This is a very short post to capture my initial thoughts about the Regent’s Twalk at lunchtime…..Today I organised a short walk on the main campus of Regent’s University London. During the walk we visited five different types of learning spaces; The Refectory (an informal learning space), ICT2 (a IT lab), The Tate Library (Collaborative learning space). Room H242 (classroom with furniture designed for ‘flexible’ learning) and H243 ( a traditional lecturer theater). We walked around these spaces tweeting out photos and answering the following questions:
- What is the value of informal meeting spaces like cafes for today’s learner?
- What other good meeting spaces do we build into our campuses? What are their qualities?
- Where do students do group work?
- How fit for purpose is the traditional PC Lab?
- How are they used, who by, and when?
- Where do our students ‘feel at home’ on campus and amongst friends?
- What do they do on campus?
- How does it promote their sense of belonging?
- What do today’s classrooms look like?
- What does flexible mean and is flexible desirable?
- Is it time to rethink the need for ‘teaching walls?’ and lecterns?
- How do you define an Active Learning Classroom?
- Do we support staff to move from the teaching wall to the middle of the room?
- What is the role of technology in the room?
We started on time and just two lecturers and three members of the learning technology team turned up. Even though this was about the numbers I was expecting it was still very disappointing. There are some obvious reasons why this was the case; teaching has finished so many lecturers are not on campus, there was a JCC meeting on at the same time, it clashes with lunchtime, end of term fatigue. But having said that the event was well advertised so to only get two academics was a bit demoralising. However, the two who turned made up for the numbers with their enthusiasm, energy and genuine desire to engage with the tasks!
The questions certainly sparked a lot of discussion among the participants. There was a really nice interaction between the learning technologists and the tutors who had not met before. Even the two academics had not spoken to one another before even though they have taught here for a number of years and even teach the same subjects (in a slightly different context).
I think I need to go back and look at the tweets later when I have time. I was too busy taking people round and explaining the tasks too fully concentrate on the Twitter stream. It would also be interesting to see how much interaction was going on between the different institutions organising the walks.
Would I do it again? If so, how? I definable would do it again but I need to think of better ways to get the message over the the lecturers. For me the activity was not really about using Twitter but about exploring and critiquing learning learning spaces on campus ..in other words creating a dialogue. I really don’t think that most lecturers who saw the posters/leaflets/intranet/tweets saw it as this – or even thought about how they could use this as a teaching activity with their students. Maybe next time I need to get staff to book the event more like a normal workshop? Or simply just take round a sign-up list? Who knows – you just need to try things out sometimes and see where they go:)