#Take5 #14: The best way to SLOW down and focus?

Close your eyes and relax…

Sam Aston and Helena Ross from The University of Manchester, have been focussing on wellbeing and meditation to help students calm down, relax and focus. Here in this #Take5 blogpost they share their techniques and strategies – and invite us to share our practices with them.

Sam Aston is a Teaching and Learning Librarian working in the Learning Development Team at the Alan Gilbert Learning Commons at The University of Manchester Library. She works on My Learning Essentials to deliver skills support and is currently applying for senior fellowship of the HEA and conducting a research project on academic skills expectations of transition students as they move into HE. You can find her on Twitter @manclibrarian

Helena Ross is a full time student studying sociology at Manchester and is a member of the student team the Library employs. The team work on a number of different projects alongside permanent staff, examples of this are collecting survey data from students, recording podcasts for My Learning Essentials and assisting with events across the Library to name a few.  

Close your eyes and relax…

In response to recent talk about the value of slowing students down to allow them to rest and reflect, we thought about what we do to support students here at the University of Manchester Library. Wellbeing features strongly as a strand within My Learning Essentials (MLE) programme of skills. MLE works with partners in The University’s Counselling Service to deliver sessions as part of the overall development programme. Throughout the year Counselling delivers sessions entitled ‘Calm your brain/learn to concentrate’, ‘Making the most of your mind’ and ‘Challenging unhelpful thinking habits’ and they are well attended.

This week, exams have started at The University of Manchester. Students are feeling the pressure building up to perform to the best of their abilities and this can distort their focus. During the exam period we dedicate more time to the pastoral care of our students, offering ‘Calm your brain and have a croissant’ sessions, acknowledging the fact that we operate in a 24-hour building and that students should have breakfast to get themselves off to the best start.

During this time we will often ask students to sit and meditate at the beginning of the workshops that we facilitate. For three to four minutes we ask the students to close their eyes and to focus on nothing but their breathing whilst relaxing their bodies. Students have responded well to this, and, though they look a little surprised, when asked they usually join in.

Another way that we promote mindfulness is using the MUSE headbands (http://www.choosemuse.com/) which are a helpful way to teach mindfulness meditation techniques. They allow you to work through progressively more challenging exercises at your own pace and record your progress, helping to build confidence and gain a better understanding of how to calm your brain.

While the headbands and iPads are an exciting showcase of the new technology that students can access through the Learning Commons, with practice students can use the meditation exercises they teach independently, whenever they need. While headbands allow students to practise the techniques and give a better understanding of how mindfulness helps the brain, the meditation exercises themselves can be beneficial in all kinds of situations from sleeping soundly to gathering your thoughts in an exam. Most of the exercises are only a couple of minutes long, making them a suitable choice for students who don’t feel as if they have the time to attend a full-length meditation session (these people are also likely to be those in most need of relaxation techniques!) and can even fit into the short breaks recommended for productivity by techniques such as Pomodoro.

There is no one ‘type’ of student who will particularly benefit from MUSE or the meditation workshops – after all, stress is one of the most universal issues that students deal with in university. Short mindfulness breaks can be just as useful in helping students who are disorganised and who struggle with procrastination as they can be in encouraging those who overwork themselves to take time out when they need it! 

We are sure that there is more that we could be doing and we would be really interested to hear from others about their approaches to supporting the wellbeing of students or staff.

 

Take5 #13: The best way of being creative?

To coincide with a week-long run of #creativeHE facilitated by Norman Jackson –  16-22 April 2016 – we are posting a #Take5 from Norman – asking us to join in a conversation about creativity in the disciplines. Join in the conversation in Google+ here:
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/110898703741307769041

#Where Does Creativity Reside in the Discipline?

