Indiana Jones & the Breakout Tombs. Exploring Student Zoom Literacy

Indiana Jones & the Breakout Rooms

As part of a transnational partnership between the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) and Shandong Agriculture University (SDAU) that pivoted to online elarning due to the global plandmeic, Lecturers delivered 45-minute interactive sessions to students using Zoom, the well-known video conferencing tool. Since June 2020, three successful online cohorts have taken place. It is fundamental to acknowledge the differences between teaching in a face-to-face and online capacity, that distance learning “…cannot be the same as teaching in a walled classroom” (Morris, 2021). A significant part of the transnational online pivot involved training staff on how to use Zoom effectiely for pedagogy. What about the students? In September 2021, a Lecturer reported that a student had disrupted the class by not putting the microphone on mute. Initially, this ‘pedagogical incident’ could be explained as showing a need for greater online classroom management and/or student behaviour. However, I asked myself, “Have we created an opportunity to support students on how to behave in an online classroom, have we assumed they know how to use Zoom?“. Perhaps the teacher-centrered approach needed to be transformed into a student-centred approach. As a result, four critical questions were asked

1.How can we support students to make the most of their interactive sessions in Zoom?

2. How do students know how to behave in an online classroom setting?

3. How do students know how to use Zoom?

4. How can we support students whose first language may not be English with technology-enhanced transnational learning (TETL?)

Asking the four questions above, led to three further questions:

1.What is literacy?

2. What is Zoom Literacy?

3. When does knowing how do use a tool become literacy?

Perhaps literacy “…has become a process of commodification in which literate learning is entangled with commodities” (Mills, 2015: p2).

A strategy we explored was the use of breakout rooms in Zoom to facilitate an escape room. What is an escape room? Escape rooms (ERs) can be defined as “…live-action team-based games in which players encounter challenges in order to complete a mission in a limited amount of time” (Veldkamp, van de Grint, Knippels & van Jooingen, 2020). Escape rooms are nothing new. They are popular in education Sanchez & Plumettaz-Sieber, 2019 in Veldkamp, van de Grint, Knippels & van Jooingen, 2020). One of the core benefits of breakout rooms is that the “allow[s] groups of one or more participants to break out into any number of smaller Zoom meetings from within the initial Zoom meeting (Stanford University Teaching Commons, n.d.). It can be argued that an escape room is a type of game. Embedding gamification is also nothing new in education. There are a number of advantages to using games, for example, games can provide an opportunity to “increase both engagement and motivation” (Kim, Song, Lockee & Burton, 2018: p5).

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Can an escape room help to engage stduents with Zoom Literacy?

In 2021, a presentation was delivered at the University of Kent Digitally Enhanced Education Webinars entitled Indiana Jones and the Temple of Zoom. A Transnational Online Pivot Adventure which explored the idea of online classrooms being like ‘digital temples’ and Learning Technologists like ‘Digital Archaeologists’. This blog post is a development of this as the next transnational adventure. In the film Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Indiana Jones faces a series of ‘tombs’ that he needs to break out of by solving problems. From the ‘Temple of Zoom’ to the ‘Breakout Tomb’.

Exploring the use of a digital badge

In our escape room, students are faced with different situations that they may face in an interactive session in Zoom. A PowerPoint file with animated content was shared to created a multimodal experience. Students need to answer the questions correctly using chat and find the code to ‘escape’. A password-protected blog post was created. Once students escaped, they could download a digital badge and had an opportunity to access a Microsoft Form to evaluate their escape room experience.

Student names are not shown

In October 2021, a presentation was delivered at CARNival, an event entitled Raised Voices: Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) Online Conference, 2021 to discuss the escape room approach in the transnational context.

Reflections

In terms of what Zoom Literacy could be, perhaps it could be made up of different dimensions of practice. For example, using non-verbal feedback or agile stationary could be a form of artifactual literacy which can be defined as an approach that “…examines objects and their meanings in everyday life and also acknowledges the situated nature of texts in places and
communities” (Pahl & Rowsell, 2011: p130). What is important to note is that “Some stories are more powerful than others in that they are more visible” (Pahl & Rowsell, 2011: p129).

Create your own Bayeux Tapestry here

Zoom is not immune from digital inequalities. From Teaching to Transgress to Technology to Transgress & Progress (hooks, 1994). It is important that we must not view the online classroom as a digital “mini-kingdom” with unequal power relationships, particularly if the online classroom is designed to be an interactive environment (hooks,1994: p17). If it is true that “every object tells a story”, then every online classroom has a narrative too (Pahl & Rowsell, 2010).

Using non-verbal feedback in Zoom. Artifactual Literacy?

Perhaps one aspect of the narrative was the Chinese character transforming the escape room into an opportunity for into digital storytelling.

奕辰 (Yìchén)

Key Points

Curating the virtual support presence – It is a good idea to adopt a team teaching approach. More than one Lecturer/Learning Technologist provides the students with more support and workload can be shared e.g. one person shares screen while the other monitors the chat.

Planning for breakout rooms or ‘tombs‘ – Breakout rooms need to be planned in advance either by pre-assignment with student emails or in a manual capacity. If the group has a large number of students, then manual breakout rooms can be the best approach in a synchronous capacity.

Second language awareness – creating a document with core vocabulary and phrases to support students with understanding, particularly if the topic involves specialist terms of reference.

Involve students in the development of their own Zoom Literacies – create an ice breaker activity proving students an opportunity to decide their on ground rules and expected behaviours in online settings.

Be open to exploring a range of tools and approaches – another interesting tool is Twine “…an open-source tool for telling interactive, nonlinear stories” (Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation, n.d. ). Could students co-create collborative and interactive fiction?

Bibliography

Agile Stationary (2021) (Online) Available at: https://agilestationery.com/ [Accessed 11 September 2021]

Alice Veldkamp, Liesbeth van de Grint, Marie-Christine P.J. Knippels, Wouter R. van Joolingen (2020) Escape education: A systematic review on escape rooms in education in Educational Research Review, Volume 31, 100364 (Online) Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1747938X20300531 [Accessed 11 September 2021]

Dundee & Angus Convention Bureau (n.d.) Raised Voices: Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) Online Conference, 2021 (Online) Available at: https://www.conventiondundeeandangus.co.uk/attending/conferences/carnival–raised-voices-collaborative-action-research-network-carn-online-conference-2021 [Accessed 11 September 2021]

hooks, B (1994) Teaching to Transgress Education as the Practice of Freedom (Oxon & New York: Routledge)

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. 1984 [film]. Steven Spielberg. dir. Paramonun Pictures & Lucasfilm

Interactive Fiction Technology Foundation (n.d.) Twine (Online) Available at: https://twinery.org/ [Accessed 24 September 2021]

Kim, S, Song, K, Lockee, B & Burton, J (2018) Gamification in Learning and Education Enjoy Learning Like Gaming? (Switzerland: Springer International Education)

Mills, K, A (2015) Literacy Theories for the Digital Age: Social, Critical, Multimodal, Spatial, Material and Sensory Lenses (New Perspectives on Language and Education (Bristol, Buffalo & Toronto: Multilingual Matters)

Morris, S (2021) Humanizing Digital Pedagogy: the Role of Imagination in Distance Teaching. https://www.seanmichaelmorris.com/. Digital Pedagogy Blog [blog] Available at:  https://www.seanmichaelmorris.com/humanizing-digital-pedagogy-the-role-of-imagination-in-distance-teaching/amp/ [Accessed 3 March 2021]

