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!

BETT – Wednesday 25th Jan 2017

For the first day of BETT it was amazing and there was a buzz in the air in relation to seeing the seminars, discussions and demonstrations that were around the conference.

Secondary Learn Live stage – Using Cutting Edge Technology to Drive the Strategic Leadership of Student Behaviour (session by Jon Tait)


The case study from Acklam Grange School demonstrated effective use of data in relation to leadership and organisation effectiveness. The big data that the school collected lead to the understanding of issues, rather than firefighting, to see the trends, sub groups, student behaviour and outcomes all based within the use of the VLE and other school systems and technology.

They used the following technology to help implement a long term sustainable strategy to combat behaviour:

  • Classcharts (software/app) – it creates seating plans and pulls information from the LMS and other systems through. It is a behaviour management tool where you can give and remove points from students, attached praise or negative behaviour, flags up specific issues, change the seating plan to put people next to others who may benefit overall class behaviour etc.
  • VLE – class statistics, engagement
  • Registers – attendance

After using all these technologies combined with each to create a forensic behaviour analysis and map students progression throughout the year.  The results showed that:

  • Their Ofsted rating increased
  • Behaviour reduction in exclusions by 98%
  • Results up by .6p 8

The overall takeaway from this session was considering how your institution uses data and would better student behaviour lead to improved, results, retention (both staff and students) and morale (both staff and students) Which if data is used effectively, according to this study, could be a vast improvement on what you already have. It’s just understand what the data is for and how it’ll be used.

Primary Learn Live stage – Wall to Wall Learning: Developing Collaboration and Showcasing Student Digital Creations (session by David Whyley)

This was specific to a smaller campus environment, and used the idea of an installed digital wall to display students digital work in real time. The idea being that it would give the student work a place rather than being stored away on a file on some networked drive somewhere, never to be seen again.

The simple installation of the wall and connecting every digital device to it, so that any work done could be displayed, lead to unforeseen results for the students.

What happened in relation to learning theory?

  • Students had ownership of work through the display
  • Communication skills developed, due to discussions about work posted
  • Social and organisational skills developed as peer to peer learning took place
  • Emotional skills developed due to group activities, reactions to works, peer to peer learning  etc.

While I enjoyed this session it is something, for this academic year at least, that would not be feasible due to monetary needs. Thinking through how it would work at F.E would it be more based on digital signage rather than students assignment work? Or could it be used for in class tasks and activities, such as a place to put the student work done on apps (Sparks Video, Pic Collage etc) which usually would be lost to the ether.

BETT Stage – HundrED: Bringing Innovation in Education up to Speed (session by Kate and Saku)

This was one of the main stage sessions at BETT and was brilliant in it’s thinking. It’s 100+ free resources and innovative ideas for education (can be found at )

The reason for it being a free resource is that the world is changing faster than the educational institutions and infrastructures can keep up to. This is due to faster digitalisation, globalisation and climate (social and economical) than previously seen before.

With the free resource it means that what happens in the classroom, with best practice, is shared between different countries, institutes and teachers instantly or quickly. It’s no longer kept in the classroom and doesn’t go anywhere.

A similar initiative was launched in conjunction with it called Global Oneness (it can be found at )

As the plethora of resources is so vast I would suggest checking out what’s on offer and potentially joining in as an ambassador to collect in a specific topic. Think about creating resources on topics/subjects/skills which can be saved simply by sharing best practice and innovations in that area. Potentially saving skills and skill sets which previously may have died out.

H.E Learn Live stage- Learning to Fly  ( session lead by Dom Pates and Dr Sikora)

The premise for this case study was based into student work flow, student attention and infrastructure affects on learning. This was done using aviation students and teaching rearranging the learning experience for teaching them how to fly using remote guest lectures, flexible learning spaces with node chairs, web cams with mic to pick up the whole room, and used the connect app for text questions with the guest lecturer and with the tutor.

The feedback from the study had it’s positives and reworks. The main result found from the study was that it was labelled as inspiring from both the students and the tutor, both sides were keen to do it again as a form of teaching and learning. The students also enjoyed the  insight into the industry that they might previously not had, due to the web cam and remote guest lecture. However there were a few cases where the students and the tutors would have preferred more interaction with each other, not necessarily as a feedback tool but as an interactive learning experience. The evidence was qualitative and based on the ‘flow’ of work, this was measured through the students interactions as it was found that students wanted to talk and keep interacting in the more successful sessions.

Tips learnt from Case study included having the technical issues ironed out, the IT infrastructure, technical know-how and support needed to be in place for the tutor, as when this faltered it affected the students’ attention and therefore work flow. However it was also found that having the technology ‘hidden’ or embedded increased flow for the students as it enables rapport and ease of interaction.

Tips and Takeaways from the session:

  • Get feedback
  • Embed tech
  • Break up a talk
  • Record the session (reflective learning resource – student and tutor)
  • Wherever possible, make learning an experience not just a traditional regurgitation of information
  • Build Interaction into remote guest lectures from the beginning, helps with the flow of learning
  • Hide the technology (don’t make it obvious) embed the tech so it’s just part of the experience.

The session was brilliant in thinking about how learning is about the students’ experience of learning not just how to the tutor regurgitates information. It was also great to see that on some level we already take this into account with our learners here at the college, though there are a few takeaways to take back too.

H.E Learn Live stage – How the iPad Contributed Towards a Vision and Plan of Paperless Teaching and Learning Environment:


This was a fantastic look into how slow TEL progression can lead to big TEL changes, and it all started with iPads in this case. It started with one tutor and one lab group and naturally scaled up bit by bit, with a small natural push from their TEL team.

