2012 The Digital Frontier: a look at tools beyond the VLE to support learning and teaching

Robin Gissing and Juliun Ryan

Whilst blackboard contains a robust set of tools for learning and teaching, you may be aware that in addition to these there are a vast number of ‘third party’ tools and services available online that offer potential to enhance the learning experience.

This hands-on workshop aims to introduce staff to some of these free and easy to use tools and explore how they can be used to offer new and innovative opportunities to enhance practice through the use of technology.

The workshop’s facilitators argue incorporating such tools constitutes a meaningful opportunity to develop students’ experience, knowledge and understanding of the wider digital landscape. This so-called ‘digital literacy’ is a vital graduate attribute, enabling students to live, learn and work in the 21st century. Its development is something both students and employers alike are increasingly keen to see universities address. Coinciding with the changes to the funding arrangements for students post-2012 we are embarking in an increasingly market driven learning economy. (JISC 2011) and some of these approaches may go some way to enhancing student experience and authenticity.

So, with that in mind, the workshop will provide ideas and specific examples of not only how these tools might be used, but also how one or more of them might be dynamically combined to create new configurations and thus new opportunities for facilitating learning and teaching. An example combination might be; an online interactive presentation tool and combined with a screencasting tool. This might create a video presentation with a more dynamic feel than that of a recorded powerpoint. 

The session will aim to create a social and creative environment for both the presenters and participants, which due to the nature of the session should be accessible to people of all levels of technical skill.

The facilitators will introduce the topics and tools as well as the themes and aims of the session. Attendees will then work together in groups, actively engaging in hands-on exploration of the tools functionalities to inform base pedagogic rationales for the use of those tools.  Attendees are then expected to feed-back to the wider group what they have discovered about the tools.

Attendees will then re-assemble into smaller teams to develop specific examples of how two or more tools can be used in combination in a “building block” approach to essentially develop a new tool which is the combination of 2 or more tools. Feedback of these new tools will then be expressed over a variety of media forms by attendees and the facilitators.

References:

JISC. [online]. 2011. Last accessed 8 March 2012 at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/developingdigitalliteracies

D4 – (EN19) 15.30