#LTHEchat187: The Value of Fiction in Learning and Teaching

Guest host Professor Joanna Verran @JoVerran

I think we all tell stories all the time. Think of any conversation! Storytelling dates back to when humans started to speak: they helped us to survive, and we remain receptive to a good tale!

Teaching medical microbiology, I found that stories of disease outbreaks, or personalised case studies helped me to better convey the principles of epidemiology, contextualising the facts, crossing disciplines (into history or geography for example), and helping to knit the facts into a more memorable setting. Indeed, much of my teaching practice (and my lab-based research) encompassed cross-disciplinary collaboration ( Who inspired my thinking? – The co-factor: conversation, collaboration, co-production DOI: 10.14324/RFA.04.2.12): I believed this made microbiology seem more part of the world we live in. Of course at the moment, it is not easy to escape from microbiology in the real world!

But what about fiction? Does fiction have a value in learning and teaching other than in English Literature? I set up the Bad Bugs Bookclub (https://www.mmu.ac.uk/engage/what-we-do/bad-bugs-bookclub/ ) in 2009. Initially the bookclub was unrelated to my teaching. My aim was to get adult scientists and non-scientists to read fiction in which infectious disease formed part of the plot. Meetings are informal, and everyone has something to bring to the discussion, since we all have read the book. Eleven years on, the website, documents meetings and provides reading guides for more than 60 books. I have found the format useful for education and science communication in a variety of settings including undergraduate projects, tutorials and school book groups. I have certainly also learned a lot myself ( https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2020/09/29/joanna-verran-the-bad-bugs-book-club-a-study-in-infectious-disease-and-humanity/).

Since turnover time is very quick from posting this blog, to hosting the chat on 21st October, can I suggest some preparation activities? Look at the website and check whether you have already read any of the books (or watched the movie!). Look at the meeting notes for that book, and see if the fiction can be used to discuss ‘fact’ within your discipline.

Joanna Verran is Emeritus Professor of Microbiology at Manchester Metropolitan University. In addition to her laboratory-based research, Jo always strove to encourage the development of ‘transferable skills’ in her students, through the use of art, design, literature and public engagement. She was awarded an NTF in 2012, and PFHEA in 2016, and the AAAS Mani L Bhaumik award for Public Engagement with Science in 2019, alongside an MA in Creative Writing (of which she is particularly proud!).

Beyond the #LTHEchat on 21st October;

If your tastebuds are tickled, set up your own one-off bookclub (I can send you our discussion questions), and join our Twitter meeting on November 19th, where we will be discussing The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. The novel addresses antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and the meeting is being held during World Antibiotic Awareness Week.

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#LTHEchat186: Debunking Neuromyths in Education: What psychology really tells us

Guest Host Dr Linda K. Kaye @LindaKKaye

Effective educators are responsive to the learning needs of their students, and develop inclusive educational resources and provision as a way of accommodating the diverse range of learners. Learners can of course vary considerably in many ways from demographic characteristics, personality, cognitive ability and varied approaches of learning. It is not uncommon for educators to seek strategies to support these diversities yet may often fall into the trap of using what they believe to be empirically-valid strategies.

Unfortunately, not all these strategies are supported by valid evidence. These are what we often refer to as “neuromyths”; commonly used pedagogic strategies which are assumed to be scientifically-informed yet unfortunately do not hold water in the psychological or neuroscience literature. A very common neuromyth is that of “learning styles” which has been the attention of many educationalists for decades but most commonly operationalised in the “VAK” typology. This suggests that learners assume a way of learning either as a “visual learner”, “auditory learner” or “kinaesthetic learner”. Despite this being commonplace in teacher education and educational practice, there is no evidence to suggest that there are neurological or cognitive variations between “learner types” when engaged in learning tasks. Learning styles is one neuromyth which has come under significant scrutiny (Dekker et al., 2012; Husmann & O’Loughlin, 2018; Li et al., 2016; Papadatou-Pastou et al., 2018).

