what a richness of experiences or reflections on week 10 #lthesep12 @pgcap

[warning, first draft!]

This was such an exciting experience stretched over three days.  I  had the pleasure to work with academics from around the university as panel members and engage in such rich learning conversations with our current LTHESep12 students. It was truly fascinating.

LTHESep12 Professional Discussions, Day 1

our very first student making the very first Lego model to capture his learning journey on the module

1. How did I feel?

Felt really excited on all three days and was and still am really proud with what the vast majority of my students are taking away from this module. How they have grown in confidence and have become deeply reflective. Many mentioned how their practices are now transforming and I could see shift in thinking and behaviours on their Lego models and the conversations we had with them. In some occasstions students were nervous and this is always surprising me but then again how would I feel if I were in their shoes? Some said that it felt like a viva and very formal but I think that was before and while the webinar we did last week helped, I could still feel and see the nervousness. The Lego models did seem to help students to calm down and focus their thinking during the discussions and this confirms our findings so far on the Lego project with Craig.

LTHESep12 Day 2 Professional Discussions

sample Lego model from #LTHESep12 this reveals so much about Sian’s journey

Most of the stories were truly rich and authentic. We listened with interest to all stories and so many wanted to share so much with us that we felt guilty of interrupting as we only had a limited time with each student. But I do have to say that there was enough time to really find out how and to what degree the student did engage with the module, the intended learning outcomes, the UK PSF and how their reflection developed over the last 10 weeks. It soon became clear also that many of my students took so much more than what we expected from the module and this puts a massive smile on my face and I am sure many noticed that during the discussions 😉

LTHESep12 Professional Discussions, Day 1

our Linda showcasing work she is doing with some of her students. Experimenting with more creative approached to make her students think, engage and learn

I also felt fortunate that so many academics, Dr Tim Marangon, Dr Leslie Robinson, Prof. Paul Haywood, Angela Hook and Dr Martyn Clark made the time to be with me on the Professional Discussion Panels and felt re-assured that our judgement would be fair and objective. It was also a good opportunity for our external panel members to find out more about the PGCAP and our students, which I think was really useful for them.

2. What have I learnt?

I am so pleased that I changed the format of the Professional Discussions slightly. Up to now, these were all organised on the same day and I never had the opportunity to be on all panels before. This did present a challenge linked to assessment as the purpose of the discussion is to be able to create a richer picture of the student by somebody they know and somebody they don’t know and identify if they come to the same conclusions for assessment purposes so that assessment is fair, transparent and objective but also a process and a result of dialogue and negotiation between the panel members.

The Lego station worked really well and I have learnt that my learners are definitely self-directed and self-organised but also can follow instructions well and support each other. And they are a very creative bunch of individuals too who also love to have some fun!!! They had fun making their models and had conversations before and after their Professional Discussions. I think some of them were surprised that they could talk to each other and chat in advance of their Discussions. Would be interesting to find out why this was the case…

LTHESep12 Day 2 Professional Discussions

my happy creative students, this was our Lego station 😉

3. What would I do differently?

The room booking didn’t work and while I thought I had booked these at the beginning of the semester, I had a problem with one of the rooms on Day 1. This added to me feeling “a bit” stressed as I wanted everything to work smoothly so that we could all be more relaxed, including the external panel member and my students as well. I think I need to find a different location for the Professional Discussions and am now thinking of meeting rooms available in Student House. I have used them before and I think they are a more creative and bright and colourful environment and more suitable than the rooms I did use this time and up to now. The plan is to check if I could book these as soon as possible for semester 2.

LTHESep12 Professional Discussions, Day 1

Day 1 with Dr Tim Marangon, the room that saved the Professional Discussions, Tim studying students’ portfolios

The technology was a challenge this time and I think next time, I would use a laptop instead of the classroom-technology which didn’t work and delayed entering feedback. On one day we had to provide verbal feedback as the system was so slow that we had to abandom the idea quickly to save time. At least the students didn’t have to wait for it. Feedback was then added in the evening on the same day.

On day 3 also, I had prepared word documents as a template for the assessment feedback for the Professional Discussions and this was useful. The Google doc and copying and pasting to construct the feedback added to the complexity and it is something I want to change. Yes, keep the Google doc for panel members and students in preparation for the Professional Discussions but for providing feedback I am thinking of two options

  • a. continue using the Word document and then just copy and paste into the portfolio or
  • b. create a sample comment in advance of the professional discussions which would include the template and be unapproved as a comment already so that the feedback process is smoother

At the moment I think option B would work better and while it does involve some additional preparation from my side it is a process worth trialling next time. o I think I will go with this option.

A big thank you to my colleagues from around the university and my students for such rich learning opportunities and experiences this week.

This is it. Probably my last reflection for this semester linked purely to the LTHESep12 module but I am sure that I will share other bits and pieces until submission in January. Despite the difficulties we had at the beginning when for the very first time colleagues external to the instiution joined, we managed to come together as a cohort. I loved how my students learnt together and started creating closer professional relationships. The next weeks they will be working even closer with their feedback buddy and it will be interesting to observe how this will go.

All models and photographs from the Professional Discussions are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pgcap/sets/72157632104255891/with/8228168204/

Key points for me to remember for next semester:

  • action learning sets and troubleshooting. Must refine my approach. Also investigate this further in the context of this module and start putting case study together with Sian, Liz and Will around our wikipedia task for book chapter
  • must decide on new location for the game, perhaps Bury Market? All day event! Or Media-City, then we could do the show-and-tell in the University Building. Now that the wheel is  not there anymore, it just isn’t the same and I actually feel that we now need a change! If you have any other locations in mind, please let me know.
  • Think Lab session: MUST find another way to get students involved
  • Contact our VC as soon as possible to identify how he can contribute to the programme as he has expressed interest
  • Contact PVC (Academic) to organise a session with him as well, and perhaps this could be the ThinkLab session with students but also an external speaker
  • External student to share experiences > Thinklab
  • Learning theories task: To refine approach but use the same model. Pick different learning theories > use same wiki, an opportunity to extend resources
  • Professional discussions: room bookings and panel members
  • Must start writing up my findings about the Professional Discussions (have data from 3 cohorts now) but also need to ask students.
  • Update portfolio creation guidelines, must include Flickr and Twitter widget so that everybody gets access to Twitter even if they don’t have an account!
  • Create clips about students experiences this semester focus on the Game, Professional Discussions, Portfolios, Use of Lego etc.
  • Must continue writing that paper with Craig about the use of Lego in our Professional Discussions.
  • There are issues with staff not getting enough time to even participate in all sessions. We as a Programme Team, I think need to contact all line managers and make sure that staff do get the time they need.
  • Need help with the observations as I did struggle to visit all classrooms. My colleague Cheryl offered to help and I am grateful for that!
  • Finish and submit the ethical approval form for PGCAP programme asap!

All I can remember at the moment…

Group feedback will be added to all portfolios in week 11. Looking forward to final submissions on the 8th of January. Well done to everybody so far!!!

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