The end of BSG, The start of TEL Spiral

The TEL Spiral has taken up most of my life at college for the past couple years minus 11 months of Mat leave, a VR project and general E-Learning work (dramatic much). I have loved and hated it, but it has allowed myself, and the e-learning team, to really think about what TEL (technology enhanced learning) is? How do we improve TEL as educators and digital professionals? Can we categoris TEL into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly? Without being cowboys about it!

BSG.png (2)

Originally we were using the BSG (Bronze, Silver, Gold) system to grade our staff on their VLE sites. There was no clear differentiation between expectations for online and onsite staff’s sites. So this was only a snap shot of the onsite staff’s teaching and did not allow for any subject specific technology or in class usage. It did not and still does not mix well with quality measures, like lesson observation criteria and performance enhancement areas. Other colleges have had great success with BSG and are Beacons of how to do it right. However the BSG system is not a one size fits all for digital skills and, for us, it was a rushed initiative with no pedagogical footing. There was not a clear launch to staff, it was all guns blazing before dawn; it needed us to remember that as teachers and trainers we can not just model best practice but get our students, whether that’s teachers or student students, to develop their critical thinking and practical application. As teachers our staff need to know how to apply good TEL pedagogy to create digital activities to enhance learning.

We had example sites for each level, but this put some people off as they felt that the gold site was too large an investment in time if you were an onsite tutor and were not allocated time like the online staff were. It was a tick box exercise which left no room for teaching staff to experiment with a pedagogical approach to using technology.

This posed a problem for uptake of technology and impacted negatively on digital capabilities for staff and students due to mindsets and cultural perceptions of technology in the college, as the BSG system was seen as another hoop to jump through.

With the lessons learned from the BSG system, we wanted to improve digital capability through college by:

  1. Increased learner engagement
  2. Increased usage of TEL across college
  3. Technology enhanced Teaching, Learning & Assessment which revolutionises pedagogy
  4. Improving staff and learners’ digital skills
  5. Preparing learners for industry technologies

We needed a way to engage staff and support their development without judgement and to categorise individuals’ skills levels so we could plan how to move everyone forward, without it becoming another tick box exercise.

Along came the ladder, we, as an e-learning team, agreed on the 5 levels of TEL usage, their descriptors and some examples. After meeting with a cross college section of staff in several focus groups FE, HE, Online, A&S and SLT they told us it still felt like another QA initiative they all had to achieve which could be a lot of pressure for some staff. This was mainly due to the initiative being in the format of a ladder, where you had to achieve levels, rather than the wording or definitions.

So the TEL Spiral was born!

The Spiral is based on the same definitions but depicts a more gradual movement between levels, while allowing for a sliding scale as it allows for interpretation between the levels. This interpretation is visible with the arrow changes, and allows for dynamic discussion and continual development of the spiral.


tel Spiral in full


Through general consensus with teaching staff and lessons learned from previous systems and initiatives, this initiative became a self review process for staff to develop themselves at their own pace supported by the e-learning team.

With using this initiative we are hoping for a cultural change within the college in regards to digital teaching, learning and assessment.




Our Virtual Reality Journey

So I’ve been looking forward to this for aaaages !! (Since 2016 to be exact)

In last year’s budget (2017 – 2018) we decided to put a small pot of the e-learning money aside for small scale Virtual Reality (VR) to be trialed with 1 group of students over a full academic year (2018 – 2019), starting with a 360 camera and then working our way up to headsets.

After talks with other digital and e-learning professionals, based on previous work and shared best practice from European projects, we sourced a 360 degree camera which was cost effective – lowest price for best recording. As the camera had to be flexible enough to work with the e-learning team, students and teachers – it had to be easy to use and the 360 video/images stitch themselves, rather than having to learn and understand another software package to stitch it all together. From here we put the tester footage into our video platform. After looking into this as a stand alone 360 video for students to review online, it didn’t seem to be much different than using a standard video. Though in hindsight this could be due to ineffective application, as it was a tester. So we wanted to explore using 360 video/photos as an immersive experience, with interactions.

