Now is the Summer of Our New Content?

With the implementation of the college’s new LMS (Canvas) our minds turned to content for it.

This college has a lot of online courses so we use a lot of different e-learning materials at the college currently, and over the last few years these have progressed and developed into items which work well as interactive learning packages. A main thing for this year has been moving the materials of the first year students onto Canvas.

So naturally we had to test the old learning materials out for the new system….

This turned into a trip down the rabbit hole – some items worked but only if used in a specific way, others acted like a blanket response but were temperamental and others worked on the computer and browser options of the LMS but not in the app versions of the apps… not going to lie it was a slight nightmare purely from a presentation aspect.

(Note – We’ve reported back to Canvas and they’re currently working on their systems to improve. They’re brilliant at taking on ideas and have an amazing community in which to get support, the system itself is also brilliant.)

However we found a solution……H5P!!

H5P is the answer, after testing (currently the college and members of the e-learning team have been working on a funded project using H5P for instructional videos) and having a look through all the options and the interactive materials available we found that it can be used as an embedded file on a content page or simply link to it through the external link tool. Presentation and functionality wise it is helping us solve a lot of issues and even develop how we view and use multimedia interactive learning materials.

Realistically we won’t be able to fully explore the potential of these learning material in relation to Canvas, LMS analytics etc till midway through next year, potentially even at the end – around the start of the new academic year 2017/2018.

However we look forward to the time we can fully get stuck in and we’ll keep searching for the latest and most up-to-date learning material creation suites possible. To make it easier for the tutors to do their job and create a blended-learning environment for their students.

~ Laura

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Reflection on implementing a VLE/LMS

We can officially say we’re moving to Canvas!

While this was a fantastic move on our part, choosing this LMS over another VLE/LMS works for us – see here for our journey of decision, it has come with challenges (as you would have with any VLE move)

There will always be teething issues with any VLE/LMS move, so a few things to keep in mind before you start the move:

  • Make sure your systems are sorted in the background – they all need to talk to each other and you have a cohesive system network, this will help in the initial run up, integration, automation and general running of Canvas.
  • Make sure your information is up-to-date: Cannot stress this enough, when moving systems and automating systems your core information about courses and tutors needs to be as up-to-date as possible.
  • Have a reliable someone from Management Information Systems – we’re lucky that we have a really great team here which we work with, but if that wasn’t the case the implementation would have been extremely difficult to automate.
  • Already have a game plan set – may seem like an obvious one, but it’s something to think about. What structure do you want in relation to how information is presented in the LMS? How are you structuring the sub-accounts?
  • In the immortal words of ‘The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy’ – Don’t Panic! – If something goes wrong, it can be fixed. Just remember that there’s a test site (for Canvas anyway) and just save all your files to your computer first and then upload them.

However always keep in mind that the short-term hard work and stress pays off in the long-term, and no matter which way you cut it you’ll always get that moving over to a different VLE.

We are working on the background systems (we’re getting there) and the long-term benefits (analytics, format, structure, interface, ease of use etc) are going to outweigh the next few months while we get our act together.

Bring on Canvas!!!

~ Laura

A.R in Education – case and point?

This year has been publicised to be the year of Virtual Reality (V.R) in education, and we fully agree with that with the amount of V.R headsets being released and the development of educational apps.  However this has led to education technology leaving Augmented Reality on the side line.

This may have been a bit of a premature detour from A.R to V.R.

Why?

Case and point – Pokemon Go!

I have to admit I got the app myself, so may be slightly biased – I’ve been ridiculously lucky so far and it’s somewhat addictive, walking to hatch eggs and find Pokemon it takes me back to my childhood….but back on point and most importantly (well from an edtech perspective) it’s all Augmented Reality (A.R). It’s mainstream Augmented Reality that people have taken to, there are very limited instructions with the game and are in fact more intuitive and based on a social aspect of users sharing information with each other through social media to learn what to do and how to do it.

So why is this important to education and education technology?

Not only is the game Augmented Reality based, but it’s a worldwide tech that has been greatly accepted by various people on various devices without question. There are a few teething issues, which you would get with any new technology, but it proves that with the right amount of funding (time and money)  and drive creating a worldwide interactive Augmented Reality (A.R) educational application is possible.

The benefits of A.R in education are boiled down to the following:

  • Social Learning – the lack of instructions with Pokemon Go! Have led to users collaborating with each other to learn how to play. This can be applied to most courses of learning.
  • Interactive lessons – makes any lesson practical, learning theoretical physics you can use
  • Portable learning Materials – Depending how the AR works (GPS, 3D mapping, Marker based, Projection based etc)
  • Versatility – you can view the embedded information through any device, whether that’s wearable tech which is the current trend (think smart watches and Google Glasses)  or your smart phone. It can also be used for any subject from science to art.

 

Now think about the educational benefit to having A.R, and expand it to a global scale.

With the recent break through of Pokemon Go! maybe the idea of global A.R in education isn’t too far away?

~ Laura

 

NB – For a more in depth look into A.R there are the two links below:

Types of AR

5 reasons for Augmented Reality

To Augmented Reality and Beyond!