The Use of Digital Technologies to Provide Creative Learning Opportunities for Biochemistry Students
One of the difficulties in teaching human biochemistry is that it is conceptually complex and thus cognitively demanding of the students that study it; many students are aware of this and quite often doubt their ability to succeed academically in the subject before they have even started their course. In order to increase their confidence, science students at this university were given the novel assessment of researching, filming and editing a short digital-film, to explain one of a number of particular concepts fundamental to their understanding of biochemistry. The films produced were amazingly diverse, original, entertaining and conceptually sophisticated in their presentation of the subject matter. They demonstrated that the students had used creative and innovative approaches to construct and integrate knowledge which they had then been able to effectively communicate to their peers. Analysis of feedback from students involved in the study revealed a greater level of collaboration and engagement with the exercise when compared with other presentation-based assessment tasks. They were also able to reflect more upon the communication process itself. Interestingly the students highlighted an increased sense of responsibility for the accuracy and quality of the work they produced. This was partly attributed to their increased perceived value of the assessment, possibly due to its novelty, but also for the increased sense of ownership the assessment had provided. This made for a motivated and enthusiastic cohort and had the additional benefit of providing a repository of re-usable learning objects for future cohorts. This is an exciting and successful pedagogical strategy for enhancing student learning. As it mirrors the cultural experiences and confidence that our students have with digital technologies it therefore prompts a shift in our paradigms to keep pace with a rapidly and dynamically evolving student community.
Keywords: Creativity, Digital-Film, Information and Communication Technologies, Biochemistry Education, Self-Confidence, Academic Acheivement
Dr. Jacqueline Elsom
Senior Lecturer and Course Leader for Biomedical Science, School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, University of Brighton