Surveys of academics/faculty in different disciplines (1) reveal that sites for creative thinking and action appear to be available in most aspects of disciplinary practice. Sites for creativity can be connected through the idea of disciplinary inquiry and problem solving. They can also be connected to Dellas and Gaier’s (2) concept of creativity ‘the desire and ability to use imagination, insight, intellect, feeling and emotion to move an idea from one state to an alternative, previously unexplored state’. This is fundamentally a process we call ‘development’ and I think the idea of development incorporates all the thinking and actions that enable us to bring imagination into concrete existence (3).

Question: This is the list of things academics in different disciplines considered to be associated with being creative? WHAT DO YOU THINK? WHAT’S MISSING? Can you illustrate how these things work together in concrete examples of creativity in disciplinary practice?

Creativity in the Disciplines
Being original – is understood as creating something new and useful to the discipline. For most academics this is embodied in the processes and products of research many of whom are active contributors. The idea is also connected to invention and innovation. For example in history this could mean: new approaches to solving historical problems; new techniques to gather and analyse data; new approaches to validate evidence; new interpretations of evidence; new forms of history and new forms of communicating historical information.

Making use of imagination – is about using mental models in disciplinary thinking. It is a source of inspiration, stimulates curiosity and sustains motivation. It generates ideas for creative solutions and facilitates interpretation in situations which cannot be understood by facts or observations alone. Disciplinary problems and concerns provide an essential context for the use of imagination.

Finding and thinking about complex problems – the engine of academic creativity is intellectual curiosity – the desire to find out, understand, explain, prove or disprove something. Curiosity leads academics to find questions that are worth answering and problems that are worth solving.

Making sense of complexity, synthesising, connecting and seeing relationships – Because working with complex problems often involves working with multiple and incomplete data sets, the capacity to synthesise, make connections and see new patterns and relationships is important in sense-making (interpreting and creating new mental models) and working towards better understandings and possible solutions to difficult problems.

Communication – the communication of ideas, knowledge and deeper understandings are important dimensions of creativity in the discipline. The symbolic language and tools and vehicles for communicating are all part of the disciplinary heritage. Story telling is an important dimension of communication. Disciplinary cultures are largely based on writing using the conceptual and symbolic language and images that have been developed to communicate complex information. Story-telling and story-writing are important sites for academics’ creativity.

Resourcefulness – in the professional disciplines many roles involve solving difficult problems requiring ingenuity and resourcefulness. For example, a social worker or medic might need all their resourcefulness to access and acquire the resources to solve a client or patient’s problem.

Do join in the conversation via #creativeHE: https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/110898703741307769041

Sources
1Jackson, N.J. and Shaw, M. (2006) Developing subject perspectives on creativity in higher education, in N.J. Jackson et al (eds) Developing Creativity in Higher Education: an imaginative curriculum, London and New York: Routledge 89-108 Available on-line athttp://www.normanjackson.co.uk/creativity.html
2 Dellas, M. and Gaier, E.L. (1970) Identification of Creativity in the Individual Psychological Bulletin 73, 55-73
3 Jackson N J (2016) Introduction Creative Academic Magazine April 2016

Take5 #12: The best way of supporting student research?

Generating Research Conversation with “The Wheel”

Terry Elliot, Western Kentucky University Writing Project, February 2016

I have a semester-long research “thing” that all of my students take part in. I call it a “thing” because it could range from a standard research paper (their default setting I fear) to an extended informational blog to ebooks to collaborative handbooks.  The purpose of this early assignment is to get them thinking first about their personal and disciplinary passions AND connecting those with their immediate community in the classroom.  Passion and connection.

I also introduce a really effective sharing technique that I call the “wheel”. The wheel allows students to get up, move around, converse, and then sit back down to reflect.  I love how it seems to be a whole activity, a gestalt.  The “wheel” can be easily adapted for other purposes.  In fact the next assignment is for participants to reduce their original list of ten to five topics that they then turn into research questions.  Rinse and repeat.

