Connected Learning in an Open World

The keynote speaker at the Academic Practice and Technology (APT) conference, Stephen Downes blew me away.  It wasn’t just a question of knowledge, or space for new reflection, but I found what he had to say surprisingly political.

Keynote APT panel featuring Downes (2nd right)

Keynote APT panel featuring Downes (2nd from right)

His call to arms for a totally open approach to online content in education struck a chord, and left me resolved to do more to make time to make more of my teaching available online, as well as my thoughts and reflections.

One of the first things he said we could do is record everything we present, including conference presentations.  As I didn’t do this for the paper I presented to the conference, I made sure I recorded it soon after so I could post it here.

The Prezi on which the presentation is based can be found here: Prezi

It was about my case study of a project using digital camera equipment, to take an experiential, transformational approach to embedding digital skills in the curriculum, and improving employability, expanding on why images and narrative are such important concepts.  It elaborated on three main areas we focused on:- 1) real-time execution of creative briefs; 2) shop-window digital footprints on Pinterest, and 3) using the skills to raise the profile of guest speakers from the profession via the student-run society, the PR Fraternity.  Full details above, and here.

PR Fraternity students at Weber Shandwick HQ

PR Fraternity students at Weber Shandwick HQ

There was particular interest in the scope for the possibilities for students to be representing their own clients, and in particular, taking clients from elsewhere within the university – projects which might not have otherwise been deemed a priority, or which otherwise might not have been able to afford mainstream PR representation – for example, end of year degree shows.

There was also particular interest in a paper I referenced – Mull, I.R. and Lee, S-E (2014) “‘PIN’ pointing the motivational dimensions behind Pinterest,” Computers in Human Behaviour, 33, pp. 192-200.  Well worth a read.

The next step for the project in 2014-15 is to expand from photo skills, to video/film-making skills, using the Nikon Coolpix L320 camera as a simple device for capturing, and then students editing, remixing and curating content for a number of PR uses in the same was as they did for photo ends.

There was a great range of content at the conference, and I came away much more inspired than I thought I would by a conference that I thought would be restricted to functional rather than a philosophical gaze too.  A big ‘thank you’ to Stephen Downes for opening my eyes.

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