Though I didn’t post these posts each day in June (and to be honest I didn’t post it each day on the Twitter either) except the final day, I have decided to retrospectively post blog posts about each of the challenges and back date them accordingly. There is sometimes more I want to say on the challenge then you can fit into 140 characters (well 280 these days).
With the rapid change to emergency remote delivery because of the coronavirus pandemic seeing universities being forced to undertake an emergency response to teaching. We saw that many had to quickly and at scale move to remote and online delivery. Many staff were thrown into using online tools such as Zoom and Teams with little time to reflect on how best to use them effectively to support learning.
As we move away from reactionary responses and start the future planning of courses and modules that may be a combination of online, hybrid and blended than we need to ensure that the staff involved in the delivery of learning are able to design and plan for high quality and effective online or hybrid courses. In addition we will need to put contingency plans in case another emergency response is required if there is a second spike in covid-19 infections resulting in a second lockdown.
I did start to think if mapping could be useful in helping staff plan their future course and curriculum design.
When I was delivering the Jisc Digital Leadership Programme, we used the concept of Visitors and Residents to map behaviours and the tools people used. The Visitors and Residents mapping exercise in the main covers digital communication, collaboration and participation. In 2015 following delivering with Lawrie Phipps, the Jisc Digital Leadership Programme I thought about how we could use a similar concept to map teaching practice and curriculum design. The result of this was a blog post published about how to map the teaching and learning.
This year I am attending ALT-C 2016 in Warwick and along with my colleague Lawrie Phipps will be running a workshop on the Wednesday looking at digital capabilities and organisational mapping.
Digital technologies are driving some significant changes in the world of work, and are deeply implicated in others.
Effective use of digital technology by college staff is vital in providing a compelling student experience and in realising a good return on investment in digital technology. To help managers and individuals understand what is needed, Jisc have published a digital capability framework which describes the skills needed by staff in a wide range of teaching, administrative and professional roles to thrive in a digital environment.
What does it mean to be digitally capable? Not just for an individual, but from an organisational perspective. How will you lead using the plethora of digital tools and channels available to you?
The Jisc building digital capability project has been addressing these issues for institutional leaders, for those on the front line of teaching and research, and those who support them. Universities and colleges across the UK have been participating in the pilots for the Jisc Building digital capability project This workshop will bring those experiences to the participants.
A person’s capabilities (what they can do) are no longer attested to simply by their certificates and grades. Digital devices and systems have the capacity to: record learning, achievement, and evidence of practice e.g. using digital video; capture data related to learning and achievement e.g. from learning records, learning environments; organise the evidence e.g. using tags, file structures, structured e-portfolios; showcase learning, achievement and evidence of practice e.g. using a blog/vlog, eportfolio, personal web page. We can use mapping to explore a person’s or an institution’s digital capabilities.
Collaboration between academics, TEL teams, professional services, business support and learner support is critical in ensuring an organisation can build digital capability across the institution and help provide a compelling student experience.
This workshop will ask and provide responses to the following questions, through an individual and group mapping exercise.
How do you build digital capability?
How do you ensure collaboration across the institution to build a breadth of capability to make more effective use of technology?
Why is collaboration essential?
What is the role of leadership in building capability?
Who within an institution needs to be involved?
The Visitors and Residents mapping exercise in the main covers digital communication, collaboration and participation. We then started to think about how we could use a similar concept to map teaching practice and curriculum design. This lead onto thinking about mapping the “learning” of our learners. Where are they learning, is that learning scheduled and formalised? Is that learning ad-hoc? Is it individual, group, collaborative? So the next stage was to map this in a similar manner to the Visitor and Residents. This is the approach that will be used in the workshop.
Structure of the session
15 mins Introduction to what we understand by digital capability and how we can use mapping to explore organisational capability
15 minutes Individuals will map their own institutional contexts in relation to teaching and learning and assessment
10 mins reflection on their maps and the maps created by others in the room. What maps are interesting and what patterns and similarities are their across the maps.
10 mins in groups exploring how collaboration across an organisation could help them to move and inflate/deflate areas on their maps to create an institution where technology supports teaching, learning and assessment more effectively.
10 minutes summary discussion and what next steps individuals and organisations could take and how could they encourage collaboration.
Mapping is an useful exercise to think about practice and though any such map may not be accurate or complete, it does allow you to consider and think about actions and training required to change behaviours or how spaces and tools are used.
Lawrie Phipps and I are often invited to give these sorts of sessions on a more regular basis than other speakers that may or may not be at ALT-C. We thought these biographies might give people a sense of who we might be.
Lawrie, the son of a politician was destined for business but instead got into the business of souls, preaching to congregations across the southern US, also known as “Milk” is a keen follower of the arts and regular helps to organise and attend art and music festivals.
Lawrie resurrected the Arapahoe Hunt Club, a prestigious group of horsebacked hunters who, aided by a band of eager foxhounds, pursued coyote as opposed to the English tradition of foxes.
A keen naturalist, Lawrie has appeared in several natural history documentaries and BBC Countryfile.
Lawrie managed to beat a north sea cod into second place.
Lawrie is from Dudley.
Unknown to most people, James Clay frequently goes by the nickname “Scoot” in his personal life.
James is an expert on the game of whist, according to the Westminster papers: a monthly journal of chess, whist, games of skill and the drama Clay had been “the acknowledged head of the Whist world” for the last thirty years, spending much of his time and attention on whist and piquet.He became chairman of a committee for settling the laws of whist.
Having been elected MP for Hull, he held the seat for six years, when he was unseated after a bribery inquiry. He regained the seat four years later at the by-election and held the seat for another sixteen years.
In the 1980s, Lindeboom became the very first beer James Clay imported after an unlikely introduction to the beer by a local Dutch builder. “It became a cult beer in the local area and we used to keep at least 10 cases in a walk in fridge at the pub for take outs on a Saturday night!”
In 1988 James Clay gained a world record for the world’s largest greetings card. It was nineteen feet high and was sent to BBC’s Children in Need and was shown live on TV.
Using the stage name, Jim Clay, he was a production designer on many famous films including Captain Correlli’s Mandolin, Love Actually and Children of Men.
In 2004, James released an album of music. Though as one of the reviews reads, “Sadly James gave up the music life to pursue playing rock music in local bars.”
James Clay is the 79th ranked of 480 active US West Amateur Middleweights.
In 2011, James Clay has a small part in the film My Week with Marilyn and was later to appear in Financial Crisis in 2016.
James Clay once managed to get funding to go to a conference in Dudley.
Sue Watling from the University of Hull kicks off the second day of the conference.
Her session is titled: Finding and minding the gaps; digital diversity in higher education
She describes the session in the following abstract:
Digital diversity can lead to digital divides. Digitally shy staff are less likely to read the education technology literature, apply for TEL funding or attend conferences on digital capabilities. As interest in blended education increases, promoting digital ways of working for staff who teach and support learning may need to be reconsidered.
Sue initially covered her own background, where she has come from, what she has done, providing a context to her views on digital capabilities.
She did bring up the medieval lecture painting that gets around a bit, but recognises the cultural, historical and social significance of the lecture which is often why we still use and appear to be stuck with them.
Maybe after five hundred years of digital it will be embedded into education?
She discussed the fear of change, which is more prevalent in my opinion than the fear of technology.
People like what they like, they like what they like doing. Sometimes change can disrupt this, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The key appears to be trusting that the change will be positive. The only real consistent in life and work is change.
She reviews Dave White’s 2011 article on Visitors and Residents and decides to extend it to those who aren’t on the continuum. This I have seen before and disagree with, if they aren’t on the continuum then that’s the issue. No need to extend the spectrum. I also wonder if these really exist in a modern university with all their digital systems in place already, even if that is just e-mail and a USB stick?
Sue asks are we finding the gaps in capability and skills. Sue does make the valid point that basic ICT proficiency is a core capability that needs to be addressed. We need to fill those gaps.
She also makes the point about not making assumptions, something I said in my own presentation yesterday.
