360 Degrees of Learning Potential!

Just recently we acquired the Giroptic 360cam to explore the potential of 360 cameras and how they might be used in HE to help enhance the student learning experience. Even within the first week of getting to grips with the camera we had already identified many possibilities in which it could impact and enhance teaching and learning within the institution (covered further on in this post).

So “what are 360 Cameras” I hear you say?

Well, 360 cameras allow you to capture a 4k photo and/or video in a spherical format where a view in every direction is recorded at the same time, shot using an omnidirectional camera or a collection of cameras. During playback the viewer has control of the viewing direction like a panorama, a form of virtual reality. There are a growing number of 360 degree cameras on the market today, here within the LTD team we have the Giroptic 360cam (shown below).

360cam

Hosting any 360 media is straight forward, there are many free multi-platform services that let users upload and share any captured images and videos from the 360 camera. One of the biggest highlights for the 360 camera is the announcement that YouTube now supports 360 degree videos. You may have possibly seen some of these already, but did you know there are two different viewing experiences? If you view a 360 video on a laptop or desktop computer you will be able to navigate the scene by clicking and dragging around the video, or by using the directional arrows that are overlaid in the top left-hand corner of the screen.  However, if you view a 360 video on your mobile device you will be able to pan your device up, down and all around the video like you would with a virtual reality headset or Google Cardboard.

Take a look at the example below from the BBC. Try viewing it on a laptop as well as on a mobile device to get a feel for how each one works. Once you are done, check out the 360 Video channel on YouTube for more examples.

BBC 360cam Demo

So how can I use 360 Media in my Teaching & Learning?

If you are interested in using the 360 Camera, here are just a few possible Teaching & Learning scenarios we’ve come up with to help you get thinking about!

Workshops, Coaching & Observations: Using the power of this media could potentially support instructional coaching and teaching as a reflective tool to help analyse performances within an array of situations.

Performing Arts & Sport: Concerts, sports, theatre performances could take on a decidedly different form when the whole event can be viewed in 360 degrees. With the use of a 360 camera within any centre stage while students were performing scenes from a play or taking part in an event. Students could replay their performances in a way that was never previously possible to enhance their learning experience.

Virtual Field Trips: This is perhaps the most obvious example and in many ways it may be one of the most powerful. Using a 360 camera on a field trip could be used in a variety of ways for discussion and evaluation purposes.  In terms of accessibility It could also be useful as a tool for students who may not be able to attend field trips because they were absent or because they had a physical disability that prevented them from attending.

How can I get my hands on this Tech?

Feel free to email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or phone us on Ext 7754 if you are 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!

Mark WilcockMark Wilcock

Learning Technology Development Officer

Learning Technology Highlights: October 2016

Lynda.com Logo
All Edge Hill University staff now have access to the Lynda.com video training library. You can use it to help you develop your skills in areas as diverse as music, social media marketing, animation and Office 2013.

This resource would cost you over £300 per year if you paid yourself, so it is well worth a look. We have a guide to logging into Lynda.com, should you need help.

If you think that it would be a useful resource to use with your students, get in touch with us at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk. We have limited student accounts, and need to keep track of use, but we can provide you with guides and support as you and your students learn to use the resource, and to help you integrate it with Blackboard.

Plickers logo
We saw the first use of the Plickers sets that we laminated this month; Sarah Wright used them with a group of students.

Plickers are another option when you are choosing student voting systems. Students respond to a multiple choice question by holding up a code card, and they can rotate the card to select their response. The lecturer/facilitator uses an app on their phone to detect the responses.

You might want to use Plickers instead of online solutions like Kahoot:

  • where you do not want to expect all students to have a charged mobile device
  • when you do not want students to have their mobile devices switched on
  • in locations without a wireless network

If you want to know more or use Plickers with your students, get in touch with us at ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk.

Box of Broadcasts logo
Box of Broadcasts (BoB) has returned from its summer redevelopment, and as of October 31st you should find all the features that you are used to, including embed code for the videos so that you can embed them in Blackboard.

BoB makes it easy for staff and students to request the recording of programmes from the TV and Radio, to access and share those recordings, and to access millions of other recordings that have been made using the service.

Our Box of Broadcasts guide should help you get started, as will the BoB video tutorials.

Qwickly Attendance: Call for Early Adopters

Qwickly Early Adopters Pilot

It was only a few months back when we introduced the new update for Qwickly Attendance (online Register System) to our 2016 Learning Edge Summer Upgrade. Many of you attended the staff development sessions we delivered back in August and the feedback we’ve received about the new features has been superb . Though many of you might already be using Qwickly Attendance to simplify, manage and monitor student attendance. We’d like to invite you staff to join our Early Adopters Pilot for Qwickly Attendance (click to open pilot brief).

