Student projects

The student voice on technology, wellbeing and society.

This blog post is one of a series on phase two of LSE 2020, a student-focused project that has engaged with 440 students in 2017. It is written by Emma Wilson, Graduate Intern for LTI. You can find her on Twitter (@MindfulEm).

In this post, we discuss an issue that was frequently brought up by students: the impact of technology on society and our emotional wellbeing in an era of ever-increasing interconnectivity. The issues raised provide context into how today’s students navigate the digital age. This will, undoubtedly, have an impact on student expectations about the teaching and learning experience. It also highlights some of the challenges that need to be addressed if we are to support the mental health and wellbeing of our students.


Digital capability includes self-care, and that self-care requires a critical awareness of how digital technologies act on us and sometimes against us. (Beetham, 2016)

Students raised concerns about the impact of technology on our mental wellbeing and our ability to form and maintain relationships. They spoke about digital identity, and how our online activity influences a person’s place in society.

Concern for student mental health has been of increasing importance in recent years. A 2016 YouGov survey of Britain’s students found that 27% reported having a mental health problem, with 63% feeling they had levels of stress significant enough to interfere with daily life. There is the fear that technology (especially social networking and the need for instant gratification) may impact an adolescent’s neurobiology and exacerbate symptoms of stress, anxiety and social isolation. [1][2]

In both the face-to-face interviews and the online survey carried out for LSE 2020, students frequently raised concerns about the impact that technology can have in other areas of life. These concerns have been represented in an infographic and divided into four areas:

  1. Addiction to our devices and social media
  2. Distraction and instant gratification
  3. The distortion of reality and sense of self, and its impact on our self-esteem
  4. The social impact and the changing nature of our relationships

Firstly, students have raised concerns about the impact of technology on our attention spans. With the temptation of constant distraction – from Facebook to checking our phones – this poses the risk that traditional ways of teaching and learning might prove more challenging for today’s student. Given these concerns, it may be more appropriate to use diverse methods to cater for learning preferences. For example, changing the format of a two-hour lecture by interspersing it with interactive elements such as group exercises, short videos or encouraging audience participation.

It is also important to consider the mental health impact from social media and online communication. Whilst students spoke of a world that is becoming more integrated, they were also aware about the distorted reality of a person’s online persona. Despite this self-awareness, it was felt that students were struggling to manage the amount of time spent online.

This highlights the importance of continuing to fund and run wellbeing weeks and self-management course for students, such as those previously conducted by Student Wellbeing Services or the Student Union. The mental wellbeing of students will undoubtedly impact performance and overall satisfaction of the LSE experience.

Finally, students raised concerns about the impact that virtual communication might have upon our face-to-face communication skills.

‘…some people are substituting online interaction for real life meetings’

‘Generally social media has had a detrimental effect on our social lives by increasing social anxiety and limiting real human contact’

Such concerns emphasise the importance of including face-to-face interaction and interactivity during lectures, seminars and group projects. It may also partly explain why students frequently commented on the value they ascribe to discussion and debate within their course. Whilst the online world has become an integral part of the student journey, students are concerned about its social implications and do not want to see the total replacement of human interaction at university.

Moving forward, there is a growing importance for equipping students with the tools needed to manage their wellbeing in the 21st century. This could be facilitated through a whole-university approach between teachers, staff, Student Unions and student wellbeing services.

The mental wellbeing of students will undoubtedly impact performance and overall satisfaction of the LSE experience. We need to work together to ensure that tomorrow’s student is well-equipped for the rigour of higher education.

 

References

[1] ANDERSON, J. & RAINIE, L. 2012. Millennials will benefit and suffer due to their hyperconnected lives. Pew Internet and American Life Project.

[2] GIEDD, J. N. 2012. The Digital Revolution and Adolescent Brain Evolution. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51, 101-105.

From interviews to Instagram, how did we engage students in the evaluation of Clement House?