Unfortunately, learning styles are not the only neuromyth evident in educational practice. Others include; right-brain/left-brain, and purely genetically determined intelligence. Recent research has suggested that among college-level staff, 97% and 77% endorse learning styles and right brain/left brain neuromyths respectively, although only 20% endorse genetically-determined intelligence (Boser, 2019). Clearly there is some work to do to ensure that research-informed practice is integrated into teacher education and training.

References

Boser, U. (2019). What Do Teachers Know About The Science of Learning? TheLearning Agency [online]. Retrieved  September, 22 2020, from: https://www.the-learningagency.com/insights/what-do-teachers-know-about-the-science-of-learning

Dekker, S., Lee, N. C., Howard-Jones, P., & Jolles, J. (2012). Neuromyths in education: prevalence and predictors of misconceptions among teachers. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 429. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00429

Husmann, P. R., & O’Loughlin, V. D. (2018). Another nail in the coffin for learning styles? Disparities among undergraduate anatomy students’ study strategies, class performance, and reported VARK learning styles. Anatomical Sciences Education. doi: 10.1002/ase.1777

Li, Y., Medwell, J., Wray, D., Wang, L., & Liu, X. (2016). Learning Styles: A Review of Validity and Usefulness. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 4 (10), 90-94

Papadatou-Pastou., Gritzali, M., & Barrable, A. (2018). The Learning Styles Educational Neuromyth: Lack of Agreement Between Teachers’ Judgments, Self-Assessment, and Students’ Intelligence. Frontiers in Education, 3, https://doi.org/10.3389/feduc.2018.00105

Dr Linda K. Kaye is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Edge Hill University (UK). Her area of specialism is cyberpsychology which relates to the psychological experiences associated with new technologies and aspects of the Internet. She also has interests in the psychology of learning and teaching, particularly how to support collaborative based learning through technology.

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#LTHEchat185: Does learning need to be designed and what roles are involved in learning design?

Guest hosts Sandra Huskinson @fieryred1 and Matt Cornnock @mattcornnock

As Covid-19 prompts further moves towards online learning, in this chat we endeavour to debate, investigate and identify what we mean by learning design and how it can help educators repurpose their teaching in challenging times.

Learning designers collaborate with educators to create activities that enable students to meet learning outcomes. With many educators having to radically redesign their approach to courses for online, blended, hybrid or dual teaching, navigating the decisions about what, how and why to teach a particular way can be challenging if you don’t have access to expertise in online instructional design. In June of this year following a tweet by Leonard Houx @leonardhoux, Neil Mosley @neilmosley5 posted a tweet about learning designers:

“For a long time HEIs have not understood these roles and they were too few… as Leonard says, it’s a highly skilled role and it’s a shame that the sector has woken up to the need of learning/instructional designers when there’s too few with the skills and experience to go round.”

This observation sparked a discussion on Twitter and between Matt and I about what we thought learning design is, whose role learning design sits with and what skills and knowledge such roles require. Matt had already been blogging about this topic particularly the role of learning technologists as learning designers.

Learning Design, in the formal sense, attempts to describe a sequence of learning and teaching activities, usually then applied to a specific cohort to provide a scaffold for learning (Dalziel, et al., 2016). This will be influenced by many factors, including the educator’s predisposition towards certain pedagogies, discipline pedagogy and the mode of teaching expected (online, face-to-face, blended). We therefore champion collaboration with learning designers, learning technologists or educational advisers, not to implement an online equivalent, but to challenge thinking and design learning and teaching activities that will enable students to progress across modes.

In the current situation, going back to basics, learning design is essentially planning what the educator and learner are doing and what resources are required at each point in a learning process. This can be designed at each “level of granularity” of the programme, module, session and activity level (Dalziel, et al., 2016), and adopting departmental approaches can provide coherence and scalability of learning designs.

This #LTHEchat will challenge you to think about how learning design approaches apply in your own context, identify those who play a role in learning design and reflect on the transferability of learning designs across online and offline spaces.

Additional resources

To get you thinking about the role of learning technologists, The Association of Learning Technology published a series on “What makes a Learning Technologist?” (Daniel Scott, Simon Thomson, Chris Melia).

Learning design: where do we go from here? Dalziel 2016

Young, C. and Perović, N. (2016) Rapid and Creative Course Design: As Easy as ABC? Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, 228, 390-395 https://blogs.ucl.ac.uk/abc-ld/

Active Blended Learning https://www.northampton.ac.uk/ilt/current-projects/defining-abl/

Sandra Huskinson has held a variety of roles including medical artist, design manager and now works part-time for Loughborough University as an Enhanced Learning Officer whilst work as a freelance consultant providing elearning and multimedia consultancy for a variety of organisations.  https://fieryred.co.uk/

Matt Cornock leads the online CPD programme at STEM Learning, providing professional development for teachers on FutureLearn. Matt has previously worked in higher education and is a Senior Certified Member of ALT, with 15 years experience supporting academic colleagues with learning technologies, blended learning design and evaluation of learning and teaching. (mattcornock.co.uk)

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#LTHEchat183: Make of it what you will: Experiencing making as a learning approach Guest hosts Dr Kate Cuthbert @cuthbert_kate Suzanne Faulkner @suzanne.faulknerPandO Dr Safia Barikzai @SafiaBarikzai and Dr Dawne Irving-Bell @belld17

It’s a perennial conversation in education about the prominence of creativity and indeed the borrowing of creative methodologies from the arts by many disciplines as an approach to learning.

There are several situational prompts however that provoked us into thinking that a LTHEchat discussion on creativity, and making, wouldn’t go a miss. Creativity is a slippery beast, beset with definitional challenges and with such diversity in context, experience and culture. We are keen for our discussion to consider how our own experiences of creativity and making as educators influences our pedagogic decisions. We are also interested in how these experiences link to confidence and perceived authority to be creative and perhaps be more experimental within our teaching and learning practice.

Situational Prompts for this LTHEchat

  1. Whilst COVID is forcing enormous change in all learning encounters, this is bound to be really felt on courses that depend on the use of production spaces and workshops. Social distancing measures are possible but at the best of times production and workshop spaces are at a premium. How will students collaborate, produce, make and experience creativity in a predominantly blended learning space? If demand for this studio space is tight for even students enrolled on programmes that require making, how is it possible to extend the making and creativity offer universally?
  2. Towards the end of August this year we heard the new that Sir Ken Robinson had died. The number of tweets from HE educators who expressed how Sir Ken’s mantra on creativity had influenced their learning and teaching career was noteworthy. This won’t be new to many of you but it is one of the most viewed TEDtalks, Here’s Sir Ken presenting the case for creativity in education here
  3. Making as a means of well-being….Anyone fallen back on creative activities as a survival mechanism during lockdown? Across academic twitter we’ve noticed that people are knitting, painting, seeking immersion in nature. See here for a crafting group hosted by Celia Popovic @celia_popovic. @NTUTilt and the academic practice team used “making” to develop a team connection when we were forced apart. We learned more about the people in the team and their skills beyond learning and teaching. How can these skills and occupations utilised as not only part of our learning and teaching practice but as a buffer for the potential stressors we are likely to experience as we continue into the new academic term.
  4. The pace and scale of experimentation in learning and teaching at both mirco and macro level is unprecedented. This is also amplified as this is such a global shared experience (rather than it being just an institution refreshing curriculum)- every institution is reimagining, trying out, embarking on mass experimentation. How can the level of experimentation be managed and nurtured beyond the “emergency” phase? How have you coped with this magnitude of experimentation? How has it developed your professional practice?

A Maker-Mob

For this chat we are going to practice what we are preaching and experiment ourselves. We have had the nutty idea that could we introduce an element of “maker” into the chat.

How this will work

Instead of Q4 for this chat we will tweet out a trigger- inviting you to create a representation on your feelings/ perception on a certain area of learning and teaching practice.

