East Midlands Learning Technologists

East Midlands Learning Technologists' Group, supported by ALT

Our Spring 2014 EMLT meeting – Video killed the radio star

on April 8, 2014

So, another meeting has come and gone.  There was cake, there were cups of tea, there was chatting and there were ideas.  Lots of lovely ideas!  All held at the University of Derby on the 2nd of April 2014.

Video killed the radio star

If in doubt, draw your own illustration!

The theme for the meeting was ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ (which obviously meant that *that* song got stuck in my head for the whole time I was organising the meeting!).  We wanted to explore what digital video creativity looked like in all of its forms.  From the small scale of designing learning activities with video to institutional systems and new ways of ‘doing’.  We had several terrific presentations on the theme and a healthy discussion about what value video might have in education as well as coming up with a list of tips for good practice which everyone had the chance to contribute to.

Following a lovely buffet, the first presentation of the day came from Simon Birkett, Technology Enhanced Learning Manager at the University of Derby.

He spoke on ‘Learning Space Design – Digital Innovation and Creativity’ and talked us through the changes which have been happening to learning spaces at Derby.  Transforming the way people think about even things like furniture – moving from the ‘furniture on wheels is a health and safety issue’ mindset to the ‘where are the wheels, how can we make the space flexible’ has been a challenging one, but the images Simon shared clearly showed how it could impact on the way in which students could work together.  The joined up thinking and investment seemed to be strong messages which came across from his presentation and provided plenty of food for thought!

Following Simon’s presentation, we moved on to the PechaKucha sessions.  We were very fortunate to have colleagues from across our region presenting on a range of topics – and all of whom did a fabulous job of keeping to time!  No easy feat when it comes to PechaKucha-style presenting.

First up for the PechaKucha’s was Rob Higson from the University of Derby – presenting on ‘Engaging our fashion programme through video’.

He shared some of the work he and a colleague at the university have been doing in working with an academic to integrate video into her teaching practice with fashion students.  From instructional videos to video feedback to students as creators of their own videos for critique – it was great to see.  They were using iPads with the Panopto app to capture the video and it showed just how one good idea could flow into another and another… and ultimately change practice.

Next up, the brilliantly titled ‘Putting Lipstick on a Pig’ from Charles Shields, University of Loughborough.

Charles shared the reality of lecture capture at scale – points of resistance that he’d experienced and, more importantly, how they were handled.  Apart from needing a prize for his presentation title, he gave everyone lots of food for thought and the opportunity to reflect on their own experience of supporting lecture capture.

Following on from Charles was Matt Howcroft, University of Derby who shared ‘Creating a great video learning resource’.

With his beautifully visual presentation took everyone through the value that video could add and what approaches might work in learning and teaching.  Great stuff from Matt!!

Nikodem Miranowicz from the University of Nottingham followed with ‘Video synced interactive web visualisations’.

He shared an approach whereby video could be synced with data visualisations using javascript libraries.  Seeing examples of the visualisations in action was inspiring stuff – and while the code might have gone over my head, it definitely didn’t go over everyone’s and I know his presentation will have got people’s brains whirring with possibility!

Our penultimate presentation was from Hannah Davies, University of Derby, who shared her presentation ‘Multiple perspectives through video’.

Another beautifully constructed presentation and it was excellent to see some video examples of the work that Hannah and the media team at the University of Derby have been putting together.  Working to support careers and employability is a hot topic across institutions – from FE to HE, private to public sector – and Hannah showed that getting out there and making real connections for learners with video is a powerful tool.

Last up was Dr Stuart Jolly from Nottingham Trent University.  Stuart’s presentation was on ’20-ish ideas for using video in learning and teaching’ and he’d put together a video of all of his examples which was superb.  We’ll write them up with Stuart and post them on the blog later – his work showed how video can play such an active part in students’ learning.  From supporting the creation of learning communities, to building in opportunities for review and reflection to helping with critical analysis and personalising feedback.  Stuart’s video is well worth a watch!

Phew!  Lots and lots of ideas – and inspiring stuff from our brilliant community.  What a fantastic region this is for great ideas!

We always have the opportunity to go round the room to see if there are any other ideas, projects or connections people would like to make… and as ever, there were.  It helps get the conversations going for when we break for a cuppa and more cake… and there’s always a point during the afternoon where I take a moment to listen to the buzz of the room and appreciate what a strong community it is that we’re forming.  Brilliant!

Once we were fortified with more cake, tea and biccies, it was time for a demonstration of Box of Broadcasts from David Hopkins, University of Leicester.  David showed us just how easy Box of Broadcasts is to use and gave us the chance to consider its potential at our own institutions.  Because we have colleagues from several different institutions represented, David’s demo allowed us to talk more broadly about issues connected with overseas students and licensing, with the potential for tagging and retrieval of video, creation of playlists, easy embedding of clips as well as the reality of supporting a service like that.

And finally – in what was a packed programme! – we all worked together on putting together some collaborative documents.  I’ll share them as separate blog posts another day.  Essentially, we had three main areas to contribute to:

  1. What’s the point of video in the curriculum?
  2. What value does it add to learning?
  3. What best practice hints and tips have we got?

There were points that made me go ‘ah, not just me then’, points that made me go ‘hadn’t thought of that’, and points that just made me laugh!  Especially the ones about finger food and porridge!!  That’s the beauty of our group… we get to chat informally with our peers about the reality of our professional experiences.  Highs, lows, warts and all.  The shiny stuff is for conferences… our group is about our shared reality.    Talking of a shared professional experience, we are offering the opportunity for CMALT mentoring across the region, which I briefly mentioned at the end, and if anyone would like to talk to me further about it, please drop me an email to s.horrigan@derby.ac.uk.

Phewie!!!  Excellent to see old friends, meet new colleagues and strengthen our network.  Thanks to all who came and contributed in any way.

Our next meeting will probably be at the University of Nottingham in early July and we’ll be on the look out for presentation ideas around early June… so please keep an eye out for our call for presentations.

Sarah

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