Teaching an Old Dog a New Trick: Personal Experience of Using Animation to Support Learning in HE

Presented by: Fionnuala Tynan

As a teacher in HE, there is an impetus to consistently challenge the self to improve teaching and learning, and a vision to make teaching more inclusive. As an ‘old dog’, technology can pose challenges, not least due to the amount of time that is necessary to research the technology and technological tools, but also to practice the related skills and produce artefacts of a quality that will stimulate engagement. An exploration of using technology revealed the benefits and struggles of developing and using animations for teaching and learning.

Through the use of a reflective journal and the use of data from student feedback, this presentation focuses on the evaluation of using animation as a pedagogical tool.

This is based on Mishra and Koehler’s (2006) Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) model to examine how technology can be used effectively in teaching. TPACK is a circular process which has three key elements: technology knowledge (the teacher’s knowledge of how to use the technology); pedagogical knowledge (the teacher’s general pedagogic practice); and content knowledge (the teacher’s knowl­edge of their subject matter).

The technology knowledge was the biggest obstacle for the practitioner and the journey to become somewhat knowledgeable was both personally and professionally rewarding. The presentation provides insights into how ‘old dogs’ in education can be supported to ‘learn new tricks’!

According to Dogan et al. (2020) professional development for technology competencies of teachers contribute to an increase in the use of technology for instruction, which is further impacted by the teacher’s confidence in using technology. This was the experience of the researcher. However, the development of TPACK also enhanced the Universal Design for Learning of the module being taught to pre-service teachers. The use of animations enhanced students’ ‘engagement’ with this ‘different mode of representation’ (CAST 2018), although this too had limitations.

In the synthesis of the findings, the practitioner reflects on the barriers and enablers to using animation in the higher education classroom from the perspective of the practitioner and the students.

Presenter Biography:

Dr Fionnuala Tynan is a lecturer in inclusive pedagogy in Mary Immaculate College, where she teaches undergraduate and post-graduate student teachers.

Her main research interests are special and inclusive education, with an emphasis on Universal Design for Learning, complex learning profiles and wellbeing.

Fionnuala is completing a Masters in Education and Training Management (E-learning) with DCU. Technologically she is being dragged into the 21st century kicking and screaming.