Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Your Chance to Evaluate Tablet Devices

As we all continue to experience the government’s austerity measures, the evaluation and acquisition of new technologies can sometimes fall by the wayside. If only there was a way that learning providers could access a collection of cutting-edge pieces of technology to evaluate their relevance and suitability to support business objectives...for free?!

Well, due to the recent success of our mobile technologies project we have elected to once again provide a similar opportunity to all sectors in a new initiative, our Tablet Devices Project.

For this project we are now looking for learning providers who wish to explore a variety of popular tablets devices and to see how these might benefit their own organisation. There are six brands of tablet devices available, each with differing features and specifications. This is to offer providers the opportunity to evaluate a number of sizes, specifications, and models.

Learning providers will be able to loan a set of five different devices for a period of six weeks. During this time you are encouraged to use them with staff and learners and at the end of the period feedback your findings to us via a short survey. RSC staff will support you throughout the duration of the project and via our usual support channels and answer any queries you may have about the devices.

At the end of the period, the tablet devices must be returned to us. At that stage we hope you will be better informed as to their potential and perhaps in a position to make your own purchasing choices should you wish to do so.

Who can apply?
This initiative is open to all of our supported learning providers; all that is required is a willingness to see what tablet devices can do for you, and to complete a short survey at the end which will be used to feedback your findings.

Where can I find out more?
A wiki page has been created to offer further information about the project. Here you can find out more about the aims of the project, which devices are available, how to apply and how to gain access to a number of tools and resources to support you during your evaluation of the equipment.


Related Wobble links:

Lessons Learned - Learning Journey Made Mobile
Using Tablet Devices in Learning, Teaching and Education
Alternatives to the iPad

To read more of Wobble click here.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

New LSIS Leadership in Technology Grants

LSIS have made more funding available to support the deployment of technology in the Further Education and Skills Sector.

They are inviting bids up to a maximum of £6,000 from learning providers for project grants for technology based improvement interventions. The grant is designed to support providers who identify a particular improvement that can be tackled through the innovative use of technology and organisational development. The scheme aims to use sector expertise and best practice through mentoring, coupled with support from targeted LSIS Technology for Success programme activity.

To qualify for the grant organisations are required to:

  • Identify a particular area for improvement that can be tackled through the effective deployment of technology.

  • Identify the change management that needs to take place to embed effective practice and show how this will be part of the organisational improvement strategy.

  • Select a mentor from another organisation.

The LSIS LIT grant based intervention is only open to organisations in England whose primary function is as a provider of further education and training. Eligible providers will be SFA/YPLA funded organisations.

Please see the guidelines and application form on their website for full details.

The deadline for applications is 12.00pm on Monday 26 September 2011.

Supporting documents:

LIT Grant Guidance document (PDF, 173KB)
LIT Application Form (DOC, 222KB)

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Why Students Love Technology

Some very interesting facts and figures showing how today's students engage with technology...

Students Love Technology


To read more of Wobble click here.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Prezi Meeting for Working Together

I shared a post recently from a library that had used Prezi to share information relating to their use of Facebook and add some zing to their presentations. I’ve since discovered that Prezi now has a feature called Prezi Meeting which allows a number of students (or staff) to work together to produce presentations in this exciting format.

Prezi is a popular, free web-based presentation application and storytelling tool that uses a single canvas instead of traditional slides.

Rob Newberry, the Director of Education Technology at Chatsworth International School has been using Prezi for a while now. So rather than me outlining the benefits myself, here’s what Rob had to say after using Prezi Meeting with his students in the classroom:

“ …Prezi Meeting allows students to work with students in other classes, and then other schools, ultimately work with students in other countries around the world.

Prezi is nothing new for Rob: as a teacher he finds it ultimately engaging – the way information is laid out makes it so much more accessible. Similarly, the fact that it is collaborative, can incorporate multimedia, and lends itself nicely for embedding in student’s ePortfolios make it a very powerful tool for organization, presentation and displaying learning. After having used it for a few weeks, Rob thinks the best part of Prezi Meeting is that after one invite – that Prezi is always collaborative. He doesn’t need to keep inviting students to collaborate, and once they invite each other – they are collaborators forever. ..”

There’s a video on the Prezi website that shows how it works, and an introduction embedded below.

For anyone who is trying to move people away from powerpoint, but has not yet tried Prezi, see what's great about it here.

To read more of Wobble click here.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Using Tablet Devices in Learning, Teaching and Education

David Massey has recently published a very good article on his blog that nicely outlines some of the many benefits of using tablet devices in education.

Looking specifically at the new HP TouchPad, the following are just a few of the benefits he has noted:
  • Delivering presentations (either using the tablet to view the slides as you face the audience or class and could be used to display a presentation script)

  • Recording attendance (quick mobile method of recording attendance instead of using a traditional paper form, tracking spreadsheet or other electronic tracking system)

  • Use to display a variety of content to learners in order to demonstrate, explain concepts or use questioning within subject area, for example, like traditional flash cards

  • Acts as an extension to the main computer, allowing you to continue to access files, resources and other content on the tablet when away from the computer

  • Access Learning Management Systems (such as Moodle) as you continue to move around classroom or through learning areas and rooms, allowing you to conveniently check progress, assign tests and due to the mobile portable form factor discuss aspects whilst with the learner if carrying out a review.....

There are more noted in his post which can be accessed here.

He also notes that:

"...In terms of accessibility, due to a disability or other difficulties, then the TouchPad tablet is flexible in being able to resize the on-screen keyboard to your own preference (extra small, small, medium or large) or alternate between settings depending on the task being carried out."

This is exactly why we have included the new Apple iPad in our collection of Try Before you Buy kit (Currently available for loan!).

For work based learning in particular, David notes that :

"...tablets can be used in all sectors of education, whether primary, secondary, post-16 or workplace learning. Especially convenient for training and assessing in the workplace for recording actions of the learners whilst being able to move around with it, due to its space saving size and form factor. It is also a useful flexible tool for assessment purposes and to record progress, as the included camera could be used for evidence purposes, where as compared to using traditional methods, you would need to use a computer, which is probably away from the required work area, separate camera and then upload pictures to record assessment evidence."

He concludes...

"...Over recent years, tablet devices have become a popular new market area and in the future I believe they will continue to grow further for general use as well as within specialist areas such as learning, teaching and education."

I agree, and recommend this article as useful background reading to anyone wondering why tablet devices are creating a buzz in education.


Related Wobble links:

Learning Journey Made Mobile Report - This looked at how several learning providers had used tablet devices in the West Midlands Region

Learning Technology Loan - New Devices Now Available
20 Free Apps for the IPad
20 Useful Android Apps for Students
Alternatives to the iPad

To read more of Wobble click here.

Monday, 1 August 2011

Facebook for Libraries (and others)

A colleague shared this presentation with me earlier, which outlines some of the things to consider when using Facebook in libraries. The same hints and tips could also apply to most other education providers who are considering or already using facebook so I've shared the presentation below.

I love the format of these type of Prezi presentations and think this one in particular gets the points across very well.

If you want to have a go at creating your own, click here.

PS If you're an existing facebook user, why not add us as a freind? Find us here.

To read more of Wobble click here.