Tuesday, December 15, 2020

In late 2019 UNSW Sydney PLuS Alliance Fellow and Senior Lecturer,Selena Griffith, and UNSW colleagues Kate Carruthers and Dr Rebecca Le Bard started collaborating on a book about technological innovation in education. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, the book took on a new form.  Education in the age of Corona: Pandemic pivots and productive portals explores emerging pedagogies that have been driven by digital approaches in response to the SARS-COV-2 virus and the Covid-19 pandemic during 2020. It identifies and documents innovative pedagogical theories and practices that have emerged through innovative use of the digital technology across K-12, vocational education, organisational learning and higher education.

There are several PLuS Alliance cases featured in the book. Dr Sarah Campbell and the TEDI-London team illustrate how they transformed their face to face summer school into a much larger, international, online, transdisciplinary collaborative learning experience in just a few weeks. Dr Sarah Jones and her team from Arizona State University outline the ASU Spark Method, an easy-to-understand 4-step action learning method for groups to more quickly and succinctly understand problems, issues, challenges, and/or opportunities, bringing those ideas and solutions to life faster. Michael Kasumovic, Associate Professor at UNSW and Isabelle Kingsley, Research Associate, UNSW describe how they have used the integration of mobile and digital technologies, to create meaningful hands-on online learning experiences in the teaching of evolutionary biology.

Selena Griffith discusses how applying human centred design and user experience design method can assist practitioners to readily establish the needs of cohorts and tailor their course experiences through co-design and co-creation. “In one of my courses this year I used a human centred responsive design technique to establish student learning preferences when working in teams,” she commented “based on their responses to the questions ‘Describe contributing factors of the best teamwork experiences you have had whilst studying?’ and ‘Describe how you see yourself as a collaborator?’, I was able to understand the cohort’s preferences in the context of learning collaboration within teams. This led to me being able to facilitate a way to connect students online to design a way for them to connect and form teams. We then ran the activity to form teams. This simple exercise gave the students agency in the way they formed teams and interacted in their teams.”

In response to the support that had been given students commented “I liked being able to design how we made our teams. It helped me make new friends to work with that had complimentary skill sets” and “I don’t usually like teamwork but this term I was able to choose who I worked with based on common interests. I thought it would be hard doing this online, but it worked because we got to decide how to do it.”

Education in the age of Corona: Pandemic pivots and productive portals will be available in e-book and printed formats in early 2021 through Common Ground Publishing.

For queries contact Bisi Olulode, Communications Officer Olabisi.olulode@plusalliance.org