Access to HE Quality Development Network event

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting at the QAA annual networking event at Leeds Beckett University (Headingley campus) which was attended by a range of teaching staff and awarding bodies. The QAA Higher Education Review group has chosen two themes for reviews happening in the academic year 2015-6: student employability and digital literacy, and it was on the latter that I presented.

As always with digital literacy as a theme, the difficult part is narrowing it down, given the plethora of potential angles and resources out there from Jisc and elsewhere. So I decided to focus on some of the activities and resources that came out of the current Jisc Digital Student project. Much of this work has been centred around institutions opening a dialogue with their students to explore their experiences and expectations of using technology with a view to including them in the development and embedding of technology in their studies.

I’m a keen advocate of kinaesthetic learning and many of the activities during the day involved delegates moving around the room, sticking post it notes on things and jumping around to a stopwatch (yes, I did used to watch the 70s show Runaround as a child – anyone remember that?). You don’t get that from the presentation below, but you do get the links and references I promised to share with the delegates on my blog following the event – so here you are :-)

I’d just like to finish off by saying a quick thank you to all the QAA staff on the day – they were all incredibly helpful and some of them even got stuck into the workshop too!
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Starting out with Google Cardboard

Today I had my first proper play with Google Cardboard and I must say it was a lot of fun!

What is it? You may well ask! I only came across it relatively recently myself via a friend at work – thanks Esther! It’s essentially Google’s answer to creating immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences that are “simple, fun and affordable.” Continue reading

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How can adults encourage young users of social networking to use it safely and responsibly?

It’s a simple enough question, but one which opens up a minefield of potential issues. Over the weekend my young nephew added me as a friend on Facebook – I’m sure this is a familiar scenario to many adults out there who have wrestled with the pros and cons of having younger relatives appear virtually into their digital lives. Do you accept their friend request or not? Should they be on Facebook or not? How do you manage what they see on your profile and what they post on their own? These are all questions that occur to the responsible adult and all need to be given careful thought. Continue reading

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“Students are more than students.”

Students are more than students, these words, taken from Paul Chapman’s presentation, became a kind of mantra for the two day Change Agents’ Network (CAN) event in Birmingham earlier this month. Paul was alluding to the multitude of roles students play at Birmingham City University to add value to the overall learning experience, from mentor and collaborator, to expert and leader (to name but a few), and this clearly struck a resonance with the audience, evidenced by the plethora of innovative projects and practices shared over the two days. Continue reading

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FE Digital Student consultation events underway

Last week I attended the second in a series of events taking place throughout the UK as part of the FE Digital Student Project and was delighted to see plenty of stimulating discussions and thought-provoking presentations centred around the theme of learners’ expectations and experiences of using technology in further education.

The day included a range of practical and participatory workshops designed not only to tease out what the challenges are facing colleges in meeting the needs of different digital learners, but also, critically, what actions colleges can take forward to meet these challenges head on. One of the key findings from the focus groups was that it can often be all too easy to make assumptions on behalf of the digital needs of our learners, but a more appropriate and enriching approach is to ensure that an open dialogue between staff and learners is established from the start, which empowers learners to take an active role in the planning and provisioning of support. Continue reading

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Making the Most of LinkedIn

When the topic of presenting yourself online in the best possible light and your digital footprint arises, it’s difficult not to mention LinkedIn at some point.  However, invariably the most common response from academics tends to be: “LinkedIn? Meh!”  It’s as if there’s an almost universal acknowledgement that in today’s competitive job market there’s definitely a need to give yourself every edge, but when it comes to actually doing something about it an overwhelming sense of apathy descends. Continue reading

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Ten Session Plan Ideas for Teaching Digital Footprint

I’ll keep this one brief, as the title’s pretty self-explanatory and it’s all covered in the introduction anyway so there’s no need to repeat everything here. Continue reading

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Observations on Moderating a Facebook Group

Facebook often provokes mixed opinions from teachers when exploring its educational applications and, as a fellow sceptic myself, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my own experiences of moderating a Facebook group. Continue reading

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Reflections on #LearnPod13

So, #LearnPod13 is finally done and dusted for yet another year, and now I’ve slept on it and my brain has finally started to stop buzzing with all the myriad ideas and thoughts that the event provoked, I ask myself ‘what did people get out of it?’ – other than the cake! Continue reading

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Putting the pieces of your digital identity together

I’m not a lover of jigsaws, it has to be said.  Mainly because I’m not very good at them, but the jigsaw analogy for your digital identity is an apt one.  In a previous post, Behind the Mask of Digital Identity, we explored the fragmented nature of a digital identity (or identities) and how publishing vignettes of ourselves online, often for a variety of different audiences, on a variety of different social media sites and for a variety of different reasons, can make managing our online identities challenging to say the least. Continue reading

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