Design project comment……

To aid my own thinking and approach to the design project I have just spent some time today analysing design projects from two students on the Module in 2013. The first of these was Kelly Giordano and I chose Kelly because within her context she also wrote about a desire to offer more than simply a repository or resources (PowerPoint’s, hand outs etc) and she too opted for the use of quizzes. Reading Kelly’s design rationale was useful because it made me consider the broader potential of online quizzes that I hadn’t previously. Aspects which now seem really obvious – such as using quizzes as a tool for assessment and also as an aid to monitoring participation rates (as this could potentially affect student success rates). Kelley’s rationale demonstrates an awareness and understanding of the applications and limitations of the tool and the discussion was underpinned by theoretical arguments. Kelly also alluded to how this project had influenced her thinking such that she would modify some of her teaching approaches. The rationale did leave some fundamental questions unanswered for me though. Firstly, there was an assumption that all of Kelly’s students were “digital literate” yet this statement was not explained or justified further. Second, Kelley mentioned that following the first quiz, students didn’t attempt further  quizzes but there was no explanation as to why this may have been the case or any solutions offered up.

The second design project that I looked at was the use of Socrative (Thea Furguson). The design rationale showed a clear understanding of the benefits and limitations of the tool, but in my view there was not sufficient attention or detail given to theoretical arguments which should have been used to underpin and support the arguments presented.

I have to admit I felt a bit uncomfortable commenting on someone else’s work in such a public arena but critiquing someone else’s work is actually a really helpful process for your own understanding. It is easy to comment on the positive aspects of someone’s work but less so on the areas where questions are raised. Reading and commenting on these design projects has given me lots of ideas for the application of technology tools – both the potential benefits and limitations. It has also reminded me to question my assumptions and that where I make assertions I must back them up with research or sound theory.

I hope that by making my design project and rationale public shortly, I can in the future help one or two MSc students to improve their own work through the process of unpicking mine. Oh, and I promise not to take it personally!




Design project ideas

I don’t know about anybody else but after all the intensity of mini project theorising I am looking forward to taking a breather and working on something more practical by turning my attention to the design project.

The learning activity that I choose is being designed to support Level 3 learners studying the Progression Module – a higher education preparation programme studied in year one and typically as an enrichment programme alongside A Levels or equivalent qualifications. The Module is delivered by school and college tutors with support, training and teaching and learning resources provided by the link higher education institution (AKA me for the University of Huddersfield!).  Resources are primarily in hard-copy print format, supported by an organically developing bank of online resources via a webpage.

A number of real and practical barriers exist which prevent learners interacting and participating in the Module fully as an online community. For example, because learners are under 18, it is not possible to host resources within the Universities VLE – Unilearn. In addition, because of child protection issues participating centres advise against the formation of a community group via social media tools such as Facebook (although a group was set up but never activated). Within these constraints, a webpage was deemed to be the best solution for enabling universal access to learners. Following a simple online registration process, all learners are able to access the webpage. Currently I acknowledge that the existing web based resources require further development as, in the main, they are not interactive enough. Much of the content comprises of research tools for assignments (click through links), PowerPoint presentations, video content and student case studies and student blogs.  Moving away from a behaviourist approach, the intention is to develop activities that enable learners to interact more with the content as individuals as well as collectively as a group  – even if it is only within their own setting.

At the moment therefore I am looking for simple interactive web based tools that will enable interaction and if possible a degree of interaction with others. At present I have settled on the following two technologies – Quizlet ( and Poll Everywhere ( I have played around (briefly) with both to get a feel for how they could be used to complement the Module and its delivery. Both have pedagogical value and in truth both will probably be incorporated in some way or another. For the purposes of this Msc Module I just need to decide which one to focus on for the design project. If other course participants can suggest alternatives to Quizlet or Poll Everywhere I’d love to hear about them as I am still at the exploratory stage.





Another wordle on top tech tools…

Still on my mission to gather tools to enhance my teaching practice I came across Wordle. Wordle is so so simple both as a concept and to use. There are no login details, nothing to download or install (except perhaps Java!). Wordle provides the opportunity for learners and teachers to display their ideas, thoughts, feelings –  as well as key subject terminology, in a visual way. Simple yet powerful stuff. I can already think of loads of applications for Wordle in my role and I am looking forward to using it!

Top 100 Technology Tools- oh la la!

I recently spent some time looking at the top 100 techno tools for 2014 (as discussed at our last Saturday school) and I have to say I rather enjoyed the experience. It made me feel like a kid all over again – playing around with new toys. Obviously I intend to take their application in a teaching and learning context far more seriously, but it has to be said it was great fun! I was particularly interested in the potential of Voki. See what you think by checking out my avatar here!

Task 3: Fashionably late?

Am I only remaining person in this social media dominated world who still doesn’t like talking publically about their skills, abilities and professional accomplishments? Uneasily, and somewhat reluctantly, I recently joined this social media party as a late-arriving guest.  So for the sake of this exercise and rather than repeating myself for the purposes of Task 3, here is a link to my very recently created LinkedIn Profile.

To summarise, my main skills are in education project management and education writing for publication. In devising and delivering programmes such as The Progression Module at the University of Huddersfield, I am beginning to realise that I use technology to enhance what I do and the learning of my students in many more ways than I had perhaps even thought about. I guess that is what this course is all about – getting us to think more deeply about what we do and why we do it.

Interestingly, having just reviewed my LinkedIn profile, I have made a note to myself to update it with references to my competences in the sphere of Technology Enhanced Learning. Wow: only 3 days in and I am already reaping the rewards of this course….

With regards to the party, although I’m late I am hoping that most people will be too drunk to notice. Fingers crossed that someone has saved me some buffet!

Why I’m blogging on a Saturday….

So I’d usually be up to my elbows in paint, glue, glitter and jam at this time on a Saturday afternoon, but not today. Today is the first taught day of the TEL MSc so I am engaging in creativity of an alternative nature. In exploring the possibilities of blogging I thought it timely to upload some video content – this is in part to test my technical competences but also to provide my fellow students (and any one else who cares to follow my blog) with an insight into why I’ve chosen this course.

I’m always looking for alternative ways to make The Progression Module a better learning experience for my students, and to give you an idea of what the Module is all about, here is an introduction provided through the medium of Videoscribe. I wish I could take credit for this amazing creation – but alas it was all the work of a UoH Computer Games Design placement student. Check out the video and then check out Videoscribe itself – it has so many possibilities for TEL.

The benefits of blogging….

Working at the University of Huddersfield it’s that time of year when life is starting to hot up on campus with all the new undergraduates enjoying what the fresher’s fair has to offer. This year is slightly different for me because this time round I’m also embarking on a new learning journey – albeit not as a fresh faced UG!

Setting up this blog got me thinking: I have written blogs before in a work-related capacity, but setting up this blog is different as it’s the first step towards an MSc in Technology Enhanced Learning. This blog, as far as I understand it, will be more personal as it’s to be used as a tool for recording my thoughts, ideas and learning experiences during the course.

I am hopeful that engaging in blogging in this way will benefit me in more ways than one. Firstly I’m interested to learn and appreciate the technical aspects of setting up and managing a blog. Secondly I am hoping it will prove to be a useful reflective learning tool in the context of my own academic development and practice. Thirdly, from personal application, I hope it can inform my professional practice by helping me to better understand the application of blogging and its use as a tool to enhance teaching and learning.