It’s time to revive my blog after many months of silence. I have been absorbed by my studies, and as blog postings have not been included in the tasks of the courses I’ve attended, I have been neglecting the blog simply due to having to prioritize things. Though, in hindsight, I think that blogging has been a good way to reflect my learning: writing about the things that you have learned or are currently processing, I’ve notices, has been a good way to check up on or verify your own understanding about the things you are learning – when putting your thoughts into words you realize what are the possible gaps in your understanding and what needs further processing.
Mentoring process from the mentor’s perspective
During this spring I as a second year LET student have been acting as a mentor for the first year students. Me and Daniel, my fellow 2nd year student, had six 1st year students in our mentoring group. The first meeting with them was earlier this year, in which we got to know each other, and also importantly, hear the mentees wishes about things they would like to know of and learn more. This was important as me and Daniel as mentors wanted to identify their needs and structure the mentoring process in accordance with those needs, the main objective being that the mentoring process would help the mentees in acquiring the information and skills they need on their path in developing their expertise.
Based on the mentees’ wishes and needs Daniel and me planned the following activities. We tried to make the activities varied to keep up the interest of the mentees, and also get them involved. That is, it would not be only me and Daniel who would be providing all the information, but we all would be exploring and building up knowledge together.
|Description and procedure||Objectives|
|Jigsaw discussion on articles related to expertise||A jigsaw discussion will be held in the classroom to introduce and discuss the central topics and findings within each of the articles assigned by the teacher.||Both mentors and mentees will expand their views on mentoring and expertise, and practice a jigsaw discussion design|
|Expert´s introduction to new technologies for education||Technology expert Jari Laru will be invited to give a brief presentation on two tools with educational affordances.||Mentees will gain insights on both hardware and software to exploit in educational contexts.|
|Mentees´ technological tools presentations||Mentee dyads will present a technological tool of their choice and its applications to the field of education.||Both mentors and mentees will widen their views on technological tools applied to education.|
|LET graduate testimonials and future career path alternatives||LET graduate and PhD student Pavi Thangaperumal and LET graduate Antonella Conte will briefly introduce their current work and link it to their experience as graduates of the LET program.||Mentees will have possible career paths showcased in words of LET experts both within and without the academy.|
|Reference manager software tutorial: Mendeley||Mentors will present a tutorial on how to use the Mendeley reference manager software for research purposes.||Mentees will be acquainted with a deeply useful tool for developing their own research.|
|Norssi school visit: innovative educational environments||Mentees will visit the Norssi school grounds and have the opportunity of observing the educational environment design and other features of the UBIKO cell.
Before the visit, mentor Kaisa will give a presentation about Finnish educational system.
|Mentees will see for themselves an ongoing effort of the Finnish educational system to enhance the learning process of school-age students.|
|Research in video games and education||Mentor Daniel will introduce his research with an online presentation into video games and education.||Mentees will broaden their perspectives on the application of games for educational purposes, and as a possible research orientation.|
|Research in adaptive expertise in the working life||Mentor Kaisa will introduce her research with a presentation on adaptive expertise in the working life.||Mentees will broaden their perspectives on expertise both in and out of the academy, and as a possible research orientation.|
From a mentor’s perspective, the mentoring process is not only about giving, although you have to invest your time and resources in identifying the mentees’ needs, planning the activities to answer those needs, and make the practical arrangements. As a mentor you also receive, not only the joy of being able to help others, but also new information and rehearsal in your skills. I truly enjoyed the mentees’ as well as Jari’s technological presentations about different technological tools and their application in educational settings, as well as Pavi’s and Antonella’s presentations about future career opportunities after LET studies.
Instructional system design
Especially Antonella’s presentation about instructional system design (ISD) hit home because it is close to the thing I would want to do in my future career-wise. Basically, ISD is “a practice of creating instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective, and appealing. The process consists broadly of determining the state and needs of the learner, defining the end goal of instruction, and creating some intervention to assist in the transition. Ideally, the process is informed by pedagogically (process of teaching) and andragogically (adult learning) tested theories of learning and may take place in student-only, teacher-led or community-based settings.”
In my previous posts I have probably mentioned at least at some point that I would be interested in HR-related tasks and helping people develop their expertise. When listening to Antonella I realized that this is one way of doing it at the same time being able to make use of the know-how and skills learned in the LET studies as well as in working life. ISD is a process in which the need is analyzed and a solution is generated and implemented – phases very familiar to any type of project really. Also, it requires theoretical understanding of how people learn, and also how technological tools can be made use of in that – the things we have been taught during the LET studies.
Looking back at the studies I realized that we have actually carried out a project similar to the phases of ISD when we (a group of students) created a learning solution for a company that was shifting to team-based working and were faced with some challenges in that. But I will be writing about that project on another post later on..