Playful Learning Conference 2017

I was fortunate enough to attend the Playful Learning conference over the summer. We explored how playfulness can be included in adults’ learning experiences, which involved things such as playing games that were being used in Higher Education, making things, and experiencing escape rooms.

We were all given cuddly toys with which we were to undertake certain activities, to encourage playfulness in the conference. One of the tasks was to create a twitter profile for the toys, and in the end it was pointed out that these toys had ended up acting as avatars for us on the #playlearn17 twitter hashtag, allowing behaviour that might otherwise have been considered odd or bad.

Nikki Woods talked about her work with Blast Theory, and their experiences of the consequences of play. It brought up ideas about how it is important to remember that not everyone knows when ‘play’ is taking place, and that people will perceive it differently.

There were quite a lot of escape rooms, which were fun. They have been used as ice-breakers, or as activities for the students to create themselves.

Geraldine Foley, Sarah Leach, and Aggie Molnar from LSE guided us through playing their ‘Capture the Market’ game. It presented some themes like monopoly and diversification, that could later be discussed. It brought out the tension between learning and gameplay, as some players wanted the game to be more complex and open to mastery through playing it several times, while others thought it was designed well for a game that was only played once to start conversations in the classroom.

Amid all the lego, sandpits, and giant playing cards, Rikke Toft Norgard was exploring the theory of play, how we can encourage play to connect “to the deep structures of pedagogical ‘how to’ designs” and to be “embedded in the virtues emanating from the ‘why-ness’ of education?”, and presenting a framework for a playful university. I recon everyone loved it, and Rikke’s slides are available.

Finally we heard from Deborah Bullivant, who set up Grimm & Co in Rotherham. She talked about their amazing work encouraging children to write through creative, playful environments. She talked about similar projects such as London’s Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, San Francisco’s Pirate Supply Store, and Brooklyn’s Superhero Supply co.

I’ve never had more fun at a conference, and it left me with plenty to think about. It is easy to be playful at a conference where it is explicitly expected. It’s unlikely that people attending will get annoyed, or be cynical and not pay along. How is that expectation set out in university. I’ve seen the occasional students say “I’m not doing that” when a session moved away from the standard lecture or seminar format. Is the solution to be clear about the reason for doing things differently?

Playfulness and games are different things, that don’t always overlap. Games can be taken very seriously, and some types of playfulness affect game mechanics in a negative way.

This year’s reading includes:

You can explore further using #playlearn17 on Twitter, or Alex Mosely’s Storify of the conference days (day 1, day 2, day 3)



All images from:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/144603711@N05/sets/72157686737802183.
Used under a Creative Commons licence.

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Tea and Technology this Term!

This semester there are three new Tea and Technology sessions available! Tea and Technology sessions are bite-sized 30 minute sessions, where staff can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee whilst learning something new. Search for ‘Tea and Tech‘ in the Request Training section of MyView to find the sessions and book your place.

Getting to Grips with EHRA
Weds 25th October 10:30-11 in JD13
In Open Access Week, come along and learn how to deposit your research outputs into the Edge Hill Research Archive (EHRA). If you wish, bring a device and your output details and you can try the process.

Manage Projects with Trello
Weds 8th November 10:30-11 in JD13
This session will introduce participants to project management app Trello. Staff will learn how to add teams, create lists and assign tasks to each other.

Give your Social Media some Spark
Tues 12th December 10:30-11
This session will look at using Adobe Spark to make images and videos which can be used to enhance your social media.

 

 

 

Paramedics and the 360° Experience.

Barry Matthews (Lecturer in Paramedic Practice and Pre-hospital Care) based at Edge Hill University’s Manchester Campus.  Barry has been trying out Learning Services’ Giroptic 360cam, to create immersive resources for his students.

The Giroptic 360cam produces 360° photographs and video and was the topic, back in January 2017, of Mark Wilcock’s blog post “360 Degrees of Learning Potential”.

Barry agreed to talk to us (on video) about his experience of using the 360cam and his ambition to expose his students to as many on-the-job challenges and dangers as possible, without putting them in harms way.  He is convinced that the introduction of immersive technologies has the potential for doing this.YouTube PlayerRead on and learn more about Barry’s vision to offer an immersive experience for his students, which might otherwise be impossible to do within the safe and controlled environment of a classroom or simulation centre.

“The paramedic team have recently been experimenting with social media to reach current and future students/applicants. We have found that a lot of applicants attend open days at the Ormskirk campus and that their attendance at the interview day is the first time they have ever seen inside the Manchester site (St James’). I wanted to use the 360cam to give prospective students a view of what resources and facilities are utilised at St James’ and to give them a chance to see the bespoke teaching environment, clinical skills area and of course, the ambulance.

