Looking back and looking forward

Today Thom has asked me to come along to a session with my colleagues from the School of Interprofessional Health Studies.  And so, I’m thinking about what I might share with this group; what is it that has been the key learning for me over the past couple of years?

I think there are 3 key points I’d like to share:

  1. Being a learner makes you a more understanding, effective teacher.

I’ve gone back to my first terrifying blog post.

screenshot-2016-09-07-09-47-51Now, looking back I wonder what was so difficult! I’ve always used online technology in my teaching but realised that over the years I had become very comfortable and confident with the specific tool I used. So for me it has been hugely important to feel uncomfortable and unsettled and rediscover what it feels like to learn how to use new tools. It’s good for me personally but essential for me as a teacher to better understand what my students may be experiencing and the different ways we learn new things.

2. Learning involves and requires a supportive environment: Mucking things up is a great way to learn!

One of the highlights of working with Thom has been the botch ups! Being in an environment where mistakes are ok, where we are encouraged to work things out for ourselves, where we can laugh and learn together has been a treat. Again it trickles down to how we work with our on students; about being authentic and perhaps feeling ok about being vulnerable.

Who would have though my phone’s camera had a ‘right way up’??!!

Screenshot 2015-12-10 10.56.31

With this outlook, students are appreciative:

Screenshot 2015-08-10 21.19.18

This quest for authenticity within the online learning environment has led me to adopt Bambuser , live mobile broadcasting App, as a key digital learning and teaching tool. The ‘live’ broadcast goes some way for replicating the ‘one-take only’ reality of face to face teaching where we cannot edit or retrospectively tidy up our presentation. For me this tool has been a key part of my development as an online teacher and learner. Authentic, live and uneditable!

“… first of all I just wanted to say thank you for being so helpful with your online videos that have allowed me to understand the assignment much better… it doesn’t feel like a online course anymore great job”

3. The Community of Practice (COP) is a central component to professional development.

Perhaps the most significant outcome of our time with Thom has been the development and our Health Law and Ethics COP. Although very small and with some fluctuations in terms of membership a core group of four has regularly met. The surface focus is usually on learning about and then how to use a specific digital tool: Twitter, WordPress, Vine, audioBoom, TodaysMeet, etc. But the underlying essence has been on being together, learning together, sharing experiences, being supportive, collectively considering our specific learning and teaching requirements, considering our respective students’ needs, testing ideas out and getting to know one another on a new level.

This has been immensely beneficial to the ways we work together and support one another. Ultimately we hope it will also transfer into improved learning experiences for our students but along the way we’re certainly having fun…and some great coffee!