Photographer:Fotograaf: Simone Golob
Behind the status
Edl@b.Take a picture with Ed and have a chance to win a tablet – bij Maastricht University Library.
Ed is a cute guy – a bit silly, admittedly – with dark hair, blue glasses and a white shirt with a @ sign on his chest. But now everybody is preparing for Christmas, Ed is dressed like Santa Claus. Ed is the mascot of EdL@b, an office in the Maastricht University Library that experiments with new digital tools for education in collaboration with lecturers.
“Last week we walked around the library, asking students to be photographed with Ed in their hand”, says Gwen Noteborn, the head of Edl@b. The result on Facebook is funny: more than 20 pictures, always with the cardboard figure of Ed in the foreground. “We thought it would be nice to try to get publicity in a playful way.”
“Ed was hired last summer”, the Edl@b site announces jokingly, as though Ed were a real employee with a real labour agreement. “He will be our anchorman, announcing news, hosting events and showing up at presentations.”
Besides ‘Ed’ and Noteborn, the office includes an educational developer, an application specialist and several multimedia designers. Short for education laboratory, the Edl@b was founded following on from the Leading in Learning project, a university-wide programme that stimulates educational innovation. “Problem-Based Learning has stood at the basis of our university for thirty years now, but it’s good to adapt to the digital climate of 2013. Consider Twitter, tablets, smartphones, Facebook, video and apps for education”, says Noteborn. “We recognise that most lecturers do want to start something new, but they don’t know how or don’t have the tools to do so. We can help with that.”
Last week the EdL@b invited lecturers to come up with ideas. The best one will be selected and developed in an eight week-experiment in the lecturer’s own class. Previous projects have included a voting experiment to enhance interaction at the faculties of Law, and Health, Medicine & Life Sciences. Students could answer lecturers’ questions by ‘voting’ via text message and Twitter. Noteborn: “Imagine a lecturer in a lecture hall with 500 students asking ‘does anyone want to answer this question?’ Not many students will dare to do so. Sending text messages is anonymous, and for most students much funnier.”