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Media Zoo: an innovative approach for promoting the potentials of learning technologies in Higher Education

By Matthew Wheeler


Metadata only entryThe Media Zoo is an open, online and on-campus attraction where academic members of staff from within the University of Leicester are able to experience, interact and understand the collection of ‘technological wildlife’ on display in a safe environment. The Media Zoo is based on a Four Quadrant Model (Salmon 2005) consisting of axes of New & Existing Technologies and New & Existing Learning Processes, See Figure 1.\ud \ud The four quadrants which construct the Media Zoo are Pets’ Corner, a Breeding Area, a Safari Park and an Exotics House; each with its own technological wildlife in the form of pedagogies and learning technologies.\ud \ud The activities within the Media Zoo are underpinned by current innovative research undertaken within the Beyond Distance Research Alliance led by Professor Gilly Salmon. The underlying concept behind the Media Zoo is to facilitate the knowledge and experiences gained from such research and disseminate it across the wider academic community. Conversely, wide spectrums of subject disciplines feed new ideas back into the whole research cycle. \ud \ud The research projects currently being supported by the Media Zoo include: IMPALA which investigates the use of Podcasting learning and support material to students; PROWE is a collaborative project with the Open University researching the use of Wikis and Blogs to support distance tutors; finally ADELIE is approaching the advanced design of eLearning and the institutional embedding of such findings.\ud \ud The Media Zoo is not content with relying upon existing research but instead the staff members are actively engaging in an exercise to scan the technological and eLearning environments to bring forward weaker signals and new concepts to test, trial and implement across both on-campus and distance learning programmes.\ud \ud This paper will provide detailed feedback on the experiences, findings and future proofing ideas discovered during the Media Zoo’s implementation and operation, as well as providing a framework for the implementation of such activities in diverse Higher Education sectors whilst reflecting on key deliverables as the Media Zoo continues its development

Year: 2006
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