Guest post – DigiLearn: Building DigiLearn teams through collaboration
Author: Anna Byrom – Senior Lecturer (School of Community Health and Midwifery)
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. (African Proverb)
We are a team on a mission. Our vision is to have all midwifery teaching team members DigiLearn Practitioners or beyond, by the end of the year. This goal, inspired by Chris Melia and other inhabitants of the Digital Learning community, will help to strengthen our use of digital technologies to improve all areas of our education practice. Engaging with Microsoft Teams and the Microsoft Education Community has helped us to celebrate the way we currently utilise technologies for learning facilitation, assessment and feedback. In addition, it has opened up new platforms that we can harness to further develop our resources to improve student engagement and employability skills for ourselves and those we serve.
Collaboration is at the heart of the DigiLearn community and effective education practice. Building on the spirit of sharing and networking, fostered in Microsoft Teams, we have developed a system within our local midwifery teaching team to help ensure ALL members feel welcomed and clear about the steps involved in becoming a Microsoft Innovative Educator whilst progressing through UCLan’s DigiLearn accreditation programme.
DigiBuddies for success
To share knowledge and skills I suggested we developed a DigiBuddy system so that those already confidently working as or towards DigiLearn Practitioner status offer support to those feeling unsure about how to join in. I have become a DigiBuddy for my colleague and in this role have provided encouragement and support. This has included support to access the Microsoft Teams Health and Wellbeing DigiLearn community and understanding how to access and progress through the Microsoft Education Community (https://education.microsoft.com/) learning resources. Other team members have paired to help stimulate a supportive working environment and to ensure optimal use of Microsoft applications for curriculum development. All members of our team are now working towards DigiLearn accreditation.
If you are yet to start your journey, we recommend fostering a team approach – this way you can learn together and optimise the translation of your learning in to your daily teaching practice and curriculum review. As Periodic Course Review approaches it seems like a perfect time to engage in the DigiLearn community and learn about the opportunities to available to you and the students you serve.
Top tips for practice
If you are feeling unsure or do not know where to begin, TELT team. They will help guide you to support in your Faculty. If you’re confident, then look around you – find colleagues or students you can help support to join the community. Together we can ensure our teaching, learning and assessment approaches foster the development of 21st Century Skills.
- Use team meetings to do a Microsoft Technologies skills review and get everyone to create a profile
- Use scholarly time to engage in the online learning content in Microsoft Education Community
- Set yourself weekly goals to complete useful courses.
- Set daily goals for communicating and connecting with colleagues around your Faculty.