Wednesday, 15 July 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

last week I attended the Greenwich e-Learning conference. It was really good to see so many colleges there from the He and FE sector. It was also a chance to catch up with Malcolm Ryan one of the co - organisers and our projects critical Friend. The Conference is always informative and enjoyable - this year was no exception.
Interestingly there were also presentations from secondary schools - who it seems are really starting to use e-learning in innovative ways. A particularly interesting example was that of a school using reflective blogs with pupils, to capture their developmental journey over a year. Looking at the honesty and sophistication of the some of the later postings the pupils made and comparing them with the initial ones really showed how the students had matured in their use of reflection as a tool in personal development.

The Keynote speaker was Professor Jonathan Drori a former BBC producer. His personal insights into what made a good learning experience really opened the minds of the audience. He spoke passionately about how learning is a personal thing and was able to illustrate some of the many misconceptions people have about what constitutes a good learning experience. It was interesting to hear him relate his experiences of life as a broadcaster and the opportunities he has had to challenge peoples ideas on education. The pictures at the top of the post are from his presentation. It is of an art gallery in York that invited people to write on a wall what the pictures meant to them. The idea of being able to interact in this way - individually but also collaboratively had resonances with what we were trying to achieve.

It was good to be able to take so many of the Cable3.0 team with me to the conference. We have been working very hard for a year on developing virtual groups of students to work across the four FE colleges in Hertfordshire. And it was an excellent opportunity for them to get an idea what others were doing in the sector.

We are now in full preparation mode for the major re-engineering event planned for the 21st and 22nd July. This will involve 8 of the 9 modules we are working with. The first day will be spent reflecting on the current practice and looking at some possible solutions. This is followed by a day of re-engineering, working with the module coordinators to start to put into place the assessment for learning tasks that should add value to the student experience.
As an interesting aside we were able to travel to Greenwich on a mix of travel modes: Car, train , TUBE ,DLR and by boat along the Thames - a truly blended approach to travel !

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