This mini-projeAmbulance and Clinical Skills room ct of these images for social media was to gain some experience of using a 360cam, and discover its potential and limitations. It was easy to use, but as St James’ has multiple companies with multiple Wi-Fi networks, a stable connection to a weak standalone Wi-Fi was impossible. This meant I had to set the camera up, push the shutter button and run. This was not particularly easy with so many reflective surfaces! I had to be inventive with my camera placement, opening doors to change the reflective angle of the glass and setting up somewhere near to hide. I do have some nice photos of a garden taken using the Wi-Fi at 10m, so it does work outside of this Wi-Fi jungle.

The 360cam is a simple device to use and can be controlled by buttons on the device itself, or by using a mobile platform and its own Wi-Fi. This produces three images in 4k definition which the software stiches together to form a 300°x360° image, as a panoramic, that can be exported as a JPEG. I then uploaded the panoramic image into Facebook which transformed it into a photosphere which can be explored on any device. The only additional software I used was Adobe Photoshop to blur a face out of one of the pictures, which is available through the EU application catalogue.

The resolution of the images taken by the Giroptic 360cam are good, a little bit of noise,Giroptic 360cam in palm of hand but useable. The video does not record in the same definition (2k) so I didn’t use this functionality as the images were more than sufficient for the aims of this task.

Within the paramedic team, we have a great many potential uses for a 360cam-like technology. Simulation training enhances skills such as functional expertise, problem-solving, decision making and team-based competences (Lateef, 2010). Ambulance crews can work in any environment, and at times these can be stressful. We want to simulate these stresses for our student paramedics by using immersive environments. We utilise a room which projects video on the walls, with sound, to recreate these stressful and potentially dangerous environments to prepare our students for practice in a safe and controlled way.

The recreation of an environment has been shown to increase student engagement; with a negative aspect being identified as at times the environment can be distracting to the student (Bradley, 2006). This is exactly what we want with a student on both the DipHE and BSc (Hons) Paramedic Practice programmes. The situations that they will be working in when they qualify can potentially be distracting and dangerous, so we want to prepare for them for this so they don’t lose focus of their environment. I have attended patients in football stadiums, on airport runways, between live motorway carriageways…. I could probably describe a patient in every environment you can think of, and add some to the list.R.T.A. Scene Re-creation

Another use for the 360cam we are looking to explore is the creation of images of potentially hazardous environments, such as ‘drug dens’, construction sites etc. The students can then practice their observational skills and identify individual hazards and use this to influence their dynamic operational risk assessment. It is important the students learn how to identify hazards before they develop in a safe and protective environment. Therefore they can maintain not only their own safety, but also the safety of their colleagues and their patient, in any environment or situation they are presented with.”

Barry Matthews

 

 

Barry Matthews
Lecturer in Paramedic Practice and Pre-hospital Care

 

Are you interested using this technology or looking to explore innovation in your area please get in touch with us. We’d be more than happy to answer any questions or just get in touch if you would simply like to know more!

Contact us by email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or phone us on Ext 7754.

Blackboard Student Mobile App

The summer brought a number of changes to the learning technologies used in the University and one in particular I wanted to highlight here is the new Blackboard Student Mobile App available for iOS, Android and Windows mobiles and tablets.

It is radically different to the previous app (Mobile Learn) having had a complete redesign. Here is a run down of what to expect in the new app:

Notifications
Students can choose to receive a notification when new content is added to their courses.  Specific ones they wish to receive is controlled via the desktop version whilst on/off choice is set via the device.

Content
Many formats are now supported natively including most types of image, audio (MP3) and video (MP4).  PDFs, websites and ‘mashups’ are also able to be opened within the app.  Additionally to this, it will look for the appropriate app on the device to open Word, Excel, PowerPoint or similar file attachments.

Tools
Tests created using the Mobile Compatible Tests tool work really well and are easy to work through whilst Discussion Forums are clean and simple to use.
Blackboard Assignment submission is incorporated into the app as it is compatible with Google Drive, Dropbox and OneDrive to access documents and materials that students have produced.

Online Lectures
A separate app is no longer required to use Collaborate as it has been built in to the single app – great news for users of webinars and online lectures!

Grades and Feedback
If work has been submited via the Blackboard Assignment tool, grades and feedback can be obtained via the ‘Marks‘ area in the app where a break down of individual assignments can be found.  Be aware though, if using Turnitin for submissions only grades that are fed through to the Grade Centre can be viewed via the app (no feedback is included).

 

Currently unavailable or unsupported
As the app is still a fairly new version there are a number of areas that are yet to be developed and you may find this renders it unsuitable for your use:

Turnitin is not yet integrated into the app and as such submissions are unable to be made and due dates and feedback can’t be displayed.

Groups are currently not supported as are any tools within a group (such as a group discussion board or wiki) although thanks to the new responsive design implementation over summer these tools will open reasonably well in a web browser.