This article is one of three blog posts on the newly refurbished learning spaces in Clement House. It is written by Emma Wilson, Graduate Intern for LTI. You can find her on Twitter (@MindfulEm). For more information about the Clement House evaluation, please take a look at our final report.


Working with students as partners in the development of their university experience should form an integral part of any institution’s set of policies. However, securing a sufficient level of student engagement, which is also meaningful, poses a challenge across the sector.

Within the evaluation process for Clement House, we have been keen to utilise a wide array of communication channels – including some innovative new approaches which have involved social media. By complimenting the old and new, our mixed method approach to data collection has secured the involvement of 196 students. In addition, we carried out 67 non-participant observation; as such, the Clement House evaluation benefited from 263 pieces of data for analysis.

How did we publicise the work and recruit volunteers?

Put simply: targeted and personalised communications. Which departments are the most active users of Clement House? Where are students most likely to pay attention to posters on the wall? What incentives would attract students to participate? If students want to get involved, how would they like to do so? With the never-ending stream of emails, how do we know which will be paid most attention by students, and what are the alternative channels of communication?

By taking the time to consider the above, it is far more probable that students will show a willingness to engage themselves in a project evaluation.

The use of visual communications has been a core component of this project evaluation. Posters were visible in strategic locations throughout the project, whereby a QR code and bespoke hashtag was used (where applicable). These posters were displayed across all floors of the Student Union’s building, and electronic versions were broadcast in the library and Clement House (including the International Relations Department which is based there).

Poster One: Seeking student engagement in an online survey
Poster Two: Seeking student engagement in a social media competition

   

Findings based on method of engagement

We created an online and paper version of a survey. The questions were identical although the online survey provided space to make any additional comments. We received 55 responses to the survey in paper format, and 45 via the online survey. The social media campaign ran outside of term time, for a shorter period of time (2.5 weeks), and received 12 responses. This data was supplemented by 74 structured interviews of 1-3 minutes that were carried out during the non-participant observations (of which 67 were carried out across 4 weeks).

Key findings from the evaluation can be found in our report and in our other blog posts (see links). We have also drawn together a selection of Tweets and Instagram responses and displayed them as a collection on StorifyA sample of Tweets and Instagram posts can also be viewed in the slideshow below.

Sample of Tweets and Instagram posts 

What lessons have we learned?

A mixed approach to data collection enabled us to find a balance between a purely qualitative or quantitative approach. Whilst interviews provide an opportunity to understand how and why a student feels a certain way, the use of close-ended survey questions ensures a certain amount of objectivity in particular instances. For example, in the survey it was useful to provide students with four options when asked about the purpose of their visit to the learning space. This allowed comparability across floors. However, it was the richness of data collected from the subsequent open-ended questions (whether in the interview or survey) that enabled us to fully understand the reason why a student feels a certain way.

With a mixed method approach, it is important to ensure consistency of methodology across data collection methods. Do you have the same questions for the paper and online versions of the survey? If not, why not? How can any differences be taken into account?

Looking ahead, I would be keen to encourage the future use of a mixed methods approach to data collection. If carrying out a social media campaign, it is important to consider the time of year in which the campaign in launched; if it’s outside of academic teaching, many students will not be on campus, and you will have to place a greater reliance on online promotion. It is also useful to check whether the university is conducting any other surveys – such as the NSS or end-of-year departmental feedback questionnaires – to ensure that students are not overwhelmed by the number of surveys they are being asked to complete.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to successful student engagement and it is important to consider the following:

