Tag Archives: Flickr

Interview with Terese Bird, #EdTechBook chapter author

Interview with Terese Bird, #EdTechBook chapter author

The Really Useful #EdTechBook, edited by David HopkinsAs part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this seventh post I talk to Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE research fellow, University of Leicester.

DH – Hi Terese. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?

TB – Really, I do my job on the strength of first social media, and second mobile devices. I remember when I was being interviewed for my job at Leicester back in 2009, I was asked how I stay on top of developments in the field, and I said, “Twitter.” Even before I had any smart handheld devices, I was regularly using Twitter to learn from others in the field of learning technology and tech innovation generally. Even on extremely busy days, I can take a quick skim through Twitter, retweet a couple of things or put a couple of things on Scoop.it. Not only have I learnt from the blog post or news item, I have shared it, and often get some response on it — so in 20 minutes or so, I have done valuable horizon-scanning, learning, and networking in my field. Continue reading

Prof Stephen Heppell #BbTLC2014

“I make, therefore I learn”

Earlier this year I worked with Sue Beckingham and Chrissi Nerantzi (and others) on the BYOD4L (Bring Your Own Device for/4 Learning) short course. From this exposure to social learning  and from the shared experience in helping Sue and Chrissi run the course I was privileged to be invited  to work with them again. This time on a special edition of the online Lifewide Magazine – Issue 10 (June 2014): ‘Lifewide Learning in a World of Personal Technologies and Social Media’.

Looking back over the work on BYOD4L, my recent changes in circumstances, and my approach to the role I’m in, I was asked to write about something about the challenges of being creative (or not) in a role that doesn’t always require creative working or operation.

  • Due to the reflective nature of the post, that I am thinking and working towards being a better ‘learning technologist’, this forms the 13th part to my series of ‘what is a Learning Technologist?’

Here is my article, also available on the Lifewide Magazine website and associated PDF download (page 34):

“I make, therefore I learn”, by David Hopkins

As a Learning Technologist I tend to make or create things. Everyday I write emails, attend meetings, take notes, support staff, advise colleagues, demonstrate systems, deliver workshops, etc. .. and that’s the ‘required’ stuff that an employer would see as my role. Continue reading


Learning resources: Photos, images, icons, etc.


There are always great lists and resources available if you take the time to hunt and search form them. I have a fair few saved and bookmarked. But, if you’re like me, I often lose or forget them. So here are a few of the ones I like, use, reuse, and recommend for learning or educational uses (including creative commons):

  • PhotoPin: http://photopin.com/ – “Search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr and add them to your blog posts easily.”
  • Flickr Creative Commons: http://flickr.com/search/advanced/? – I only ever use the ‘advanced search’ options as this enables to search only creative commons images. Sometimes I find it easier/quicker to use Photopin, but the direct Flickr search sometimes brings up more meaningful responses.
  • Stock.xchnghttp://sxc.hu/- good quality images and illustrations available, just check with ownership and/or rights before using.
  • IconFinderhttp://iconfinder.com/ – High quality icons for use by/for web designers with associated creative commons attribution.
  • FreeVectorhttp://freevector.com/ – Great website for backgrounds, characters, etc. in vector image formats for editing.

While the JISC Digital Media website is not a source for images like the above it is still and important resources for finding, editing, and managing digital resources, and one you should be aware of and visiting on a (semi) regular basis.

As with all lists it’s worth mentioning that while you found something really good using services like Google image search it is not necessarily OK to use in your materials. You could check with the image owner but it’s just easier to use the above services from the start to avoid a lengthy hunt for the legitimate owner.

Where do you go, how do you find ‘the’ image for your project, learning package, etc? Share your tips, tricks, and resources by leaving a comment below.

Note: Thanks to Fred Riley for helping me remember some of these I had forgotten!

Image Source: Brief Encounter by sharkbait  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


Digital Artefact for #edcmooc Wk.5

EDCMOOCHere we are, the final week, well done everyone, we made it!

A ‘Digitial Artefact’ you say? What’s that then? I was not sure when the MOOC started what a digital artefact was, but now understand it’s just another term, albeit slightly pompous, for a blog post, a video, an image, a collection of audio/visual elements that make are collected together in one ‘presentation’ mode.

And what is this artefact to do: The artefact will be critically peer-assessed on elements and themes of the course:

  1. The artefact addresses one or more themes for the course
  2. The artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course
  3. The artefact has something to say about digital education
  4. The choice of media is appropriate for the message
  5. The artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action

I decided to bring together some thoughts around the MOOCs theme in a Prezi, see below:   Continue reading

Creative Commons

Creative Commons Infographic: Licenses Explained

Do you use images or photos? Do you check with the owner before saving or copying or using? Are you using Creative Commons (CC) images and think that it’s all OK because the image labelled as CC therefore you’ve done all your supposed to?

