Storyboards: flipping storify and the classroom

Screen shot of storyboardIt’s a common plea within HE, can’t we just get rid of the lecture?  But there is safety and comfort in the lecture so getting rid of them is easier said than done. I was delighted then to hear from the mental health nursing team here at GCU this week who have actually taken a unanimous decision to ban lectures in their models and move to a more directed study, reflective, workshop approach.

Starting from wanting to create an learning experience that really engaged students, and just as importantly worked to the strengths of the team in sharing their experiences of actual practice, the team now create weekly “storyboards” which provide resources, readings, videos, guidance and questions for students. Lectures have been replaced by workshops. These start with a  debrief of the week’s study board following by small group work focusing on key areas of knowledge for that week.

The students have individual learning logs (using the campus pack blogs within our VLE) and are encouraged to reflect on their own learning/experiences and resources they have found during their pre-workshop activities.  The module has a #hashtag, and students are encouraged to tweet through out the module.

The team are using Storify to create the storyboards.  Mainly because they find it is easy to use, and students can access it in and outwith the VLE. It also does look a tad nicer than a page within the VLE!  The team can easily update the boards, and update resource/tweets.

I’m a big fan of storify but I hadn’t thought about using it this way. Until I saw this I had it boxed in my mind as synthesis/ after event tool.  But of course it works just as well, if not better, in this way. Another really neat flip!  You can check out the team storyboard dashboard here.

The team have found that this change has really increased engagement in the workshops. The enjoy the workshops much more as they feel it allows them to facilitate learning far more effectively. The can see more engagement, vicarious and peer learning.  The team did admit that it did take time to “let go” and adjust to this new way delivery, but now they would never go back.

Each storyboard is carefully planned, and is very explicit about the time, topic, resources and most importantly questions for students to consider and reflect on each week.  It has taken time to develop the storyboards, but the effort has been worth it.  The storyboards can easily be updated for each new cohort, so the initial effort pays back with time saved in the longer term. The team have also found that this approach allows them to provide more personalised guidance, particularly when dealing with some of the very challenges issues involved in mental health.

Although the team haven’t done used it yet, the embed functionality in storify means that boards/stories can be embedded within the VLE, as can #hashtagged twitter widgets.

In terms of open practice this is also a fantastic example of sharing approaches to learning and teaching with the wider community.

5 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Sheila – it’s a real ‘good news’ story. I believe it is an example of how the real impact of technology is not the provision of new tools that just support and enhance existing ways of organising learning (e.g. using PowerPoint in a traditional lecture). No, the real impact of technology is found, as you have described, in the way it enables ‘flipping’ of our existing assumptions about how learning should be managed. (The notion of ‘banning’ lectures is somehow so deliciously potent:-) And I think the time is ripe for technology to flip traditional assumptions not just at the level of the teacher/student relationship, as in your example from GCU, but also at the level of institutional management. That’s another story, of course, but one that is also closely related to the disruptive potential of open practice.

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