#Twalk – a new active pedagogy explained


The Leeds University Twalking Group, 26 March 2019

This post, and the ones that will follow, reflect on the Twalk as a pedagogy. In particular, I consider how students can draw upon the conversational activity and use the data it generates as the basis for developing and explaining conceptual knowledge.
To demonstrate this, I will model the process by incorporating the outcomes of the #Twalk that was run on the 26th of March 2019. The subject matter of that #Twalk was Doing, Being, Belonging, Becoming and Connecting. Its concern, therefore, was the HE undergraduate learning experience as affected by the learning spaces they use.

Pedagogic Method

The #Twalk is a generative learning activity. Walkers address a given theme by discussing a series of questions presented by the #Twalk coordinator. Participants walk and talk and then generate written responses and photographs in the form of tweets (or other social media postings) that encapsulate their thinking at several points in their #Twalk. Given that this happens amongst members of a walking group located together geographically, but also through connection to other walking groups located elsewhere, a rich source of reflective data is produced quickly in a loose form ready to be reinterpreted through a reflective process. The tweet data, therefore, creates an evidence base for the reflective stage of the #Twalk pedagogy.
As with a tweetchat, the overarching theme of the #Twalk is typically structured around five sub-topics or questions. A student, therefore, reflecting on their twalking experience has a given framework to work within. In our case, the first sub-topic is Doing.
Students working individually or as a group can then analyse their Twitter feed. Specifically, they can look for responses using the #Twalk hashtag (ours was #SpacetwalkLeeds) where posts are enumerated by question (Q1, Q2, etc), with answers to that question identified as A1, A2 etc. .
As a form of experiential learning, students are reminded to interpret the data by drawing upon their own experience of the recent #Talk activity. Therefore, the account is an interpretation and further deeper exploration of the topic is discussed. It is possible, for example, that students at the end of the walk could be encouraged to form an action plan to further explore emerging thoughts and ideas shared during their #Twalk conversation. This, therefore, would take a research-informed learning approach and, depending on the educational level of the students and the nature of integration into the module or course, the #Twalk may be better understood as a stimulus for learning.
In the example I will model here, I will demonstrate this high-level approach by picking up on a selection of the tweets as the basis for developing one or two ideas that emerged for me from each of the topics.

Having reviewed my experience of the #Twalk, and gone on to research and developed emerging conceptual themes for me, I then (as student) submit my report for marking against criteria relating to the thematic conceptual knowledge, but also evidence of developing my own initial responses and drawing upon ideas and responses from c-twalkers.

My assignment

In the next few posts, I will analyse my twalking experience, it key themes, and incorporate supporting evidence based upon an enquiry prompted by the conversation.

(Nb: This may take a little time – I have several real deadlines at the moment!)

About Andrew Middleton

NTF, PFHEA, committed to active learning, co-operative pedagogies, media-enhanced teaching and learning, authentic learning, postdigital learning spaces. Key publication: Middleton, A. (2018). Reimagining Spaces for Learning in Higher Education. Palgrave.
This entry was posted in Academic Innovation, Active Learning, Assessment & Feedback, BYOD, Learner Engagement, Media-enhanced learning, Social Media for Learning, Walking and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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