Category Archives: Technology

The Ultimate iPhone Photographer’s Lens Kit

Review: iPhone Photography Kit

I like the ever-present ability of using my phone to take photos when I’m out and about, whether it’s for family and friends, to post to Instagram, or to capture opportunities at a conference or event I’m at. I wish, however, I had more options when it came to taking different photo styles and/or zooms. This is why I looked around at the different kits available for my iPhone, and decided to make use of the offer from the Cult Of Mac website for the ‘Ultimate iPhone Photography Lens Kit’.

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The Bookcase

Technology In Education: The Future Is Now #edtech

A good article on education and technology, on the Chattanoogan website – ‘Technology In Education: The Future Is Now‘:

“Because we now live in a technology-based world, we believe in the smart use of technology in the classroom to facilitate student engagement is no longer optional. The use of online education and technology can also effectively address the age-old problem of having students on various levels in the same classroom and allow for the simplified creation of personalized learning plans.”

“As educators, and as an association, we understand that questioning basic assumptions and asking difficult questions are what education leaders are expected to do.  We should regularly analyze advantages and disadvantages of the benefits and growing dependence on technology in the classroom, workplace and society as a whole.”

“However, technology can act as an impediment to education as well.  All is not equal with technology.  Some students have unlimited access to computers and internet at school and home while others have very little to none … technology infrastructure varies widely from urban to rural areas. How can you create a technologically-based curriculum for all if all do not have access to computers / software / broadband? How do you make sure the teachers are trained on the ever changing apps and software that are available? And if you have a school where most every student has a device, how do you make sure each student stays on task and their data is safe?”

Image source: The Bookcase (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Chromecast (1)

New kit: Chromecast

A few months ago I was trying to decide on whether to spend £100 on an Apple TV or £30 on a Google Chromecast. I opted for the cheaper, newer, untried, unknown Chromecast.

Here are my thoughts, so far … it’s not there yet, but it has potential.

It is easy to set up and easy to use. Simply plug it into an HDMI slot on the back or your TV. If’ you’ve a USB port on the TV too then use this for power, if not you’ll have another cable trailing on the floor to a plug. Follow the short, simple instructions to set Chromecast up on your wifi, either through your laptop or iPad browser, and that’s it. It took about 3 minutes in all and then I was away.

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App Swap Breakfast

Build your own ‘App Swap Breakfast’ event #AppSwap #AppSwapLeic

This morning I saw an innocent tweet from my pal David Walker (@drdjwalker) about the concept of an ‘App Swap Breakfast’. Needless to say it got me thinking …

App Swap Breakfast

It’s quite simple – friends, colleagues, interested individuals, etc. meet at a set time & place and showcase their favourite App of the moment.

So, here’s a call for Leicester friends and interested individuals – do you want to set one up and try it out? Shall we try and engage this on a frequent basis … every month, and if so where? There’s plenty of space.

As per Fiona MacNeill’s insightful post ‘DIY: Build your own App Swap Breakfast Event‘ you will need:

  • A group of people with devices
  • Session leaders (learning technologists / librarians / teachers / student advisers / mentors / etc.)
  • A space/s for sessions to be held
  • Common interests (teaching / learning / scholarship / institutional / subject / revision / reference / entertainment / etc.)
  • Branding
  • Catering
  • A data projector
  • A wall or screen on which to project
  • Resource lists
  • QR Codes
  • Audience Feedback

The concept / idea put forward by Fiona MacNeill, from an idea on LifeHacker website, the AppSwap idea has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License meaning anyone can share and redistribute the materials, and adapt, remix, or transform / build upon them but with appropriate credit is given and that any new work is also provided under a Creative Commons license.

Anyone interested is trying to get a Leicester App Swap Breakfast working? If you are interested (or have a particular reason why not) then please reply below or tweet with the hashtag #AppSwapLeic. If there’s enough interest perhaps we can try it out?