  1. Know your audience
    • Who are you trying to secure engagement from? (Students? If so, are you seeking feedback from those in a particular department or academic year?)
    • When might they be most willing to get involved? (Whilst waiting for their next class? As a break or distraction from revision? During a particular event?)
    • What are the incentives for them to get involved? (Focus on your language – emphasise the power of the student voice in contributing towards policy change; offer students the chance to win a voucher; if running a workshop, say that it’s an opportunity to network with peers and even make new friends)
  2. Think about how the ways in which they can get involved
    • Will canvassing a busy student before class necessarily be more effective than a survey that can be filled out in their own time?
    • Is the university keen to promote engagement through Instagram or Snapchat? Can your project also utilise these platforms?
  3. Connect with colleagues across departments and student groups or societies
    • Partnerships and collaborative working are great ways to contact groups of students who might be harder to reach.
    • Think about your audience – who are they likely to be in contact with? If students, do they have a student representative for their academic course?
    • Make contact with the university’s Student Union (SU); for example, their student engagement and communications officer. Getting some publicity on their website, social media feeds and newsletters is great for exposure. Asking to place posters around the SU building is a good way to reach more students.

Ultimately, this project unveiled a positive message: students are keen to get involved in sharing their views on the teaching and learning experience at LSE. 

Don’t be scared to pilot a new approach to student engagement. Understand your audience, think about how they interact in the university community, and take advantage of the new channels of communication. Over the next few years, we are likely to witness a changing landscape in higher education as Generation Z bring to their university a whole set of new expectations, skills and approaches to life in an ever-evolving digital environment. It is an exciting time for universities to engage with students and discuss the potential and opportunities for the future of higher education.  By approaching engagement in a creative way, we are more likely to kickstart a widespread conversation across the entire learning community.

 

Links

Other blogs in the LSE 2020 series: (see here and here)

SPARK Grants: results and last call!

The results are in! 

In March the SPARK! Committee reviewed applications from our  first call and approved three projects aimed at improving the student learning experience through the use of technology and innovative pedagogical approaches.

The projects include an extension of a very successful students-as-producers project to further develop students filmmaking skills, the use of specialist software to create interactive assessment in Maths and a student-owned digital platform to produce and disseminate student research.

Find out more about these and previously-funded projects on our webpages.

It’s not too late to apply!

Our second call will be closing on Friday 5th May at 12 noon. This means you still have time to talk to us about your ideas and submit your application!

Detailed guidance on the application process can be find on our website. Get in touch now!

Using Powerpoint to create engaging simulations

Last academic year, two PhD students  teaching in the Department of International Relations  embarked on a journey to make their course more engaging to students. They applied for an LTI SPARK! Grant to support the development of Powerpoint-based simulation games.

Here are the highlights of the project following its completion and evaluation. Quotes are from the two recipients of the grant, Gustav Meibauer and Andreas Aagaard Nohr.

Related outcomes and resources on our website

The rationale

                Issues addressed

Currently available IR simulations for teaching purposes are often high-cost/high-tech and especially time-intensive: even if they do not require custom-made software packages with difficult interfaces and expensive licensing fees, they are almost without exception targeted at course-long or at least day-long activities that demand extensive preparation of both teachers and students, with book-length manuals, intricate rules, integrated assessment tools, and specific secondary literature. This is irrelevant for most of the undergraduate teaching practice, especially in introductory courses that often treat specific concepts only once in a 50-minutes class. But this should not mean that undergraduate students simply never get the chance to profit from interactive gaming and simulations.

                Why simulations? The pedagogy behind the technology

The project is based in the pedagogy of experiential learning, student ownership and self-directed learning, and the use of gaming activities and simulations in the classroom.

Simulations and interactive gaming solutions have long been known to enhance understanding both of specific empirical examples as well as, more importantly, theoretical linkages because they make students experience, rather than only hear about, factors and variables involved in such different topics as foreign policy decision-making, diplomacy, great power dynamics or identity formation.

Students do not simply passively receive the PowerPoint (as in a standard presentation), but play it, change its outcome (within given options), determine what the next slide will show, and are thus actively involved in what they learn. This is thought to encourage deeper learning.

It is not the outcome of the simulation that matters, but the process of its coming-about. Just as in real-world foreign policy or diplomacy, there is not necessarily a correct path to take or a right decision to find – instead, by playing the simulation, students engage in discussion and compromise, take into account a multitude of different factors, realize own mistakes, and get a feeling for the complexity of decision-making in multiple settings.

