This workshop will optimise on the work I have been carrying out using Lego® with academics to break down barriers on developing their digital skills and embedding technology into their teaching, learning and assessment practices. Within the case study university, academic identities are well established through discourse and established norms but digital identities appear to be less distinct. Additionally, new to the discourse is the term ‘pracademic’, a hybrid term for being an academic and an active practitioner (Posner, 2009). This is an interdisciplinary approach which embraces and embodies the growing complex mix of professional identities within education and teaching. The overlap between theory and practice is leading to teaching staff needing to focus more deeply on the practicalities of teaching, this includes digital and technological engagement within their practice (HEA, 2015). As a consequence of this, for some academics within the case study site, there are signs of a form of imposter syndrome arising under the guise of digital imposter syndrome (Clance, 2013). In my role as a coach within teaching enhancement, anecdotal evidence illustrates that when academic staff are tasked with embedding technology into their practice, for many academics this reveals issues with their digital confidence and amplifies fear of failure or being found out by students who they perceive to have far superior digital skills to themselves.
In using Lego® and the Serious Play® methods with academics at the case study site, through facilitated workshops, this has opened up the dialogue about how academics feel about their digital skills and digital identities. It has also revealed barriers for using technology in their own practice and supported staff to think more creatively about how they can embrace technology in their own subject areas and practice. Additionally, Serious Play® methods supports workshop participants to think with their hands rather than their voices and build understandings in a safe environment by using their Lego® models as metaphors by showcasing meaningful constructions (Blair and Rillo, 2016).
The workshop will address the conference theme 2, creativity across the curriculum, as the work undertaken with academic staff at the case study site will be showcased to conference attendees as evidence that using Serious Play® supports academics to use their imagination and problem solve regarding issues with digital identities and embedding technology through the creative medium of Lego®. Serious Play® also supports creative ‘hands-on, minds-on learning [and] produces a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and its possibilities, the Lego® Serious Play® methodology deepens the reflection process and supports an effective dialogue – for everyone in the organization’ (LEGO, 2017: 1).
In using Lego®, participants are able to start equitable conversations which link to theories of constructionism and experiential learning, building on what is already known, and facilitates exploration and experimentation with new concepts and ideas; in this case linked to digital identities and embedding technology (Papert and Harel, 1991: Kolb, 1984).
Participants will be encouraged to take pictures of their models as they build them and add them to a digital storyboard (Padlet) alongside existing models from previous workshops. They will also be encouraged to Tweet their progress and feedback what they have learned and can implement into their own practice using the relevant hashtags. This is already established practice in previous workshops and has attracted attention from other education providers on social media.
Questions and answers are open for the first part of the session where information on Serious Play® is shared. In the building section of the session participants will be encouraged to share and reflect on their models at each stage of building. They will be encouraged to be reflexive at the summative point of the session after they have participated in all tasks. A quick feedback method on leaving will be to place a piece of Lego® in a container which signifies whether the session was or was not enjoyed. An optional Mentimeter poll will also be in place to collect any anonymous individual qualitative feedback.
20m – Introduction and underpinning knowledge about Lego Serious Play®
Review of the case study in Hull University
Opportunities for questions throughout
20m – Participants undertake their first builds individually based on key set questions
Participants reflect on their individual builds and feedback
20m – Participants undertake their second builds individually based on key set questions
Participants reflect on their second individual builds and feedback
Participants critique the method and provide suggestions on how this can be applied to their own practices to support engagement and
development with technology in teaching
Throughout the session – Opportuntities for Tweets, Padlet and Mentimeter engagement
Blair, S. and Rillo, M. (2016) Serious Work: How to facilitate meetings and workshops using the Lego Serious Play method. United States: ProMeet.
Clance, P. R. (2013) Imposter Phenomenon. Available at: (Accessed 5th May, 2017).
HEA (2015) Digital Literacies. Available at: (Accessed 5th May, 2017).
Kolb, D (1984). Experiential Learning as the Science of Learning and Development. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.
LEGO (2017) Serious Play: The Origins of the Serious Play Methodology. Available at: (Accessed 13th March 2018).
Papert, S. and Harel, I. (1991) Constructionism. California: Praeger Publishers Inc.
Posner, P. L. (2009) The Pracademic: An agenda for re-engaging practitioners and academics. Public Budgeting and Finance, Vol. 29 (1), pp 12-26.
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