To do this we needed to create interactivity and have an immersive way for students to experience the packages. We set our sights on wireless headsets for ease of use, which can be used online and offline, so we waited for the right device to come along. Which we left to the last minute, admittedly, as we heard about the Occulus Go coming out in May/June 2018.

In the meantime this amazing thing happened, in early 2018 with the up and coming T-levels, which as a college we are involved with (find out more here) we realised we’d like to work with Industry to get the best for the students. As well as get them involved in something a bit different with the Virtual Reality. However we wouldn’t be able to do this without a full time person working on the project. So we took a punt and won a bid from the AoC (Association of Colleges) funded by the ETF (Education Training Foundation) to help fund a full time person to work on it. The title is ‘Using VR to enhance Land-based Skills’ and the premise is to involve employers in the curriculum, and the VR offered a new take of how to involve them for the up and coming T-levels. This meant that we could widen the scope through the areas involved to be Agriculture, Equine and Sportsturf, rather than just one class from one area as there is a full time person working on it to co-ordinate. Keep your eyes peeled for the full report on that and the impact in March 2019 from the OTLA Phase 3 site.

As there was a lot going on pre-project I thought it’d be good to share everything learnt about VR so far as a checklist you can apply to your own institutes:

Keep it simple: 


  • Think of your audience – who will be using it? Tutors, students an e-learning team?
  • What technical skills will they need?
  • Is it a simple UI (end user and creator)?
  • Can it be used across different devices?


  • Does it need to be wireless? – Most places seem to have fallen into a trap of being stuck with wires when they needed wireless devices.
  • Does it work offline?
  • What is it powering?
  • Is it compatible with your institutes systems? Does it need to be?
  • Can it be used via an app?

Cost Effective:

  • Don’t go for the most expensive – this might not be the best for your institute! (Gaming kit is brilliant, but might not work for you)
  • Will it last?
  • Does it do what you want?

Plan it:

  • How will it be used? (student, staff, e-learning team)
  • Strategy for the implementation (Practically)
  • Strategy for the implementation (Pedagogy)
  • Consolidated approach


  • Talk to peers – sharing best practice with others is key – don’t be scared to share.
  • Consolidate information from other projects you may have run (both teaching/learning and technical based) There is a wealth of information which you may not realise relates but does!

For most general FE Colleges or HE institutes this may already be second nature, but as a Land-based FE and HE institute which does not have an IT or media lead curriculum, this has been a massive breakthrough.

~ LP



This year myself and a colleague attended CanvasCon at the Barbican Centre in London. Arrival and registration were pretty seamless, and it also helped that we got a Swag bag full of goodies before heading off to the Keynote:



Speakers: Kenny Nicholl & Jared Stein (Instructure) Alex Beard (Teach For All)

All the keynotes throughout the day were inspirational, from the morning Kenny telling us about new and upcoming improvements to Canvas to Jared pointing out that the little and often approach is something which has the biggest impact, while giving tangible case studies to feedback to tutors, was brilliant. In the afternoon Alex Beard went over the different learning environments over the world and what the future holds, and how we can make it better. These Keynotes were all inspirational in their own way and set up tone for the rest of the sessions which followed.

For the seminar side of the day there were 5 streams to choose from, which were: . As I’m very keen on understanding the students learning experience and helping them progress, I chose mainly to stay with the HE and Learner experience based sessions. So for those who chose other options, their experience will have been different to some degree.

kingston University, Canvas and Capturing the student voice:

Speakers: Ian Haugh (Explorance) & Dr. Tim Linsey (Kingston University)

They used a system called Blue from Explorance which was used to create their MEQs as an online format.  This system integrated with their own inhouse systems with manual uploads (authorisation and SIS) while also integrating into Canvas as an LTI tool to give a seamless UI for the students.

This acted as a reporting system for their MEQs and sent out a report to the students and staff, which could be aggregated to any level, to drill down for the information. This online version of the MEQs lead to a feedback loop which meant that students could discuss their views and feedback before the end of the module so that they had the opportunity to see the impact their feedback was having.

Overall the session was a great overview to see how other institutes collect their data and how they act upon the student feedback to make effective changes to their curriculum delivery.


