Using technology to improve curriculum design | @Jisc

It is sometimes easy to simply continue with a curriculum. While new programmes usually prompt a discussion on what should (or, sometimes more importantly, should not) be included, it is always useful to consider your existing curricula as well.

This article from Jisc is helpful in informing those discussions.

The process of curriculum design 1 combines educational design with many other areas including: information management, market research, marketing, quality enhancement, quality assurance and programme and course approval.

The curriculum must evolve to meet the changing needs of students and employers. It must change to reflect new needs, new audiences and new approaches to learning.

Source: Using technology to improve curriculum design | Jisc

What’s next for edtech? | @UB-UK @UniWestScotland

I wrote a piece for University Business on the future of education technology. You can read it here.

UK HE is placing a higher priority on attracting international students than ever before. Indeed, my own institution, the University of the West of Scotland, has recently been rated as amongst the top 5% of universities worldwide. While this is an exciting development it also comes with its own challenges including tailoring teaching, research and the university’s procedures to ensure a fulfilling experience. Enabling all of this is the underpinning technical infrastructure.

By Tony Gurney, Lecturer, School of Computing, University of the West of Scotland

Source: What’s next for edtech?

“Inspirational teaching in higher education” by James G. Derounian

Is there more to teaching than the Socrative method? Of course there is. Good teachers are part expert, part counselor and part showman. If you’ve caught your class yawning perhaps the following paper might help.

This article discusses the qualities of inspirational teaching in higher education (HE). It starts by arguing how topical this subject is, given emphasis world-wide on quality assurance measures, such as the UK Government’s 2016 Teaching Excellence Framework TEF. The paper then moves to review the academic and practice literature in order to outline what comprises inspirational teaching in HE institutions. These components – in the form of key words – are extracted from the literature and then tested through primary research.

Lecturers, at an English University, agreed to circulate a short survey to final year social sciences undergraduates. Fifty-two student returns from 2010 were analysed. A comparative survey of 25 undergraduates – from the same disciplines – was repeated in 2016.

Three clear elements of inspirational undergraduate teaching emerge: First and foremost, undergraduates believe it to be motivating; second, and related – inspirational teaching is deemed encouraging and third such teaching flows from teachers’ passion for their subject. The paper presents exploratory and illustrative data and sets down a forward agenda for further research to explore aspects of inspirational university teaching linked to differing cultural expectations, potential impacts of gender, age and ethnicity.

Source: “Inspirational teaching in higher education” by James G. Derounian Mr

Beyond the National Student Survey – Student Experience Company @SXManagement

Our White Paper, “Beyond the National Student Survey” outlines key principles for improving student experience. It:

Summarises the changes and discontinuities that are shaping student experience expectations.

Overviews the changes contained in the Government White Paper, “Success as a Knowledge Economy“.

Outlines ten significant problems of the National Student Survey.

Defines six key principles for defining and managing student experience.

Source: Beyond the National Student Survey – Student Experience Company

The National Student Survey should be abolished before it does any more harm | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

English: Title page from Sarah Trimmer's The G...
English: Title page from Sarah Trimmer’s The Guardian of Education, vol. I, 1802 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The annual ritual of the publication of the National Student Survey (NSS) results has triggered fevered data dissection at universities across the UK this week. But the analysis, and the subsequent press releases and poster campaigns, represent merely a stage in a continual cycle of NSS-driven activity.

Universities now run ongoing campaigns to solicit student feedback, review practice in line with student demands, publicise changes made, and promote completion of the survey itself, in order to rank highly for satisfaction in league tables. All this time and effort comes at some expense to institutions; just the cost of rewarding survey-completers with vouchers would cover a lecturer’s salary at many institutions.The time has come to review what students, and higher education more broadly, gains from this considerable investment.

Source: The National Student Survey should be abolished before it does any more harm | Higher Education Network | The Guardian

Cortana to open up to new devices and developers with Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK – Building Apps for Windows

Fancy trying to create for a digital assistant? Microsoft have release a new Skills Kit and SDK for Cortana.

