25 November 2010 – Learning and Skills Research Network Conference (LSRN) in London -Travelling together: evidence for practice in the Learning and Skills Sector.
Building confidence with digital technology: a collaborative action research project focusing on the use of Flip Video cameras to reflect on practical teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (LLS)
The object of the presentation between Canterbury Christ Church University Senior Lecturers Noelle Graal, Jane Evershed and I was to share the key findings of a collaborative action research pilot project on the use of Flip Video cameras to reflect on practical teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector (LLS). My participation was to offer a sense of where this work had taken me and my learners since I joined the project two years ago whilst in my second year of the Diploma in Teaching in the LLS (DTLLS).
The filming of one of my French classes was the beginning of a deeper self-evaluation and enabled me to understand the meaning of critical reflection. Having seen myself teaching, I was able to adjust my practice much faster developing and using more learner-centred strategies as personal targets such as “voice on and voice off”. As my learners and I had greatly benefited from watching and discussing authentic case studies and videos, I felt it was important to encourage others to do the same and recorded a podcast that students would be able to listen to on the university virtual learning environment with the aim of perhaps considering doing the same.
Since September I started teaching a new group of DTLLS students and in order to build confidence and trust among them and overcome anxiety, I made a conscious effort to plan activities into my lessons using technology so they too could potentially become digitally literate and confident in using Information Learning Technology. They saw first hand how videos can be used as an alternative method of informal and formal assessments or record achievements and how all learners were engaged and included.
As the purpose of LSRN and the annual conference is to encourage collaboration and mutual support, and having been involved in the construction of the Channel Tunnel, I concluded my presentation with a photograph of another great feast of Franco-British engineering: the Viaduct de Millau, the highest bridge in the world crossing the river Tarn in the South of France and designed by Norman Foster. It said “videos allow us to record our journey between our learning experience and its understanding so we can reflect more effectively”.
Our workshop had evidently attracted attention as it was full. Many conference participants could see applications of this device in their context such as observations, tutorials and professional development. It was good to see that later that day when attending another workshop on how to decide whether to pursue a Ph.D. or D.Ed. a participant was interviewing eminent professors including the inspirational Professor Yvonne Hillier, so she could inform her learners.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank many people here. First of all Sutton College of Learning for Adults (SCOLA) for providing continuity in my studies from learning English as a foreign languages over 25 years ago to completing my DTLLS and Qualified Teacher Learning and Skills (QTLS) this summer. This journey would not have been possible without my colleagues and mentors at Canterbury Christ Church University, Jane and Noelle and of course my family who gave me the time and the space to develop this.
But most of all, I would like to thank my students.
Je tiens tout d’abord à remercier toutes celles et tous ceux venant à mes classes de Français avec dans leurs bagages leurs expériences, leur bonne humeur, leur personnalité et leur défi, leurs espérances et leurs attentes. Merci d’avoir bien voulu participer à mes initiatives parfois singulières tout en me donnant la confiance et les moyens d’aller de l’avant depuis 10 ans, surtout dans mes moments de profondes incertitudes personnelles et difficultés professionnelles.
Mais aussi, my current DTLLS students, thank you for allowing me to use a Flip Video in my practice this autumn. I do hope that you will be considering its benefits and perhaps recording your learners’ journey with yours. Consider innovation, creativity and independence so you too, can become researchers and contribute with your own perspective as subject specialist to new heights in our profession and our society as a whole.
Danièle de Mori Calderon
Sutton College of Learning for Adults (SCOLA)
Teacher training, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies