Friday, 19 April 2013

JISC SMUG and eLearning Technologist event

I attended an interesting event yesterday at Dundee College of the Scottish Moodle User Group (SMUG) and the launch of the JISC Learning Technologist Forum.

The event was a mix of technical presentations and good practice stories. Two chaps from St Andrews University were demonstrating work that they are doing with Adobe Storyline and iPads as well as chatting about the work they do for the medical school. There was a member of staff from Robert Gordon University Aberdeen giving a presentation on 'a day in the life of an eLearning advisor.'

The second half of the afternoon consisted of a member of staff from Cumbernauld College presenting on how video technology can be used in the classroom. However, the highlight of the day for me was a presentation on how to roll out SQA eLearning Professional Development Awards (PDAs) in further education - aimed at experienced staff who are unfamiliar or not confident with using technology in the classroom.

There was a lot of discussion around the fact that, given the massive reform in further education in Scotland at the moment, a lot of the elearning fraternity are fearing for their jobs. I was struck by how much eLearning is supported in other centres, and by quite large teams. You would think in these times of reform, centres would be capitalising on creating opportunities for developing 21st century learning.

There was also another good discussion on pedagogy in eLearning - an area of particular interest to me. I posed a question to the chaps from St Andrews about how they go about developing their materials with medical academics and who makes the decision about pedagogy. I mentioned the work of Price and Kirkwood (2010) and how there is a lack of evidence to suggest that technology does indeed enhance learning. I asked them about how they felt about Price and Kirkwood stating that in research intensive institutions, good learning and teaching (and pedagogy) was almost secondary. They replied quite abruptly, 'Well they are Medics, you would think that they know what they are doing!'

Price, Linda and Kirkwood, Adrian (2010). Technology enhanced learning – where’s the evidence? In: Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future. Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010, 5-8 December 2010, Sydney, Australia. Available at:

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