There is something about spreading the message to all aspects of the university and working partnership.
One of the things we seem to do in the world of e-learning is categorise ourselves and our learners into groups.
One of the key pieces of work on this was from Marc Prensky on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants back in 2001. His premise was the idea that if you were old you were only a digital immigrant and young people were digital natives. As young people were born into a digital world then they were digital natives. Giving a generation a name is one thing, but what people then conjectured was that as they had this name, digital native, they would be able to handle a range of digital tools, services and environments. They would be in a better position to handle online environments then the so called immigrants.
This conjecture is rather flawed and makes a lot of assumptions about behaviours, skills and experience, based on what is really just a name.
Though visitors and residents has gained a lot of traction across edtech, and even Presensky has backtracked away from the term digital natives, we still see the term digital natives used again and again, across the media, on the Twitter and at educational conferences. It would appear, as tweeted by Donna Lanclos, that if the term is used often enough by people then it will become true.
So many people still think digital natives exist and are able to immerse themselves easily into a digital world. If you think Digital Natives exist then replace the word digital with EastEnders (as in the TV programme) and apply same thinking.
So you have EastEnders Natives and EastEnders Immigrants.
Those born after 1985 will be EastEnders natives, they will know all the storylines innately and understand everything about it. They will know all the characters, plots and locations. They will be able to describe Albert Square in detail and how to get there.
Whereas those born before 1985 will struggle with EastEnders, as they were brought up on Coronation Street and Crossroads.
Whereas those who live outside the UK will be wondering what the hell is going on!
So do you still think it’s useful to talk about a generation as being digital natives? Well sorry to say they don’t exist…. hit play!
I like how the mapping exercise makes you consider how you are using various tools and what needs to happen to change that map, how do you become more resident when using a tool such as Twitter for example. Or how do you start using a tool which is currently not on your map, such as a professional blog?
The key thing I like to remind people about when using the mapping that this is a continuum and not a distinction between two groups. Your personal VandR map is not, and should not be a static thing. The mapping changes as new tools are introduced, old ones retire and your role and behaviours change.
In my own professional life, Google+ was a major part of my map in 2014, I would have placed it covering both personal, institutional down the resident’s end of the continuum. Now in 2016 it has shrunk right down and I would say it has moved over to the visitor side of the continuum. In this case the shrinking and movement is out of my control, but what could I have done to mitigate that change? Thinking about how you use tools over time can result in using the right tools in the right contexts. We should also remember that this is not about good and bad, visitor and residents are not about good and bad behaviours, it’s about understanding where you are when online.
The mapping exercise in the main covers digital communication, collaboration and participation. I then started to think about how we could use a similar concept to map teaching practice and curriculum design. This lead onto thinking about mapping the “learning” of our learners. Where are they learning, is that learning scheduled and formalised? Is that learning ad-hoc? Is it individual, group, collaborative? So the next stage was to map this in a similar manner to the Visitor and Residents, but what axes could we use when mapping learning?
On the horizontal axis we have a spectrum from broadcast to engagement. Broadcast could be considered one way, and could be one to one, or one to many. So a formal lecture would be considered broadcast, one way to many students. If lectures have opportunities for discussion and questions, then you can see how that would move down the continuum into engagement. Likewise reading a library book in the library, is also one way, author to reader, but this is more likely to be informal with little potential for engagement.
On the vertical axis we have, well this started me to think. In some respects you could have online and offline. The problem with this feels like the focus is on the tools we use and it’s the tools as well as spaces that I want to place on the map. Also online is really a space in itself. So for me a better choice would be to consider a spectrum of formal and informal. In this instance I see formal as being planned and scheduled, whereas informal is more about flexible, responsive and a matter of personal choice. So what we get is a two axes onto which we can map different activities and behaviours.
What I did next was to map a “traditional” course to the map, the type of thing I use to deliver when I was a Business Studies lecturer in the 1990s and what I experienced at University in the 1980s.
The use of the library, for example, is a space which is used in the main for informal learning and relatively little engagement. Learners choose when to visit the library and makes choices about what they do there. Most of the activity is consuming content (books and journals). Now in more modern libraries we see spaces for group and collaborative working, so as a result I have extended the library into the engagement side of the continuum.
