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.

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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.

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Session 1: Apple Teacher

This session opened my eyes to the wealth of information available at appleteacher.apple.com in relation to how to use Apple apps and technology. Like the microsoft.edu 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 Mircosoft.edu 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.

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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!

~LP

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Ghost of Pinterest Past

This app had it’s brief 15 minutes in the educational limelight a few years back. Though it is a few years old, as a rule, it still has educational benefits which shouldn’t be forgotten just because it’s not the buzz word of the year.

Recap of it’s uses:

  • Researching – Setting up a Pinterest board for a specific research project for yourself. As a student you can set a board up for yourself and keep it secret so you can gather ideas without worry that someone else is seeing the board.
  • Student Group Work – Creating a group board on Pinterest for group assignments means that classrooms can be flipped, so the students do the research in one place. The boards can be set up by staff
  • Collecting and sharing ideas – Search specific ideas, such as lesson ideas or ice breaker tasks. Share these with other people, or pin them on a public board so people can see it.
  • Visually Organising ideas – Organise the pins through boards in a way that makes it easy for you as a tutor. For example: a board called ‘ideas for unit 101 lessons’ and a board for ‘assessment ideas’

 

Now that it’s further along the line than when Pinterest first got used as an educational tool, new tools have come out and would need to be reviewed in comparison. There are always new apps out there, for example for group work Padlet can be used instead for a visual way of working in a group or creating a personal board to create a visual online mood board. However you loose some of the functionality which Pinterest allows you, such as the search facility. Think about how you want to apply the tech to decide on what you want.

So every now and then it’s good to have a visit from the ghost of educational tools past, even if it’s just to review if it’s still applicable.

~ Laura

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

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!

 

 

 

What I learned about ‘The Power of Digital’

In a #TBT moment I realised it’s been a month since I volunteered to go to Digifest 2016, so in the style of reflective practice I thought I’d revisit my notes and do a retrospective write up about the day. Digifest is a 2 day technology in teaching and learning showcase run by JISC held in the International Convention Centre in Birmingham, it was called ‘The Power of Digitial’ and lived up to it’s name.

There was a lot of workshops, stalls and sessions going on throughout both days. So it may be worth noting that I only attended the second day (Thursday 3rd March) and this was my Agenda:

09:00 – 10:00 –  The power of digital for teaching and learning

10:00 – 10:30 – Break

10:30 – 11:15 – #HullDtn: a collaborative approach to digital pedagogies

11:45 – 12:30 – Designing and developing great courses together (sponsor session from Pearson)

12:30 – 13:30 – Lunch

13:30 – 14:30 – Having a nosey around at the stalls, meeting new professionals (and some I already knew)

14:45 – 15:45 – Leveraging the digital: capability, capacity and change in HE and FE

My teaching colleague went on the Wednesday and got a few different key ideas from the sessions they attended. For more information on what was on offer on both days, you can find out here.

So in a quick summary style, the key points I took away from Digifest were:

  • The need and use for analytics as a teacher and an educational e-learning professional
  • The importance of Play
  • Networking and open sharing is important
  • Virtual Reality is the way forward in education

Now I know a lot of these seem almost common sense, but believe me, when it’s a relatively new area where previously research has been scarce it’s refreshing to go to a conference with like-minded people. In this case there was research all around you to support the theories it’s easier to safely, and reliably, share and build on the ideas. Like all good research in education it’s always stressed that reputable, valid and reliable sources are key so being somewhere enriched with multiple case studies, research groups and living ongoing cases made information flow freely throughout the day.

09:00 – 10:00: ‘The power of digital for teaching and learning’

This session had a few varied speakers and brought up multiple issues such as learning analytics and play in education.

Now I will admit I only came into the back half of the talk about learning analytics, but the conclusions and atmosphere from the crowd seemed to be positive. The lead on this talk was Ian Dolphin, who is about open source and academia. He suggested that learning analytics are a digital key to students success and the way in which they’re analysed and used is massively important to help advance and develop learning. But there needs to be smart ways in which to do this otherwise we’re simply overwhelming ourselves with data.