Cloud Innovation Trends n Education presented by Amazon Web Services (AWS):

Speakers: Paul Grist (AWS)

This was slightly opening in regards to the up and coming trends in education. There was the interesting example of Amazon Go shops, which essentially get rid of the need for tills, these shops are only meant as model show casing stores currently, you can find out more here.

The trends themselves in regards to education can be summarised as:

Machine learning tools and data Warehouses – predicting achievement, student/staff retention and support.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) – tailored learning through intelligent direction and pattern finding, which can then show and flag challenges such as retention, to allow for earlier intervention.

Voice recognition – personalisation of learning and an organisational tool for learners linking back to AI, think Alexa/Cortana/Siri.

Speech to text/text to speech – organisational tool for learners for note taking, or list making.

Chat bots – for general FAQs to streamline and make the most of organisations and employees time, an example given was a chatbot for the NHS which managed to deal with 40% of the call volume they had on a certain topic, by recognising and being able to answer the general FAQs (what time is the service available etc).

The impact on education could be immense, but then so could the budget, and with anything involving the idea of a connective campus the issues around GDPR need to be taken into account.


Pull Based Learning: How Assignments in CNAvas Can Enable Interaction Between Instructor, Students and Content.

Speaker: Tobe Baeyens (Erasmushogeschool Brussels).

As an institute we are now in the second year of using Canvas, but realistically are in our first full year of using it with everyone. We did a staged release and an intensive training programme to make it easier for the tutors to adjust to. So we have a lot of experience using Canvas assignments.

Though this session was not quite what I thought it would be, the speaker’s enthusiasm and ideas were brilliant. Their idea of using a constructive alignment (John Biggs) for the assignments, made complete sense in a way which we hadn’t thought of before. Instead of the assignment just being constructively aligned within the course as a whole, it opened up the idea of having everything to do with that assignment in one place. So all the tasks associated with the assignment to go into the main assignment box as well as the learning outcomes, rather than being scattered about in the Canvas site structure itself. This methodology gives more context to the student for why they are doing certain tasks, it becomes a pull of information from the student rather than a push of information to the student.

This constructivist pull technique is something I’ll definitely be promoting within my future Canvas tutor training sessions.


Blended Nan-Courses n Exponential Technologies

Speakers: Mukul KumarMukul Kumar (Hult International Business School)

To be honest, for me I should have chosen another session. The talk itself was great and to see the journey HULT had made was fantastic, it’s great to see how we encourage blended learning and online learning at Myerscough college is reflected in other people’s practices.  But the thing is, we’re already at that point, so for me I didn’t learn anything new in regards to blended learning and course design – except that a nano course = 1 credit. However the people around me seemed to learn a lot and really engaged with the speaker, which is brilliant as it is always great to see the different places people are within their own LMS/VLE journey and how we can help support each other on those journeys.

The Quantified Student (Personalised Learning Analytics):

Speakers: Eric Slaats & Martijn Ruissen (Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of ICT)

The most memorable quote from this closing session was that “Education will be disrupted by technology driven change”. I remember last year when these guys presented and I found it revolutionary in it’s teaching and learning process, and leant more towards the teacher as a facilitator and student driven curriculum and strength based design. Though this would be considered easier for them in regards to the fact their curriculum area is IT and IT design it was Just so refreshing to see a new take on OTLA! Last year it was what they were doing and how, while this year it was interesting to see how they were recording their data (personal data such as fitbit info, light levels, reoccurring incremental assignments/feedback, student recorded feedback etc) and how this meant they could tailor the learning to individual (for each of the 300 students). I will continue to follow this educational experiment as it progresses and look forward to hearing the results and how they report it.

This year CanvasCon, for me, was all about the learning journey, but then again I picked that stream. Someone else may have had a completely different experience to take away but it was definitely a positive from a case studies and shared practice perspective.

If there’s one thing to improve on, reflecting back, is that the organisation of the event could have been better. All the keynote speakers and food were on the lower levels, but then you had to go up to Floor 4 and across a bridge to get to different breakout sessions. The app wasn’t updated so we found a few people on the 1,2,3 floors looking for things that weren’t there, and looked as lost as we felt. HOWEVER they have recently moved building and getting used to the new surrounding and catering for that many people would never be smooth the first time around, and as the content is brilliant, a few mishaps here and there while settling in can be easily forgiven. After all it’s about feeling free to experiment with new things and the journey that takes us there, so I’m very much looking forward to next year!


