Technology to enhance Learner Engagement

Technology to enhance Learner Engagement
A key theme of the Event was around how to use technology to engage learners. There was a lot of
sharing of research from the projects and discussion around current practice. Some of the key
points taken from the evaluation sheets were:
Using Busbi Video recorders
These had been trialled by Stratford College and were mentioned by 10 people with one college
noting ‘ purchase 3 Busbis’! Strategies for their use were:
To video teaching practice observations at the beginning and end of the course to evidence
distance travelled.
Use to involve students in evaluating their own and peers’ performance
Capturing skills practice
Recording teaching sessions, both microteach and workbased and use for feedback training;
evaluation and reflection
Use in mentor observation training
Stratford College had also trialled the I Touch but this had only 2 mentions as something that would
be taken forward.
Creating online learner communities
There were a number of action points and reflections on creating online communities and the most
effective way of doing this including:
Exploring the use of blogs and pods to increase student interaction, peer support and
reflection, including use of PebblePad and creating an online community.
Whether to use Reflect or PebblePad to capture student reflections and whether pods could
be developed without PebblePad
It also raised a question of whether to use blogs or forums on Moodle.
A number of Teacher Educators have technology action points including:
o Developing blogging
o Investigating Reflect further
o Developing an online ICT tutorial
o Creating hyperlinks for students
A networking site used by Hereford College interested 9 people, with suggestions for use being:
To capture students’ favourites on-line resources and storing favourites (tagging and putting
into folders)
To bookmark clips for presentations to help students who are phobic about giving
To explore Delicious as an alternative to Moodle/VLE for sharing resources among ITT
Notebook purchase scheme
This scheme had been started as a means to enable students to have the use of technology during
the course and then have bought their own notebook by the end of the course. This was a popular
idea which will be taken back by 4 people.
Platforms and Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs)
There were some useful discussions around different platforms and how they best served the needs
of Teacher Educators and trainees:
Value of Moodle versus alternative VLEs and which had wider facilities, although this raised
the issue of access for those not college-based. It also raised the question of how familiar
Teacher Educator teams were with the alternatives and this was taken as a development
point by several people.
Another suggestion was that it could be more productive to start with the outcome and then
the tools!
Interactive Whiteboards
2 colleges presented on using interactive whiteboards to enhance teaching and points taken by
Teacher Educators were:
To investigate the role of Mimio software for interactive whiteboards
Developing the full use of interactive whiteboards
Linking Sento voting to interactive whiteboards – mentioned by 3 TEs
The difficulties with whiteboards and the need to trust the technology being used.
This software had been used by Warwickshire College to develop an interactive, online Maths
tutorial with a range of web based numeracy resources. One TE was investigating using it linked to
minimum CoVE maths.
Learner Resources
A number of resources were singled out for Teacher Educators to investigate taking into their
practice including:
Neils Toolbox
A popular software programme which Harvard references students’ work was mentioned on 5
evaluations as something they will take back to their colleagues.
Other resources
Those especially mentioned were:
Gold Dust 2 and Excellence Gateway
My learning tube
NLN resources
Jing – video capture software
Legal and Safety Issues
Issues around the safe use of technology were discussed and the following points raised:
To explore using the IfL portal alongside or instead of Moodle for copyright reasons
The legal implications of internet security/safety
The implications on professional conduct of Teacher Educators and trainees using social
networking sites inappropriately.
One college is implementing mandatory input sessions for staff and students on internet
usage/safety linked to social networking
Wider Context
There were some action points taken from discussion around the wider context:
The importance of Teacher Educators as models of good IT practice
The need for proactive IT/Media technical support that understand the needs of Teacher
Using learning technologists to develop ILT materials
The development of more blended learning
Mentor Engagement
Although only two colleges presented on Mentoring, it raised a number of issues and questions. Key
areas were:
A recognition that mentors need to feel included as part of the Teacher Educator team. There were
several suggestions around this:
Understanding of the crucial role of mentors and establishing the relationship between
tutors, mentors and trainees was important.
Partnership working with subject mentors and more involvement of mentors as part of the
Inviting mentors to a forum and Upskilling in September. Contact each mentor separately
with training dates, times and make them feel an individual.
Using IT to include mentors in a number of ways including:
o Creating a virtual community of practice for subject mentors
o Using IT for briefings and contact with mentors.
o E-support for mentors
o Putting resources on memory stick for mentor (as well as VLE)
Mentors need an information pack – separate sheets for easy access if they are to be
effective ITT mentors
Some of the issues raised were around:
the difficulties in contacting and developing momentum with mentors when even ‘home’
mentors can be hard to reach.
Trainees choosing mentors and recognising that the best relationships are when trainees
have time to select a mentor.
Ways to include mentors in online community who may not have access to the technology
and strategies around this ie using a wiki or external link.
Mentoring for year 2 trainees requires more advanced skills and hence additional training
Ofsted requirement to know how we are supporting the CPD of subject mentors
A recognition that the mentors need mentoring
A number of TEs are looking at the LONCETT website and other work being done on ‘virtual
community of practice’ (City of Coventry)
Curriculum and Programme Development
The projects encouraged a wider discussion around the ITT curriculum and areas for consideration
The unitisation of teaching qualifications would make the curriculum more flexible and increase
progression opportunities. However there is an issue with the funding mechanism which would
need to reflect this. Alongside this was the development of optional units in an electronic format.