Here is the Friday assignment:

  1. Bring 10 ideas/concepts/things that you are curious about to class on Friday. Make sure at least five of them are from your major/discipline. These are topics. It doesn’t yet matter that they are too big, too small or just right.
  2. Make sure you the tutor, as facilitator, have ten of these ideas/concepts/things as well.
  3. Count off students around the room as either “one” or “two“. Have the “ones” form a loose circle in the center of the room. Have them face outward from the center. Get the “twos” to pair off with the “ones“.
  4. Participants introduce themselves to each other.
  5. The twos will tell the ones about their listicle of ten items.
  6. The facilitator can either participate or listen from the side and take notes (or not). When the facilitator senses completion between the ones and twos (plus a little extra time) she announces, “Switch clockwise.”
  7. Repeat the conversations until the participants return to their original positions.
  8. Repeat the “wheel” with the inner ring rotating and telling their listicle of ten.
  9. After completion sit closely together (or standing) do a “post-mortem”. I practice ultimate time here. I ask the question and wait until I have a response.

Here are some questions I use:

  1. any discoveries made?
  2. which one of all the items did you like the best? explain.
  3. which one of your own items did you like the most? explain.
  4. did you drop any items for consideration as a research topic?
  5. how did you share your list?
  6. did you get better at sharing your list? explain.
  7. are there items you might cross off your list after this exercise? what are they?

This is messy, but it is all about the idea that students are part of a research community who can help each other. I always leave time for some social dynamics. I have five or more students in each of my classes who are not native speakers.  This allows them to practice speaking and the repetition allows them to feel more and more comfortable as they work with their classmates. Often students discover what not to research. Others find something else that someone else shared seems to fit their needs. By keeping the exercise as open as possible, keeping the initial conditions simple, then I believe that the resulting mess can be extremely productive.

Anything here can be adapted. Participants can be facilitators. You can vary the tempo of the “switching”.  In other words, it can be a game with no definite outcome in mind.  Whatever comes will come.  If it fails, ask them why it fails. In fact make sure you include time for an exit slip at the end for feedback for making it better and make sure you use that feedback to begin the exercise the next time you use it.

I love this technique. It can be fast or slow.  It can be interrupted or completed. It is adaptable. It gets students moving forward and ‘keeping on’.  And best of all you can move the class toward community and conversation.  Always be connecting is my mantra and this little tool is a happy way to do that.  But remember the advice of weightlifters:  all lifting programs work until they don’t.  They will come to view this as routine if you use it willy nilly.  Make sure you vary it or better yet have other ‘music’ in your conductor’s repertoire to mix it up.

Terry Elliot says: I am a father, a husband, a farmer and a teacher. I have taught K-12 for ten years and university for ten years. My areas of interest are digital rhetoric and composition, tech pedagogy and connectivist MOOCs. I have been a tech liaison for the Western Kentucky University Writing Project, a facilitator for three years for the National Writing Project’s CLMOOC, and a tech advisor for my university’s technology advisory group. I have several online presences including my blog here: http://impedagogy.com/wp/  as well as on Twitter: @telliowkuwp or @tellio . My current interests include online research methods, RSS technology, multimodal rhetoric, and social annotation.

 

Take5 #11: What makes a great exam?

CREATING ACTIVE LEARNING IN EXAMS

Inspired by October 30, 2015 iad4learnteach blog with permission from Simon Bates.

In our last Take5 blog, we looked at what makes a great lecturer – this post explores what makes a great exam.

Simon Bates is Senior Advisor for Teaching and Learning and Academic Director for CTLT at UBC Vancouver. He has spent time re-thinking classroom practice – AND he has also designed a new two-stage exam that includes both individual and group elements – and that he argues better models real world issues with which graduates will have to engage – and that in the process offers students a more authentic and meaningful exam experience.

Simon’s model has been implemented in over 140 courses and across a range of faculties. In the two-stage exam, students take an individual conventional exam in the first two thirds of the exam time – and a final group exam in the last third. The group exam draws on the same set of questions as the individual exam, although there may be more challenging questions.  Typically the individual exam is worth 85% of the final mark, with the remaining 15% allocated to the group exam.