Blogs, Journals and Wikis are also not currently supported and these will open in a web browser if clicked on from within the app but it is hoped that these will be supported soon.

Standard Tests cannot be taken through the app.

If you would like any further guidance or advice in using the new app please feel free to contact the Learning Technology Development Team on ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk

PLEASE NOTE:
Blackboard Mobile Learn has now been removed from the app stores and is no longer supported by Blackboard.  If a student uninstalls the old app they will no longer be able to reinstall it.

If you are a tutor you may find the following PowerPoint slides useful to show to other members of staff or your own students.

There is also an ‘Instructor‘ app available that can be used by tutors to build certain content and can be used in delivering materials such as webinars and online lectures.

 

 

Carol Chatten
Learning Technology Development Officer

Improving Participation – Inclusive Digital Practice Toolkit

Teaching Essentials Toolkit

The “Inclusive and Accessible Practice (IAP) Project”, brought together expertise from Learning Services’ Assistive Technologies and Learning Technology Development Teams (John Haycock and Martin Baxter).

Both Martin and John have come-up with a Toolkit for staff, supporting them in the production of inclusive resources.  The aim is to enable all students to participate equally with digital content whilst studying.  The Toolkit is called “Inclusive Digital Practice”, and is a collaboration between Learning Services and the Centre for Learning and Teaching, John Bostock (Senior Lecturer in Teaching & Learning Development).

Student studying, Edge Hill and Learning Services logo.

Within our student groups it is increasingly likely that some will have a disability or learning difficulty.  According to our records, approximately 14% of our students disclosed a disability, the true numbers are likely to be higher, as some students prefer not to disclose a disability, or they may just want to keep it hidden.

The toolkit provides support for staff in creating teaching and e-learning materials that are accessible and inclusive by design; describing some of the steps for adopting an inclusive practice, how to achieve them and instances (case studies) where good practice is already taking place at Edge Hill University.

The Inclusive Practice Toolkit is made up of the following resources;

Want to learn more about the toolkit?

Visit the Learning Edge “Staff” tab, and the Inclusive Digital Practice panel at the top of the page.Learning Edge Staff Tab displaying the Inclusive Practice Panel.Adopting an inclusive approach and producing ‘barrier-free’ learning, gives everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances, the chance to study at higher levels of education (Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Higher Education as a route to Excellence).

John Haycock Profile.

 

 

John Haycock
Learning Support Officer (Assistive Technologies)

 

Martin Baxter Profile

 

 

Martin Baxter
Learning Technology Development Officer

 

Do you have a story to tell about your Inclusive Practice?  Let us know, click the linkMy Inclusive Digital Practice.  We want to share good practice so that more people can learn about it.

Getting Your New Course Ready: Three Things to Remember

Many of you will be getting your Learning Edge courses ready for the 2017-18 academic year, so here are three things to hep you.

1. Don’t copy Turnitin dropboxes

The Blackboard ‘Course Copy’ tool can be used to copy a whole course over, but we’d recommend that you take a moment to consider what you need to copy over. Turnitin dropboxes should never be copied over. They are linked to a particular area, and if they are copied to a new area it could potentially lead to loss of data.

A Turnitin dropbox link

If you are using the Course Copy tool, you need to avoid copying areas with Turnitin dropboxes in, for example the ‘Submission Dropbox’ Content Area.

Submission Dropbox link

2. Release the course to students when you have finished

Course areas are hidden from students by default. If you see the message ‘Course is unavailable to students’ at the top left of your course, you still need to make it available.

Course is unavailable to students message

To make it available go to Control Panel > Customisation > Properties.

Properties link

Under ‘Set Availability’ set ‘Make Course Available’ to ‘Yes’, then click the ‘Submit’ button.

Set Availability options

3. Consider how you can make your resources and practice more inclusive

It is important to consider the needs of all our students when creating online resources, and planning for the new year. On the Learning Edge ‘Staff’ tab, there is now an ‘Inclusive Digital Practice’ section, linking to resources on this topic.





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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Learning Edge – Successful Upgrade!

The scheduled summer upgrade has been completed successfully and you can now login to Learning Edge as normal.

The upgrade introduces a number of improvements, which we hope you will like!

You can follow this link to learn more about the new features, including a major product update to Turnitin called Feedback Studio.

Please Feedback

Contact the Learning Technology Development team to share any queries or comments you have regarding the upgrade – leave a comment below, email ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk or call 01695 650754.

Turnitin Feedback Studio – Coming Very Soon!

This summer’s upgrade to Learning Edge (due on Monday 24th July 2017) includes a major product update to Turnitin called Feedback Studio which significantly enhances the experience of staff and students when accessing essay papers in the document viewer.