Over the next few weeks we are looking for staff to join this pilot! All staff involved will receive close support from the LTD team to work with you and explore how it can improve your register workflow and provide you with all the training and support you’ll need along the way (either group or 1-2-1).There is not preference if you have starting using the tool or simply just thinking about starting to use it in your course or programme.

What are early adopter’s committing to?

In return for participating in the pilot you will be asked to provide feedback on your experience and the technology in Janurary 2017. We’re hoping your suggestions will provide product feature enhancements! Your feedback will also be shared with colleagues across the University. Exampling how it was used and what impact it had for staff and students.

So how to get involved?

Email: ltdsupport@edgehill.ac.uk with the subject line: ‘Qwickly Attendance Early Adopter Project – Expression of Interest’ & provide the following details in the body of your message:

  • Name
  • Faculty
  • Department
  • Programme Area

We really hope to hear from you soon! Feel free to email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or phone us on Ext 7754 and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions or just get in touch if you would simply like to know more!

Mark WilcockMark Wilcock

Learning Technology Development Officer

Digital Productivity for Health & Social Care Staff

DPL

This month the Faculty of Health & Social Care (FoHSC) – with the added support of their Senior SOLSTICE Fellow (Laura Taylor) – introduced a brand new resource to provide its staff with the latest in e-learning tools and resources to help deliver ‘technology enhanced learning’ to its students.

The Digital Productivity Lab is a quiet work space for all FoHSC staff that gives access to every available e-learning resource within the institution, including the provision of audio and video peripherals. Located next to the main reception within the faculty building, the lab offers services exclusive to both academic and support staff within the faculty. FoHSC staff can either book the lab to work independently or to schedule private bespoke 1-2-1 sessions with one of their Faculty Learning Technology Development Officers (LTDOs).

The Digital Productivity Lab currently offers all FoHSC staff a shared platform to….

  • …the latest technology enhanced learning software to build engaging and exciting learning resoruces (Panopto, iSpring and Office Mix).
  • …an array of multimedia and HD recording equipment (both audio and video).
  • …iOS & Android mobile devices to plan and develop ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) sessions.

To help faculty staff identify key people, places and processes currently in place. Learning Services and Laura Taylor have collaboratively developed a TEL Community reference tool (see below) to support staff who wish to seek support from specific advocates and enablers.

TEL Community FOHSC

Booking*

Bookings* for the lab are managed by the Customer Services Team (CST) and the FoHSC LTDOs within Learning Services.

  • For independent use: Please contact the Customer Services Team (Ext 7050) via the main reception to book the lab.
  • For 1-2-1 LTDO sessions: Appointments can be arranged via email or telephone on the following:

Picture of the authorPeter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer (Undergraduate Programmes)
Ext 7749
Email: beaumonp@edgehill.ac.uk

 

Mark WilcockMark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer (Postgraduate Programmes)
Ext:7069
Email: wilcockm@edgehill.ac.uk

 

* Please contact at least one week in advance to secure your preferred time and date.

Introducing Qwickly Attendance: A Whole New Way to Create and Manage Online Registers

Online AttendanceWe know that online attendance management for Blackboard Learn has been on your radar recently. We’re very happy to announce this week a new reliable, secure and efficient online attendance platform that ticks the box (literally). Let me introduce, ‘Qwickly Attendance’.  Qwickly will enable all staff to easily record/track (and grade – optional) student attendance in Blackboard, also allowing for students to self-check-in if required.

attendance-gradingattendance-checking

Attendance can be recorded in the Grade Centre – Qwickly will maintain a running total of a set number of points per attendance. The attendance data is presented in one of two styles – ‘list’ that is like a traditional register, or one student name at a time. You can also change previous registrations to correct mistakes. Perhaps the most significant feature is that students can ‘self-register’ – using a dynamic and secure 4 digit code that will allow students to enrol via their phones, tablets or laptops – and within a timed window that you determine.

Here is a snapshot of the main features:

  • All student attendance data is securely stored within Blackboard Learn.
  • Automatic grading via the ‘Grade Centre’ to keep a running grade for each student.
  • Student check-in (Optional adding a generated security code or a specific time period).
  • Email alerts: Qwickly attendance can send an email to students when they are marked as absent for the day.
  • Qwickly allows students to see when they have been present and when they haven’t.
  • All data can be exported to CSV (Microsoft Office Excel).
  • Add or amend past dates to any attendance record.