The materials you can use for this are down to you (and what you have available). Here are some ideas;

  • Playdoh, Tinfoil, bluetac- good for modelling
  • Paper, newspapers, toilet rolls, pegs, elastic bands, feathers, post-it notes, Sellotape, match sticks (channel the Blue Peter presenter in you!)
  • Lego of course (other toys are available!)
Some examples of models to represent roles, perceptions and emotions
Thanks to last week’s host @hintondm for the signpost to her thread about Lego Serious Play

It doesn’t have to be 3-D It could be a rich picture or sketchnote conveying your response to the trigger question. You might remember a #lthechat on Visual Thinking with Professor Peter Hartley @profpeterbrad, Dr Chris Headleand @ChrisHeadleand and Dr Dawne Irving-Bell @belld17.

Example rich picture

This is only 10 minutes of the chat time and so at 20.30 we will invite you to share your creations as an image in a tweet offering a bit of explanation.

You don’t have to be an artist and beauty is very much in the eye of the beholder! Emphasis here is on experiencing making and the process being more important that the product. There seems to be something in exposing the cognitive processes you are encountering as you try to translate an abstract trigger into something tangible that you can use to communicate to others. Like all learning approaches some of you will enjoy this experiment and for others it might not be your thing! We hope that you will have a go and that the experience will be something for you to reflect on as you take forward your teaching practice.

Dr Kate Cuthbert first used playdoh and sticky-backed plastic when she was teaching nurses prescribing and communication- (imagine their faces!) Since then post-it notes or felt-tips are a permanent fixture in her teaching kitbag. Recently using Thinglink, digital infographics and advent calendars to bring in some visuals. @Cuthbert_kate

Suzanne Faulkner is a teaching fellow in Prosthetics and Orthotics, within the department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, she is also a facilitator trained in the LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) methodology. Suzanne is passionate about enhancing the student experience by focusing on improving student engagement, utilising social media in learning and teaching and incorporating playful learning. She has been nominated and shortlisted for several teaching excellence awards and is currently undertaking an EdD at the University of Strathclyde. @SFaulknerPandO

Dr Dawne Irving-Bell is the Centre for Learning and Teaching Projects Lead and a Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning Development at Edge Hill University. She can draw a bit and uses sketchnoting as a personal tool to organize her thoughts. In her teaching, she uses ‘sketchnotes’ both to communicate her perspective and help students develop techniques for their own use. @belld17

Dr Safia Barikzai is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at London South Bank University. Known to “play” with 3-D printers she is passionate about encouraging more girls to study engineering subjects through playful pedagogies, playful coding, and Lego Robotics. @SafiaBarikzai

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#LTHEchat182: Lifting the Mask: creating a connected campus in socially distanced times Guest host Danielle Hinton (SFHEA) and Dr Andy Pitchford

Following on from last week’s chat, Danielle and Andy hope to dig deeper and gather early experiences.

Introduction:  

As universities prepare to welcome students and staff for the start of a new academic year, the experience will undoubtedly be different for all concerned.  

Whilst there will be institutional variations, all will have a common goal: to make sure that students are able to study in a safe environment whilst, at the same time, maximise their experience of university life.  For most, this environment will combine a degree of online delivery with face-to-face or in-person contact on campus.  

The university experience is made up of a series of communication activities – whether it be an exchange of knowledge between lecturers and students, the personal tutor (academic / pastoral) maintaining relationships and sharing  advice with a student, or the social communication that takes place between students as part of a normal university social life. Together, they form a multi-faceted and holistic student experience. 

In this #LTHEtweetchat (16th September, 8 pm), we will explore the challenges that universities may face in delivering this holistic experience via a blend of socially distanced in-person education and remote learning. Challenges in teaching and learning can include everything from the wearing of masks on a socially distanced campus, to technical, social and psychological challenges.

How can we overcome these barriers to “lift the mask”?

What are the opportunities at our disposal to communicate more effectively?

We look forward to discussing, debating, sharing experiences and ideas on how we can create a better-connected campus in these socially distanced times. 

Danielle Hinton (SFHEA) is an Educational Developer within the Higher Education Futures institute (HEFi) at the University of Birmingham. She provide support for the enhancement of teaching and learning practice, promotes innovation in the curriculum, and facilitates the career-long professional development of Birmingham teaching academics, and academic-related or professional staff in supporting learning. She is particularly interested in active learning (including enquiry and problem based learning), the emotions of learning and teaching, enhancement of learning through technologies, distance/remote teaching and serious play in Higher Education. @hintondm

Dr Andy Pitchford is the operational lead for the Centre for Learning & Teaching at the University of Bath. He manages the Academic Staff Development Team, Curriculum Development Team, Student Engagement Team and the Technology Enhanced Learning Team. He champions excellence in community engaged learning, partnership building and innovative curriculum design. 

