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Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Twelve Apps of Christmas, The Quantified Student and More

20 apps and resources that do cool things with your social data – The Next Web

Besides the many concerns about privacy, another frequent criticism of social media is its lack of educational value. Indeed, making sense of the huge amount of data produced through social media can seem to be an almost impossible task. Building on the notion of exploring the potential for learning from and through social media, this is a fascinating list of social data analytics apps.

Twelve apps of christmas – Regent’s University London

In a promising attempt at online learning / MOOCs, Twelve Apps of Christmas aims to provide basic and advanced tips for using 12 educational apps.

Each post will contain instructions on a different app, together with tailored suggestions of how to use it with your students and how it might work effectively for you in your professional context.

The programme runs for 12 days and consists of short daily tasks taking no more than ten minutes of time, making it ideal for all of those too busy to follow a long-term course. While designed for staff at Regent’s University London, the course is free and open to everyone interested.

The quantified student – Marketplace

A day in the data-driven life of the most measured and monitored students in the history of education

Mentioned in Marieke Guy’s NetworkEd lecture last week, this fascinating infographic highlights some of the concerns and challenges of data collection in education. In addition to legitimate concerns around student privacy, we need to address the question of how we can best make use of the data available to enhance learning. Rather than seeing it as a threat, we should seize the opportunity to responsibly use technology and learning analytics to offer a more personalised and effective learning experience.

Sharing research equipment in Higher Ed – equipment.data

Too often universities view themselves as competitors in Higher Education. Focusing on collaboration instead, this laudable initiative seeks to provide a searchable UK-wide database of Higher Education research equipment. Sharing equipment can enable institutions to make more efficient use of the funds available and thus improve their overall research (and, indeed, learning and teaching) capacity.

Open education: a study in disruption – Van Mourik Broekman et al.

Does open education really offer the openness, democracy and cost-effectiveness its supporters promise? Or will it lead to a two-tier system, where those who can’t afford to pay to attend a traditional university, or belong to those groups who prefer not to move away from home, will have to make do with a poor, online, second-rate alternative education produced by a global corporation?

A free book (the full version of which can be downloaded using the link above) that seeks to critically engage with online education and its promised benefits. Especially the analysis of MOOCs in their political context makes for a promising read. We will feature a more detailed blog post on the topic in the coming weeks.

* Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

December 3rd, 2014|innovation, Roundup, Social Media|Comments Off on Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Twelve Apps of Christmas, The Quantified Student and More|

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Action Games and Learning, Openwashing and more

Open data or openwashing? – Audrey Watters

Open data is undoubtedly a hot topic, raising issues that go beyond just technology and stretch to education, privacy, human rights, transparency and many other topics. Our event with Marieke Guy today (livestream available; see also our Q&A on open data) will be touching upon some of the relevant issues when discussing open data in education.

In a timely intervention, Audrey Watters criticises the ambiguity attached to the word “open” and highlights the frequent abuse of this ambiguity for business purposes (“openwashing”):

We use “open” as though it is free of ideology, ignoring how much “openness,” particularly as it’s used by technologists, is closely intertwined with “meritocracy” — this notion, a false one, that “open” wipes away inequalities, institutions, biases, history, that “open” “levels the playing field.”

If we believe in equality, if we believe in participatory democracy and participatory culture, if we believe in people and progressive social change, if we believe in sustainability in all its environmental and economic and psychological manifestations, then we need to do better than slap that adjective “open” onto our projects and act as though that’s sufficient or — and this is hard, I know — even sound.

Is it time to start the debate about what we mean by “open” with the larger picture in mind?

Mapping Change: Case Studies on Technology Enhanced Learning – UCISA

This report (the full version of which is available here) presents case studies of institutional approaches towards technology enhanced learning across the United Kingdom. One of the themes emerging is the increasing importance of assessment with technology; an area that we will be covering in more detail on this blog in the weeks to come. Rather than just streamlining procedures and reducing administrative efforts, technology can support new pedagogic approaches and assist in improving the quality of assessment significantly. For a first glimpse into the efforts undertaken by LSE in this field have a look at our summary on LTI’s latest Show&Tell on assessment with technology.

Innovating Pedagogy 2014 – Open University

This year’s report by the Open University highlights ten trends in education for many of which technology is either an integral aspect or can enhance the learning experience. Whether learning through storytelling, massive open social learning (post the MOOC-hype), flipped classroom or any of the other trends address, the report makes for interesting reading and offers plenty of topics for further discussion and analysis.

Information and digital literacy: It’s not all about technology – CILIP Information Literacy Group

Responding to the interim report on “Digital Skills for Tomorrow’s World” by the UK Digital Skills Taskforce, LTI’s Jane Secker and Stephane Goldstein from InformAll pose a perhaps somewhat unexpected criticism. While generally praising the report and its intention, they criticise it for focusing too heavily on technological skills:

We feel that this suggests too narrow an approach to the relationship that individuals, in a knowledge-based society and economy, need to develop with information. 

Instead, they argue for a broader definition of digital and information literacies, which encompasses the skills needed to survive in the digital world:

Equipping people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and confidence that they need to search for, discover, access, retrieve, sift, interpret, analyse, manage, create, communicate and preserve ever-increasing volumes of information, whether digital, printed or oral

Headshot: Action video games and learning – Gizmag

Few of us would think of action video games as improving our learning. Perhaps even too few of us? This recent study suggests a link between action games and the development of learning capabilities. It will be interesting to observe when (and if) education seizes the potential offered by games for both learning and learning capabilities on a larger scale.

* Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

November 26th, 2014|innovation, Roundup, TEL Trends|Comments Off on Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Action Games and Learning, Openwashing and more|

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Teaching crowds, learning and sex, and more

Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

My technological dream of carpe diem – Inside Higher Ed

“What comes across is a sentimentalism of a glorious education past that is on the verge of being corrupted.”

Dan Butin’s strongly-worded response to the survey on faculty attitudes to technology in Higher Education discussed in last week’s round up makes for a recommended read. When comparing whether online learning is “better” than traditional face-to-face instruction, what gold model are we aspiring to? Indeed, much of university teaching suffers from a variety of issues including large class sizes and uninspiring lectures without any elements of interactivity. As Butin rightly notes:

“Such bravado is all nice and good if these faculty are truly inciting roomfuls of earnest youth on a daily basis. But the reality is far different.”

Rather than asking whether technology is able to deliver a better learning experience we should think about how to reform an ailing model and how to learn from the many inspiring examples of great teaching out there. Rather than regarding it as a threat, we should seize the opportunities technology offers us to improve teaching and learning in our universities.

Student views on technology – Educause

We’ve talked about the faculty, what about the learners? This short, but informative image summarises the findings of a study on student views on technology. Two findings are worth highlighting: First, a third of teachers still seek to actively discourage or ban the use of tablets in class, even though all students owning one stated that they use it for their study. Second, If asked, most students would opt for blended learning, rather than mere online or face-to-face delivery, suggesting a demand, rather than just greater openness, for the use of learning technology among students.

Teaching crowds: learning and social media – Athabasca University

“If you’re going to use technology, then you need to think carefully about the consequences — not just for yourself but for your community.”

This new book on crowd (or networked) learning explores the possibilities for collaborative, personalised and self-directed learning. Specifically, the authors address the potential, but also risks, of using social media and web 2.0 technologies to facilitate this kind of learning. A free digital copy of the full book can be downloaded here.

The problem with learning technology – Kirstin Wilcox, University of Illinois

Having received nothing but praise in the comments, this article criticises learning technology for distracting, rather than contributing to, the kind of in-depth discussions and engagement needed in academia. Indeed, the author’s fascinating reflections leaves little doubt that she knows what great teaching looks like. She fails, however, to recognise that most of the problems she outlines (e.g. mass delivery of content, lack of engaging class discussions, etc.) are linked to higher education itself, rather than to learning technology. In the wrong hands, learning technology is indeed unlikely to improve learning – but few if any learning technologists would ever make such an argument.

Women’s walks app – LSE Library

Even if it may be regarded as a shameless self-plug, this mobile learning experience created by the LSE library is worth highlighting: The LSE library in partnership with Arts Council England has created a mobile application to enable users experiencing Women’s history through London’s streets. Women’s Walks combines smartphone technology with the fascinating and diverse archive material from The Women’s Library @ LSE, transforming the collection into an engaging and interactive historical journey.

Learning is like sex – Washington Post

“On the matter of teaching, the only aspect that is truly threatened by technology is bad teaching, particularly lecturing. The institutions that are most threatened by technology are those that rely on large lecture classes and graduate assistants.”

“Consider teaching and learning, for a moment, as analogous to sex. Technology has no doubt added opportunity and diversity to the experience, but it has not rendered the basic transaction obsolete, and it is not about to”

While we are not sure about the analogy, there is to little to add to these quotes.

