Warwick’s got talent (students as producers)

Today was Warwick’s Teaching and Learning Showcase. The overall theme this year was Engaging Students, and topics included: Creativity, Beyond the classroom and Using resources in new ways. It would seem strange not to mention that only a few minutes away many students were displaying their engagement and creativity beyond the classroom, in the fifth day of their occupation. I won’t get into the politics of that, but to mention as context that the importance of student involvement in decisions, and the role of the institution as a public university are both part of my thinking about academic technologies. The showcase brought together lots of innovative work across the university, and showed just how fast technology is becoming mainstream for some.

We have lots of examples of student-led technology at Warwick. A while back a Warwick PG student, Josh Harding gave a fantastic talk at a libraries conference about his use of ipads. But the approach goes deeper than encouraging use, there’s a history of supporting student as producer and even a student as producer grant scheme. This ethos is embedded in some courses: two colleagues in my team are involved with the Making History module which encourages undergraduate historians to develop digital skills in the humanities. No doubt there are many other examples I haven’t heard yet.

Right now, here’s a great example. There is a student-run producer and broadcaster of live interactive TV and documentaries at Warwick, called SIBE. They are running a Hackathon this weekend, 23-24th June, on campus:

“The hack will focus on developing web solutions for the new OSAAT campaign model of global collective action to aid in addressing the major global issues of our time in a coordinated and efficient way. We’ve already come up with a few concepts for web solutions together with major national and global campaign organisations during a series of interactive workshops.”

I have pledged a small grant to support the event, because colleagues and I believe academic technology should empower students as producers (a perspective that Rob O’Toole has been strongly advocating). You can participate this weekend by registering on the site, and if you aren’t on campus you can join in remotely.

On a related note, earlier this week I was really pleased to see a couple of Warwick entries to the Jisc Summer of Student Innovation. “Sigma: a new online learning system” is from a group of students, and “Unibubble” is clearly filmed on campus (no mistaking the Arts Centre in the background).

Clearly, Warwick has some serious student talent when it comes to technology and digital skills!

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