Serendipity and social learning is POWERFUL!

This post is a personal example of social learning and serendipity which led to learning about how acrostics can be used and the creation of three animated videos.

Last week I was following the conference hashtag #AHEConference2019  for the international Assessment in Higher Education conference and wishing I was there in person. However thanks to the many colleagues tweeting I was able to pick up some interesting points being shared. Two tweets in particular shared photos of slides for two of Professor Sally Brown’s presentations in which she had created acrostics to explore principles for feedback in one and learning outcomes in another.

What is an acrostic you might ask?

Wikipedia defines an acrostic as a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet.

The word comes from the French acrostiche from post-classical Latin acrostichis, from Koine Greek ἀκροστιχίς, from Ancient Greek ἄκρος “highest, topmost” and στίχος “verse”.

As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. (Wikipedia)

These two slides from Sally’s presentations were tweeted by Emma Flint and Anke Buttner and visually demonstrate the use of an acrostic:


My social learning

So as a result of me learning about Sally’s acrostics, I thought there was an opportunity to create an animated video for each of them using a tool called Lumen 5. This allows you to use text and select from a searchable library images, video clips and GIFs to create an animated video. You can also add music if you wish too.

The first is the FEEDBACK acrostic

The second is the VASCULAR learning outcomes

The process of doing this helped me to think more deeply about the each of the principles. I am now considering how I can use this approach with my students to help them explore concepts and principles. As already mentioned it may also have the potential to be used as a mnemonic for revision and recall. Getting the students to create their own will I think be the most beneficial.

What happened next?

Sally Brown was really pleased with the videos and offered to write an acrostic for me! Given my interest in social media for learning and social learning I asked if she would like to explore this. I was delighted with her response as she came back with Social Learning is POWERFUL and used ‘powerful’ to develop the following acrostic.


Sally expanded on these with this acrostic:

Social Learning is POWERFUL

People-centred: learning happens through often Playful interactions;
Opportunistic: learners can join groups serendipitously;
Worldwide: there are no global barriers;
Exhilarating: it’s Exciting interacting with friends and Excellent soon-to-Be friends through social learning;
Reflection-inducing: it can foster thoughtful and developmental approaches to productive Rumination;
Friendly: typically there is much warmth in social learning;
Unstructured or more formally organised making it Uplifting;
Levelling: it can be inclusive of diverse students

This has already got me thinking deeper and will provide inspiration for a further post so that I can expand deeper on each of these. Needless to say I was inspired to create another animation. I hope you like it.

About Sue Beckingham

A National Teaching Fellow, Educational Developer and Principal Lecturer in Computing with a research interest in the use of social media in higher education.
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3 Responses to Serendipity and social learning is POWERFUL!

  1. Pingback: How to create comic versions of photos using your phone and why you might want to! | Social Media for Learning

  2. amiddlet50 says:

    I really like both Sally’s acrostic approach and your thoughts on constructive learning with Lumens. I use sets of principles frequently to present keys ideas to people. This may help me to do more with that. Thanks for sharing – as usual!

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