Do you in fact understand what Creative Commons is? If in doubt, before you go any further, watch this video: Creative Commons Explained.

Right, so you understand CC now? Then you’ll also be needing this Infographic: “Creative Commons: free photos for bloggers“:

Creative Commons
Click to view full Infographic

A photo or image placed under a Creative Commons license enables you, the ‘borrower’ to copy, distribute, and display the work providing the photo or image is correctly attributed to the owner. Every CC license applies worldwide, is non-revocable, is not exclusive, and lasts for the duration of the works copyright.

Continue reading

Foldify App

‘Foldify’ App (#foldify)

Foldify AppFoldify (iPad): I can’t remember how or where I found out about this app but it is one of the best one’s I’ve ever bought/downloaded. It’s a simple idea – use one of the pre-defined blank templates of a 3D shape and draw on the explanded, unfolded, version to design your very printed 3D figurine. Through it’s simple and intuitive interface budding artists (and big kids alike!) can create and share their own unique paper figure creations.

“Draw, create, print and fold beautiful 3D figures with Foldify. You don’t need drawing skills, Foldify has tons of free content to create amazing, high quality figures!”

Foldify (£1.49): http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/foldify/id527118971

Watch this video for an introduction on what it does and how it works … it’s really what touchscreen devices were made for!

Continue reading

Naughty Kids

A collection of VLE or learning ‘bad’ practices, pt.1 – Comments welcome

Naughty Kids

What are your pet-peeves about how your VLE is used – are you the culprit or is this what you see others do? Is it the technology at fault or how we / you / ‘they’ use it?

Come on, let’s have your examples of the things you’ve seen in your VLE that leave you in despair. Please leave your examples as comments below … we’ll see what we get.

Here’s a couple of examples I’ve seen over the past 5 years or so …

  • Learning resources and files loaded as simply ‘click here’ or ‘week one’ without any explanation. Try introducing the file with an appropriate name (‘Week one resources: [topic title]’) as well as some brief text about what the file is and what it contains, how the student should use it (read, discuss, activity, wider research, etc.), and what the learning outcome is – put the resource in the context of the learning and / or subject and / or timetable.
  • Well structured and detailed navigation … but empty folders. Even if you are using ‘adaptive release’ and the materials are loaded but not available yet, you could at least put a ‘holding’ message to say the materials will be available on or after specific dates – if it’s empty the student thinks you’ve either not done anything or it’s something they’ve done wrong.
  • Announcements on the home page / welcome screen … but there haven’t been any, either use it or don’t display it, an empty area can only cause confusion for students (see above).

I plan to collate the responses and comments into a fuller list (that’ll be part 2) which I’ll blog about in a month or two or when there’s a good range of comments. If you’d rather remain anonymous then please email me (‘david’ at ‘this website address’) and I’ll publish it minus your name.

Image Source: Naughty Funny Kids

Social Media Stats Oct 2012

Why do Universities use Social Media?

Just how are Universities using Social Media, and how do they measure ‘success’ of the channel? I haven’t heard or seen an adequate response to these questions yet, but this infographic does give a little hint of what is going on:

Social Media Stats Oct 2012
Goals Behind Social Media Use – Click to enlarge

  • By far the biggest effort is put into engaging their alumni networks and creating and maintaining the ‘brand’ image of the Institution.
  • Over 4/5ths of Universities use social media to engage their alumni network.
  • One in three Universities claim their use of social media is more “efficient” in reaching their target audience … but is this efficient in staff time or efficient in results?
  • Nearly 2/3rds of Universities say the number of likes or friends or followers is a measure of success, yet only 1/10th say the link between social media use and student applications is important.
  • 1/5th of Universities think they are “very successful” with their use of social media, so that leaves 80% who think there is room for improvement … I wonder what they think they need to do that they’re not already, and why they’re not doing it yet then?
  • While Facebook is the biggest social network the Universities studied are using, services like Flickr and blogs have had the biggest investment (time or effort) since 2010.

Blackboard 9.1 SP8

Blackboard 9.1 (SP8) – ‘A New Beginning’

Blackboard 9.1 SP8Sorry, the title is dramatic, it’s meant to sound a little like ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’, but doesn’t really get there. This isn’t a post about Blackboard as a VLE, nor is it about the trials and tribulations of the whole upgrade process for a heavily used Blackboard system.