One size fits all….?

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Photo by on

This year we’ve trialled having a Digital Student Group at the college, based on research and case studies from other colleges. With all the promotion around Digital Student Champions no one seems to admit the obvious truth……… doesn’t work for every educational provision, it’s not a one size fits all solution – it’s something that needs to be tailored usually through trial and error!

This may seem to be a negative start but it’s not, the idea and infrastructure of Digital Student Champions to help and disseminate digital skills and best practice throughout the student body of an educational network is fantastic. There’s some great examples out there of working Digital Student Champions, through project suchs as the change agent’s network by JISC.

However these case studies heavily depend on the subjects and interests of the students to be digital skill based, which only works effectively for those educational institutes which provide digital based provisions such as Media, Graphics and ICT.  A lot of the student digital champion routes are based on the idea that students are digital natives. Since the term was created it’s been seen to be a myth for most students, and a rather interesting assumption, mainly based on subject interest rather than age.

In a Land based college where we do not have a digital provision such as ICT, Media or other digitally based routes, except for photography, it is hard to find students who would want to disseminate to their student groups or come to the college with the digital skills straight off.

Admittedly I can only go off of what we have experienced here. We trialled an initial Digital Student Group at the college, which ran 3 times a year, once each term 2017 – 2018. This was decided as originally the role was going to be a Digital Leader but through initial talks with students and staff, a Digital Student focus group was decided as the better option for us. The initial response was promising with at least 20+ students from all over the college provisions identifying their interest, but only a few turned up to the first session. The same happened for the second and third group, even with reminders being sent to students and staff were asked to promote the group and remind students, as well as myself going into the course tutorials for the students.

The attendance spoke volumes, the old saying ‘you can take a horse to water…..’ comes to mind. Though not many students turned up to these sessions, and they were only HE students who attended, the information gained was a great insight. The following was discussed and students gave their views on:

  • Digital Champions – They liked the idea of Digital Champions but weren’t sure how this could be implemented effectively – a lot of them said they already had enough to do with their college work and enrichment activities. As well as not liking the ideas of asking someone outside of their course, student wise. However they mentioned the idea of having their tutors as digital leaders for them as students instead.
  • Digital Skills Site – They liked the Digital Skills Site that they had available to them and suggested ways to improve it.
  • Student Training – Students wanted tutors to have training on the Digital Skills Site for students so they can disseminate back to the students
  • Student Training – Digital workshops need  to be made available to students, at the moment it relies on the tutor knowing the apps.
  • Drop-in zone – E-learning based drop in zone for students to go to – (at the moment we are heavily tutor based and only deal with very basic student requests)
  • Digital Native Assumption – Students wanted staff to stop assuming they are digitally adept.
  • No clear guidance or signposting –

Overall lessons learnt from running this group and from what the students have asked for and said would work themselves, are:

  • Students want support but don’t want to have to give up set extra time for it due to curriculum demands – especially at FE level (as no one attended).
  • Having an option where students can go through training information, advice and guidance at their own pace is great to have for them to supplement their learning (Student Digital Site).
  • Digital Leaders wouldn’t work for them as you probably wouldn’t be able to get one for each course and most wouldn’t want to talk  to a student stranger about it.
  • More support and clearer signposting is needed for students here at the college in regards to the Digital side of college.

The main actions we’re taking next year is that we’re going to trial going into course rep meetings and working with the students in their course rep groups. We’re also hoping to go into course tutorials, leading the course based sessions as a digital workshop rather than as a set role. It also means we can gather more feedback to help improve and signpost the provision and support, as well as encourage students to upskill digitally. It will be time intensive for our team but it should be useful to help encourage and train students on digital skills. As well as have the drop-in zone and Digital Skills Site, clearly signposted to staff for the students to be able to help themselves digitally at their own pace and become independent learners. To help disseminate digital skills and best practice throughout the educational provision, it’s just going to be facilitated by the e-team instead of the students to start. As this process continues you never know we may get to a point of Digital Leaders, but at the moment it’s a foundation building process based on student feedback from this year’s focus group.