A seminar has an abundance of engagement, but is more formal. This could be a scheduled session, but this is active learning, no passive listening here.
Study groups could be both formal and informal, those organised by the teacher and those self-organised by the students. I also put in the idea that recreational areas (such as a coffee shop) could also be used for learning.
The next map takes that same map as before but adds digital to the learning.
This kind of map is the way in which many institutions digital is added to the curriculum and delivery. The lecturer starts posting links from a Twitter account. They post resources and content to the VLE for learners to use. The VLE used in the main as a repository could be seen as broadcast and informal, learners choosing when to visit the VLE and accessing resources they want or need. They may run the odd webinar or two, mainly using it to deliver an online lecture. The learners may use Facebook to discuss aspects of the course in addition the usual activity of posting pictures of cats and photographs of friends that their friends would rather they didn’t.
One issue that does arise from this kind of approach to embedding digital into teaching and learning is that the previous activities haven’t changed, it’s more of an additionality, a bolt-on to existing practices. You can start to understand why some staff don’t want to engage with digital as they see it as something extra, more work to do.
Now if we draw another map, this time almost starting afresh and rethinking (or redesigning) the entire curriculum.
Someone may be using the VLE extensively for content, discussion, chat, assessment and as a result this will look very different to someone who uses the VLE merely as a place for lecture notes and presentations. When the functionality of the VLE is used more effectively, using discussion forums and chat facilities, you can see how this will be more about engagement and possibly planned (so more formal). You can see how this will change the shape of the VLE on the mapping activity and is broken down into two shapes on the map.
The library and use of the library is both expanded and in some cases formalised, putting the library at the heart of the students’ learning.
Twitter can still be used as a informal broadcast tool, but using a Facebook Group with appropriate guidance and advice, suddenly becomes more effective in supporting learners.
Webinars become online seminars, with discussion and engagement.
Notice how there are still lectures and seminars, smaller than in the previous maps, but still an useful medium for teaching and learning.
The mapping provides an insight into how the curriculum is designed and how learners interact and engage with the different spaces, tools and delivery mechanisms.
The next stage following mapping you may want to then consider how you could push or pull certain behaviours, as well as inflating or shrinking them.
What needs to happen to inflate and expand the VLE on the map? How do you push (or expand) the use of the VLE into the engagement side of the continuum? What training or guidance needs to be in place to make that happen?
How do you increase usage of the library and use it for both informal and informal learning?
What does the library need to do, to increase engagement? Is there changes they can make to how the space is used, or do they need to engage with curriculum staff to enable learners to make more effective use of the resources and staff within the library?
What does the institution need to do to informal spaces to increase learning activities taking place there? A coffee shop may have groups of learners engaging in various activities related to their course, but it may not be the best kind of environment for this to happen, there’s no wifi or power sockets for example. How could learning be encouraged in informal spaces?
As well as mapping your own teaching practice, you could use the concepts to map the curriculum design for the whole course.
You could even think about the teacher mapping their practice and then the learners in a separate exercise mapping their experience. Then compare the two maps!
Mapping is an useful exercise to think about practice and though any such map may not be accurate or complete, it does allow you to consider and think about actions and training required to change behaviours or how spaces and tools are used.
Thank you Lawrie Phipps for your valued input and comments on this blog post.
Over on “Don’t Waste Your Time” David Hopkins posts a nice cartoon of how to support staff in using emerging technologies and his interpretation of the roles within the cartoon.
‘Laggards’. Those who follow on once a technology has proven itself.
Late majority. Those who will join the implementation of something new once the initial buzz has quietened down and the research is starting to support its use.
Early majority. Like those in the ‘late’ majority, they will wait for the back to be broken on the testing and development before adopting and implementing, but will have been keen observers from the start.
Early adopters. Being involved and helping developing new uses for existing technologies (as well as driving developments) the early adopters will often be closely tied with the ‘innovators’ through professional connections.
