Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Positive feedback from Elevate's student induction sessions.

The latest intake of students at UCS were graced with the Elevate Team's presence during the student inductions, to not only go over our current institution services such as the VLE and the E-portfolio system but to empower students to look at personal learning networks and other Web 2 tools outside of UCS. Demonstrating the benefits of such tools as twitter, diigo etc

This has changed greatly from our old student induction approach which was very point and click orientated mainly focusing around the VLE.

It seems as though our new approach has certainly guided some students into trying some of the tools we suggested, below is a comment from a student who decided to have a play with twitter.
Further to our conversation earlier today, I write to continue my eulogising about Twitter as a resource which has helped me immensely with my post-grad studies. As a mature student, many of the social networking sites have passed me by, but following your presentation to the MACYS group in October, I promptly signed up for a Twitter account and it has been transformational in providing me with links to websites, reports, research documents, policies, headlines, and an e-streamed conference.

Despite living in a home environment where there is more modern technology than Dixons, my comfort zone was purely email and online shopping. However, discovering Twitter has been a revelation. Before your talk, I assumed it was a social space for people to detail the minutiae of their lives in 140 characters, but it would seem I assumed wrong!

To begin with I searched for St Elizabeth Hospice, an organisation for which I currently work on a voluntary basis. From finding them, I was able to link to other hospices, and through them, I have been able to access research, grief counselling resources, and sibling programmes, enabling me to use these resources within my assignments, and also in providing a wider snapshot of hospice provision. My links led me to ACT – an overarching organisation for Hospice Care, for both parents and professionals, and an e-stream of their recent Rights of The Child conference. I am now following numerous child cancer charities, such as Clic Sargent and Be Child Cancer Aware to name only 2, and have requested hardcopies of publications I have come across on such sites.

I feel that Twitter has brought to my pc information and resources that I may not have come across through searching library database journals, catalogues, and Google. Additionally, I am following a few people who are terminally ill children, and this has added another, more human dimension to my theoretical studies. Admittedly, I am lurking on Twitter, and never contribute to anything as I am unsure how, but I check my tweets daily and it is now a starting point for the day, to see what has been released since I looked last.

I thought I would be the last person to be singing Twitter’s praises, but your enthusiasm encouraged us to venture forth into territories unknown and it has been worthwhile. My husband used to refer to me as a technical luddite, but no more….

What a phenomenal tool requiring few skills but yielding such fascinating outcomes. I wish someone had espoused its benefits years ago. Thank you!!

This has been fantastic feedback for our team, demonstrating a need for students to be made aware of Web 2.0 technologies and how they can be used to enhance their learning outside of what the institution provides. We make sure that in our demonstrations, we don't push or set objectives for students to complete any tasks, but simply sell the benefits of the tools, it's then up to the students to pursue further if they feel it will benefit them.

As the student comment above shows, there maybe a lot of students who know about tools such as twitter and diigo, however not know how best to use them in a learning context.

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