This blog post has been kindly written by Dr Cassie Wilson, Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences ‘Engaging with Technology in Teaching’ event which took place at the end of February provided a great opportunity for academic, professional services and administrative staff within the Faculty to observe and discuss the innovative practices which are currently being employed across the departments. Despite a slight panic with the initial slow uptake of participants, the attendance was very good with representation from all departments and job families.
The presentations given covered a wide variety of uses of technology in learning and teaching including; the use of skype and film in the classroom (Wali Aslam, PoLIS; Darragh McGee, Health), the use of Moodle quizzes in the assessment of large cohorts (Matteo De Tina, Economics), audience response systems (Richard Joiner, Psychology), the use of technology outside the classroom (John Troyer, SPS) and online student presentations (Geraldine Jones, Faculty e-learning officer). The purpose of each presentation was to demonstrate how the technology was employed alongside the conveyance of a key message in the use of technology in learning and teaching. The presentations were concluded with questions and discussions with the audience.
Reflecting on the event, I think the following key messages summarise nicely what was presented and discussed;
‘The use of technology does not have to be complex and onerous’
The presentations on the use of skype in the classroom showed just how simple the use of technology could be. The support for this from colleagues in AV is readily available and just needs to be tapped into! The thing about technology is that planning is absolutely a necessity and turning up on the morning of a lecture, without any prior preparation, in the hope that everything will work smoothly is not advised!
‘Technology should not necessarily be a replacement for more traditional methods of delivery’
A lively discussion around where technology fits into our learning and teaching arrived at a consensus of opinion that technology should not be replacing face to face contact but enhancing engagement and quality of teaching alongside increasing efficiencies were possible.
‘One size does not fit all’
All the uses of technology discussed during the session seemed entirely fit for purpose and as a result had been very successfully implemented. The issue that was raised was that these practices cannot be successfully transferable to every setting so there is a need to find what works for you and in the process of doing this individuals will be forced to reflect on current teaching practices which is never a bad thing!
The event was, in my opinion, a real success and this was a result of presenters who demonstrated a clear passion for the use technology inside (and outside!) the classroom. One really positive outcome of the day has been the formation of a Faculty ‘Innovation in Learning and Teaching’ group which will be led by Jess Francombe-Webb. The development of this group is likely to ensure that more events like this are hosted and the variety of innovative practices adopted across the Faculty are continued to be shared and promoted. The event was recorded (as you would expect!) so if you would like to view it please click on the following link;
Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching)
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences