Constitution UK wins Campus Technology Teaching and Learning Innovation award

LSE has been awarded with the Campus Technology Teaching and Innovation (pg30) 2016 award for their innovative work on the Constitution UK project which ran in early 2015.  The Campus Technology article on the award was published on 17 August 2016.

Constitution UK was a collaborative project that aimed to crowdsource and hack the UK constitution. The project, led by LSE Professor Connor Gearty of the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) in partnership with Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI), invited individuals to share views and ideas on what should be part of a UK constitution in the 800th anniversary year of Magna Carta. The project generated over 1 million words, thousands of ideas and tens of thousands of votes and resulted in the writing of an 800 word crowdsourced constitution of the UK.  Over 1500 community members took part in this large scale public policy and learning project, with over 20 LSE students acting as moderators.

The project utilized innovative methods of engagement, used techniques such as ideation, crowdsourcing, informal learning and gamification conducted through an online platform (Crowdicity) in order to generate engagement that increased over the duration of the course.  We engaged social media organisations and special interest groups to ensure successful integration of learning outcomes and the effective and representative engagement of the community in the platform. If you want to know more about the project you check it out here. 

This prestigious Teaching and Learning Innovator award by Campus Technology magazine (an industry, leading magazine for online and blended learning professionals) recognises the project in that it ‘…delivered both a public policy success as well as a significant and innovative approach to online learning and engagement.’



“… The awards represent excellence in experimentation, design, collaboration and implementation, and the projects they recognize expand the possibilities for individual campuses and the field of higher education technology,” said Dr. John Hess, program chair, Campus Technology Conference.

“We are extremely proud to have been nominated and then selected for this prestigious award.  It recognises an incredibly innovative project that delivered far beyond our wildest dreams.  It also recognises the hard work and commitment of many academic and professional staff at the LSE” said Peter Bryant, Head of Learning Technology and Innovation.  “It remains the most remarkable project I have ever worked on.” noted Paul Sullivan, the Manager of the IPA.


June 2nd, 2016|Announcements, Constitution UK, Ed-Tech news and issues, Events & Workshops (LTI), innovation, NetworkED, Projects, Teaching & Learning, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Constitution UK wins Campus Technology Teaching and Learning Innovation award|

Do games improve learning? Jane tells us more…..

Jane-Secker-photo-for-blogEveryday people rely on Google for answers to their most personal, important and most trivial questions. How do you know if the information is reliable? A good place to start is with an information expert. This post, from LTI’s Copyright and Digital Literacy Advisor Dr Jane Secker to investigate “Do games improve learning?” was originally posted by CILIP as part of their Ask a librarian series. It’s been re-posted here as LTI are currently funding a number of projects to investigate the value of games in learning as part of their IGNITE and LTIG funding streams.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on whether games improve learning, partly in the run up to LILAC 2016, where I’d rashly agreed to take part in the games competition Lagadothan, organized for the first time by the conference committee.

My interest in games and learning goes back several years but really started in earnest when I worked with Chris Morrison from the University of Kent, to help develop a game to teach librarians about copyright and the new exceptions to UK copyright law in 2014. It was a card game, you might have heard of it? You might have played Copyright the Card Game?  I use this in the Introduction to Copyright workshop at LSE that I run each term and it’s changed the way I think about teaching people about copyright, for the better!

The game been downloaded over 2500 times, and the general consensus seems to be it’s a fun and engaging way to learn about copyright. But has it led to people retaining more knowledge about copyright and can they transform what they have learnt into practice? These are important questions to consider on the real value of games in learning.

There has been a lot of interest in the last few years in games-based learning in two of my fields of professional interest: learning technology and information literacy. I started off thinking that games were all about livening up your teaching, and finding a way of engaging students in what could otherwise be a rather dry subject. However, following the keynote at this year’s LILAC from Alex Moseley and Nic Whitton, I felt the time had come to do some serious research into whether games improve learning and why that might be.

I’d been intrigued to hear about the idea of a ‘magic circle’ where new rules can apply and failure is acceptable. I’ve also learnt that designing good educational games is really hard work, and takes a lot of time and effort. So are the rewards really worth it? I decided to turn my attention to what Google can find for us on this topic:

Screenshot of Google search for \"Do games improve learning\". Results include articles from, and

May 26th, 2016|Ed-Tech news and issues, games, LTI Grants, Projects, Tools & Technologies|Comments Off on Do games improve learning? Jane tells us more…..|

Edtech: The student view on educational technology

Given the limited amount of innovative tools used in their studies, it is hard for students to actually know how technology could better their education.

Having reviewed all the interviews from our Student Voice project, we created a video highlighting a few of our key findings.

As the video suggests, a majority of students stated that PowerPoints are the main “technology” used in the classroom. Many added that, given the limited amount of innovative tools used in their studies, it was hard for them to actually know how technology could better their education.

That being said, students believed that technology – if used correctly – could challenge the current “one to many [educative] system”. The expression “one-to-many” refers to lectures where teachers talk and students listen, often giving the impression of a unidirectional information flow. Students stated that technology could be implemented to make lectures and classes more interactive, to foster teacher-students and student-student collaboration.

The video also suggests that students expect an increase in online pedagogical content. This includes more online courses and online exercises but also online exams. Students suggested that, to prepare them for the use of technology in their future career, more tasks should be carried out on line.

All findings are currently being written up and the full report will be available shortly!

The previous post can be found here

Students’ Expectations for the Future of Technology in Education

Last term, Learning Technology and Innovation (LTI) started a project involving three days of interviewing all over campus. We asked 100 students questions designed to gather their insight about what teaching, learning and technology could look like at LSE in 2020. The three-minute interviews, whether filmed or just audio recorded, have helped us start a conversation from the grassroots up about the future of innovation and education at the school.

We are currently reviewing the hours of footage gathered to create a short video and a report relaying the students’ voices about the future of technology in education. In the meantime, we have designed the following teaser to give you some insight into the project. This teaser is a compilation of the answers given to a single question: if you could describe, in one word, what you would expect from technology in the future what would it be?

I would like to end this post by thanking all the students that accepted to be interviewed, your feedback is tremendously helpful. Stay tuned for more updates and videos!

‘Capturing the Student Voice’

For the last two weeks, Helen, Maik (our cameraman) and I have been interviewing students all over campus. We asked 70 students a couple of questions designed to gather their insight about what teaching, learning and technology could look like at LSE in 2020. The three-minute interviews, whether filmed or just audio recorded, will help us start a conversation from the grassroots up about the future of innovation and education at the school.Student Voice

We aim to create, out of the many hours of footage we gathered, a short film relaying the students’ insight about the future of education at LSE. The video will also be accompanied by a report summarizing all the quotes and opinions we collected during our interviews. Our findings – both film and report – will be circulated internally to the heads of the different professional services.

I would like to end this post by thanking all the students that accepted to be interviewed, your feedback is and will be tremendously helpful! We are planning on carrying 30 extra interviews next week so if you or anyone you know wants to share their insight about the future of LSE, get in touch at:

– Laurent

Re-imagining learning for a post-digital age

LSE2020 papercraft by Helen Page

papercraft for LTI by Helen Page

As part of our LSE2020 series which looks at what teaching and learning could look like in 2020, Peter Bryant (Head of Learning Technology and Innovation) has published three thought-provoking posts on his personal blog ( that make the case for how technology can facilitate and transform the experiences of learning and teaching in a post-digital age.

Re-imagining learning for a post-digital world (part 1) – Solutions not problems
‘Re-imagining learning for a post-digital world (part 2) – Introducing Post-Digital Learning Experiences’
Re-imagining learning for a post-digital world (part 3) – A design for learning?

December 8th, 2015|Blogging, innovation, LSE 2020, Projects, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Re-imagining learning for a post-digital age|

Hacking Learning – The pedagogy and the practices behind Constitution UK


In January 2015, the London School of Economics and Political Science, through the Institute of Public Affairs, launched the third stage of an innovative civic engagement project which aimed to crowd source the UK Constitution.  Involving over 1500 participants, generating hundreds of ideas and thousands of comments and votes, the crowd generated the clauses of the constitution, commented on them, voted them up and down, debated the relative merits of competing clauses and then refined them to a manageable number that could be aggregated and argued at a constitutional convention in April 2015.


‘On the whole I found the experience very stimulating and to discover there are a lot of folk out there who are thinking along very similar lines to my own leads me to hope that such exercises are the seed to seeing real change in this country.’ (Comment from project participant)

Learning Technology and Innovation came into the Constitution UK project in September 2014 to pilot an innovative model of engagement and participatory online learning that challenges the dominant paradigms of on-line pedagogy and design. Our approach is built on the potential that exists in leveraging and magnifying the power of the community and the ‘massive’, in order to empower citizens to engage in debate and identify solutions to what may be intractable, impossible or controversial problems or challenges.  Our approach is informed by some detailed theoretical and practical interrogations of a number of conceptual frameworks such as peer learning, incidental learning, digital pedagogies, crowd learning and ideation. It also integrates some aspects of modern digital pedagogy such as hacktivism, making and digital citizenship (especially in terms of participatory democracy), exploring the notion of learning as incidental, tacit and exploratory.  There were no readings,  there was no ‘course’, no lectures, no explicit theories, just a series of challenges, a semi-gamified process of engagement and a framework to create, motivate and empower the community to make something based on what they knew and had learnt.


 ‘Many other participants were considerably more educated than I am, and I don’t usually get the opportunity to attend things like this, while I expect it is more normal for the (large!) group of people who had postgraduate degrees. It was wonderful to be included’ (Comment from project participant)

Our approach challenged the role of the institution and the academic in an open space.  The ‘traditional’ constructs and practices that define scaffolded learning, course design and pedagogy and constructive alignment were flipped to entrust learning to an engaged, creative and critical community.  The project was underpinned by an innovative pedagogical model, informed by the notion that learning can occur through a variety of informal engagements and activities, supported by both peer and academic interaction, but not privileged by either, effectively flipping the role of the academic and academy.  The environment in which people could choose to learn and/or apply their learning was relatively unstructured, fluid and under the control of the community.


‘There are issues about the fact that the technology privileges people who have access and time to take part, which needs to be addressed. There are other ways it could be developed, but generally I think this is a very positive and exciting initiative.  I do think universities should be doing this kind of thing, and more of it.’ (Comment from project participant)

This pilot led to some interesting observations about the model we were testing, especially regarding what is defined as participation and how deep or resonant (lasting) that participation was.

1. Harnessing slacktivism and/or clicktivism

The fleeting nature of mainly online interactions through social media is directly apparent in engagement statistics around MOOCs.  What constitutes involvement can be measured in single clicks.  In a community where participation started at the point where competing ideas and perspectives were voted up or down in hopefully informed ways, the depth or resonance of learning becomes an interesting question.  Modern educational lore (especially in the MOOC space) argues that ‘being there’ is an educationally valid a form of participation as ‘learning there’.  Certainly a challenge for our approach was harnessing the power of clicking, hacking and slacking within a community, or at least accepting that there may be learning informing those behaviours.  The game aspects of our model rewarded a more in-depth engagement, but towards the end of the project where motivation and participation had begun to wane, rewarding clicking (through the mechanism of up/down votes on an idea) increased overall engagement with the project as opposed to the more traditional trail off.

2. Social observability (where the more public the engagement, the more there is observable ‘subsequent meaningful contribution’ (Kristofferson et al., 2014)

Where learning was demonstrated by participants in the project, it was clearly in the glare of the public and open to the community to comment.  One of the key aspects of the model was to make it easy not to lurk. Barriers to entry were low, it was easy to post, comment and vote.  In fact, despite expectations before the project, we found it easier to generate ideas than to get votes!  But most importantly, it was safe community, with excellent facilitators, a wide variety of participants from a number of fields of society and a very gands off approach by the academics. Ideas became comments which became votes, flipping engagement from the traditional .  Having their idea voted down didn’t stop people from participating.  Openness, transparency and authenticity of interaction directly enhanced the quality of the ways people demonstrated their learning and (sometimes vocally) expressed their views and ideas.  It is what makes collaborative learning powerful, the ability to share your views, debate, defend, redefine and restate them in the face of competing and supporting opinion.  It is a 21st century skill of sorting and validating the relevant from the sea of information (in this case the millions of words on the platform)


