Gloucestershire College are crowd sourcing students to lead on important change projects across the college.
One of these projects is the student innovators blog, where students review apps. The aim of this project is to get more people at the college using and talking about technology to support learning and to build the technical skills of the students involved.
“The Student Innovators is a group of students passionate about using technology to help learning. They will be trying out apps and web tools alongside their studies and give feedback on the Student Innovator blog. They work together as a team to share their experiences so you know before you download which app is best. You are welcome to read their reviews and leave comments.” (gcstudentinnovators1415.blogspot.co.uk
Students at the college received training and support in how to write for the web. They followed a pro forma in order to review each app. This contained the following sections:
- Name of App:
- Device/s used:
- What was good about this tool?
- What was bad about this tool?
Note: I would probably also add to this, which platforms the app is available on. E.g. Android, iOS, Windows, Mac, Linux etc.
Once the posts are published on the blog, people can ask questions and post comments. The commenting feature logs people in using their Google account by default. However, people can select from a number of other online services to log in as, including WordPress, OpenID or AIM. This provides some protection from spam and other misuse, since it only allows registered users to post comments to the blog.
During term time, the college selects an ‘ App of the week’ by seeing which post has had the most views, and is therefore the most popular with students.
As part of the blogging process, students design a ‘card’ promoting the app, which is then used to advertise the ‘App of the week’ on the homepage of the college Virtual Learning Environment.
Read student posts from last year:
Although they didn’t know in advance, students who participated received the following benefits:
- open badge;
- end of year party.
However, students mentioned they would have participated regardless of these, since the learnt a lot in the process.
Positive outcomes of this project include:
- Participants gained confidence in writing and practice writing for the web.
- Participants built their digital footprint, which can help them demonstrate their skills to potential employers.
- College students could see what apps other students recommended and why.
- Anyone could post questions and comments, hence starting conversations around using technology to support learning.
This project was presented at the recent ALT-C conference in Manchester, UK.
UCL is developing a similar, student-led project and is calling for both staff and students to take part.
- We need students to volunteer to become app reviewers and bloggers.
- We need tutors to volunteer to promote this to their student; link to relevant app reviews into their Moodle courses and help with tagging.
Find out more and sign up here…