Although this may seem a strange process on first reading, Bates points out that the two stage exam is a logical extension of the kinds of active learning methods that are firmly embedded in our teaching practice: group discussions, peer-to-peer- and problem-based learning.  Moreover, they turn exams away from assessment of learning to assessment as learning – and they model the problem solving that we engage in in the real world far better than an individual exam ever could.

The group exam is a noisy, dynamic process, where practically every student contributes. The stakes are high and discussions can be intense.  Perhaps the most striking thing Simon reported about the group exam is that afterwards the students leave with smiles on their faces – they are happy!

The mark awarded for each group exam tends to be higher than the marks scored in the individual exam, so the two stage exam process represents a grade boost for most students.  For about 5% of students the individual exam marks are higher than the mark awarded to their group.  In these cases UBC awards the student the mark scored in the individual exam.  This ensures that the marks for the group exam can never be used to penalise students.

What are the advantages of this system?

In this model, the exam becomes a learning experience instead of a measurement activity. In the discussions, students have to explain reasons for their choices – they have to argue and make cases for their points of view. There is a celebration that peer-to-peer learning occurs in the exam. There’s the opportunity, too, for all students to contribute.  And there’s a prevailing sense that the students like this model – it’s a logical extension of the kind of group-based learning they’ve become used to in the classroom and they’re aware that it’s an opportunity to boost their grades.  And it’s a great learning opportunity providing immediate feedback at a moment when they actually care about it.

And the disadvantages

Importantly, it’s only something that can work where students are already used to working in groups.  If more traditional teaching methods have been employed in the course, with little or no learning through collaboration and discussion, then the group exam is unlikely to find favour.

The dynamics of the group may be an issue, as with all group work, the process can be disrupted by a domineering student or participants who are not pulling their weight. It could be easy for students to get side-tracked or not manage the time or tasks well. It could be challenged on accessibility and inclusivity: how can students with different needs, the requirements for extra time or for quiet spaces to work, be accommodated, for example?

Arguably the pros outweigh the cons.  And research with the students seems to add weight to this.  In open-ended questions about the process, the positive comments exceeded the negatives by four to one.  Students appreciated the discussions and the opportunity to learn why their original answers were wrong or right. They liked approaching the questions from new perspectives and, of course, the opportunity to enhance their grades.  On the negative side they struggled with coming to a consensus about the answer, and with managing the time. They also struggled if there were knowledge gaps in the groups.

And finally

The two stage exams seem like a logical extension to the kinds of active learning that have become so important during class time.  They shift us away from a situation where students take an exam in order to get a grade, towards a process where learning and engagement takes place as part of the exam itself. Simon argues that they are a very efficient method of assessment and very easy to implement. Indeed, after hearing about Simon’s practice, it seems strange that we have not already thought about how to make exams more active and interactive.  If you are interested in developing your assessment practices – do consider enrolling on CELT’s MAF module.

About the ideas man

Simon Bates is Academic Director of the Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology at the University of British Columbia. Prior to that he worked at the University of Edinburgh where he was Professor of Physics Education, and Dean for Learning and Teaching in the College of Science and Engineering.  

Going Further

In CELT we offer the Managing the Assessment and Feedback Process (MAF) module as part of our MALTHE – and as a standalone CPD course. It is a creative and interesting module, exploring assessment of, for and as learning – and we argue that it is possible to design assessments that are authentic, engaging and purposeful… Typically, no one tends to explore how to make the exam process itself more meaningful – and that is one reason why Simon Bates’ engaging blog on exam practice caught our eye.

Take5 #10: What makes an excellent lecturer or teacher?

Sebastian Boo, a former LondonMet student, shares his current LSE-based research into student views of excellent teachers. Yes – they mention clarity, voice, passion and performance… BUT there is also great emphasis on CARE and KINDNESS… Have a read.

Students’ views of excellent teachers
Who were your best teachers or professors? I remember my primary school teacher, Mr Johnson, for his captivating storytelling, my secondary school biology teacher, Dr Higby, for his knowledge and enthusiasm; and my physiology professor John Stevens’ ready wit and humour.

