Perpetual motion


E-Learning for me does not just mean developing applications and websites, no it also means creating a system or dare I use that cliched word solutions to allow teachers to get more out of a session than what they put in.

Over the last year or so I together with Impact have been developing a system that will enable our catering staff to record teaching & training sessions.

First a little information, we’ve got two kitchens on site Ora & Skills; Ora is a kitchen where students cook lunch and dinner for staff and members of the public, Skills is a demonstration kitchen where students learn new techniques. Each kitchen has two PTZ (pan tilt zoom) cameras, three ip56 rated televisions, a touch panel and a control lanyard each. The system is quick to boot up, easy to log in and simple to use to ensure that there is minimum disruption to any session. Once the Chef has logged on he can use the lanyard to command the entire system from anywhere in the kitchens, without having to interact with the touch panel. As soon as the videos are recorded they are transferred to our servers and (pending approval) are viewable by all staff and students. So we’ve created a system that records chefs, this in itself is nothing new, we’ve had the ability to use video cameras in class for years; where’s the benefit to the learners and most of all the teachers?

Lets say we have 20 students in the kitchens watching the chef joint a chicken. The chef proceeds to joint the chicken, students watch and then try it themselves, prior to this system that’s where the lesson stops. What happens if a student has a question, or wants to see it again? The chef has to grab another chicken. Not so with our new system, the chef can instantly play back the recording on any number of screens around the kitchen, enabling them to both demonstrate and instruct which better serves the students needs.

More importantly, what happens if the student has a question outside of the kitchen, or outside of College hours? In combination with our VLE our students can access all the videos from home, bookmark relevant sections and review training sessions whenever or whereever they like.

So we’ve seen how it can benefit students, but how can it help teachers get more out of sessions then they put in?

Over time, Teachers can record training videos of sessions & techniques to create a bank of personalised learning resources that they can access in and out of the kitchens to enhance course content and delivery. We’ve given them the ownership over their own content, no longer do they have to search through youtube videos from tv shows for the 10 second clip required. The chefs can simply navigate to the content they themselves have created and students can see their peers using the same techniques instead of random people from the internet, students are more likely to be engaged with content if its relevant to them and teaching staff work better with students who are engaged with the content.

By creating and using these personalised resources in class, the lecturer can literally be in two places at once, as they can be onscreen demonstrating techniques whilst being able to walk round the kitchens and supervise students replication of the demonstrated technique and support/guide students where necessary instead of just being stuck at the front of the class.

With this system staff can get more in than they get out (and its a lot faster than human cloning).

An improv demonstration of the kitchen recording system

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