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Shifting Dynamics

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March 27, 2013 by jonmillymiles


For once, in recent months, I will not be blogging about my work for University – instead I will be writing about an opportunity that I have been given to air my views on an infographic designed by Allison Morris from OnlineUniversities.com.

Now I have mentioned in other posts to do with work that I work for a somewhat stoic and disinterested organization when it comes to change, but in recent months attitudes have begun to shift. At first there was a gentle wind of optimism, now people are starting to get more excited. The management are beginning to get behind the idea of a connected classroom and we have had funding approved for a fully wireless training network with a big fat internet connection. What makes this even more promising is that with this wireless network we are opening it up to the students so that they will have a fully open bring your own device (BYOD) environment.

So now we have hope, but where does this lead us? Well, our network should be fully up and running in September this year and that means that we need content developed for the students to access as soon as it goes live. Now my job is really important – not just to demonstrate and drive the art of the possible, but to train all the staff so that they can create this content and make it as accessible as possible for the students.

So what are my hurdles? The biggest is no doubt the culture change: I work in a school that is heavily rooted in engineering and so every fact must be backed up by evidence. So if I was to say that using QR Codes would allow students almost instant access to training material on their mobile thus allowing them to learn any time any where they would demand three things:

  1. A working prototype
  2. Proof from an external institution
  3. Proof from within our organization of usage, effectiveness and value.

My issue is that 1 is easy, 2 is relatively straight forward but 3 is nigh on impossible in a risk averse culture. But I am working on this. I am slowly drawing in more and more people by generating prototypes of differing concepts and contexts and integrating technologies as much as possible to show their use in as many ways as possible. An example of this is an engineering diagram that I have created in Prezi. This integrates a wide range of technologies to great effect:

  • I link to it from our VLE (Moodle) – thus demonstrating the way that the VLE can gather disparate resources together for the students and act as a learning portal.
  • It uses Prezi – a fantastic alternative to PowerPoint which, when used well, produces an incredibly engaging product.
  • It has a QR code embedded in it – this enables the students to rapidly access the resource from their own device just by scanning the presentation screen.
  • I use it in conjunction with an interactive whiteboard to demonstrate how a student can interact with the Prezi in a manner similar to that in Minority Report.

So what has this got to do with a cool infographic – well a year ago I would have contested the figures quoted in this piece. Now I can honestly say that the attitudes and opinions of our staff are moving rapidly towards them, in doing so I hope that our students will be able to reap the rewards.

Maybe, in September, we will be there.

What do we Know Infographic

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