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Reflections on International Conference on Learning: Day Two

Well, day two down, two more to go – pretty long conference this one. So some thoughts…

  • Pretty mixed bag of presentations, presentation topics and styles. Probably due to breadth of the theme – from School to HE and also the range of cultures and countries represented
  • Session on web2.0 usage by staff and students was really good and stimulating. If staff and students don’t see the models of the appropriate application of web2.0 to enhancing pedagogy how can they be expected to use it themselves or see the value?
  • Interesting issues were also raised in the session on subjectivity in assessment and how this can engender debate and articulation of underpinning values
  • Whole conference thus far has reinforced for me the importance of “modelling the way” or walking the talk (excuse crap metaphor).  This is important in leadership and discussed by Kouzes and Posner in the Leadership Challenge particularly.  I think this has resonance for those working in the field of enhancing learning – whether in academic development, TeL or actually for any of us working with students – shouldn’t we be encouraging them by example?  It fits with so much of what we have been working on in the LDC as a team – discussing how our Masters in Academic Practice should be an exemplary course in every aspect, how we should  be familiar with all the technologies we support as this is what we expect our lecturers to do, how we should embody good practice in all aspects of our work and how we should encourage thought leadership in the institution. If we believe we are change agents and leading others, albeit gently, to inspire them to encourage and change their practice then we MUST embody those ideals of change and innovations in practice.  We must be aware of our own power and influence and the impact we have on those around us – even though we may feel that we are not always having an effect, our actions speak louder than words.  Someone once said to me that being a leader was exhausting as you always had to be aware of your own shadow. This is true and must be accepted as part of our work in changing educational practice – not only should we be aware of our own shadow but also how that shadow is reflected back on us by those we influence – for better or worse.

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