So Digital Leaders are not a one size fits all straight off the bat, but at the same time the idea of Clear Digital support for students to help disseminate digital skills and best practice throughout

their educational life is sound, it’s just to do it in a way which fits and works with your organisation. Leaders might not work, but in-class tutorial focus groups might.

Here’s to some more trial and error next year!

~ Laura

BETT 2018


So better late than never, eh? This is going back a couple of months, but it’s great to be able to reflect on past conferences, rather than just disregarding them after attending!

I’ve put in a few reflections of the sessions we went to below, unfortunately we only managed to attend a day this year so it’s a more condensed list than usual:


AR Demonstration: ENT Unit at VU University Medical Centre Amsterdam

It was refreshing to see a real life application of AR in education, done as a proper case study which had been used and supported within the institute.

The challenges they had which AR became a solution:

Crowded classrooms lead to difficulty in viewing the live demos.

Textbooks did not necessarily give a realistic view of the subject: most drawings of the anatomy are 2D which do not give a real representation of an object which is 3D.

Student engagement: audience attention wanes every 10 – 15 minutes, so how do you keep students engaged with different learning preferences? The solution was hands on learning and active learning, which lead to this case study going down the route of using interactive AR.


Tools used:

They used the complete anatomy app to engage learners, as it was an interactive model. The 3D model program allows for xrays to diagnose patients.

Used an AR based model of a cadaver and the ARkit built into the iPads to make it an interactive AR version rather than just a 3D model. This development means that it’s good for those who don’t have access to cadaver labs. Additionally you could also dissect a heart while it was still beating to break down the whole into parts, and investigate the relationships between the different parts.

The main question that ran through my head was: is it achievable for everyone?



Don’t need to have a cadaver lab

Engages students

Supplement learning furter with active learning

Takes it to the next level possible which wouldn’t be available without the technology – on every digital learning model this is the highest point at which to completely change the way we teach for learning.



Need iPads (heavily focused on the ARKit built into iPads iOS 11+)

Specific Apps needed to make it work as cohesively as shown.


For specific subjects such as ENT unit for anatomy, it would be worth investing. It may be an area for development for areas such as Land-based institutes which have their own specialisms, for example Vet Nursing, Animal Studies and Mechanisation. So not for everyone but definitely useful for practical subjects, which involve a lot of hands on learning, as a supplementary measure.



AI/Adaptive education: McGraw Hill Education

This session was an interesting one, to see AI applied to an educational and mastery learning perspective.

AI lead to the tutors being able to develop adaptive and personalised technology to help the students learn what they needed to master a topic. The process used data and analytics about learning materials for tutors to use to differentiate learning needs, to help prepare students with 21st Century employability skills, which just makes economic sense.

The speaker also emphasised the point that it’s not robots taking teachers jobs but rather making the tutors job easier and more efficient use of their time. Personalised learning is fantastic but it isn’t scalable so something needs to be done to support teachers teaching and students learning. Using AI creates the hybrid environment needed to successfully scale up and implement personalised learning on a larger scale.

The case study involved  techno-mathematical literacies (technical skills relating to technology) based on peer learning, enquiry based learning focusing on the process. They used a program called ALEKS to go through the chalk and talk side of it on their own time. When they want to, which makes it more personalised to them in the sense of pacing.

With this new approach the success rates were higher than with previous chalk and talk methods. It also lead to students feeling empowered and faculty being efficient, as it lead to understanding the topic as a whole and not rote learning as it was based on process and learning not jumping through hoops.

From this the point was made that AI when implemented properly and with intent can lead to target and supplementing students learning, pin point weaknesses and strengths. Like you would expect of a learning science: the art of teaching meeting the science of learning.


The Shift 2 Digital:

The key points from this keynote talk was that Digital changes EVERYTHING;




But more information needs to to be done in these fields and fed into the impact of the digital network on these 3 main factors.