Research indicates that teaching quality is the single most significant factor in determining student achievement (Mincu 2015; Biggs 2011; Looney 2011 & Goe 2007). Helping teachers excel is therefore important.

There is no shortage of advice educators can turn to for tips on how to develop and hone their craft. Nonetheless, most teachers do not achieve excellence. According to a survey of 219 university students at three London universities the proportion of their teachers who were perceived as ‘excellent’ was, on average, a mere eight per cent. However, the students felt that the vast majority of their teachers were ‘good’. The 2015 UK National Student Survey indicates that 86% of UK students are satisfied with the quality of teaching in their university. It would be great if all that satisfactory or good teaching could be transformed into excellent teaching!

The LSE Study
In order to find out what distinguishes the very best teachers from the merely good, 110 students at the London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE were interviewed and asked two questions:
If you do have, or have had, an excellent professor/lecturer/teacher please describe what makes him or her an excellent professor/ lecturer/teacher? and What advice would you give to professors/ lecturers/teachers who want to be rated as excellent by students?

The students interviewed were all registered with the LSE Neurodiversity Service. Neurodiversity is an umbrella term for conditions such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder. The term is used to emphasise that whilst neurodiverse students may process information and learn in different ways to neurotypical students, these differences should not be construed as deficiencies in academic potential and intellectual ability.

Due to the typical challenges neurodiverse students face, such as keeping up with note-taking in lectures because of slow handwriting speed and sustaining prolonged concentration, they are likely to be particularly responsive to teaching quality and highly aware of what in their view constitutes excellent teaching.

The transcripts of students’ responses were analysed for themes by two qualitative researchers working independently. Initially 81 themes were identified. These were condensed into a list of 35 main themes and subsequently reduced to list of ten core themes, which were finally distilled into three meta-themes.

The themes
Clarity was the first meta-theme, which was subdivided into four domains:
First – a clear structure to lectures, including simple-to-follow slides and handouts, as well as signposting throughout the lecture.
Second – easy-to-understand examples and explanations. One interviewee stated:
He did not use complicated language. He took us through the topic in a step-by-step way. He used a lot of simplified examples. If we did not understand one way, he would explain it in another way…
Third – the questioning and challenging of students in order to check their comprehension. Fourth – vocal clarity.
There is nothing particularly unexpected in these answers which, in aggregate, represented 48% of all the themes that appeared in the transcripts.

Care and Kindness
Care and kindness was the second meta-theme, representing 30% of all the themes in the interview data. This is a little more surprising. One can understand university students valuing clarity in their teachers, and one might assume students would also welcome expertise, enthusiasm, energy and humour; but care and kindness, although less obvious, are valued greatly.
Students described excellent professors and teachers as people who displayed three attributes:

First – interest. They understood students’ concerns and were genuinely interested in, and ambitious for, them.

Second – respect. They treated students as equals and created an environment in which it felt safe to take intellectual and emotional risks. One study participant said:
Being treated as an adult and as an equal was important. You felt like you were on his level. He did not make you feel put down for not knowing stuff.

Third – time. The final attribute in the care and kindness meta-theme was time. Students felt that excellent teachers made time for taking questions during class, without students feeling rushed; as well as being available after class for questions.

Passion and Performance!!
Performance, the third meta-theme, represented 22% of the themes identified in the interview transcripts. This encompassed the teachers demonstrating energy, enthusiasm and passion, using humour and story- telling, and being authentic. Students used descriptions such as:
the excellent teachers I have had have got a passion for their subject and this is really clear in their teaching because they are enthusiastic when they talk to you and explain things. And so often as well you can see their personality really coming through. They are really alive.

In Conclusion
These findings suggest a model of excellent teaching in which the performance aspect of teaching initiates emotional engagement from students, who engage both with the teacher and the subject matter of the class. The clarity aspect promotes students’ intellectual engagement with the learning material. Finally the kindness and care aspect promotes sustained emotional engagement with the teacher and course over the longer term.

