Jun 062017
 

Today I am at the CILIPS Conference 2017: Strategies for Success. I’ll be talking about our Digital Footprint work and Digital Footprint MOOC (#DFMOOC). Meanwhile back in Edinburgh my colleagues Louise Connelly (PI for our Digital Footprint research) and Sian Bayne (PI for our Yik Yak research) are at the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme Forum 2017 talking about our “A Live Pulse”: YikYak for understanding teaching, learning and assessment at Edinburgh research project. So, lots of exciting digital footprint stuff afoot!

I’ll be liveblogging the sessions I’m sitting in today here, as usual corrections, additions, etc. always welcome. You’ll see the programme below becoming 

We have opened with the efficient and productive CILIPS AGM. Now, a welcome from the CILIPS President, Liz McGettigan, reflecting on the last year for libraries in Scotland. She is also presenting the student awards to Adam Dombovari (in absentia) and Laura Anne MacNeil. She is also announcing the inauguration of a new CILIPS award Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year Award – nomination information coming soon on the website – the first award will be given out at the Autumn Gathering.

Keynote One – The Road to Copyright Literacy: a journey towards library empowerment Dr. Jane Secker, Senior Lecturer in Educational Development at City, University of London and Chris Morrison, Copyright and Licensing Compliance Officer, University of Kent

Jane: We are going to take you on the road to copyright literacy… And we have on our tour shirts – these are Copyright exception shirts… They are a parody Guns and Roses tour shirts…

Now, we want to ask you: How does copyright make you feel? [cue some voting] Mostly confused…

Chris: When we’ve done this across the country people have said it made them warm and fuzzy, very happy, but also worried, anxious or confused and faintly cautious…

Jane: Now Copyright get Chris and I really excited… But what gets us even more excited… Star Wars! When they were working on the prequels to star wars, George Lucas’ advice to the young film makers was “Don’t be Afraid”…

Chris: Fear leads to a fight or flight. That’s not what you need… you need to work through it calmly and diligently…

Jane: So lets take this back a bit…

Chris: I was a musician, so I thought what job can I do around music… So I started working at PRS – who handle performing rights for music… Then moved onto the British Library working on copyright…  Music turns out to be less glamorous than I expected, libraries turned out to much more glamorous than I expected! My life changed, I moved to Kent and now work at University of Kent as Copyright Officer, and they are brilliant in supporting me to do things like this!

Jane: I went to Aberystwyth, worked with old newspapers – out of copyright so really it wasn’t my thing… I works at the National History Museum…. Then at the British Library… When I moved to UCL to work on digitising lecture materials and course materials copyright became my thing, researching this area… Then onto LSE, working with staff on training, working with academics around copyright literacy… And just recently I moved to University of London in a lectureship role, again educating people on Copyright.

Chris: Now, in 2014 we finally saw some reforms to Copyright Law following the Hargreaves Review…

Jane: When that review came out in 2011 I needed a speaker, someone mentioned Chris… And that was the beginning of a beautiful friendship really… A few years later I was at a conference in Dubrovnic and heard about a concept called “Copyright Literacy” and I wanted to run some research around that – 600 of you completed that, and actually research on copyright literacy took place across 14 countries..

Chris: Out of that work we started looking at resources, including designing Copyright: the board game (CC licensed) which helps you to work out

Jane: Chris and I are part of the Universities UK Copyright and licensing group. We also have a book out: Copyright and e-learning: a guide for practitioners (second edition). One thing that came out of our first research was librarians being nervous and concerned about copyright… We wanted to do more in this area… So we decided to do some work on phenomenography and Copyright as an experience, as a phenomenon, to enable us to understand appropriate educational interventions.

Chris: We categorised the experiences in various ways:

  • category 1: copyright is a problem
  • category 2: copyright is complicated and shifting
  • category 3: copyright is a known entitute requiring coherant messages
  • category 4: copyright is an opportunity for negotiation, collaboration and co-costructuion and understanding…

Jane: Copyright is a problem… The idea of copyright as an imposition… and not well aligned to goals of librarianship, of making material available to people…

In category 2 it’s about copyright as complicated, shifting, changing… “for non-copyright queries the answer is yes, or no, or a series of instructions but for copyright questions it’s maybe, or maybe, or maybe…”

Chris: In category 3 it’s about behaviour change, compliance, avoiding getting into trouble with publishers or the law.

The fourth category is about copyright as an opportunity… It can be about being assertive. When you look at what you share or publish… It can be easy to make sweeping assumptions… So you have to have conversations to reach a shared understanding of copyright… It’s best practice in the industry… And it’s important to also bring that to the profession…

And now that the one minute silence for London is observed… It’s Jane and Chris’ Don’t be Afraid Quiz Time… I won’t blog this as it is fast paced and there are prizes at stake! However… I have learned that HG Wells’ work only came out of copyright this year… 

Jane: So, what does this all mean?

Chris: What would the world be like without copyright literacy?

Jane: It would be a sad world… But why… Without copyright people don’t want to share things, people don’t know how to advise people… We can end up being risk averse – playing it safe and saying no… There are works in the public domain – if we don’t know what we can and can’t do, we see a reduction in what is available. And actually for libraries that would increase costs – rights holders will happily sell you licenses that you may not need – you may be able to use works under copyright exceptions…

Chris: So, we’ve been trying to find ways of bridging the gaps… It’s clearly a complex subject in a complex environment… We want to connect the practitioners to the activists. Some of us are really aware but there is  a gap, people working in the profession but not focused on copyright. There is also the concept of creators and consumers, and copyright enables that… But the realities of that distinction is unclear… Automatic copyright can be useful but also challenging.. And then we have rightsholders and libraries, and the need to work together to address barriers… There is also a thing about legal language, and the idea that copyright can only be explained in legal jargon, but there are ways to communicate it in a clearer way…

We have been doing work on the role of the copyright officer – and are analysing data from a survey on this…

Jane: To come back to copyright literacy, and critical copyright literacy… We have traditionally focused on training, and one day training events… I think we need to think differently. I spent some time with Prof. John Naughton in Cambridge.. He’d use the example of “think about your children at school and sex eductaion… Do they need education, or do they need training?!”.

There is balance between training and approach.. We want to develop people to think individually and find their own answers.. It’s about avoiding binary questions and become comfortable with uncertainty. There is no one way to Google, or one way to explore a catalogue, and there isn’t just one answer in copyright.

Chris: To put this into practice Jane and I have been setting up groups and get togethers in our local and London and South East f0r communities of practice around copyright.

Jane: And that’s also about rethinking copyright education for librarians… Bridging the gap between a one dat course and a PG Diploma in Copyright law, focusing on what librarians need to know about copyright, focusing on the copyright queries we work with. And we have to talk to library schools about the copyright education young professionals are getting during their qualification…

So, that leads us to the point I wanted to make: Copyright literacy is a journey not a destination (“Morrison and Secker (with apologies to Ralph Waldo Emerson)”). And you have to be comfortable with all that uncertainty.

So, some take aways…

Chris: Copyright is about knowledge, money and power. It is also about privelges, in all meanings of that word.

Jane: Copyright literacy means sharing and working as a community.

Chris: Librarians! Copyright belongs to you, own it! Indeed it belongs to everyone – not lawyers, but everyone.

Jane: Our next tour stop is Manchester! Join us! Now, we don’t expect you to love copyright. We want you to not be afraid, confused, baffled, but to see it as an exciting opportunity, and something that as a librarian you have some special priveleges…

Find out more at: https://copyrightliteracy.org or on Twitter: @UKCopyrightLit

Q&A

Q1: When I was a copyright librarian the question was “will I be sued”… ?

A1, Chris: It does come up when I speak to copyright officers. Copyright is civil not criminal law. Your organisation is often where responsibility lies. But rarely does anything go to court, usually it is demands for money, you pay it or deal with it in a process to make your case… That process is crucial as it makes it an efficient and helpful process.

A1, Jane: That does seem to be a major fear for people… Not many actual court cases though…

A1, Chris: There are very few.Though one in Australia on photocopying, few recently though… There’s not a lot of money in suing libraries… But there is a risk to be managed, and libraries need to show they are doing the right thing…

A fab opening session from Chris and Jane – not a surprise (the fun factor – always some copyright surprises and learning!) based on previous experience of their talks and workshops but delightful nonetheless… 

Parallel Session 1: Overcoming disability and barriers: Using assistive Technologies in libraries A joint presentation from

  • Craig Mill – CALL Scotland and Edinburgh Libraries award winning Visually Impaired People Project
  • Jim McKenzie – Lifelong Learning Library Development Leader – Disability Support,
  • Paul McCloskey – Lifelong Learning Strategic Development Officer (Libraries) and
  • Lindsay MacLeod – Project Volunteer

Craig Mill: I am from CALL Scotland one of the things we do is to provide an equipment pool for schools and children, so that they can be tried out. For instance we provide Augmentative and Alternative Communications devices and tools – traditionally these were hugely expensive but there are now inexpensive iPad apps that do much of this.

We also have learning resources, many of them supported by funding from NHS Scotland.

We also provide Books for All, which includes texts prepared to be accessible for those with additional support needs… Students can search for books, download them, and use them on their own devices. These are curriculum books, they are provided as PDF in a variety of formats, including large print for visually impaired students… You can magnify, adapt, and you can use preferences to alter document colours for high contrast, you can activate read out loud… You can customise to meet childrens needs. Lots of our Scottish Government funding goes towards the Books for All database.

We also have adapted digital assessments. When you have the SQA physical past paper, you can also now use this service to download and use digital past papers. Again these are a PDF type format with answer boxes. The pupil can go in, type in answers… And you have annotation tools… Including notes/sticky notes… These can be reduce costs by thousands for scribes… Can just have a student with a laptop and headphones now…

We also have Scottish voices… Traditionally they have been quite mechanical… We have a collection of Scottish synthetic voices: Heather; Stuart; Caitilin (gaelic). We have students using these in Scotland in schools, colleges, HE. And if you have a computer voice, you need something to read that…

We also have a tool called “WordTalk” that sits in Word. It just sits there and reads back to you as you type, it’s a free text-t0-speech plugin.

As well as that we have lots of information on assistive technologies. We are asked a lot about supporting pupils with dyslexia. So we now have quite a comprehensive resource on writing, reading, some case studies as well… e.g. Hamish uses OneNote, Notability, iPads… Some really useful stuff here.

