds, to what extent, if any, will the strategic PPGT learner utilise such provision?
The findings of this research (currently in the data collection stage) focus on student voice to enable organisations and managers to address technical challenges.
Social media has opened up new opportunities for participatory learning in all sectors of education with greater opportunities than ever for students create and share their own content through social media tools.
Blogs have already been harnessed to support professional mentoring and to promote deeper engagement in learning through collaboration and reflection. (Hramiak, Boulton and Urwin, 2009; Kop 2007). This paper critically evaluates the use of group blogs to offer social support to small communities of education students and to encourage critical reflection and collaboration. Post-experience e-mail questionnaires revealed that the participating students (n=30) were generally positive about the group blog, with some reporting that it gave them added support beyond the boundaries of the traditional classroom. Some commented that the blog enabled them to connect and communicate with peers they would not normally interact with, adding a new social dimension to their learning. Others thought that their use of the blog enabled them to achieve better clarity of thinking, evidently through their engagement with dialogue with other members of the group.