I am sorry to see the end of the fabulous professional development course “23 Things for Research” run by the fabulous CreATE team at the University of Auckland (thank you!). What am I going to do now on a Monday?  During the last weeks I have:

  • Picked passwords
  • Built a blog
  • Found feeds
  • Become entwined in Twitter
  • Been branded
  • Connected to academic communities
  • Promoted my profile
  • Satisfied curiosity through curation
  • Presented a Prezi
  • Worked on a wiki
  • Been immersed in images
  • Coped with copyright
  • Reflected on referencing
  • Organised organically
  • Collaborated on a communication
  • Danced with data displays
  • Tracked the stats
  • Sorted surveys
  • Reflected, refined, referred and refreshed.

Those who read my blog – please continue to follow me, because I intend to continue writing posts. My focus will probably be more on my research now, but I have too many ideas to limit myself to only a few topics.  I am now an established Tweeter, so much so that I am about to invest in a smartphone of some sort so that I can Tweet on the run.

But most of all, I have enjoyed immersing myself in a new learning experience, learning alongside others at the same time. I have been thinking about these new tools, trying them out, talking about them with others, discovering what other people already do and becoming part of new communities… constantly.  For me, that is a wonderful way of learning.  I will have to take a step back for a while, though, as such intensity is difficult and counter-productive to maintain.  For me it will now be about consolidation.  And perhaps a renewed focus on writing a PhD.

I do hope that CreATE will run this course again, for others to enjoy – or maybe even for those who started this time but circumstances got in their way. Perhaps in the future the team could run a similar course that explores tools specifically for a teaching context – it bugs me that many (most) teachers use new tools in old ways (including myself).  Time to be prodded gently into a new way of thinking?  Here’s a story to illustrate:

My son (15 years old) just visited a local Polytechnic as part of a (all boy) school careers day, and the class was introduced to Computer Assisted Design. They were in a computer lab, and each computer was connected so they could see what the tutor was demonstrating. However, the boys found the tutor rather boring and disorganised, and they found they had access to a chat function and a drawing function that everyone could see. When my husband heard this, he immediately asked “how many penises were drawn?” The reply was “many”! It became a game to draw and erase while the tutor’s back was turned, as well as the active chatting that was going on (which the tutor wasn’t keeping an eye on). All of this was fairly predictable. The next tutor dealt with this behaviour by disabling both functions. My question and challenge is: how could the tutors have used the chat and drawing functions, and the boys’ obvious delight in using the tools, to further the learning objectives?