Reflections in Time and Twitter: a walk of City’s Learning Spaces

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As part of the Media-Enhanced Learning Special Interest Group (MELSIG) lunchtime Twitter walk activity, members of staff at City took part in our first Twitter Walk, or Twalk yesterday afternoon.

The basic premise was similar to reflective walks that academics may have taken in the medieval times in the cloisters (Latin for enclosure) in universities such as Oxford. We had a whole campus and Twitter for our 21st century equivalent.

I’ll be using the framework of Rolfe et al (2001) ‘What, So What, Now What’ to write this short blog post.

What Happened?

The Twitter walk took place at several universities across the UK yesterday, including Sheffield Hallam, Edge Hill, Liverpool and Regents University. You can search the hashtag SIGCLANS for tweets from other universities. Academic staff also took part from wherever they were too.

As in a tweet chat, there are a series of questions at regular intervals in one hour, this Twitter Walk added the dimension of the physical space to this equation to reflect on different types of learning spaces at our universities. Participants put T1, T2, T3 (T for Topic) and #SIGCLANS in their replies to the following questions:

T1 Café

– 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?

T2 PC Lab

– How fit for purpose is the traditional PC Lab?

– How are they used, who by, and when?

T3 Social space, field or other ‘non-academic’ space

– 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?

T4 Refurbished Classroom

– What do today’s classrooms look like?

– What does flexible mean and is flexible desirable?

T5 Active Learning Classroom

– 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?

So What? – What did we learn?

We used both images and short video via Periscope. We concluded that flexible equals wheels and that Biophilia is the term used to describes the term that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life and that explicitly assigning one person the Twitter ‘scribe’ and the other the facilitator and sticking to those avoids split attention and makes for a better experience.

Now What? Proposed actions following the event

Reading the tweets, I found a participant at other university said this event would make a great induction activity to familiarise yourself with the campus.

Thanks for everyone who came and took part yesterday, we hope you enjoyed the experience and will take some time to reflect on it!

We may run one again in the near future.

There is a link to the Storify of all of our tweets from the City Twitter Walk.

See what others did on their Twalk, via this storify from Andrew Middleton.

References

Scales, P. (2008). Teaching in the Lifelong Sector. McGraw Hill. Berkshire.

Rolfe, G., Freshwater, D. and Jasper, M. (2001). Critical reflection in nursing and the helping professions: a user’s guide. Palgrave Macmillan. Basingstoke.

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