We believe that everyone deserves a personal assistant. One to help you cope as you battle to stay on top of everything, from work to your home life. Calendars, communications and commitments. An assistant that is available everywhere you need it, working in concert with the experts you rely on to get things done.

We’re at the beginning of a technological revolution in artificial intelligence. The personal digital assistant is the interface where all the powers of that intelligence can become an extension

Source: Cortana to open up to new devices and developers with Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK – Building Apps for WindowsBuilding Apps for Windows

Why you should turn off push notifications right now | @WiredUK

Most students believe that they can study effectively whilst simultaneously watching TV, checking Facebook and responding to every ridiculous interruption that appears on their phone.

They can’t.

We live in an age of interruption. Ping – you have a text message. Ping – you have a new email. Ping – you have a Facebook friend request. Ping – you have a match on your online dating app. Ping-ping-ping, all day long.

A recent Gallup poll found that more than 50 per cent of Americans who own smartphones keep their phone near them “almost all the time during waking hours”. Over 50 per cent say check their smartphone at least several times an hour and 11 per cent say they check it every few minutes. And that’s just what they’re aware of and admit to – I would not be surprised if the real frequency and intensity is much higher.

Until relatively recently in our technological history we did not have a lot of content coming to our devices. Now, we have texts, all kind of notifications and what seems like an endless stream of both personal and work emails. And it’s not just our phones. How many times have you been at your computer working on something when you get an email notification? And of those instances, how often did you stop what you’re doing to look at your email, realised that it was not that important and returned to your work – after taking a few minutes to remind yourself where you were and what your train of thought was?

At this point, it should be painfully clear to everyone that we need to be worried about the interruptions economy. What value do interruptions provide, under what conditions, and what are their costs? A little ping may seem innocuous, but there is cumulating evidence that the cost of an interruption is higher than we realise, and of course given the sheer number of interruptions, their combined effect can very quickly become substantial.

Source: Why you should turn off push notifications right now

Essential Chromebook tools and apps for the classroom – @ICTEvangelist

This excellent resource from Mark Anderson is a good jumping off point if you are just starting to use Google Chromebooks. And if you haven’t you absolutely should consider them as a potential learning tool.

A while ago I created an infographic featuring 30 apps for the paperless iPad classroom. Today I’ve created a similar type of infographic but with essential Chromebook tools and apps for the classroom.

It features 18 different tools that I have used with children in my classrooms over the years that have had an impact on different areas related to learning: creativity, engagement, learning and progress.

Within the 18 different tools and apps there are lots of different types of activities you can complete using them. From managing your classroom to assessment for learning, to surveying children to creating presentations to positive engagement involving the children in your classroom and their parents and much more. There’s a lot here to unpick.If you’d like to know learn more about the tools and apps below or are interested in how you can work with me, or want to learn more about how you can utilise Google Apps for Education, Android tablets or Chromebooks in your school to assist with learning, please get in touch.

I hope you find the tools below as useful as I have.

Source: Essential Chromebook tools and apps for the classroom – ICTEvangelist

How to write a novel: 6 writing apps & inspiration apps – @MacworldUK

This article from Macworld is focused on writing novels but is just as helpful if you are writing any medium to long form piece.

6 writing apps for iPhone, iPad and Mac that will help you start writing your novel and stay inspired until it’s finished

Source: How to write a novel: 6 writing apps & inspiration apps – Features – Macworld UK

Forget New Year Resolutions – The 1st of February is the time to set your plans for the new year.

The first of January is always a bad time to start anything new. Everything conspires to ensure that resolutions are forgotten within weeks, or even days, of the bells being rung.

Why not, then use the first of February as the date to examine your goals for the coming year.

The new year always inspires us to make changes and set goals to better ourselves and be more productive. Bad habits built up over the years can make you sluggish on the job. In order to flip the switch and make this coming year your most productive yet, you need to change your environment, eliminate your temptations, and adjust your mindset to turn bad habits into good habits. It only takes about 30 days of a new activity to create a new habit, so get started with these tips and by February, you’ll be your

Source: Make 2017 Your Most Productive Year Yet – Microsoft Partner Network