Feedback Studio offers all the functionalities of Turnitin, including Originality Check, GradeMark, QuickMarks, voice comments, rubrics, etc., but with a simplified, more intuitive and responsive interface with significantly improved usability on the mobile devices. This should offer greater ease of use and speed for staff when grading and commenting and for students to interpret similarity scores and receive feedback.

You won’t need to do anything, the change will happen automatically, and we will blog again with more details once Feedback Studio has gone live.

In the meantime you can use the following resources to become familiar with all the new enhancements

View the Turnitin Feedback Studio Walkthrough video (2:56)

View the Comparison of Feedback Studio and Turnitin Classic video (4:24) 

Try the Turnitin Feedback Studio Demo

View this 1 page guide to the Feedback Studio interface
(produced by colleagues at the University of Reading), which gives a simple visual summary of all the new features you’ll need to know about.

Adrian Cain
Adrian Cain
Learning Technology Development Officer

Learning Edge Upgrade July 2017 – What’s coming this summer

This summer, Blackboard will be upgraded to include a number of new & exciting features!

The upgrade will take place from Sunday 23rd July 2017 (2:30 pm) until Monday 24th July 2017 (2:30 pm).  During this time, please note that the VLE will be unavailable.

We are busy testing all of the new features and if successful these may include:

Mobile Access – More Responsive Design

This release includes a new theme that provides a more modern look and feel (colour, font & spacing enhancements) and it significantly increases the responsiveness of the interface for small devices.  This upgrade feature will improve accessibility and functionality with the Blackboard Instructor App which is coming soon!

Assignment Submissions

Drag & Drop

Students:  Can drag & drop files to upload when they submit assignments instead of using the ‘Browse my Computer’ option!

Staff: Don’t forget staff can host content files in our digital repository – eShare!

Submission receipts

Administrators & Module/Programme Leaders can keep track of all student submissions, regardless of whether the attempt or assignment is deleted or the submission history is changed. A submission receipt is captured at the time of submission and includes information such as attached file information, date, time, etc.

A receipt is generated for each group member when a student submits on behalf of the group.

When students submit assignments successfully, the Review Submission History page appears with information about their submitted assignments and a success message with a confirmation number. Students can copy and save this number as proof of their submissions.

You can also email submission reminders to students and members of groups who have missing coursework!

Turnitin Feedback Studio

This will provide both staff and student enhancement highlights – more details to follow in another post.

 Online Collaborate

Course tool links to ‘Blackboard Collaborate Ultra’ are now available. This offers a new interface & more functionality than the previous ‘Blackboard Collaborate Scheduling Manager’ tool link.

Library Support and Resources

My Library tab content refresh based on feedback from staff & students & transition from Rebus to Talis Aspire (coming soon) which will bring a more intuitive interface, dashboard for staff, & potential for deeper / more granular integration with Blackboard in the future.

 Course Activity Reports

The Course Activity Overview report has been updated to improve the experience for larger enrolment courses. You can filter the report and break down the calculations of student activity by course groups.

For the full list of new features please refer to the release notes here.

Once we have successfully tested these features we will keep you updated!

Did you know…….   Learning Edge Baseline and Course Templates have been updated? Info and guides are available on the staff tab:

2017-18 Baseline: http://eshare.edgehill.ac.uk/6892/

Guide to the Baseline and Course Templates: http://eshare.edgehill.ac.uk/11183/

Feel free to email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions.

 

 

 

Leah Wilson 
Learning Technology Development Operations Coordinator

Curious and Creative – Learning Services celebrate Learning at Work Week 2017

Learning Services are always looking for innovative ways to increase engagement in staff development activities. We have a large and diverse team of staff and we are keen to ensure we provide opportunities for everyone to get involved and learn something new.

This year we celebrated national Learning at Work Week within our department. 198 places were booked on 20 different events over the week, and 65 members of staff engaged in our online course DigiQuest in the six weeks leading up to Learning at Work week itself.

Throughout Learning at Work week, we ran a fantastic and varied programme of events around the theme of ‘Curious and Creative‘. These included a session on Makerspaces in libraries, where staff explored technologies such as Raspberry Pi and Google Cardboard, a workshop on how to create a GIF from scratch and a session on using the more advanced features of Instagram. Staff also took part in a digital treasure hunt using the app Actionbound, learnt how to use their phones to create a stop motion animation, explored a virtual reality version of the plans for our new building, and discovered accessibility features on Apple devices.

Six weeks prior to the official Learning at Work week, we released our online course DigiQuest to Learning Services staff. The aim of this online course was to increase Learning Services’ staff confidence and skills in using a variety of digital skills for both personal and professional use. Staff took part in a variety of digital tasks over the six weeks and those who completed the course were placed in a draw to win a prize!

The week ended with a collective break, where staff came together for a cup of tea and a biscuit, celebrated the prize winners of DigiQuest and joined in with our game to guess the merged faces of library staff!