Let’s get digital or not?

wine and cake pixabay

The Friday blog-habit is proving hard to break! If only I could be as strict with the Friday evening wine or Saturday cake. As in not having them.  The blog is almost a reverse addiction. Usually we go for instant gratification rather than delayed and blogging is definitely in the second category. It’s rewarding when posts get liked or quoted but that often comes days and sometimes weeks after the event!

On reflection, maybe the idea of pausing over the summer wasn’t so good after all. If the habit is established why stop? Exactly my approach to the Friday evening wine and Saturday cake. Why break something which works so well!

panopto logo

The days when August was the time for catching up and preparing for the new academic year are well and truly gone. Not only are we launching a new VLE in September, I’m also working on the policy document for Panopto and preparing staff development activities to introduce teaching with video (thanks Gemma Witton @gemmawitton from the University of Wolverhampton for the inspiring Panopto conversation this week)

The digital capabilities framework. continues to underpin everything I do. So far this year we’ve piloted the Jisc Discovery Tool and run the Digital Storytelling workshops. The TEL Team and the Library are now having regular catch-ups to discuss all things digital and I’m curating a ‘Sharing Practice’ resource center to demonstrate interesting and effective use of technology to support the student experience.

black and white cartoon, one dog tells anthother on the internet no one knows you're a dog

In LEAP there are Academic Practice Advisers and TEL Advisers. Unfortunately we’re divided by geography which reinforces the lack of opportunities to get together and discuss how maybe we should all be one and the same?  The minute you say the ‘technology’ word  those who see themselves as non-techie self-exclude yet we are all involved with learning and teaching. I want to ‘rebrand’ digital capabilities. I’m concerned the word ‘digital’ is getting like ‘technology‘ and the phrase ‘digital capabilities framework‘ is almost doomed before it begins. So what are my options?

pixabay education

I like ‘digital scholarship‘.  The HEA have reviewed the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and last year I attended a Colloquium event discussing the importance of being research informed and engaged in teaching practice. There are tensions over the meaning and evaluation of ‘teaching excellence’ but the TEF remains an opportunity to revisit institutional support for pedagogical research. Anyone supporting a VLE will be familiar with the persistence of transmissive approaches with emphasis on knowledge consumption rather than construction. We need to talk.

Time, space and rationale (as well as reward and recognition) are all essential prerequisites to change. Maybe the TEL Team could have a monthly ‘digital scholarship’ meetings over coffee – cake – or lunch – to discuss key papers and pedagogies relating to TEL – as well as ideas to publish and promote our work so yes, scholarship is a possibility.

There’s just one problem – I’m still using ‘digital’.

Should my new approach be with or without the D word?

Any suggestions?


One thought on “Let’s get digital or not?

  1. In my VLE worlds it is conversation not content that is thr primary driver for knowledge building. The VLE may be the institutional core of a course and a buzzing hive of discussion but a significant proportion of student discussions take place in other cloud spaces such as the Google text hangouts that two recent cohorts set up themselves and that hosted a mix of synchronous and asynchronous discussion for several years. Skype text and audio chats also part of that process. Content sets out expectations, goals and sufficient information to stimulate the search for new knowledge but is a relatively minor element in personalised work based learning.
    When I worked with thoracic medicine specialist registrars content and criteria referenced resources were far more important.
    The digital label is one I have frequently used but it is becoming such an intrinsic part of learning I now use it far less. It is useful in relation to digital competence and literacies for sure and to differentiate between kinds of technologies.
    Even in f2f meetings digital is part of what happens, I had a meeting with a paramedic in a pub over coffee yesterday and we managed about 15 mins before we were using a portable device to consider PebblePad strategies. I would have been as comfortable had we met via Skype video while supping our own favourite coffees at home and used screen sharing to discuss PebblePad.
    The term ‘techie’ has many levels of interpretation today. To some it seems to refer to anyone able to use technologies such as Twitter or weblogs whereas to others it is indicative of someone with deeper skills such as playing with Python, writing html or working with CSS. Most digital interfaces HE tutors use require little in the way of what I would label as ‘technical skills’.

    I think the D word Is still very useful but is easy to overuse, it is the techie label that I occasionally find ambiguous. A tutor who is conceptually and operationally adept in a VLE, writes blogs and uses Twitter to augment learning has a good pedagogical approach, labeling as a techie or digital specialist misses the point.


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