The main part I got from the morning session was about the importance of play throughout education, specifically H.E. This mainly may be because I was there for the full talk, the ‘Wondering While Wandering’ session by Chrissi Nerantzi. The research suggested that using play, as a hands-on method of teaching, in H.E encouraged independent learners and engaged them with their subject more than those who were taught via the ‘traditional static’ method, supporting the blended learning pedagogy. There were a few significant points about how to implement play in H.E effectively and the issues that can be faced with introducing play into an academic environment. The main issues were cultural and how there might be negative perceptions of using play in F.E & H.E. This is because it is not a static view of learning and instead can be seen as childish or less academic both by educational peers (other teachers/researchers) and students.  However to combat this notion clear learning objectives must be given, with an evidence based approached used for reflective practice. Chrissi also suggested giving teachers a safe space to try out new innovative teaching ideas, such as a ‘learning laboratory’ without the fear of judgement, assessment and peer observation, but where they can reflect on themselves through recording the lessons to see what worked and what didn’t.

This method of hands-on play teaching lead to a discussion about how it would be viable to use this for educational technology, to help create digitally competent individuals who are ready for the digital working world due to a safe environment to initially learn and/or teach in. The idea of a safe space for the teachers to play, lead to students having more opportunities to use technology and become digitally literate through guided learning in lessons, as the idea of the digital native is not necessarily true. The assumption that people of certain generations take to technology more than others may be true but the fact is that there are still people out there who come from different socio-economic and cultural backgrounds and so may not have the opportunity to play with tech outside of education. Not only that but without context of application on technology the full use outside of simply tech for leisure may be lost. There needs to be understanding as to the reasons why tutors use specific tech for certain things, for example Twitter being used as a medium for CPD. Though this idea of ‘the death of the digital native’ was looked into in depth by Donna Lanclos in a different session, which unfortunately I couldn’t attend.

Moving on to the next part….

10:00 – 11:15: #HullDtn: a collaborative approach to digital pedagogies

It was all about networks, everywhere you looked and everyone I talked to outside of the sessions were all about collaborative working with other e-learning professionals at other institutes.

There was an amazing positive, innovative atmosphere to the day where collaboration and talking ideas out with other professionals was the norm. This was only supported in the #HullDtn: a collaborative approach to digital pedagogies session. Colleges in the Midlands and Southern part of England, specialised and otherwise, worked in a network together to provide technology enhanced learning support across the board. This initiative has lead to shared best practices and advancement of the use of technology within the different institutions, creating a support network for each e-learning team to feed back into and gain something from. The idea of different networks, or one large network to help each other in best practices of technology enhanced learning is appealing as it allows for case studies to be shared, best practice to be shared, ideas about technology to flow and develop further than they could have done in perhaps a single institution.

 

11:45 – 12:30: Designing and developing great courses together (sponsor session from Pearson)

This was an informative workshop about the concepts between course design and how to implement go through and develop courses effectively. Obviously as it was a sponsored session there was a little bit of a sales pitch however it was only small and didn’t detract at all from the overall workshop. The session lead to some amazing points about how to design a course, pictured below:

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It made me think about how we design courses at the college and that we already adhere to most, if not all, the steps. The most interesting thing we have to consider here is that with us moving over to a new VLE the need to keep these points fresh in our mind is integral into making the new VLE a VLE rather than a traditional CMS repository where tutors dump files.

 

13:30 – 14:30: Having a nosey around at the stalls, meeting new professionals (and some I already knew)

You may have noticed that there was about an hour where I had a look around the stalls. What came from this wandering was the noticeable advancement of virtual reality, robotics, sharing platfroms and making technology mainstream. There was a robot called Neo, assistive tech such as exam readers, lots of virtual reality headsets anything from Google Cardboard to the Occulus Rift but there was also a BB8 sphero, which of course I had to have a play with!

What surprised me was the advancement of the technology for the mainstream, usually considered toys, and what this meant for cultural shifts of technology in education. It made me realise technology has previously either seen to be as either a toy or strictly for scientists….but there is a culture shift that has occurred in the change of attitude towards it. It can now be both for leisure and work, again I refer to Twitter for CPD or following your favourite celebrities or virtual reality headsets, which are being sold commercially, being used for orientation or viewing different worlds – think class trips without the long journeys, health and safety forms etc.

