Digital playground

Tagged: Apps

LITEbox Event: 5x5 Technology Showcase - October

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📥  LITEbox Event

Date: Wednesday 19 October 2016 
Time: 1.15pm - 2.05pm
Venue: CB 4.16

To sign up and reserve a space, email

Due to the success and positive feedback from the last technology showcase of the same style, this event is being re-run in September 2016 with new presenters. Come along to this session to see 5 short snippets of different technology around campus which can help improve your teaching practice and improve the student experience.

Each presenter will be given a maximum of 5 minutes to present, followed by up to 5 questions from the audience, to provide an overview of their use of each technology around campus. The topics are:

Weekly online quizzes - Dr Mirella Di Lorenzo
Find out how using time restricted weekly online quizzes can help provide feedback and motivate large cohorts with their learning

Prezi - Dr Carmelo Herdes
Prezi is online presentation software which acts as an alternative to PowerPoint. Find out how Carmelo uses it to enhance his teaching

MOOCs in teaching - Dr Momna Hejmadi
MOOCs contain a large amount of information online, but you have you ever thought of incorporating MOOCs into your teaching? Learn from Momna's experience and see what could suit you

Infographics - David Stacey and Lis Wallace
Have a crash course in infographics from David and Lis to learn good practice and how infographics can be made

An app for audio feedback - Dr James Betts
This app connects to Moodle and allows detailed audio feedback to be given at the marker's own convenience


Social media app to help students learn from each other


📥  Case Studies

Staff involved
Keith Brown, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Julie Letchford, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Albert Bolhuis, Dept of Pharmacy and Pharmacology

What technology is being used?

Second year MPharm students are currently trialling a Social Media App called ‘Study-Space’ that has been developed in the department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology as part of an Alumni Fund project. Designed to complement a programme unit, it provides a collaborative environment to help students learn from each other.

The current small-scale trial started in February and is restricted to undergraduates studying PA20024, and a handful of teaching staff. The app is being actively used with two or three posts daily. 57% of the cohort have joined the forum so far, the vast majority of posts have been done anonymously.

The app is available for iOS, Android and in web browsers

The app is available for iOS, Android and in web browsers

If you would like to know more about this app, please contact Keith Brown:


Audio feedback made easy with an app

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📥  Case Studies

Dr James Betts, Department for Health, uses an app on a tablet to provide audio feedback to his students. Students upload their coursework to Moodle, which are then transferred to the app. James can view the student's work and provide detailed feedback as well as a mark at his own convenience. This data is then sent back to Moodle where the students can see their mark and detailed feedback.

Please watch a short video below, which includes a short clip of James using the app.


If you would like to learn more about technology for learning and teaching, get in touch at



Using tablets and other technology in research-inspired teaching

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📥  Event Review

Dr Kit Yates shared his experiences of using the media to publicise research, research inspired teaching, and also using iPads in class for teaching. A brief write up is below, and you can also download the full presentation for more detail. A recording is available to watch now.

Public engagement

Public engagement focused on your own specific research has the benefits of allowing you to:

  • become more familiar with your own research and being able to explain it engagingly and in an easy to understand way
  • think about impact and then generate grant applications
  • generate publicity for your work and get the recognition you deserve.

When entering into public engagement for the first time you should consider starting off small, such as Ignite Talks, Bath Taps into Science, Pint of Science, etc.

Kit spoke about his experiences of writing for The Conversation (a news site written by academics from around the world, to which the University of Bath pays a subscription), having his work covered by various journalists for different publications and even speaking on BBC radio 4’s Today programme

For more information, read a research marketing blog post titled Making headlines with research, visit the public engagement website, or talk to the press office.

Research inspired teaching

Research inspired teaching in beneficial for both students and teachers. Students have some real world context of what they are learning, begin to think like experts and develop a deeper knowledge rather than rope learning. Staff can then give more engaging and interactive lectures, while also being able to reflect further on their own research while learning from students.

Flipping the problem class

Intended learning outcomes of the unit were out of line with what was actually being delivered, and the material taught didn't fully align with summative assessment.

Rather than running through problems and pre-written code in class, pre-recorded solutions with audio feedback were recorded with an iPad were put onto panopto/Moodle for students to learn in their own time. This then allowed Kit to construct code from scratch in the face to face sessions, in a much more engaging and useful way to teach the students coding.

Dr Kit Yates discusses how and why he changed his mathematical biology problem classes to focus more on the act of coding, inspired by a combination of flipping and apprentice model approaches.

Dr Kit Yates describes how he recorded his working through problem solutions on a tablet as an online resource to replicate some of the advantages of the live session over the solution sheet.


Lecturing with an iPad

Lecturing with an iPad is the alternative to using white/blackboards, visualisers or slides, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Dr Kit Yates reflects on his experience of using iPads in mathematics lectures as part of a trial to provide his pros and cons for their use.

Advantages of lecturing with an iPad:

  • Lectures can be uploaded quickly
  • Can efficiently switch between media
  • Can quickly back reference previous sections or lectures
  • Great for large lecture theatres as the text is always readable
  • No focussing problems which can occur on visualisers
  • No moving sheets up and down, so students can follow easily
  • Facilitates flipping
  • All the features of pen and paper, and many more (colours, highlighters, etc.)

