#techented: what’s next?

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This blog post is a part of www.flscinterns.wordpress.com

Notes & scribbles from “Technology enhanced enterprise and entrepreneurship education” conference, organized by HEEG, EEUK, and Kingston University.

 3 #techented lessons I learnt (to list them all we would need a separate blog post):

  • sit next to somebody who makes cool mind-map style notes & get inspired (thanks, Alisdair!);
  • enthusiasm is (still) the key;
  • it is important to allow students personalise their learning experience.

The conference kicked off with Peter Harrington (@PeteSimVenture), Venture Simulations, and Lesley Strachan, Southampton Solent University, – “How the latest simulation technology has been designed to meet the challenges of teaching entrepreneurship and business within Higher Education”. 

One of the possible answers is – using business simulation “SimVenture”, that allows students practise an authentic business start-up and develop their CBI skills. The simulation provides an engaging and stimulating experience for students, involving hands-on learning, employability skills and providing a great deal of fun (which always helps keep students engaged).

Tutors can access the simulation and change the market environment to make it more dynamic for students. Past & current projects: bikes, healthcare product & a service based business.

John Bound (@Fuelrca), Royal College of Art, presented an extensive list of technologies they use for teamwork, communications, mentoring, events and broadcasting.

“We want students to engage with the commercial dimensions of art prroduction”

John Bound

As a member of EU funded research team, Peter Bond (Learning Futures Consultancy), contributed to developing KALiF System – a technique for using integrated social media platforms.

“Business opportunities are opportunities to solve problems”

John Bound

During the project, students got to play roles of Technical Director, Marketing Director, etc. Also, the ‘Board’ has regular meetings that are minuted. The pitch is assessed, followed by a poster exhibition to which local businesses are invited. Such approach had many advantages among which, more effective knowledge sharing, spontaneous interaction leading to unexpected opportunities to innovate.

“Technology is a technique. Not the software”

Peter Bond

Suzan Orwell, Kingston University, shared the best practise for using blogging for teaching and learning. They use WordPress blog in a variety of ways: the librarians share latest news and tips for studying, events pages keep students up to date of what is happening on campus, and course leaders use blogs for providing information on assessments etc, as well as, a form of learning. I love the idea of students creating blogs. But then again, I am very biased on this topic as I currently run three blogs of my own.

I was a student just a year ago and let me tell you how awkward it was when I had to give peer assessment on a team project. Very. Suzan outlined the importance of student interaction using blogs and this way providing some informal peer assessment. Let’s admit, getting a comment on your blog is always very exciting (*wink wink*).

4530185934_d44eed3c70_zBlogging outside the university platform, gives students the freedom to visualise the work in their own way. It personalises their learning, which does wonders to motivation and creativity.

Talking about creativity… I want to say that Emilee Simmons (@dremilee), University of Leeds, shared her experience of running an international project. But she shared more than that. She radiated the enthusiasm that inspired all us, no matter where we were from or what experience we had.

So, in 2014 a pilot group of students from the University of Leeds (UK) and Drexel University (US) got together to develop a venture business plan. Teams of 1st year undergraduate business students delivered a 6 minutes elevator pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs and academics from both, The UK & US.

There are many differences in culture, curriculum: it was graded for Drexel students, voluntary for Leeds (what you might think of how that affects motivation). Some of the things I want to pick on:

  • Getting the academic working relationship right, similar teaching philosophies.
  • Allowing the students to engage as they see fit (Google Drive, Skype vs Facebook groups), which relates to blogging – it is giving the students a bit of creative freedom.
  • Explicit brief: telling the students why you are teaching them this way, how that relates to their overall degree, why that is important etc. Sometimes as a student I felt tricked. Just a thought.

You can find all the presentations online. Have a look.

Also, check out a post on an earlier EEUK conference “Embedding an Enterprising Curriculum across the University or College”

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