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Flipped learning – the inversion of the ‘traditional’ model whereby direct instruction takes place in face-to-face classroom sessions and questioning and problem-solving are usually set for homework – is rapidly gaining momentum in post-compulsory education and training. This is in part due to emerging evidence that shifting content delivery outside the classroom (e.g via video/audio/screencasts) and introducing questioning, peer discussion and interactivity in the group learning space – is leading to improved results, better retention and higher levels of student engagement. This week I went along to a one-day Flipping Project Conference organised by my old institution the University of Bath. Seventy-five people, mainly academics, attended a series of workshops, knowledge swap-shops and a keynote given by Dr. Julie Wintrup from the Centre for Innovation and Leadership in Health Sciences at the University of Southampton. Although ostensibly about flipping, the conference touched on a number of issues relating to technology-enhanced learning including student engagement, audience response systems (clickers) and online/blended learning.
In the morning I went along to the Technologies for Flipping workshop led by Giles Martin from the Learning and Teaching Enhancement Office at Bath. As well as covering some of the tools and methods that can be used when flipping (Camtasia, Panopto, Present.me, Xerte Toolkits, Padlet etc.) there was some useful discussion of Eric Mazur’s concept of just-in-time teaching, the need to explore alternatives to video for delivering flipped content (web tours, peer annotated PDFs etc.) and the importance of a consistent experience for students in a flipped environment. One question that generated some lively debate in the room (as well as on Twitter) was the extent to which academics should be expected to create their own flipped content or pass this on to others e.g Learning Technologists. Some academics in the room felt they lacked the expertise and know-how to, for example, edit and share video. Someone pointed out, however, that Learning Technologists wouldn’t be expected to create lecture slide content for staff so it would be unreasonable to expect them to create flipped content for academics although other forms of support would be appropriate.
The afternoon kicked off with three parallel knowledge swap-shop sessions and I attended the one focused on Education. Dr. Polly McGuigan from Bath discussed how she flipped a core unit Introduction to Biomechanics in order to provide more support and problem-based learning to students who lacked strong Maths skills. Using the Panopto lecture capture software Polly created weekly narrated slides of between 5 and 25 minutes which was set in ‘homework’ time, along with supported reading. Students were then asked to complete a series of multi-choice quizzes via the Moodle VLE which were credit-bearing (1% each). The answers to the quiz questions then provided the basis for discussion and problem-solving during class time. Polly warned against the possibility of “flipping fatigue” setting in if attempts are made to flip everything on a unit – next year she will be picking and choosing what to flip based on what has worked well this year and this will involve reducing the amount of flipped content by about 50%.
Helen Boulton from Nottingham Trent’s School of Education followed Polly and talked about her School’s implementation of the SCALE-UP project to support a flipped approach, following a senior management visit to North Carolina State University. The project aims to “establish a highly collaborative, hands-on, computer-rich, interactive learning environment for large-enrollment classes.” Initial data from the U.S has highlighted large gains in attainment, improved attendance, better problem-solving skills and higher levels of student engagement. At Nottingham Trent new classrooms were designed with round tables and laptops/tablets on each table to encourage peer learning. An Apple TV connected to a large screen enables students to easily share their work with the rest of the class and Helen noted that presentation skills particularly among less confident students improved markedly. On top of this Helen described how students like the fact that they get far more one-to-one support in a flipped approach and lecturers get to know individual student needs. Although there have been some issues with the technology set-up in the classroom (specifically some staff found the Apple Macs difficult to get to grips with) the gains in terms of higher levels of student engagement have been significant and staff are confident that this will be reflected in improved results at the end of the year.
The final session of the day was the Keynote given by Dr. Julie Wintrup from the University of Southampton, entitled Engaged Pedagogy: The radical potential of the classroom. Julie’s focus was very much on student engagement and how academics must be willing to think creatively in terms of what happens within the classroom (which is seen as a unique, special place). Julie has posted detailed notes from her talk so I won’t go into too much detail here. A couple of things that stood out for me from Julie’s talk were (a) more evidence of growing momentum behind the ‘Students as Change Agents/Producers’ agenda as a model for student engagement and (b) the idea that there is something inherently radical about flipped learning in that in theory it actively challenges the power relationships characteristic of a more traditional ‘didactic’ teacher/student model.