There was also a massive market for Virtual Reality and while unsurprising, this year seems to be about making virtual reality commercial, the idea that it’d be presented for education was interesting. As a general rule for new technology it is sold within education more towards the coding, software and hardware core IT skill sets. So mainly for tutors and  students on IT courses. However at Digifest the presentation of the VR headsets was presented more for this is what it can do, if you can find a way to apply it then go for it. This refreshing approach made it easier to look at the uses of VR at a more objective level, encouraging questions like is this applicable? How could we use it for our institution?…..surprisingly as a land-based college the answers to these questions were yes and in lots of different ways. The idea of VR is to make everything more interactive and as a provider of more practical based studies this really lends itself to our courses. We’re currently working on a project for Augmented Reality and are now looking into different ways we can make our own VR content as it seems like Virtual Reality is another way forward in education  that would suit our needs.

I also bumped into other e-learning professionals, some I knew and others who I networked with, at that point it was nice to see a familiar face and meet new people!

14:45 – 15:45: ‘Leveraging the digital: capability, capacity and change in HE and FE’

The final session I attended brought up an amazing toolkit being developed by JISC to help analyse and develop institutes digital capabilities. There isn’t enough time to go through what the whole project is but you can look for it on the JISC site.
There was emphasis on the term ‘digital capability’ and what this meant. It was not, as a few people understood, to be how capable someone was to use the technology but how open someone would be to using the technology. The overall meaning from the session was that it didn’t mean you had to know everything about technology and how to use it but you were willing to learn and there was a want to learn about the new technology. This linked in with the idea of the death of the digital native idea, where it wasn’t dependent on what generation you are as to how digitally capable you are but rather how open minded you are to learning new technology.

The overall view lead to the need for a toolkit to help measure digital capability. JISC have developed a toolkit used to analyse your institutes’ performance against other colleges, or between faculties within your institution. The whole scheme seemed positive, with the case studies already suggesting that this helped institutes to reconsider how to present and filter technology training throughout their cores to develop the overall digital capability to a higher level than previously done. It can also be done anonymously so that institutes don’t feel like they are in competition with each other but can still see the UK average for digital capability.

Overall thoughts?

Digifest turned out to be a useful conference as a college as it demonstrated ongoing case studies useful to implementation of e-learning, great ideas for design of courses, innovative ideas to how technology is advancing inside and outside of education and last but not least amazing networking opportunities which as a college we are currently undertaking to share best practices and technology use ideas.

I look forward to going to Digifest next year and the opportunities it will bring!

~ Laura

iPads as Visualisers?

There are many different ways in which iPads can be utilised in blended learning/flipped classrooms or simply as part of a tutor toolkit. Though, as any iPad wielding user will know, the general use depends on the app. You can use it as a presentation tool as the tutor, with and without student devices, or use it as a teaching tool and let the students run with their own devices.

For the purposes of this post we’re interested in only one thing………iPads as visualisers.

The main use of iPads as visualisers has not been looked into as much as we’d have liked, there aren’t that many examples out there or methods of ‘how to’ ( we can’t recall a blog, research paper or other resource specifically going over visualisation in depth)

So here’s two original ways we’ve theoretically, and practically, implemented the use of the iPad based around the idea of visualisation:

 

1. Overhead Projector/ Visualiser

As a reboot of the old fashioned, overhead projectors of yester year – anyone else remember acetate paper, brightly coloured markers and the awkward 5 minute set up where the teacher dances back and forth to get the projector in the right place on the screen? ( No, just us?) Well the reboot is a bit more advanced than that. You just need an iPad and an Apple TV.

What you need:

iPad or iPhone, BoardCam App (or simply the inbuilt camera app),  Apple TV and Screen/projector.

Method:

Mirroring the iPad to the Apple TV you can show whatever you want on a larger screen.

