Lecturer in Social Policy
From September 2017 to February 2018, I organised and provided a series of TEL training sessions in the School of Applied Social Studies. These training sessions were aimed at supporting colleagues in utilising TEL tools in and outside their their teaching. The training sessions were organised in collaboration with other colleagues experienced with TEL.
A number of technologies were used and examined including, a) Blackboard discussion boards and blogs; b) Padlet; c) Poll-everywhere and Socrative; d) Google Meetings; e) Twitter; f) Turnitin; g) Google Docs; h) PowerPoint
These workshops were immersive and gave colleagues first hand experience with a variety of TEL. The most important collaborative quality of these sessions was that they were designed and delivered with other TEL experienced colleagues. This collaboration supported me in my development as an educator as through discussion with colleagues a variety of alternative ideas and approaches to using particular technologies were realised. The creative contributions from colleagues demonstrated the diversity of TEL and, most importantly, that successful use of TEL is dependent on good planning, feedback, and viewing students as partners in learning spaces. The teaching challenges that inspired these training sessions, were a) problems relating to classroom engagement; b) uncertainty about TEL; c) finding new approaches to inspire interest among students; and d) ways to assess students' developing understandings.
A variety of literature shaped the work. Each training session was underpinned by different literatures. For example the workshop on Socrative was informed by literature on polling and clickers. Socrative is a useful tool to engage students in formative and self-assessment, while fostering active engagement (Kokina and Juras, 2017). Woolley (2015) and Edmonds and Edmonds (2008) found that the use of clickers (i.e. in class polling software) had a positive impact on the overall performance of students in exams. These 'tool-specific' literatures were focused by strategic literatures promoting digital literacy at all levels of teaching (e.g. Carretero, Vuorikari, and Punie, 2017), as well as literatures focused on social justice education (e.g. Adam and Bell, 2016)
A number of resources were drawn from Youtube, telu.me, instructionaldesign.ucc.ie, teachingandlearning.ie, as well as the broader ISSOTL scholarship. Focused Google searches proved fruitful and directed me to open-access educator Padlets. These Padlets provided a rich tapestry of ideas for training.
First, the training sessions took place in a computer lab and were recorded for colleagues access. Second, over the course of each training session, each colleague was set up on the technologies, introduced to how they work, and invited to participate in an exercise that could be carried out in a classroom. This interactive approach supported colleagues who were initially interested, but nervous to try, to get a foothold in using particular technologies.
The introduction of bespoke one-to-one and group training initiatives have supported staff in reflecting on new approaches to designing teaching, learning, and assessment strategies using digital technologies. Evidence of the training expanding beyond UCC and is evidenced by the efforts of some educators to translate their new digital skills and interests into community and practice settings. Such as the introduction of Padlet to IDEA Child Rights as well as the increased take up of Twitter by staff involved in the project. Since these sessions, colleagues have requested support and guidance in improving their use of the VLE, with the library studio, and in utilising TEL for classroom assessment techniques. Colleagues report back to articulate that their students have been enjoying activities and exercises involving their own devices. From my own experience, my own students have benefited from the introduction of TEL. It allows quiet students to participate in their own way, it supports students in maintaining attention, and encourages inquisitiveness.
In responding to the question 'what aspects of the module did you most helpful?' students reported back positively: "I enjoyed the group and phone work because it broke down some of the more difficult things." "Beccis method of teaching, involving the students." "Becci's interactive lectures." "Lecturer A's passion, Lecturer B's knowledge and Becci's ability to bring the course down to earth."
There are a lot of expectations on staff to know how to integrate TEL, but that expectation can be overwhelming. My advice is to seek out training. There are many ways to integrate TEL, but sharing knowledge, skills, and ideas on how to apply technologies in and outside class is crucial.
Adams, M. and Bell, L. (2016) Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Diversity, Oxon: Taylor Francis. Carretero, S.; Vuorikari, R. and Punie, Y. (2017). DigComp 2.1: The Digital Competence Framework for Citizens with eight proficiency levels and examples of use, Brussels: Eu Commission. Edmonds, C. T., and T. P. Edmonds. (2008). “An empirical investigation of the effects of SRS technology on introductory managerial accounting students”. Issues in Accounting Education 23 (3): 421–434. Kokina, J. and Juras, P. (2017) Using Socrative to Enhance Instruction in an Accounting Classroom. Journal of Emerging Technologies in Accounting: Spring 2017, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 85-97. Woolley, D. J. (2015). “Which helps accounting students learn more: Traditional homework, online homework, or clickers?” Academy of Educational Leadership Journal 19 (3): 337–343.