M25 LTG March 2019

Any technology is educational technology?

Round up of M25 Learning Technology Group meeting at Imperial College London

Leo Havemann, Julie Voce, Peter Roberts, Danielle Johnstone

Around 50 people joined the March M25LTG meeting to look at technologies that aren’t obviously or ‘officially’ ed-tech, but nonetheless are being adopted for teaching and learning.

Proceedings kicked off after lunch with an engaging and battery-draining hour led by our host Katie Stripe, Senior Learning Designer, Imperial College London and co-presenter Katie Piatt, E-learning Service Manager at the University of Brighton, to launch the IMPLEMnT website (see previous blog posts here).

The aim of the meeting was to demonstrate some of the technologies detailed on the IMPLEMEnT website and to encourage attendees to consider how they might contribute to, and make use of, the project in the future. They used a range of different tools throughout our presentation and information on all of them can be found on the site. First up was the “Spot the Ed Tech logo” quiz using Kahoot to wake people up (contained dancing!). It was a hard fought contest that was won by City’s Julie Voce who was the lucky recipient of three case study cards from the Implemnt project.

The complete set of Implemnt case study cards

One of the issues that they have encountered while building the IMPLEMnT site is the taxonomy they use and finding a balance between making it manageable while allowing the community to express the technologies used in its own terms. They used Poll Everywhere to consider what tags they would use to describe YouTube and Turnitin and compared our results with the tags used by Implemnt. In both cases the audience came up with much wider ranging tags that they had decided on for the site. This highlights 2 issues. One, the broad range of descriptions available to people when describing technology and two, because of the joys of the English language they have multiple ways of saying exactly the same thing!

This was following by an interactive session using Mentimeter and Poll Everywhere to introduce Implemnt, which is drawing together technologies and mini case studies with a view to crowd-source ideas for sharing with the community, and get the audience suggesting tags for various technologies and appropriate language use that the Implemnt project features. To collect further case studies for the Implemnt project, they were encouraged to think about how they could support different activities through the use of a Wheeldecide activity where Katie P asked how they could support a particular teaching activity using a particular teaching tool type, e.g. What can be used to support assessment by graphics? Dom Pates from City provided an example from City’s MA Academic Practice where one assessment uses Venngage to ask students to design a poster using infographics.

Katie Piatt using Wheel Decide to generate case study ideas

The next phase of site development will be to make sharing easier. They are hoping that the site itself will hold full case studies but that those will be reduced to a format which can be printed, shared on social media or embedded in other sites for training or promotion. Watch this space!

CJ Taylor, Nick Feather and Jonny Sadler from Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS) talked about the use of Slack for tutorials. Previously they had used a PowerPoint quiz delivered via the VLE, but this approach was not popular with students, so they have been exploring the use of Slack. In their first year of use, they ran one session with all 120 students and 2 facilitators, however this proved to be a lot for the facilitators to respond to and students struggled to keep up. For the second year, they made the groups smaller with one facilitator per group and this has improved the experience. The facilitators all sit together for the session which makes it easier for the Learning Technologist to provide support.

CJ, Nick and Jonny demoing use of Slack

Alongside the talk the team from BSMS had set up an M25 Q&A Slack group which gave us the opportunity to try out Slack’s features, as well as ask questions. Naturally inquisitive they played with a number of the features, including polls and threads.

Use of Slack by the M25 attendees

Amy Icke from the Girl’s Day School Trust talked about how the Trust had made Microsoft Teams available (Click here to access the slides) across their 25 schools in England and Wales and now had over 1,000 in use. Teachers use it as a place to share and search for resources and have found the search functionality to be very comprehensive, including the ability to search within documents and OneNote. One downside is the lack of tagging functionality. Some of the schools are even looking at using teams instead of their VLE and have integrated teams with their student record system using SalamanderSoft. One of the most interesting uses was a Teams site set up to support girls applying to do Maths at university as they are typically only one or two per school so the site provides a good way to bring them together to share ideas and resources. Leonard Houx (Cass Business School) used the analogy of learning to skateboard to give a brief update on, and invitation to join, the London E-Learning Reading Group, which meets on a monthly basis. Look out for future Reading Group meetings on their Eventbrite page and via the M25 Jiscmail.

Leonard Houx talking about reading groups and skateboarding

Closing the day was a discussion led by Sonja Grussendorf (LSE). They considered the advantages and drawbacks of using technologies that weren’t designed for education. There was hearty debate about what constitutes “edtech” and the role of tech multinationals in the education sector.

Our next meeting will take place on Thursday 18 July at the London College of Communication, University of the Arts London. Further information will be circulated via the M25 Jiscmail.

Leo Havemann, Julie Voce, Peter Roberts, Danielle Johnstone

If you enjoyed reading this article we invite you to join the Association for Learning Technology (ALT) as an individual member, and to encourage your own organisation to join ALT as an organisational or sponsoring member

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