And under our downloads section, if you are looking for resources, you’ll find the posters and leaflets – which we’ve become popular for. The most popular by far is our iPad Apps for Learners with Dyslexia resource.

Finally, my colleague Allan recently wrote a blog article on scanning pens and reading pens. These are now much much more accurate than they used to be. He wrote a comparison of the reading pens. In England there is an “exam pen” in exams… But it doesn’t have dictionaries etc. built in. Whereas the C-Pen reader has lots of features added in, including dictionaries… They are the market leaders. Allan compared these with apps that do similar things.

Paul, Jim and Lindsay

Paul: I’ll talk about how our work ties to local and national priorities. Then Jim will talk about the project, and Lindsay will give his experiences as a user.

Our message today is about helping visually impaired people to be empowered to be self-sufficient, with technology enabling access to information. Over 180k people in Scotland are effected by a significant level of sight loss. And the aging population and rise of diabetes mean that this is expected to double in Scotland in the next 10 years.

Blind and partially sighted people can feel isolated. In work on users needs, in their own words, they gave their priorities. VIP supports three of these:

  • That I can access information, making most of opportunity that technology can bring.
  • That I have someone to talk to.
  • That I have the support that I need.

And VIP helps support citizen engagement, community participation and participation in the library.

Jim: We can purchase equipment, but we also provide expertise and the time to get people set up. Four years ago Apple was leading the way with technologies… Setting it up wasn’t the easiest in the world. We had an existing resource centre that people used regularly. We had new users… We wanted to get new users engaged – posters in the library wouldn’t cut it. So we went out… To the RNIB Cafe, where we set up an audio book group, we talked to the eye hospital, we talked to guide dogs, we talked to the thriving macular degeneration group in Edinburgh. We concentrated on these groups and worked hard to develop those relationships.

We thought hard about location. We had 28 libraries, we set up in 10. We looked at safety in crossings and roads. We looked at the location of bus stops – we started a group in one location but no-one came as the bus was too far, crossings weren’t good. We also looked at facilities, and we looked at staffing. We gave some training in what we were offering. We got them to set up a patron, show them how to use wifi – if they could do that, it would be fine. Not all apps are accessible, but many are. There are podcasts. There is the RNIB Tech Talk podcast. Apple has Blind Vis, a group for those with visual impairment. There are apps for VO – Voice Over – to get you used to the interface.

Things we have to guard against included not spreading ourselves too thin – hence 10 not 28 libraries. We have used volunteers and champions. And we had to stay up to date, technology changes really really quickly. We get asked about books and newspapers. One group were asked what they really missed – one guy missed poker… Surprisingly hard to find an accessible app. We eventually found one – Theta Poker (where money is not involved) and I actually recommend it as an app designed for a visually impaired person.

It can be challenging to find and keep great volunteers, but when you find a great one it makes all the difference… On which note, over to Lindsey…

Lindsey: My personal involvement was back in 2014, through an introduction by the RNIB to Jim and what he was doing. I wanted to bring my experience in econtent into volunteering, and the Edinburgh Libraries were doing exactly the kind of things I wanted to do… When you are blind or visually impaired there are fewer choices but the Apple products are really great – not an advert, others are available!

I was really impressed by the groups I met… But the speed of progress is variable. The demographics of blind and partially sighted people tends towards older people and it takes longer to learn later in life, so we work with that. There were differences between blind and partially sighted people. The latter group can try to grasp onto what they are used to doing – and have to be convinced that with a blank screen they are still getting the functionality. That was a learning curve for me but I’ve had a great mentor. Abilities vary… And people’s familiarity with technology varies – the swiping idea can take many back to year zero though.

With these groups we do ask what they want from these devices. Some want to make a change. Some want just emails or audiobooks… But they learn there is virtually no limit to what they can do with an electronic device. The learning is not a linear classroom approach – given the mixture of abilities. So it’s more like a learning spiral, revisiting basic techniques, ensuring they understand what devices can do.

The local library environment is largely great. There is privacy. The staff are very welcoming. And ease of access is important – it’s daunting to navigate a new city without a guide. Libraries should be a universal space, and the things we learn require face to face interraction. Group feedback is essential, to tailor to needs, and to know when to revisit things and refresh them.

As a volunteer this has been a hugely rewarding experience, and I thank the libraries for that.

Paul: I hope Jim and Lindsey have given you an idea of the service. Right now we are looking at evaluating the programme, using RNIB and Online Today. We are also working with them to reach a wider group. We are seeing growth in volunteer, and we are seeing growth in capacity as important. Having a dialogue with our service users has been crucial, for instance deaf-blind families. The reinforcement and training have to continue, be refreshed, almost continually refresh the project, in order to reach a point of sustainability. It’s also brilliant that many who came to use for support are now leading the classes…

Traditionally people with visual impairment have been behind with technology, but with this project that is no longer the case. We’ll be running Six Steps courses over the next few months – see http://www.readingsight.org.uk/ I’m going to conclude with a video of Christine Morris – probably our best speaker of the bunch but sadly she couldn’t come along today!

Chris: I became partially sighted then blind and because of that didn’t do much and didn’t feel as able to leave the house… Then I got an iPhone… I went to the City Library and was shown by Jim how to use it… I then moved to using the Craigmillar library… At a certain point a number of us moved to iPads… It was a big jump but we all made steady progress… It was quite challenging as new people kept joining the group, but volunteers came in to help… Then I couldn’t make the same journey… I now go to the Stockbridge Library – much closer to home – and go regularly.

The technology has changed my life. I can now use email to stay in touch with friends across the world, I can listen to music, listen to the radio, I can download podcasts – The Archers, From Our Own Corespondant, and Inside Radio. And if you have a little sight you can use the camera, and the iPlayer – not useful for me… But I gather I can now record it with audio descriptions so I will try that!

Jim tried to make it that we didn’t just use the technology for practical things, but for fun things too… games and whatnot. I really like doing crosswords – I still do the Daily Telegraph crossword every day with my husband but I can’t do it on my own. But Jim showed me a crossword app I can use on the iPad on my own.

I think it’s so useful for people like me, who would otherwise be quite isolated. It has been a lifeline and I hope to go on and do much more with the technology!

Q&A

Comment: It’s great to hear first hand from a service user.

Paul: We presented to the COSLA judges a year ago. We had Chrissy and she was great – I’m sure that’s why we won! She highlighted things that seem small but can be a big challenge – like the crossword puzzle.

Chair: Some of you may be aware that a digital strategy piece of work has taken place, with a survey. One question on assistive technology only 11% of libraries claim to have assistive technology… But that may be about understanding definitions… So we will come back to that…

And now it’s networking lunch and exhibition time… 

Parallel Sessions 2: Spotlight on research – Papers on: Linked Data

Opening Scotland’s library content to the world (Dr. Diane Pennington, University of Strathclyde)

Thanks for coming to hear about linked data right after lunch! I will give an overview of Linked Data for those of you who may not be sure what it is…

So, a quick note on the evolution of the web (1989-now). We started with Web 1.0, hand-coded HTML pages, accessible and reliable, but not interactive; then web 2.0 with Facebook and Twittter, everyone can post, share and respond without extensive technical knowledge. Web 3.0 or the Semantic Web is about new ways to imagine and combine information on the web…

When Tim Berners Lee outlined the Semantic Web in terms of using URIs as names for things – so Strathclyde’s name on the semantic web is http://www.strath.ac.uk/ for instance.

When someone looks up a name, provide useful [RDF] information. Think grammatically here in terms of understanding relationships in a structured way. And we can include links to other URIs so that people can discover new things.

Anyone that uses Google is using Linked Data. When you see that panel – the Knowledge Graph – that is based on linked data from wikipedia, YouTube, etc.

So that’s the based of linked data, open data..

In 2015 the Scottish Government published an Open Data Strategy. They want any public service creating non-personal, non0commercially sensitive data to share it as linked data. ANd then the Scottish Government’s “Realising Scotland’s full potential in a digital world: A Digital Strategy for Scotland” (2017) this is further reinforced. And there is an official Scottish Government open linked data statistics page.

But this isn’t all where it should be… And what about libraries implementing linked data… Why should we do it? Well because peoplw can more easily find library resources on the web – through Google not (only) through our catalogue; more cerative applications based on library metadata; opportunities for cataloguing innovation and efficiency.

Back to Tim Berners Lee’s star rating of linked data… We are a long way from 5*s now.

So I have been doing a survey of Scotland’s Linked Open Data, with over 120 responses… A lot more people know what “linked data” means, rather than “semantic web” – a very related term. When I asked what it means, they knew it was about resource sharing, linking, availability and connectedness…  When it came to what “semantic web” means themes were around improved web searching, more structured online data for better organisation… But many of the definitions were not really correct…

When we asked if libraries had implemented, or were planning to implement any linked data… Not on the whole, which is unfortunate. Some concerns and limitations was about licensing constraints – permission needed from database providers to link. Teach practitioners what linked data can concretely achieve… Lack of knowledge – decisions made further up the chain? Potential loss of control of data. Concern that digitisation is linked to monetisation… And what to link to…

Despite that wider set of government strategy priorities, and NLS actions in this direction, there remain barriers to implementation… Lack of awareness, lack of time…

This is ongoing research, and I’ll be publishing the survey analysis at some point. I will be looking at Scottish library websites. I also want to do interviews around those plans/lack of plans… I also want to increase awareness among the ILS community around linked data and semantic web to potentially increase uptake..

Towards an information literacy strategy for Scotland (Dr. John Crawford)

Brief background here. I directed the Scottish Information Literacy Project (2004-2010). We built up a great network of contacts and collaborators. After I retired we shifted to the Right Information Community of Practice, founded in 2012. We communicate by blogging, email and twitter with meetings twice a year.

We bring together a diverse range of library sectors and representatives from education and skills bodies…

We have done various things… Including activism. In 2014 the Royal Society of Edinburgh report on Spreading the benefits of digital participation interim report came out… And we submitted a lengthly response which duly ended up in the final report. It outlined the role of libraries, and of information and digital skills… And the need for those skills to be embedded throughout the lifespan. These are all good, but hard to do.

