Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Visual Browsing, Interactive Posters and Publicity Material #aurasma

It has been an interesting few weeks regarding visual browsing and augmented reality at UCS.   The Elevate Team have been experimenting with the Aurasma app, as shown in previous posts.

We have been looking at using the visual browsing tool to create interactive posters, bring them to life.  We have now got a number of members of staff really interest and we will soon be working on a conference poster for a midwifery lecturer.

It is really positive to see staff interested in this 'new' technology and how we can support their use.  I will report back here once we have the poster as a working prototype, to show how it works.

More good news is that our Marketing department have really jumped onboard with the use of visual browsing and the next UCS Undergraduate publication, last week we had a team in filming around campus, filming interviews with staff and students as well as a number of locations/services.  These videos will be tagged against the new publication and when prospective students hold their smartphone/tablet over pages of the publication, those pages will come to life showing the videos.

[caption id="attachment_4094" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Skinned App Application awaiting approval"]Aurasma Developer Studio[/caption]

Today we have applied for our skinned app from Aurasma, this means that we will submit a UCS app called "UCS Connect" to both the Apple App Store and the Android Market Place.  Aurasma will skin their own app free of charge and then allow you to submit this.

All you need is an Aurasma Development Studio Account and an iOS Developer Account to allow you to submit the app to the App Store.

The service from Aurasma has been fantastic and I would highly recommend them if anyone is wanting to look at Visual Browsing/Augmented Reality.

Once we have the app submitted and available I will upload a video showing how the Undergraduate publication comes to life.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Presentations from JISC Online Conference

The following is a mailing from JISC, about recordings from their recent Online Conference.


Recordings of live presentations at the JISC Online Conference, Innovating e-Learning 2011, are now available free of charge.

If you were unable to attend the conference or would like to review the content of sessions you found most valuable as a delegate, you will find recordings, presentations and associated resources attached to the main conference programme. Recordings of sessions from the preceding Activity Week are also available.

Although the recordings cannot capture the excitement of taking part in the live event, we hope these resources will support your ongoing work and prompt further debates around technology-enhanced learning and teaching. We also look forward to welcoming you to this year’s Innovating e-Learning conference from 20th – 23rd November 2012 with the pre-conference Activity Week running from 13th November.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Learning technology sessions in February, 2012

We will be running a number of learning technology sessions during February, 2012. The sessions are designed as short tasters around how people across UK Higher Education have been applying a selection of technologies to their teaching. Interestingly, we are running two of these sessions as online events, using the GoTo Webinar software. To book for the February 2012 sessions, you need to complete the following form using your UCS email address.

The sessions are:

  • How is Twitter (microblogging) being used in Teaching? Online. 13th Feb, 11.00 to 11.20

  • How is Diigo (social bookmarking) being used in Teaching? Online. 15th Feb, 11.00 to 11.20

  • I'm surrounded by Classroom Technology, but how do I use it? Face to Face. 17th Feb, 1.00 to 1.30, USC Ipswich, Waterfront



Monday, 16 January 2012

Thoughts from using the iPad to create and report back on group work in classroom sessions

We (Elevate) recently participated in UCS's Learning Resources Development Day. We were set the challenge of trying to effectively use iPads in a classroom teaching situation. The development day was based around a number of short presentations with group work at the end of each session. The challenge was to look at how we might enhance the existing model of small group work based around a flip chart, then holding them up and feeding back.

We thought through some of the draw backs of the current approach. Which tended to be around feeding back as people can't see the flip chart, limited range of material you can incorporate into a flip chart, and they are difficult to collate the outputs. We also identified the advantages being low tech and very inclusive. People feel they have had the chance to contribute and the product is a genuine representation of the group work.

In an attempt to embrace the advantages and overcome the limitations we decided a key need was to be able to present the outcomes of the group work in the simplest means possible. We did not want this to involve file transfers or the likes as it would be more stressful ensuring devices are on wi-fi networks etc., Therefore, we simply told each group to plug their iPad into the data projector, and present back. I must say, this worked very well, presenters didn't encounter any problems, while people in the audience could see all which was being discussed.

At the end of the session, group leaders (the people who had had a little training on the individual apps before the day) emailed the outcomes of the sessions as an attachment, which I collated as a set of images to share with participates.

