Wednesday, April 04, 2018

#lilac18 Using Lego to teach referencing with Michelle Bond

I’m Pam McKinney, a colleague of Sheila’s from the University of Sheffield Information School, and I’m at the Lilac conference in Liverpool this week. I’ll be live blogging the sessions I go to.

Michelle introduced some theory about using Lego in teaching, there is a long history of Lego use across a number of levels and subjects. Lego ‘serious play’ was introduced as a way to make referencing more exciting, and Michelle drew on experiences of Emily wheeler @heliotropia at Leeds. Michelle shares an office with the disruptive media learning lab who are experts in Lego serious play who helped her develop a referencing workshop using Lego. We had a chance to model referencing using a set of Lego, and delegates had a range of ideas to present back to the group. Often, when this activity is done with students, it reveals that students do have a good understanding of the role and function of referencing. They also really enjoy this part of the session, and get excited about the activity. Developing their own conception of referencing is an important step, and they get the opportunity to learn from their peers if they work in a group. Feedback from students has been really positive, although there is no evidence about whether it actually improves referencing! It can be challenging sometimes for the tutor to relate back some students Lego models to referencing in the group feedback, and it takes some time to set up the activity. Some students really struggle to see the relevance of the Lego activity, and the excitement wanes as the students move from Lego to the more traditional aspects of the workshop. It can be good for the tutor to create their own model and present this to the class if students are reluctant to speak.

We then discussed how we could use Lego in our own teaching, and my group talked about how the Lego building activity could be used in almost any context to facilitate discussion and to bring out conceptions of a phenomenon. 

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