Nine years after Jennifer Burke explained the importance of educators sharing their work, staff working 50 miles apart in the Limerick School of Art and Design (LSAD) showed an innovative way for students to collaborate while learning. Students and staff—who had not met each other beforehand—connected through a Critical and Contextual Studies module delivered in two separate campuses of LSAD.
During the spring semester of 2013, LSAD sculpture students in Clare Street, Limerick, and LSAD creative multimedia students in Clonmel, Tipperary, engaged in a virtual environment in a study of Kinaesthetics. During three months, students and lecturers met during a live lecture, followed by reflections in small groups. This was the first collaborative engagement between lecturers of the former Tipperary Institute and LIT. The results validate efficiencies suggested by the Hunt Report. If taken to a logical conclusion, the sharing that evolved in the spring of 2013 will lead to other “guest” lectures across county lines.
Most of the cross-curricular activities happened when 48 students and lecturers from two campuses discussed course materials in a private Google Plus community online at http://bit.ly/lsadccs. Only students and staff who were cleared into the private zone could see the work of those in the G+ Kinaesthetics Community. The experience provided an opportunity for “learning by doing” opportunity, an idea promoted by Jean Piaget and John Dewey. The overall results validated cognitive constructivism, with both groups of students learning from the skills of the other. This conclusion resonates in feedback following reviews of lecture materials and reflections shared by students: http://www.slideshare.net/topgold/kinaesthetics
While Microsoft Lync facilitated the delivery of a Powerpoint lecture to the two groups of students, based fifty miles apart, the real innovative feature occurred when students used their personal mobile devices to access content and reflect on ideas together, in a private Google Plus community. Students recorded some reflective commentary for academic credit while using their own camera phones and YouTube. A playlist of four reflective comments, recorded on camera phones, is at http://bit.ly/ccs-reflections
This collaborative event, supported by the Limerick Institute of Technology with resources disseminated on YouTube, Google Plus, Slideshare, Moodle, and Audioboo, validates the power of active learning and serves to support the idea that higher education institutions might consider using traditional skills and internet infrastructure in a collaborative environment that supports a growing trend of students who bring their own devices for active learning. This presentation is available as a screencast online at http://www.slideshare.net/topgold/nomination-for-the-jennifer-burke-award This material was authored by Bernard Goldbach email@example.com. Documentation and support materials were prepared by LSAD students with Orla Amos, Susan Cloonan, Niall Condon and Laura Hobson in primary roles.