Whoo-oo-oo! I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, come to alarm all you teaching folk with a vision of horror! Your students – all of them – have a new app, Yik Yak. It’s like Twitter, but it is anonymous. They can write whatever they like and no one will know. They can moan, swear, bully, use bad grammar…SHUDDER.
It’s not open to the whole world. Worse! It is geographically bound, so you can only pick up ‘Yaks’ (messages) from with a 1.5 mile radius. That’s your campus, your lecture theatre. That means everything is about you. Intense, huh? You can feel the wave of panic in the Executive suites. It must be stamped out!
Hang on a minute! I am the Ghost of Christmas Future and I say DON’T PANIC! Surely we can find a use for this? How might it help us with Learning and Teaching? It could give us insights into how our students learn, and alert us to NSS issues early? We could use up-voting and down-voting to develop critical analysis. We could even join them and be part of the community. Want to know more, well I bring you this lovely piece by Eric Stoller:
I recently took part in an open course called Creativity for Learning in Higher Education, hosted by the CELT team at MMU. One of the activities is a game designed to help teachers come up with innovative ideas to enhance a teaching and learning situation – it is called The Sell Your Bargains Game. It would be an excellent activity to use to support new or early career teachers.
What I like about it is that it is a game which takes places in virtual and physical spaces, bringing teams of players together to collaborate at different points. The ‘main event’ takes place once you have identified and diagnosed a ‘teaching problem’; your challenge then is to buy (yes, spend real money!) something to help you solve that problem. The aim is to spend as little money as possible, and you only have an hour to shop. You have to record this ‘one hour discovery journey’ using a mobile device, creating a set of digital artefacts which you later use to visualise and reflect on your thought processes. After the hour is up, you come together with the rest of the group and try to sell your bargains.
It’s pound shop pedagogy meets Bargain Hunt meets the Apprentice. And in case you were wondering if there is a serious side to all this, you’ll find some proper theoretical underpinnings embedded in the instructions.