Pahl, J & Rowsell J (2010) Artifactual Literacies: Every Object Tells a Story (Language and Literacy Series) (Amsterdam & New York: Teachers College Press)

Pahl, K & Rowsell, J (2011) Artifactual Critical Literacy: A New Perspective for Literacy in Berkeley Review of Education, 2(2) (Online) Availbale at: Education https://escholarship.org/uc/item/6s0491j5

Stanford University Teaching Commons (n.d.) Successful Breakout Rooms in Zoom (Online) Available at: https://teachingcommons.stanford.edu/news/successful-breakout-rooms-zoom [Accessed 11 September 2021]

Thoretton, M, Leonard A-L, Mathieu, Maria (2015) Historic Tale Construction Kit (Online) Available at: https://htck.github.io/bayeux/#!/ [Accessed 30 September 2021]

Zoom Video Communications (2021) Non verbal feedback and meeting reactions (Online) Available at:https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115001286183-Nonverbal-Feedback-During-Meetings [Accessed 11 September 2021]

Technology to Transgress. Spinoza, Energy & Expeditions of Joy. Exploring Critical Zoom Literacies with #ukfechat

“The [online] classroom remains the most radical [online] space of possibility in the academy”

(hooks, 1994)

What about the online classroom? Is the online classroom the most radical virtual space? what is (techno) trangression?

Every Thursday at 9pm, a series of questions, ideas, and provocations in the form of tweets are curated on Twitter with the hashtag #ukfechat to prompt discussion. Tweetchats have become increasingly more popular and one of the core benefits of using this approach is that discussions can take place without the need for face-to-face or location-based restriction.

The format is a question followed by a number. Twitter users who want to respond to a particular question are able to respond by typing ‘A’ and the number of the question. Whilst there is an explicit focus on further education, the majority of ideas, topics and themes explored are relevant to all educational settings. This was the case with using Zoom, particularly during the pandemic as a pivot approach and also as post-pandemic hybrid tool.

In addition to #ukfechat, there are a number of weekly Twitter accounts and hashtags used a tool to prompt online discussion about education. For example #APConnect, #CreativeHE and LTHE Tweetchat which is “a collaborative project to discuss learning & teaching in HE with the wider community vie tweetchats…” (@LTHEchat). LTHEChat takes place every Wednesday 8pm-9pm and the WordPress conference (#PressEDconf21) “…on all things education, pedagogy and research” (@pressedconf). Two blog posts have been published about tweetchats here and here:

In 1994, bell hooks wrote a pivotal book entitled ‘Teaching to Transgress Education as the Practice of Freedom‘ (hooks, 1994). What is transgression? Can technology as a platform for transgression? Can technology be used as a platform for freedom? What about “The Public and their Platforms?” (Carrigan & Fatsis, 2021). What is literacy anyway? What is Critical Digital Literacy?

“Defining what is meant by digital literacy however has proven complicated, as the spaces, texts and tools which contextualise such practices are continually changing”

(Pangrazio, 2016: p163)

Perhaps literacy is a “commodity?” (Elsasser & Irvine, 1992). On Twitter, there is an account that asks what “if bell hooks made an LMS” which is “A bot that mashes up marketing statements from Learning Management Systems and passges from Teaching to Transgress ” (@bellhooksLSM).

Created uisng Presenter Media

As part of both the SDAU and QAU projects, the RAU delivers 45-minute interactive sessions using Zoom. Therefore, the topic of Zoom Literacy became relevant for both staff and students. The first tweet asked ‘What would bell hooks say?’

What would bell hooks say about Zoom? A video tweet.

A range of questions was asked for example:

  1. Have you heard of artifactual literacy? Does every object tell a story? (Rowsell & Pahl, 2010). How can we use objects in Zoom online classrooms effectively?
  2. To what extent are non-verbal feedback & agile literacy an important part of Zoom literacy? I have used before.
  3. How have you used Zoom to create an opportunity for collaborative learning?
  4. How can we carry out digital differentiation using Zoom e.g. sending a message to an individual student & the whole group using the chat
  5. Camera or off? That IS the Zoom question. Or is it?
  6. Since the return to face-to-face teaching in some contexts, how can Zoom support a hybrid pedagogical approach?
  7. To what extent can Zoom be used to create multimodal learning opportunities or for dual coding?
  8. What do you think about a Zoom literacy certificate or formal qualification? Could there be a Zoom college or university?
  9. How did you support teaching staff & students on how to use Zoom? Can you share any practical examples or links? One suggestion I have is to adopt a team-teaching approach in Zoom. Students get more energy!
  10. Is it more about joy not literacy or can we have both?
  11. What is critical digital literacy anyway? What makes it critical? Who decides? Can a tool-specific literacy exist? Would it be helpful and for who? To what extent is literacy transgressive?
  12. How are you currently using Zoom for pedagogy? What features do you use e.g. polling, breakout rooms and/or whiteboard. How can we improve these features?

A good place to start would be to ask what critical digital literacy is anyway? In 2019, I presented Association for Learning Technology (ALT) West Midlands Group at Warwick University exploring Digital Champions and Critical Digital Literacy. Can critical digital literacy evolve over time? To what extent have the global pandemic and pivot to online learning had on our definition? One response from the #ukfechat was that it is about “making a difference” and being “boundary-less of what is possible…” which could link to transgression (Scattergood, 2021). Perhaps bell hooks would agree!

(KMScattergood, 2021)

Another question concerned how objects can be used during Zoom meetings with respect to artifactual literacy. Does this add a new socio-material dimension to using Zoom?. “Does every object tell a story[?]” (Rowsell & Pahl, 2010). A helpful suggestion was made by @tessmaths:

Embedding Numeracy in Zoom classrooms
Embedding numeracy into Zoom meetings using found objects

The use of agile stationery (@agilestationary) can be used in Zoom classrooms as a paper-based solution – “We believe that physical products support embodied cognition without becoming distracting and provide the fastest feedback loop in the simplest possible setting” (Agile Stationary, 2021).

Exploring the Agile Stationary card deck

Perhaps embedding gamification approaches can increase student engagement?

(@agilestationary, 2021)

One of the tweets connected literacy to joy. Joy has been a positive narrative, particularly throughout the pandemic and beyond. Joyful Education “…was founded by Stefanie Wilkinson and Lou Mycroft in the summer of 2020, following the momentum experienced in Covid-lockdown around the need for change in education” (Joyful Education, n.d.). It is possible to follow the #JoyFE hashtag on Twitter.

It was useful to find out how other educators are using Zoom and also what other tools they are using to enhance the student experience, for example the HUE camera:

(@tessmaths, 2021)

Two tweets really stood out in terms of reflective responses to the questions from @LouMycroft. The first tweet explored how Zoom can be used as a platform to build relationships. The second tweet explored the idea of energy from Spinoza and the idea of a joyful expedition. The metaphor of the journey/expedition was powerful.

Tweet 1:

Tweet 2:

What would Spinoza say about Zoom? Does energy create energy?

Does a journey imply a destination? The discussion about journey raised some further ideas:

(@KMSCattergood, 2021)

One of the tweets explored the idea of a Zoom University. Zoom Academy offer both training and certifications for example for Educators here.

The tweets from tweetchat exploring Zoom Literacy can be accessed here organised as a Wakelet collection.