Andy has held a variety of leadership roles in higher education, including Director of Sport at the University of Gloucestershire. He was awarded HEA National Teaching Fellowship in 2015 and is co-author – with Ed Stevens and David Owen – of the Routledge Handbook for Authentic Learning, due out later this year. @andypitchford68

Read Further

Bennett, N. (2020) Mental fitness helps us all to thrive – it should be in the curriculum, WONKHE, 7 Sept 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/mental-fitness-helps-us-all-to-thrive-it-should-be-in-the-curriculum/

Birdwell, T. (2020) Teaching in the Pandemic Classroom: When We Are All Wearing Masks, Mosaic Initiative, Indiana University, 1 June 2020, [Online] https://blogs.iu.edu/mosaiciu/2020/06/01/teaching-in-the-pandemic-classroom-wearing-masks/

Bruff, D. (2020) Active Learning in Hybrid and Physically Distanced Classrooms, Centre for Teaching, Vanderbilt University, 11 June 2020, [Online] https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/2020/06/active-learning-in-hybrid-and-socially-distanced-classrooms/

CalTechAMT (2020) Hameetman Physical Distancing Visualization, YouTube, [Online] https://youtu.be/Qpd5uFTd-ak

Clark, N. (2020) The Physically Distanced Classroom: A Day in the Life, Inside Higher Ed, 27 May 2020, [Online] https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/views/2020/05/27/envisioning-day-life-physically-distanced-classroom-opinion

Lederman, D. (2020) Trying to Make Sense of a Fluid Fall, Inside Higher Ed, 24 June 2020, [Online] https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2020/06/24/simulations-college-classrooms-fall-dont-bode-well

Parkin, D. and Brown, G. (2020) Creating Socially Distanced Campuses and Education Project – Final Capstone Report, Advance HE, [Online] https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/knowledge-hub/creating-socially-distanced-campuses-and-education-project-final-capstone-report

Scott, G. (2020) Can we plan for a socially distanced campus? WONKHE, 7 May 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/can-we-plan-for-a-socially-distanced-campus/  Taylor, C. and Buttle, A (2020) 2020: a space (and timetabling) odyssey, WONKH, 28 May 2020, [Online] https://wonkhe.com/blogs/2020-a-space-and-timetabling-odyssey/

See the wakelet for this chat here

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#LTHEchat 181: Getting Ready For a Very Different Start to Term: How do we best prepare staff and students? Guest hosts Dr Jo Rushworth, Dr TJ Moore and Dr Beth Rogoyski of @lecturemotely www.lecturemotely.com

Introduction: We are entering a “new normal” where it’s university but not as we know it. The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the most significant change to university education that we have ever seen; namely the move to remote and/or blended teaching, assessment and student support. Staff and students adapted very rapidly to distance learning in March 2020 when lockdown began in the UK. Many temporary “reactive” adjustments were made to curricula and assessments in order to meet learning outcomes and to progress students successfully. Now, academic staff across the globe are preparing to start a new academic year with a more purposeful plan for remote teaching, assessment, feedback and student support. As we get ready for a very different start to term over the remaining few weeks, what are the most helpful and important considerations to make sure that this is a tremendous success for everybody? In this #LTHEtweetchat (9th September 8pm) we will discuss preparations for staff and students and we hope that everybody will be keen to share ideas and best practice to make the most of the final few weeks of preparation.

