Recap: PDLT Spring show and Tell – Knowing what they know, 19 February

The spring show and tell event was a hands on demonstration of a range of formative activities helping to increase interaction between students and staff at activity, module and programme level.  Sally Quinn (Psychology), David Anderson (International Pathway College) and Benjamin Poore (Theatre, Film and Television) gave participants from a range of departments an overview of the collaborative activities they engage in with their students and provided an opportunity to try out the interactive tools used to support these activities. The session provided support for two key aspects of the York Pedagogy, designing student work and planning staff-student contact.

Sally Quinn’s session focused primarily on the module level. She took the group through a process of integrating interactive group work throughout the stage 3 module Cyberpsychology.  The activities were entirely formative but engagement was high throughout and Sally was able to point to clear connections between the activities, the development of student skills and understanding, and the summative assessment for the module.  She also showed how these activities contributed directly to the Programme Learning Outcomes.  By including the use of, Sally was able to adjust her presentation in respond to comments from participants and to answer questions from the group towards the end.  The activities were supported by the use of shared google documents and Padlets for group work.  These enabled the groups to structure and record their discussions and provided a means by which Sally could gain an insight into progress and provide feedback to shape the discussion. 

Sally Quinn: Using Google Docs and Padlets

David Anderson focused mainly on the level of the activity and he provided a flexible framework for collaborative group work and interactivity between students and staff using Google slides and classroom polling.  There was a real buzz of activity in the room as different groups recorded their discussions about the nature and benefits of collaborative group work in a single presentation shared across the groups.  We were also able to take part in a series of poll and quizzes with the responses directly inserted into slides within the same shared presentation (and thereby find out the meaning of the word ‘gleeking’).

Ben Poore’s session focused on his approaches to increasing the effectiveness of student learning from seminars.  He provided an overview of a project undertaken to explore and develop students’ understanding of and engagement with seminars.  A number of activities were introduced focused on the development of shared ground rules for participation along with reflection on and self-evaluation of performance.  These increased students’ perceptions of the extent to which they are enabled to participate and engage in ‘peer-teaching’ within seminars.  He then outlined the ways that he has used Padlet to support taught sessions by providing an interactive space for agenda-setting, representing outcomes, and constructive critique.  Finally, he outlined a process of redesigning the formative activities for a particular module and stressed the importance of ensuring that such changes involve dialogue with students and relate to programme-level design of formative and summative assessment.

Knowing what they know

University of York staff can click on the following link to view the session recordings.

All three sessions provided clear examples of how interactivity can be increased to ensure that staff are able to gain greater insight into student understanding and progress.  Mayes (2006) provides a useful frame for understanding different forms of interactivity between students, teaching staff, resources and peers involving a cycle through three different ‘stages’ of interactivity as follows:

  • Conceptualisation. Interaction with concepts. Student interacting with other peoples conceptualisations.
  • Construction. Interacting with tasks. Application and testing of new conceptualisation in the performance of meaningful tasks. Student building their own framework of understanding
  • Dialogue. Interacting with people. Creating and testing of new conceptions during conversation with tutors and peers, and reflection on these.

It is clear to see how the activities and tools presented in the session can provide support for each of these stages and how this relates to key elements of the York Pedagogy by maximising the benefits of ‘contact time’ with academic staff in synchronous learning activities and opening a channel of communication to connect these activities with independent and collaborative learning carried out asynchronously in between. 


Mayes, T. (2006). Theoretical perspectives. In C. Juwah, (Ed). Interactions in online education. Oxford: Routledge, pp. 9-26.

Links to further resources:

Padlet user group forum recap, December 2018

Knowing what they know – Future teacher talk, May 2017  

One response to “Recap: PDLT Spring show and Tell – Knowing what they know, 19 February

  1. Pingback: E-Learning Newsletter – March 2019 Edition | Programme Design and Learning Technology Team·

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