                Why Powerpoint?

There is no need to change the course design, overhaul the entire teaching approach, or experiment wildly outside what is currently known and available. Instead, our project aims at diversifying teaching where possible to integrate student-centered, activity-based teaching and learning. It does so by bringing out the true potential of already available teacher skills and learning technologies.

We do this by employing PowerPoint, specifically in-built features such as hyperlinks, interactive pathways, or audio or video integration that can be used interactively rather than passively.

Implementation

                Integration into the course

By necessity, simulations do not stand alone: they are accompanied by a set of theoretical structures and debates in which students talk and theorize about their experiences during the gaming activity

Each of our simulation classes consisted of an introductory stage of about 5 minutes, a simulation stage with multiple discussion periods interspersed (moderated variously by the class teacher or by the students themselves, depending on class dynamics) of about 20-30 minutes, and a discussion stage to tease out theoretical insights of about 20-30 minutes.

Take Aways

“Andreas and Gustav came up with a formula that gave students ownership of their own decisions and helped them to apply their knowledge to difficult real world dilemmas. Students were able to experience the consequences of both the cautious and risk taking approach and the many nuances and customs that apply to foreign policy decisions.”

Sarah Leach, Senior Learning Technologist on the project

                Students experience

Overall, results indicate a positive impact on student learning: students on average perceived simulations were enjoyable, allowed for stimulating discussion in the classroom and an experience of expertise and immersion into the topic of the class.

Not only did the simulations add an important additional method to diversify the learning experience and complement more “traditional” instruction styles, they also led to greater overall  participation rates in class (compared to more conventional class types, as assessed by teachers,  observers, and the students themselves), allowed students to bring in own previous experience and  learn from their peers, and try out learned theoretical concepts in class.

They gave students a language to talk about new and often highly abstract concepts, and allowed for smooth and often in-depth reflection and discussion. The simulations also proved entertaining and supported positive group dynamics in class, such as self-moderated discussion and quick exchanges between students without teacher interference.

                The teacher’s views

They allowed us as teachers to transition more easily towards roles of moderator and facilitator, as students interact with the simulation and with each other without input or instruction from the teacher.

Students worry that the simulations somehow divert from the “actual” material they are supposed to learn from the course, which means additional effort has to be put into developing desired learning outcomes and appropriate theoretical teaching materials.

“Andreas and Gustav have demonstrated that engaging students with technology doesn’t have to be daunting or cutting edge, a simple tweak can dramatically change the learning experience for students. To make this step even easier, they have written a ‘how to’ guide for any teachers who want to create simulations for small class teaching. The guide covers every aspect from defining the learning objectives and creating the slides through to teaching plans and evaluation. It’s a great resource.”

Sarah Leach

If you are interested in using technology to support teaching, learning and assessment like Andreas and Gustav, then please get in touch with LTI to discuss your ideas. Take a look at LTI’s SPARK! Grants for more information.

How at home are you online?

How do you use digital tools? Are you constantly online and using social media or management tools to record your every action, or do you just dip in and out of online resources using them as and when you need?

Visitor by Bill Smith on Flickr

 

LSE students who have recently taken part in the Students Ambassadors for Digital Literacy project were asked to map their digital footprint to find out more about how they fitted on the Digital Visitors and Residents model (V&R).

 

 

 

Sofa

The students found significant difference in their use of institutional tools, such as Moodle, LSEforYou, LSE email and their library accounts and personal tools such as Google, Skype and Dropbox.

The exercise encouraged students to think about the overlap with these tools and perhaps how they could utilise them more effectively.

