Digital playground

New Technology Demonstration

📥  New Technology

On Wednesday 13 May 2015, the AV Unit have arranged for Displaynote to come along to demonstrate some of their new products.

Their primary product is DisplayNote itself, which claims to offer the following features:


The second is Swoodle, which is a collaboration product.

The session will be in 6E 2.1 from 10:30 to 11:30 if you would like to come and look at their technologies.



The App Factory Project


📥  New Technology

Speaking to my Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) colleagues after the LITEbox project meeting last week, we all relished the opportunity to better disseminate our work and to discover the other work being undertaken across the university. Since that meeting I've met with some of the other participants and been persuaded to disseminate something about my project - the App Factory. Both the LITEbox project and The App Factory project have received grants from the Alumni Fund, and are effectively running alongside each other.

The App Factory Project


So far, the App Factory has taken about two and a half years, and in total has received about £25K in funding. This includes two grants from the Teaching Development Fund, one grant from the Faculty of Science Teaching Development Fund, and the latest grant from the Alumni Fund. The current system can be used to both author and deliver apps across campus. This is for iOS and Android.

The system comprises of two main parts - the App Factory and the App Centre.

The App Factory aims to deliver an easy way to make an app for iOS and Android that can be shared in the App-Centre. The software is under development with small-scale rollout planned for 2015 with a view to a more wider-scale rollout in 2016.

The App-Centre is a private app-store that is restricted to staff and students at the university, and provides a distribution mechanism for apps created using the App-Factory. The implementation is a website that is viewed in a browser and allows the user to install apps on on their mobile phone or tablet. Currently under development, the system has been trialled with Pharmacy and Pharmacology students with some success and is starting to be used by other departments in the university. I've also had interest from other universities who wish to implement a similar campus-wide system.

The project is recognised by JISC in their 2015 edition of the Mobile Learning Infokit, and has also been mentioned in the Times Higher, and features in the latest edition (March 2015) of the SEDA Magazine.

Currently, I'm running a Facebook campaign and competition in collaboration with the Students Union. The idea is to discover the types of apps that students want. We are using a Crowd-Source Funding Platform but without the funding part - basically students have the opportunity to post app-ideas and other students can vote for their favourite ideas. I've undertaken to implement the winning app for both iOS and Android, and to make this available to all students. There has been a fantastic response so far, and we have been running less than a week!. Apart from anything else, it is such good fun to get involved with students and to try to get into their mindset.  I must thank my Faculty TEL colleagues across campus for their support with this endeavour: Rachel Applegate, Geraldine Jones, Tracey Madden, Yvonne Moore, Paul Pinkney and Kevin Renfew. Also Tom Rogers in the Library who helped produce the posters, and the brilliant SU team of course!

Once the campaign is finished, we will have a clear idea of what students really want in terms of apps, and the next thing will be to employ students to build apps over the summer.

It seems to me that the LITEbox project will be successful if people contribute and collaborate. I also welcome collaboration - if you are interested in creating apps for teaching, learning, research or anything else, please drop me a line on




LITEbox set to launch

📥  LITEbox Development

A new and exciting initiative, LITEbox, is set to launch on Wednesday 6 May 2015. Supported by the Alumni Fund with two years initial funding, LITEbox (Learning Innovation Technology Environment) is aiming to provide opportunities for staff and students to learn, share, explore and develop new and existing technologies for learning, teaching and research.

The LITEbox launch, which will be streamed live to University desktops at 1.45 pm, will provide an overview of the initiative and present some examples of the types of activities that LITEbox will be supporting over the next two years together with an initial programme of monthly activities.

LITEbox has three key aims which are:

Aim 1 - Space and Technology Development: making the best use of facilities and systems

Aim 2 - Skills Development: equipping students and staff with digital skills for learning, teaching, and research

Aim 3 - Knowledge Exchange: developing Visual/Digital Methods for Teaching and Research

The LITEbox launch will also showcase some new, leading-edge technology called VIA Collage, due to be installed in the two LITEbox spaces in the coming month in addition to some examples of how staff and students are using technology to support and enhance teaching, research and skills development across the University. VIA Collage enables the creation of a virtual collaborative learning and teaching space allowing any user with a laptop or mobile device to view, edit and comment on documents real time, share files and chat with individuals or multiple participants simultaneously. VIA Collage is the only wireless solution that can show six user screens on a single main display in addition to enabling users to view the main display on their own device.

8 West 1.28


The LITEbox team, led by Rob Hyde, Audio Visual Service Manager, and Dr Jessica Francombe-Webb, Lecturer, Department for Health, has designated two campus spaces for LITEbox activities. Chancellors' Building 5.13, a 50-seater PC laboratory, and 8 West 1.28, a collaborative group working space with six work zones. There are further plans in progress to secure a third space for the creation of an Innovation Lab for staff development. A new LITEbox Officer, MEng student Tim Maulin, has been appointed and will take up post at the end of April. Tim will be supporting the LITEbox team to promote the initiative and act as an interface with the student community.

In advance of the LITEbox launch on 6 May, Professor Bernie Morley, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching) said:

"This is an extremely timely initiative and one that offers the whole institution significant opportunities to explore the potential that technology offers to enhance every aspect of our learning, teaching and research. The LITEbox team is focused on supporting staff and students to learn and share new and existing technology-related activities, which will be critical if the University is to retain competitive advantage in an increasingly tough climate. I will be taking great interest in LITEbox developments and welcome this initiative to help push our thinking and understanding of technology forward. I would encourage everyone to get involved over the coming months."

Also supporting LITEbox, Ian Robinson, Chief Executive, Students' Union said:

"Providing our student community with enhanced opportunities to develop their digital skills and explore and experiment with new and existing technologies will, inevitably, aid their future employability. Increasingly, students are having to undertake group work, group presentations and projects as part of their programmes and creating more supported learning spaces and opportunities for them to learn from each other is a very positive development. The Students' Union is looking forward to working in partnership with the LITEbox team over the next two years."


Read more about LITEbox


New technology being installed

📥  New Technology

As part of the Rolling Refurbishment Programme for teaching spaces, the LITEbox spaces CB5.13 and 8W1.28 are to have some new collaboration technology fitted.

These rooms will be equipped with a Kramer Via Collage.

The VIA Collage is a piece of technology that allows for wireless presentation and collaboration. With any laptop or mobile device, users can view, edit and comment on documents in real time, share files and chat with individuals or multiple participants simultaneously. It is the only wireless solution that can show six user screens on a single main display. Users can also view the main display on their own device. It promised to be completely platorm agnostic, and works with Android, iOS, Mac, and PC based machines.

As part of the launch event, Kramer will demonstrate some of the functions of this unit live for the audience - to highlight the possibilities.

Further information is available here:




Launch Date Decided

📥  LITEbox Development

It's with great pleasure we can announce that the launch date of the LITEbox project will be on Wednesday 6th May from 1-2pm in CB 5.13.

The programme for that day is being finalised at the moment, but will be published here soon.