Iain Maclaren's blog
The closing keynote at our recent Symposium on Creative Thinking was given by Prof. Finbarr Bradley, who has many years experience working with global companies as well as championing local innovation and the irish language. Finbarr is an engaging speaker, filled with enthusiasm and real passion so we were pleased to give him scope to explore the issue of how valuable cultural differentiation and local context can be in fostering innovation as a challenge to the relentless pressures on universities to become more and more like each other in climbing up international league tables. Note that the first few sentences are in Gaeilge (the Irish language), but it soon switches to English!
Phew! Well we just recovered from the 8th Galway Symposium on Higher Education, this year focused on creativity. The keynote presentations were all recorded and will appear online soon, but in addition to these we had pecha-kucha sessions which went down very well with participants and the audience and even had a mad surge of energy to run the first ever TEDxGalway event one hour after the Symposium ended. Same venue, fresh batch of speakers, new audience and quick change to backdrops and registration desk and voila! Why do we do this?
Building on from the European Year of Creativity and Innovation , NUI Galway is making preparations for the 2010 Galway Symposium on Higher Education. The theme for the even is "Creativity, Imagination and Innovation in HE" and it will be held on our Galway campus on June 10th and 11th 2010. More information about the event including keynotes, workshops etc, will be posted in the early new year, but you might like to pencil in the dates anyway!
However, this isn't just advertising (after all we hate the fact that our dates clash with the NMC summer conference!!!!), what we're also interested in doing is trying to capture examples of really creative initiatives in higher education settings whether these are innovative new curricular designs/programmes or approaches to teaching and learning which really promote more active, engaged learning and nurture students' creative skills.
The Sunday Times this weekend will announce that it has selected NUI Galway as the Irish University of the Year. For staff and students this is welcome recognition for the institution and all the efforts that have been put in in recent years with new degree programmes, investment in the campus (including a vast range of new technologies), and a rapidly growing research and technology development record, with Ireland's best record for patents and 'spin outs'. Nice to get some good news amidst the more usual economic gloom!
As the media start to tell stories of 'twitter quitters' and imply that it is limited to celebrity gossip, isn't it time to provide some short case study examples of how it can actually be used effectively in educational and media contexts. Why not post your favourite effective practice?
An interesting first example is that of colleagues at Sheffield Hallam University in England who used it to get a better picture of student study habits as part of a study to plan and develop new learning spaces on campus.
I interviewed Liz Aspden who worked on the project for our podcast series earlier this week. Here it is , bit of echo on the skype call at one point, sorry about that.