This is about one of the best bit of this summers Blackboard upgrade at UoL – the new text editor! Yes, that clunky and often sworn at text editor has been removed and a new one put in it’s place – the ‘content’ editor (if you’ve sign up for it). The best bit is that it works. The next best bit is that it doesn’t take an age to do anything, nor does it eat your PCs processing power, it looks quite nice AND it works – did I say that already?

Blackboard 9.1 Text Editor

What is so good about it? Well;

  • Options for text and font formatting are more tightly controlled – it’s more difficult to change font and font size, therefore making your materials and content more likely to look the same across the whole course.
  • Cut-and-paste from Word documents strips out the unnecessary hidden code and leaves only the basic formatting (bold, italics, etc), again helping your content have a more unified appearance.
  • Option to have the content editor full-screen (finally!!)

Content Editor - Full screen

  • Edit CSS styles (if you like it that way) and have control over the design of your content.
  • Insert special characters.

Content Editor - Special Characters

  • Cut-and-paste tables from Excel or Word actually pastes the table in the editor, properly, and they’re easier to edit too (see below)!
  • Create and manage tables quickly and easily using the editor.

Blackboard 9.1 Table editor

  • Edit the image properties easily when you right-click the image when in edit mode.

Blackboard 9.1 Edit Image

  • Insert mash-up (see above) makes it easy to search and insert from YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare. Once you’ve chosen the content to embed you’ll have the options on how it is presented as well as what attributes are displayed (Blackboard … more mash-up sources please!).

Blackboard 9.1 - Mash-up tool

  • The spell checker is far less clunky than in previous versions, and works in the editor instead of in a different pop-up box. Words are highlighted with a red underline and a left-mouse click on the words gives you the options to correct it.

Blackboard 9.1 Spell Check

  • Don’t miss this little gem – those three little lines in the bottom right of the editor indicate you can enlarge the box so you can see more of your content as you edit it! Yes, this is perhaps the best bit of the new editor, and a very important addition (finally I hear some say?)

Blackboard 9.1 - Expand
There are a fair few resources on the Blackboard Content Editor page, as well as a good list of keyboard shortcuts which can make your online editing life a whole lot easier.

The title of the post ‘A New Beginning’ may be over the top, but the new editor does make working in Blackboard a much nicer and enjoyable experience, it brings the process in line with other online systems I’m used it (WordPress, etc) and one I am very happy to be using.

David Hopkins

What is a Learning Technologist? (part 3)

David Hopkins, Learning Technologist

Those of you who follow my blog, or follow me on Twitter (@hopkinsdavid), Academia.edu or LinkedIn, will know I continue to explore the role of Learning Technologists, and the discipline that is learning technology. Below are two links to my previous efforts in defining some of my thoughts:

In October 2010 I started studying the PG Cert Education Practice at Bournemouth University with a view to gaining valuable insight into the world in which I inhabit, support, and advise. I will post on the first two assignments at some time, but the final assignment is an ePortfolio of work (at the time of writing, June 2011, the marks are not back yet) and supporting evidence over the past year or so that fits the three themes, which are:

  1. Self-awareness and Self-evaluation: Evaluating Development Needs
  2. Managing Change: Response to Context
  3. Evidence-based Practice in Relation to Discipline Needs

It is not possible to replicate the whole ePortfolio here, nor do I want to (yet), but I wanted to share a few sections that reinforce my ‘journey’ as a Learning Technologist. These come from the final section of ‘evidence-based practice in relation to discipline needs’ (and associated references):

“The discipline of Learning Technology is changing and growing as new ideas for existing tools and systems are developed or as new systems are introduced – the advances in mobile computing and geo-location is introducing a new world of ‘tagging’ yourself and your ‘updates’ (Facebook), your ‘tweets’ (Twitter), and your photos (TwitPic, Flickr, Instagram, etc). Being a Learning Technologist also means we are not limited to just playing a supporting role, but we involved in the “broad range of communication, information and related technologies that can be used to support learning, teaching, and assessment” (Browne & Beetham, 2010, p6). This is our discipline and covers all aspects of subject areas from Health Care and Archaeology to Marketing or Computer Systems Designs.”

Browne, T. and Beetham, H. 2010. The positioning of educational technologists in enhancing the student experience. Project Report. Association of Learning Technology and The Higher Education Academy. Available from:http://repository.alt.ac.uk/id/eprint/831. [Accessed May 25, 2011].

