Observations of a London Met learning technologist at Digifest 2019.

I recently dipped into Digifest 2019, an annual edtech event for staff in higher education held over two days every year in March. This year we were in Birmingham and the focus was shaping education for a hyper-connected world.

 

Keynote slide listing the top ten skills most likely to be in greater demand up to 2030.

One of the keynote speech slides which lists the top ten skills most likely to be in greater demand up to 2030.

The opening keynote speech was delivered by Joysy John director of education, Nesta. (Nesta being an international innovation foundation). She attempted to answer the question ‘How, in a rapidly changing world, do we create an education system that prepares all learners to thrive in the future world of work?’ She based her answer on Nesta’s research concerning the future of skills which shows that skills like creativity, communication, problem-solving and resilience will be more important than ever.

Making more effective use of technology and data can help make education more convenient, accessible and effective. Businesses, academia and government will need to work in partnership to ensure that the education system is fit for the future.

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Weblearn Tests and Quizzes

Whether it is for formative or summative purposes, Weblearn Tests is the perfect tool for academics that want to proactively measure student understanding throughout the development of a module, gauge their overall progress, participation and engagement, as well as, gather data for research or publication purposes. Advanced features such as “Column and Attempt statistics”, as well as, “Item Analysis”, empower academics to monitor overall class performance, average and individual scores and distribution of student responses for each question. Continue reading

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TELT Testimonials: Padlet

Over the past 8-months, we have received some very interesting success stories that involved the use of Technology-Enhanced Learning and Teaching tools before, during and after class at London Metropolitan University. This blog post will focus on the use of Padlet and will attempt to showcase and celebrate some of the projects that our academics were able to develop over the past academic year.

TELT canvas containing some of the testimonials videos

After the immediate release of Padlet’s new features, our team created a Padlet and embedded a video guide asking academics to contribute to the canvas by using the new recording function. This video not only assisted participants navigate through the technical part of recording and uploading their own Reflective Vidcast, but also invited them to reflect on the underpinning pedagogies of the tools by answering 5 nominal questions:

  1. Name one (1) thing you and your students really liked in Padlet
  2. Name one (1) thing you and your students learned in the process
  3. Name one (1) thing that went wrong
  4. Was the training sufficient and empowering enough?
  5. Will you use the tool in the future?

TELT tools Testimonials main video

Naomi Roberts was one of the “early adopters” of this new tool, and soon after she completed the basic training on the technical aspects of setting up, deploying and monitoring her Padlet interactive canvases, she engaged with our Learning Technologists on possible future use and underpinning pedagogies of this simple; and yet powerful tool that adds so much value in Learning and Teaching. Naomi, with great success, designed and implemented a TELT intervention in the following taught modules SE6035/4003/5003. Please click on the image below to access her reflection video and get a better idea of the immense added value that she was able to bring into her classrooms by investing on an hourly training with our learning technologists team.

Naomi R Thubmnail

Amongst other things, Naomi highlighted the rather intuitive interface that enabled her to delve right into using Padlet with the only technical difficulty being in embedding a “live Padlet window” directly in her Weblearn module content areas. However, and perhaps the most important element in her feedback was that Padlet provided the tool to evidence student engagement in the reading material, when naomi deployed “flipped classroom” activities that involved her students having to do some work before they attended her classes.

Another very interesting point in her reflection video was that Naomi was able to bypass the issue of some students not having their own device in class by deploying group work activities that used one device. In more simple words, Naomi was able to truly introduce and enhance engagement, gamification, collaboration, group work, polyphony and cross-fertilization by allowing one device per group – and thus pushing her students to collaborate verbally, in written text and in by making posters and then present their findings to the rest of the classroom by using a Padlet canvas to embed a photo of their poster, a sample text, a word document or a simple sentence/argument.

