This post is by Karolis Pantelejevas and Natalia Rosca who are two new Project Assistants on work placement with the Teaching and Learning Institute (TALI) team.
This week we attended the Technology Enhanced eLearning Education (TEEE) Festival held from 8th-12th September 2014.The general idea of the festival was to explore different learning technology tools and methods to enhance your teaching, in University of Huddersfield in particular. The festival was divided into number of sessions every day during the week and gave colleagues the opportunity to find out and try different learning and technology tools and methods.
Here are our highlights from some of conference sessions we attended:
“Technology is not the answer until we understand the question.”
The keynote was delivered by Simon Thomson who is a national Teaching fellow and head of e-learning at Leeds Metropolitan University. One of the interesting points he made was that Universities in particular should let staff and students experiment with technology and not assume that people will understand how to use it straight away. In addition, he argued that Universities should buy technologies based on usability not necessary functionality. What is the use of a fancy named program if it takes people ages to understand how to use it?
Simon has developed the 4E framework which focuses on the benefits of using technology in learning & teaching. The 4 E’s are: Enable, Enhance, Enrich & Empower and these can be attributed to inquiring the use of eLearning in the following ways:
- What can technology “enable” us to do?
- How can technology “enhance” what we already do?
- How can technology “enrich” our learning experiences?
- How can technology “empower” learners & teachers?
In order to make us easier understand this framework Simon had introduced an activity. He asked us to produce a chatter box which was a helpful visual tool. We found it very interesting and useful, so that we would like to explore the functionality of 4E framework further in the future.
“Exploring Technology and Social Media.”
This session was led by Dr Sue Folley, who is Academic Development Advisor of Learning Technologies at the University of Huddersfield. Sue discussed some of the Social Media technologies that could be used in teaching as well.
In this session, we split into three big groups. We were given some cards with names of different social media tools written on them. We had to discuss them and create:
- A pile of names that at least one person from the group could fully explain what it is about
- A pile of names that we heard of but do not know much about
- A pile with the names we never heard of
After this activity we went around and chose two technologies we knew about and explained them to everyone else and two we never heard about and others explained them to us.
It was interesting to realise how much social media platforms could be beneficial in teaching and learning and get familiar with programs we never heard about. The discussions were interesting and fun and everyone seemed excited to learn new things. Some of the interesting and new programs to us in particular were:
- WordPress – an easy tool for creating your own blog
- Yammer – a micro blogging site similar to FaceBook but addressing professional companies and environments, a way for colleagues to post and share whatever they want.
- Pecha Kucha – a visual presentation style in which 20 images are shown with 20 seconds per image. Good for art, design, architecture students.
- Camtasia – a professional screen recording and video editing program in which you can record your voice. Good for video feedbacks for students.
- TED Talks – a massive conference for majority of different topics and now all of the past conference speeches and discussions are available online for free (https://www.ted.com/talks/browse)
- Tagxedo – a website in which you can make various word clouds with different styles and sizes.
- Bubbl.us – a mind mapping tool.
- SlideRocket – an online presentation tool where you can create, develop, share and manage your presentations.
“iPad and other tablets Coffee Club”
The session was led by Olaojo Aiyegbayo, who is a Research Assistant at TALI. This session gave people the opportunity to share their experience of using the iPads or other tablets, and asking questions about any particular issues they have come across using technology.
Besides this Ola encourage colleagues to use some helpful applications:
- BrowZine – it delivers thousands of academic journals to your iPad
- Ipadio – it is an easy way to record phone calls
- Lynda.com – it is an online learning company that helps anyone learn software, creative, and business skills to achieve personal and professional goals
This session was very productive as we learned a lot of new things we didn’t know before, and we’ll try to use them in future activities. We have also discussed some issues we came across using different applications on our devices. The conference received great feedback, and Ola is looking towards organising other iPad Coffee Club sessions in the future.