Tag Archives: App

Heuristic Learning & Shakespeare

Heuristic Learning & Shakespeare

I used to write about apps I used or liked as part of my work, or at least I recognised could aid me in my work, but have been remiss on this front for a while. So, with the urging of a few peeps on Twitter (thank you) I’ll start it up again.

This new app I’ve installed actually covers two loves – learning/reading and technology. In my role as eLearning Consultant at Warwick Business School I am responsible for the University of Warwick’s Shakespeare and His World MOOC. My involvement with this course and Professor Jonathan Bate has kick started my love of reading – I studied English Literature A-level. So here we have an app that’ll help me understand the use of technology (and see a fantastic new approach to tech that can aid learning) as well as the understand the Bard’s language.

Back in 2011 I wrote this post about how ebooks, even apps, could be used to greatly enhance the learning experience beyond just the basic text-and-note features the early e-readers offered. It seems it’s coming true (I wish the images in that post had survived a server & hosting service migration)?

Heuristic Shakespeare - The TempestHeuristic Shakespeare – The Tempest (iPad): Like many I find Shakespeare difficult to understand, sometimes just plain obscure. Through the MOOC mentioned above I have learned a lot more about Shakespeare’s influences in the time he wrote the plays (literary, cultural, personal, etc.) as well as the subtleties of his jokes and digs(and careful similarities) to the establishment. This app, therefore brings everything together and makes this one play, The Tempest, so much easier to understand, read, watch, and like.

“The Tempest from Heuristic Shakespeare is the first in a collection of thirty-seven separate apps. Each app is a tool for demystifying one of Shakespeare’s plays and making it more accessible to a modern audience. Sir Ian McKellen and Professor Sir Jonathan Bate take us on journey of discovery using the world-famous Arden Shakespeare texts and their extensive essays and notes. The apps function is to provide an essential aid to understanding and enjoying the plays in the theatre or on the screen.”

Heuristic Shakespeare – The Tempest $5.99 / £4.49
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/heuristic-shakespeare-tempest/id1099176816

From the outset it is clear this app brings the very best of the internet (small ‘i’ these days) and learning. Not least the range of names and successful Shakespearean actors and scholars like Sir Ian McKellen and Prof Sir Jonathan Bate (both of who I worked with on another MOOC), but the way in which multimedia has been used to enhance the text, not replace it.

For those studying Shakespeare for any level of exam or are just an avid reader or Shakespeare lover this App is as good as any book or cheat-sheet note … if not better! If you ignore the videos where the actors read/act the play for you (a massive boost to my understanding – let the actors handle the difficulty of getting the pace, language and emphasis right, I can concentrate on the words and their meanings) the rest of the features are worth getting the app on their own – Shakespeare’s timeline, productions of the play, a copy of the First Folio pages, etc.

Note: I wont review each of the subsequent 36 apps, if indeed they do get round to them all, but suffice to say this approach is a quality one, offering everything I could ever have wanted when I was 16-18 and studying Shakespeare myself.

Heuristic Shakespeare The Tempest 1  Heuristic Shakespeare The Tempest 4

Heuristic Shakespeare The Tempest 5

Heuristic Shakespeare The Tempest 2  Heuristic Shakespeare The Tempest 3

Now on to the actually purpose of the App .. and it being called ‘heuristic’. For me a ‘heuristic’ learning experience is all about having the freedom or opportunity to use my experiences to discover or solve something myself. I may be led to the subject, question, or the problem, but the process of learning and solving or answering the question is for me to work out. I wont use, or even know, the best or most efficient process to use to do this, I’ll no doubt flounder around while i figure out what I need to be doing, but it’ll be my decision, my design process, and my skills that’ll take me through this and towards a solution.

And this is exactly what this App offers … the ability to use/choose what version of the play I want: either the text of the play, the pages from the First Folio, actors performing the words, understanding where the play. This is amazing and there should be more opportunities for people to learn like this, Shakespeare or not.

If you’re an English Literature teacher, or a student who’s used the App please let me know what you think of it? Did it help? What aspect of the App you found most useful, interesting, distracting, good for comprehension, good for revision, etc.?

 

David Hopkins - Why I tweet

Why I tweet #edchat

Inspired by the many talented people who draw and sketch their thoughts (and hoping I can emulate even just a smidgen of their abilities) here is my first (public) drawing from the iPad App Paper by 53 – why I tweet.

David Hopkins - Why I tweet

Please feel free to share or remix, comment or criticise  (although I’d rather you didn’t), and try for yourself. The Paper App and all the pens are now free (but wasn’t when I first found it!) and have produced some amazing artwork and drawings, some of which Julian Stodd used and allowed to be used in The Really Useful #EdTechBook.