Disadvantages of lecturing with an iPad:

  • Requires (lots of practice)
  • Set up is difficult and requires time each lecture
  • Lots of gear needed: iPad, HDMI/VGA adapters, styles, case, etc.)
  • Doesn't get significantly better feedback from students
  • Need a special pen/stylus for optimum writing

Kit uses an app called GoodNotes to write on. His iPad is connected to the first projector, and then also syncs the document to his laptop which projects the previous page onto a second projector. This means students can see the current page which Kit is writing as well as the previous page. In University Hall there is Apple TV which means he can wirelessly connect his iPad allowing him more mobility in lectures.

Kit's setup for using an iPad in class

Kit's setup for using an iPad in lectures

Student feedback on the use of the iPad is varied, but the iPad is generally considered to be no worse than black/whiteboards or visualisers. A selection of feedback received is given below:

“I don't think the use of the iPad enhanced learning.”
“I like the iPad with the two screens showing old and new material.”
“I prefer the iPad/visualiser as white board pens are usually quite low on ink.”
“No preference.”
“Prefer whiteboards – if I fall behind I know it will still be somewhere on the boards.”
“Standing up and writing on the board is more engaging.”


Technology Showcase

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📥  Case Studies, Event Review

On 19 February, four short presentations took place followed by a poster display. This event showcasing the use of technology within learning and teaching from different staff across the University gave the attendees an opportunity to share and discuss ideas, and was very well received.

"It was great to see the excellent work going on that we can all benefit from."

You can watch a recording of the presentations in case you were unable to attend the event, and read a summary of each of the presentations below.
Annotations on a tablet - Tim Lawrenson
Tim Lawrenson asks students to perform, record and send him a video of an activity in their own time, and then during class time uses a tablet to annotate over still or slow motion clips. This allows the students to see common mistakes, and also have instant feedback on their technique. There is very little problem with technology, however sometimes the filesize of the student videos can be too large for email.

The annotation app used is called Hudl Technique.

Tim Lawrenson discusses flipping his teaching on the BSc Sport and Exercise Science.

App Factory - Keith Brown
Due to a last minute space opening up, Keith Brown stepped up to present his development. He is developing apps for teaching and learning, and has implemented the App-Factory. This is an is an easy to use authoring system that has been used to deliver apps to students. Typically, app content includes slideshows, videos and quizzes. Student evaluation indicates that the apps have been well received by students. There was a great amount of interest in the App Factory both during the event and within feedback for the event.

For further information please see Keith’s blog, and if you are interested in making an app for your course then please email Keith directly at

The App Factory

Student projects - Rob Hyde & Alan Hayes
Final year computer science projects are set by Alan Hayes and Rob Hyde, who is effectively a customer to final year students. Different projects are set as tasks for students to give them some experience in this type of project, and developing something could have a real impact around campus. Example projects include a radio recorder to assist corporate comms, individual room timetables for each teaching space to be displayed outside the door, and a services dashboard for BUCS services.

If you would like to find out more, or suggest a project, please email either Rob Hyde at or Alan Hayes at - Robin Shields
Robin Shields gave a live demonstration of free to use software called, which he has developed himself. Questions at the end were submitted via the attendees' devices and appeared at the front of the room for all to see.

Features of include:

  • embedded media
  • powerpoint import and .pdf export
  • audience response
  • remote control, including annotation

Find out more on the website.

Demonstration of features on


12 Apps of Christmas

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📥  New Technology

A4 12 Apps Leaflet image (1)


Regent's University London is running a fun and free online program to learn about new apps, starting on the 1st December. Each day you can spent 10 minutes of your time to learn about a new app, and how it can help your teaching and supporting of students.

Each day this blog post will update with an overview of each new app.

For the twelve working days of the program, each day will offer a new task with instructions on a different app, tailored suggestions of how to use the app with your students, and how it can work effectively in a professional context. Course material will be left up so if you miss a day then you can easily catch up.

Follow on Twitter with #RUL12AoC, and enroll on the course on the Open Education Blackboard.


  1. - easy audience interaction for presentations, accessible via web browser or an app
  2. Instagram - share and discover videos and photos on specific topics by using hashtags; also has the ability to comment for further discussion
  3. Evernote - collect, tagg, and organise content on the cloud, with a robust mobile app and significant desktop functionality
  4. feedly - automatically bring news, articles and other resources from across the web into one location on a desktop or smartphone
  5. Tayasui Sketches - Draw doodles, diagrams, or annotate over pictures from phone or tablet, which you can easily share online
  6. WhatsApp - a peer collaboration app to share text, images and audio to individuals or groups of people
  7. Periscope - interactive live streaming app which can be used for campus tours, library inductions, practical demonstrations, and much more
  8. RefMe - a simple online and mobile tool to create citations, reference lists and bibliographies, you can even just scan a bar code
  9. Trello - an app and browser based collaboration tool for organising projects and ideas into lists, showing progress, comments, attachments, checklists, and due dates
  10. Pinterest - allows you to pin content to different boards, as well as easily discover and browse content which others have posted
  11. Animoto - easy video production via app or desktop, by adding images, videos, text and choosing a theme
  12. Elf Yourself - create a video of you and 4 friends as Christmas Elves... Enjoy!

Do you have an app which you use in your teaching? Let us know in the comments below.


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