So I really enjoyed the SOLSTICE conference today and my preso on institutional collaboration went really well. I really liked thinking about institutional spaces and whether we are trying to force new, web-based tools into old spaces and pedagogic approaches, without changing our curriculum design and delivery. e.g. Wondering why a blog or social network does not work when it is disconnected from the learning and assessment processes, so that we maintain a traditional studio or lecture plus essay/project approach, rather than a social networking/problem-based and patchwork assessment approach.
We are moving towards a position where e-learning professionals are confident enough to push progressive pedagogies - we need to accept that students are learning and developing literacies and self-efficacy and agency in new environments and networks. Moreover, there is a risk that the spaces and tasks that we use to develop academic literacies are disconnected from our students social spaces and networks and literacies. In delivering these types of connections we need to rethink pedagogic paradigms to focus meaningfully upon participation and user-centred pedagogies, in order to connect problems to actions and tools, and to connect networks or collaborative efficacies and concepts to individual outcomes and attainment.
The other points that struck me were the role of structured play in learning and teaching - how to make the use of technologies and the interactions they promote as "fun" [as noted in our e-learning strategy]. There is something to be said here for the themes and principles promoted by the EYFS and how they impact on our understanding of technology-enhanced learning. More will follow on that.
Finally, my good friend LP argued that my preso, which argued for the spreading of a social networking approach and culture across an HEI involving broad academic and academic-related teams working, sharing and collaborating through Web 2.0 tools, demonstrated that we were preparing an exit strategy from the institutional VLE. I argued that we were working on upskilling staff and especially programme teams to collaborate to make better decisions about the tools that they use in the curriculum. These may be Blackboard-based or Web 2.0 tools. This means that we have an institutional maturity, based upon acceptance, experience of and engagement with e-learning tools, that allows us to migrate technologies if we have to. Moreover, those staff are better able to make informed, devolved, empowered decisions now because of the spread of tools and people to advise on their use.
A move towards participation and local engagement means that I might become redundant!!