I found #BathFlip to be an enjoyable, well organised and thought-provoking event and liked the fact that it addressed wider themes of student engagement without losing sight of the potential of a flipped approach to teaching and learning. It was great to catch-up with old colleagues at Bath and I am looking forward to helping to spark more interest in flipped learning at Solent.
Really interesting post about using social media in assessments by SSU & LTU alumni Domi! Domi and I worked together on creating a blogging assignment for lecturers here, which later evolved into an activity that I covered for an academic project I was doing.
My ideal solution in most cases would be to remove the lion’s share of assessment from the live environments – for example, have a blogging activity worth around 40% of the grade, and a traditional hand-in that’s derived from the blogging activity worth 60%.
The blog would be treated as development – “show your calculations” style stuff – and marked on a week-by-week basis, with weighting given for relatively quick to work out metrics like engagement, consistency of posting etc – but the real scrutiny would be reserved for the hand-in.
I’m pulling this together on the fly, so it may be a bit clunky. It would involve a little more involvement on a persistent basis from the course team, but not as much as one might think – I should have given the caveat that my personal belief is that an academic developing an activity involving social tools should have at least a cultural understanding or familiarity with those tools – they don’t need to be a technician, but they should know the tool well enough to know how they want their students to use it, how to explain that to their students, and what exact value, in what context, the tool will bring to the activity.
With all that in mind, a simple set of metrics, that allow for shallow & regular “quality assurance” tests, laid out in a table, should be within reasonable parameters.
As part of my job as a Learning Technologist I often have to deal with online assessments, whether they be submission via the VLE (using either in innate tools or Turnitin) or on our Mahara e-portfolio platform. Every now and then I am faced with the challenge of a member of staff wishing to use a social media platform (external blog for example) to run and assessment and how can we lock this down at the deadline? There is normally some uncomfortable work-around I can come up with such as taking screenshots, or downloading a version of the content to submit an non-live version. I call these workaround uncomfortable because for me they do not address the core issue.
The real discussion for me is about the conflict of using ‘slicker’ external tools and being able to lock the student’s work for assessment. We should consider whether ‘locking’ and ‘deadlines’ are…
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An interesting article in the Independent recently reported on a Unesco report that found the availability of cheap mobile phones has supported an increase in literacy where physical books can be difficult and expensive to source.
The Independent article offers a digest:
The full Unesco Report can be found here:
However, note the health warning that the report was supported with funding from Nokia who have a large market share on basic feature phones in the region surveyed!
Write-up by Margaret Feetham (Deputy Librarian)
A number of staff from the Library and Learning Technologies teams attended the South East Technology Showcase event near Guildford on Wednesday 2 April 2014 where the Reading List Project was shortlisted as a finalist. Each of the 15 finalists were asked to give a 10 minutes presentation and the other teams had five minutes to give a score out of 10 for impact of the project on learning and teaching and another score out of 10 for impact on the organisation. All scores were totalled up at the end to give a winner and a runner up. The presentation team of Hannah, Roger, Julie and Lauren were drawn second to last so had a long wait while colleagues from Eastleigh College talking about using ipads within a lathe workshop environment drew the short straw and opened first.
Projects varied from using ipads to film swimmers underwater so that you could give immediate feedback about swimming style to encouraging florists to use social media to market their services following a decline of the florist shop on the high street (and we all received a purple lily) or allowing zoo staff to continue with work place learning in the penguin enclosure. Other systems included information management systems that allowed staff to record assistive learning requirements or a whole student management system which provided everything from absence reporting to student progression and was core to the running of Barton Peveril college, And University of Creative Art’s subject support templates were not unlike our subject guides
Despite an excellent presentation from our team which received some complimentary tweets and posts, reproduced below, the runners up were a team from Reading College consisting of students who described how they used google + features such as communities and hangout to collaborate on their learning . As the students said, this gave them access to impartial advice which they didn’t get from their friends (because mean friends don’t last !) and it used the technologies they wanted to use. The winner was Swim UK for their use of ipads to film swimming underwater which allowed the swimmer and coach to receive/give immediate feedback about swimming style allowing the student to improve more quickly. It was claimed that it took up to three months of the speed of learning up to certification level.
I think the two winners were selected for the ease of use of their systems, without a need for huge training or outlay and also very immediately put the learner at the centre of the process. But all the contestants were winners in that all the finalists were able to demonstrate that they had brought great benefit to their learners and organisation – I can think of several things that it would be great for us to do here!
