Innovation

Healthcare education TEL Hack – Leeds 7-8 March #hetelhack

Technology enhanced learning (TEL) is playing a growing role across the continuum of healthcare professions education supporting both formal and informal learning.  Virtual learning environments, e-portfolios, e-assessment, online learning and apps are all features of the TEL landscape.  Social media is also supporting learning conversations via hashtags like #FOAMed, #ecgclass, #wenurses etc and hosting videos and podcasts on blogs and YouTube.  There’s lots to like in the world of TEL in healthcare professions education but there are also frustrations.  Frustrations about the clunkiness of institutional learning tools, the barriers to accessing resources from within an NHS setting, the lack of the right sort of apps to support mobile learning.  Alongside these problems there are also lots of ideas of how to  improve things and make things better together with dreams of how to present and develop content in new more imaginative and effective ways. But these ideas can sometimes lead to additional frustration as indviduals aren’t sure how to turn their ideas into a reality.  To help address this NHS Health Education England and the Higher Education Academy are teaming up to run a healthcare professions education hack day – #hetelhack – in Leeds on 7-8 March.

#hetelhack is hoping to build on the success of NHS Hack Days, which have attracted individuals from across the healthcare professions together with patients and developers and coders.  The most recent NHS Hack Day in Cardiff is a great example of the creativity and innovation that happens at these events.

Workshops at ASME and AMEE last year highlighted that many of us involved in healthcare professions education face similar issues.  Som eof the things that educators and students alike are looking for include

  • that elusive intuitively designed e-portfolio solution
  • how we might be able to use technology to make topics like ethics more interesting and engaging
  • a learning repository that looks more like youtube or slideshare
  • how we can use tehnology to support the role that patients can play in healthcare professions education
  • how we might use immersive environments and virtual reality to support developing skills in team working and situational judgement/awareness to help improve patient safety
  • ways to effectively use 3D printing to support learning
  • an application that supports collaborative learning
  • a content authoring app you can quickly and easily use to author and create a short piece of learning that outputs as HTML5

#hetelhack provides an opportunity for individuals to come together and work together over a weekend with coders and designers to solve some of the problems we face or to explore a new idea and be creative.  This is the first NHS focussed hack event which has a focus on education and one of the hopes is that we can start to build a network which can also take the ideas that emerge from the hack and collaborate to see them developed further.

There’s been a lot of interest in the #hetelhack but there are still spaces for developers, coders and designers so if you’re free that weekend come along to Leeds.

For more info on #hetelhack and to sign up visist the NHS HEE webiste.

More reflections of day one of Jisc #digifest14: Part 2

So here’s part two of my reflections on the first day of the Jisc Digital Festival meeting following on my post earlier this evening with  part one of my reflections on the opening keynote.

After the opening keynotes there was a brief Q&A session and my ears pricked up at a question asking whether there was a Jisc strategy to support open source solutions to create digital transformations.  The Twitter back channel picked up on this and highlighted that many open source tools had been developed with JISC funding but that these hadn’t been sustained and further developed due to the stop start nature of the funding.  Some highlighted that open source systems should be promoted and encouraged ahead of proprietary systems.  I have a lot of sympathy for this view and have written previously about HE adopting open technologies and an agile approach to developing our technical solutions in the same way that the Cabinet Office has. I’ll pickup on this thread later.

Following the keynote we moved onto a mix of workshops, expert speaker sessions, panels and tech demos.  First off I went to the workshop which launched the new Jisc Open Badges Design Toolkit.  We worked through the Toolkit and I think this is going to prove really useful to those looking at open badges and thinking about how you might use them.

Next up I pitched up at the hangout session – ‘Flipped classroom, or just flippin’ technology? Where are we now with technology, student experience and organisational change?’  The slides for this session aren’t up as yet, which is a shame because I’d like to have another look at them.  I found myself at odds with some of what was said in this session, for example the notion that the use of technology in a lecture makes it interactive.  Surely it’s not the technology that makes the lecture interactive it’s the design of the learning activity.  There’s also the issue of how we design learning spaces, our newly refurbished lecture has been designed to support team-based learning and small group learning, technology is used in these interactive learning sessions but it doesn’t work in isolation.  There was also the suggestion that technology makes the flipped classroom more flipped but I was left thinking again about whether students are really engaged with the flipped classroom.  It would have been nice to have seen a bit more attention given to the pedagogical approaches rather than the notion as the technology being the agent of change (it’s worthwhile looking at this paper on the missing evidence of scholarly approach to teaching and learning with technology in higher education).

Onto the afternoon and another workshop this time on developing digital literacies.  This linked to another Jisc toolkit and there was some good discussion in the various groups in this session.

The day ended on a bright note for me with Joss Winn’s session looking at ‘The university as a hackerspace: Can interventions in teaching and learning drive university strategy?’.  In part one of my reflections on the first day I asked whether we need to think about what higher education really is.  Joss outlined how at Lincoln they have been questioning the purpose of the University and how teaching and research need to work together.  In so many of our universities these have been separated and the relationship between them has become dysfunctional.  Lincoln is well known for its work on students as producers and it was interesting to hear how this concept is becoming embedded into their programmes.  Joss also raised questions about who’s driving innovation in our Universities, is it IT departments and are they best placed to be doing this.  He proposed that University’s need a hack space to foster interprofessional innovation and research.

As someone who’s worked closely with students as producers and also piloted a hack event I’m perhaps slightly biased but for me this is so much more interesting and exciting than flipped classrooms, MOOCs and learning analytics. For me it shifts the focus from students as consumers as learners to developing our students as producers and scholars and their creativity and problems solving skills.  Having recently worked with a colleague in the School of Computing on a 4 week module which saw medical students work with computing students on technology projects, it’s clear that both sets of students developed skills in communication, team work, time management, problem solving, digital literacy in ways that mirrored what goes on the work place whilst applying their subject knowledge and understanding.  Both sets of students found it a great experience and we’re hoping to run this again next year.  The conversations that have resulted from this experience have also been interesting.  The computing students were surprised that the Medical School weren’t using Blackboard as their VLE but WordPress.  Following this initial surprise they asked why we couldn’t work together to further develop WordPress as a VLE more widely across the University which links in with the issues around open source technologies in HE.  We pay so much to consultancy firms in HE and yet we have so much talent and creativity in our institutions.  How much more could we achieve if we created hackspaces for staff and students to come together and take forward and build solutions to enhance learning and teaching, research and administration in our institutions.  What if JISC and the HEA and other funding bodies awarded funding to projects born from HE hackathons that addressed issues common to most universities rather than just giving the money to what seems to many of us like the usual suspects.  Would this be a way to better support a more sustainable approach to the development of open source solutions in higher education.

There are some of us involved in UK medical education who are keen to explore the notion of hackerspaces further and it would be great to extend that conversation across HE more widely.

Trends in interactive design

This slideshare presentation on trends in interaction design for 2013 provides food for thought for those of us involved in developing online eduactional resources and IT systems in education and healthcare.  Interaction design and usability is so often overlooked in digital resource and service development.  The UK Government Digital Design Prinicples get a mention.  Would be so good to see these applied to the commonly used VLEs, portfolios and other learning tools …