We hosted our first TEL Forum on 11 December 2013, and this was followed up with a further TEL event on 5 February 2014.
At BU, the Technology-enhanced learning (TEL) theme is energised by its link to Professor Stephen Heppell from the university’s Centre for Excellence in Media Practice. Stephen introduced his view of the future for higher education and used examples of the need for learner-centred provision. He captivated the audience with his extensive knowledge and experience of the education sector and engaged delegates in a conversation about collaborative learning environments.
Stephen’s talk was followed by Dr Dawn Birch, who has been using Facebook with her students in both Australia and the UK. Dawn elaborated on her experience as a tutor in the social space and the value of Facebook in her teaching. In an age where students are challenged by the institutional VLE, Dawn used examples of how students might find a voice and engage in media that is more familiar to them to communicate, share and develop their learning around the subject matter.
Dawn still keeps in touch with her students from Australia long after they have graduated and they also occasionally posts about a relevant topic. She is currently contemplating continuing with the Facebook page from one cohort to the next.
The debate that emerged was interesting, as the audience included academics with varying degrees of experience in higher education and a variety of levels of expertise in using social media. Dawn prompted some very interesting discussion points around ‘drivers and barriers’ in using social media and the educational technologists in the audience contributed to the discussions particularly relating to challenges of external and unsupported tools available to academics and students.
The event was very well received and there was extended discussion and sharing of views about the types of technologies that students can be using to develop a more active role in their learning.