Saturday 24 June 2017

Social Media for Academic Studies (SMASH)

SMASH logo created by the students

In December 2016 four of my IT with Business Studies students from Sheffield Hallam University attended the SocMedHE16 conference at Sheffield Hallam University (having individually applied for one of 10 free student places). The students are:
After attending this event I approached the students to see if they would be interested in taking these conversations forward. Under my guidance they formed a student-led group and met weekly. They named the group SMASH (Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam) and created their own logo.

The focus of the group was to look at how social media could be used in enhance learning and teaching. They set out to achieve the following objectives in relation to social media use at Sheffield Hallam University (SHU):

  • Learning ActivitiesHelping staff to identify and use social media tools for communication and collaboration within and beyond the classroom.
  • Organising LearningHelping students and staff to identify and use relevant social media tools to curate and organise information relating to learning.
  • Showcasing LearningHelping students to prepare digital portfolios to openly share outcomes and projects to develop a professional online presence.

The students have created an infographic and written a guest blog post providing examples of how social media can be used to meet these three objectives. Below is a slideshow of the infographic. 

I have shared the students work through social media and was delighted to find that Eric Stoller mentioned it in his keynote at the University of Staffordshire's Learning and Teaching Conference #StaffsLT17. This was tweeted by Sarah Knight 

Eric also included a link to my student's blog post at the HEA Conference in his keynote there.

Aside from producing this work, my hopes were that the students would gain confidence through leading such a project and further develop the skills they have. The experience can be added to their LinkedIn profile and may provide an example to refer to as they undertake interviews for future graduate roles. I'm looking forward to seeing how this group will be taken forward by Corran. Sher has now graduated and both Jess and Ola are out on placement for the next academic year. She already has other students interested in joining her. 

Saturday 3 June 2017

Visiting Fellow at Edge Hill University

I was delighted to receive a letter from Edge Hill University to confirm that the Standing Professorial Conferment Panel of Edge Hill University has agreed to offer me the title of Visiting Fellow within the Centre for Learning and Teaching at the University.

This is is a wonderful opportunity to work with Professor Mark Schofield and others at the University. 

In addition I am looking forward to attending the SOLSTICE Conference as a guest speaker June 4-5 2017. 

My presentation is titled: The Project Based Learning (PjBL) Toolkit: Integrating digital and social media to enhance meaningful reflective practice in project based learning.

Projects may be carried out by both individuals and within groups. The outputs might include a report, presentation, poster, artefact or prototype (physical or digital). Project based learning is “a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.” (BIE 2015).

When undertaking a project, seven distinct stages have been identified that the project owner(s) go through. These are: the question, plan, research, produce, improve, present and evaluate. At each stage students may engage in a variety of activities. This multifaceted form of learning presents opportunities to participate in authentic and meaningful problems and to develop a range of skills along the journey. Reflecting upon these experiences, can encourage students to reconstruct what they have learned, and go on to confidently articulate the skills they have developed (or have yet to develop), and how they can apply these in other situations. Learning how to self-reflect on these experiences and developing a habit of doing so, can have a profound impact on learning. However for some this does not come easily and is often undervalued.

In my talk I will share the Project Based Learning (PjBL) Toolkit and how resources within this can be used to scaffold effective and meaningful multimedia reflective practice, develop confident communication skills and digital capabilities.