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The actual abstract is in the conference schedule, so this is a more informal description of my paper/ research.
I am not a technologist! Feels a little like I should make that clear - what I AM is extremely interested and excited in the possibilities technology make possible in learning and teaching. This paper explores a case study based on my own ICT learning and teaching module, part of a second year module on a BA Education Studies programme. We have changed the module in the last 18 months to try and give creative opportunity for students to develop their own uses of technology, it's potential and it's affordances.
The students are NOT expected to have any technology expertise, but are asked to come to the project with an open mind, be willing to research what technology can do to enhance learning experiences, and to use an blended online and class based collaboration to make their projects come to life.
Why University of the Forest? We started the project with a partnership with a charity that is based in a forest based residential educational facility in Lancashire, England. This proved an exciting venue to hold our first few sessions to explore how we could use technology to enhance what could happen in a clearly 'non-tech' environment. The students used this basis to think what they could do, and the research followed the decisions they made, and the ways in which their ideas and visions were shaped, promoted (and thwarted!) by technology and their uses of it.
It is hoped that this presentation will offer an appraisal of how those charged with taking forward the agenda of change (the students generally hope to work as teachers/ educationalists) experience the uses of technology when designing, creating and delivering learning opportunities.
the abstract for this session can be found on the conference program on the website. This short intro aims to give a little more background on the rationale for the research and a feel for how the session will run.
My reasons for following this line of research were based on a growing retention agenda within the our institution, something I'm sure many are familiar with. Tasked with improving retention rates, I felt before we focus on how to keep students attending, it might be important to understand what makes them attend in the first place and their expectations of higher education. Equally I wanted to find out reasons for why they might not be turning up to class in the hope that findings might help us, as tutors, to better understand our students and meet or possibly alter their expectations.
I'd like for the session to be fairly interactive and whilst I'll be presenting results of my findings, I'm hoping to generate some discussion around your expectations of student's and your experiences in your own settings with regards to student attendance.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you are all looking forward to what will surely be another great conference.
13th–14th June 2012