LearnAbout educational technology: a practical approach to professional development at the Open University.
0307 ALTC 2009
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27 August 2009
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This poster session described an innovative approach to professional development employed at the Open University over the last three years. This project addressed the challenge of bringing not only the University's community of full time academic and academic related staff but also 8,000 part time tutors fully up to speed with the potential use of innovative technology in learning and teaching. The objective was to ensure that the community as a whole was able to benefit and learn from the expertise and innovative experience available across the University, and to build confidence and competence in those for whom technology may be unfamiliar and/or challenging.The approach was two-fold. A series of concise and practical LearnAbout guides were commissioned from experts, covering topics such as 'blogs and wikis', 'metadata' and '3D Virtual Worlds'. These have a standard format: they are short and written in non-technical language. They give a basic overview and then a clear focus on practical implementation with both examples and contact details. Each guide is peer reviewed and professionally edited before being posted online in both text and audio. New topics can be suggested by any staff member: there are currently 50 guides available. Following the success of the guides a LearnAbout Fair was organised in January 2008 to promote their use. This was a highly interactive event: a 'bring and buy' format with LearnAbout guide authors as stallholders presenting their wares and an ongoing programme of presentations as well as opportunities to experiment with a range of gaming and mobile technologies. The Fair was so successful that it has been repeated in 2009.The poster will present the results of an initial staff survey of attitudes to and confidence with new technologies. Examples of the LearnAbout Guides will be available as well as an explanation of the development and production process. A multimedia presentation will capture the format and experience of the LearnAbout Fairs and the detailed results of a survey of participants will be included.Overall the poster demonstrated the impact of a simple but effective approach to building capacity for innovation with educational technology.
09:21 on 3 December 2009 (Edited 09:24 on 3 December 2009)