In between the different sessions there were a few demos of VR and mixed reality, with the introduction of haptic gloves (felt reminiscent of Ready Player One) they need a bit of work but they’re getting there in regards to interaction with holograms. As well as the usual demos of updates from Microsoft, everytime we go there I learn something new which makes my workflow when I get back to the office so much more efficient! There seemed to be a lot of screens, interactive projector tables and VR headset stalls around the place, in addition to the usual tablet and carrier case ones that frequent BETT every year. It was nice to see the slight shift in the tide of tech being offered.



It was great to see the shift in the technologies and how AR is something that is attainable and scaleable, with a keen eye out on the horizon for new tech such as AI, mixed reality and how these will impact everything. As well as a keener understanding of how the digital is a real thing that cannot be ignored anymore, with the introduction of T-Levels in 2020/2021 this is becoming more apparent that there is a need for the three factors to work together to help build education to address skill gaps for businesses, digital citizenship, 21st Century skills and life-long learning.


So better late than never, eh?


~ LP




It’s been a week since Digifest17, so here’s our reflection! Learning from last years outing to #Digifest16 where only one of us attended, this year two of us from the e-learning team went down to Birmingham to see what the JISC conference had to offer.

Honestly it was a mixed bag, nothing negative, just not as many ‘new’ concepts. Though then again, for those that are not specifically e-learning or TEL based, there were a few sessions which could have been revelationary. However it was still a great experience and it could have been down to session choice. The sessions we attended were the following:

Initial Keynote: 

This was interesting, in relation to the simple questions asked ‘Do quality learning materials matter’ ‘How important is organisationa culture to successful adoption of technology’ and so on. To us viewing this from an e-learning perspective, now backed by the statistical results, screamed the common sense answers to each question. It was key to see the varied views, though the common sense answers screamed out yes, there was a high proportion of uncertain answers which suggests an almost

The second part of the Keynote heavily related to making us think about if we are helping students be fit for the future and predicted changes in the job market.


However  to me, it was fresh in memory anyway, we (the e-team) had done a session presentation with the P.G.C.E students at the college about TEL and the relationship Millenial students would have with it. This helped the future educators think about how they would be preparing them for jobs that might not already exist, so the focus should be on embedding problem solving and flexible TEL skill sets within the classroom as well as specific content knowledge ( game keeping, animal form and function for vets, how to tell if a tree is dead can tell we come from a Landbased College!)

Workshops attended: 

Digitally Enhanced Curricula:

We decided that splitting up and going to different sessions was the way forward. So I went to this workshop on Digitally Enhanced Curricula, whereas my colleague went to a student based workshop. Within this session a learning activity design model was discussed and then 5 case studies were given about how TEL has been used and implemented in different institutes and then a full session discussion.

The themes that came out from all were utilising your e-team, thinking of creative ways of using technology, fostering creativity within your students and using peer learning to the best effect.  I would suggest having a look at the Digifest17 program and looking for exhibitors to get in contact with, as everyone is willing to share and collaborate on ideas.

Student Innovators:

At this point both me an my colleague started going to the same sessions, as they were more applicable to us as an institute. This was a session held by Gloucestershire College and was run by one of their e-team and a member of the student innovator team. With most student innovator schemes there were problems and solutions, it was great to see that the student innovators had really run with what they had to do.

The innovators had created Tech Toolboxes for other students, run and helped to create induction and training sessions for new students and are working on further developments working with the heads of areas. In addition they collectively ran a blog, with the help and guidance of the e-learning team, rating different apps and giving reviews (a bit like shopping reviews) like a rating system by students for students. It was an inspiring session for us as we are looking into using a similar system to have student TEL champions.

‘Surfing the Shallows or Creative brickolage?’

I personally loved this session and after discussing it with my co-worker, we both agreed it was refreshing to attend. The premise of this session was that students are now digital scavangers, or bricoleurs’ and that the way they read information is different, so different and varied ways of showing and navigating information should be  offered by education.


Overall  the day was a bit of a reinforcement for us, from the sessions we went to there was only 1 which stood out as revelationary theory or practice but the rest of the sessions supported what we’re already doing. Hopefully that just means that at the college we’re based at we’re ahead of the curve in some respects, in regards to practice and theory. It could also be due to the sessions we chose, but that is the beauty of any e-learning conference, being able to tailor the session program to our needs.

