E-Learning Environments team blog
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    We support Staff and Students using technology to enhance teaching & learning.

    Here you'll find updates on developments at UCL, links & events as well as case studies and personal experiences. Let us know if you have any ideas you want to share!

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    Archive for the 'Websites' Category

    GigaPan

    By Domi C Sinclair, on 26 February 2015

    About a year ago, a colleague in E-Learning Environment showed me this online image tool, GigaPan. I enjoyed looking at this tool, and scrolling deeper and deeper into some stunning, extremely high quality panoramic shots. Recently I noticed that same colleague showing the tool to someone else and decided it was time I shared it with the wider community.

    At its basic level it is a great tool for displaying large images and will embed nicely into MyPortfolio, UCL’s e-portfolio system.

    GigaPan has a tagging feature, that allows you to tag details in the image that might be hidden when viewing the full image, and only become apparent when you zoom into the right location. This might be people going about their business somewhere on a busy city shot, or flora and fauna in a wild landscape. I started thinking about how this might be used in an educational context. It could be used to scan for details in a subject related shot, or perhaps as an induction activity. It could be used to find certain items in a picture,  that has been taken by the person setting the task, like a digital scavenger hunt. The aim in this would be to tag specific items, and each of these could be connected to a goal. Perhaps the person who finds the most items gets a Mozilla Open Badge or an invite to an exclusive event. It might be you are only allowed to tag one item, and once you have you are required to produce a report or presentation about it’s relevance to your subject.

    There are many possibilities and I think GigaPan presents an opportunity to get creative in how you might set tasks for students, and have some fun.

    You can explore the site yourself and generate your own ideas by visiting http://www.gigapan.com/

    BoB (Box of Broadcasts) National

    By Natasa Perovic, on 1 November 2014

     

    How are you getting on with BoB?

    Short videos on how to record programmes and create clips and playlists:

    Quickstart

     

     

    Recording a programme

     

    Creating Clips

     

    Additional features

    To access BoB, log in with your UCL user details http://bobnational.net/

    BoB user guide http://bobnational.net/faq

    Etienne Wenger-Trayner @ UCL Storified!

    By Clive Young, on 7 April 2014

    Etienne Wenger-Trayner, the keynote speaker at UCL Teaching & Learning Conference last week inspired a very active on-line Twitter discussion that had #uclteach trending for a while. Here is some of the flavour of that discussion in about 75 tweets. I used the well-known social network service Storify to create the story and timeline below from the #uclteach hashtag on Twitter.

    If you are interested in using Storify in education to collate and curate feeds from social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, try the following links.

     

     

    2014 Horizon Report finds six key trends in E-Learning

    By Clive Young, on 7 February 2014

    Every year the NMC Horizon Report examines emerging technologies for their potential impact on and use in teaching, learning, and ‘creative inquiry’ within the environment of higher education. The report, downloadable in PDF, is compiled by an international body of experts and provides a useful checklist trends, challenges and technologies in the field.

    The key trends identified in the in the short term are

    • Growing ubiquity of social media
    • Integration of online, hybrid, and collaborative learning

    Longer term trends are: data-driven learning and assessment, shift from students as consumers to students as creators , agile approaches to change and the evolution of online learning

    Key short-term challenges are

    • Low digital fluency of faculty
    • Relative lack of rewards for teaching

    More difficult challenges are; competition from new models of education, scaling teaching innovations, expanding access and keeping education relevant.

    The important developments in educational technology they identify are in the short term are

    • Flipped classroom
    • Learning analytics

    Longer-term innovations are; 3D printing, games and gamification, ‘quantified self’ and virtual assistants.

    There are useful commenatries and links thoughout. Encouraging that many of these ideas are already being implemented, trialed and discussed here at UCL.

    New assessment and feedback guides from Jisc

    By Clive Young, on 28 January 2014

    jisc-logo-206Four short guides on technology-enhanced approaches to assessment and feedback are now available from Jisc. Jisc – formerly JISC (!) – supports the use of ICT in learning, teaching, research and administration in UK post-16 and higher education. One of its activities is to run projects and produce guidance on a range of learning technology related issues.

    This latest set looks particualrly interesting and practical. The guides “are built on the experiences, approaches and lessons learned from our recent work with over 30 institutions in UK further and higher education exploring a range of new approaches to assessment and feedback“.