The collections of curated tweets for #ukfechat have been organised as a Wakelet collection here:

If you would like to curate a topic of #ukfechat, it is possible to sign up using Padlet here:

Let us end on an amusing Tweet from Eric Yuan, Founder & CEO of Zoom:

Dr. Rikke Toft Nørgård, Associate professor, Aarhus University & Center for Higher Education Futures presented at the Philosophy and Theory of Higher Education Society (PaTHES) Thematic Webinar Series 2021: Foresight, speculative design and preferable higher education futures in September 2021. In this presentation, the idea of ‘hopepunk’ was identified. What if we had ‘Zoompunk?’.

Bibliography

Agile Stationary (2021) (Online) Available at: https://agilestationery.com/ [Accessed 11 September 2021]

Agile Stationary [agilestationary] (2021, 30th September) WE HAVE HAD GREAT SUCCESS BRINGING PHYSICAL CARDS INTO A GAMIFIED INTELLECTUAL PROCESS. THE CARDS DON’T END UP BEING DISPLAYED ON SCREEN. EACH CARD IS A PROMPT WHICH IS CONSIDERED BY THE INDIVIDUAL PARTICIPANT. WHEN GAMEPLAY DICTATES THE PARTICIPANTS READS THE CARD ALOUD [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/agilestationery/status/1443700780729516037

Carrigan. M & Fatsis, L (2021) The Public and their Platforms Public Sociology in an Era of Social Media (Bristol: Bristol University Press)

Elsasser, N. and Irvine, P. (1992) ‘Literacy as Commodity: Redistributing the Goods’, Journal of Education, 174(3), pp. 26–40. doi: 10.1177/002205749217400304.

Fibonacci, C (n.d.) #UKFECHAT (Online) Available at: https://padlet.com/ChloeFibonacci/UKFEchat [Accessed: 5 October 2021]

Joyful Education (2021) (Online) Available at: https://sites.google.com/view/joyfuleducation/home [Accessed: 5 October 2021]

Nørgård, T, T (2021) What comes after the ruin? Speculative design for preferable university futures [Online]. in PaTHES Fall 2021 Thematic Webinar Series on “Foresight, speculative design and preferable higher education futures. September 2021.

hooks, B (1994) Teaching to Transgress Education as the Practice of Freedom (Oxon & New York: Routledge)

HUE (2021) HUE (Online) Available at: https://huehd.com [Accessed: 8 October 2021]

LTHEChat (n.d.) LTHEChat (Online) Available at: https://lthechat.com/ [Accessed: 5 October 2021]

Pahl, K & Rowsell. J (2010) Artifactual Literacies: Every Object Tells a Story (Language and Literacy Series) (Amsterdam & New York: Teachers College Press)

Pangrazio, L (2016) Reconceptualising critical digital literacy, Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 37:2, 163-174, DOI: 10.1080/01596306.2014.942836

McDonald, P [@PipMac6] (2021, 30th Sept) HELLO #UKFECHAT. IT’S 9PM. LET’S EXPLORE ‘TECHNOLOGY TO TRANSGRESS. EXPLORING CRITICAL @ZOOM LITERACIES’. REMEMBER TO REPLY USING ‘A1’. WHAT WOULD BELL HOOKS SAY? [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/PipMac6/status/1443682169881341956

McDonald, P [@PipMac6] (2021, 30th Sept) Q7. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT A @ZOOM LITERACY CERTIFICATE OR FORMAL QUALIFICATION? COULD THERE BE AN @ZOOM COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY? #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/PipMac6/status/1443676220634324992

McDonald, P (2021) Unpacking the PressEd Twitter Conference Experience. A Digital Assemblage? https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/ Digital Transformation blog [blog] (Online) Available at:https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/2021/03/25/unpacking-the-pressed-twitter-conference-experience-a-digital-assemblage/ [Accessed 5 October 2021]

McDonald, P (2021) EduTwitter as Rhizome. An Online Athenaeum? Tweeting on the Shoulders of (Digital) Giants cDonald, P (2020) When a Learning Technologist became a DJ – For One Night Only. https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/ Digital Transformation blog [blog] (Online) Available at: https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/2021/04/29/edutwitter-as-rhizome-an-online-athenaeum-tweeting-on-the-shoulders-of-digital-giants/ [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Mycroft, L [@LouMycroft] (2021, 30th September) EVENING PIP! ZOOM IS ALL ABOUT BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS FOR ME CONTEXT PROFESSIONAL LEARNING SO NOTHING FANCY. CAMERAS ON, #THINKING ENVIRONMENTS AND IF THERE’S WORK TO BE DONE GET AWAY FROM THE SCREEN. HAVE EVEN PULLED BACK FROM SLIDES #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/LouMycroft/status/1443672769300926470

Mycroft, L [@LouMycroft] (2021, 30th September) I LOVE THE IDEA OF EXPEDITIONS OF JOB, SPINOZA BELIEVED JOY WAS FOUND IN THE ENERGY WE SHARE, A SORT OF COLLECTIVE LIFE ENERGY. THE BEST TEACHING HAS THAT AND BRINGS THE OUTSIDE IN #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. https://twitter.com/LouMycroft/status/1443675202618003465

Presenter Media (2021) Presenter Media (Online) Available at: https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/2021/04/29/edut https://www.presentermedia.com [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Scattergood, K [@KMScattergood] (2021, 30th September) NOT A JOURNEY-I HATE JOURNEY AS IT IMPLIES THERE’S A DESTINATION. CAN WE HAVE JOY IS THE ADVENTURE OR JOY IS THE EXPEDITION INSTEAD? #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/KMScattergood/status/1443673584891797526 [Accessed 7 October 2021]

Scattergood, K [@KMScattergood] (2021, 30th September) WELL, CRITICAL LITERACY IS ABOUT MAKING A DIFFERENCE, USING LITERACY TO CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO, IMPROVE SYSTEMS/COMMUNITIES, ETC, SO I THINK CRITICAL DIGITAL LITERACY MUST BE BOUNDARY-LESS IN WHAT IS POSSIBLE. Thinking emoji. #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/KMScattergood/status/1443669662655516683 [Accessed 7 October 2021]

Taylerson, L [@LyneeTaylorson)] (2021) ukfechat curation: 30/09/2021 – Technology to Transgress: Critical Zoom Literacies hosted by @PipMac6 (Online) Available at: https://wakelet.com/wake/A5H5cVpqqNamjw5nsy6Wk [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Taylerson, L [@LyneTaylorson)] (2021) ukfechat curated archive https://wakelet.com (Online) Available at:/wake/n0OovqWy5sLeNx_2cpHIO [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Taylerson, L, Pinny, K & McDonald, P (2019) West Midlands Group Meeting: Critical Digital Literacies West Midlands Association of Learning technologists [blog] (Online) Available at: https://bit.ly/2P8qTRI [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Tessmaths [@tessmaths] (2021, 30th September) A13: ASK STUDENTS TO RUN OFF AND FIND SOMETHING – A CUBOID WITH A RIGHT ANGLE IN IT, SOMETHING WITH A SQUARE NUMBER ON IT, A PACKAGE TO UNFOLD TO SHOW THE NET OF SHAPE #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/tessmaths/status/1443683051456942080 [Accessed 7 October 2021]

