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The name of the game is… partnership.


The next talk was by Simon Walker of the University of Greenwich.  Simon gave several examples of how the Greenwich Connect programme is attempting to use IT to transform teaching and learning.  Some of the ideas are ones I’ve heard elsewhere, such as flipping classrooms, lecture capture, Box of Broadcasts, etc.  Others were new to me. 

For example, Greenwich give an ipad to each of their science students, to replace the traditional lab book and to allow common apps.  One academic worked with a developer to produce an app that can display the screens of all the ipads in a tutorial group in a grid on the classroom’s screen so that the tutor and the class can compare everyone’s work.

Greenwich Connect recognises that personal networks are a key part of how people find jobs.  Some of their students begin University without such networks and leave without developing them.  Simon suggested that an emphasis on collaborative learning and social media can encourage people to form better networks.   But increased use of social media can bring its own challenges and training requirements. What should a tutor do if a student tweets or posts that they’re unhappy and want to kill themselves?  The institution needs a policy backed up with training and support for staff.
Greenwich Connect came with very strong governance to make it work.  The initiative created working groups on social media, VLE, distance learning, and mobile technology, each chaired by an academic.  These all reported to a steering group. 

There were more ideas in Simon’s talk than I can capture here.  One that stood out for me was that if you type /research into a browser, you get a page full of glittering examples. What happens if you type /learning or /teaching?  Often nothing.  (Edinburgh has www.ed.ac.uk/studying, which is close, but the two examples that Simon gave don’t yield results).

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