Thursday, 3 March 2016

Use of digital in learning and teaching

Opening session had 4 speakers talking about different aspects of use of digital technology in learning and teaching.

Opening speaker, Principal of Loughborough college, started with something that resonated with me, as she reminisced about what it was like to be a student in the 70s. No mobile phone, no internet, no google, no PC, no social media. Our only tools were a biro and a single landline for the whole hall.
Now, people are predicting that Within a decade 60% of retail jobs could be done by robots. And many more. 11m people put out of work by machines? Are we moving towards an egg timer economy, only low paid and high paid jobs existing.? But this intelligence is only artificial, will never replace the power of the human brain. So, we must embrace digital and new technologies. We need diverse, agile and on demand approaches to learning. Creative pedagogies, self organised learning, flipped, playful learning, learning from peers - vision for teaching and learning for FE and HE

Next up was the professor of digital learning at Wolverhampton talking about mobile learning. Is it dead? When the phrase mobile learning was coined, about 10 years ago, there were phones, limited smart phones, limited 3G coverage, and no tablets. Mobile learning was e-learning's dream come true. It offered the potential for completely personalised learning to be truly anytime, anywhere. Instead, we've ended up with mobile access to virtual learning environments that are being used as repositories. So, in practice, students reading their notes on the bus. For what went wrong, and some suggestions for the future, read this article about the talk here. It's a good, thoughtful piece.

Next up was Ian Dolphin from Apereo who have a number of open source products including Sakai, Opencast and Xerte. He talked about a conversation which had recently happened in the US about the next generation digital learning environments. There was general agreement that current VLEs are Inflexible, course and teacher centred, don't adapt well to student centred learning New VLEs:
  • Should be easier to integrate other tools
  • Accessibility should be built in
  • Should support collaboration
  • Should support learner analytics
  • Should be more personalisable, for individual learning styles
Most of these issues not new. But more people now discussing them. Technology more scalable now, and better able to integrate and cope with flexibility and plugging in other tools. Obtaining, understanding and using analytics is key for the future of service provision. Learner analytics currently focus on retention but has potential to deliver much more personalised learning, Learning analytics will not replace an educator, but will augment what they can do to aid learning.

Final session was on the importance playful learning. Need to be more creative. Stop teaching students stuff they can teach themselves. Create time in the curriculum for playful learning. And of course, we had balloons!

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