Thursday, 21 October 2010

Turning point clickers, on mobile

there are some good solutions out there, the best being but it's not cheap, and there are potential costs to students who are not on a free sms package

what might be interesting is to run as an experiment ask them via normal clickers, what mobile phones they have, what txt packages, do they have twitter accounts accessable via smart phone, then show them the software and see what they think

the advantages are obvious

the downsides are
students might have to pay local txt rates if they have no txt plan on the mobile
there are no sophisticated tools, it's just simple voting + plus free text answers (which could potentially be embarassing)
the interaction is a little slower as students have to type a phone number and code.
the question slides import into powerpoint, but the user interface is a little more tricky

the service is £40 (the price of one turningpoint handset) for 250 users per month

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Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Msn - student who don't use it or use it all the time do best in module marks.

The study into student use of msn compares module marks with reported levels of use.
The scale = never, some days, about half the time, most days, always.

The results show an inverse bell shaped curve, with never and always achieving the highest marks. the results demonstrate the complexity of human interaction mediated by computers. I think it shows the curve of adapting to the tool. The mid range users have trouble balancing their concentration, and are distracted by it. The high users are so use to it they know how and when to use it, it is more background and less distracting. The users that never use it are not distracted. The study could now use some observations of the different types to establish the extent of use and the different types of use.

Rutter, m (2010) messenger in the barn; networking in a learning environment, alt-j

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Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Turning point clickers, new capabilities

In review the latest upgrade to this software I found a few additional capabilities that are interesting.

Turning Point now offers multi response for students on one question

Data Slicing in Turning Point - allows you to compare different results on-the-fly

moment by moment recording of preferences in turning point - could be interesting in rating performance

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linking learning with facebook - an rss feed from elearning blog into students facebook profiles

The idea looks good on paper, Facebook has several RSS tool that allow RSS feeds to populate different areas of Facebook with content streams. But, what hits me is the privacy issue of encouraging students to add applications that I have no definite knowledge that they would have their privacy compromised.

RSS Graffiti has all the right capabilities but wants access to large amounts of my profile. It also has no links to privacy or legal statements.

I guess I can mention it

Back to the drawing board


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Monday, 11 October 2010

Looking at educational research through classroom design goggles

As the learning landscapes report highlights very little of the most influential education research and theories consider space. Looking again at these theories through the perspectives of classroom design goggle is one of the recommended steps. So, theories lead themselves more readily than others. It's easy to image space design supporting the theories of Wenger and Lave. It's much harder to see the assessment focus of Biggs' constructive alignment influencing space design and use. But when you re-consider and look for wider interpretations you can see possibilities. The central idea of feedback could involve a greater focus on staff time in the space to reacting to learning rather than just directing via teaching. The small subgroups working in the new Bryom St room enable this switch of focus.

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Friday, 8 October 2010

If I sit at the front of the class do I learn more?

No – the short answer.

Although this is an old paper reviewing psychological perspectives on this notion, the evidence shows little impact. But it does raise some interesting ideas about how the current movement for classroom re-design is breaking away from this old idea of the traditional lecture. In the more dynamic learning spaces, could facing away from the teacher and focusing more on the group have an effect on learning and engagement? Does this sort of empirical study have any value in understanding such a complex environment as a classroom?

Journal of Environmental Psychology (1988) 8, 149-157





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Thursday, 7 October 2010

major assessments like essays at the end of semesters lead to fewer learning hours

Innis [1996] found students spent 1.4 to 3.0 hours learning for everyone hour spent teaching Moffat [1989] hutchings [1991] gardiner [1997] brittingham [1993] found 0.3 to 1.0 hour
Innis [1996] also found this got worse over the years, reducing in number

By worse still
Students on text based subjects dedicate fewer hours [vos 1991] than science and technology subjects where there are more and smaller assessment points From gibbs & simpson [2004-5] conditions under which assessment supports students' learning SHE

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virtual patient simulation tool

The project has replaced paper problem-based (PBL) cases with Interactive Online Virtual Patient (VP) cases with options and consequences. Students work though the cases in groups making decisions as they progress, the outcomes are dependant on the choice they have made. The project has delivered 18 cases to the Transition year (T year) of the MBBS (medicine) course at St Georges', University of London, supported with online formative VP assessment cases for self-directed learning.   This showcase will demonstrate how the cases have been constructed, delivered and provide an opportunity for participants to see some of the cases. The session will be of interest to colleagues looking to use technology to support PBL (problem-based learning) and the use of virtual patients.

G4 project blog -

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Pptplex & prezi & pedagogy

Biggs' SOLO taxonomy of learning asks us to consider how students see and understand the connections that link different aspects of a subject area together. however, very few tools allow us to show these connections and the mirco and macro view of them.

Working with Martyn Stewart, I have come to realise the need for the explicit demonstration or visual connecting in this way, using maps and diagrams etc

I have played with prezi before, and introduced a few staff members to it to meet their specific needs. But there are a few problems the main one being moving from a menu based interface [microsoft] to a very different interface.

However, Neil Stanley asked me to have a look at pptplex. This is a microsoft addin to powerpoint. It has some on the capabilities of prezi but also some limitations. What's good
It is good for showing overviews of the slides to be shown. You can then use this overview to jump in and zoom in to details anywhere.
It's in powerpoint, so staff will find it easier to transferred to.

The layout of the 'map' is not as flexible as prezi. Basically it shows you the sequence of slides in a grid format, but from a higher level.
It's only a pilot, and may not be developed beyond powerpoint 10. Pptplex doesn't work with turningpoint 'clickers'

What to do now
I could show it to different people get a feeling of its use
I could talk to computer services All this requires time, which is in short supply. But, both could make a benefit to student learning, particularly in large lectures.

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Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Is an ebook reader a viable technology to support electronic marking?

If you were to image a replacement for lugging around essays and marking/annotating student scripts, would it be an ebook.
Answer is probably no, as most roads seems to point to the ipad.
Eye strain: this could be a reason for purchase, but why can't i find any research to back this up. Is it because research by the industry has been undertaken and proved there is little difference? This is what this old article speculates.
A more research article points out that there is little difference between paper/lcd/eink. The question is about where you are reading eg poor light/daylight and taking breaks to rest the eyes.

Cost: if a faculty were to make an investment ebooks have the edge on cost, but don't have the range of an ipad to support different processes. So you end up with a cheap single use tool.
Annotation: this seems to have improved, but the process of merging annotation files and pdfs seems to have caused some issues in the past. But is it worth trying out? Can they pay apart in the range of tools on offer, or is the perfect tool not designed yet, and never will be as the market is too small?

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