A student’s perspective:

As an undergraduate I was so bored of writing essays that I vowed never to write one again. No one was more surprised than me when, four years later, I enjoyed the academic side of the PGCE so much I wanted to write more.

I’m incredibly grateful to Des Hewitt, and to IATL, for making this project possible. It was not an easy thing to summon the resolve to approach Des with an idea. Des isn’t scary but the idea of planning and committing to a project with so much real-world potential was intimidating. But now, having experienced the whole process, I can heartily recommend it.

The title of our project is ‘Social Media and Initial Teacher Education’. Our aim was to explore how trainee teachers can use Instagram professionally, what impact this would have on their professional development, and how teacher education providers could utilise it in their curriculum. This project is important to me because it has the potential to change the student experience at Warwick – especially in those training with the Centre for Teacher Education.

I can’t really reflect on how this project has gone without talking about co-creation because it has shaped the experience so much. The main outcome of our collaboration is an academic article – a draft of which is available to you on this page. The article would look nothing like it does now if it wasn’t for co-creation: Des’s insight into teacher education and ethics helped us to form a ‘big-picture’ view of the topic whilst my understanding of Instagram’s many features meant that we could consider how each aspect could be adopted as a tool for learning. Although he’s the academic and I’m the student, Des never dictated to me about what I should do or when we were going to meet. We built our communication on respect and both felt free to contribute our ideas as well as challenge each other.

I could write quite a lot about the benefits of co-creation but I feel that the video above does a good job of that. I recommend grabbing yourself a drink and taking a bit of time to watch it. Hopefully it provides a clear picture of what co-creation is and how you can do it too.

An academic’s perspective:

As an academic and school teacher, I completely embrace the notion of co-creation of knowledge. Whilst I would never want to undervalue the experience, knowledge and expertise of academic colleagues or the notion of a ‘Higher Education’, respecting the knowledge and expertise of students is critical. I do believe in the co-construction of knowledge and I’ve moved quite a way from some traditional views of a novice (learner) and expert (teacher).

Co-construction of knowledge between teacher and learner is exciting. I think, as Zoe says, projects like the investigation through IATL of ‘Social Media and ITE’ provide really interesting additional learning experiences for students and academics. It is a fantastic way to encourage student and staff collaborative learning and research.

Whether you are a student or member of staff, I would highly recommend the opportunities afforded through IATL. Even though we have been through over a year of the pandemic, the IATL opportunities have given me a real boost - it has recharged my batteries!