The research has prompted two future projects. The first will investigate whether there is a difference between neurodiverse and neurotypical students in their views of excellent teaching. The second will assess whether a short course designed to help teachers enhance the clarity, performance and care aspects of their teaching has an impact on how their students rate those teachers.

References

Biggs, J.B., (2011). Teaching for Quality Learning at University: What the Student Does. London: McGraw-Hill Education

Goe, L., (2007). The Link between Teacher Quality and Student Outcomes: A Research Synthesis. National Comprehensive Center for Teacher Quality. Available at http://www.gtlcenter.org/sites/default/files/docs/LinkBetweenTQandStudentOutcomes.pdf (accessed 22nd October 2015)

Looney, J., (2011). Developing High-Quality Teachers: Teacher Evaluation for Improvement. European Journal of Education 46, 440–455.

Mincu, M.E., (2015). Teacher Quality and School Improvement: What Is the Role of Research? Oxford Review of Education 41, 253–269.

Pollak, D., (2009). Neurodiversity in Higher Education: Positive Responses to Specific Learning Differences. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Take5 #9: It’s Autumn 2015/16 – and we’re getting creative with Chrissie Nerantzi

Welcome back to Take5 – the user-friendly staff development blog from CELT at London Metropolitan University.

This autumn we are launching Take5 by joining in with Chrissi Nerantzi’s open course: Creativity for Learning in HE. Like everybody else we are much too busy … BUT if we don’t make time for some creativity – then what’s it all about anyway? So – we are sharing this invitation with you and hope that you too will make the time – take the leap – and join us… Come on in… the water’s lovely!!

Tips:

  • If you are from LondonMet and would like to join in a real life group to focus on this course – do email s.sinfield@londonmet.ac.uk and let us know that you are interested.
  • Why not blog about your engagement with Take5 and with #creativeHE:
    • Blog posts need only be 300-500 words long – be swift and reflective.
    • Your audience will be other staff, just like you – so write your posts for them: why will they be interested in what you have done or learned? What will you want them to think or do after reading your blog post?
    • Blogs are less formal than essays or articles – find a writing style that works in a blog.
    • Add pictures (photographs or drawings) to make your blog more user-friendly and readable.
    • Read other blogs – each time you read someone else’s blog – ‘like’ it – leave a Comment. The point with the blogs is to create a friendly dialogue about what we are doing.

NOW – Here’s Chrissi’s invitation:

“Dear colleagues,

The Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching at Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom will be offering the open course Creativity for Learning in Higher Education. I’d like to invite individual colleagues from across the HE sector and groups of colleagues from the same institution and their tutors to join this course as part of their CPD given them the opportunity to spice up their teaching.

We will explore the following themes:

    • Conceptualising creativity in higher education
    • Enablers and barriers of creativity in higher education
    • Learning through play, games, models and stories
    • The role of curiosity and other intrinsic motivations for engagement
    • Developing creative methods and practices
    • Evaluating a pedagogical innovation.

This course will be used as a case study for my PhD research in open cross-institutional academic development, with a focus on collaborative learning and I would like to invite learners to participate in this study.

The open course site for Creativity for Learning in HE can be accessed at:

https://courses.p2pu.org/en/courses/2615/creativity-for-learning-in-higher-education/

The facilitated online part of the course will be offered over 8 weeks starting on the 28th of September 15 until the 20th of November. Participation is flexible and can be fully tailored to personal and professional circumstances and time available. Collaborative learning opportunities will be there as an option for those who wish to learn with others.

I hope this sounds interesting and useful for you and colleagues. Please share this invite with others who might also be interested …

To get started access:

https://courses.p2pu.org/en/courses/2615/content/5638/

Connect with other learners in our online community at:

https://plus.google.com/communities/110898703741307769041

Really looking forward to seeing you there.

Please note, ethical approval for this study has been granted by Edinburgh Napier University and further details about the project will be shared with group/course/module/programme leaders who are considering joining us with a group of colleagues.