We managed to meet with the minister in June 2015, we focused on democratic renewal for a better informed society. There was a further conference in 2016. We were able to improve links with other relevant bodies. The minister wanted a focus on “digital literacy” rather than “information literacy” which means she wouldn’t give us money…

But we live in a different world now. Many opportunities to vote and, in some cases in Scotland,  that included 16 and 17 year olds, bringing information literacy to a new group in a new way. After the referendum there was an increased interest from young people in politics and engaging in that type of debate.

Another area here is “health literacy”… This is tough information to get our heads round, and it matters greatly. 43% of English working-age adults will struggle to understand instructions to calculate a childhood paracetamol dose… That’s very basic and crucial literacy…

One of the things I tried to do when chairing the information literacy project was try to focus on particular innovation area – including Konstantina Martzoukou’s work with refugees that was presented this morning for instance. That was supported by an information literacy organisation… And connected information literacy to background policy documents…

Bill Johnston chairs the Older Person’s Alliance looking at older people and literacy around good health, pensions, recreation, etc. Lauren Smith is working on political engagement of young people, and the role of school librarians in political information literacy with young people. And we have making it easy – a health literacy policy for Scotland.

How do we evaluate services like this? And what kind of performance indicator can we use? It needs to be precise, and be a genuine indicator of success. I had a look at the literature… And it kept coming back to a special issue of Library Trends that I co-edited around 2011. Particularly work by Andrew Whitworth, which included “information literacy policy documents should be about information literacy and not something else” – sounds obvious but often they are actually about something else, e.g. IT skills. He also stated that such policy documents should have some sort of government support and relevance. They should be fully cross-sector. They should be informed and preferably led by the professional bodies of the countries concerned, and should be collaborative across organisation.

The other paper was by Woody, where he presented his “ten commandments” which included: patience and perseverance; find an in-house champion; link to the 21st century; resistance to change; don’t bite off more than you can choose, etc.

Whitworth’s criteria, particularly that one of information literacy being muddled with the digital agenda, have proved quite thorny. From Woody’s work the issue of champions has been partly addressed by attracting support from professional bodies, other professions and activities. Aiming for the top has been more problematic. Linking information literacy to specific long standing goals and reforms have been key to our activities. We’ve done our best to pilot test and experiment objectively deliberate on that.

If you want further reading I will recommend that 2011 issue of Library Trends, 60 (2). Strategic policy making issues in information literacy, in Library and information research, 40 (123), 2016 which includes articles by Lauren Smith and Bill Johnstone.

Q&A

Q1 – me) I was part of the RSE Inquiry Committee and we did have a lot of discussion about the relationship between digital literacy and information literacy – in a way it is all information literacy and we were aware of that, but also keen to focus on the specific challenges and issues around digital in that report. But I’d agree that information literacy is the fundamental set of skills.

A1 – John) It took so long for CIIPS to be interested in information literacy is the predominent skill set. IT skils and digital literacy skills, do naturally lead onto information literacy. I think we failed to make our case a number of years ago, and should have done.

Q2) Why wouldn’t the minister fund information literacy?

A2  John) If you speak to a government minister you have to look to those around and behind them… Civil servants do have an agenda of their own, and they do present that to the government ministers.. They have successfully presented the digital literacy agenda to ministers… Something that was encouraging was that the minister – Fiona Hyslop – did connect the idea of digital literacy to wider information literacy.

Q3) What is the kind of potential for linked data in libraries?

A3) Say all of our libraries in scotland shared catalogue records in linked open data, then it would also appear, not just videos and that type of content, when someone searches Google for e.g. “Loch Lomand”.

Comment 4) I work for the Scottish Government civil service. I would say it is a bit more positive now, with the digital strategy launched this year. It has taken us a while to make that link between information literacy and digital literacy. Slow progress but it is happening…

Q5) For small public libraries what is the first small step we should take?

A5) I would say what is the unique thing in your library, and focus on that, the quick wins… and make it available as linked open data.

Q6) How do we prioritise linked data over other issues when we are strapped for resources and have many priorities?

A6) Partly its about accountability, findability, transparancy to those that pay for our libraries through taxes, council tax, etc. A public accountability approach can be helpful.

Parallel Session 3: If I googled you – what would I find? Managing your digital footprint Nicola Osborne, Digital Education Manager, EDINA 3.15-3.35pm Refreshments and exhibition

Slides from my session will be available on my presentations and publications page shortly… 

Keynote 2 – Securing the future: where next for our community in 2018 and beyond? Nick Poole, Chief Executive, CILIP

This has been such a good event, it always has such a good buzz, and it is such a privilege to be part of. I’m talking about securing the future, but it’s not about us securing the future for ourselves, we’re securing the next generation’s right to learn, to be informed.

Two years ago there was a presentation here from IFLA about Sustainable Development Goals. These are th ebigger context for the work all of us are doing. Whatever the outcome of 8th June it will be a fresh start for your daily work, to make sure there is opportunity for these people.

We are living in a future that is transformative, and we are the people to make that happen, whether we realise it yet or not. We are a powerful community of information professionals. We are not just librarians, we are information managers, we are data professionals, we are knowledge managers. And it is so important that we are united in our values, and so excited about where we go next as a community.

CILIP members are embedded across the spectrum of public sector, private sector, third sector, all types of organisation. There are over 60,000 of us. And the CIBR estimates that 100,000 jobs for knowledge professionals in the coming years.

So you may have seen Securing the Future, our action plan 2016-2020. Our goal stated there is to “put library and information skills at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society”. We want talented, creative library and information professionals everywhere. To should about what we do. We have three connected goals around being stronger and more inclusive as an organisation.

We have come a long way together as the four CILIP regions. A lot of what we speak about, our campaigns, are about delivering real, measurable change in the opportuniities for and status of librarians and information professionals.

I just wanted to pause to thank everyone for the fantastically effective #LibrariesMatter advocacy campaigns. When you win here, it benefits the wider community across the UK, it is media coverage and impact and meaningful stories of how we make a difference that I can take to government to explain what we do, that we can do these things too.

I really admire that in Scotland you have a little big of swagger and confidence about your libraries and where you are going, and we want to learn from it. And it makes a difference. In the local elections every single party made an above the line commitment to libraries.

And that has led into a national school library strategy for Scotland by the deputy First Minister for Scotland. We know that is words, but it can make a real impact, it is happening, it is hard to go back on. And I can take that back to UK government and make the case for England too .

As you may know we have been working with Chris Riddell (@chrisriddell50) to build our arguement about the huge importance of libraries and schools for literacy, for early years.

We have just launched, after announcement of the election, the #factsmatter campaign, calling on all parties to use evidence based campaigning. Most have signed up, though one – I won’t name them – said “that sounds like a trap!”

Facts DO matter. We shouldn’t tolerate fake facts, fake new, in our politics. Big Issue founder John Bird has advocated for us and continues to do that. We have celebrities and public figures backing this.

We have the “A Million Decisions” campaign demonstrating how librarians make a difference to healthcare, the lives and money saved because of knowledge and information. Coming to the NHS England commitment to libraries. We are absolutely delighted that there is a sister campaign – “A Right Decision” – in Scotland with NHS Scotland.

We are starting to look at how we develop a skilled workforce for the future. We do see retirements and redundancy, but we also see a huge influx of new entries to the profession. We have to develop skills, to ensure transferable information skills. I want young kids to say “I want to be a librarian” and for their parents to be proud of that!

So, we have to develop solutions and routes into the profession that opens us out…

Some announcements here. In our event in July in Manchester we will be launching a sector-wide Ethics Review. We will also launch a Public Library Skills Strategy for England, partnering with the Society of Chief Librarians. And that’s all about opening up the pathways.

Finally, how do we become a bigger, better, more inclusive professional association. Right now we represented about 15% of the sector. Other professional associations represent more like 23%. So to do that we need to make membership more accessible, more affordable, and make sure we champion equality, diversity, and truly represent the sector.

We will build our member networks, we will work on new standards, communities, and publications. And we will continue to build partnerships with organisations and companies that help us achieve our goals.

Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress, says “When librarians get together, something great happens”. We know that, we believe that.

And we aren’t securing the future for ourselves but for that new generation, for those that need us to be there.

Thank you to all at CILIPS, and here’s to CILIP and CILIPS working together to make the difference to 2018.

Q&A

Q1) You said information skills are at the heart of a democratic society… Isn’t it the case that CILIP has been a bit of a latecomer to information literacy. You and I were on the board in 2011 when we were asked to endorse the Alexandra Proclamation, which had been published 5 years previously… We are catching up but … We’ve had a Scottish and a Welsh Information Literacy project, when will there be a CILIP-led Information Literacy.

A1) Great question. We had three asks of political parties: to support public and school libraries; to acknowledge that the future is data driven; and that we need to have a workforce with information literacy skills to prepare them for the world. I think information literacy will have impact when there is an article in Tesco magazine. Facts Matter has been a really good opportunity to do that. And we need to build something after the election.

Comment) I think that whole campaign is spot on, and it’s great that that has tied into something so current and bigger than the sector, and created new opportunities.

A2) I’d like to say it was long plotted… Honestly I was on an ebay shop doing badges and decided it was the right slogan. Two organisations came to us on the back of the campaign, including the Royal Statistical Society, as they saw real opportunities to work together to build an information literate population.

President’s closing remarks – Liz McGettigan

I won’t go into huge detail but I have to thank Kathy and Sean for making such a brilliant seamless event. Thank you our sponsors, and Alex and our AV team who have been spot on. Most of all thank you to all our speakers, you have inspired us all. There have been fabulous presentations across such useful areas over the last two days. We have been impressed with projects on working with refugees, working with health information, such a range. When people say “libraries are just about books”, think back on all these amazing projects you are all delivering out there! I never cease to be amazed by what you are doing. I hope you go home inspired and galvanised. And it’s not about Sean, Kathy, Nick and I, it’s about all of you advocating for what you do, getting out and talking to media. So get out there!

Apr 092017
 
Digital Footprint MOOC logo

Last Monday we launched the new Digital Footprint MOOC, a free three week online course (running on Coursera) led by myself and Louise Connelly (Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies). The course builds upon our work on the Managing Your Digital Footprints research project, campaign and also draws on some of the work I’ve been doing in piloting a Digital Footprint training and consultancy service at EDINA.