Overall, I and others thought, the technology enhanced the session as it offered more opportunities for both creating and distributing group work, while it didn't impose or dictate what we might do. For instance, the learning activity was central and the technology simply facilitated people creating and presenting their findings.

So, what apps did we use? Well, we used iBrainstorm to share post it style information, we used the camera (and encouraged use of the video) to record and present back the outcomes (a flip chart), used iThoughts for mind mapping, and comic life to produce a group poster. These are all very simple apps and many of them included within the device. The key was to use the device to enhance the presentation of the material, and this worked very well.

How might we have improved these? Well I think a little more training on navigating around a screen on the iPad. For instance, most people simply displayed the screen, they didn't zoom in and out. We'll hopefully be bringing these technologies into our workshop programmes.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

iPad Update - Using ShowMe For Student Revision

Over the Christmas and New Year break, I made use of ShowMe to create some 'YouTube style' video clips. These were made to aid student revision, in their preparations for an exam in January.

The module concerned involves a fair amount of mathematical work, including rearranging formulae (which is never a favourite of theirs, but a bit of a subject necessity). I made three videos: (1) Rearranging simple equations, (2) Rearranging more complex equations, and (3) Making use of more than one equation to solve one problem. The videos were uploaded to the module pages on Wolsey (with a link from the ShowMe website).

The following illustrates the output:

I've only received informal feedback from the students so far, but it certainly seems to be positive. They do seem to like any attempt made to modernise their learning on a module. ShowMe registration was quick and easy, as was the process of putting them onto Wolsey (for some reason, mine didn't want to embed themselves into a Wolsey page, I had to select 'open in new window', but it looked fine). Definitely recommend it, and I intend to make further use of it where possible. Hopefully any others trialling it will have a nicer recorded voice than mine (almost a certainty). Not sure budgets will stretch to hiring Stephen Fry for my narration.

As a drier, technical bit, when I asked for the link from ShowMe, it added text before the 'http' section of the link. In this form, the videos didn't want to attach to Wolsey in either way (embedded in a page, or 'open in new window'). I removed any text before 'http', and the video would then 'open in a new window' perfectly well (you're still within Wolsey, it's not an 'external' page). They still wouldn't embed themselves into the existing Wolsey page however. Maybe it's affected by the browser being used (was using Safari)?

Best regards, Gavin.

Workshop on developing learning activities in Xerte

The following workshop is being offered by JISC RSC Eastern. We (Elevate) have an installation of Xerte Online Toolkit, therefore, if you are interested in using this very powerful tool to develop e-tutorials and learning objects please contact elevate@ucs.ac.uk for more information concerning the tool and how to sign up for this workshop.

JISC RSC Eastern is offering a hands-on event providing both an overview and a comprehensive introduction to the Xerte Online Toolkit. Xerte and Xerte Online Toolkit (XOT) is free and open source and an award winning suite of tools developed by the University of Nottingham and promoted and supported by JISC TechDis. The software has built in accessibility features for creating learning objects.

* To introduce Xerte Online Toolkits - features and techniques
* To inspire innovative practice in the use of Xerte templates
* To provide examples from existing users
* To raise awareness of the accessibility benefits of using Xerte
* To encourage use of the sharing and collaborative development features

By the end of this session you will be able to:
- Create, edit and manage learning objects
- Import media and link to external media
- Create interactive pages including quizzes
- Link LO's to Moodle/VLE courses
- Import LO's to Moodle/VLE courses including quiz tracking via SCORM
- Make use of RSS features
- Make use of sharing and collaboration features

Pre-requisites: None really apart from use of computer & web browser and familiarity of using images, audio and video would be useful

This workshop is subsidised by JISC RSC Eastern and will be delivered by Ron Mitchell, an accredited trainer associated with JISC TechDis.

If you are new to Xerte or have already been using the tool at beginners or intermediate level then this staff development is ideal for you.

Target Audience: Teachers, learning technologists, support staff or anyone who wants to use Xerte Page Templates to create learning & teaching materials (ACL, FE, HEI/HE in FE, Sixth Form, WBL)
Event Type: Regional Event
Times: 09:00 - 16:00
Venue: Norwich University College of the Arts


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

E-learning Workshops by the Elevate Team

The Elevate Team will be running a workshop programme between 16th Jan (Monday) and 20th Jan (Friday). The titles of the events are below, and please follow the links to register your interest. Please note, these are only available to UCS Staff.

For more information email elevate@ucs.ac.uk