 

“Drawing a pair of axis, one ranging from Visitor to Resident and the other outlining the nature- Personal or Institutional, we populated the graph with various tools- social media, organisational, entertainment and fitness- from all realms of our being and analysing where we stand for each of them. This method of analysis offers a refreshing way of looking at digital engagement- capturing both the extent and the nature. It allows for subjective interpretation of each tool and hence is not limited by strict definitions. For example, I could put in Microsoft OneNote which I exclusively use for work related documentation.”

Simran map
However, it may still be too simplistic since it does not account for overlaps well and does not factor in the nature of some tools that are only meant for visitor purposes- eg Moodle. No tool could be on two extremes of a dimension without sketching it in twice- making the chart less succinct. Furthermore, there are other characteristics of engagement that could be factored in with more dimensions: regulated use, open source, within the personal space (entertainment or personal development). These are things we take as banalities and its not until we stop, think and categorise that we can alter and optimise our use of these tools and this would be the biggest takeaway for me from the task”

Simran Masand

 

“This process was stimulating as it was good to take a step back from our normal online activities and to understand the extent to which we personally interact with these services.  By creating the map, it was significant for me as I noted how we do not always need to act either as a “Visitor” or “Resident”, but rather, this model should be viewed as a continuum. For instance, in my map, I noted how Facebook, even as used as a residential tool, both was within the personal and institutional category due to the fact that I have joined LSE specific groups whilst also having a personal interaction with it.

Alex map

One point that I came away with from this task was the questioning the extent to which it is possible to be off the scale on the map (i.e. is it possible to be anonymous). However, thinking about this, even for users who may not login to services at all, they will still be classed as a “Visitor” on this model. Therefore, perhaps it is not possible to be completely anonymous whilst we are using online services.”

Alex D’Arcy

Most of the maps showed that students were more likely to act in a visitor mode when accessing institutional tools and behave as residents when using tools to manage their personal lives.  This indicates something about how students are engaging and learning at the LSE but also how these tools are presented to them by the School.  There is a wider debate about the place of personal tools such as social media in teaching, but perhaps some of the institutional tools are not being used to their full potential.  For example Simran mentions in her post that Moodle is “only meant for visitor purposes” yet in fact Moodle is designed using social constructionist pedagogy with the idea that learning is a collaborative cultural event which would encourage ‘resident’ use.  Moodle supports the use of discussion forums, peer assessment and feedback, collaborative writing, group submissions, anonymous Q&A, Wiki’s, blogs, and many more activities.  If designed well a Moodle course can encourage an online community which supports and extends beyond face to face work carried out in the classroom.

The maps raise several questions about how we separate out our behaviours and identities online.  LSE students appeared to leaving a large digital footprint with their use of external applications in their personal life but did not seem as comfortable in creating a professional persona on apps like Linked In or Twitter.  One of the aims of the SADL project is to work with students in order to discuss strategies to build a positive online presence and expand their networks.  Workshops involve sharing and testing online tools to see how they can be adapted from personal use to manage their academic work.

The student blogs about the workshop and more information about the SADL project can be found on the SADL blog.

Student Innovation projects

CoGobstopperlightbulb _by Joe Loong on Flickrngratulations to the LSE students who came up with winning ideas on how to use technology to make life better for staff and students in Higher Education.

The Summer of Student Innovation competition asks for student technology solutions to improve education, research and student life.  Now in it’s fourth year, students are asked to submit a 2 to 5 minute video pitch on the Jisc Elevator website.  Entrants must receive at least 250 votes to go through to the development stage.  The 15 winning teams will receive £2000 of expert support, with the possibility of an additional £3,000 funding to develop their projects.

See the 2 LSE submissions below and view all 15 successful projects on the Jisc website

Augmented Reality App: to provide visitors and students with digital content enhancing campus experience.

 

Stutor: Get help from other students in the UK through our application.  Everybody can be a tutor!

 

 

 

Embedding Student-Produced Videos in Courses: Why and How?

This academic year, LTI funded two projects to integrate student-produced videos in courses through their LTI Grant scheme. Outcomes and findings from their evaluation provide some interesting reflections on  how they can be used to bring added value to the learning – and teaching!- experience.

