June 9, 2008, by Teaching at Nottingham

Developing confidence and skills in e-learning

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Brett Bligh: “I would contend that the confidence is perhaps more important than the skills, because the willingness to try to use new technology will carry you a long way.”

Matthew Nilan: “I’m interested in where people find difficulties and often, those difficulties are, sort of, quite personal, in that they, sort of, they – sometimes people blame themselves for not being technologically competent enough, which is never the problem. I mean, that’s absolutely never the case, in my view.

“It’s always a question of people being too nervous to ask questions which they think are too obvious. So they’ve made the task difficult for themselves, by assuming that some of it’s their fault when it’s not.”

Richard Pemberton: “I remember being quite surprised at that initial meeting. And this was academic and non-academic staff together, which I think is a very good aspect of this project, that it’s not just lecturers. It’s administrative staff, everybody is involved.

“But there was quite a bit of, you know, ‘I hate technology.’ ‘I’m terrified by technology.’ And I was, kind of, surprised, like what are these people doing at this meeting? It actually shows some courage that they’re coming to a meeting with the letter ‘e’ at the beginning of it.”

Do Coyle: “It wasn’t just academics or administrative staff, but it was a complete mix, a complete cross-section of the school, and people sitting next to each other saying, ‘Well, I’d like to improve x, y and z’, and somebody else saying, ‘Well, I’d like to do something similar’, and putting people together in working groups that, again, wouldn’t normally have happened.

“And I think this was, again, part of developing a community spirit, ethos, where it was about, ‘Let’s work together on this.'”

Interviewer: “What’s changed for you, in terms of your professional development, having been involved in these projects?”

Jane Evison: “There is the issue of greater confidence and knowledge about the technology, and I wasn’t particularly knowledgeable about this. I don’t think I’d ever listened to a podcast until we started doing them. So that was very, very useful in that respect.

“But it’s still a developmental thing, I think. I still wouldn’t say that I’m particularly comfortable with all aspects of this.”

Richard: “Having gone through that process, I think, was useful, even if I don’t necessarily, let’s say, edit a movie again in my life, but it gives you that confidence to say, ‘I can try some technology that I’ve never used before.’ ‘I can have a go.’
I can then teach somebody as if I’m the expert, but I can teach them because I’ve just gone through, and I’ve seen all the problems that they’re about to experience.
And I think that gives you the confidence that – maybe you’ll never use that technology again, but you can get up and – because technology’s changing so fast that, I think, I’ll be able to face some new technology that becomes very prevalent in the next couple of years.

“We can talk, so we can use some of the terminology, so we’re able to liaise and discuss, and say, ‘We would like this’, ‘Can you…’, you know, ‘That link needs to be changed. It’s not appearing in the right way to the user.’ ‘How do you subscribe to it?’ And so on.

“So we’re able to talk about that, and say, ‘We would like it to be able to do x.'”

Rolf Wiesemes: “I think, another area where professional or – yeah, professional development certainly has come in, is the area of really thinking now about how do I really want to use this in ways that are pedagogically meaningful, and that are important to me as an educational researcher?

“I think what was important was the whole – yeah, the independence and the autonomy that I got through being involved in the ePioneers project.”

In conversation with: Brett Bligh, Do Coyle, Jane EvisonMatthew Nilan, Richard Pemberton, Rolf Wiesemes (School of Education).

Extracts from interviews with staff who are starting to use technology in their teaching, and those who are mentoring them. This video was originally published as part of PESL’s ePioneers collection. Produced: June 2008

Posted in Integrating technology