JISC RSCYH09 – Student expectations of HE and FE from John Stone

The JISC Regional Support Centre (Yorkshire and Humberside) annual conference yesterday was a great day. So good to share practice with so many other practitioners in FE, and hear about some great work going on around the region. Reach Further had an exhibition stand as well as giving a short workshop on e-tivities which was very well received.

The keynote speaker was John Stone, standing in for Professor Sir David Melville – and he told a few of his jokes. Amusing yes, but also thought provoking!

He spoke about the digital divide being now not so much about possession of technology, but about what parents and schools will allow children to do. Nonetheless, Web 2.0 is all-pervasive amongst youngsters eg social networking is essential to the 11-15 age ggroup. He spoke about the implications this has for a still pretty conservative HE sector when these youngsters are coming up to University age.

Social networking and web 2.0 has individual aspects, community aspects usually built on social networks, and publishing aspects such as adding videos to YouTube. Not all youngsters progress to the third aspect, but more and more are doing so.

For teachers and lecturers, there is the challenge of using Web 2.0 and the social web effectively. For the students, appearing in their social networks can be like turning up at the student disco in corduroy flares and pretending to be cool.

However, the Web 2.0 skills students are learning informally are often now equivalent to employability skills.

Another challenge for HE is that more project and collaborative work and new uses of technology are taking place in schools – eventually this will change student expectations of their learning at University. But not yet – students can be very traditional and for now formal education is seen very traditionally by learners – they expect lectures – we still need to educate the learners to learn in new ways and at new times.

As John Stone recounted in his final “joke”, the students said that “the lecture(r) is just one of the windows learners have open.”

Originally published on reachfurther.com