The Projects

Using Film in Urban Planning Analysis – Nancy Holman, Geography and Environment

The PlanneramanAs part of the Urban Policy and Planning course, students produce written work alongside a group presentation and a short interpretive film of neighbourhood fieldwork. Film-making started two years ago with students using their own devices. Last year they were helped by an LSE alumnus who is now a filmmaker to better understand the process of storytelling and how to use the equipment. This year, Nancy applied for DSLR kits to improve the quality of the work produced. An evening screening of the 8 short films produced by the project groups was also organised at the LSE, at the end of which a panel of ethnographers and filmmakers judged the films and awarded three prizes: Best Overall Film, Best Cinematography and Judges Choice.

Narrating the Death (and Life?) of Multiculturalism – Jennifer Jackson-Preece, European Institute

Jennifer wanted to “enliven the end of term debate on multiculturalism” in her Identity, Community and the ‘Problem’ of Minorities course by replacing group presentations with short films narrating the students’ take on the theme.  Instructor videos were made and presented during seminars and resources on making short documentaries were made available on the course’s Moodle page. Students then worked in groups for three weeks to produce their short films. The videos were screened during the last session of the course and were followed by a debate.

Reflections

Why videos?

In the Geography project, the combination of written work and film allowed students to think about spaces both on paper and visually, which according to Nancy is ” a core transferable skill our students need to develop”. She also believes that the video exercise had a “knock on benefit” on students’ summative essays, which she observed were clearer and more thoughtful.

This is what she highlighted in the description of the project for students:

Nancy

 

In the European Institute project, the resulting videos were used as a starter for a class debate. Videos were favoured in place of the usual presentations as Jennifer wanted students to approach the end of term presentations “from a fresh perspective that facilitates greater creativity and ownership of ideas

In both cases video production have been a good way of engaging student with the course and material and resulted in a final product that can be used as a basis for discussion or examples and inspiration for the future cohorts.

“It would also enable student cohorts on EU 458 to ‘speak’ to each other across time through the creation of a permanent film archive on the EU 458  Moodle page” – Jennifer Jackson-Preece

They are also easy to be shared and presented to the wider institution and community. Students from the Urban Planning group attended the JustSpace conference on opportunity areas where they showed their films.

Students also got to develop useful transferable skills in the process: managing a group project, collecting/gathering/presenting information, video production and editing to name a few.

Embedding video-production into the course

Nancy’s project was seen as a way to “further embed […] practical experiences [walks, fieldtrips] within the programme” while it would “enable students to gain a different/complementary perspective on the concept of narrative” for Jennifer. It was thus important for both to integrate video production as (part of) a final task towards which students worked during the course instead of as a stand alone activity.

JenniferAs highlighted in the description of the project, video production was gradually introduced in the Geography course. Students received the help from a professional filmmaker and were able to familiarise themselves with the equipment during a trip to Manchester in the first part of the year.

In Jennifer’s project, students received training in video-making face to face during seminars and through resources made available on Moodle.

Students were also made aware of the various ethical, safety and copyright considerations when filming, interviewing and using material other than theirs.

<= Resources on video production made available to EU458 students on Moodle

 

In terms of assessment, even though the video production exercise was formative for both projects, students received feedback on their work. Geography students received feedback on their overall presentation that included comments on the style and overall message of their video. Students from the European Institute course were given a template of the feedback form to be aware of the assessment criteria when producing their videos. They included design (style and organisation, creativity) and message (content, quality, overall impression).

Next year group videos will count as 50% of the EU458 summative assessment and adjustments will be made to the course to support this.

Interested in using student-produced content in your teaching?

Have a look at the past Students as Producers projects in our LTIG Grant Winners section or get in touch with us!

Read about LSE Innovator William Callahan‘s successful implementation of student-produced videos in his IR318 Visual International Politics Course.

