OU Conf: Keren Mills – Digilab

Keren Mills and Non Scantlebury – Digilab/Library.

About half of the audience have never been in the Digilab.

Launched and opened Nov 2006.  Can’t miss it, it’s painted bright pink.  Professional development of non-academic staff, e.g. designers in LTS.  IET gets a mention for doing staff development.  Digilab to fill gap for hands-on opportunities.  A ‘createive play area to experiment with and explore new ideas and share knowledge’.

Can drop-in for physical stuff.  They have generic Digilab accounts for things like Second Life so you can have a poke around without having to register yourself.  (This is a cool idea, especially where you need to do a bit of running to get started.)  Also running f2f sessions on this stuff.

Lot of people don’t have confidence about what a podcast is or how to create one.  “If asked to create a podcast …” – half would ask for help, 32% would teach themselves, 9% would pass it on, 6% have experience of doing it already.  (And 3% would go on holiday to avoid it!)

Alas, tried to play a video clip from PPT and it failed.  Then tried a canned QT she’d wisely brought along – result.  Comments from Gill Clough and Rebecca Ferguson about how cool the Digilab is for overhearing what people are doing and asking them about what they’re doing.  (Maybe I should sit and play there more often.  Yes!  A proper work-related reason to play Guitar Hero III on work time.  I’ll be contributing to OU staff development, oh yes.)

Geocaching exercise – find your way to a person’s office and interview them.  Then the final treasure was lunch (!).  Got good feedback from the experts that they should offer this more broadly as an approach.  Participants really got a lot out of it.  An aim is to increase people’s confidence in the technology they hear people talking about.  People like Martin and Tony are keen early adopters, but we have a lot of staff who aren’t confident in engaging with them.  Researchers like using it as an informal meeting place; more inspiring place for a PhD supervision than a trad supervisor’s office.

Comment from Chris Pegler that the Digilab has been a great boon to the eLearning Community (the OU internal e-learning self-development community).

… and it got an OU Teaching Award this morning.  Long list of thanks to people, including Rhodri Thomas from Strategy Unit and Andrew Brasher from IET.

Martin – Like bumping in to people, watercooler effect.  Twitter offers this as well – can we combine the two – have screens with OU twitter feeds, really informal way of that going?

Keren – Yeah that would be really good.  And Ideascale too would be really interesting for an online presence for Digilab – and how to bring the Digilab to the regions.  Making one place to find who’s blogging about what.  Liam’s work on that.  Also Cohere from KMi adding to social networking – put up ideas and create links between them – this idea supports/refutes this other idea.

Non – We want to be user-driven, it’s a resource for the OU community.  Equipment loan service – can book out iPods, cameras and other stuff out from the Library to have a play with it.  Loaned out iPod shuffles with some content on them initially.

s/o – is there a web link explaining all this?  Virtual tour?

Keren – Yes, http://www.open.ac.uk/digilab.  Virtual tour would be nice but we don’t have the time.

s/o – Hard to get in regularly; when I went once I was the only one.  Can you stream from there when technologies are actually being used?

Keren – Contributing to Open Insights lecture series, with an activity at-a-distance.

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Author: dougclow

Academic in the Institute of Educational Technology, the Open University, UK. Interested in technology-enhanced learning and learning analytics.