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Foreword

Paul C Taylor - Reader in Chemistry and Director of the Reinvention Centre, University of Warwick


It is 10 years since Interactions first appeared and this is the 30th Issue. Rereading old issues, two things strike me.

My first observation is that there has been a profound change in our approach to learning and teaching interventions. We have become much more reflective. Some early contributions to Interactions, while valuable records, were simple accounts of innovations. By contrast, the five papers in this issue are powerful, critical evaluations. They provide a model for how we should approach quality enhancement projects.

My second point ought to surprise nobody. But can it really be just ten years since interactions articles were encouraging us to use email to set up appointments with students and to answer their more mundane questions? Just ten years since we were urged to teach our students Excel as a skill? Just ten years, most strikingly, since we were asked to consider the Internet as a valuable information resource and a medium for storing course materials? Articles in this issue show just how far we have progressed in adopting technology at Warwick.


In this issue 

The first article in the Issue is ‘A Discussion of the Merits of Tablet Computers in Medical Education’. It relates an extensive study based on feedback from 176 students and should be essential reading for anyone thinking about the different media through which computer based learning can be introduced into the curriculum.

The next two articles reflect on how technology can enhance the learning experience by “bringing things to life”. Sean Allan in ‘Podcasting Goethe’ shows how a tremendous new mp3 resource of specially recorded readings of Goethe poetry can bridge the last two centuries and make these classic works relevant to the experiences of Warwick students today. Mark Childs in ‘Virtual Learning and Teaching’ explores how representations of real and imaginary worlds in Second Life can, likewise, increase students’ engagement with the context of their studies in more meaningful ways  and encourage role-play.

In Second Life, the students can start to take control of their learning medium and this is the central theme of the fourth article, 'Wiki-ed Ways’ by Tilly Harrison. The wiki format, in Tilly’s words, has “the major advantage of handing over to the students the ability to both create and destroy”. She believes this “power” motivates and leads to fuller understanding.

Physical spaces can also give more power to students. In ‘A Creative Open Space?’, Cath Lambert discusses how the design of teaching spaces can provide an environment in which “both teacher and student are engaged in an active and collaborative process of knowledge construction, production and dissemination."

Effective applications of technological advances, shifts in power towards students and an increased capacity to reflect critically on innovation. These are promising trends. I hope these papers are widely read and that they stimulate further innovations.


Editor

Paul C Taylor

Reinvention Centre
University of Warwick
Tel: +44 (0) 24 765 24375
Email: P.C.Taylor@warwick.ac.uk

Citation for this Editorial
Taylor C P. (2007) Editorial. Warwick Interactions Journal Vol 11 No. 2 (Issue 30). Available online at: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/ldc/resource/interactions/current/ed/
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