It was great to meet the teams that have been working on innovation projects with Digital Strategy funding today, and to have a chance to talk with some of the educational development and design staff at La Trobe as well.
Matt Riddle introduced the topic of innovation and played some of Steve Johnson’s TED talk on the subject of good ideas needing connected innovators. He set me up nicely to talk about innovation in education, digital innovation, and some of the innovation projects I know best from the UK. I also took the opportunity to ask the innovation teams some questions:
- What have been the really game-changing digital innovations in your subject area?
- How do you share these uncertainties and excitements with students?
- How can we enable students to be innovative and resilient in times of rapid change?
- What enables (some) teaching staff to develop innovative learning opportunities, and what gets in the way of innovation?
I shared ideas from some key Jisc projects in the UK: the Digital Student work; the Digital Capabilities challenge; and Jisc’s work around Learning Analytics. UK innovation projects that I highlighted included PhonarNation, BYOD4Learning, followthethings and UCL’s Connected Curriculum model. My slides for the event are here on slideshare and there is a modest twitterstream with the hashtag #LTUinnov8
In the afternoon we heard from some of the successful 2015 innovation projects. I was particularly interested in some of the multi-campus teaching projects, which are clearly helping La Trobe to ensure a distinctive learning experience across its diverse locations. Speaking of locations, it’s a pleasure finally to be here in Melbourne and meeting people face-to-face who I have got to know online. Everyone looks much better in the flesh, without the resolution problems of my skype set-up at home!
Reflecting on some of the conversations I have had today, I think La Trobe is lucky to have so many bright, passionate and skilled people in educational roles. There is certainly more support for educational design and development than you would find at most UK universities, and the people doing it have academic credibility in their own right. There were plenty of ideas for engaging students as change agents, for enhancing the digital infrastructure, and for developing bespoke digital frameworks in the separate faculties – based on a core model.
The next steps must be to draw these different strategies and strengths together. One element, which we heard about today, will be further funding for the digital innovations projects. Another will be the roadmap and recommendations from the Digital Literacies Framework project. If we can make sure these are working together, La Trobe will be well placed for future innovations in learning and teaching.