It’s also worth noting why I add hashtags to my blog post titles, read about it from 2011!

iPod Classic

The Unsung Tech Hero: iPod Classic

I’ve had (and still got, somewhere) an iPod Mini, iPod Nano, iPod Touch, and my iPod Classic. Why am I still favouring the unpopular Classic over the other more fashionable or stylish iPods. Easy … storage.

My music iTunes library is over 64gb, and the Classic (I have a capacity of an advertised 120gb – realistically only about 113gb) was the only decently priced option to store it all.

And Apple have killed it off. It’s probably in favour of the touchscreen rather than the out-of-date click-wheel (I still like it though), but there isn’t an alternative with the capacity for my whole library. This means I’m going to be mega annoyed when/if my Classic develops faults and I have to look a the quite frankly inferior options.

I have my Classic in the car during the week so I can listen to something I want (without the inane and annoying radio DJ dribble/banter), and it’s in the kitchen plugged in to the stereo at the weekend providing background music and a lively environment. Continue reading

Digital distraction

Digital Distraction

“The mere presence of a cell or smartphone on the table can disengage people during in-person conversations and hinder their empathy, according to a new Virginia Tech study that finds your attention is divided even if you’re not actively looking at your phone.”

The article ‘Your smartphone could be turning you into a lousy friend – even when you’re not using it‘ is as much about the social impact of the always-on connections we have through our mobile devices as it is about how we manage them.

“For many, digital distraction involves the “constant urge to seek out information, check for communication and direct their thoughts to other people and worlds,” the authors write.”

Continue reading

The trails we leave #eLearning

Continuing my interest in data and how it can be used, this project and associated video is a very useful indication of how data from one App (called ‘Human’) can show us how we move.

Do you walk, run, cycle? Continue reading

Big Data Learning Analytics

Big Data, Learning Analytics, and the Learners

Big Data is the new buzzword. It’s not ‘big’ enough to topple MOOC from the lips of educatros, but it is becoming a topic that is being talked about more and more.

Firstly, what’s the difference between Big Data and Learning Analytics (if there is one)?

Learning Analytics, as defined by the 2013 Horizon Report is “big data applied to education”. There, that helped yes? No?

Then what is Big data? According to Lisa Arthur it is confusing in that it isn’t just one thing or the other, it is “a collection of data from traditional and digital sources inside and outside your company that represents a source for ongoing discovery and analysis”. Ed Dumbill says that Big Data is “data that exceeds the processing capacity of conventional database systems. The data is too big, moves too fast, or doesn’t fit the strictures of your database architectures. To gain value from this data, you must choose an alternative way to process it.

Continue reading

Photowall Chromecast

Photowall from Chromecast App

Photowall from ChromecastPhotowall for Chromecast (iPhone/iPad): I recently wrote about the Chromecast I bought and have been trying out. This App, Photowall, is probably the best app currently available for schools and classroom activities.

Photowall enables students in (and outside) the classroom to ‘send’ images to the TV screen.

“Photowall for Chromecast is a new Chrome Experiment that lets people collaborate with images on the TV – using phones or tablets. Anyone can take a picture and send it to a Photowall to instantly see it on the big screen.”  Continue reading

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 survival of higher education by Steve Wheeler

‘The Survival of Higher Education’ by @timbuckteeth

I’ve been following and talking with Professor Steve Wheeler for several years now, and have had the honour of presenting at his Pelecon conference and sharing the billing at the eAssessment Scotland conference.

Steve often writes individual posts or, like recently, he writes a series of post with common themes to expand or challenge a certain approach or concept of education – his 2010 series on ‘Distance Learning / Distance Education’ initiated some interesting discussions. Steve has, this time, been looking at the survival of Higher Education – please read all of Steve’s posts, you know you’ll be the  better for it.

I’ve linked to Steve’s original work here, as well as my response I posted to his website – I concentrate on  specific aspect of his posts/series, but please be sure to read the full posts so my comments (and the quotes) are not taken out of context:  Continue reading

VideoScribe HD App

VideoScribe HD App

VideoScribe HD AppVideoScribe HD (iPad): I’ve enjoyed watching videos from RSA Animate, as have others, that take an audio track (usually a presentation or speech) and animates the drawing of concepts and take-away quotes. The best of these is the speech of Sir Ken Robinson ‘Changing Education Paridigms’.

“Award winning software, Sparkol VideoScribe is a completely unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly and easily. Often called Whiteboard animation or sometimes Fast Drawing, VideoScribe replicates the stop-motion capture style of drawing that’s so popular on commercials at a fraction of the cost.”
VideoScribe HD (£3.99)
https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/videoscribe-hd/id505464331

Advertised features of the App include (and are also available on the PC/Mac 7 day free trial):  Continue reading