I am looking forward to attending next year to see what’s out there!

Learning with iPads

Last Wednesday (8th March) I attended a ‘Learning with iPad’ session at the Essa Academy in Bolton, organised by MCC.

After an introduction from the Keynotes: Essa and the Bolton School about the Essa Academy  and Bolton School  technological journeys, we then went into different workshops. The choices were varied from the technical side with coding with swift and iPad deployment workshops to the softer skills sets with Apple Teacher and Assessment and Feedback with the iPad.

Due to personal time restrictions on the day I could only attend the initial Keynote and 2 of the workshop sessions.

Keynote: Introduction to the Schools

The introduction to both schools showed how iPads could be effectively integrated in very different schools (funding differences, student backgrounds, socio-economic areas etc)

The Essa Academy had effectively redefined their use of technology rather than substituted it, much like the SAMR model. They had classed it as transforming the teaching and learning rather than translating it.

They used technology to create consistency and transparency. Essa swapped their old VLE for iTunesU. This change was more redefinition rather than substitution due to the cultural change in regards to how to use iTunesU rather than an off the shelf VLE, being less of a repository and more of a learning space to assess and feedback to students.

The online resources within iTunesU became interactive  iBooks with multimedia resources within them, rather than the traditional PDFs, PowerPoints and Word Documents. They then integrated apps like Showbie to integrate assessment and feedback. It all threaded through and blended into the learning.


The Bolton School also used iTunesU (as a student resource and for teaching lesson cover) and had blended the technology within the older setting of their school. The focus was more on the psychological framework for pedagogy to apply technology to fit within that, and building the digital competency and literacy of the teachers.

Within this on the development of the digital resources was less on the polished look of resources and more on the students creating their own resources to revise and be assessed and fed back on. Again they used a similar system with what apps they used and how they used them.

Both schools share best practice with each other and learn effective ways of using technology to enhance learning and teaching.


Session 1: Apple Teacher

This session opened my eyes to the wealth of information available at in relation to how to use Apple apps and technology. Like the innovators project which is specific to Microsoft technology, Apple Teacher acts as bitesized CPD which can be done in the tutors own time. Again like the course it offers badges, so you can see who has done which training to allow for peer to peer support. For example if Jo Blogs is great with Keynote but I’m not as confident, I can always go to Jo for some tips and pointers on how they use it.

We were also shown the apps Pages (multimedia document app) and Keynote (presentation app) and given examples of how they were used to gain a context to how Apple Teacher can take the app knowledge and use a step further.

Pages – Task designed for students to create a resource/poster on  a specific topic, using multimedia (images, audio, video etc) to show subject knowledge.

Keynote – Task get students to design a presentation on a specific topic to present to the class using multimedia resources (such as videos, or creating their own animations to explain the subject i.e how atoms move)

The knowledge and passion of the presenter reflected the positive difference that technology could make to the students and staff. Engaging learners and saving staff time.

Session 2: Assessment and Feedback

This session was mainly practical and based on delegate participation. The first part of the session was aimed at briefly understanding the pedagogy of using technology and digitising Assessment and Feedback.


The apps demonstrated in the more practical side of the session were:

Kahoot – A fun way to quiz students based on speed and knowledge. Students can retake the same kahoot in ghost mode and almost compete against themselves.

Socrative – Tutor gets instant analytics of how individual students within the group are doing, so you can see strengths and weaknesses.

Showbie – A great way of showing feedback, as it can be given in audio and visual annotation forms.

From the whole day it was amazing to see how the schools had successfully implemented iPads in their educational institutes. However for an F.E college whose funding is different and are not completely Apple, nor Microsoft based, and who can’t supply 1:1 devices for students, the only things to successfully take away from such an inspiring day is how the apps are used and ‘app smashed’ together to work effectively. As well as the Apple Teacher free self study CPD. This in itself is a brilliant thing to take away. I would suggest to attend as many sessions to do with iPads and tablets as possible, you never know which new app or new way of using the same app you’ll find!