“One aspect of my role that I have found invaluable is that I am able to bring my commercial background in web design and Internet technologies, as well as time as an employee and owner/manager of a small business, to the varied subject areas I support in the School; accounting, management, finance, law, contract, marketing, etc. It is this background that has given me the time to develop a professionalism that I pride myself with that has enabled invitations from different teams within the School, and other Schools, to be involved in teaching, research and projects. The concluding statements in the work by Neurmann et all (2002) state that a steady growth in staff development “has typically involved the central provision of short-courses … divorced from the specificities of the everyday academic context” but a “faculty-based [or] departmentally based provision could give promise of enhancing reflective practice, drawing on a recognition of specific cognitive and cultural factors rather than concentrating on generic teaching skills and presentational techniques.” I have found a School (departmentally)-based approach is able to factor a growth of a closer personal relationship with an academic or team and their subject area to be more valuable than a ‘point-and-click’ approach to the introduction of new tools and systems.”

Neumann, R., Parry, S., and Becher, T. 2002 Teaching and Learning in their Disciplinary Contexts: a conceptual analysis. Studies in Higher Education. 27(4). p405-417. Available from: http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=7362300&site=eds-live&scope=site. [Accessed May 25, 2011].

“Work by Browne & Beetham (2010, p6) highlights the impact technology enhanced learning has as a “major driver for enhancing the student experience”, but they acknowledge that literature is “relatively silent” on the role and impact Learning Technologist’s have on such objectives. Through my own day-to-day experiences I have found myself being invited to be involved in research, projects, presentations, workshops, conferences, etc that I would not normally expect to be asked to; I attribute this to my open and willing attitude and cultural change within the Business School that has improved relationships between myself and framework teams, and the understanding of the role a Learning Technologist. Questions on where a Learning Technologist should be “positioned” is a difficult one, say Browne & Beetham (2010, p13) which received mixed responses when they asked, and one I can see both sides to the argument; are we positioned in the School so we can maximise the relationships and knowledge of the disciplines of those we support, or are we a central resource that are shared among many different subject disciplines and School, but get the benefit of being kept up to date with system changes/updates? In my view there are positives and negatives to both arguments, but a School-based Learning Technologist has the best of the ‘local’ knowledge and the best of the collaborative environment a central position can offer, if working in a collaborative environment. The discipline of learning technology and the individuals who are part of this growing professional ‘group’, according to Peacock et al (2009), can have a valuable influence on all aspects of, for example, eResearch as we can demonstrate the role of support to help researchers “make informed decisions about whether and how to use e-learning tools to conduct qualitative e-research” and that a “more inclusive model of the Learning Technologist’s role in academia could help address the potential polarisation of the profession into researchers and practitioners”.”

Browne, T. and Beetham, H. 2010. The positioning of educational technologists in enhancing the student experience. Project Report. Association of Learning Technology and The Higher Education Academy. Available from:http://repository.alt.ac.uk/id/eprint/831. [Accessed May 25, 2011].

Peacock, S., Robertson, A., Williams, S, and Clausen, M. 2009. The Role of Learning Technologists in Supporting E-Research, ALT-J: Research in Learning Technology, 17(2). pp115-129. Available from: http://www.informaworld.com/openurl?genre=article&id=doi:10.1080/09687760903033041 [Accessed May 25, 2011].

I conclude the portfolio saying that:

“the opportunity to reflect on the past year(s) has given me greater insight into my role within the Business School and wider Bournemouth University community, but also how I am able to shape the discipline of learning technology from workshops, research, and conversations I am involved in, and by engaging with like-minded professionals through social networks like Twitter and LinkedIn. From this reflection I am able to concentrate my work and reading with a view to develop my professional practice.”

My journey
I have been on a journey during this PG Cert course,. Not all of it has been pleasant but I have enjoyed it and realised that I don’t like the ‘getting by’ mentality: when I do something I like to do it properly and see it through to the end. The struggle has been finding a balance between work and home life AND being a student again. There were times when one had to be sacrificed, and it was always my studies and assignments that suffered. I am not sorry for this, just disappointed that, at times, I wasn’t able to put the effort and dedication I know I am capable of into my studies.

What next?
Well, I don’t know where I am going to go now, assuming I get the grades to pass (finger’s crossed) but there are many avenues open to me: further studies, CMALT application and accreditation (definitely), etc. One thing is certain: I have started something here I want to see grow and to see where it can take me, my work, and my job/discipline. As they say “watch this space …  !”

Please feel free to leave a comment about the above or about your experience as a Learning Technologist, or your experience of working with us.