 

 

Creating a Smart Writing Environment with Academic Markdown

In January, Tobias Pester, postgraduate students in the department of International History at the LSE, was awarded an LTI Grant for his project to “develop, document, and teach a Workshop for Sustainable Authorship for students of the LSE that familiarizes and equips them with the writing environment of Academic Markdown”. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, 7th June and a recording will be made available afterwards. Read about his experience of this handy tool.

PESTER-profilepicIn the spring of 2015 I finished my first year of American grad school. Coming from the German university system I knew it was going to be a Protestant re-education camp in terms of work load and ethic. By the end of that spring I had to write three sizeable papers in short succession and ‘time is of the essence’ took on a new meaning. Lucky for me some of my friends had just started using this writing set-up that streamlines all the things that take no brain but lots of time: citations, the bibliography, and worrying about the different format of citations when in footnotes vs. when in the bibliography.

Enter Academic Markdown and Pandoc. So-called markup languages like LaTeX have long been used by authors in the sciences. They’re great to handle formulas, diagrams and other sciences-specific requirements. For humanist writers, however, the upside to learning a markup language had been comparatively small. All we really need are basic formatting options, block quotes, and citations.

That’s where Markdown comes in handy. It’s designed to satisfy those requirements and be easy to pick up at the same time. It only takes five minutes to learn how to mark a header or a footnote as such and the text remains visually intact and perfectly readable in its raw form. And because formatting, citation management, and bibliography are almost entirely automated it affords an utterly distraction-free work flow. I work on crafting my text and crafting my text only. The last line in my manuscript is the header ‘Bibliography’. When I’m done pouring my blood, sweat, and tears onto the screen, I run it through a simple program called Pandoc once and, voilà, I get a ready-made ´pdf´ or ´docx´ with citations and bibliography according to whichever citation style language I specified.

AcademicMarkdown

The text in Academic Markdown and after formatting

Using that particular set-up last spring I became a writing machine. And the many hours freed from formatting could go into refining my argument or polishing my prose. I am since doing all my writing this way, from response papers to my dissertation, from personal letters to invoices. American grad school, however, still kicked my ass.

To share the benefits of this work flow I am developing and teaching a class with the generous help of an LSE Learning Technology and Innovation Grant. The workshop will take place on Tuesday, 7th June, 2-5 p.m. in 32L.LG.18 alongside the Teaching and Learning Centre’s Dissertation Week. Spread the word and join us!

Click on the picture for more information and to book

Click on the picture for more information and to book

Hit me up on Twitter at @philomonk. I’d love to hear your thoughts! #SmartWriting16

 

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

Summer of Student Innovation 2016

SOSI-2016 (120x240 Vertical Banner) v1-final (girl)The Summer of Student Innovation (SoSI) project, run by Jisc, is a competition encouraging innovative education technology ideas from students. The initiative focuses on engaging with students to improve creative design, research, entrepreneurial and project management skills.

This year Jisc are running two competitions, a summary of both is below.

Student Ideas competition:

Jisc are seeking ideas for using technology that could improve research, learning or student life and have the potential for wide use across higher and further education.

Your idea might be a small tweak to how things work or a big solution for a whole college, university or other learning provider – but you will be required to show that it could have benefits beyond your own context.

The successful teams each gain an initial £2,000 plus mentoring through a design sprint, and a further £3,000 if we select their idea to be developed as a product.

Supporting tech startup projects:

The supporting technology startup projects competition is for small teams who would like to pilot their existing product within colleges, universities or skills providers.

A £20,000 startup grants will enable five successful teams to turn their working beta into a functioning product. Your product should be at least a working beta; we don’t expect that you will have an existing customer base but some evidence of pilots with learners would be beneficial.

Closing Date for submissions:

The deadline for submission of ideas is just under a month away on 23 May, 23:30h.

Further information on both competitions, how your students can submit their ideas and links to promotional material you can use are included on the Jisc website: