It’s been a pretty hectic few weeks attending and presenting at a wide range of conferences, some virtual and some in real life. What I have really taken from these events is how much I miss in-person presentations. The very subtle cues that people give off when you are speaking make the experience so much more enriching and enjoyable. Even just being able to see people getting out phones or typing on laptops when you ask for audience engagement removes some of the fear factor of whether anyone will reply to a poll question!
So, what have I been talking about? Well, mainly #DryLabsRealScience and the ways that we can use the tools and resources we have developed over the past 18 months or so to continue to enhance the laboratory experience of students beyond the lifting of some of the teaching restrictions that we are starting to see in universities across England. I wrote an article with Tom Wilkinson and Rob Nibbs about this practice, focusing more on immunology education but the broad principles remain the same. The paper “Reimagining laboratory-based immunology education in the time of COVID-19‘ was published open access in the British Society for Immunology’s former journal Immunology.
The impact of #DryLabsRealScience is really starting to become trans-disciplinary, the last presentation I delivered in partnership with Dr David Smith was at the Practical Engineering conference in Sheffield with a call to arms for the engineers to also start their own community of practice.
I was also asked by Chris Headleand, who organised the fantastic Practical Pedagogy conference to take part in a panel debate about using creativity in teaching. It was such an incredible opportunity and some of the ideas discussed were incredibly innovative. Incredibly, off the back of this link with Chris I’ve been approached by JISC to talk about Immunology Wars on their Beyond the Technology, the Education 4.0 podcast!
Anyway…after three keynotes in three weeks, a panel discussion and a presentation I am shattered and looking forward to my bed!
Wilkinson, T. S., Nibbs, R., & Francis, N. J. (2021). Reimagining laboratory-based immunology education in the time of COVID-19. Immunology, 163(4), 431–435. https://doi.org/10.1111/imm.13369