Innovators. The first to know, the first to try, and sometimes the first to fail. These ‘technology enthusiasts’ will not stop when something doesn’t work, they’ll often try again, alter their approach or expectations, and keep looking around to see if there’s anything else they could use to improve work or learning efficiencies.
This is a nice model and people who are responsible for embedding the use of learning technologies will very likely recognise these stereotypes.
David asks with whom you identify with?
My observation is that we are all of them. Which one we are depends on which technology we are using.
For a long time I was a laggard (sceptic) with regard to Second Life and virtual worlds, really couldn’t see the value and how it could be used in an effective (and efficient) manner to enhance teaching, learning and assessment. It took a while and I remember seeing a fantastic presentation from Bex Ferriday on how Second Life was been used to create art displays that couldn’t exist in the real world. However despite that really nice exemplar, I still remained very much a conservative sceptic with regard to Second Life.
On the other hand, having used mobile technologies for years before the iPhone and the iPad (going back to the 1990s), I would describe myself as an innovator with regard to mobile learning. Very much the enthusiast and early adopter.
I would describe the model above more of an continuum than discrete roles that we fit into, and that where we sit on that continuum depends on where we are and how we use the technology. When you start to talk like that you suddenly realise that the Visitor and Residents model from David White and the work undertaken by him and Donna Lanclos resonates much more.
You could describe the enthusiast and early adopters as resident’esque behaviour and the behaviour of sceptics and the conservator majority as that of visitors.
One of the aspects of the V & R model I like is that as well as the horizontal continuum you also have a vertical continuum where technology is used between a professional and personal capacity.
Many years ago I was delivering training to a group of sixth form staff, one practitioner was quite proud of the fact that she was a technophobe, however when questioned further she not only used the internet, but used IM and Skype on a regular basis to talk to her daughter in Australia! What is apparent talking to many practitioners who don’t see the need or feel they can use technology to support teaching, learning and assessment, in their day to day life use technology all the time for their own needs and in their non-work life. These individuals can be sceptics in a professional capacity, but early adopters in their personal use of technology.
Models like the one above which shows learning technologists as bridging the chasm assume that there is a chasm that needs to be bridged and that people aren’t willing to cross it. It assumes that people’s view of technology is consistent across all technologies. It can be a starting point, but if you then move to the mapping exercise of the V & R model then it helps practitioners (and managers) realise that they are early adopters and sceptics and everything in between and that all of them can help each other to cross the many different technological chasms out there.
Of course one of the real challenges is to do this is from an holistic organisational perspective and get everyone to start to embed and increase their use of learning technologies where appropriate to enhance and enrich teaching, learning and assessment.
Ned Potter has published an interesting slidedeck on the relevance of Dave White’s work on Visitors and Residents on social media in libraries.
He describes the many different ways in which libraries can engage with users and visitors using a range of social media tools. One of the challenges when using social media in libraries is to focus on using it as a broadcast mechanism and not thinking about how to engage and interact with users.
There are lots of existing and new tools out there that can be used to promote, engage, collaborate and inform.
He does make the usual assumption of seeing the concept as separating visitors from residents into two distinct groups, when as Dave White makes clear in his video is much more of a continuum. When it comes to social networks people can be both visitors and residents depending on the context and what they need or are doing. You can be a visitor to Facebook, but you can also be a resident in Facebook. Resident in a personal capacity interacting with friends and family, and a visitor in a professional capacity, going to Facebook pages as and when required.
Dave’s recent video on Visitors and Residents and the mapping exercise shows much more clearly how the concept can be used to describe how an individual interacts with social media, and additionally the continuum between professional and personal.
Understanding how both the concept of Visitors and Residents and social media can be used to increase usage and engagement with users of the library is really useful, and Ned’s slidedeck and accompanying blog post gives you lots to think about.
One suggestion that I found helps, is if the entire team engage in using social media and that the tools are also used for internal purposes. This helps build familiarity with the tools, but also helping to understand what sorts of activities on social media work and what may not. One of the questions you will need to ask is how are you going to increase the social media capability (media literacy) of your team?