It has been a really interesting and demanding process working with the University of Edinburgh MOOCs team to create this course, particularly focusing in on the most essential parts of our Digital Footprints work. Our intention for this MOOC is to provide an introduction to the issues and equip participants with appropriate skills and understanding to manage their own digital tracks and traces. Most of all we wanted to provide a space for reflection and for participants to think deeply about what their digital footprint means to them and how they want to manage it in the future. We don’t have a prescriptive stance – Louise and I manage our own digital footprints quite differently but both of us see huge value in public online presence – but we do think that understanding and considering your online presence and the meaning of the traces you leave behind online is an essential modern life skill and want to contribute something to that wider understanding and debate.

Since MOOCs – Massive Open Online Courses – are courses which people tend to take in their own time for pleasure and interest but also as part of their CPD and personal development so that fit of format and digital footprint skills and reflection seemed like a good fit, along with some of the theory and emerging trends from our research work. We also think the course has potential to be used in supporting digital literacy programmes and activities, and those looking for skills for transitioning into and out of education, and in developing their careers. On that note we were delighted to see the All Aboard: Digital Skills in Higher Education‘s 2017 event programme running last week – their website, created to support digital skills in Ireland, is a great complementary resource to our course which we made a (small) contribution to during their development phase.

Over the last week it has been wonderful to see our participants engaging with the Digital Footprint course, sharing their reflections on the #DFMOOC hashtag, and really starting to think about what their digital footprint means for them. From the discussion so far the concept of the “Uncontainable Self” (Barbour & Marshall 2012) seems to have struck a particular chord for many of our participants, which is perhaps not surprising given the degree to which our digital tracks and traces can propagate through others posts, tags, listings, etc. whether or not we are sharing content ourselves.

When we were building the MOOC we were keen to reflect the fact that our own work sits in a context of, and benefits from, the work of many researchers and social media experts both in our own local context and the wider field. We were delighted to be able to include guest contributors including Karen Gregory (University of Edinburgh), Rachel Buchanan (University of Newcastle, Australia), Lilian Edwards (Strathclyde University), Ben Marder (University of Edinburgh), and David Brake (author of Sharing Our Lives Online).

The usefulness of making these connections across disciplines and across the wider debate on digital identity seems particularly pertinent given recent developments that emphasise how fast things are changing around us, and how our own agency in managing our digital footprints and digital identities is being challenged by policy, commercial and social factors. Those notable recent developments include…

On 28th March the US Government voted to remove restrictions on the sale of data by ISPs (Internet Service Providers), potentially allowing them to sell an incredibly rich picture of browsing, search, behavioural and intimate details without further consultation (you can read the full measure here). This came as the UK Government mooted the banning of encryption technologies – essential for private messaging, financial transactions, access management and authentication – claiming that terror threats justified such a wide ranging loss of privacy. Whilst that does not seem likely to come to fruition given the economic and practical implications of such a measure, we do already have the  Investigatory Powers Act 2016 in place which requires web and communications companies to retain full records of activity for 12 months and allows police and security forces significant powers to access and collect personal communications data and records in bulk.

On 30th March, a group of influential privacy researchers, including danah boyd and Kate Crawford, published Ten simple rules for responsible big data research in PLoSOne. The article/manifesto is an accessible and well argued guide to the core issues in responsible big data research. In many ways it summarises the core issues highlight in the excellent (but much more academic and comprehensive) AoIR ethics guidance. The PLoSOne article is notably directed to academia as well as industry and government, since big data research is at least as much a part of commercial activity (particularly social media and data driven start ups, see e.g. Uber’s recent attention for profiling and manipulating drivers) as traditional academic research contexts. Whilst academic research does usually build ethical approval processes (albeit conducted with varying degrees of digital savvy) and peer review into research processes, industry is not typically structured in that way and often not held to the same standards particularly around privacy and boundary crossing (see, e.g. Michael Zimmers work on both academic and commercial use of Facebook data).

The Ten simple rules… are also particularly timely given the current discussion of Cambridge Analytica and it’s role in the 2016 US Election, and the UK’s EU Referendum. An article published in Das Magazin in December 2016, and a subsequent English language version published on Vice’s Motherboard have been widely circulated on social media over recent weeks. These articles suggest that the company’s large scale psychometrics analysis of social media data essentially handed victory to Trump and the Leave/Brexit campaigns, which naturally raises personal data and privacy concerns as well as influence, regulation and governance issues. There remains some skepticism about just how influential this work was… I tend to agree with Aleks Krotoski (social psychologist and host of BBC’s The Digital Human) who – speaking with Pat Kane at an Edinburgh Science Festival event last night on digital identity and authenticity – commented that she thought the Cambridge Analytica work was probably a mix of significant hyperbole but also some genuine impact.

These developments focus attention on access, use and reuse of personal data and personal tracks and traces, and that is something we we hope our MOOC participants will have opportunity to pause and reflect on as they think about what they leave behind online when they share, tag, delete, and particularly when they consider terms and conditions, privacy settings and how they curate what is available and to whom.

So, the Digital Footprint course is launched and open to anyone in the world to join for free (although Coursera will also prompt you with the – very optional – possibility of paying a small fee for a certificate), and we are just starting to get a sense of how our videos and content are being received. We’ll be sharing more highlights from the course, retweeting interesting comments, etc. throughout this run (which began on Monday 3rd April), but also future runs since this is an “on demand” MOOC which will run regularly every four weeks. If you do decide to take a look then I would love to hear your comments and feedback – join the conversation on #DFMOOC, or leave a comment here or email me.

And if you’d like to find out more about our digital footprint consultancy, or would be interested in working with the digital footprints research team on future work, do also get in touch. Although I’ve been working in this space for a while this whole area of privacy, identity and our social spaces seems to continue to grow in interest, relevance, and importance in our day to day (digital) lives.

 

Jun 152016
 

Today I’m at the University of Edinburgh Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme Forum 2016: Rethinking Learning and Teaching Together, an event that brings together teaching staff, learning technologists and education researchers to share experience and be inspired to try new things and to embed best practice in their teaching activities.

I’m here partly as my colleague Louise Connelly (Vet School, formerly of IAD) will be presenting our PTAS-funded Managing Your Digital Footprint project this afternoon. We’ll be reporting back on the research, on the campaign, and on upcoming Digital Foorprints work including our forthcoming Digital Footprint MOOC (more information to follow) and our recently funded (again by PTAS) project: “A Live Pulse: YikYak for Understanding Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Edinburgh.

As usual, this is a liveblog so corrections, comments, etc. welcome. 

Velda McCune, Deputy Director of the IAD who heads up the learning and teaching team, is introducing today:

Welcome, it’s great to see you all here today. Many of you will already know about the Principal’s Teaching Award Scheme. We have funding of around £100k from the Development fund every year, since 2007, in order to look at teaching and learning – changing behaviours, understanding how students learn, investigating new education tools and technologies. We are very lucky to have this funding available. We have had over 300 members of staff involved and, increasingly, we have students as partners in PTAS projects. If you haven’t already put a bid in we have rounds coming up in September and March. And we try to encourage people, and will give you feedback and support and you can resubmit after that too. We also have small PTAS grants as well for those who haven’t applied before and want to try it out.

I am very excited to welcome our opening keynote, Paul Ashwin of Lancaster University, to kick off what I think will be a really interesting day!

Why would going to university change anyone? The challenges of capturing the transformative power of undergraduate degrees in comparisons of quality  – Professor Paul Ashwin

What I’m going to talk about is this idea of undergraduate degrees being transformative, and how as we move towards greater analytics, how we might measure that. And whilst metrics are flawed, we can’t just ignore these. This presentation is heavily informed by Lee Schumers work on Pedagogical Content Knowledge, which always sees teaching in context, and in the context of particular students and settings.

People often talk about the transformative nature of what their students experience. David Watson was, for a long time, the President for the Society of Higher Education (?) and in his presidential lectures he would talk about the need to be as hard on ourselves as we would be on others, on policy makers, on decision makers… He said that if we are talking about education as educational, we have to ask ourselves how and why this transformation takes place; whether it is a planned transformation; whether higher education is a nesseccary and/or sufficient condition for such transformations; whether all forms of higher education result in this transformation. We all think of transformation as important… But I haven’t really evidenced that view…

The Yerevan Communique: May 2015 talks about wanting to achieve, by 2020, a European Higher Education area where there are common goals, where there is automatic recognition of qualifictions and students and graduates can move easily through – what I would characterise is where Bologna begins. The Communique talks about higher education contributing effectively to build inclusive societies, found on democratic values and human rights where educational opportunities are part of European Citizenship. And ending in a statement that should be a “wow!” moment, valuing teaching and learning. But for me there is a tension: the comparability of undergraduate degrees is in conflict with the idea of transformational potential of undergraduate degrees…

Now, critique is too easy, we have to suggest alternative ways to approach these things. We need to suggest alternatives, to explain the importance of transformation – if that’s what we value – and I’ll be talking a bit about what I think is important.

Working with colleagues at Bath and Nottingham I have been working on a project, the Pedagogic Quality and Inequality Project, looking at Sociology students and the idea of transformation at 2 top ranked (for sociology) and 2 bottom ranked (for sociology) universities and gathered data and information on the students experience and change. We found that league tables told you nothing about the actual quality of experience. We found that the transformational nature of undergraduate degrees lies in changes in students sense of self through their engagement with discplinary knowledge. Students relating their personal projects to their disciplines and the world and seeing themselves implicated in knowledge. But it doesn’t always happen – it requires students to be intellectually engaged with their courses to be transformed by it.

To quote a student: “There is no destination with this discipline… There is always something further and there is no point where you can stop and say “I understaood, I am a sociologist”… The thing is sociology makes you aware of every decision you make: how that would impact on my life and everything else…” And we found the students all reflecting that this idea of transformation was complex – there were gains but also losses. Now you could say that this is just the nature of sociology…

We looked at a range of disciplines, studies of them, and also how we would define that in several ways: the least inclusive account; the “watershed” account – the institutional type of view; and the most inclusive account. Mathematics has the most rich studies in this area (Wood et al 2012) where the least inclusive account is “Numbers”, watershed is “Models”, most inclusive is “approach to life”. Similarly Accountancy moves from routine work to moral work; Law from content to extension of self; Music from instrument to communicating; Geograpy is from general world to interactions; Geoscience is from composition of earth – the earth, to relations earth and society. Clearly these are not all the same direction, but they are accents and flavours of the same time. We are going to do a comparison next year on chemistry and chemical engineering, in the UK and South Africa, and actually this work points at what is particular to Higher Education being about engaging with a system of knowledge. Now, my colleague Monica McLean would ask why that’s limited to Higher Education, couldn’t it apply to all education? And that’s valid but I’m going to ignore it just for now!

