As part of our professional development programme, the Skills and Education Group hosted a Learning Technology TeachMeet on 29 March 2023.
This online event, delivered for practitioners by practitioners, featured a series of short presentations from educators working for a variety of organisations. Our speakers shared their own best practices and insights on teaching with technology.
Read on for some of the top takeaways from the session.
Valuable lessons learned during the pandemic
The TeachMeet began with an input from Train’d Up, a leading provider of high-quality apprenticeship provision. David Gillespie, Director, and Derrick Marsh, Engineering Lecturer, spoke about the challenges the company faced during the COVID-19 pandemic and the digital tools they used to navigate these challenges. Microsoft Teams proved to be useful for both enabling staff to communicate with management and for the delivery of their apprenticeships.
The team at Train’d Up found that some positives emerged from the lockdown period, particularly the increased independence shown by learners in a difficult situation.
Phil Whitehead, Director of Academic Services and Digital Learning at DN Colleges Group, also shared lessons learned from the pandemic. The college cut down on the number of systems they used and aimed to “think differently and not do the same stuff with digital”. Phil shared the following quote to sum up the college’s response to the pandemic:
The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence itself but to act with yesterday’s logic.
Engage your learners through technology
Richard Buckley, Digital Learning and Innovation Manager at Nottingham College, gave a presentation on cross-faculty digital assessment methods and their impact on learning at the college. He also shared how the college is using ‘the three Rs’ – virtual reality, augmented reality and extended reality (VR, AR and XR) – within the Construction, Motor Vehicle and Maths departments.
Richard also noted the benefits of using Kahoot! for quizzes. An Ofsted report from 2022 noted that “the majority of tutors use questioning quizzes and workbooks well to check that learners have understood topics”. Furthermore, Richard said that Kahoot! is particularly good for those who lack confidence with using digital tools, and that it gives teachers useful information about student performance.
Mike Saunders, Head of Quality Education at York College, shared the college’s implementation of both hardware and software packages, and how a blended approach can help learners develop their skills. He also noted that digital tools can be particularly helpful for neurodiverse students.
Georgina Keen, Teaching, Learning and Assessment Coach at Remit Training, recommended the use of animations on PowerPoint to keep sessions engaging for learners. She also suggested that practitioners look for videos on YouTube to find tips for making sessions more engaging.
That's blown my mind - how clever, using VR to completely immerse students in the learning. Thank you both Richard and Mike!
Collaborating for success
A common theme of this TeachMeet was the value of working together in relation to technology. Emma Procter-Legg, Project Manager (AmplifyFE) at the Association for Learning Technology, gave an overview of AmplifyFE – a networking community for further education and vocational education professionals.
Emma spoke about how educators can take advantage of social media. Platforms such as Twitter offer the opportunity to join communities of fellow educators and share best practice. AmplifyFE is one such community, with the #AmplifyFE hashtag used to host conversations around education and help practitioners to spread the word about their work.
In addition, Georgina from Remit Training spoke about how they have delivered CPD sessions to develop staff’s digital skills and enhance their delivery of maths and functional skills.
Thank you for bringing us together, it's fantastic to have had the opportunity to share and to hear all the amazing things happening in the sector.
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The Skills and Education Group hosts termly TeachMeets as part of our professional development programme. These are free to attend and open to all.
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