Tessmaths [@tessmaths] (2021, 30th September) A1: ALSO LOVE LOVE LOVE MY @HUECAMERAS VISUALISER WITH 50 MINI-WHITEBOARDS USED WITH http://MATHSBOT.COM@STUDYMATHS CAMERA FUNCTION – LOOKS GREAT IN ZOOM AND GENERALLY CONNECTS IN SECOND #UKFECHAT [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/tessmaths/status/1443670993072005120 [Accessed 7 October 2021]

the bell hooks LMS [@bellhooksLMS] (n.d.) Twitter. [Twitter] Available at: https://twitter.com/bellhooksLMS [Accessed 7 October 2021]

Zoom Video Communications (2021) Zoom Certifications (Online) Available at: https://academylearn.zoom.us/certifications [Accessed 14 October 2021]

Thoroughly Modern Technology: Zoom & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

Zoom has played a significant role in the pivot to online learning and the emergent ‘pandemagogy’. Zoomtopia took place on 13th-14th September 2021. A part of Zoomtopia was the opportunity to explore the Imaginarium. It was possible to customise the Imaginarium and download the creation. This involved an interactive map including Global Stage, Pavilion of Progress, Product and Industry Showcase, World of Creation, Hall of Sponsors and the Gallery of Stars.

Exploring the (Zoo)m Imaginarium: Incursion or Innovation?

Zoom identify the following capabilities of its platform for education:

  1. Manage your classes
  2. Increase engagement
  3. Customise the learning experience
  4. Ensure accessibility
  5. Enable security and compliance
  6. Support flexible learning environments (Zoom Video Communications Inc, 2021)
Eric Yuan, CEO of Zoom delivered a keynote.

It might be a surprise to find out that Zoom is celebrating its ten-year anniversary (Zoom Video Communications Inc, 2021). For many of us, our perception is that it was a tool that was heavily used in 2020. Before that, Zoom was used but not as well known. Since 2020, Zoom has been used as a core tool on which interactive sessions for both the SDAU and QAU projects to take place. Reflecting on the tools we have used to adapt face-to-face teaching to online contexts is important. A presentation was delivered at the University of Kent’s Digitally Enhanced Webinars in February 2021 exploring the use of zoom entitled Indiana Jones & the Temple of Zoom. Learning Technologists as ‘Digital Archaeologists’ & Online Classrooms as ‘Digital Temples’. If a metaphor for an online classroom can be a ‘digital temple’, could we ask when does video conferencing meeting become an online classroom and vice versa? Over the past year, it is possible to see how it has improved and evolved in a variety of ways. It is possible to acknowledge new vocabulary entering popular culture. Who has not heard of “You’re on mute”, “zoom fatigue” and “zoombombing?”. Critically, the “Zoom gaze” has become entrenched into everyday work practices (Caines, 2020). Autumn Caines, an Instructional Designer from University of Michigan (@Autumm), led a webinar exploring Zoom in terms of digital power hierarchies (Caines, 2021).

I Know What You Taught On Last Summer – Zoom.
Image created by Presenter Media, 2021

Some of the most innovative product developments included the Zoom Phone with bring your own carrier, the hot desking tool to support hybrid working, a Smart Gallery with artifical intelligence, and the use of virtual reality with the Oculus headset to create an immersive experience. There was an emphasis supporting remote workers in terms of an inclusive approach to hybrid collaboration. Some of the key words and phrases from the presentations were ‘frictionless’, ‘seamless”putting the video back in videogame’ and ‘Zoom fidelity’. Additionally, I attended an education specific session ‘From Classroom to Computer Screen: Redesign In-Person Training for Virtual Audiences’ which was really useful in terms of improving the interactive RAU delivers using Zoom. For example, the presenter, Sandy Masters identified the ‘90 20 4‘ model: provide a break every 90 minutes, activity or assessment very 20 minutes and finally provide an interactive opportunity every 4 minutes (Masters, 2021).

Sandy Masters delivering ‘From Classroom to Computer Screen: Redesign In-Person Training for Virtual Audiences’

Zoom Literacy has almost become a fundamental 21st-century skill for the modern workplace including working from home. How has a video conferencing tool been transformed into an educational tool we do not seem to able to live without? From Zoom, doom and gloom to Zoom, boom and Bloom?

Zoom: the Modern Sceance? (Reddit, 2021)

During the Association for Learning Technologists (ALT) Winter Conference in 2020, one of the sessions entitled ‘To Be And Not To Be: Physical Absence and Virtual Presence in Online Learning’ led by Dr. Stuart Taylor, University Tutor at University of Glasgow (@SJamesTaylor), and Dr. Ingeborg van Knippenberg, Lecturer at Edinburgh Napier University (@icvk) explored the idea of of “hauntology”, “spectral presence” and the “haunted subject” (Henriksen, 2016: p37). To what extent is the Zoom experience haunting? Are hosts digital ghosts? What are digital monsters? (Henriksen, 2016: p37). We are familiar with the idea of the ghost in the digital machine. But what if the machine is the ghost? We need to be more concerned with the machine in the ghost (Kirwan, 2021). Is Zoom a digital zoo? If it is a haunting experience, then is it like a night at a digital museum? To what extent is digital dysmorphia a real threat? (Dalva, 2021). Are we experiencing zoom nihilism? Perhaps we need to ‘curb our digital enthusiasm’ of using video conferencing platforms. If Sartre re-wrote Being & Nothingness for the 21st century, would the “phenomenological ontology” concern Being & Digital Nothingness (Sartre we do we dissolve into Zoom? If we stare too long, do no the ‘Zoom abyss’? – “He who fights with [digital] monsters should be careful lest he thereby becomes a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee.” (Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil. Aphorism 146).

(@avb_soc, 2020)

One of fundamental debates about using Zoom is whether the camera should be on or off or camera normativity. Does using the camera improve the digital student experience? What is impact of the camera on teaching and learning? Is it best for students to be able to’see’ their teacher and for the teacher to ‘see’ their students?. What is ‘seeing’ anyway?

Tim O’Riordan presented at the Association of Learning Technologists (ALT) annual conference in 2021 exploring cameras on or off?

Having trained staff and supported students on how to use Zoom effectively, I was keen to find out the latest product developments at Zoomtopia such as On Zoom (Beta) and Zoom Rooms. Over the past year, we have seen some significant improvements to the platform itself. For example, security improvements and immersive view which provides a visual reimagination of a meeting for participants. Truthfully, Zoom is a multimodal platform with a range of pedagogical affordances that can be used successfully in an interdisciplinary capacity.

(Zoom Video Communications, 2021)

It is important to acknowledge that Zoom can be used in conjunction with other tools to provide a positive digital student experience. Perhaps an over reliance on Zoom exclusively might not be sufficient. For example, we used Panopto as a platform to allow lecturers to pre-record their lectures and Zoom for interactive sessions for the SDAU project. Comparing tools and approaches may not help us in the way that, we may need to both combine and curate the use of tools to meet the unique needs of our students as a commitment to digital differentiation (Islam, Kim & Kwon, 2012). In the same way that we might be concerned by the term “technology determinism”, perhaps we are experiencing ‘Zoom determinism’ (Edwards, 2012: p8).