Summed up they swapped lab books for iPads in their lab environments, and from this smaller changes occurred where more people used them and then found different ways to use them (flipped learning etc)

Overall it saved the institution £30,000 on printing costs and lead to more interactive lab books being created due to the different abilities an iPad offered over traditional pen and paper. The main takeaway was to concentrate on one thing, do that right and then build on it as it will naturally evolve bit by bit. Technology for a reason not a trend, don’t throw anything at the wall and see what sticks, but go in with one thing and do it well.

It was a brilliant reflection of how TEL does progress within an educational setting when it is allowed to grow and done well, rather than moving from one trend to the next. Fantastic to see how they broke down the initial barriers by rewording and giving sound logic and reasoning as to why that specific piece of technology should be used and from there grow the digital literacy of the students and staff by embedding the technology.

H.E Learn Live stage – Ensuring Technological Plurality through Effective Learning Design

I got somewhat lost in this session, as multiple models were produced and disseminated, thinking about it I wished I’d taken more pictures of the theory models!

However the main bit I can remember, and looking back through my notes, is that when creating a TEL learning theory model and effective learning design keep the following points in mind:

  • generic terms, not specific apps. This is due to the rate in which apps change, the functionality will be the same or similar ( a presenting app for example) but the name will be different.
  •  verb structures and semantics matter. The language which is used can provoke different responses within colleagues, so it’s best to use focus groups and discuss wording of theories with different colleagues.
  • Don’t overload it with information, keep it simple and easy to follow and always keep in mind what the reason for doing it is.

Overall Design tips:

  • Visualisation is key
  • Collaborative effort
  • students broader HE experience – it’s not just about learning academically at university it’s also about learning socially, emotionally etc.


  • Anticipate, plan and use technology n the pursuit of learning outcomes
  • Download taxonomies and share ideas.

The session itself from the design side of it was informative, we’re currently designing a new TEL learning model at the college and it’s great to see we’ve already thought about a lot of these issues. However with it’s continual development this has been a key experience and informative session to take back to the team.

H.E Learn Live stage – Transforming Higher Ed with Mircosoft Hololens (session by Microsoft)


The geek in me wanted to go and see this, it wasn’t disappointed. Though the Hololens was not presented to show the exact nature of the product, I was impressed with the amount of workable, varied and education based real life case studies were presented in using the Hololens currently in education both at F.E and H.E level (the case studies are American based but in the loose translation over from their educational system to ours they came out as F.E and H.E).

The following case studies were given (the Microsoft Hololens is Partnered with Pearsons educational packages) :

University of Washington in Seattle – Keeping students up to date in the future gaming and computer industries. Keeping the students up to date with technologies that are already used in industry.

Western Reserve University – Used for a biology interactive package to help students learn the human body.

Clackamas Community College – Automotive Department, teaching subjects and ideas that are complicated without 3D representation.

I was also intrigued in the idea of mixed reality, I had scheduled to go to the VR sessions on the Thursday so was interested to see how the progression of this type of tech worked. The idea being that reality is on a scale, as shown below:


The idea of mixed reality seems to lie in the nook between Actual Reality and Augmented Reality, while using elements from each stop on the reality scale.

This is the next step from AR and VR to mixed reality, it may be a while off becoming available to the wider educational community, but it is definitely on the horizon. Again the point of the technology is for learning, the case studies circled back to the idea that its technology for learning not learning for technology. I look forward to seeing it in education and in the wider environment in the future!

F.E Learn Live stage – Empowering Teachers to Create Bespoke e-learning resources (session by Jonathan Hills)


This session was an interesting insight. I’ll admit the title was rather misleading, for me, originally my thinking was that the tutors would be creating the resources, however this was not the case.  The concept was that tutors would write down the content and what they wanted, based on a template designed, and give that to the e-learning team for that college to develop, which in itself is common sense but at the same time very clever.

The barriers to tutors learning new technologies and creating learning resources can be summed up as:

  • Time – learning materials are time consuming to make in the first place
  • Knowing where to start – trial and error in how to make the learning materials
  • Lack of technical expertise – tutors are experts in their area but not necessarily with ever changing technology

Having a storyboard template for tutors to use means there is a guide for them to then build upon, which means that the tutors time is not wasted in thinking of the how’s but rather the whys and what knowledge. It also means that when the e-learning team is developing the learning materials they know exactly what is wanted, how it’s to be presented and what the outcomes for the learners should be. It also means the correct content is there to input and create into a learning material, as tutors are not technical experts neither are e-learning teams experts in Maths, English, Science etc.

The overall takeaway from this as an E-learning Developer was the template created was basic but effective, it kept the instructions easy to follow for the tutor and easy for an e-learning team to do the technical bit to develop content into a learning material for the tutor. This is definitely something we’ll be using here!

To keep the overall conclusion short and sweet, everything from this day can be summarised in these key points:

  • Technology for learning not learning for technology – don’t use it just because it’s there, think why are you using it?
  • Use your e-learning team – They are experts in their fields and are there to support tutors.
  • Why Big Data? – if there’s a problem, can big data solve it and why are you collecting it in the first place?
  • Collaboration is Key – In this digital age with the wealth of information out there, sometimes it’s good to share and there is no catch.
  • Paperless – Go paperless, it’s cost effective!
  • Embed technology – don’t make it obvious, embed the technology so it’s just part of the experience.

~ LP