DigiLearnSector Certified Member Portfolio for Ian Wilson
Table of Contents
In order to develop and improve, it is imperative that we reflect on what we have achieved, viewing these achievements through the lens of criticality. Sharing practice and engaging with an active community allows us to challenge our own views and opinions as well as learning from others. Within this portfolio, I share my contributions and reflections as an active member of the DigiLearnSector community.
Reflecting on your participation and engagement to date. How have you successfully demonstrated the core values of the DigiLearn Sector?
Connect and communicate
I have been part of the #DigiLearnSector community for some time now and I have learned so much. It can be sometimes difficult to attend sessions since my academic teaching often spreads over the recognised lunchtime period but I try to catch up with the recordings where possible. I always accept every invite so that they appear within your work calendar and know that the community is understanding of other commitments and I can ‘pop-in’ to participate with the discussion. Engaging with the community has also allowed me to extend my digi-network making well-established links with experts in their own fields. These connections go beyond the fantastic TEAMs area to other social platforms including Twitter and YouTube.
Participate and innovate
I am never a silent lurker within sessions. I am always keen to interact with the speaker and presentation. This could be through asking questions to celebrate how fantastic the information and practice is to asking questions which might challenge or encourage further information to be shared. I am an active member within the TEAMs area as well as within webinars. I engage with posts and provide answers from my own viewpoint to questions. Through developing a discussion, that might include challenging some of the initial points, it allows us to develop our own understanding of a topic. I really believe that we don’t all have to invent something new. It is through listening to what other people have done which allows us to innovate, adapt and improve existing practice within our own settings.
Share and collaborate
Although the community is always the starting point of sharing and collaborating, I feel that the sharing and possible collaboration goes beyond this initial contact. I have shared the content from the community to other professionals at the institution where I work and have developed collaborations with colleagues including co-presenters within podcasts and working alongside the NQT lead on facilitating live streams. This is another area that I would like to further develop in the future. Strategies to achieve this will be regularly sharing case studies within the community that could lead to future collaborations between colleagues and institutions.
Discuss any useful opportunities that have arisen as a result of joining the DigiLearn Sector. How have these contributed to your own professional practice and/or informed that of your wider organisation
It has really benefitted my own professional practice and development by being involved with the community. Within my own institution, there are only a few who share both my enthusiasm and expertise with all things digital and linked to technology. The community has been a wealth of knowledge and skills. I have been able to engage with people who are experts in their own fields who have been able to challenge my own thinking as well as promoting my own research and development in new areas. During my podcast webinar, someone mentioned using Microsoft Stream which I had yet to be introduced to and the sessions and Wakelet and Microsoft updates have been instrumental in the development of my own professional practice. Through these opportunities I have brought these ideas back to my colleagues, sharing and encouraging them to further explore them. In doing so, this also has had a positive impact on my development as their questions encourage me to explore the tools further.
I have been so inspired by the digital capabilities routes from other institutions and how these have contributed to staff development and would be interested in implementing something similar within my own institution.
How do you envisage that Certified DigiLearnSector Membership will support you in your Continuing Professional Development?
The community is dynamic and is always promoting new ideas and digital tools. I will continue to attend sessions as much as I can, engaging with the recordings where possible.
I want to continue to develop my involvement, contributing to future webinars on elements which I have expertise in as well as making contributions via the guest blog option and case studies channel.
I would also like to promote collaboration by engaging in some possible research that could be published within the community, at events or even within educational journals. Working alongside colleagues always interests me since it is through dialogue that we really challenge and develop our own views and opinions.
Finally, I would like to be of a suitable standard to contribute to a live event, presenting through sharing existing practice or new initiates. Live streaming has always interested me, as well as podcasting, and it would be beneficial to write a guide for both of these as well as including when and how they can be used effectively.
Even before the pandemic, I was creating content for the online environment in video format. Flipgrid is a fantastic platform for promoting communication and interaction that lives up to its tagline of “Empower Every Voice”. My initial video was created right at the start of my journey with the DigiLearn Sector and probably needs to be updated
Who am I?
Ever since being a primary school teacher, I have been interested in engaging with technology, innovating and developing skills. Being highly reflective, it allows me to evaluate the purpose and possibilities of tech and then embed the best tool for the job. I enjoy how tech is always developing, there is always new and exciting tools and platforms becoming available that always remind me to ponder that question of what the future of education actually holds.
Guest Blog Post
Blogging is an activity that I have been engaged with for sometime. I feel that it is a platform to share and reflect on experiences, share views and opinions while engaging with a wider audience. Through writing a blog post, it supports my own thinking which is then further extended when listening to responses.
Guest Post - DigiLearn Sector: The future of Education?
The future is unknown but, as Abraham Lincoln stated – ‘The best way to predict the future is to create it’? As we look to the future from a point within the current situation where the end is hopefully insight, I have been thinking about whether we are preparing learners for the future and whether, our roles as educators will still be needed or whether the classrooms of higher education will be populated by teaching bots, androids and artificial intelligence.
and some very valid points - I agree that what we teach at uni is not info transfer but skills sharing: how to find info, question it and evaluate it and generate new knowledge. Much more exciting way of teaching and learning I think— Dr Sarah Crabbe (the accidental academic) (@SarahCrabbe1) April 14, 2021
Some immediate feedback from colleagues after reading the post.
There is always a challenge to maintain an overview of all the possible ways to make learning engaging. Often learners can spend some of their time on placement and, with all our lives becoming busier, how we disseminate information and provide support is changing. By using podcasting, information and support can be accessed asynchronously. After implementing a range of podcasts alongside my teaching, I decided to present this as a #DigiLearnSector webinar.
Evidence of Contributions
A member asked the community for some hints and tips on how people improve their digital wellbeing especially on what they carry out away from the screens.
- Never access emails on my mobile devices – this means that I have to be logged on to my PC to access emails
- Set up a separate browser for work – this holds all my work-related links etc and office 365
- Walk before and after – I make sure that I go for a walk/run at the start of the day and after work – I like to run/walk and then when I get back I’ve turned off from work and its fun time
- Take my breaks – lunchtime and break times are spent away from the computer doing something else.
I contributed to the community by sharing some subject knowledge videos that I and a colleague had to been working on.
I contributed to a recent webinar by relating the content of the discussion to other aspects of learning.
“Love One Note for escape rooms. I think critical thinking and problem-solving skills are so important and as well as identifying patterns.”
I also contributed to the discussion which recommendations of the software I used, making alternatives known to the community. This was acknowledged by a member of the community.
ME: “I love Canva, but I’m more of an Adobe fanboy at the moment so I am using Spark”
Community Member: “Adobe Spark is a great tool, but I definitely need to spend more time with it as Canva is my go-to – will have to use it more”
My involvement in the webinar was followed up by engaging with the presenter on Twitter.
— Wilson Waffling (@WilsonWaffling) February 24, 2021
I shared my own resources on the use of emojis within online sessions to promote learner engagement. This content was subsequently retweeted to the community and engaged with on Twitter by members of the community.
📢 A great blog post from #DigiLearnSector Key Contributor, Ian Wilson @WilsonWaffling – on using emojis to promote engagement in online environments 👍https://t.co/9akgspliwb #education #edtech #HE #digitalcapability #community #collaboration #altc— Chris Melia (@ChrisLearnTech) June 24, 2020
Within a session on digital inclusivity, I recommended the use of Ally, which allows the resources on VLEs, specifically Moodle, to be downloaded in different formats, so allowing the learner a choice on which format would support their own engagement.
I produced content relating to the creation and editing of videos when universities first moved to online teaching. These were shared on Linked accompanied by the #DigiLearnSector hashtag.
Within the webinar on ‘Making Blended teaching work in an online setting’ I shared how we use breakout rooms to simulate the ‘real-life’ table groups which learners sit in for sessions. I celebrated that this actually allows the learners to engage with different people so extending their own understanding of the discussion topic by listening to others.
I have found with TEAMs we have different groups for the breakout groups each session – much better than the ‘real-life’ tables when they are always stuck together”
This was further supported by linking this to existing discussion strategies, for example the jigsaw technique.
“Jigsaw works very well – it really gives them the responsibility for the content and the learning.”
Within the webinar on ‘Making Blended teaching work in an online setting,’ I also shared a YouTube playlist demonstrating how to set up and use Kahoot. (This was originally posted on my website before it crashed – the link takes you straight to the playlist.
“Kahoot is excellent, here are some videos I’ve created to support its use”