Tag Archives: Photography

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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A photo-call for digital media practice in PR education

I have just had a paper accepted for the APT (Academic Practice and Technology) conference, 2014, due to take place on my home turf of Greenwich in July this year.

It follows a project I received Greenwich Connect Seed Fund resourcing to provide thirteen digital cameras, together with Photoshop editing software for use with students throughout this academic year.

'Team Emily' interpret the brief for 'Project Wild Thing'

‘Team Emily’ interpret the brief for ‘Project Wild Thing’

We’ve used the cameras in a number of ways, and the Greenwich Connect team interviewed me themselves for a paper they presented at the LSE earlier this year – Bryant, P., Coombs, A. and Pazio, M. (2014) Are we having fun yet? Introducing play and experimentation into learning innovation through social media. In: OER14: Building Communities of Open practice, 23-25 Apr 2014, Newcastle, UK.  Excuse my fat face…..

Introduction to Project:

Generating Greater Engagement:

Developing Professional Identity:

Developing as a Community:

While I will discuss this in the academic context in which it is posed in the paper I have put to the forthcoming conference in a future post, I thought it was worth sharing a few examples of the way students have been able to get their hands much ‘dirtier’ with regard to photography, as outlined in the videos above:

1)  Generating Greater Engagement:

Students have been able to use the cameras to produce collateral in response to real live briefs, as opposed to such responses being ‘academic’ exercises.  For example, students were asked to develop ideas for media photocalls, and executions to encourage audience participation and sharing for the ‘Project Wild Thing’ initiative (see photo above) – and to include in assessed portfolios.

2) Developing Professional Identity:

Final year student (2013-14) Nenna Ofoegbu

Final year student (2013-14) Nenna Ofoegbu

Students were encouraged to use the digital cameras to develop a image that they felt comfortable with to be used in a ‘shop window’ on Pinterest.

3) Developing as a Community:

PR Fraternity students at Weber Shandwick HQ

PR Fraternity students at Weber Shandwick HQ

Within the team, students such as Nara Mackenzie took on responsibility for documenting guest speaker visits such as creative publicist, Mark Borkowski and Polly Ravenscroft (whose clients have included X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent and Hollyoaks) – and group visits such as that to Weber Shandwick HQ, or client-side discussions with the 2012 winner of BBC Great British Bake-Off, John Whaite.

Students with PR Squared's Polly Ravenscroft

Students with PR Squared’s Polly Ravenscroft

Social media editor for the PR Fraternity, Jo Ayre tweeted links to the photos, which were also posted in Pinterest.  This not only raised the profile of the events, it made students who had come together at the events (across 1st, 2nd and 3rd year undergraduate, plus postgraduate) develop a stronger sense of community – and made those who hadn’t come feel they had missed out on something – encouraging them to attend next time.

More on my paper in a future post, but I thought I would let you know a little bit about the project.