Thursday, 19 June 2008

"Enhancing the Student Experience"

Eggh, up before 5.30am this morning and on my way to London by 7.15 but all for a good cause: to go to the BLU Conference at the University of Hertfordshire. My colleague Maria was presenting on behalf of Reading there and is no doubt getting smashed at the dinner tonight. I only went for the day though, staggering home this evening so I could blog on the following delightful topics...

  • A presentation on vlogging by a student at Hertfordshire called Miles Dyer, aka "blade376", who talked about his experiences, both learning and personal, on YouTube. Considering he'd never presented at a conference before he came across as very cool and engaging - but then he has appeared on More4 News, not to mention the millions of views his videos have got on YouTube itself, so he's experienced at appearing in the public eye. Here he is, giving a quick summary of the conference last night:

    His talk generated a lot questions in the after-session, mostly about the specifics of fitting Miles' experience into an educational environment. Could it work within the "enclosed" setting of the university? Would asking students to vlog sterilise the process; make it unexciting? Miles himself said that he tended to post videos when he was inspired by something - which is presumably why his vlogs are so popular, as they're never forced. Essentially, I think successful vlogging (and I'm guessing, having never vlogged myself) would be opportunistic and spontaneous - but, of course, the opportunity has to be there in the first place...
  • The keynote delivered by Betty Collis looked at how the company Shell have developed a learning vision and strategy within their workforce and she also looked at the similarities and differences between learning in Higher Education and the corporate sector. She and her husband produced a booklet subtitled "Technology as a Learning Workbench" which is available from their website here.
  • I saw a talk in the afternoon from Trevor Barker (also of Hertfordshire) who explained that we needed a new student modelling techniques to map onto the skills inventory emerging from use of Web 2.0 technologies. I couldn't possibly summarise the talk here but it left me with the feeling that I've still got a lot reading to do around pedagogy in general and, furthermore, that there's still a lot of work to be done by everybody in exploring the relationship between technology and skills.

Now I need to eat and sleep!

[This post is back-dated. 27-06-2008]

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