Adam Blackwood @adamrsc 18h
#RSCSE @solentofficial Showing how OnLIne Reading lists can be used anywhere by students. .. http://ow.ly/i/56AAi 🙂
Nikki Gilbey @gillersn 17h
@adamrsc @solentofficial I think it could be a winner….. #RSCSE
Nikki Gilbey @gillersn 17h
“@clare146clare: As always great work taking place at Southampton Solent #rscse” they are a bit good aren’t they?!
Fareham Byte @Farehambyte 18h
@solentofficial librarians use door signs to remind academics that they need reading lists. Brilliant idea #rscse
Adam Blackwood @adamrsc 18h
RT @ArtieVN: #RSCSE @solentofficial @SolentRoger team M now presenting pic.twitter.com/L004pt0H3X
JISC RSC South East @Jisc_RSC_SE 18h
@solentofficial presenting at #RSCSE SETS Awards. – Reading List system to get academics to become more engaged with the library.
Our presentation: https://twitter.com/ArtieVN/status/451351620434268161/photo/1
Sarah Knight (eLearning Programme Manager at JISC) followed Simon, opening with a quote from NUS VP Education Rachel Wenstone and emphasising the benefits the students as change agents initiative gives to students, staff and institutions such as gaining experience of leadership, increasing confidence and skills, recognition and retention. Sarah recommended the NUS student engagement toolkit
http://www.nusconnect.org.uk/campaigns/highereducation/student-engagement/toolkit/ and talked about some of the existing projects where students are working as partners and digital pioneers such as the Summer of Student Innovation (http://www.jisc.ac.uk/student-innovation), Oxford Brookes’ InStePP project (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/50732755/InStePP), the Digital Student Project (http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/) and Greenwich’s Digital Literacies in Transition Project (http://jiscdesignstudio.pbworks.com/w/page/50732712/Digital%20Literacies%20in%20Transition%20project).
- Josie Fraser at De Montfort Uni, Leicester who is running a digital literacies programme that is very ambitious and involves working with the council and local schools to improve digital literacies across the area (see http://www.dmu.ac.uk/about-dmu/news/2013/october/dmu-at-cutting-edge-of-a-digital-learning-revolution.aspx);
- Sheffield Hallam’s ‘Menu of Teaching Approaches and the Technologies that can support them‘ focuses on encouraging staff to make use of the many existing technologies and tools that are available to enhance learning (see Julian for a hard copy of this resource);
- Nottingham is using students as change agents to transform teaching, inform T&L strategy and support practice;
- Greenwich have produced cards to categorise in a light hearted way where people are as regards digital literacies (see image below);
- Will Page the student engagement officer at Exeter talked about the more than 50 change agents projects dotted around the university. Tips for engaging students included awareness that students no longer use email as their primary mode of communication.
We also learned that Winchester annually produce a student journal in which academics submit student work as case studies. Fiona Handley edited the first volume and said it was a lot of work as each article needed to be almost rewritten to get it into an consistent format but that it was a great vehicle and a means whereby students as partners’ reports could be disseminated.
- Partnership set-up
- Partnership implementation
- Capabilities, development and accreditation
- Evaluation, impact and sustainability
- A workshop on writing and persuading skills led by an actor and screen writer who emphasised the importance of taking the time to understand who the audience was, so the content could be focused and cut to size. He emphasised that content should have a snappy beginning, middle and end (no waffle).
- Dave White led an interesting session on the morning of the second day in the fantastic setting of the Everyman Cinema in Winchester. Dave talked about the work that he and Helen Beetham have been carrying out on the JISC Digital Student Project and we then engaged in a useful future scenario planning exercise, the results of which can be seen at http://digitalstudent.jiscinvolve.org/wp/files/2014/03/Digital-student-experience-2020.pdf – well worth a look.
The Getty Images scheme to make 35 million of their images free-to-embed has been more controversial than I’d have ever guessed it would be.
I’ve written a little bit on my personal blog about Getty’s change in the way they handle image sharing, and the reaction:
I embraced it because to me, it’s a pretty good thing when a corporation or organisation works out a way to navigate through the cultural sense of entitlement users of the contemporary web have, without resorting to fear tactics, litigation, or DRM that breaks the content that we’re trying to use…
…All of those methods are corporate ways of dealing with a cultural problem, and they don’t really help anyone. And all the while, the social internet has been moving further and further into the wild west of sharing stuff with abandon, and without attribution.
I lied, of course. I didn’t write a little bit. I actually wrote a lot. But it may be helpful, so I hope you read it.