Dr Jo Rushworth @bioLOLogy_DMU is a National Teaching Fellow and Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning at De Montfort University, Leicester. Jo is a keen advocate of Universal Design for Learning to ensure flexibility and choice within curricula. She is a pioneer of the idea of “lecturer as learner” – Jo thinks that all lecturers should experience remote learning from their students’ perspectives. She has recently blogged about her experience of learning Mandarin Chinese remotely, as well as learning the piano, both of which have helped her to completely rethink her teaching from a student’s point of view. Jo is excited about working collaboratively with her Student Lecturers, creating a virtual escape lab game with one of her dissertation project students and continuing to learn from her colleagues and students in the new term. She is one of the co-creators of the website www.lecturemotely.com.

Dr TJ Moore @DrTJMoore is a Senior Lecturer and Programme Lead for the Biomedical Science Programme at De Montfort University, Leicester.  TJ has taught in HE institutions around the world, including Africa, South East Asia, China, Europe and the UK. These international experiences have taught TJ how to connect with multi-cultural student cohorts and how to break through the “language barriers” of non-native English speakers by understanding his audiences and adapting his teaching techniques appropriately to each one.  TJ is an advocate of the flipped classroom, in particular his own Semi-Flipped Classroom model which he has used with great success around the world.  He loves the challenge that moving online has brought about and can’t wait to see the innovations that this will bring. He is one of the co-creators of the website www.lecturemotely.com.

Dr Beth Rogoyski @brogoyski is a Lecturer and Deputy Programme Lead for the Biomedical Science Programme at De Montfort University, Leicester. Beth has teaching experience across a variety of backgrounds, and has created and been involved in several initiatives to increase engagement with STEM in under-represented communities. Beth is also a keen artist and communicator, combining all three passions to help deliver scientific content in a variety of mediums through @PhDoodles and with international collaborators. Although coming from a research background and used to long hours in the lab, Beth has enjoyed the change of pace and creativity that has come from transitioning to an online model of teaching and learning, and the renewed opportunity to meet like-minded educators this has inadvertently brought about. She is one of the co-creators of the website www.lecturemotely.com.

See the wakelet for this chat here

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#LTHEchat New kids on the block!

Here’s a quick blog to allow us to say Hi! We’re your organising team for the #LTHEchat until Christmas. Thank you to the previous team, @CarolineCooke, @kateawright and @cwaterhouse_e for their wonderful line up and thanks to @belld17 for coaching (only hope we can keep up the standard!) As we all continue to find our way through this weird new world of learning and teaching, this community will be the rock! Our first chat will be on Wednesday 9th September 8pm. Blog post to be published shortly- it gonna be a good one. But here’s a little about us………….

I am Dr Safia Barikzai, a former refugee from Afghanistan, and an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at London South Bank University. I am a Senior Fellow of HEA and actively engaged in supporting colleagues with their HEA fellowship application.

I am passionate about encouraging more girls to study engineering subjects through playful pedagogies, playful coding, and Lego Robotics.

@SafiaBarikzai

I am Dr Kate Cuthbert (PFHEA) and the Lead for the Professional Recognition Scheme at Nottingham Trent University.

I love twitter as a collective learning and teaching brain. I developed @NTUTilt as a way to build community around HEA fellowship- often a very lonely endeavour (see #NTUwritenow #Fellowshipat4).

@NTUTilt @cuthbert_kate

So that’s us….looking forward to hearing about your practice and learning from the best!

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Special #altc edition of #LTHEchat – Crisis and Care 8pm on 24 August 2020

ALTC Summer Summit logo

#LTHEchat is partnering once again with #altc for a Special Chat as part of the Summer Summit of the Association for Learning Technology which can be joined at 8pm on Monday 24 August 2020

ALT’s Summer Summit 2020 – Learning Technology in a time of crisis, care and complexity, 26-27 August 2020, features keynotes from Bonnie Stewart and Dave Cormier and Charlotte Webb, a special Q&A session with Angela Saini and two strategic plenary panels alongside 40 sessions over two days.

Explore the full programme and speaker line up to find out about the ‘Crisis & Care’ gasta session and our social programme with networking, karaoke and the summit cafe supported by the summit’s sponsors and partners

The theme of the summit is Learning Technology in a time of crisis, care and complexity so this year we are opening up the conversation #altc #LTHEchat to include questions around the conference themes: crisis, care and complexity and we invite you to join in. 