Zoom and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. Image adpated from: https://bit.ly/3Efxgf8 (Abe Books, 2021)

The blog post title draws explicitly on the well-known book by Robert Pirsig Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. In the Afterward, Pirsig asks “Who really can face the future? All you can is do is project from the past” (Pirsig, 2004: p393).This is a powerful question when we frame it in terms of the future of teaching, learning and working. Is the art of hosting a Zoom meeting a bit like the art of motorcycle maintenance. Perhaps it is. Here’s to the “hybrid workforce” (Zoom Video Communications Inc, 2021). Zoom is undoubtedly bound up in our pedagogical consciousness “The phenomenon of being and the being of phenomenon (Sartre, 2003: p4).

(Pirsig, 2004)

Moving forward and reflecting on post-pandemic pedagogic realities, Zoom will still play an important role in the “brave new digital classroom” (Blake, Guillén, & Thorne 2013). Perhaps now really is the time to be brave (Hardwick 2021). For example, on their dedicated Zoom for Education website, they refer to hybrid learning and talk about an “education ecosystem” (Zoom Video Communications Inc, 2021). Zoom sent me a an official Zoomtopia mug, pin badges and stickers which was a nice touch! Perhaps we need to think about the art of “placemaking” (White, 2021). Zoom classrooms are a bit the digital non-places (Augé in White, 2021). Zoom acknowledged the creative ways the Zoom has been used. Zoom provide the tools and the platform, and it is up to us to bring the agency to Zoom. Here’s to the hybrid ecosystem!

Check out the Tips & Tricks: Teachers Educating on Zoom. An interesting blog post can be found here entitled Let’s Reimagine Education Together.

Zoom Academy offer both training and qualifications including for Educators (Zoom Video Communications, 2021).

The Zoomtopia sessions have been recorded and are available in the On-Demand Library here.

Zoom sent a Zoomtopia beach ball, badges and mug. Thank you

Bibliography

http://www.abebooks.co.uk. (n.d.). ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE: An Enquiry Into Values by Pirsig, Robert M.: Used; Good Paperback (1983) | Brit Books. [online] Available at: https://www.abebooks.co.uk/ZEN-ART-MOTORCYCLE-MAINTENANCE-Enquiry-Values/30027423913/bd?cm_mmc=ggl-_-UK_Shopp_Tradestandard-_-product_id=COUK9780552101660USED-_-keyword=&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIw_mXsbz08gIVWunmCh2EiwClEAQYAiABEgI1tvD_BwE#&gid=1&pid=1 [Accessed 10 Sep. 2021].

Barnard, A (2020) [@avb_soc] (2020, 20th October) MY MOTHER HAS TRULY PRODUCED THE PUMPKIN OF OUR ERA [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at: https://twitter.com/avb_soc/status/1317990816783138817

Blake, R, J, Guillén, G & Thorne, S, L (2013) Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. 2nd edition. (Washington DC: Georgetown University Press)

Caines, A (2020) The Zoom Gaze Video conferencing offers an illusory sense of unilateral control over conversations (Online) Available at: https://reallifemag.com/t [Accessed 9 September 21]

Caines, A (2021) The Zoom Gaze w/Autumn Caines [Zoom] (Online)

Dalva, A (2021) ‘Digital Distortions: Reflections on Zoom and Body Dysmorphia’, Catapult, 29 June, , viewed 9 September 2021, https://catapult.co/stories/digital-distortions-reflections-on-zoom-and-body-dysmorphia-adam-dalva

Edwards, A (2012) New Technology an Education Contemporary Issues in Education Studies (London & New York: Continuum)

Hardwick, J (2021) Now is the Time to Be Brave: Pedagogy for a World in Transition https://wordpress.kpu.ca/tlcommons/ Pedagogy & Practice Blog [blog] (Online) Available at: https://wordpress.kpu.ca/tlcommons/now-is-the-time-to-be-brave-pedagogy-for-a-world-in-transition/#annotations:group:world [Accessed: 5 October 2021]

Henrikson, L (2016) In the Company of Ghosts Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters. PhD Thesis. [pdf] (Online) available at: http://liu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:918869/FULLTEXT01.pdf [Accessed: 19 December 2020]

Islam, M., Kim, Dan-A. and Kwon, M. (2020). A Comparison of Two Forms of Instruction: Pre-Recorded Video Lectures vs. Live ZOOM Lectures for Education in the Business Management Field. Sustainability, [online] 12(19), p.8149. Available at: https://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/12/19/8149/htm

Kirwan, C (2021) The machine in the ghost: An Educational Design Research study that explores the teaching of Computational Thinking of Irish second-level students. Dublin City University (DCU). Dublin

La Morte, P (n.d.) Let’s Reimagine Education Together. Blog.zoom.us.Zoom Education blog, [blog] 19 August. Available at: https://blog.zoom.us/lessons-and-learnings-from-zoom-academy-2021/ [Accessed 14 October 2021]

O’Riordan, T (2021) Cameras on or off? Different perspectives of the same live lesson experience in FE during the COVID-19 emergency – Tim O’Riordan YouTube video, added by ALT [Online] https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=t8KBPVKv0kk&list=PLxoWy14N6f8uF1mOBaQtzN5xLhgMGjms7&index=20 [Accessed 20 September 2021]

Presenter Media (2021) Presenter Media (Online) available at: https://www.presentermedia.com [Accessed: 19th December 2020]

Nietzsche, F (1998) Beyond Good and Evil (s. L:Digireads)

Redd.it. (021). [online] Available at: https://external-preview.redd.it/sfxUcQ0Y8uYoBlW3eJXghJ2T-VkgG8yCfNBFylAqQSM.png?auto=webp&s=5bba1e944ccf278d14ad2f9f4a9f0e8b56a3093f [Accessed 9 Sep. 2021].

Sartre, J, P (2003) Being & Nothingness (Lonodn & New York: Routledge)

Masters, S. “From Classroom to Computer Screen: Redesign In-Person Training for Virtual Audiences”, in Zoomtopia. Online 2021. Accessed on:September 13 2021 [Online]. Available: https://zoomtopia.com/

White, D (2021) Pedagogy, Presence and Placemaking: a learning-as-becoming model of education. http://daveowhite.com/ Digital Learning blog [blog] (Online) Availabl at: http://daveowhite.com/ [Accessed 5 October 2021]

Yuan, E “Zoomtopia Vision and Product Keynotes” in Zoomtopia. Online 2021. Accessed on:September 13 2021 [Online]. Available: https://zoomtopia.com/

van Knippenberg, I & Taylor, J. “To Be And Not To Be: Physical Absence and Virtual Presence in Online Learning”, in Association for Learning Technologists Winter Conference. Online. 2020. Accessed on: September 9 2021 [Online]. Available: https://eu.bbcollab.com/collab/ui/session/playback

Zoom Video Communications Inc (2021) Zoom for Education (Online) Available at: https://explore.zoom.us/docs/en-us/education.html [Accessed 9 September 2021]

Zoom Video Communications Inc (2021) Zoomtopia (Online) Available at: https://www.zoomtopia.com [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Zoom Video Communications Inc (2021) On Zoom Beta (Online) Available at: https://on.zoom.us/ [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Zoom Video Communications Inc (2021) Zoom Rooms (Online) Available at: https://explore.zoom.us/docs/en-us/zoomrooms.html

Zoom (2020) Tips & Tricks Teachers Educating on Zoom [pdf] Zoom. Available at: https://explore.zoom.us/docs/doc/Tips%20and%20Tricks%20for%20Teachers%20Educating%20on%20Zoom.pdf?_ga=2.222650392.2000416044.1631133151-1248353776.1630937384 [Accessed: 9 September 2021]

Zoom Video Communications (2021) Zoom Academy (Online) Available at: https://academylearn.zoom.us/ [Accessed 14 October 2021]

Zoom Video Communications (2021) Zoom Certifications (Online) Available at: https://academylearn.zoom.us/certifications [Accessed 14 October 2021]

Indiana Jones & the Temple of Zoom. Learning Technologists as ‘Digital Archaeologists’ & Online Classrooms as ‘Digital Temples’.

