Prof. Dr. Andy Hickson, Dean of the Faculty of Communication, HELP University. Social theatre pioneer, creative arts practitioner, actor and publisher of books together with Prof. Dr. Sue Jennings, pioneer of Drama and Play Therapy in the world, and developer Neuro-Dramatic Play both talked about teaching creatively in the era of the Industrial Revolution 4.0.
Prof. Andy of HELP believes that creative online teaching and learning is not just about visuals and power point presentation on the screen but engaging with students and using an interactive learning methods.
“When we are teaching or learning online, we have lost physical presence and so we must develop our other senses; our voice, tone and articulation, body language, props, colour and sound to make up for the loss of the physical presence,” said Prof Andy.
One of the dangers is that people tend to create and read from the script, this losing eye. “Learn your script and know your material and people must see your eyes when you are engaging online,” said Prof. Andy.
Prof. Sue said communication does not need to be always verbal, for example using bubbles takes people by surprise. But then they might then listen to you. Finding ways to lose our own inhibitions will help us become more creative in our online teaching.
New research on our brains has shown that a creative and artistic approach underpins effective learning and teaching. It started out with Russian psychologist Vygotsky, who had a picture he wanted to show three classes of children. In the first class there was a picture but no discussion and in the second classroom they discussed it briefly, in the third classroom, they not only discussed but enacted the major themes of the picture. When they returned several weeks later, those who remembered it best, out of the three classes were those who enacted it. Thus, this form of learning leaves an impression in the mind of the child.
Prof Andy re-emphasised the importance of the “voice”. One of the unknown things is our breath and our breathing.
Breath is the power behind our voice; it sends out vibrations (sound). Developing our breath control helps our teaching and essential skills for life. Think through your online teaching; ensure you have adequate equipment and how to use it.
Find a way to interact with your students, developmental skills but there are also a lot of interactive skills such as making people laugh, giving people activities to do. Even though we are teaching online, we divide them into pairs. Set them up into groups and do sub-group work and set them a task, get them to share with each other. I like to use app dance and one lecturer puts his work into dance, which was an innovative way to bring across the subject.
Dynamic and creative and one of the key things you are stimulating is their imagination. So in any learning we must strike a balance between left brain and right brain. Both must work together to give the experience to good online teaching.
Prof. Andy feels that we are now in the 4th Industrial Revolution and we need to get used to the new ways of learning and there are now all new kinds of learning, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Holographics and many more to come. In saying that, don’t forget what we have learned from the past; interaction and developing creative critical learners is key to a successful education and that includes online education.