ALDinHE: Supporting and developing the digital literacy of staff

I was very interested to hear from Daniel Clark, a learning technologist from the University of Kent and wanted reflect on his ALDinHE session. It was based on theĀ  E-Learning Summer School at the University of Kent. This is perhaps best described by their website:

The Summer School is a two-day event offering an immersive environment for staff to experience all of the tools and technologies available to them at the University and to engage in wider discussions about Technology Enhanced Learning in Higher Education.

The Summer School operates like a mini conference with invited guest speakers, parallel workshop sessions and interactive discussion groups. Attendees have plenty of opportunity to network with their colleagues and to share their own practice.

This event is open to all staff, regardless of whether you currently use technology in your teaching or not. It may also be of interest to staff who are new to the University of Kent. (University of Kent, 2013)

From the conference presentation, what they achieved seemed to have worked. I think the peer-based elements went a long way to securing this success as, from experience, involving academics helps to show the practical implications for technology. This was also seen with the use of guest presenters to provide tangible examples. Sometimes learning technologists are too abstract and this seemed a really good way to make the sessions practical.

I particularly liked the use of parallel workshops to enable staff to choose strands depending on their ability and interests. I think this is brilliant as it avoids patronising staff familiar with tools while providing those comfortable with technology the opportunity to look at more advanced stuff. I think this model has a lot of potential to break the cycle of dull workshops that no one has time to attend. Running this in summer gives staff the real potential to embed ideas into their teaching.

If you are interested and want to learn more: