Jennifer Burke Award

After submitting a project on the pre-lecture resource work completed for the Teaching Fellowship, I have won the Jennifer Burke Award. This award is awarded annually by the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA) for  Innovation in Teaching and Learning.

The process was quite an innovative one, and I actually got quite a lot out of it. Submission for consideration of the award cannot be more than five minutes. For mine, I made an Articulate presentation that was a model of the resources that the students see, to try and give a sense of how students would have interacted with it. The submission was required to show how the idea was innovative, how it was implemented and how it worked.

Short-listed applications were then invited to the Helix two weeks ago whereby we started off with an “innovation speed-dating” session, meeting each of the five judges in turn and explaining the concept to them. I was a little bit cynical about this, but the calibre of the judges was extremely impressive, and I found myself wishing I had spent more time preparing for it! It was a really great way for the judges to find out more about the idea, as each one had their own interest or angle that they were interested in. The judges were introduced to us at the start of the final, and included a representative from academia (at the coalface), a representative from ILTA (pedagogy-technology), representative from industry (innovation), representative from the HEA (policy) and last year’s winner (standard) – and for each of these I considered the term in brackets to be the bit I would focus on in each of the speed-date sessions. This meant that it was possible to cover a lot of information about the innovation in a short amount of time (35 minutes). I got a lot out of this session, as in discussing the idea with the judges, they prompted a lot of ideas from their perspectives that I hadn’t considered.

The speed-dating was followed by an interview with the entire panel, which focussed on the core concepts – why was the resource introduced, how did it go, what did I learn and what would I change. Again, some useful things came out of this – most importantly for dissemination that the pre-final resources might be more useful for dissemination than the finished ones, as individuals could tailor them to their own situations. This is something I plan to do now, which I never would have thought of.

The other great output was in talking to the other finalists. They had some really great, impressive innovations and all  shared a passion for considering how best to effectively use technology in our learning. I got so many ideas from just talking to them and having a look at their ideas, which I think will be summarised on Jennifer Burke website soon.

All in all, a very positive day! Many thanks go to the organisers at ILTA for what was obviously a huge amount of work behind the scenes, and the judges for giving up their time. I wholly recommend anyone considering applying for next year’s award to do so – the process is a very beneficial one in terms of personal development.

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