The University of Kent host monthly Digitally Enhanced Learning Webinars organised by Dr. Phil Anthony. The purpose of the webinars is to provide “…an opportunity to share examples amongst our colleagues when using digital technologies for teaching” (University of Kent, 2020).

The theme for March 2021 was pedagogy and practice when teaching online. For the SDAU project, we used Zoom to deliver the interactive sessions. I submitted a talk entitled ‘Indiana Jones & the Temple of Zoom. A Transnational Online Pivot Adventure‘. The talk explored Technology Enhanced Transnational Learning (TETL). Using metaphors as way to understand what we do as Learning Technologists seemed to be a creative approach. Can an online classrooom be understood as a digital temple? Could a Learning technologist be a Digital Archaeologist? If this is the case, perhaps we would take digital field notes such as those discussed by Rapport (1991) or Remsen (1977). In the temple of doom itself in the film, the main character Indiana Jones faced a range of different challenges including spiders, bugs and traps. As Learning Technologists we also face a range of challenges that we must overcome. This seems like a universal metaphor.

Zoom, Doom & Gloom to Zoom, Boom & Bloom!

The fundamental question is the extent to which using metapors can help us improve what we do? It is possible to observe that metaphors in learning technology were becoming widely used, for example the EdTech Metaphor Generator. One of the most compelling examples of using metaphors in learning technology was the article entitled VLEs: A Metaphorical History from Sharks to Limpets by Tom Farrelly, Eamon Costello and Enda Donlon. If the VLE was “dead“, then perhaps using metaphors can bring it back to life (The Ed Techie, 2007). Thinking about the VLE as a “digital car park” challenges us the use our imagination in different ways (Farrelly, Costello & Donlon, 2020).It is important to acknowledge that “Metaphor is pervasive in everyday life, not just in language but in thought and action. Our ordinary conceptual system, in terms of which we both think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature” (Lakoff & Johnson, 2003: p3). To what extent can we use metaphors successful in a technology-enhanced transnational context with respect to “cultural coherence” (Lakoff and Johnson, 2003: p22).

The Microsoft Teams Live Experience

What was interesting about the webinars was that Microsoft Teams Live was used due to the high numbers of attendees. There are some key differences between a normal Microsoft Teams meeting and a webinar for example uisng the Q&A feature and automatic muting. Lots of the presenters, including me, had not used Microsoft Teams Live before, so it was very helpful to participate in the test session before the live event.

Could ‘Zoom Capital’ be a thing?

One of the points I was keen to make is the importance of capturing the voices of Learning Technologists particularly in research contexts. This formed the basis of a techno-autobiographic or techno-autoethnographic approach in order to capture the reflections of a Learning Technologist. In a previous collaborative blog post, I had explored this approach with an academic here. Can we improve the future by exploring the past? Back to the future?

(Wheeler, 2021)

Imagination is crucial in Education. Metaphors can be part of the imaginative process.

Attending a webinar exploring the use of Zoom delivered by Autumn Caines, an Instructional Designer from University of Michigan (@Autumm) was really compelling and informed many of the ideas I shared during the talk. She talked about the importance of exploring power and digital hierarchies in Zoom, for example being a host or a co-host and how it is possible to view different versions of meeting participants. Her article exploring the “Zoom Gaze” can be found here (Caines, 2020).

Perhaps the role of both the imagination and metaphor can be a platform to think and re-think what we do as Learning Technologists, particularly in transnational distance learning and online pivot contexts. Have educational institutions written off creativity in a systematic capacity? (Nelson, 2018). It can be argued that there are two critical points about imagination. Firstly, that imagination is “…a powerful, meaningful prize of a capacity” and secondly that imagination can be lost (Morris, 2021). Finding creative opportunities as Learning Technologists becomes important. Could the next adventure be ‘Indiana Jones & the Breakout Tombs?’. If this is just pseudo-archaelology, it has still been useful to use metaphor.

Check out the #CreativeHE group and the blog post about the February 2021 meetup, the hashtag #DigiEduWebinars to find out what people are saying about the webinars on Twitter. It is possible to submit an idea for a talk here. A video recording of the presentation is available here.

“Imagination is the beginning of creation”

George Bernard Shaw in Jackson, 2006 in Jackson, Oliver, Shaw & Wisom, 2006

Bibliography

Caines, A (2020) The Zoom Gaze Video conferencing offers an illusory sense of unilateral control over conversations (Online) Available at: https://reallifemag.com/t [Accessed 3 March 2021]

Caines, A (2021) The Zoom Gaze w/Autumn Caines [Zoom] (Online)

#CreativeHE (n.d.) Creative HE Community (Online) Available at: https://creativehecommunity.wordpress.com/ [Accessed 5 March 2021]

Fhaidy (2018) Animation – Indiana Jones Cartoon Clip Art PNG in FAVPNG (Online) Available at: https://favpng.com/png_view/animation-indiana-jones-cartoon-clip-art-png/287wNsWu [Accessed 5 March 2021]

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, 1984. [film] Directed by Steven Spielberg. Available through Amazon Prime [Accessed 16 December 2020]

Indy in the classroom (2021) Indiana Jones Fonts (Online) Available at: http://www.indyintheclassroom.com/projects/fonts.asp [Accessed 5 March 2021]

Jackon, N (2006) Imagining a Different World in Jackson, N., Oliver, M., Shaw, M. and Wisdom, J. (Eds) (2006) Developing Creativity in Higher Education: An imaginative curriculum pp1-10 (London, Oxon & New York: Routledge)

Lakoff, G, & Johnson, M (2003) Metaphors We Live By (Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press)

Leschallas, W & McDonald, P (2020) Techno-autobiography & the Transnational Online Pivot: Exploring a Lecturer’s Experience of Teaching Online.Digitalrau.wordpress.com Digital Transformation Blog [blog] 12th Dec. Available at: https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/2021/01/12/techno-autobiography-the-transnational-online-pivot-exploring-a-lecturers-experience-of-teaching-online/ [Accessed 3 March 2021]

Morris, S (2021) Humanizing Digital Pedagogy: the Role of Imagination in Distance Teaching. https://www.seanmichaelmorris.com/. Digital Pedagogy Blog [blog] Available at:  https://www.seanmichaelmorris.com/humanizing-digital-pedagogy-the-role-of-imagination-in-distance-teaching/amp/ [Accessed 3 March 2021]

McDonald, P (2021) The Creative Empire Strikes Back. Exploring Creative Approaches to Building and Fostering Community with #CreativeHE. Digitalrau.wordpress.com Digital Transformation Blog [blog] Available at:  https://digitalrau.wordpress.com/2021/03/05/the-creative-empire-strikes-back-exploring-creative-approaches-to-building-and-fostering-community-with-creativehe/ [Accessed 3 March 2021]

McDonald, P (2021) Indiana Jones & the Temple of Zoom. A Transational Online Pivot Adventure, University of Kent Digitally Enhanced Webinars. Online. 5 March 2021.