Thank you for considering this. Best wishes,

Chrissi (Nerantzi) from CELT, MMU”

Take5: Blog#8: Digital Storytelling

The digital age is predicated on the notion of student as producer (of knowledge) – as opposed to earlier education ages that appeared to position the student (only) as a consumer of knowledge. If helping your students to become digitally capable and proficient, why don’t you set students the challenge of making digital artefacts and/or telling digital stories? Here are some strategies for developing Digital Storytelling that we have used.

SEE: http://edtechteacher.org/tools/multimedia/digital-storytelling/ – for school examples to inspire and resource your own practice.

Join #ds106 and sign up to the teaching blog roll
DS106 – or digital storytelling 106 – started as a MOOC, massive open online course, which created an international community of practice of educationalists interested in developing their and their students’ digital capacities in engaging and dynamic ways. The tutors have curated the website and its tasks and resources so that it continues to act as a meeting point for digitally developing edu-cationalists. #DS106 has Quickstart Guides, Assignments, Handbooks and Daily Create challenges – and you can use them yourselves or require your students to use the resources to become more active and powerful in digital media. Tip: Sign your class up to #ds106 and enrol their blogs on the blog roll: http://ds106.us/teaching-ds106/

Design engaging assessments: Digital Artefacts
For certain assignments or parts of assignments, rather than writing an essay or report; require students to produce a digital artefact that sums up their learning – or to produce a teaching and learning resource that would convey learning about the key issues on the course. To assist with this we have built the AniMet Challenge: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/animation/ – please use it if you feel it would be useful.

Resources from our PLN
One way that we inspired our students to get digital was to show them the follow-ing digital artefacts – and then ask them to ‘Develop a Digital Me’. That is, we asked them to set their own short digital project where they used an artefact to tell a story about themselves or about studying. The final activity on the Project was that they had to design a Poster for an Exhibition that would showcase their learning.

Join in: Make an Artefact
Before you ask this of your students, why don’t you explore the following arte-facts. Choose one – and create a short ‘story’ about any aspect of learning, teaching or assessment that particularly intrigues or engages you. Post the link to your artefact in your blog – and add the link to the Comments part of this one!!
 Terry Elliot’s Zeega: http://zeega.com/162387
 #ccourses collaborative poem: https://titanpad.com/sXgaTJMniP
 Alan Levine’s (cogdog) You Show project: http://cogdogblog.com/2014/12/15/you-show-show-notes/
 Angela’s thinglink: http://www.thinglink.com/scene/360982057624535042#tlsite
 Fran Monaghan’s VoiceThread – beautiful, gentle and a sort of low-tech, high-tech: http://voicethread.com/?#q.b4186028.i21377601
 And Ess Garland’s timeline – and now for something completely different!
http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/101035/Edmooc-Digital-Artifact/#vars!date=2013-02-28_06:07:26!
 Theo Kuechel’s PinBoard – if an ‘essay’ is a form of curation about the learning on a course –this is a very different form of curation:
https://pinterest.com/theok2/education-and-digital-culture/
 David Hopkins’ Prezi – brilliant images – excellently chosen clips! http://prezi.com/e9y6ipsovanb/digital-artefact-edcmooc/
 And his whole blog on the topic: http://www.dontwasteyourtime.co.uk/elearning/digital-artefact-for-edcmooc-wk-5/
 And from #edcmooc 3: https://storybird.com/books/what-may-be/

LOOK HERE
This is what our students produced when teaching themselves technology with the tools of their choice: http://learning.londonmet.ac.uk/epacks/posters-digital/ .
Have a look – explore the Posters and artefacts.
WE WERE VERY PROUD OF THEM!

Resources for the Future
Alan Levine is one of the leading lights of #ds106 and has curated these didacti-cal tools for developing our practice and our competences:
http://50ways.wikispaces.com/
And here is Alan Levine’s older iteration of that site: http://cogdogroo.wikispaces.com/StoryTools