Keith's Blog

Apps for Teaching - Learning - Research

Topic: Research

Student Animations for Research Dissemination

📥  Animation, Digital Skills, Research, Skin cancer, student, Sun cream, Sunlight, Sunscreen, Technology, UVA

The one thing that gives me the greatest satisfaction is helping students to reach their full potential. Although my skill-set is vastly more technical than pedagogical, there have been a number of students that I have helped to gain some creative digital skills. Mostly developing apps and animations. Conor Eastop is a recent graduate who has been honing his animation skills over the last couple of years, which has culminated in these fantastic animations.

This example is a little different to previous projects where the focus has been on teaching and learning. This time, the artifacts have been built to help disseminate the research around sunlight and skin-cancer that is being done by my friend Charareh Pourzand, who happens to have an office next door to mine.

In this first set of videos, the emphasis is to provide some introductory materials for public health, that explain the tanning process and the dangers of UVA in particular. Further animations are planned that delve into the details a little more. For example, there is increasing evidence that current sunscreens are ineffective against UVA and our research shows that we need to find new ways to protect our skin against UVA. One such approach is to use novel light-activated compounds that Charareh has developed.

 

The Risks of UVA

 

The Problem with Sun Beds

 

How we get Tanned

 

How useful are Sunscreens?

 

Well Done Conor!

 

 

Apps for Promoting Research

📥  Apps, Mobile, Research, student

Light-Activated Sun Cream App

Small Poster Light Activated Sun Cream
May was Skin Cancer Awareness month, and on Thursday 28th May a small group from the department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology set-up a display in the Lime Tree Cafe at lunchtime.  The event was organised by the central Research Marketing team under the umbrella of 'Research Rocket on Tour' which promotes research straight to the student body.

For us, there were two specific aims:

  • to promote our research around Light-Activated Sun Cream
  • to raise awareness of the dangers of Sun-Light

In order to help achieve this aim, we decided to trial the use of app that could be demonstrated on tablets and installed on students mobile devices.

An App for Disseminating Research

I've already evaluated custom apps for teaching and learning, and discovered that this medium is very popular with students. This is hardly surprising, given that young people are increasingly using apps and mobile devices, and that they belong to an 'App Culture' that pervades every aspect of their lives.

Although we started building the app just a week before the event, it was possible to adapt both existing materials (powerpoint slides) and new material (an animation and quiz) into the app.

The new animation was created using VideoScribe. This took a couple of hours to create and was very last minute, so it still requires some refinement. However, it does clarify how our sun cream works.

The Results

The real stars were the team, who took their iPads or Android tablets and directly engaged with students. I was particularly impressed with Ali and Sharareh who mingled and promoted the app to the customers. The app provided a good vehicle that made it possible to actively engage with young people and it seemed to work really well as a promotional tool.

In all, 28 feedback questionnaires were received from students in the cafe. Most of these were completed between noon and 1pm when there was the most traffic in the Lime Tree.

Ali demonstrating the app on a tablet

Apart from anything else, there was a real buzz and excitement amongst the team. At the time, it certainly felt that the app was a success. The evidence also supports this:

Evaluation Results: Survey-Lime-Tree-2015

Although it is a relatively small sample of students, the results indicate that the team did a fantastic job promoting our research, and the main message appears to have been conveyed:

Did-the-app-increase-awareness

The Team

groupphoto2

The team from the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. From left to right:

Ali Miri, Olivier Reelfs, Kunal Tewari, Ian Eggleston, Charareh Pourzand, Sharareh Houshmandyar, Keith Brown, Ruggero Dondi

Also, many thanks to Maree Perkins from the central Research Marketing team for her support and laughter!

The Future

Dissemination of research is now a common requirement imposed by funding bodies. This is often achieved by the use of twitter, blogs or web sites. The use of apps in this context represents a new approach that could appeal to a different type of audience and extend the reach of existing provisions, both for public engagement and to enhance the international reputation of the university for world-class research.

Our Suncream app is currently only available from the internal app-store that is private to staff and students. However, the placement of apps in the global app-stores such the Apple App-Store and Google Play also represents an opportunity for further exploration and evaluation. Given that the App-Factory makes it quick and easy to create apps, I am keen to further exploit apps for the promotion and dissemination of research, both internally and externally.

Based on the success of this event, we are now aiming to repeat the experience later this year with an enhanced version of the app. Our awards winning alumni Cristina Dumitru has agreed to do produce some additional animations that will be incorporated into the app over the summer. I can't wait.

 

 

 

LITEbox Launch

📥  App Factory, Apps, LITEbox, Mobile, Research, student, Technology

How fantastic to bring together all the aspects of how we are using technology for teaching, learning and research across the university! It was good to see so many people at the LITEbox launch on Wednesday, and I really enjoyed presenting my work around apps for teaching and learning. So many people have been commenting on Cristina Dumitru's video so I've posted it for everyone to see:

My colleague Charareh Pourzand also presented our work on a Research App for Light-Activated Sun-cream which has also been causing a bit of stir. We've also now had the opportunity to talk about this app with Jane Millar and demo the App-Factory to her.

I've got a good feeling about LITEbox - to find out more go to:

go.bath.ac.uk/LITEbox

#liteboxbath

Light-Activated-Sun-Cream