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Education Festival presents the future of teaching

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on teaching at universities over the past two years. Through force of circumstances, lecturers have adapted much faster to a digital future. On 7 June Leiden Teachers Academy’s annual Education Festival (working language is English) will present insights on this ‘new normal’.

What shape will the education of the future take? How can the online experience and tools be combined with the ‘old familiar’ real-life teaching? The experiences from the pandemic are now being integrated into a hybrid form of teaching: online and offline. ‘But,’ says Acting Scientific Director of ICLON, Professor of Science Education and keynote speaker Fred Janssen, ‘I would rather make a case for the content of our teaching.’

Content-based teaching creates sharp students

It is positive that during the pandemic so much attention was paid to our teaching and how we can improve it, says Janssen. At the Education Festival, he will give the keynote speech: ‘Why don’t we teach what we want students to learn?’ Covid-19 forced people to think more about teaching. How should we approach it? This issue suddenly became very topical.

‘A great deal of attention has been paid to methodology and new technological innovations. But most of the goals we have with academic teaching are closely linked to content. We want students to be able to analyse complex situations and learn to ask questions, search for answers and critically assess them. And that they see connections within and between different disciplines. I believe that most lecturers consider these goals important. Studies have now shown that you achieve these goals by structuring the content of a lesson in a different way,’ says Janssen. He will elaborate on this theory in his keynote lecture.

Structuring lesson content

Janssen is introducing a new curriculum tool that reorganises existing lesson content so that lecturers’ expertise can make a structured contribution to a curriculum that helps make students sharper. Students who get a grip on complex issues and start thinking in an interdisciplinary way. ‘A positive keynote,’ says Janssen. ‘Lecturers often have more knowledge than they can convey. This new structure builds on how the domain expertise is already in their heads. My experience is that they find it very intriguing and exciting to restructure their teaching. At the same time, they notice that they start to redesign their lessons and ask students more questions.’

So the content of the programme is decisive – and so too is the festival itself. At the festival there will be seven in-person workshops and two additional workshops will be given online. We highlight two workshops. 

Playful learning increases students’ self-esteem

Playful learning is the focus of the workshop ‘How to apply playful learning in education’ by Emma Wiersma and Chantal de Beun. Students learn valuable skills such as persistence, collaboration, experimentation and failure by facilitating a creative and explorative state. This can increase their self-esteem and make them more resilient. 

In this interactive workshop, learning experience designers from Leiden University’s Centre for Innovation will provide best practices of playful learning and brainstorm on ways to apply them in your own course.

Catering to different learning preferences

In the workshop, ‘How to make gamification work for both online & campus teaching’ by Florian Schneider (Humanities) participants will be given an introduction to gamified teaching: methods that are geared towards motivating students by applying the mechanisms of feedback and reward commonly encountered in games. What can games tell us about how people learn?

This workshop will explore how teaching professionals can integrate lessons from videogames, board games and role-playing games in their course designs to help learners overcome fears of failing and cater to different abilities and learning preferences.

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