Back at the end of March I was lucky enough to chair one of the sessions at NTU’s eLearning showcase. The session I covered looked at two different areas. Jane Challinor presented on ‘Adventures wtih students on the world wide web: eLearning tools beyond the VLE’ and Maria Kontogianni presented ‘On Using twitter for learning’.
Both presentations were enjoyable and gave staff some key insights into using different technologies for enhancing learning and teaching.
Jane’s presentation looked at introducing students to working online collaboratively using wiki’s to help them analyse the leadership skills of film or TV characters and to prepare a final online presentation. To help her build student’s confidence in the activity that she set, Jane based the activity around Gilly Salmon’s 5 stage model for developing e-tivities (see http://www.atimod.com/e-moderating/5stage.shtml) explaining what she did to support students at each stage of the process. Her evaluation found that student’s confidence in using web based tools for learning had grown by the end of the activity including an better understanding of using blogs for reflection purposes. Jane’s presentation can be found on slideshare at Beyond the VLE.
Maria’s presentation looked how she used Twitter with Psychology students to engage in fortnightly debating sessions. Students were given clear instructions about how to setup their twitter accounts and then Maria would email them topic materials. The twitter debate is timetabled as student are expected to join the debate wherever they are physically.
Maria evaluated the student’s experiences of contributing to a twitter debate compared to face to face interaction within the group and the general trend was that student felt more able to contribute and found it more enjoyable with perhaps the most startling jump in the amount of pre-reading students did before the debates. If you’re interested in more details about Maria’s work in this area you can find more at her blog.
Both presentations were really good examples of the use of technologies other than Virtual Learning Environments such as NOW, NTU’s VLE.
What was also interesting was to see how students engagement with the online activities really developed and took off as they got more involved with the activity with the technology employed really taking second place to the task at hand.