Another students comments on transformation of all types, for example from wearing a tracksuit to lectures, to not beginning to present themselves this way. Now that has nothing to do with the curriculum, this is about other areas of life. This student almost dropped out but the Afro Carribean society supported and enabled her to continue and progress through her degree. I have worked in HE and FE and the way students talk about that transformation is pretty similar.

So, why would going to university change anyone? It’s about exposure to a system of knowledge changing your view of self, and of the world. Many years ago an academic asked what the point of going to university was, given that much information they learn will be out of date. And the counter argument there is that engagement with seeing different perspectives, to see the world as a sociologist, to see the world as a geographer, etc.

So, to come back to this tension around the comparability of undergraduate degrees, and the transformational potential of undergraduate degrees. If we are about transformation, how do we measure it? What are the metrics for this? I’m not suggesting those will particularly be helpful… But we can’t leave metrics to what is easy to gather, we have to also look at what is important.

So if we think of the first area of compatibility we tend to use rankings. National and international higher education rankings are a dominant way of comparing institutions’ contributions to student success. All universities have a set of figures that do them well. They have huge power as they travel across a number of contexts and audiences – vice chancellors, students, departmental staff. It moves context, it’s portable and durable. It’s nonsense but the strength of these metrics is hard to combat. They tend to involved unrelated and incomparable measures. Their stability reinforces privilege – higher status institutions tend to enrol a much greated proportion of privileged students. You can have some unexpected outcomes but you have to have Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, UCL, Imperial all near the top then your league table is rubbish… Because we already know they are the good universities… Or at least those rankings reinforce the privilege that already exists, the expectations that are set. They tell us nothing about transformation of students. But are skillful performances shaped by generic skills or students understanding of a particular task and their interactions with other people and things?

Now the OECD has put together a ranking concept on graduate outcomes, the AHELO, which uses tests for e.g. physics and engineering – not surprising choices as they have quite international consistency, they are measurable. And they then look at generic tests – e.g a deformed fish is found in a lake, using various press releases and science reports write a memo for policy makers. Is that generic? In what way? Students doing these tests are volunteers, which may not be at all representative. Are the skills generic? Education is about applying a way of thinking in an unstructured space, in a space without context. Now, the students are given context in these texts so it’s not a generic test. But we must be careful about what we measure as what we measure can become an index of quality or success, whether or not that is actually what we’d want to mark up as success. We have strategic students who want to know what counts… And that’s ok as long as the assessment is appropriately designed and set up… The same is true of measures of success and metrics of quality and teaching and learning. That is why I am concerned by AHELO but it keeps coming back again…

Now, I have no issue with the legitimate need for comparison, but I also have a need to understand what comparisons represent, how they distort. Are there ways to take account of students’ transformation in higher education?

I’ve been working, with Rachel Sweetman at University of Oslo, on some key characteristics of valid metrics of teaching quality. For us reliability is much much more important than availability. So, we need ways to assess teaching quality that:

  • are measures of the quality of teaching offered by institutions rather than measures of institutional prestige (e.g. entry grades)
  • require improvements in teaching practices in order to improve performance on the measures
  • as a whole form a coherent set of metrics rather than a set of disparate measures
  • are based on established research evidence about high quality teaching and learning in higher education
  • reflect the purposes of higher education.

We have to be very aware of Goodhearts’ rule that we must be wary of any measure that becomes a performance indicator.

I am not someone with a big issue with the National Student Survey – it is grounded in the right things but the issue is that it is run each year, and the data is used in unhelpful distorted ways – rather than acknowledging and working on feedback it is distorting. Universities feel the need to label engagement as “feedback moments” as they assume a less good score means students just don’t understand when they have that feedback moment.

Now, in England we have the prospect of the Teaching Excellence Framework English White Paper and Technical Consultation. I don’t think it’s that bad as a prospect. It will include students views of teaching, assessment and academic support from the National Student Survey, non completion rates, measures over three years etc. It’s not bad. Some of these measures are about quality, and there is some coherence. But this work is not based on established research evidence… There was great work here at Edinburgh on students learning experiences in UK HE, none of that work is reflected in TEF. If you were being cynical you could think they have looked at available evidence and just selected the more robust metrics.

My big issue with Year 2 TEF metrics are how and why these metrics have been selected. You need a proper consultation on measures, rather than using the White Paper and Technical Consultation to do that. The Office for National Statistics looked at measures and found them robust but noted that the differences between institutions scores on the selected metrics tend to be small and not significant. Not robust enough to inform future work according to the ONS. It seems likely that peer review will end up being how we differentiate between institution.

And there are real issues with TEF Future Metrics… This comes from a place of technical optimism that if you just had the right measures you’d know… This measure ties learner information to tax records for “Longitudinal Education Outcomes data set” and “teaching intensity”. Teaching intensity is essentially contact hours… that’s game-able… And how on earth is that about transformation, it’s not a useful measure of that. Unused office hours aren’t useful, optional seminars aren’t useful…  Keith Chigwell told me about a lecturer he knew who lectured a subject, each week fewer and fewer students came along. The last three lectures had no students there… He still gave them… That’s contact hours that count on paper but isn’t useful. That sort of measure seems to come more from ministerial dinner parties than from evidence.

But there are things that do matter… There is no mechanism outlines for a sector-wide discussion of the development of future metrics. What about expert teaching? What about students relations to knowledge? What about the first year experience – we know that that is crucial for student outcomes? Now the measures may not be easy, but they matter. And what we also see is the Learning Gains project, but they decided to work generically, but that also means you don’t understand students particular engagement with knowledge and engagement. In generic tests the description of what you can do ends up more important than what you actually do. You are asking for claims for what they can do, rather than performing those things. You can see why it is attractive, but it’s meaningless, it’s not a good measure of what Higher Education can do.

So, to finish, I’ve tried to put teaching at the centre of what we do. Teaching is a local achievement – it always shifts according to who the students are , what the setting is, and what the knowledge is. But that also always makes it hard to capture and measure. So what you probably need is a lot of different imperfect measures that can be compared and understood as a whole. However, if we don’t try we allow distorting measures, which reinforce inequalities, to dominate. Sometimes the only thing worse than not being listened to by policy makers, is being listened to them. That’s when we see a Frankenstein’s Monster emerge, and that’s why we need to recognise the issues, to ensure we are part of the debate. If we don’t try to develop alternative measures we leave it open to others to define.

Q&A

Q1) I thought that was really interesting. In your discussion of transformation of undergraduate students I was wondering how that relates to less traditional students, particularly mature students, even those who’ve taken a year out, where those transitions into adulthood are going to be in a different place and perhaps where critical thinking etc. skills may be more developed/different.

A1) One of the studies I talked about was London Metropolitan University has a large percentage of mature students… And actually there the interactions with knowledge really did prove transformative… Often students lived at home with family whether young or mature students. That transformation was very high. And it was unrelated to achievements. So some came in who had quite profound challenges and they had transformation there. But you have to be really careful about not suggesting different measures for different students… That’s dangerous… But that transformation was there. There is lots of research that’s out there… But how do we transform that into something that has purchase… recognising there will be flaws and compromises, but ensuring that voice in the debate. That it isn’t politicians owning that debate, that transformations of students and the real meaning of education is part of that.

Q2) I found the idea of transformation that you started with really interesting. I work in African studies and we work a lot on decolonial issues, and of the need to transform academia to be more representative. And I was concerned about the idea of transformation as a decolonial type issue, of being like us, of dressing like that… As much as we want to challenge students we also need to take on and be aware of the biases inherent in our own ways of doing things as British or Global academics.

A2) I think that’s a really important question. My position is that students come into Higher Education for something. Students in South Africa – and I have several projects there – who have nowhere to live, have very little, who come into Higher Education to gain powerful knowledge. If we don’t have access to a body of knowledge, that we can help students gain access to and to gain further knowledge, then why are we there? Why would students waste time talking to me if I don’t have knowledge. The world exceeds our ability to know it, we have to simplify the world. What we offer undergraduates is powerful simplifications, to enable them to do things. That’s why they come to us and why they see value. They bring their own biographies, contexts, settings. The project I talked about is based in the work of Basil Bernstein who argues that the knowledge we produce in primary research… But when we design curriculum it isn’t that – we engage with colleagues, with peers, with industry… It is transformed, changed… And students also transform that knowledge, they relate it to their situation, to their own work. But we are only a valid part of that process if we have something to offer. And for us I would argue it’s the access to body of knowledge. I think if we only offer process, we are empty.

Q3) You talked about learning analytics, and the issues of AHELO, and the idea of if you see the analytics, you understand it all… And that concept not being true. But I would argue that when we look at teaching quality, and a focus on content and content giving, that positions us as gatekeepers and that is problematic.

A3) I don’t see knowledge as content. It is about ways of thinking… But it always has an object. One of the issues with the debate on teaching and learning in higher education is the loss of the idea of content and context. You don’t foreground the content, but you have to remember it is there, it is the vehicle through which students gain access to powerful ways of thinking.

Q4) I really enjoyed that and I think you may have answered my question.. But coming back to metrics you’ve very much stayed in the discipline-based silos and I just wondered how we can support students to move beyond those silos, how we measure that, and how to make that work.

A4) I’m more course than discipline focused. With the first year of TEF the idea of assessing quality across a whole institution is very problematic, it’s programme level we need to look at. inter-professional, interdisciplinary work is key… But one of the issues here is that it can be implied that that gives you more… I would argue that that gives you differently… It’s another new way of seeing things. But I am nervous of institutions, funders etc. who want to see interdisciplinary work as key. Sometimes it is the right approach, but it depends on the problem at hand. All approaches are limited and flawed, we need to find the one that works for a given context. So, I sort of agree but worry about the evangelical position that can be taken on interdisciplinary work which is often actually multidisciplinary in nature – working with others not genuinely working in an interdisciplinary way.

