Over the past couple of days I have attended The Xerte Project Annual General Meeting at Nottingham University. It was an occasion for me to not only meet the community of people who continually develop the tool but also see some of the exciting new features and learn more about the code.
The day begun with welcomes, introductions and overviews and it was clear to see that the choice to go open source for this project was the correct one. The community has been establish and is growing.
Its that time of year again and The British Firework Championships took place at Plymouth Hoe on the 14-15 August 2012. I only managed to see the first day due to bad weather and managed to capture some of the sights on my Canon 550D. This year I decided to try and film one display in HD to firstly experiment with this medium and secondly also see how the camera coped with capturing the difficult dark and light flashing conditions. I filmed the display by Phoenix Fireworks which had an exciting finale.
Yesterday I had my third teaching observation for the PGCAP. I was introducing a mobile solution for students inputting data directly into PebblePad. The session went really well but I feel the learning outcomes could have been better facilitated if I involved the learners more when demoing the mobile technologies. This could have been achieved by allowing them to use the technology and this would have proven the intuitive nature of the system.
There was a usability problem from the academics point of view and this took focus during the session, eventually we collaboratively found a solution which after a little more investigation might prove to be the final solution for the project.
Learning is not just about reading or memorising, the ability to revise is acting as a teacher for yourself. Using Xerte Online Toolkits for the learning and revision process can support distance learning, use in classroom and lectures. Too many words doesn’t help, long titles won’t fit and aesthetically long text can look untidy and doesn’t produce great learning experiences.
Personally I like the text narration that plays a long with a video. Rather than text overlaying the video, this can meet accessibility needs with the text-to-speech option. Narrated screencasts would be good for this.
Xerte Online Toolkits has enhanced accessibility, interactivity and collaborative features but also utilises instant feedback. Within Xerte Online Toolkits you can use text, audio, video and images. All bundled up in one package they are shareable, editable and easy to update.
Working inline with Learner with Learning Difficulties or Disabilities (LLDD), in Xerte Online Toolkits learners can change the colour, the size, screen size and use facilities such as text to speech.
TurningPoint makes the classroom interactive and engaging, improves concentration and motivation and support the student voice during face-to-face learning allowing them to become aware of their individual learning inline with their peers.
TurningPoint enables lecturers to embed question polling in their presentations and allow learners to answer them with the aid of individual electronic clickers. Asking multiple questions with this technology is simple therefore the focus is purely on the learning, assessment and feedback, not the technology. The technology is simply a mechanism to aid the delivery of teaching, learning and assessment. The technology is versatile and the user can add questions on the fly with ease and even add a timer to question polling, forcing decisive decision-making. Planning a session based on this technology allows users to repeat patterns such as: asking a question, test for a response and then backup with information. Repeating this process provides a pleasant interactive learning experience. Alternatively a lecture delivery can easily become student lead based on their responses. If many of the audience provide wrong answers, the lecturer can go back to a slide and repeat the information.
This week I attended an eBooks event at Plymouth University where Phil Gee talked about how he has been trying to get eBooks into the hands of the students. Phil sees the lecture as an opportunity for the lecturer to tell the students what direction they need to go in and when they leave they need to go away and read. Traditionally books had to be bought and were mostly selected based on price rather than content value, sad but true. The cheaper the book, the more likely students were to buy them.