OU report: edtech can unlock autonomous, hybrid and engaging education

An international team of teaching and edtech experts, including academics at the Open University, contributed to a report that sets out how watch parties and hybrid models could revolutionise the future classroom

A new report says pedagogy needs to evolve in the post-pandemic world as technology and learner requirements change, with ‘walk-and-talk’ classes and “watch parties” two mooted suggestions.

A group of academics at the Institute of Educational Technology at The Open University, UK, collaborated with researchers from the Open University of Catalonia, Spain, to compile the report: Innovating Pedagogy 2022.

The report covers 10 ways, including edtech and non-traditional teaching styles, that could help teachers and lecturers make “major shifts” in educational practice.

As the role of technology and computers in education will likely grow, the report suggests ‘walk-and-classes’ could offer an antidote to a screen-centric approach, “providing an alternative way to connect with others”, helping students with speaking and listening skills, and offering a chance for “interaction, reflection and consolidation”.

“Watch parties” are another innovation mooted by the report: it provides a way to unite students “from all over the world” in a shared immersive experience that prefixes learning activities such as “group discussion, message-based chats or links to learning tasks”. Researchers have found that “watch parties” can stimulate more interaction than face-to-face teaching, particularly if videos employ “conversational language”, live questions and “signalling”.

Edtech can – if implemented with pedagogy – enable a shift to “learner autonomy”, where students increasingly consider the navigation of their learning with the help of teachers to “support them to develop the efficient study habits and techniques that will enable them to direct and regulate their own learning”.

Hybrid models present an opportunity for education to diversify its offer but this approach relies on students having the requisite hardware to pursue them. Dual learning, devised by teachers and those in relevant industries, and microcredentials can enable education to shift to become responsive to fast-paced employment changes.

Educational influencers present a challenge to education because they operate in an unregulated and proliferating internet-driven market. However, the report suggests, that their ability to engage learners with personable, digestible teaching units offers a template of how teachers can reimagine their approach.

Read the full report. 

Read more: UEL turns to ‘TikTok-style’ videos to tackle racial inequity

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