Watch Helen Keegan’s NetworkED seminar online

A big thanks to all of those that joined us for our NetworkED seminar with Helen Keegan last week, whether in person or online. Helen shared some inspirational stories of her work on empowering learners to take joint ownership of their learning process together with staff. All of those who missed out or would like to revisit some of her points can watch the recording of her talk below. You may also be interested in our short Q&A with Helen Keegan.

LSE_StudentsAsProducers_Helen Keegan 05.11.14 – slides from presentation

LTI NetworkED Seminar series Helen Keegan ‘Interactive & Social Media’

photo (2)

Helen Keegan (@heloukee on Twitter) is a UK National Teaching Fellow and Senior Lecturer and researcher at the University of Salford, UK. 

Her expertise lies in curriculum innovation through social and participatory media, with a particular focus on creativity and interdisciplinarity.  She is known for her work on digital cultures and identities, social technologies and the interplay between formal and informal learning. As a multi-disciplinary practitioner. Helen works across sciences and media arts, developing partnerships and creative approaches to learning and collaboration.

Alongside presenting and consulting, Helen has published in journals and edited collections including the European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, Selected Papers of Internet Research, and the Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies. For more information see www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/profiles/keegan/

Providing insights and examples of projects that engage students as producers, Helen discussed a number of projects that span her practice, especially looking at examples of leading projects that link students across networks, cultures and countries.  This talk is of great relevance to those interested in innovative pedagogies, student led learning and media education in the digital age.


Watch Josie Fraser’s NetworkED seminar online

A big thanks to all of those that joined us for our NetworkED seminar with Josie Fraser, whether in person or online. For those of you who missed out or would like to revisit some of her points we are happy to provide a recording of her talk below:

LTI NetworkED Seminar Series – Josie Fraser ‘Digital Literacy in Practice: Making Change Happen’


Josie Fraser spoke about her experiences of working on the Digi Lit project.
As the 10th largest city in the UK, Leicester is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Europe, with huge amounts of children living in relative poverty.  Josie has had to deal with issues of access and what it means to provide education that is available for all and works for everyone in the community.  Set up as a partnership between the council, De Montford University and 23 secondary schools the Digi Lit project is an attempt to work within existing power structures while making sure that learners are not being left out.

November 6th, 2014|Announcements, NetworkED|Comments Off on Watch Josie Fraser’s NetworkED seminar online|

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: Bullying, Faculty Views on Technology and more

Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

Faculty remain sceptical of technology(?) – Inside Higher Ed

Inside Higher Ed’s report on faculty attitudes towards technology in higher education seems to suggest that staff see little benefits in providing online education. However, it is striking that the demographic of the survey is heavily skewed towards more senior academics. Notably, the sample group included fewer academics under 30 than those below 70! Nevertheless, the reports’ findings definite deserve further study.

Culture of cruelty: Why bullying thrives in Higher Education – The Guardian

In the UK, the overall prevalence of workplace bullying […] across all working sectors is usually estimated at between 10-20%. However the percentage of people who have experienced bullying within academic settings is higher than the national average […], ranging between 18% to 42%.

No matter how much we would want it to be, Higher Education is not immune from bullying. Instead, it seems that the problem of bullying is more prevalent in our sector than in others. In light of the #Gamergate problematic discussed on this blog two weeks ago, it becomes even more important for us to address bullying and misogyny as an education technology issue.

The end of the average student – Usable Knowledge, Harvard GSE

Technology can help us to turn “personalised learning” into more than just a buzzword. Instead of building our education systems around the average student (we have yet to meet one), we can tap into resources enabling us to deliver a learning experience tailored towards individual needs.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorrison/2014/10/22/its-time-to-rethink-our-use-of-technology-in-schools/ – Forbes

It is only when we harness technology to the cause of education, rather than the other way around, that we will know if it is worth doing.

How should we react to continuing scepticism towards technology in education? Nick Morrison correctly emphasises that we need to rethink how we teach students and, crucially, to make sure to use technology to enhance education, not vice versa.

What is good teaching? – The Guardian

This Sutton Trust report on different teaching styles may not be remarkable for the Guardian’s misleading twist on it (that “progressive” teaching is inefficient) or for being a literature review that, well, lacks a methodology for a systematic review of literature. Rather, it is striking as it marks an endorsement of mixed ability teaching by a trust that is run by a significant donor to the Conservative Party. Perhaps the ground in education really is shifting?