Berhane Dory thubmnailBerhane Dory, was responsible for overseeing all efforts concerning the use of Padlet in both face-to-face and distance learning modules within her team and was also the first one to actually use Padlet in her classroom. In her reflection video Berhane, cited the importance of using simple solutions that add immediate value in our teaching contexts. During her first attempt to deploy a padlet activity in class, she was seconded by a leaning technologist that provided onsite support, making sure that all activities went well and that the student experience was positive. Berhane was so impressed by the use of new technologies that decided to invest time and effort and ”drill down” in other technology-enhanced learning and teaching tools, such us video quizzes, the use of badges, interactive tests, audience response tools, webinar polling, blogs, discussion boards and journals. The four new Distance Learning modules SE6003/5004/5058/5060DL that Berhane and her team are currently “polishing up” have incorporated the latest TELT solutions with students welcoming and embracing the renewed course syllabus, structure and overall method of delivery.

James Steventon thubmnailLast but not least, the top triad of best use testimonials must include James Steventon’s project Google Vs Student. Foundation students at The Cass have been using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms to test and help develop their own creativity. In this ingenious project, students were challenged by their tutor James Steventon to demonstrate they are more creative than AI. As such, students played the adversarial part in an iterative sequence where they subverted Google’s Image Search algorithm to create new, unexpected images. Each step of the process was uploaded to a collaborative online PadletThe project culminated in the use of further AI algorithms where students created their own digital poster images. These were then graded by another algorithm to instigate discussions about aesthetics and creativity.

James, amongst others said in his reflection video: “This was a project about how technology can encourage creativity so using Padlet was entirely appropriate and helped take it to a new level.” He then continued on to say that “It also helped me focus my teaching on students who needed my help more immediately than others, as well as reaching students in several different parts of the university all at once.” To watch each complete video reflection just click on the each corresponding image and then when you’re done, click on the “back arrow” situated on the upper, left hand corner of your screen.  

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Using Blogs, Discussion Boards and Journals to activate Higher Order Thinking Skills.

Weblearn menu panel_Collaboration toolsWeblearn offers great choice when it comes to promoting social communication within student cohorts. Using Blogs, Discussion Boards and Journals is a great way to assist learners develop their ability to locate and share/display content and individual work, engage in a lively academic debate via the use of arguments, counter arguments and rebuttals and finally engage in pre and post work reflection that creates the necessary cadre for developing their own voice, criticality and ultimately their professional awareness.

This short blog post will attempt to outline the similarities and differences between these three great tools in Weblearn and via a recent case study that took place within the Early Childhood Education department, it will illustrate possible uses, advantages and pitfalls. Continue reading

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Nureva Span: using the collaboration software with students

Psychology lecturers from London Met made use of Nureva Span, London Met’s new collaboration software, in their first lecture with new students.

First year students took part in a ‘Treasure Hunt’ that exploited the real-time, media-rich, collaborative nature of the software’s collaborative canvases. To orientate themselves to the campus, the student teams were tasked with locating their scheduled teaching rooms, and capturing photographic evidence. Each Nureva Span canvas has a ‘Quick-share’ feature which allows participants to easily send a note or photo from their phones. On locating each room, the teams used QuickShare to post their selfies immediately to the shared canvas.

Photo of students taking group selfies across campus

This team share their photos using the Quick-share feature of Nureva Span.

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Video Based Quizzes

The End of Passive Viewing!

 

Vizia logoVideo-Based Quizzes can really make a difference when it comes to developing content for blended learning. Even in student facing environments cross-linking “flipped classroom” with “in-class” and “extended classroom” activities can really add value in enhancing learning and teaching in H.E settings.

Vizia allows users to import a video from YouTube or Wistia and then integrate questions directly on the timeline of the video.

Users can add a quiz that comes in the form of a multiple choice question, a Poll, a short answer/open ended question that contains an element of self-assessment as well as a “call to action” point that re-directs viewers in another webpage that could contain more content.

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Padlet’s new features.

An ‘old time-classic’ that just got better……….

Last month Padlet introduced two new features that along with the ones that were introduced during the summer and the all-new and improved smartphone app, will bring this simple but versatile tool one step closer to being the ‘go-to’ solution when it comes to formative assessment and collaborative activities in Higher Education settings. 

If you are completely new to this and want to get up to speed with what Padlet’s about, watch this short 90-second intro video.

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