Q5) I think to date we focus on objective academic ideas of what is needed, without asking students what they need. You have also focused on the undergraduate sector, but how applicable to the post graduate sector?

A5) I would entirely agree with your comment. That’s why pedagogic content matters so much. You have to understand your students first, as well as then also understanding this body of knowledge. It isn’t about being student-centered but understanding students and context and that body of knowledge. In terms of your question I think there is a lot of applicability for PGT. For PhD students things are very different – you don’t have a body of knowledge to share in the same way, that is much more about process. Our department is all PhD only and there process is central. That process is quite different at that level… It’s about contributing in an original way to that body of knowledge as its core purpose. That doesn’t mean students at other levels can’t contribute, it just isn’t the core purpose in the same way.

Parallel Sessions from PTAS projects: Social Media – Enhancing Teaching & Building Community? – Sara Dorman, Gareth James, Luke March

Gareth: It was mentioned earlier that there is a difference between the smaller and larger projects funded under this scheme – and this was one of the smaller projects. Our project was looking at whether we could use social media to enhance teaching and community in our programmes but in wider areas. And we particularly wanted to look at the use of Twitter and Facebook, to engage them in course material but also to strengthen relationships. So we decided to compare the use of Facebook used by Luke March in Russian Politics courses, with the use of Twitter and Facebook  in African Politics courses that Sara and I run.

So, why were we interested in this project? Social media is becoming a normal area of life for students, in academic practice and increasingly in teaching (Blair 2013; Graham 2014). Twitter increasingly used, Facebook well established. It isn’t clear what the lasting impact of social media would be but Twitter especially is heavily used by politicians, celebrities, by influential people in our fields. 2014 data shows 90% of 18-24 year olds regularly using social media. For lecturers social media can be an easy way to share a link as Twitter is a normal part of academic practice (e.g. the @EdinburghPIR channel is well used), keeping staff and students informed of events, discussion points, etc. Students have also expressed interest in more community, more engagement with the subject area. The NSS also shows some overall student dissatisfaction, particularly within politics. So social media may be a way to build community, but also to engage with the wider subject. And students have expressed preference for social media – such as Facebook groups – compared to formal spaces like Blackboard Learn discussion boards. So, for instance, we have a hashtag #APTD – the name of one of our courses – which staff and students can use to share and explore content, including (when you search through) articles, documents etc. shared since 2013.

So, what questions did we ask? Well we wanted to know:

  • Does social media facilitate student learning and enhance the learning experience?
  • Does social media enable students to stay informaed?
  • Does it facilitate participation in debates?
  • Do they feel more included and valued as part of the suject area?
  • Is social media complementary to VLEs like Learn?
  • Which medium works best?
  • And what disadvantages might there be around using these tools? \

We collected data through a short questionnaire about awareness, usage, usefulness. We designed just a few questions that were part of student evaluation forms. Students had quite a lot to say on these different areas.

So, our findings… Students all said they were aware of these tools. There was slightly higher levels of awareness among Facebook users, e.g. Russian Politics for both UG and PG students. Overall 80% said they were aware to some extent. When we looked at usage – meaning access of this space rather than necessarily meaningful engagement – we felt that usage of course materials on Twitter and Facebook does not equal engagement. Other studies have found students lurking more than posting/engaging directly. But, at least amongst our students (n=69), 70% used resources at least once. Daily usage was higher amongst Facebook users, i.e. Russian Politics. Twitter more than twice as likely to have never been used.

We asked students how useful they found these spaces. Facebook was seen as more useful than Twitter. 60% found Facebook “very” or “somewhat useful”. Only a third described Twitter as “somewhat useful” and none said “very useful”. But there were clear differences between UG and PG students. UG students were generally more positive than PG students. They noted that it was useful and interesting to keep up with news and events, but not always easy to tie that back to the curriculum. Students claimed it “interesting” a lot – for instance comparing historical to current events. More mixed responses included that there was plenty of material on Learn, so didn’t use FB or Twitter. Another commented they wanted everything on Learn, in one place. One commented they don’t use Twitter so don’t want to follow the course there, would prefer Facebook or Learn. Some commented that too many posts were shared, information overload. Students thought some articles were random, couldn’t tell what was good and what was not.

A lot of these issues were also raised in focus group discussions. Students do appreciate sharing resources and staying informed, but don’t always see the connection to the course. They recognise potential for debate and discussion but often it doesn’t happen, but when it does they find it intimidating for that to be in a space with real academics and others, indeed they prefer discussion away from tutors and academics on the course too. Students found Facebook better for network building but also found social vs academic distinction difficult. Learn was seen as academic and safe, but also too clunky to navigate and engage in discussions. Students were concerned others might feel excluded. Some also commented that not liking or commenting could be hurtful to some. One student comments “it was kind of more like the icing than the cake” – which I think really sums it up.

Students commented that there was too much noise to pick through. And “I didn’t quite have the know-how to get something out of”. “I felt a bit intimidated and wasn’t sure if I should join in”. others commented only using social media for social purpose – that it would be inappropriate to engage with academics there.  Some saw Twitter as a professional, Facebook as social.

So, some conclusions…

It seems that Facebook is more popoular with students than Twitter, seen as better for building community. Some differences between UG and PG students, with UG more interested. Generally less enthusiasm than anticiapted. Students were interested in nd aware of benefits of joining in discussions but also wary of commenting too much in “public”. This suggests that we need to “build community” in order for the “community building” tools to really works.

There is also an issue of lack of integration between FB, Twitter and Learn. Many of our findings reflect others, for instance Matt Graham in Dundee – who saw potential for HE humanities students. Facebook was particularly popular for their students than Twitter. He looked more at engagement and saw some students engaging more deeply with the wider African knowledge. But one outcome was that student engagement did not occur or engage sustainably without some structure – particular tasks and small nudges, connected to Learning Outcomes, flagging clear benefits at beginning, and that students should take a lead in creating groups – which came out of our work too – also suggested.

There are challenges here: inappropriate use, friending between staff and students for instance. Alastair Blair notes in an article that the utility of Twitter, despite the challenge, cannot be ignored. For academics thinking about impact it is important, but also for students it is important for alignment with wider subject area that moves beyond the classroom.

Our findings suggest that there is no need to rush into social media. But at the same time Sara and I still see benefits for areas like African Studies which is fast moving and poorly covered in the mainstream media. But the idea of students wanting to be engaged in the real world was clearly not carried through. Maybe more support and encouragement is needed for students – and maybe for staff too. And it would be quite interesting to see if and how students experiences of different politics and events – #indyref, #euref, etc. differ. Colleagues are considering using social media in a course on the US presidential election, might work out differently as students may be more confident to discuss these. The department has also moved forward with more presences for staff and students, also alumni.

Closing words from Matt Graham that encouraging students to question and engage more broadly with their subject is a key skill.

Q&A

Q1) What sort of support was in place, or guidelines, around that personla/academic identity thing?

A1) Actually none. We didn’t really realise this would happen. We know students don’t always engage in Learn. We didn’t really fully appreciate how intimidating students really found this. I don’t think we felt the need to give guidelines…

A1 – SD) We kind of had those channels before the course… It was organic rather than pedagogic…

Q1) We spoke to students who wanted more guidance especially for use in teaching and learning.

A1 – SD) We did put Twitter on the Learn page… to follow up… Maybe as academics we are the worst people to understand what students would do… We thought they would engage…

Q1) Will you develop guidelines for other courses…

A1) And a clearer explanation might encourage students to engage a bit more… Could be utility in doing some of that. University/institution wise there is cautious adoption and you see guidance issued for staff on using these things… But wouldn’t want overbearing guidance there.

Q1) We have some guidance under CC licence that you can use, available from Digital Footprints space.

Q2) Could you have a safer filtered space for students to engage. We do writing courses with international PG students and thought that might be useful to have social media available there… But maybe it will confuse them.

A2) There was a preference for a closed “safer” environment, talking only to students in their own cohort and class. I think Facebook is more suited to that sort of thing, Twitter is an open space. You can create a private Facebook group… One problem with Russian Politics was that they have a closed group… But had previous cohorts and friends of staff…

A2 – SD) We were trying to include students in real academia… Real tensions there over purpose and what students get out of it… The sense of not knowing… Some students might have security concerns but think it was insecurity in academic knowledge. They didn’t see themselves as co-producers. That needs addressing…

A2) Students being reluctant to engage isn’t new, but we thought we might have more engagement in social media. Now this was the negative side but actually there was positive things here – that wider awareness, even if one directional.

Q3) I just wanted to ask more about the confidence to participate and those comments that suggested that was a bigger issue – not just in social media – for these students, similarly information seeking behaviour

A3) There is work taking place in SPS around study skills, approaching your studies. Might be some room to introduce this stuff earlier on in school wide or subject wide courses… Especially if we are to use these schools. I completely agree that by the end of these studies you should have these skills – how to write properly, how to look for information… The other thing that comes to mind having heard our keynote this morning is the issue of transformative process. It’s good to have high expectations of UG students, and they seem to rise to the occasion… But I think that we maybe need to understand the difference between UG and PG students… And in PG years they take that further more fully.

A3 – SD) UG are really big courses – which may be part of the issue. In PG they are much smaller… Some students are from Africa and may know more, some come in knowing very little… That may also play in…

Q4) On the UG/PG thing these spaces move quickly! Which tools you use will change quickly. And actually the type of thing you post really matters – sharing a news article is great, but how you discuss and create follow up afterwards – did you see that, the follow up, the creation, the response…

A4 – SD) Students did sometimes interact… But the people who would have done that with email/Learn were the same that used social media in that way.

A4) Facebook and Twitter are new technologies still… So perhaps students will be increasingly more engaged and informed and up for engaging in these space. I’m still getting to grips with the etiquette of Twitter. There was more discussion on Facebook Groups than on Twitter… But also can be very surface level learning… It complements what we are doing but there are challenges to overcoming them… And we have to think about whether that is worthwhile. Some real positives and real challenges.

Parallel Sessions from PTAS projects: Managing Your Digital Footprint (Research Strand) – Dr Louise Connelly 

This was one of the larger PTAS-funded projects. This is the “Research Strand” is because it ran in parallel to the campaign which was separately funded.