Nelson, R (2018) Creativity crisis. Towards a post-constructivist educational future. (Clayton: Monash University Publishing)

Oxford Reference [Online]. 2021. Archaeology. Pseudo-archaeology [Accessed: 7 September 2021] Available at: https://www.oxfordreference.com/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100351993

Rapport, N. (1991). Writing Fieldnotes: The Conventionalities of Note-Taking and Taking Note in the Field. Anthropology Today, 7(1), (Online) Available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3032670?seq=1 [Accessed: 2 February 2021] 

Remsen, J, V. Jr (1977) On taking field notes [pdf] (Online) Available at: https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/nab/v031n05/p00946-p00953.pdf [Accessed: 2 February 2021]

The Ed Techie (2007) The VLE/LMS is Dead. https://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk. Educational Technology Blog. [blog] Available at: https://nogoodreason.typepad.co.uk/no_good_reason/2007/11/the-vlelms-is-d.html [Accessed 3 March 2021]

Wheeler, P [@Pennyjw]. (2021, 2 March) ONE OF MY PROBLEMS WITH THE PROLIFERATION OF INSTITUTIONS “RE-IMAGINING” THINGS IS THAT I’M NOT CONVINCED ANY IMAGINATION WENT INTO THE FIRST VERSION [Tweet]. Twitter. Available at:  https://twitter.com/pennyjw/status/1366864197611524103

Back to the Future. A Learning Technologist’s Reflection on a Victorian Lesson on Zoom

What can a Learning Technologist learn from the Victorian Lesson?

Recently, I have been listening to the podcast version of 25 Years of Ed Tech by Martin Weller. It reminded me that perhpas the past is a good place to explore the future.

It is Thursday 11th February 1897. We are practising our handwriting, writing our names and the date.

In February 2021, I attended a Victorian lesson from the Pit Village School at Beamish Museum streamed live on Zoom and delivered by a teacher in authentic Victorian clothes. In this blog post I reflect on the Victorian lesson experience. To what extent have our approaches to pedagogy and technology-enhanced learning (TEL) changed since then?

The Revival of the Sandbox

Live Victorian Lesson on Zoom at The Pit Village School at Beamish Museum

The teacher talked us through the learning objects or ‘technology’ in the Victorian classroom. In addition to the abacus and the blackboard, one of the objects that really stood out was the mini sandboxes for each student. The teacher explained that students would practise making shapes in the sand and when they made a mistake they could start again by shaking the box. This is a powerful approach. This struck me as being familiar in virtue of the fact that in learning technology, we often make use of a sandpit or sandbox approach. For example, when we train staff, we create a copy of the tool and call it the sandbox platform in which staff can be trained and feel free to make mistakes without being concerned about having an impact in a live site. This seems to be a valuable approach that exists in both Victorian and present pedagogical realities. Perhaps there are no mistakes, only learning!

The teacher showed a board with a range of writing frames and sentence builders with an image to reinforce the content for example exploring the use of the definite and indefinite articles “hat, a hat and the hat”. Perhaps this could be an early example of dual coding potentially paving the way for multimodal instruction from the “monomodal world” modes (Kress, Jewitt, Ogborn & Tsatsarelis, 2001: p8). Studies have been carried out to explore the impact of embedding visual content in the pedagogic process (Clark & Lyons, 2004 in Caviglioli, 2019: p13). Multimodal learning can be argued to be teaching with “the multiplicity of modes (Kress, Jewitt, Ogborn & Tsatsarelis, 2001: p8).

Manners maketh…the Pedagogy?

Manners maketh…the Pedagogy?

The teacher identified some of the famous sayings that could be heard in the Victorian classroom such as ‘Children should be seen and not heard’. It seemed that there was an overarching teacher-centered approach. Conversely, nowadays it could be argued that there has been a significant pedagogical shift to embracing student-centeredness. Furthermore, educational institutions have celebrating increasing their opportunities to celebrate student voice. Students are both seen and heard.

Chalk & Talk, Sage on the Stage

Chalk & Talk and Sage on the Stage

The approach to teaching was explicitly ‘chalk and talk’ and ‘sage on the stage’. The teacher explained that the teacher would stay at the front of the class and students would come to the front to show the teacher their work and the teacher would rarely walk around the classroom. The classroom itself seemed to be in a linear and traditional with desks facing the front. The teacher informed the lesson participants that the days at school would be long with not a great deal pedagogical variety. Students also attended Saturday and Sunday schools too. In contrast, modern classrooms are often designed in circles and a dynamic structure.

The teacher discussed how poor children may not have gone to school, how factory work after school would be common, how some students were required to pay the teacher, and how there was not a great deal of homework due to the need for students to work and the lack of daylight.

The teacher brought to our attention the use of slate that students would use to write on using chalk. It was interesting to reflect on how the slate is similar to the tablets we use today. I recall visiting Beamish Museum with English for Academic Purposes (EAP) students and reflecting on how an iPad is similar to the slate tablets. The blackboard was a key feature in the Victorian classroom. The teacher used a stick or pointer to draw the students’ attention to content on the board. Learning by repetition and or by rote was commonplace. We took part in a live poem reding where the teacher recited a poem and we all copied. The teacher tested one student to see if they could remember the whole poem. Copying from the board was expected. Perhaps the blackboard was like a form of collaborative Google document. It was interesting when we participated in a timetables activity that the teacher asked us to keep off the chat function in Zoom. The teacher also led a money task exploring shillings, farthings. The teacher talked us through how students could use ink and that could be an ‘Ink Monitor’ who mixed the ink powder with water and distributed the ink to the individual desks. Modern learning environments appear to be curated in dynamic circles. According to the teacher who led the session, there were 70 students in the Victorian classroom. Nowadays, perhaps there is a trend towards smaller class sizes. However, the lecture format does emulate Victorian pedagogic features such as a large number of students facing forward with a static Lecturer delivering content. If it is not broken, don’t fix it?

The teacher explained that students were instructed to write in a right-handed capacity only and that if a student did not do this then they would have their hand tied behind their back. There seemed to be a need to make every student the same. This reminded me of the famous blue eyes and brown eyes experiment. In 2019, I delivered a TED style talk exploring this experiment where I placed printed out images of blue and brown eyes under the seats of the audience and emulated the experiment live followed by a reflection.

To some extent, perhaps the Victorian classroom was still a “political place” (hooks, 1994: p4). The teacher discussed how the curriculum was constructed of “God, Queen & Country” (Teacher, Victorian Lesson at Beamish, Thursday 11th February 2021). In the Victoria classroom, there was a picture of Queen Victoria on the wall and an image of Grace Darling who rescued survivors from a shipwreck in 1838 (Grace Darling.co.uk, 2020). Perhaps “The classroom remains the most radical space of possibility in the academy” (hooks, 1994: p12). The experience was a ‘radical’ experience bringing up issues of equality, pedagogy, and social justice.

Pedagogic Neostalgia

Pedagogic Neostalgia?

A few weeks after the lesson, digital certificates were emailed to lesson participants. This could remind us of open badges. It was possible to download the certificate and personalise the content.

A Certificate of Attendance for the Victorian Lesson

Attending a live Victorian lesson on Zoom was a radical experience bringing up issues of equality, pedagogy, and social justice. It was almost an experience of ‘pedagogic neostalgia’. Neostalgia can be defined as “the combined emotions of nostalgia and newness at the same time. Often feels like rediscovery and has more of a positive connotation than nostalgia” (DangerousMuteLunatic, 2013)Perhaps attending a Victorian lesson and reflecting on the experience was a useful activity in terms of exploring how it has led to the modern experience and to help us speculate in the “Brave New Digital Classroom” of the future (Blake, 2013).

It is possible to book the Victorian lesson experience here.

Bibliography

Beamish Museum (2021) Victorian Lesson at The Pit Village School on Zoom [live performance] Performed by Beamish Museum. (Beamish Museum, Country Durham,  11th February

Beamish Museum (2021) Live Victorian Lesson (Online) Available at: http://www.beamish.org.uk/live-victorian-lesson/ [Accessed: 14 February 2021]

Blake, R J (2013). Brave New Digital Classroom: Technology and Foreign Language Learning. United States: Georgetown University Press.

Caviglioli, O (2019) Dual Coding with Teachers (Woodbridge: John Catt Educational Ltd)

DangerousMuteLunatic, 2013 ‘Neostalgia’, Urban Dictionary (Online) Available at: https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Neostalgia [Accessed 5 February 2021]

Grace Darling.co.uk (2020) Grace Darling Website (Online) Available at: http://www.gracedarling.co.uk/ [Accessed: 14 February 2021]

hooks, b (1994) Teaching to Transgress Education as a Practice of Freedom (Abingdon: Routledge)

Kress, G, Jewitt, C, Ogborn, J, Tsatsarelis, C (2001) Multimodal Teaching and Learning The Rhetorics of the Science Classroom (London & New York: Bloomsbury Academic)

Mark Heckroth, 2018. Brown eyes and blue eyes Racism experiment Children Session – Jane Elliott Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGvoXeXCoUY [Accessed 14 February 2021]

McDonald, P, (2019) CollecTED, ‘Education: A Memory of the Future’, TED style event, The Collective, London, June 2019

Weller, M (2000) 25 Years of EdTech (Online) [pdf] Edmonton: AU Press. Available at: https://www.aupress.ca/app/uploads/120290_99Z_Weller_2020-25_Years_of_Ed_Tech.pdf [Accessed: 14 February 2021]

Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià. Laozi: Delivering online teaching in China

In the next in our series of blog posts on delivery of online teaching to Shandong Agriculture University (SDAU) Pip takes over and shares highs and lows from the first week of interactive teaching.

And remember each 10,000 mile journey begins with just 1 step (千里之行,始於足下 Qiānlǐ zhī xíng, shǐyú zú xià. Laozi.

IMG_9810

I started working at RAU in May 2020 and immediately started on the online teaching project at SDAU in June 2020. Early in June it was acknowledged that students would not be able to return to campus and so all pre-recorded content was passed over to the SDAU team, they would take responsibility for delivering it to students. When teaching officially began on 15th June our biggest concern was the interactive sessions.

Interactive sessions using Zoom

We had changed from using WeChat to using Zoom a short time before teaching was planned to go ahead. It was time to ‘deep dive’ into exploring how to use Zoom as a platform on which interactive sessions would take place. Zoom had become used widely as a platform for remote and online learning and working throughout the pandemic. I had heard a great deal about new phrases such as ’Zoom bombing’ (O’Flaherty, 2020). Additionally, there was a great deal of discussion of ‘Zoom fatigue’ (Fosslien & Duffy, 2020). Whilst I had some experience of using Zoom before for example as a platform for delivering presentations using the chat and sharing screen features but I was not a Zoom expert and did not have experience being a ‘host’ so I felt that I needed to rapidly upskill if I was to support our lecturing staff using Zoom.

To support use of Zoom I offered ‘Zoom Drop In’ sessions to our lecturers who wanted to try out some the features before teaching went live. I was committed to exploring what ‘Zoom Literacy’ would be. When you have to teach someone else something, it is a good way of making sure you know how to use to first. I created approximately one hundred meetings so experienced my own version of ‘Pre-Zoom fatigue’. What we discovered during the first week was that it was not possible for the same host with the same account to host simultaneous meetings which prevented some of the interactive sessions from taking place on time or altogether. The error message ’The host has another meeting in progress’ became very familiar. This meant that we rapidly developed a workaround to solve the problems. For example, Chantal and Husna, the other RAU Learning Technologists created meetings. When it became clear that there were just too many parallel sessions required our IT Service Desk created some additional accounts for me to use. As a result, the timetabling process became very complex. Some of the interactive capabilities were restricted as the lecturers were not ‘hosts’. As a result, one of the Lecturers, Deepak Pathak and I decided to test out polling and break rooms in an exploratory longer case study interactive session. The two hour session involved exploring Starbucks. Deepak shared screens to reinforce the correct answers for example showing a Google Map of the location of RAU.

It was positive when the lecturing staff emailed me after their session to reflect on how it went. This helped identify ways to improve what we do for subsequent iterations of online teaching. I dropped into the majority of interactive sessions to see how teachers were using Zoom to engage students for example one of our lecturers, Nicola Cannon used a quiz format effectively.

Later on in the week I set up an online community of practice on Gateway, RAU’s Moodle VLE as part of a forum to share best practice.

“We all belong to communities of practice” (Wenger, 1998, p6)

An additional idea I had was to create a ‘sandbox’ approach on Zoom where all the Lecturers could share ideas of how to create interactive sessions without worrying about making a mistake during a live session.

I shared a Zoom webinar led by Eden Project Communities which was a ‘testpad’ for Zoom practices with Lecturers. I attended and it was great to see one of RAU’s Lecturers participate too. The session involved taking part in a breakout room as a student which was helpful to understand what the Zoom experience is like from the perspective of the student. One of the most helpful activities was a collaborative whiteboard led by host Samantha Evans where we explored games, collaborative activities, Zoom and other tools.

At this point in time we are currently starting the third and final week of teaching. My reflections are concerned with moving towards an evaluation of the project, I’ve recently created a problem-solution spreadsheet where I identified areas of development and potential strategies to overcome the problems.

Assessment

Throughout the three weeks of teaching, it was intended that assessments would take place every Friday. Accordingly, I tried to develop a workflow for assessment which involved the Lecturers creating the tests with the answers and articulating what invigilation might look like with Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo from SDAU. Early on in the process we found out that 30% of the marks were for attendance. We explored how Zoom can provide attendance monitoring reports and discovered that this was possible. Another challenge we experienced was that during week two of teaching, the Department of Education of Shandong informed SDAU that examinations need to be postponed. As a result, we responded by identifying alternative dates and ways of carrying out assessment.

The SDAU project journey began with one step. We learned a great deal in a short space of time and developed ways to overcome challnges rapidly. I’m looking forward to the next steps. In future, we would like to work with JISC to explore how their transnational expertise can help us improve what we do. We attended a webinar led by UCISA on the topic of Improving online access in China and had a positive meeting with Dr. Esther Wilkinson, Baoyu Wang and Anne Prior from JISC about how we can work together in a constructive capacity. JISC have recently launched a pilot to explore what quality online education looks like for Chinese students (JISC, 2020).

A huge thank you to Marieke Guy, Xianmin Chang, Steve Finch, Bonnie Wang and Lola Huo for their hard work and support to make the project happen.

In the next post we’ll look the final week of teaching delivery and lessons learnt.

By Falling We Learn to Go Safely, Chī yī qiàn, zhǎng yī zhì,吃一堑,长一智

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