Look at different ways of testing of ICT skills on entry to ITT courses and ways of supporting students
with these skills. Investigate online numeracy packages which enable ITT students to practice their
skills in a safe environment.
Exploring issues which arise when progression from PTLLS to C/DTLLS involves changing from one
awarding body to another.
Introduce Reflect into the Professional Practice module and developing first year paperwork to fit in
with IfL – how students who are not staff can access Reflect. There was also discussion around
whether to spend time teaching a theoretical approach to reflection before trainees start on their
Using different modes of delivery such as
developing e-learning to augment teaching on evening class Diploma courses;
introducing more blended learning within the college;
E-learning strategy becomes owner and responsibility of the curriculum;
Developing open access for course materials (not restricted to a particular year of a course);
Developing the use of pods – mutual support groups;
Creating a community for CTLLS;
Buddy up CTLLS/DTLLS candidates – if possible using IT (blogs);
Explore with another college the opportunity for PTLLS students to do peer assessments;
Using new resources eg Gold Dust 2, Excellence Gateway, Web 2.0
Exploring ways that teacher educators can access technology and whether they needed to be
technically competent or work with other specialists. Ideas included: integrating IT technicians into
Teacher training, recognising that they needed to understand the particular requirements of the
Providing more support for learners in particular areas such as: those making the transition from
‘work’ to teaching for those previous employed outside the education sector; providing a greater
emphasis on helping trainees identify themselves as teachers
Apply for small project money for specifics
The value of networking and supportive exchange relationships between Teacher Educators
General Comments
The Event was very successful and well received and delegates made the following positive
Lots of useful ‘snippets’
Fascinating, provoking much thought and discussion about how to incorporate colleagues.
A very interesting day, discussing the points face to face has given me further ideas for the
future. It is good to meet with other ITT providers. An excellent day.
I really liked the format – some great ideas were shared and the discussions that followed
were very valuable and raised further issues. Liked the informality, worked really well.
When can we do this again?
Thought the use of syndicate carousels a good idea – promoted some good discussion from
interesting presentations.
A really useful day and one that I have left with a number of ‘jobs’ to do asap. Networking
with others. Realising that I’m not the only dinosaur! Great comfort.
Thought provoking; mind blowing; challenging; interesting. Lots of ideas of terms and
concepts to take home and explore with colleagues on & outside PTLLS team. Useful not
just for PTLLS curriculum but also for whole range of my college courses. Best resource of
day by far: Busbi video – thank you Stratford College! Very useful & exciting ideas day.
Thank you.
Strong emphasis on ILT – interesting and useful but only one tool in the box. Lovely lunch!
Lunch, refreshments and accommodation.
A very interesting and productive day. All the discussions were open, interesting and
informative. Some eye-opening stuff. The ‘house-keeping’ was very well organised and we
were ‘looked after’ very effectively.
Very interesting; good format; excellent facilities.
Lovely location; great to meet similar-minded people; excellent food.
A very useful day exchanging ideas and meeting other TEs. I have 4 Post-its with ideas for
positive actions to enhance my own practice and development of ITT and SD in my college.
I have enjoyed the day enormously. It has been very useful to hear about everyone’s
projects. I am taking away many ideas to develop and hopefully integrate into the ITT
Been a good day with lots of information; good food; provided networking opportunities.
Liked syndicate as chance to ask questions in small groups; good accommodation and food.
A really successful day, relaxed informal discussion emphasis about projects and passions in
ITT across the sector. Great opportunity to network/share ideas/practice.
Excellent format for sharing good practice – so much better than presentations. Good
opportunity to ask questions and get really relevant tips and hints – a very well spent day.
There was an issue with the carousel format in that not everyone could hear all the presentations.
Negative comments were:
However, found myself in a syndicate with a person I had already heard once and a person
whose presentation I had already sat through on 2 previous occasions. Been useful to have
some access to IT to demo IT work that had been done (although recognise need to avoid
death by PowerPoint)
Only 1 small improvement – try to enable each college to hear from all colleges. We missed
out on some and had 2 repeated sessions. Logistics of this I expect were a nightmare!
Not much input on how to deliver interesting training. Some sessions duplicated.
Would have liked to have heard more project summaries, 1st and 2nd syndicate groups
different presenter but same project.
It was a shame that the groupings meant that I saw one presentation 3 times and one twice.
Feedback from the JISC RSCWM representative:
‘A very interesting day – as part of my role is to share and source best practice in elearning, it’s been
great to hear first hand what the colleges have been doing and their plans for the future.
I will be taking a lot back to the RSCWM team – particularly surrounding some of the issues that the
colleges face (ie IT support) and thoughts. We as a team can help support some of these issues and
as we are about to enter our Forward Planning this event is timely. The feedback and thoughts have
been valuable as too has the opportunity to network.
Thanks for the opportunity to attend.’