    The four key themes covered are:

    Also available is a summary report of Jisc  recent work in this area: ‘Supporting assessment and feedback practice with technology: from tinkering to transformation’.

     

    The rise and rise of screencasts

    By Clive Young, on 16 June 2013

    screencast_001Over the last few years we have seen a remarkable growth in the use of screencasts at UCL. A ‘screencast’ is simply a dynamic video recording of live computer screen activity. Unlike a screenshot, which is basically a static image, screencasts capture video sequences of clicks and screen changes often enhanced with an audio explanation. The audio can be captured ‘live’ or added on later.

    The method was first popularised in the 90s via the Windows tool ScreenCam (formerly Lotus ScreenCam) designed for software demonstrations and tutorials. Like all modern screencast tools, ScreenCam allowed various visual effects such as zooming, highlighting and labelling to be added. Its main advantage was ease-of-use, requiring no knowledge of video editing and soon became widely used by teachers as a way of converting of PowerPoint presentations to short movies in the the Adobe Flash format.

    In the last decade there has been an rapid growth of screencasting tools, some downloadable like ScreenCam to a PC, Mac or mobile device but many others now recording directly to the cloud so that they can be published via social media. UCL’s institutional system Echo360 (Lecturecast) includes a screencast facility as part of its lecture capture tools, allowing academics to create short videos without needing a live lecture setup. This has provided a logical ‘next step’ for colleagues inspired to move beyond conventional lecture capture, and many use cloud-based services such as YouTube and Vimeo in addition to publishing via the lecture capture system.

    Such recordings are currently being used at UCL in a number of ways, for example:

    • To ‘flip‘  lectures – i.e. pre-record a lecture, publish this material along with an associated feedback channel e.g a Moodle forum or the Lecturecast systems inbuilt discussion facilities and  use  face-to-face time to clarify and discuss issues picked up through student feedback.
    • To produce supplementary materials to live lectures.
    • To record  talks introducing and contextualising areas of study – e.g. talks to students that help to inform choices regarding their direction of study.
    • The production of materials for distance learning.

    In an earlier blog post I reviewed Davis and Hardman’s 2012 report on how short Echo 360 screencasts (up to 10 minutes) could supplement ‘conventional’ teaching such as lectures and labs. They found a number of uses, contextualisation (associated with ‘flipping’), assessment preparation and cohort-level feedback. The approach seemed to be time-saving,  students were happy with the  ‘rough and ready’ production values of scfreencasts and the project identified some difference in marks when students used the the contextualisation screencasts.

    How can you get started? For UCL academic staff with an account on the Lecturecast service the EchoCapture Personal installer can be quickly downloaded for Mac OS X and Windows 32 systems. Recordings are easy to make and edit and can then be uploaded directly to the Echo System Server (ESS) where they can, like recordings made in LectureCast equipped theatre spaces, be made available as streamed and downloadable versions.

    Other screencasting tools: For those happy to go ‘off-piste’ there are lots of screencasting tools out there, e.g. 18 Free Screencasting tools to Create Video Tutorials Some of the more common ones seem to be Camstudio, Jing, Screentoaster, Screenr and Screencast O matic. Screencasting iPads is much less easy but Screencasting Smackdown – Videos in the Classroom  lists several tools. For example the Explain Everything  app provides a useful recordable whiteboard used by several UCL colleages for freehand drawing of diagrams and equations.

    Tips and tricks: Although technically simple, good screencasting needs just a little forethought. A sensible general introduction is is Screencasting 101 – Fundamentals of Screencastin. As a follow up I rather like an amusing 10′ video by Dan Nunez, The 10ish Commandments of Screencasting.- the first of Dan’s Commandments is Hide the Goods! For a more educational focus try Quick start guide to flipping your classroom using screencasting or lecture videos . Screencasting Variety Showcase is a highly recommended recorded JISC conference session on the possibilities of screencasting by Phil Ackroyd (City College Norwich). Finally JISClegal podcasts about Recording Lectures and Screencasts  is a practical ‘how to’ also covering some of the legal, technical and accessibility issues.

    For lots more information on lecture capture innovation visit my Scoop.it site REC:all (recording and augmenting lectures for learning).

    Image by Manuela Hoffman http://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelgraphix/153725264