by Katie Stripe, E-Learning Technologist, National Heart Lung Institute
On March 26 myself and Katie Piatt, University of Brighton, hosted a meeting at the College to launch the IMPLEMnT website to the London learning technologies community and colleagues at Imperial who have contributed to the site and been generally supportive. You may remember a blog I did a little while ago on the development of IMPLEMnT.
We started the day by updating Twitter with the new branding from amandalayton.com. We then, through our newly branded Twitter, set the scene for the day by tweeting about the meeting.
What was the aim?
Demonstrating some of the technologies detailed on the IMPLEMEnT website and encouraging attendees to consider how they might contribute to and make use of the project in the future.
We had around 60 attendees from institutions across London, including about 20 representatives from Imperial College, as well as representatives from University of Brighton and Brighton and Sussex Medical School.
In total 25 institutions were represented and all Imperial faculties, as well as the Careers Service and the Library.
Warming up the crowd
Nothing engages a room full of learning technologists better than a bit of competition! Especially given there were prizes.
We kicked off by demonstrating quiz platform, Kahoot. There were of course rumours of cheating and ‘it’s a fix’ when first place went to Julie Voce organiser of the meeting.
This was a short interlude in which we presented the project, its aims, its reasoning and how it is intended to work with and for the community. This part was not interactive but nevertheless used Canva, another technology from the IMPLEMnT site. Canva is an online graphics tool for creating, amongst other things, infographics and simple presentations.
The tagging problem
One of the issues that we have encountered while building the IMPLEMnT site is the taxonomy we use and finding a balance between making it manageable while allowing the community to express the technologies used in its own terms. To highlight this we had the audience on their devices again to run a Poll Everywhere session where we asked them to tag two of the most well-known technologies we have on the site – YouTube and TurnitIn.
In both cases the audience came up with much wider ranging tags that we 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 we have multiple ways of saying exactly the same thing!
What we say and how we say it
We also looked at how IMPLEMnT is addressing the issues of language and how it is used in education. Of course, run as a quiz with a round on Latin, which managed to get 8 thumbs downs on Mentimeter, although a quick show of hands revealed a fair few people in the audience had studied Latin in school.
There is however a serious point to this which is to highlight the dangers we can face by the use of jargon when approaching academics to incorporate technology in their teaching.
Words like constructivism, contextual and entity, while perhaps appropriate when writing an academic paper on the use of learning technology may not be at all helpful when trying to increase engagement. One of the slides asked the audience to share what they thought the meaning of constructivism is and the answers ranged from “guiding students to build their own understanding” to “???” which just goes to show even in a room of professionals the range of understanding is extremely varied.
Spinning it all together
The final part of our presentation involved Katie Piatt and a spinning wheel.
She spun the wheel to ask the audience: What can be used to support…by…?
This was a method of collecting some case studies for the site from the audience and of generating conversation around the tools used for certain types of teaching by forcing people to think past presenting with PowerPoint. However, this is also the future of the site. The wheel asked questions such as “What technology can be used to support collaboration by video” and in answering this question we are giving the users of the IMPLEMnT site ideas for themselves and their own teaching. We are also encouraging the community to share ideas.
The next phase of site development will be to make sharing easier, our postcards were not just a gimmick but a prototype of what we want to achieve. We are hoping that the site itself will hold full case studies but that those will be reduced to a format similar to the post cards which can be printed, shared on social media or embedded in other sites for training or promotion. Watch this space!
If you want a set of postcards then all you need to do is submit a technology or a case study to the site and we will put a set in the mail for you!