It’s been another busy week here at Blended Learning Towers, so this post is really a whirlwind reminder of where I’ve been this week and some things that have caught my eye.
On Tuesday I attended the ALT Winter conference – Rebooting CPD at the University of Edinburgh. There were a number of really great presentations as well as the opportunity to have a play with google glass, occulus rift and mincecraft. I was particularly taken with the presentation from James Kieft from Reading College about their staff led staff development programme. I’ve still to explore properly the open version of their Pass it on Friday site but I want to take some time to explore the reflective practices encouraged by activities such as “poundland pedagogy” and “open classrooms”. There seemed to be a genuine (and growing) spirit of collaboration and sharing of practice. I’m sure there is lots we in HE can learn from our FE colleages.
I also enjoyed Nic Whitton’s “proceed with caution: the application of gamification to learning” presentation. As a “proper” gamer and educator Nic’s presentation gave a very entertaining overview of the where, why, when and how to/not to use gaming in learning and teaching. She also stretched my visual note taking ability with references to Mary Poppins. All in all it was a grand day out and great opportunity to catch up with many colleagues. Thanks to all the speakers and all at ALT for organising what will hopefully be a regular calendar feature. You can see all my visual notes from the day on my (CC licenced) flickr folder.
On Wednesday I attended the Universities Scotland Learning and Teaching Committee to give a short overview and introduction to Learning Analytics ( you can access my slides here). Not quite sure what to make of the meeting, there were lots of nodding heads and questions about cost but it just reinforced how early a stage we are at across the UK sector. Here a GCU we are certainly still in the finding and sharing our data internally stage in terms of more general analytics. I am ever hopeful that we will be able to start moving again quickly in the new year when we have a new CIO. I noticed today too that Jisc has released a report on the ethical and legal challenges of learning analytics – something else to add to the reading list.
Yesterday we had another meeting of our Blended Learning Coffee Club and we had a really good discussion about the merits of open badges. So as part of #BYOD4L in January we’re thinking of running an open badge workshop for staff. We also were discussed the OU Innovating Pedagogy report. We tried to do a very quick mapping of the 10 innovations listed in the report to actual practice here at GCU. There were some immediate examples including GCU Games On with event based learning, SMILE/SMIRK for learning to learn, lots of examples of bring your own device (including response systems such as nearpod, padlet etc). We had a bit of a smile about bricolage – it’s one of those words isn’t it? It makes you smile when you say it, doesn’t it? Anyway, we decided that actually bricolage was pretty much what most people did by default – particularly when they were trying to use technology in their teaching.
Hopefully a more thoughtful blog post soon there are lot of things brewing in my mind just now. And just a wee reminder – why not take a few minutes to fill in the ALT annual survey? You can even get a badge.