Wilson Waffling going live!

If you follow me on Twitter, and if you don’t you are missing such a great experience, you will be aware that I have done a couple of attempts at a live show! Why on earth are you doing this I hear you ask…well this bank holiday waffle attempts to explain.


Yes...the show includes penguins!

Yes…the show includes penguins!

As you might be aware I really enjoy teaching – whether this be in the form of creating an interactive learning experience or presenting information, it is something that I really enjoy. One of the key elements of teaching has to be the interaction. This can be in a variety of forms, either seeing learners/participants listening intently or promoting opportunities for discussion, or even answering questions and, in some cases, being challenged. I really enjoy writing my waffles and this allows me to communicate in the written word and via the podcast, the spoken word, although something that I miss is that lack of a script and the interaction. Both of these elements I am hoping might actually become more apparent with a live show.

Coupled with this, is something that I waffled about at the beginning of the year – my targets for 2014! Reading this waffle will identify that one of my targets was to try and gain more subscribers on Youtube. In attempt to fulfil this target (its already May and I’m not doing very well with it) I have realised that the recorded live shows can be uploaded for future viewing onto YouTube…yes I know it is getting desperate!

“I am not suggesting that technology or virtual discussion should replace personal interaction”

So far, the reasons I have waffled about for this new venture have been purely personal, if not selfish, and I thought I would reflect on a comment from a colleague of mine who, after I mentioned about the live show, purely stated the question….why?!

Anyone familiar with educational theory will be aware that social interaction is a key feature of effective learning. Initially within the classroom this can be seen when opportunities are created for the learners to discuss and engage within dialogue. As learners become more distant and technology starts to play an important role in learning, these opportunities can possibly become more virtual. I am not suggesting that technology or virtual discussion should replace personal interaction, more that it is an element which can be encouraged and used which might be suitable for learners. When I was thinking about creating the live show (and it is still in its embryonic stage at the moment), I was considering addressing various aspects of interaction. These interactions could be within the actual show or in the discussions/comments which occur after or even before the show.

  • Not everyone has Twitter – I am aware that not everyone has or even wants twitter and I do produce and tweet a wealth of content on this microblogging site. I do, of course, blog similar tweets to my Google+ page and, if relevant, to my Facebook Page, although there might still be tweets which I consider beneficial or important that people miss. There are also though tweets which, although get retweeted, favourited and replied to, I might require more interaction. The live show would provide the opportunity for this, either within or after the show, as key tweets would become a feature of the show. These key tweets might be anything from a recent media item to my favourite image of the week.

  • Wilson Waffling with… – A while back I started a series of interviews with key people who worked at the university after one of the students asked me – “what does a professor do?”. This formed the interviews called Wilson Waffling with and had some success. Unfortunately, this has been put on hold since I started to run out of people willing to be interviewed. The Wilson Waffling Live would be an opportunity to, like a phoenix from the ashes, give this feature a rebirth! (poetic I know :)). The possibility of Skyping guests in or using Google hangouts is a possibility and with the shows recorded this would allow the answers to the questions to be heard or even, via social media, the questions to be set by the audience. Although focusing on educational interviews, there would always be the opportunity for one off interviews if Simon Cowell, Kylie Minogue or even Collabro were available :).

  • Distant learning.. -When I was teaching one of the worst time of the year for me was the summer. Anyone who knows me will be aware of my dislike of hot weather and the fact that I tend to get bored easily once work has been removed. These two factors, coupled with the long summer holidays, makes this period of time far from perfect for me. However this is also a time when engagement slowly fades away. I have been asked by the students- and don’t worry I am not going to set any – if there was any work to be completed during the summer holidays. Sometimes, removing yourself completely from a routine can be beneficial, although sometimes it can lead to extending the period of time to get back into that routine.(I’m waffling but hang on in there!) With the live shows and their recordings it would be possible to spend a small amount of time here and there to just keep in touch with what is going on, and to engage with fellow learners.

  • During the Easter vacation for the students in 2013, I provided some online conference chats to support them with their assignment, using Big Blue Button on Moodle. Some feedback I received from this was the request that all lectures/sessions would be like this! Although I am not planning to do this, although it is appealing and would certainly make an interesting research project, maybe the idea of the live shows might go someway towards this. If you want to watch the next live show then follow me on twitter to see when I will be broadcasting live, alternatively you can watch the recordings on Youtube – don’t forget to subscribe so you know when they have been published. (plus I need to achieve at least one of my targets!)