Middlesex University Annual Learning and Teaching Conference

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By Jennifer Springham @jlspringham2
Joint Appointment: Lecturer in Mental Health and Practice Development Lead, My Care Academy.

Recently Middlesex University held the annual Learning and Teaching conference, this year’s theme being ‘Pedagogies fit for 21st-century learning’, with the focus on innovation in learning and teaching. The conference was organised by the university CAPE team (Centre for Academic Practice Enhancement) and attended by over 300 academic staff. The day included keynote speakers David Kernoham (associate editor @Wonkhe) and Professor Alejandro Armeillini,  Dean and Professor of Learning and Teaching from the University of Northampton.  Sessions were delivered via workshops, symposiums and Pecha Kucha presentations, with a wide range of topics, from the use of virtual reality in teaching to using digital and information technologies to support learning.

Dr. Rossana Espinoza Ramos and I delivered the workshop ‘Bringing the Social to Learning’ where we discussed the value of engaging in Twitter chats. We discussed the relevance to higher education, nursing and coaching, in terms of the opportunities and benefits afforded to those who engage in these conversations.  We facilitated a low tech introduction to a tweet chat on post-it notes, with 3 questions for each group to answer; about their role, what they love about their role and a tip for a new lecturer. There was fantastic engagement from the attendees, both on paper and during the discussion points.

So why deliver this workshop? Since joining the university and My Care Academy project, I became very interested in how social media can be used in a professional sense and how platforms such as Twitter can be a supportive and knowledge building environment for student nurses and professional staff.  I personally have learned a lot from Twitter chats about issues surrounding mental health, service delivery, co-production and improving learning experiences for students.  Preparing and delivering this workshop has inspired me to think of ways in which I can promote using Twitter to the first year BSC mental health nursing students I start teaching from this week. With the right guidance and support, I hope to encourage them to start thinking about developing a positive and professional digital footprint.

Later in the day, there were presentations from practitioners collaborating with the My Care Academy Project.  Suzanne Traynor (Associate Professor @mycareacademy) delivered a session, discussing how the theory-practice gap can be bridged using digital tools and technology.  The STEP team (Strengthening Team-based Education in Practice) presented a series of Pecha Kucha presentations showcasing their work on ‘Career Conversations’ and their digital resources to help prepare nursing students for employment.

Overall it was a great day, very informative and fun. And made possible by the tireless work of the CAPE team, as well as the valuable contribution by Middlesex University staff sharing their examples and ideas of innovative teaching and learning practices, ‘pedagogies fit for 21st-century learning’.

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