There is so much I could cover in this presentation so I’ve picked out some areas I think will be practical and applicable to your research. I’m going to start by explaining what we mean by “Digital Footprint” and then talk more about our approach and the impact of the work. Throughout the project and campaign we asked students for quotes and comments that we could share as part of the campaign – you’ll see these throughout the presentation but you can also use these yourself as they are all CC-BY.

The project wouldn’t have been possible without an amazing research team. I was PI for this project – based at IAD but I’m now at the Vet School. We also had Nicola Osborne (EDINA), Professor Sian Bayne (School of Education). We also had two research students – Phil Sheail in Semester 1 and Clare Sowton in Semester 2. But we also had a huge range of people across the Colleges and support services who were involved in the project.

So, I thought I’d show you a short video we made to introduce the project:

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The idea of the video was to explain what we meant by a digital foorprint. We clearly defined what we meant as we wanted to emphasis to students and staff – though students were the focus – was that your footprint is not just what you do but also what other people post about you, or leave behind about you. That can be quite scary to some so we wanted to address how you can have some control about that.

We ran a campaign with lots of resources and materials. You can find loads of materials on the website. That campaign is now a service based in the Institute for Academic Development. But I will be focusing on the research in this presentation. This all fitted together in a strategy. The campaig was to raise awareness and provide practical guidance, the research sought to gain an in-depth understanding of student’s usage and produce resources for schools. Then to feed into learning and teaching on an ongoing basis. Key to the resaerch was a survey we ran during the campaign, which was analysed by the research team..

In terms of the gap and scope of the campaign I’d like to take you back to the Number 8 bus… It was an idea that came out of myself and Nicola – and others – being asked regularly for advice and support. There was a real need here, but also a real digital skills gap. We also saw staff wanting to embed social media in the curriculum and needing support. The brainwave was that social media wasn’t the campaign that was needed, it was about digital footprint and the wider issues. We also wanted to connect to current research. boyd (2014) who works on networked teens talks about the benefits as well as the risks… as it is unclear how students are engaging with social/digital media and how they are curating their online profiles. We also wanted to look at the idea of eprofessionalism (Chester et al 2013), particularly in courses where students are treated as paraprofessionals – a student nurse, for instance, could be struck off before graduating because of social media behaviours so there is a very real need to support ad raise awareness amongst students.

Our overall research aim was to: work with students across current delivery modes (UG, PGT, ODL, PhD) in order to better understand how they 

In terms of our research objectives we wanted to: conduct research which generates a rich understanding; to develop a workshop template – and ran 35 workshops for over 1000 students in that one year; to critically analyse social media guidelines – it was quite interesting that a lot of it was about why students shouldn’t engage, little on the benefits; to work in partnership with EUSA – important to engage around e.g. campaign days; to contribute to the wider research agenda; and to effectively disseminate project findings – we engaged with support services, e.g. we worked with Careers about their LinkedIn workshops which weren’t well attended despite students wanting professional presence help and just rebranding the sessions was valuable. We asked students where they would seek support – many said the Advice Place rather than e.g. IS, so we spoke to them. We spoke to the Councelling service too about cyberbullying, revenge porn, sexting etc.

So we ran two surveys with a total of 1,457 responses. Nicola and I ran two lab-based focus groups. I interviewed 6 individuals over a range of interviews with ethnographic tracing. And we gathered documentary analysis of e.g. social media guidelines. We used mixed methods as we wanted this to be really robust.

Sian and Adam really informed our research methods but Nicola and I really led the publications around this work. We have had various publications and presentations including presentations at the European Conference on Social Media, for the Social Media for Higher Education Teaching and Learning conference. Also working on a Twitter paper. We have other papers coming. Workshops with staff and students have happened and are ongoing, and the Digital Ambassador award (Careers and IS) includes Digital Footprint as a strand. We also created a lot of CC-BY resources – e.g. guidelines and images. Those are available for UoE colleagues, but also for national and international community who have fed into and helped us develop those resources.

I’m going to focus on some of the findings…

The survey was on Bristol Online Survey. It was sent to around 1/3rd of all students, across all cohorts. The central surveys team did the ethics approval and issuing of surveys. Timing had to fit around other surveys – e.g. NSS etc. And we we had relatively similar cohorts in both surveys, the second had more responses but that was after the campaign had been running for a while.

So, two key messages from the surveys: (1) Ensure informed consent – crucial for students (also important for staff) – students need to understand the positive and negative implications of using these non traditional non university social media spaces. In terms of what that means – well guidance, some of the digital skills gap support etc. Also (2) Don’t assume what students are using and how they are using it. Our data showed age differences in what was used, cohort differences (UG, PGT, ODL, PhD), lack of awareness e.g. T&Cs, benefits – some lovely anecdotal evidence, e.g. UG informatics student approached by employers after sharing code on GitHub. Also the important of not making assumptions around personal/educational/professional environments – especially came out of interviews, and generally the implications of Digital Footprint. One student commented on being made to have a Twitter account for a course and not being happy about not having a choice in that (e.g. through embedding of tweets in Learn for instance).

Thinking about platforms…

Facebook is used by all cohorts but ODL less so (perhaps a geographic issue in part). Most were using it as a “personal space” and for study groups. Challenges included privacy management. Also issues of isolation if not all students were on Facebook.

Twitter is used mainly by PGT and PhD students, and most actively by 31-50 year olds. Lots of talk about how to use this effectively.

One of the surprises for us was that we thought most courses using social media would have guidelines in place for the use of social media in programme handbooks. But students reported them not being there, or not being aware of it. So we created example guidance which is on the website (CC-BY) and also an eprofessionalism guide (CC-BY) which you can also use in your own programme handbooks.

There were also tools we weren’t aware were in usage and that has led to a new YikYak research project which has just been funded by PTAS and will go ahead over the next year with Sian Bayne leading, myself, Nicola and Informatics. The ethnographic tracing and interviews gave us a much richer understanding of the survey data.

So, what next? We have been working with researchers in Ireland, Australia, New Zealand… EDINA has had some funding to develop an external facing consultancy service, providing training and support for NHS, schools, etc. We have the PTAS funded YikYak project. We have the Digital Footprint MOOC coming in August. The survey will be issued again in October. Lots going on, more to come!

We’ve done a lot and we’ve had loads of support and collaboration. We are really open to that collaboration and work in partnership. We will be continuing this project into the next year. I realise this is the tip of the iceberg but it should be food for thought.

Q&A 

Q1) We were interested in the staff capabilities

A1 – LC) We have run a lot of workshops for staff and research students, done a series at vet. Theres a digital skills issue, research, and learning and teaching, and personal strands here.

A1 – NO) There were sessions and training for staff before… And much of the research into social media and digital footprint has been very small cohorts in very specific areas,

Comment) I do sessions for academic staff in SPS, but I didn’t know about this project so I’ll certainly work that in.

A1 – LC) We did do a session for fourth year SPS students. I know business school are all over this as part of “Brand You”.

Q2) My background was in medicine and when working in a hospital and a scary colleague told junior doctors to delete their Facebook profiles! She was googling them. I saw an article in the Sun that badly misrepresented doctors – of doctors living the “high life” because there was something sunny.

A2 – LC) You need to be aware people may Google you… And be confident of your privacy and settings. And your professional body guidelines about what you have there. But there are grey areas there… We wanted to emphasise informed choice. You have the Right to be Forgotten law for instance. Many nursing students already knew restrictions but felt Facebook restrictions unfair… A recent article says there are 3.5 degrees of separation on Facebook – that can be risky… In teaching and learning this raises issues of who friends who, what you report… etc. The culture is we do use social media, and in many ways that’s positive.

A2 – NO) Medical bodies have very clear guidance… But just knowing that e.g. Profile pictures are always public on Facebook, you can control settings elsewhere… Knowing that means you can make informed decisions.

Q3) What is “Brand You”?

A3) Essentially it’s about thinking of yourself as a brand, how your presences are uses… And what is consistent, how you use your name, your profile images. And how you do that effectively if you do that. There is a book called “Brand You” which is about effective online presence.

Closing Keynote : Helen Walker, GreyBox Consulting and Bright Tribe Trust

I’m doing my Masters in Digital Education with University of Edinburgh, but my role is around edtech, and technology in schools, so I am going to share some of that work with you. So, to set the scene a wee video: Kids React to Technology: Old Computers:

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Watching the kids try to turn on the machine it is clear that many of us are old enough to remember how to work late 1970s/early 1980s computers and their less than intuitive user experience.

So the gaps are maybe not that wide anymore… But there are still gaps. The gaps for instance between what students experience at home, and what they can do at home – and that can be huge. There is also a real gap between EdTech promises and delivery – there are many practitioners who are enervated about new technologies, and have high expectations. We also have to be aware of the reality of skills – and be very cautious of Prensky’s (2001) idea of the “digital native” – and how intoxicating and inaccurate that can be.

There is also a real gap between industry and education. There is so much investment in technology, and promises of technology. Meanwhile we also see perspectives of some that computers do not benefit pupils. Worse, in September 2015 the OECD reported, and it was widely re-reported that computers do not improve pupil results, and may in fact disbenefit. That risks going back before technology, or technology being the icing on the cake… And then you read the report:

“Technology can amplify great teaching but great technology cannot replace poor teaching.”

Well of course. Technology has to be pedagogically justified. And that report also encourages students as co-creators. Now if you go to big education technology shows like BETT and SETT you see very big rich technology companies offering expensive technology solutions to quite poor schools.

That reflects Education Endowment Fund Report 2012 found that “it’s the pedagogy, not technology” and the technology is a catalyst for change. Glynis Cousins says that technology has to work dynamically with pedagogy.

Now, you have fabulous physical and digital resources here. There is the issue here of what schools have. Schools often have machines that are 9-10 years old, but students have much more sophisticated devices and equipment at home – even in poor homes. Their school experience of using old kit to type essays jars with that. And you do see schools trying to innovate with technology – iPads and such in particular… They brought them, they invest thousands.. But they don’t always use them because the boring crucial wifi and infrastructure isn’t there. It’s boring and expensive but it’s imperative. You need that all in order to use these shiny things…

And with that… Helen guides us to gogopp.com and the web app to ask us why a monkey with its hand in a jar with a coin… We all respond… The adage is that if you wanted to catch a monkey you had to put an orange or some nuts in a jar, and wouldn’t let go, so a hunter could just capture the monkey. I deal with a lot of monkeys… A lot of what I work towards is convincing them that letting go of that coin, or nut, or orange, or windows 7 to move on and change and learn.