The classroom will learn you

The Classroom will Learn ‘You’

IBM have released five videos – “In the future, everything will learn” detailing their belief in where technology will take us in the next five years. In ‘The classroom will learn you’ IBM believe that the “classroom of the future will learn about each individual student over the course of their education, helping them master the skills that match their goals.” Something that is echoed (or mirrored) in the 2014 NMC Horizon Report also announced earlier this week, where ‘learner analytics’ are highlighted as a key trend (in the mid-range / 3 to 5 year context) and under the heading ‘important developments’ in Higher Education (time-to-adoption of one year or less).  Continue reading

Innovating Pedagogy 2013

Innovating Pedagogy

Innovating  Pedagogy  2013Tagged as a report “exploring new forms of teaching, learning and assessment, to guide educators and policy makers” the Innovating Pedagogy 2013 from the Open University is intended for teachers, policy makers, academics and anyone interested in how education may change over the next ten years.

The 2013 report highlights, for the coming 10 years according to timescale and impact:

Impact: High

  • MOOCs
  • badge
  • crowd learning
  • gamification

Impact: Medium/High  Continue reading

ECAR STUDY OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 2013

Students and Information Technology 2013 #edtech #eLearning #educause

ECAR STUDY OF UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS AND INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, 2013The Educause Centre for Applied Research (ECAR) has recently published their “ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2013” report.

The report summary has the following key points and recommendations:

Key Findings

  • Students recognize the value of technology but still need guidance when it comes to better using it for academics.
  • Students prefer blended learning environments while beginning to experiment with MOOCs.
  • Students are ready to use their mobile devices more for academics, and they look to institutions and instructors for opportunities and encouragement to do so.
  • Students value their privacy, and using technology to connect with them has its limits.

ECAR Recommends

Distraction or Opportunity? A Guide to Embracing Technology in the Classroom

Technology – Distraction or Opportunity?

Distraction or Opportunity? A Guide to Embracing Technology in the ClassroomThis article by Julie Tausend on the EdTech Magazine website – Distraction or Opportunity? A Guide to Embracing Technology in the Classroom – asks the question as to whether classroom technology, or the BYOD mentality, can be harmful or an opportunity to learning. It argues that it can (as I would agree) but specifies the limitations to this approach, on which I think we’d all agree:

“Engaged students use the opportunity to make additions and annotations, to downloaded slides or to transcribe the lecture using word-processing programs. The problem, of course, is that not every student is that engaged.”

One element of the article, however, I would disagree with, and this is:

“One downside of technology in the classroom is that it’s more difficult to get students’ to turn away from their computers to participate in discussion. Technology is not always a distraction in the classroom, but hiding behind computer screens can lead to minimal interaction with professors during lectures. If you want dynamic discussion and interaction with students, ask them to close their laptops.”

Instead of asking them to close their laptops or put their tablet away … Continue reading

Sparkol – VideoScribe in Education #edtech

If, like me, you like the effects and impact the RSA Animate videos have – taking a speech or audio recording and making an animated film of the important elements (like Sir Ken Ronbinson’s talk) – then you’ll love VideoScribe.

“Create engaging content for your lessons without being a designer or being an animator whizz. It’s simple. Inspire young imaginations, facilitate learning and help your messaging ‘stick’ in their minds.”

Here is the demonstration video from Sparkol, see what you think.

YouTube:VideoScribe in Education

Is anyone using this? I wanted to try it out but balked at the £16 per month / £119 + VAT per year cost (how long does the free trial last?). I can see it being really good at animating a podcast or recorded lecture, much like the RSA Animate videos, and maybe bringing tutorials or seminar session recordings to life … but how much time would it take? Could students use the Institution license to produce work as part of a project or assignment?

Classroom Sign: The Mess

10 claims about Technology and Learning #edtech

Classroom Sign: The Mess

I will not copy the whole post from Joshua Kim but strongly recommend you read his original article for the whole picture, not just my interpretation – ‘10 dubious claims about Technology and Learning‘.

Here are Joshua’s claims he wants to refute:

  1. The quality of courses has remained more or less constant over the past decade. Untrue.
  2. Campus investments on technology have been focused on equipment or software rather than teaching and learning. Misleading.
  3. People who work in academic technology are primarily technologists. Untrue.
  4. Tenured faculty are not innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  5. Non-tenure track, part-time, adjunct and visiting faculty are less innovative in integrating technology into their teaching. Untrue.
  6. The demand for new methods of teaching, such as flipped classrooms and blended learning, is coming from the students. Untrue. Continue reading