Some thoughts from the SALT Conference (morning presentations)

As you will be aware, the 6th Annual SALT Conference took place on Thursday 26 June 2014. For me, personally, I love to attend because I like to hear what others do in their teaching, and I usually take away plenty of ideas. This year was no exception, and the lateness of this blog post is because I wanted time to reflect on the conference, and to gather my thoughts and ideas together.

Within the SALT Team, we tried to split ourselves out across all the streams so that each of the presenters had someone on hand if they had any requirements. If I don’t mention any of the round tables/presentations it was because I wasn’t there (apologies!)

For me, there were a lot of highlights, but one of the things that stood out in particular for me was the panel and question time. I thought that being able to write questions down during the registration was useful, and I thought that the panel had some different perspectives which lent itself to some interesting discussions and room for further discussion. More on this in another blog post.

I stayed in Faraday A for the three presentation sessions, all of which were very good, and gave plenty of food for thought going forward.

Stuart MacDonald kicked off the presentations in style, talking about Live Tweeting in Lectures. As someone who tweets often, I was interested to see how it was used in the classroom. Stuart’s presentation took the audience through how it was used, and I liked the way the use of the hashtag for each lecture was used, thus enabling students to easily find what they were looking for.

The pilot of the live tweeting had some really useful benefits, such as academics from other institutions chipping in to discussions, which added weight to what the students were learning/discussing, as well as offering alternative viewpoints.

Ideally, they would like more learners to actually participate and ‘tweet’, though they did stress that several students were reading the twitter posts without actually sending tweets and so were participating after a fashion.

I feel that there is a lot to be learned from this pilot, and there is also a lot of potential for development – particularly in using twitter as a form of revision tool – for example using third party apps such as storify, to collate tweets around a specific hashtag. One to watch I think.

View the presentation here

Mark Jones and Sally Williams were up next with their presentation “A Blended Approach to work based learning. Experiences of learners in enhanced professional practice”.

I spoke to Mark briefly at the arrival and registration and he was rather nervous, this being his first conference presentation. I wouldn’t have thought it though, and was really interested in what he had to say. Though his research and presentation was around Health Care Practitioners who may be on placement etc, I felt that the lessons learnt were easily transferable, and I can certainly see a lot of potential for the Bay Campus.

Key points for me were the emphasis on the learning being student centred – “Learning starts with the learner and is focussed around them” and the extremely positive feedback from both the learners and practictioners. As a result of the blended learning, improvements were made to practice, service delivery and patient care.

The recording of the presentation can be found here

Feeding forward, Mark and Sally are looking to collaborate with other colleges, so if you are interested in finding out more then please contact Mark or Sally, or the SALT Team.

The final presentation came from Dr Michael Draper and one of his students (and president of the Law Society), Jack Golpin. What I particularly liked about this presentation was that the student perspective was very much integrated into the presentation, and Jack’s contribution only served to emphasised how valuable the role of the academic society was to their education.

Jack mentioned that first year student members of the Law Society are assigned mentors – could this be transferable to new staff? It was also noted that some students indicate that they join for networking and mentoring reasons.

Both Michael and Jack indicated that the society receive quality external speakers, and host events open to externals, thus giving students the opportunity to complement their studies, and being able to network with current practitioners in an informal setting.

Jack stated that “the main focus of [academic societies] is to assist students in studying [their subject]”

Their presentation can be found here

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