So for those that have been otherwise living in a cave on a marooned island with no concept of UTC or Gregorian Calender, it’s 2017 in a few days and with it another 12 months of education to innovate within.
With new things to think about and technology showing no signs of decelerating, here are 12 things I’m looking forward to seeing for my place of work this year. If you’re in the industry, I’d love to hear about yours in the comments below too!
The Death of PowerPoint
Well, okay death may be a little harsh, maybe just a reduction of them. However, I experienced many of these in the last of my School ICT lessons, through sections of college and in the odd lectures and in the shortened form with other activities and media added in it was okay. But sometimes it’s all you see. Slides and slides of white backgrounds and really long bullet points, which when exposed to regularly can feel pretty soul destroying and disengage you from the content. With many more interactive presentation technologies out there such as Nearpod, Slides, Classflow and more that I hope to talk about over the next year it’s time to ditch the telling and start the guiding!
The Rise in Collaboration
As part of the refurbishment of two of our three Education Centres, we’ve really made a push to refocus our rooms to do what they say on the tin where possible (e.g: Seminar Rooms as Teaching Spaces and Meeting Rooms purpose built for 1:1s and small scale meetings). As part of this, we’ve introduced new meeting spaces that are appropriate for doing what they say on the tin giving our total to 12 meeting spaces. Our two newest ones introduce a collaborative framework for people to share, audit and plan upon using a popular boardroom style layout used in our Chorley location, with an added technology solution by Extron known as “Teamwork”. This allows people to easily connect to a display in the room and using a glowing button connected to each of their respective HDMI/VGA cables to switch between their devices as they share content in meetings. Other technologies we’ve explored and experienced recently also include the use of Microsoft’s Surface Hub which allows people to draw on a wall mounted surface just like a whiteboard and to share this with people either through their own Windows 10 enabled devices or online during a video conference using the built in Skype for Business application and looking into technologies like Clevertouch’s various teaching surfaces, the iBoardTouch interactive displays and SMART’s kapp iQ solutions.
People Becoming Masters of their own Learning
This is hardly a new concept and after experiencing it through the a MOOC I took on Coursera whilst at the same time learning about the paradigm, student agency is becoming key in this time of modern technology where many more people have access to knowledge on tap through MOOCs, eLearning, podcasts and downloadable multimedia, loanable mediums such as discs and books and 24 hour access to online libraries packed with digital journals and eBooks. As teachers expand reading lists and open up more of their course to self driven and motivation, becoming less of a lecturer and more of a facilitator many students begin to care more about what they are learning – less for the test and exam scores and more about what actually matters to them in life. When I was a school, I was taught on how to make my CV look good and roughly how politics should work when I vote, but nothing on tax returns or finding a job successfully once I was to leave said school and back then the internet didn’t quite make this information as easily accessible. These days, everything is possibly at our fingertips and anything your institution would otherwise still love to teach if there was more time now has the opportunity to “make” this time by making the information available out of class time – online or off. Just pick a medium to get started, and thankfully in my team we can help make it all move forward by performing the manufacturing part of the process ourselves. All you have to do is provide the ideas and the content, the Quality Assurance testing and then encourage the students by giving them the keys to drive forward their own understanding in their own way through what we’ve produced for them.
Exciting New Delivery Methods
In 2017, we’re making this the year where things begin to move forwards. Now, being in the NHS things don’t tend to move all that fast unless they’re pushed with passion and drive. Thankfully our team has that in buckets and the push towards exploring and developing new mixed and virtual reality content is only bubbling more rapidly as the date draws ever closer to the delivery of our first batch of hardware with Microsoft’s exciting Hololens platform.
We’re also opening up our multimedia platform further to focus on more than exclusively film and animation, focusing as well on audio content through improved sound for the aforementioned media and through podcasting, with two projects already on the go for this platform and more new hardware due to arrive soon allowing us to take a more professional approach to this new platform.
As mentioned above we’re hoping with our new refurbishment and further upgrade of some of our older rooms, we can introduce new methods of teaching and exploring education through the Teamwork collaboration solutions, adding interactive classroom spaces that can divide for breakout sessions, Whiteboard technologies such as SMART Podium touchscreens, Clevertouch boards and Promethean ClassFlow for certain rooms to reduce the amount of paper use through flipcharts as well as studying our outreach work within clinical education within the main hospital itself.
What are you looking forward to showing in your classrooms next year? Got any big plans to further innovate your teaching style or perhaps new technology related to your field of study you’d like to share? Please feel free to share your thoughts using the comments box below.
I’d like to wish you all a happy new year and I hope that whilst 2017 may not be the “best year ever!” (as we seem to say each and every new year and considering the last year especially after we all probably said it for 2016), I sincerely hope you all have a productive and prosperous one!