Tag Archive | Learning


It seems travel agents are leading the way or maybe following the Apple store design when it comes to there interactive self service areas. They had mounted some tablets on a large desk so customers could search for deals in store…



Twitter for note taking using mobile devices (and learning outside the classroom)

Last week I explored the use of Twitter in a class setting. Whilst watching a short documentary, learners were provided with an opportunity either take notes (with a pen and paper) or to use their mobile devices and send a Tweet. Hashtags were created and displayed on the whiteboard. The group often tell me they are constantly on Twitter and therefore i assumed they would take advantage of this opportunity. Unfortunately on reflection it was evident that the group preferred to take written notes! When i questioned their preferences/choice the main reason for lack of engagement was the fact that they saw their Twitter accounts as personal and did not wish to ‘Tweet’ about College work. On reflection I can fully understand this especially as the group was predominantly 16-18 year olds.

Fortunately I did attempt to lead by example and therefore was tweeting key facts and information throughout the documentary. In addition a colleague across the City also engaged with the activity (without being prompted) and he also managed to include professional sports players in the discussion. Learners were particularly intrigued that ‘other people’ were interested in what we were doing….. so maybe this approach can be revisited after setting up College Twitter accounts for my students?

visibletweets.com was used to display the # commentary (see slideshow below).

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Google Sites, Apps and Socrative for measuring learner progress

One the of challenges faced by many ‘Teachers’ is how best to evidence learning (the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, or by being taught) or progress made. Progress as a definition is “Forward or onward movement toward a destination.” however in an educational sense this is often applied to academic progress. The Ofsted CIF (2012) suggests ‘staff initially assess learners’ starting points and monitor their progress, set challenging tasks, and build on and extend learning for all learners’.

Today i attempted to use technology to support the tracking of progress made against standards, and to improve the timeliness of feedback in a class setting. Using Google Sites I created a ‘Lesson‘ which included a knowledge section, a range of activities (including extension activities), embedded media (video, podcasts, publications), and clear success criteria. At the end of the lesson section i embedded a Socrative Quiz. This was a short 8 question method of assessment for learning, used to check understanding on completion of the task. Learners were provided with a set of instructions and were tasked to complete the lesson and quiz within 1 hour. A crib sheet was provided for them to make notes and also record any questions they may have as they work through the resource. Individuals who completed the activities set were targeted to complete the extension activities as appropriate.

The images below aim to demonstrate some of the key impact measures of this technique. Firstly the Google Site is public although you could restrict this to your local domain if required, either way this allows individuals who missed the session or need to review aspects of the lesson a chance to do so 24/7. Using the Google iframe i was able to embed the m.socrative link within the site and simply provide the room number for students to enter. As learners worked through the quiz i was able to track live progress to see who was engaging with the assessment. I was able to share this live view with the group as learner ID numbers were used and therefore individuals scores were not identifiable to their peers. After each question learners received instant feedback as to whether they answered it correctly. This is especially important in a world where games consoles provide instant feedback yet educational establishments can take several weeks to mark learner work!

On completion, I was able to download the automated report which had built in conditional formatting, thus i was able to see during the lesson which learners had answered which questions correctly and use this information to target individual students.

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RebelMouse (Social Media Aggregator)

Can you imagine entering a shopping centre in which the stores contained half full or even empty shelves? Most people (including myself) would either leave or not enter in the first place!

In my opinion this is the same problem with many VLEs in Schools and Colleges. The content is often dated, if there at all. On better courses the better content might include a PowerPoint or maybe a link to a video clip.

When you ask colleagues why they don’t update their courses many often come back with the age old (not enough time) excuse. In reality this is not the case as uploading several files a day / week doesn’t take much time, its the production of content that does.

RebelMouse is a social media aggregator that helps provide an automated solution to this problem. It is still in Beta stage however I have created a couple of ‘home pages’ to aggregate news from a range if public services relevant to my curriculum. I then embedded this within my Moodle course. The test will be now whether this engages people to ‘check out’ the content which is live, direct from the public services themselves, and doesn’t require me to use any more of my precious (time).

Another thought is whether a page could be created for a group of learners to collaborate their tweets, views or ideas about their course, class or topic. I foresee lots of potential for professional development here….

Summly (Bite sized social media)

I have just downloaded the iPhone app Summly. Basically it uses an algorithm to summarise any social media article, post or webpage in to 400 words.

Benefits for teaching

This has tremendous benefits for teaching and learning in that it will allow individuals to use the Summly app to organise social media feeds, scan read a Summly post to identify an article of interest, before reviewing the full article.

I hope this app is available for iPADs in order for me to try within the Active Learning Zones at College.



Soundcloud for assessment

I have used Soundcloud for some time now to listen to music compilations as many of my friends share mixes via social media. More recently I begun to explore the potential of this service with assessment and feedback. Simply create and account, upload an audio recording, and tag/comment throughout the audio recording where learners meet certain assessment criteria. Setting the files to private as opposed to public is an essential option to stop people searching and locating your file – however a ‘secret link’ is available which you can then share with your students for personalised feedback. This method significantly improves the validity and integrity of assessment methods, feedback is personalised and replies can be added to comments, and it can also be made available for standardisation of external verification exercises remotely by sharing the secret link (if sampled). Even better is the fact that you can access the file and feedback on your SMART Phone (I have tried the iPhone) so let me know if it works on android devices.

MIT Projects for inspiration

A great insight in to the innovative development and projects at MIT. What does this mean for the future of teaching and learning? Of particular interest to me are SWYP (digital file transfer) , LUMINAR (augmented reality) and INTERPLAY (to create immersive learning environments).