Registration for the Summit and applications for free scholarship places are open until 14 August and late registrations after that date:  

Summit tickets are £49 for ALT Members (£99 for non Members) and include pre-conference orientation & networking sessions, access to all live and asynchronous sessions, opt-in participant list for networking, jobs boards & directory and summit session recordings and resources. 

Materials from the summit will be made available openly 4-8 weeks after the event as part of ALT’s commitment to increasing the impact of Learning Technology for public benefit. 

 

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#LTHEchat 2019-20 round up

 

Caroline, Kate and I have officially come to the end of our term here behind the scenes at #LTHEchat and now is an opportune moment for us to reflect back on the past few weeks.

This is the second time I’ve been involved in the #LTHEchat organising team, the first time, I had to learn fast about the tools in Twitter that make chats, curation of tweets and archiving happen. The second time around, albeit amidst a pandemic, I have enjoyed working through the same procedural tasks but with refreshed eyes and different perspectives from what were my new team mates, Caroline and Kate. (Working from home during a pandemic, with two children and my husband also trying to get their heads down for some time each day, is a blog for another time and page!)

I’m looking forward to some down-time over the summer, as we’re sure you will be too, amid planning for next academic year, but networking won’t stop – we know that – so if you have useful ideas to share, please do include the hashtag #LTHEchat in your tweets, so others can follow.

 

This Thursday 16th July 1530-1930hrs BST, Advance HE are running a tweetchat:

Higher Education Leadership in the Pandemic Age – from crisis to connected campus

Pre-reading is the SDCE Final Capstone Report, along with the recent blog by Doug Parkin which also contains more information on the tweetchat.  The hashtags to follow for this are #AdvanceHE_chat #LEADHE. 

 

Whilst the weekly #LTHEChat takes a break until September:

We thought you might find the quick links listed below handy as you prepare for next academic year. We’ve also added a guide to setting up and using Tweetdeck at the end of the blog, so you can monitor a hashtag as and when you want.

 

In response to COVID-19:

The #LTHEchat Spring term team, Dawn Bell and Nathalie Sheridan, facilitated the building of a shared Google doc, developed jointly with SEDA, to support colleagues in the fast-paced transition to online teaching and assessment: https://lthechat.com/2020/03/30/quick-link-to-resources/

 

#LTHEchat went on to benefit from more fantastic guests and discussions during this summer term:

#LTHEchat 174: Do Games Technologies Have a Place in Higher Education pedagogy? with guest host Dr Chris Headleand @ChrisHeadleand https://lthechat.com/2020/04/19/lthechat-174-do-games-technologies-have-a-place-in-higher-education-pedagogy-with-guest-host-dr-chris-headleand-chrisheadleand/

#LTHEchat 175: Teaching as performance: performative aspects of teaching in higher education with guest host Dr Richard Bale @RichBale https://lthechat.com/2020/05/03/lthechat-175-teaching-as-performance-performative-aspects-of-teaching-in-higher-education-with-guest-host-dr-richard-bale-richbale/

#LTHEchat 176: How do students engage with learning technologies? With guest host Professor Momna Hejmadi @bssmvh https://lthechat.com/2020/05/10/lthechat-176-how-do-students-engage-with-learning-technologies-with-guest-host-professor-momna-hejmadi-bssmvh/

#LTHEChat 177: The future of effective assessment: more than just a paperless prospect? With guest hosts Professor Sally Brown @ProfSallyBrown and @Unisteff https://lthechat.com/2020/05/17/lthechat-177-the-future-of-effective-assessment-more-than-just-a-paperless-prospect-with-guest-hosts-profsallybrown-and-steffen-skovfoged/

#LTHEChat 178 Overcoming students’ fear of public speaking with guest host Dr Rob Grieve @robgrieve17 https://lthechat.com/2020/05/31/lthechat-178-overcoming-students-fear-of-public-speaking-with-guest-host-dr-rob-grieve-robgrieve17/

#LTHEChat 179: ‘Teaching and Learning via Public Engagement’ with guest host Dr Sara Houston @SaraPMHouston https://lthechat.com/2020/06/07/3951/

