I was asked to run* a session for Learning@City 2013 Conference about the project I have been doing as part of my Learning Development Associate secondment. The project’s focus is the use and impact of technology in physical learning environments at City.

Fig. 1 A tree made from paper aeroplanes, particpant views and Wordle

As well as talking about my project, I had a covert aim for the session: to gather data and ideas from the session participants. I now know why I haven’t been recruited by MI5, as my sneaky plan featured in the session abstract. Sneaky. Covert.  However, this didn’t negatively affect sign-up, and I was very pleased to have 30+ keen-to-participate attendees.

It seemed appropriate to use different technologies in the session. These included Prezi for the slides, Poll Everywhere for in-session voting via text, Twitter and the web, and paper aeroplanes. Matt Lingard introduced Prezi and Poll Everywhere to me (and my colleagues) and they work well for engaging people.

I wanted to gather the session participants’ opinions on some of the areas I have looked at in my project. The screenshot below (Fig. 2) is their views in small groups on how technology affects teaching and learning via a Poll Everywhere poll (direct link to the actual poll).


Fig 2. Session participants’ opinions on teaching and learning in physical learning environments collected via Poll Everywhere

Clearly the session attendees feel that technology has a significant role to play in education. It also features heavily in their everyday kit: amongst the 30+ attendees there were 41 internet-enabled devices, and a general consensus that students are even more ‘technology-ready’ than the people who teach them.

Session attendees also seemed to share students’ views that the teacher is the single most important element in successful learning. Students consider that the order of importance is i) teacher ii) the time a class is held iii) the technology used and iv) the classroom.

In my study I have used a broad definition of technology in classrooms to include anything that is not a person or furniture. This includes hardware form projectors to overhead projectors (or visualisers) and even whiteboards.

In parallel with this broad definition, I thought using paper aeroplanes to submit group suggestions to complete the sentence ‘Technology in teaching and learning is not “stand-alone”; it……………’ would be fun and useful for my data. The tree in figure one is a word cloud made from the main words of the participants’ responses.

The session was very useful for me to collect some more views and data from City people and to discuss technology in relation to teaching and learning. Some very interesting discussions started. I hope the session was useful and fun for the participants.

My Prezi slides with session participant data added are can be found by clicking here  

*actually, I was asked to submit a proposal to run a session which was ‘blind-reviewed’ and accepted




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