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Book review: ‘Digital Video – A manual for Language Teachers

ltss13 January 2017

This review has been contributed by Paul Sweeney, Instructional Designer, UCL Institute of Opthalmology.

Digital-Video-coverDigital Video – A manual for Language Teachers

Nik Peachey

Cost: £4.99

Format: iBook or PDF from http://peacheypublications.com/

Who is this book aimed at?

All teachers of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) also known as ELT and related disciplines of ESL and ESOL.

Anyone teaching languages to teens and adults

Questions any language teacher might ask before buying a resource book:

Will I learn something? Will it save me time? Will it become a useful addition to the (digital) bookshelf?

Answers: Yes, yes and yes

Questions for any language teacher might ask about buying an educational technology themed resource book:

Do I need a certain amount of experience in order to be able to make use of this? Or – for more advanced practitioners –  Is this only for beginners? Will I still learn something?

Answers: No, No, Yes

Why should I buy a book about exploiting digital video?

Because online video is an increasingly important part of everyday experience. Everyone is viewing and sharing more video than ever before. So what? There is also an ocean of text and images washing over us. The relevance to education is? The point is that most of us are already sufficiently empowered to deal with text and audio. Those of us who are so inclined can tweet, blog, Facebook, Instagram etc. to our heart’s content and many educators are taking advantage of a plethora tools to explore associated educational benefits. Video is different. Where to find resources (apart from YouTube)? What tools to use? What approaches to take? That is what this book offers help with.  Lots of resources, tools and techniques even the savvy may not have known about. Very practical suggestions, all linked to pedagogy and learning outcomes. There is no “tech for tech’s sake” here.

Is this only for English as a Foreign Language (EFL / ELT) teachers?

The resource reviews are more focussed on the core audience but the majority is of use to language teachers anywhere and quite a few sections of general interest to teachers of any subject where bringing video into the classroom and student creation of video offers potential.

I am less experienced with video or learning technologies. What does this book offer me?

  • Video tutorials (hosting a video online/ downloading videos / embedding videos in a webpage / muting audio / adding subtitles / creating QR codes / creating a video slideshow)NB you need to be online to access these.
  • Technical help in selecting editing tools and hosting sites
  • A clickable glossary throughout which picks up lots of the key digital terms – examples of words glossed – apps / applications / synchronous / asynchronous / target language / URL / QR code / LMS interlocutor / paradigm.
  • A good range of comprehension and creation activities to try out with step by step instructions.
  • A list of resource sites to explore.

How does this support more experienced teachers?

All of the above is useful for most audiences but experienced users can benefit from is a helpful overview to jump around easily. There are also sections on ‘cool tools’ and application reviews.

So far so positive. Any negatives?

  • For a higher education audience, the Approaches to Learning chapter (Chapter 4) may come across as simplistic although this does not detract from many of the sound points therein. The real value of the book is the tutorials, tools, sample tasks and resources.
  • The tutorial videos don’t work offline.
  • In this fast-moving environment, some of the tools and resources listed are no longer available. Three out of approximately twenty resources fall into this category.
  • Two out of the academic resources fall into this category at time of writing (November 2016) http://www.mobento.com and videosci.com. Also one of the kids resources www.videos.esl-for-kids.com

Anything else about this book?

In keeping with his frontier-gazing, guru status in some circles, the author adopted what he termed a Publishing 3.0 approach https://nikpeachey.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/publishing-30-new-model-for-independent.html. Firstly he used crowd-funding to sign up a number of guaranteed readers in advance – which also explains why there is a discreet sponsor stamp on each page.  Secondly he self-published which inevitably led to a few rough edges but for £4.99 who is arguing?

And finally

Coincidentally, this is the second excellent book on the subject produced for the EFL / ELT sector recently.  Language Learning with Digital Video (Cambridge University Press) is an excellent addition to this new field and, like the Nik Peachey book, has won an award or two.

UCL students win Jisc Summer of Student Innovation Prize

Janina Dewitz9 September 2016

Know It Wall has been announced as a Summer of Student Innovation winner, bagging £10,000 in funds to further develop their idea in collaboration with Jisc.