‘Community members were surprisingly good at separating their own views (I voted this idea down) from the broader task (but the community supports it, so what is a workable provision). Debate was generally high quality and respectful, with many very well informed participants.’ (Community from community participant)


3. Keep the involvement of the crowd at the highest possible level
Wherever ‘traditional’ educational assumptions pervaded the pilot, it was clear that these ran counter to the wider intentions of the approach.  The approach sought to value the crowd, leverage what it means to be part of a community and learn incidentally and through doing.

‘…have noticed there was a tendency to assume only academics could properly understand and assess the issues, a common problem not just with academics but other professionals, we tend to assume it is only our own professions that can really grasp the issues in full.’


The Constitution UK was a brilliant first pilot of what we hope will be an innovative programme of projects harnessing the power of the crowd, learning by, through and from the community in ways that challenge and shape the traditional approaches to pedagogy and leverage the transformative and disruptive influences of the social sciences.


We are presenting the findings from the pilot at three conferences over the next four months, if you are interested in finding out more, we will be sharing the slides, papers and outputs from those conferences on this blog, or just come along and see what we have to say.


Academic Practice and Technology Conference – July 7th 2015

Crowd Sourcing the UK Constitution – Participation and learning in a post-digital world

ALT-C – Association of Learning Technology – September 2015

Stop making sense: Learning, community, digital citizenship and the massive in a post-MOOC world

14th European Conference on e-Learning – ECEL 2015 – October 2015

Disrupting how we ‘do’ learning through participatory social media: a case study of the Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution project

‘The experiment gave this 85 year old retired professional engineer a feeling that there’s hope for Britain yet’ (Comment from project participant)


Image from

May 18th, 2015|Constitution UK, innovation, Projects|Comments Off on Hacking Learning – The pedagogy and the practices behind Constitution UK|

Learning Commons Competition: The results are in!


Last month LSE students submitted their entries for our design competition. The panel, made of members from the library, IMT, estates and the student union selected their best entries and here are the results :

  • First Prize (iPad Air 2) : James Dunn
  • Highly Commended Entry (£100 Amazon voucher) : Portia Roelofs
  • Other commended entries and students who submitted their ideas via our online survey received a £10 Amazon voucher


James was awarded his prize by Nicola Wright from Library Services and Nick Deyes from IMT

The objective of the competition, open to all LSE students, was to “Create a modern and engaging environment for the Library lower ground floor that caters for contemporary and future study requirements.”

The panel selected their best entries according to the following criteria:

  1. Functionality of the new space design
  2. Quality and accuracy of the rationale
  3. Originality, innovation and imagination
  4. Considerations of limitations, explicit or otherwise

As a member of the panel explained, James’ design was selected because he “has done a masterful job addressing the multiple functions required of a space like the LSE library lower ground floor.” His design was praised for taking into account students’ explicit needs as well as anticipating less obvious ones : “This design would transform the space by giving students more of what they want, and a great deal of what they did not even know they were missing.

Below are some elements from James’ design, as well as a plan of the current layout:

As he himself put it, the rationale behind his design “is a simple one : transforming a large box-like space into a more humane, functional and beautiful study area without diverging too far from the aesthetic of the rest of the building’s interior”. James’ focus was on increasing the number of study spaces by using vertical space. Accessibility, light, sound, charging points and sustainability were also key to his design and choice of equipment and materials

Portia’s work was also highly commended, in particular her idea of fitting the space with “spiral study huts”:



Congratulations to the winners and thank you to all the students who took part in the competition or answered our online survey! LTI will be happy to answer any comments or further questions on the competition. Please email them to

May 7th, 2015|Announcements, innovation, Learning Spaces, Projects|Comments Off on Learning Commons Competition: The results are in!|