Creativity in Educational Development

The 18th Annual Staff and Educational Development Association conference was held in Bristol, 14th-15th November 2013. The theme of the conference was Creativity in Educational Development and I was lucky enough to attend.

For a really useful detailed commentary of the keynote by Guy Klaxton and a collection of some of the tweets from the conference, see the storify created by Helen Webster, who is an Academic Developer at Anglia Learning and Teaching, Anglia Ruskin University (a.k.a. @scholastic_rat on twitter).

Playing seriously

I went to a really useful workshop called ‘Thinking in 3D: using the methodologies of constructionism and Lego Serious Play (LSP) for educational development’ run by Alison James who is Associate Dean, Teaching and Learning, London College of Fashion (follow her on twitter @alisonrjames). We were giving a swift introduction to the principles of LSP and the four part process involved : question, build, share and reflect.

Using Lego to explore metaphors

Using Lego to explore metaphors

I enjoyed the focus on raising our awareness of metaphors we use in everyday language and linking this to creating Lego models that we then used to talk about a theme. In the photo I built a model of my role at the University which involves making connections, growing ideas, flying the flag for teaching and learning etc. The models are very effective as a way of articulating ideas and thinking and I would recommend trying it.

The session also reminded me of the importance of getting hands on and how much I agree with the theoretical premise of LSP – that you learn with your fingers & ‘activate’ brain/thinking this way.

Benefits of using diagrams to research digital literacies

I also enjoyed the workshop by Sarra Saffron Powell and Tünde Varga-Atkins (@tundeva on twitter) from University of Liverpool who presented findings from their SEDA funded research on digital literacies. For me the most useful part was the discussion of the method they used in semi-structured interviews to elicit perspectives and practices. Interviewees used stickers to map their practice and this visual task was a way to focus the discussion. See the report below for a full description of the method.

Powell, S. S.; Varga-Atkins, T. co-authors (2013) ‘Digital Literacies: A Study of Perspectives and Practices of Academic Staff’: a project report. Written for the SEDA Small Grants Scheme. Liverpool: University of Liverpool. July. Version 1.

This approach is similar to a mapping exercise employed by Dr Lesley Gourlay and Dr Martin Oliver in their research on digital literacies.

The other keynote was by Norman Jackson and was based on an enquiry into educational developers’ perspectives on creativity. You can find the summary and survey results on Norman Jackson’s website.

If you haven’t been to a SEDA conference, I would really recommend going, it is always a stimulating environment and I have made some great connections (and friends) at their events. Next conference is the Spring Conference in Newcastle, see the SEDA website for details.

Posted by Kathrine Jensen (@kshjensen)


About talintuoh

Supporting and connecting colleagues to develop inspiring and innovative teaching and learning
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