#LTHEChat 180 Self-care with guest host Viv Rolfe @VivienRolfe https://lthechat.com/2020/06/15/lthechat-180-self-care-with-guest-host-viv-rolfe-vivienrolfe/

 

A guide to setting up and using Tweetdeck:

The following screenshots from the Twitter Help Center will be useful –

1) How to get started…img_0348

2) Posting tweets….

img_0349

 

3) To see tweets from a particular person, or where a hashtag has been mentioned, you’ll need to set up a column:

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4) To follow where #LTHEchat has appeared, select ‘search’ and type in the hashtag. You might also want to follow #AdvanceHE_chat, #SEDA, #NTF_Tweet, #ALT, #ALDinHE

5) On my iPad Pro screen, those steps look like this:

Step 1

Step 2:

 

I hope this is some help if you want to find out about what’s happening in relation to teaching, learning and assessment over the summer period.

All the best – Em.

 

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#LTHEChat 180 Self-care with guest host Viv Rolfe @VivienRolfe

I wanted to do a Tweet Chat to offer some space for care and happy reflection, as I was observing the tremendous challenges facing my higher education friends as the COVID crisis unfolded. I appreciate that when we are feeling low, or are exhausted, it is often difficult to look beyond your immediate situation. What I wanted to share are some activities that I hope can be soothing, fun and energising.

Each of the paragraphs below are linked to the questions we’ll tweet out on Wednesday. You can explore the topics in advance of Wednesday’s chat to get a flavour of the areas covered, or re-visit later if a particular questions interests you. The links will take you to articles, videos of other resources you may find useful.

1. Look for the Tree Sisters meditation called ‘Blossoming Confidence’. I love this one because it asks you to shake your body and make a noise, and it reminds me of how we used to swing around poles and move our bodies with much more freedom when we were children. Go on! Bring out the little you.

Tree Sisters Meditations

2. We know that time in nature is good for our physical and mental wellbeing, and that over the years we become disconnected from the natural world. Being in a green space, or thinking of our favourite tree, can bring us great joy.

Spring at Kew – see the gardens

Why our connection with Nature Matters

3. There are ways in which we can try and relax if we feel stressed during the day, or to help us unwind at the end of a long day or nights work. A few minutes of deep breathing can calm our sympathetic nerves when we are feeling anxious, and with practice, lovely deep belly breaths can help us get to sleep. We can look to herbs to also help us, and chamomile and lavender from our garden have relaxing effects.

The Role of Deep Breathing on Stress

Chamomile Tea and Relaxation

4. Training our minds to think positively or keeping a gratitude diary can help lift our mood. I used to write positive messages I’d had from people on a wall, and kept nice emails from students in a folder. If you found a magic lamp, what would you wish for?

Positive Psychology and Gratitude Interventions

5. Nothing can quite lift or mood or fill us with joy like music. Different instruments reverberate in different parts of our bodies. If you’ve ever experienced a gong bath, you’ll have felt the incredible sensation of being bathed in musical waves. Traditionally it was used as a healing technique and you might find it quite meditative and relaxing.

Music, Emotion and Well-being

What happens in a Gong Bath

Bio

Dr Viv Rolfe is Head of Herbal Research at Pukka Herbs Ltd. She is passionate about helping people re-connect with nature and understand the important role that plants can play as part of our daily wellbeing. She partners with universities to conduct research on the biological activities of herbs, and the area that brings her most joy, is working with students through internships, PhD studentships, and by co-supervising Masters and undergraduate projects.

Picture of Vivv Rolfe
Dr Vivien Rolfe

She was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship in 2011 whilst at De Montfort University in reflection of her work on science open educational resources (OER). She still directs the three websites sharing resource on laboratory skills, sickle cell anaemia and other biology subjects, which are well used by learners around the globe. Her last project in academia was UK Open Textbooks funded by the Hewett Foundation in which she worked with the Open University Institute of Education Technology group led by Professor Martin Weller, and she co-chaired the 2018 OER Conference in Bristol with David Kernohan which was entitled “Open to All”.


Wakelet

Click here to view the Wakelet for this week’s chat

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