For example:

Here in Motorsport having an engine model in the classroom, they can use the iPad to view specific parts of the engine that the tutor is educating students about, without having to crowd around. Using the BoardCam app means that live annotation can also occur in real time, to allow for more information to be presented.  Visualisation tools have previously been used for enlarging smaller, intricate parts of machinery and taking photos only. Whereas with the versatility and portability of the iPad, it can be used as a visualiser for larger, intricate objects, such as an engine, and then used straight away as a presentation or quiz tech tool.

General examples:

View smaller/intricate objects

Mathematical formulaic working out

Practical demonstrations in real time

Review physical work of students to encourage peer-to-peer review

 

2. Live Streaming

iPads can be used as temporary CCTV footage to record a room, observation or live stream events . A simple idea, yet effective, without the high costs associated with setting up actual CCTV footage.

What you need:

2x iPads, Periscope app and account, Apple TV and large screen (though depending on the use may not need an Apple TV or large screen)

Method:

Use the Periscope app to connect the 2 iPads via a private broadcast. One app in the room you wish to record, and the other kept with the tutor. You can then have a look at the live streaming whenever you need to,

For example:

Animal Studies use this method to show students what true animal behaviour is like without the interference of humans in educational sessions. They use the iPad to go onto Periscope and connect to the Apple TV, showcasing the live feed while being able to switch back to tasks and presentations making it an easy, multiuse tool. The app also allows for the live stream to be kept as a recording, so can be used as a reference resource later on or to be put on the college VLE/LMS for online learners.

 

General examples:

Useful to use as live streaming on a budget.

Useful to stream live events that are taking place around the world, think educational talks/distance learning.

 

 

 

🎶 Twelveth day of Christmas 🎶

🎶On the 12th day of Christmas technology gave to me Christmas tale apps for freeeeee!🎶

Brilliant for Christmas Eve to play with the family and engage with all levels of abilities and ages. A fun interactive tale to keep the festive spirit going and embed a little bit of knowledge and key skills (think Maths, English and ICT) in a fun way.

Christmas Tale HD

Great all rounder and is a multimedia book. Want to give the whole family something to play and read while waiting to go to sleep for Santa? then look no further this app offers the different levels of engagement through gorgeous graphics, music, storytelling and interactive games. Great for key skills through fun Christmas activities!

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iOS & Android

🎶 Eleventh day of Christmas 🎶

🎶On the 11th day of Christmas #technology gave to me christmas music apps for freeeeee!🎶

To get you into that Christmas Spirit there’s always lots to do but this close to the day itself it’s always great to spread a little cheer through music. These are some apps for iOS and Android which would work perfectly for signing in the festivities.

Christmas Music

One from Apple for iOS devices:

iPhone Screenshot 1

iOS

Christmas Songs and Music

One for the Android devices out there:

   Christmas Songs and Music- screenshot

Android

🎶 Tenth day of Christmas 🎶

🎶On the 10th day of Christmas technology gave to me Snow Globe apps for freeeeee!🎶

For those who might not get snow normally but wish to see the wintery blizzards associated with Christmas. A virtual Snowglobe is the perfect  solution to get that winter wonderland feel, take the weather with you.

Snow Globe Apps for Apple Tech

There’s a few different Snowglobe apps for iOS, all able to customise snowglobe and background. To discover more click on the link below.

iOS

Snow Globe Winter Christmas

This app allows for different backgrounds and snowglobe types/images. To watch the snow go simply shake your phone.

  Snow Globe Winter Christmas- screenshot thumbnail

 Android

🎶 Ninth day of Christmas 🎶

🎶On the 9th day of Christmas technology gave to me christmas live wallpaper app for freee!🎶

Bored of the same static image used for your phone or tablet background? want a more festive feel with a modern look? then the live christmas wallpapers available for both iOS & Android are perfect.

Live Christmas Tree

Put a twinkling Christmas tree made of lights onto your screen to set the festive spirit.

iPhone Screenshot 1

iOS

Christmas Live Wallpaper

Christmas Live wallpaper, watch as Santa rides his sleigh across your screen.

   Christmas Live Wallpaper- screenshot

Android