On 23 August, seven of the 15 Summer of Student Innovation ‘Student Ideas’ first round winners beat the competition to secure further funding and support from Jisc to develop their ideas into real products ready for market. Following a four day Jisc run ‘design sprint’ in Birmingham, the student teams went head to head to persuade the judges in a Dragon’s Den style pitch, and we are proud to announce that Know It Wall came out on top!

Know It Wall aims to make current academic research accessible to the intellectually curious public through the use of text and high quality audio-visual content. So far the team have produced 18 episodes on topics ranging from human memory to the discovery of the Higgs Boson. Team Know It Wall is planning to spend the prize money on producing video content and the development of additional features to the website.

Feeling curious? Dip right in at http://knowitwall.com !

Find out more about the project…

 


The Summer of Student Innovation is in its fourth year and is managed by Jisc. More information is available at https://www.jisc.ac.uk/student-innovation.

“The competition really does show that students are best placed to address education sector issues, and their innovative ideas are perfect for supporting learning, teaching or research”
– Andy McGregor, Deputy Chief Innovations Officer, Jisc

Have you got students with an innovative edtech idea? Digital Education Futures can provide support and mentorship.

Contact Janina Dewitz, Innovations Officer, j.dewitz@ucl.ac.uk

 

Box of Broadcasts August upgrade

Jessica Gramp3 August 2016

Box of Broadcasts TV

UCL staff and students have access to audio and video content from free-to-air TV and radio channels through UCL’s Box of Broadcasts subscription. Staff can also make clips and embed this media into their Moodle courses without worrying about infringing copyright. And unlike YouTube, the clip will remain indefinitely.

On 1 August 2016 the new Box of Broadcasts (BoB) went live with a fresh look, enhanced video quality and more powerful searching capabilities. The search now returns ordered results in a much easier to follow format.

From September, BoB will deliver a whole host of improvements:

  • A platform working across desktop, iOS and Android devices.
  • More powerful searching capabilities (using TRILT metadata).
  • Better programme coverage and a permanent archive of content from nine channels:
    • BBC1 London.
    • BBC2 .
    • BBC4.
    • ITV London.
    • Channel 4.
    • More4.
    • Channel 5.
    • BBC Radio 4.
    • BBC Radio 4 Extra.
  • Better thumbnail previews on search results.
  • Preview clips before saving.
  • Label your own clips.
  • Personalised email alerts when programmes are ready to view.
  • More detailed citation data.

Limited content and functionality during upgrade period

Throughout August some of BoB archive content and some functionality won’t be available during the upgrade period.

On 1 August you won’t be able to access your saved clips and playlists, but don’t worry these will be accessible again in September. Also, you may not be able to access some archive content broadcast before 1 July 2016. There will be some programmes in the archive available before this date but not everything.  The archive content and enhanced functionality will be restored in September, along with all the exciting new features. We apologise for any inconvenience caused during the upgrade period.

Find out more

You can now find Box of Broadcasts on their new Twitter handle @OnDemandBoB. All followers and previous tweets will stay attached to the new handle, so if you’re following us you don’t need to do anything. Just make sure you tag @OnDemandBoB in your BoB tweets, as the old handle will no longer be active.
To promote the BoB upgrade to staff and students here’s a short video highlighting all the exciting improvements.

Check out the new Box of Broadcasts

The new link to BoB is learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand.

However, bobnational.net  will redirect here so you can still use that.

Introducing the new E-Learning Baseline

Jessica Gramp7 June 2016

UCL E-Learning Baseline 2016The UCL E-Learning Baseline is now available as a printable colour booklet. This can be downloaded from the UCL E-Learning Baseline wiki page: http://bit.ly/UCLELearningBaseline

The 2016 version is a product of merging the UCL Moodle Baseline with the Student Minimum Entitlement to On-Line Support from the Institute of Education.

The Digital Education Advisory team will be distributing printed copies to E-Learning Champions and Teaching Administrators for use in departments.

Please could you also distribute this to your own networks to help us communicate the new guidelines to all staff.

Support is available to help staff apply this to their Moodle course templates via digi-ed@ucl.ac.uk.

We are also working on a number of ideas to help people understand the baseline (via a myth busting quiz) and a way for people to show their courses are Baseline (or Baseline+) compliant by way with a colleague endorsed badge.

