28.01.2021 • 4 minutes
As Digital Learning Technologist at Hibernia College, Justin Staunton is in charge of assisting the tutors and students with new technology and innovative solutions. In October of 2020, he discovered Wooclap at MoodleMoot, and decided on a trial with his college’s teaching staff a month later.
By the end of the year, or less than two months into the pilot, Hibernia College was ready to adopt a campus-wide Wooclap licence. What convinced them so quickly to make this permanent shift to Wooclap? According to Staunton, 4 elements, or “big wins”, contributed to the college’s decision.
To Staunton, the biggest draw was the fact that Wooclap could be combined with tools from various other providers. “Each provider more or less has a single tool, but Wooclap put them all in one place.”
He says the issue “had been that we were using quite a number of different digital tools to achieve the same result, which made it difficult for tutors and students to follow”. The first time he saw Wooclap in action was an eye-opener: instead of juggling several different platforms during a lecture, this would allow teachers to continue their course uninterrupted.
Staunton was excited to meet our team at MoodleMoot, because he had been looking for a solution that incorporated some of these tools, without success, since January 2020. Their main need was to find one tool that encompassed everything that the tutor wanted to get across to the students, to keep them active and interested in the lecture. Specifically, it was imperative to find a tool that enabled them to integrate quizzes into PowerPoint.
While Hibernia College went from a blended learning to a fully online programme in 2020, they intend to revert back to blended learning as soon as possible. In Staunton’s opinion, “using Wooclap fully online was fantastic, but it also works well with live face-to-face teaching in an auditorium”. It was of vital importance to him that Wooclap could be applied in both teaching methods, so that students are not simply being talked at, but are invited to participate, regardless of the way the lecture is delivered.
Full-time tutors at Hibernia College can deal with around 3000 students each year. In a blended model, the students can feel quite isolated, which is why many of the tutors like to have weekly interactive meetings, for which they rely on digital tools. However, if a tool is too disruptive to the session, it can end up pushing the students away instead of drawing them in.
To Staunton, this emphasises the importance of Wooclap’s integration with other platforms, like PowerPoint. “Sitting through a PowerPoint lecture can make it difficult to concentrate, but Wooclap snaps students back into reality. They are present, they are active, and they have an input.”
For those learners who aren’t very outspoken when they have to express themselves out loud, Wooclap can be liberating, as it removes certain obstacles students can face when it comes to in-class participation. This allows all students to contribute to the lecture without the fear of public speaking, and gives tutors clear insight into the minds of their learners. In Staunton’s words: “You don’t want to capture people’s names, you want to capture their thoughts and interactions.“
Before introducing Wooclap at Hibernia College, bringing all the teachers up to speed on many different tools was just too time-consuming. To save time, they needed a tool that could interact with and encompass some of their existing tools and platforms.
For many tutors too, time was an important factor in the decision to adopt Wooclap. Instead of creating new activities for each lecture, they could use their existing quizzes over and over again. “Once they realised they were creating their own library of activities, there was a large uptake of Wooclap”, says Staunton.
These “activity banks”, as he calls them, are also how Staunton intends to introduce new users to Wooclap. He wants them to start building activity banks first, without wondering how to use them in presentations. Why? “It takes the digital fear away for a lot of people. Let’s not worry about how to interact with the tool in the classroom, let’s just create fun activities first.”
For Hibernia College, Wooclap:
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Content Editor @Wooclap. I love to write, learn, write about learning, and learn about writing. And hit readers with puns they don't see coming. You know, sucker puns.
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