We are currently developing both staff setup and management guides for Qwickly, so watch out for new guide updates over the coming weeks. Before you take the tool for a test drive in your test area, why not watch the YouTube demonstration video provided below from Qwickly to fully experience the tool.

Qwickly Attendance Demo

As we approach the end of this academic year, Qwickly hope to implement more new functions periodically. As always staff and students are the main stakeholders of these types of technology and staff input is very valuable to us in this area! We would certainly welcome your suggestions for greater functionality. So please let us know if you can identify any requirements or new features that could enhance the product to your department/course needs!

Feel free to email LTDSupport@edgehill.ac.uk or phone us on Ext 7754 and we’d be more than happy to answer any questions or just get in touch if you would simply like to know more!

Mark WilcockMark Wilcock
Learning Technology Development Officer

NMC Horizon Report – 2016 Higher Education Edition

topicsThe NMC’s Horizon Report Higher Education Edition aims to identify emerging technologies that a panel of experts think will impact on learning, teaching, and creative inquiry in Higher Education over the next five years, along with key trends accelerating adoption, and challenges impeding that.

There is a project wiki which allows exploration the creation of the report, and if you want to see how previous predictions worked out you can see the previous reports or Audrey Watters’ admirable overview.

The report contains an overview graphic which shows the topics covered this year. How you use the report will depend on your focus. I liked the ‘master set’ of technologies that the report creators had looked at as it gives a wider view of emerging technologies and strategies, and how they fit together. The Makerspaces section looks interesting; the idea of having a place that any students and staff could go and use laser cutters, 3D printers, and make things with Arduinos, seems exciting.

Have a look at the report and see what you find interesting. If there are one or more topics that anyone wants to talk about, we can easily arrange a meeting of interested minds online using Blackboard Collaborate.

Getting Started with Virtual Reality

A Google CardboardWe have a weekly meeting in Learning Technology Development where we get together to talk about things that have interested or inspired us. Recently I brought along my Google Cardboard so that the team could try out some Virtual Reality experiences.

There is a lot of interest in Virtual Reality at the moment with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR and the development of a wide range of headsets including those which use your phone as a screen and computer, and those which are standalone devices. Google Cardboard is one of those which holds a compatible phone, and is at the cheaper end of the scale as you can make it yourself, or buy it semi-assembled for less than £20.

My Google Cardboard As you can see I’ve added a velcro strap to make it hands free and Sugru to protect it from skin as it was getting used by a lot of people. A Bluetooth controller is also needed to use some Virtual Reality apps, but not all.

There is a dedicated Cardboard app for Android devices which demonstrates potential uses; I’ve looked at this in detail in another blog post. There is also a web page that you can visit to experience more experiments. The easiest way to create basic content yourself is by making Photo Spheres which newer (4.2+) Android devices can create using the default camera app. Another really good Android app to get you started is Tuscany Dive which displays a 3D environment that you can explore, and doesn’t require a controller.

As for possible uses in education we talked about ideas such as allowing new or potential students to view their rooms, or areas of campus, if they cannot access them for whatever reason. We wondered about using the headsets for Augmented Reality; the only AR example I’ve seen is the demo for a Role Playing Game. In the long term we could perhaps do some of the things that we’ve used 3D Virtual Worlds like Second Life for, such as running virtual risk assessments and role plays. Merchant et al (2014) undertook a meta-analysis of research into use of this ‘desktop-based virtual reality’ in education, which might be a good starting point to explore what has already been learned in this area.

We’re still quite a way from these technologies being ready for mainstream use; Gartner’s 2014 Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies estimates that it will be 5-10 years before Virtual Reality reaches the Plateau of Productivity. There are also many issues to overcome such as motion sickness. However affordable headsets that use devices that many of us already own, can help us develop a better understanding of what we could use these technologies for in education.

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer

Looking to the Future: The Horizon Report 2014

The Higher Education edition of the Horizon Report always comes out this time of year, and is worth a read if you’re interested in emerging technologies and their impact on teaching, learning and research.

The 2014 edition of the report is split into three sections. Key Trends looks at things like the growth of social media use and the potential to personalise online learning environments. Significant Challenges looks at things like the need for digital fluency and the challenge of scaling innovations. Important Developments looks at things like flipped classrooms and learning analytics.

On the 20th of May we’ll be doing our annual session where we present on some of the technologies and ideas covered in the report, and encourage discussion. You’ve got plenty of time to have a read before then. If there is a particular aspect of the report you’d like to focus on in the session let us know and we’ll try to include it.

If you want to join us in May, why not book on using the Staff Learning and Development Event Bookings system.

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Peter Beaumont
Learning Technology Development Officer