Author: Neil Cook, Lecturer – School of Dentistry

This is not what I intended to write a blog post about. At all.

Reflection is one of those things that I have always struggled with. Not so much the thinking, but the production. There is something about sitting down and trying to reflect in writing that just feels so artificial to me. It is almost like writer’s block. I know I’ve got something to say, but I just can’t seem to get it on the page in a way that sounds genuine or sufficiently considered. I’m struggling right now!

Part of the Digilearn Advocate pathway involves revisiting the six DigiPath pathways and reflecting on your development. ‘Oh no’, I thought. ‘What will be the easiest and least painful way to do this?’ I remembered that I already had a Team set up where I was the only member; I used it to record a ‘how to’ video some months ago and that was a quick and easy way of demonstrating to a colleague how to set up a meeting on Teams. I decided to just start a meeting where I was the only attendee, hit record and see what happened whilst I reviewed my progress. And it worked.

Due to the switch to remote teaching during lockdown I am used to sitting in front of my computer and talking, sometimes with no audible feedback. I am used to being recorded when delivery might not be perfect. I talked, on average, for around eight minutes for each of the six aspects of Digipath. It was easy and it was in much more depth than I would have produced had I started writing. The other advantage of course is that I could embed the video directly into OneNote as evidence. I had a recording I could go back to review or to make summary notes. I have a record of how I said what I said, not only the words. The video was automatically uploaded to Stream, from which it is possible to generate a transcript. Therefore, if I do need a written reflection, I now have a way to produce a better quality reflection than I might have done previously and much faster too. All I would need to do is correct the transcript.

I also had a thought about using this method as a possible means of feedback for students. 3 minutes of audio in Turnitin isn’t very much, but this approach would allow me to talk for longer, in more detail, possibly even record a screen share of specific elements of their work whilst I talk about it. That’s an idea for the future, but funnily enough one of my takeaway messages from having to do this reflection was how I can use technology to allow me to reflect in a way that works for me. A totally unexpected realisation – which, surely, is one of the benefits of good reflection?


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