See ‘What’s new?’, to quickly see what has changed since the last 2013 Baseline.

 

Feature Focus!

Domi C Sinclair8 March 2016

There’s a wide web out there, with lots of possibilities to be achieved by utilising the plethora of creative and helpful online tools. MyPortfolio is a great resource to pull all of this external content together, in one easily viewable and shareable space. To compliment the external tools, there is also a lot you can do with internal tools such as journals and files. Once you are happy with your page(s) you can even choose a Creative Commons License to help make your content more easily shareable, and help create a bigger impact with your work.

To see a demonstration of some of possibilities of what you can embed and create with MyPortfolio check out our Feature Focus! MyPortfolio collection.

Explore. Play. Learn.

Spotlight on Engineering’s Learning Technologists in 2015: STEAPP

Jessica Gramp9 January 2016

Learning Technologies in Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP)

In Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (STEaPP) learning technology support is provided by the department’s Learning Techologist (Alan Seatwo).  Part of this work involves assisting colleagues to explore the use of emerging teaching themes prior to the start of the MPA Programme. These sessions focus on implementing the UCL E-learning baseline, exploring classroom learning technology and using video for students’ presentation assessment and as a self reflection tool. Prevalent learning technologies in the department include the UCL Moodle Virtual Learning Environment (VLE), rapid eLearning development tools, video editing & production, cloud storage, webinars, screencasts, online surveys and classroom learning technologies, such as electronic voting handsets. In this post Alan explains how his department used learning technologies in 2015.

 

The department was already equipped with a collection of good quality video recorders and in August the department further invested in new hardware and software for video recording & editing, such as a range of camera/ mobile phone mounts, a tripod, wireless microphone and a copy of Adobe Creative Suite. In addition, streaming video and webinar platforms were explored during the organisation and delivery of a seminar by Professor Daniel Kammen and a written report was presented to the department for possible use in the future.

Doctoral student virtual presentation

Doctoral student virtual presentation

There have been no reports of teaching staff and students experiencing major issues using Moodle. Although there have been some maintenance down time from UCL networks, overall access to Moodle is excellent. Colleagues are supportive of the idea of using classroom-learning technology. Specifically, Word-Cloud was used in How to Change the World 2015; Kahoot! and Socrative were used in Policy Making and Policy Analysis; Communication and Project Management Skills; and the Vodafone – UCL Public Policy Intensive Programme. Feedback about the use of such software from colleagues and students was very positive.

UCLeXtend is a separate Moodle platform for external use. The Vodafone – UCL Public Policy Intensive Programme was granted the use of the platform to deliver the online learning elements. This enabled the department to experiment with organising and delivering online learning programmes to non-UCL users that might be useful for future use.

Vodafone UCL Public Policy Intensive Programme UCL eXtend course

Vodafone UCL Public Policy Intensive Programme UCL eXtend course

Students’ presentations were recorded, stored and made available for course assessment and self-reflection. The experience of exploring video streaming in Professor Kammen’s event enabled the process of screencasting, video recording and webinars to be refined. The average turn around time to deliver edited student presentation videos is around 24 hours after recording takes place.

Two Virtual Open Day sessions were conducted in Blackboard Collaborate (webinar software). A series of online interviews using BB Collaborate, Skype and Google Hangouts were also held with potential students.

Other learning technologies being used in the department include:

  • Opinio to support research activities in STEaPP Grant Research Funding Proposal Form, City Health Diplomacy and Science Diplomacy;
  • Articulate Storyline 2 to create two online self assessments in the undergraduate programme: ENGS102P: Design and Professional Skills 2015/16.

There have been no major issues reported by staff using Moodle to organise and disseminate learning content and facilitating discussion via the forums. The level of usage from students is also good. Data from Moodle shows that students responded to staff instructions to access learning content and submit their assignments electronically. One of the areas that can be further enhanced is the use of learning analytics, which can assist staff to identify usage trends of their designed activities and content.

Looking ahead: We are in the planning stage for How to Change the World 2016 and have two areas of focus at the moment: Online Attendance Recording and Reporting; and a Peer Reviewed Video Assignment. We are also making good progress on designing and developing an open-source learning object as part of a project funded by a grant from the UCL Centre for the Advancement of Learning and Teaching (CALT).