Another question for us… What does a shot of baseball players in a field have to do with edtech… Well yes, “if you build it, they will come”. A lot of people believe this is how you deal with edtech… Now although a scheme funding technology for schools in England has come to an end, a lot of Free Schools now have this idea. That if you build something, magic will happen…

BTW this gogopp tool is a nice fun free tool – great for small groups…

So, I do a lot of “change management consultation” – it’s not a great phrase but a lot of what it’s about is pretty straightforward. Many schools don’t know what they’ve got – we audit the kit, the software, the skills. We work on a strategy, then a plan, then a budget. And then we look at changes that make sense… Small scale, pathfinder projects, student led work – with students in positions of responsibility, we have a lot of TeachMeet sessions – a forum of 45 mins or so and staff who’ve worked on pathfinder projects have 2 or max 5 mins can share their experience – a way to drop golden nuggets into the day (much more effective than inset days!), and I do a lot of work with departmental heads to ensure software and hardware aligns with needs.

When there is the right strategy and the right pedagogical approach, brilliant things can happen. For instance…

Abdul Chohan, now principal of Bolton Academy, transformed his school with iPads – giving them out and asking them what to do with them. He works with Apple now…

David Mitchell (no, not that one), Deputy Headteacher in the Northwest, started a project called QuadBlogging for his 6th year students (year 7 in Scotland) whereby there are four organisations involved – 2 schools and 2 other institutions, like MIT, like the Government – big organisations. Students get real life, real world feedback in writing. They saw significant increases in their writing quality. That is a great benefit of educational technology – your audience can be as big or small as you want. It’s a nice safe contained forum for children’s writing.

Simon Blower, had an idea called “Lend me your writing”, crowdfunded Pobble – a site where teachers can share examples of student work.

So those are three examples of pedagogically-driven technology projects and changes.

And now we are going to enter Kahoot.it…

The first question is about a free VLE – Edmodo… It’s free except for analytics which is a paid for option.

Next up… This is a free behaviour management tool. The “Class Story” fundtion has recently been added… That’s Class Dojo.

Next… A wealth of free online courses, primarily aimed at science, math and computing… Khan Academy. A really famous resource now. Came about as Salmon Khan who asked for maths homework help… Made YouTube videos… Very popular and now a global company with a real range of videos from teachers. No adverts. Again free…

And next… an adapting learning platform with origins in the “School of One” in NYC. That’s Knewton. School of One is an interesting school which has done away with traditional classroom one to many systems… They use Knewton, which suggests the next class, module, task, etc. This is an “Intelligent Tutoring System” which I am skeptical of but there is a lot of interest from publishers etc. All around personalised learning… But that is all data driven… I have issues with thinking of kids as data producing units.

Next question… Office 365 tool allows for the creation of individual and class digital notebooks – OneNote. It’s a killer app that Microsoft invest in a lot.

And Patrick is our Kahoot winner (I’m second!)! Now, I use Kahoot I training sessions… It’s fun once… Unless everyone uses it through the day. It’s important that students don’t just experience the same thing again and again, that you work as a learning community to make sure that you are using tools in a way that stays interesting, that varies, etc.

So, what’s happening now in schools?

  • Mobility: BYOD, contribution, cross-platform agility
  • Office365/Google/iCloud
  • VLE/LMS – PLE/PLN – for staff and students
  • Data and tracking

So with mobility we see a growth in Bring Your Own Device… That brings a whole range of issues around esafety, around infrastructure. It’s not just your own devices, but also increasingly a kind of hire-purchase scheme for students and parents. That’s a financial pressure – schools are financially pressured and this is just a practical issue. One issue that is repeatedly coming up is the issue of cross-platform agility – phones, tablets, laptops. And discussion of bringing in keyboards, mice, and traditional set ups… Keyboard skills are being seen as important again in the primary sector. The benefit of mobile devices is collaboration, the idea of the main screen allowing everyone to be part of the classroom… You don’t need expensive software, can use e.g. cheap Reflector mirroring software. Apps… Some are brilliant, some are dreadful… Management of apps and mobile device management has become a huge industry… Working with technicians to support getting apps onto devices… How you do volume purchasing? And a lot of apps… One of two hit propositions… You don’t want the same app every week for one task… You need the trade off of what is useful versus getting the app in place/stafftime. We also have the issue of the student journey. Tools like socrative and nearpod lets you push information to devices. But we are going to look at/try now Plickers… What that does is has one device – the teachers mobile app – and I can make up printed codes (we’ve all been given one today) that can be laminated, handed out at the beginning of the year… So we then hold up a card with the appropriate answer at the top… And the teacher’s device is walked around to scan the room for the answers – a nice job for a student to do… So you can then see the responses… And the answer… I can see who got it wrong, and who got it right. I can see the graph of that….

We have a few easy questions to test this: 2+2 = (pick your answer); and how did you get here today? (mostly on foot!).

The idea is it’s a way to get higher order questioning into a session, otherwise you just hear from the kids that put their hands up all the time. So that’s Plicker… Yes, they all have silly names. I used to live in Iceland where a committee meets to agree new names – the word for computer means “witchcraft machine”.

So, thinking about Office365/Google/iCloud… We are seeing a video about a school where pupils helps promote, manage, coding, supporting use of Office365 in the school. And how that’s a way to get people into technology. These are students at Wyndham High in Norfolk – all real students. That school has adopted Office365. Both Office365 and Google offer educational environments. One of the reasons that schools err towards Office365 is because of the five free copies that students get – which covers the several locations and machines they may use at home.

OneNote is great – you can drag and drop documents… you can annotate… I use it with readings, with feedback from tutors. Why it’s useful for students is the facility to create Class Notebooks where you add classes and add notebooks. You can set up a content library – that students can access and use. You can also view all of the students notebooks in real time. In schools I work in we no longer have planners, instead have a shared class notebook – then colleagues can see and understand planning.

Other new functionality is “Classroom” where you can assign classes, assignments… It’s a new thing that brings some VLE functionality but limited in terms of grades being 0-100. And you can set up forms as well – again in preview right now but coming. Feedback goes into a CSV file in excel.

The other thing that is new is Planner – a project planning tool to assign tasks, share documents, set up groups.

So, Office 365 is certainly the tool most secondary schools I work with use.

The other thing that is happening in schools right now is the increasing use of data dashboards and tracking tools – especially in secondary schools – and that is concerning as it’s fairly uncritical. There is a tool called Office Mix which lets you create tracked content in Powerpoint… Not sure if you have access here, but you can use it at home.

Other data in schools tools include Power BI… Schools are using these for e.g. attainment outcomes. There is a free schools version of this tool (used to be too expensive). My concern is that it is not looking at what has impact in terms of teaching and learning. It’s focused on the summative, not the actual teaching and learning, not on students reporting back to teachers on their own learning. Hattie and self-reported grades tells us that students set expectations, goals, and understand rubrics for self-assessment. There is rich and interesting work to be done on using data in rich and meaningful ways.

In terms of what’s coming… This was supposed to be by 2025, then 2020, maybe sooner… Education Technology Action Group suggest online learning is an entitlement, better measures of performance, new emerging teaching and learning, wearables, etc.

Emerging EdTech includes Augmented Reality. It’s a big thing I do… It’s easy but it excites students… It’s a digital overlay on reality… So my two year old goddaughter is colouring in book that is augmented reality – you can then see a 3D virtual dinosaur coloured as per your image. And she asked her dad to send me a picture of her with a dinosaur. Other fun stuff… But where is the learning outcome here? Well there is a tool called Aurasma… Another free tool… You create a new Aura trigger image – can be anything – and you can choose your overlay… So I said I wanted to change the words on th epaper converted into French. It’s dead easy! We get small kids into this and can put loads of hidden AR content around the classroom, you can do it on t-shirts – to show inner working of the body for instance. We’ve had Year 11’s bring Year 7 textbooks to life for them – learning at both ends of the spectrum.

Last thing I want to talk about is micro:bit. This is about coding. In England and Wales coding is compulsory part of English now. All students are being issued a micro:bit and students are now doing all sorts of creative things. Young Rewired State project runs every summer and come to London to have code assessed – the winners were 5 and 6 year olds. So they will come to you with knowledge of coding – but they aren’t digital natives no matter what anyone tells you!

Q&A

Q1 – Me) I wanted to ask about equality of access… How do you ensure students have the devices or internet access at home that they need to participate in these activities and tools – like the Office365 usage at home for instance. In the RSE Digital Participation Inquiry we found that the reality of internet connectivity in homes really didn’t match up to what students will self-report about their own access to technology or internet connections, there is such baggage associated with not having internet access to access to the latest technologies and tools… So I was wondering how you deal with that, or if you have any comments on that.

A1) With the contribution schemes that schools have for devices… Parents contribute what they can, school covers the rest… So that can be 50p or £1 per month, it doesn’t need to be a lot. Also pupil premium money can be used for this. But, yes, parental engagement is important… Many students have 3G access not fixed internet for instance and that has cost implications… some can use dongles supplied by schools but just supporting students like this can cost 15k/yr to support for a small to medium sized cohort. There is some interesting stuff taking place in new build schools though… So for instance Gaia in Wales are a technology company doing a lot of the new build hardware/software set up… In many of those schools there is community wifi access… a way around that issue of connectivity… But that’s a hard thing to solve.

Q1 – Me) There was a proposal some years ago from Gordon Brown’s government, for all school aged children to have government supported internet access at home but that has long since been dropped.

Q2) I fear with technologies is that if I learn it, it’s already out of date. And also learners who are not motivated to engage with these tools they haven’t used before… I enjoyed these tools, their natty…

A2) Those are my “sweet shop” tools… Actually Office365/Google or things like Moodle are the bread and butter tools. These are fun one-off apps… They are pick up and go stuff… but its getting big tools working well that matter. Ignore the sweets if you need or want… The big stuff matters.

And with that Velda is closing with great thanks to our speakers today, to colleagues in IAD, and to Daphne Loads and colleagues. Please do share your feedback and ideas, especially for the next forum!