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: The Rules of Learning Technology, Yik Yak and More

Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

Teaching lecturers to teach – Graham Gibbs

“Whether lecturers should be required to have formal teacher training has been a subject of much debate in recent years.”

Let’s consider how this reads if we replace the job titles with other professions:

Whether dentists should be required to have formal dental training has been a subject of much debate in recent years.”

To read this sentence in a journal of dentistry would be utterly extraordinary (and worrying for the state of our health care system). Despite all efforts, we still inhabit a strange world of work in Higher Education – a world in which not just learning technology, but learning and teaching in general deserve increased attention.

Can technology make us smarter? – David Robson

Let’s question the claim that technology is making us too lazy to think and learn. Regardless of whether the claim that even average students can reach the top 2% of a class is accurate or not, adapting to different learning styles is likely to have a positive impact on thinking and learning. If technology can help us to do so (whether now or in the future), it might not make us smarter by itself, but it offers possibilities that we should make use of.

The latest trend at US colleges  – Yik Yak

This latest app to spread across US college campuses provides users with a location-based live chat. While the idea of a “hyper-local forum” is certainly innovative, the combination of being anonymous and location-based throws up issues around bullying, trolling and institutional reputation that users, institutions and the provider itself will have to address. Initial proposals have included banning the app in schools, but it would be unfortunate if the only way to manage the service is by shutting it down altogether.

The rules of learning technology – Peter Condon

“Remember that for e-learning technology is the means to the end, not the end in itself. Unless we see technology as a tool, we will not question its effect upon our learning and our learners.”

This blog posts presents us with a good opportunity to revisit our earlier blog post on what learning technologists do (and don’t do). At the same time, it also serves as a reminder to everybody working in education not to lose sight of our most important objective: to improve teaching and learning.

Scarf vets happy – What3Words

We are not aware of LSE turning into a veterinary college, but those are the three words assigned to LSE on What3Words. What3Words divides the earth into 3x3m squares, assigning three random words to each square. The result replaces unmemorable number coordinates with, well, 3 words – maybe a useful tool for those of us teaching and studying geography?

October 29th, 2014|Ed-Tech news and issues, Roundup, Social Media, Teaching & Learning|Comments Off on Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: The Rules of Learning Technology, Yik Yak and More|

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology: #Gamergate, Wearable Technology and More

Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in Higher Education. Every week, we share and comment upon a selection of interesting articles, posts and websites relating to education and technology we stumbled upon during the week. Do comment, recommend and share!

Technology’s culture of misogyny is an education technology issue – Audrey Watters

“It’s an education technology issue, in part, because of the expectations that we all are supposed interact online – for profession, personal, and academic purposes. What does that look like for girls and women? You can’t just tell us to “not read the comments” when the threats against us escalate.”

With the #Gamergate scandal getting increased public attention in Britain, Audrey Watters* summarises the #Gamergate issue and its impact on ed-tech in two of her weekly round ups. Trolling impacts on the safety and dignity of users (particularly female users), not just on gamified educational platforms, but also on discussion forums, comment boards and any other communication platform where harrassment can occur and identity can be compromised. This could be a serious issue for the ed-tech community, one which threatens a key tenet of online education; student engagement. We will explore the topic and its implication for education technology further next week.

Technology is not going to fix our education systems – Dr. Madhav Chavan

Dr. Madhav Chavan notes that while technology and the way we use it is non-linear, our education systems are designed in a linear way. While technology may not be able to “fix” education systems, he argues, it can help us to break free from their constraints – if we are willing to rethink education on a larger scale.

Innovating education through wearable technology  – Brad Spirrison for Huffington Post

5 short, inspiring examples of how wearable technology can innovate and improve education

Competency-based learning: The next revolution in online education? – Michelle Weise for Harvard Business Review

This recent contribution compellingly analyses the weaknesses of MOOCs that merely transfer existing content and course design onto the web. However, the claim that the future of online education lies in short, competency-based courses is perhaps more controversial. After all, existing university courses are often (or should be) designed around specific competences and the “skills needed by employers” referred to are hardly clearly and unambiguously defined.

Technology: Cultural resource or slave for our lifestyle?  – Sally Davies for Financial Times (subscription required)

Timely reflections on the future of technology – could “techno-hippies” make us think about using technology as a tool to improve society?


*Audrey Watters will be giving a lecture as part of LTI’s NetworkEd series on February 11, 2015. You can subscribe to our blog or follow us on Twitter to keep informed about LTI’s events.

Weekly Roundup in Education Technology

Education technology is rapidly moving, sometimes divisive and always interesting, especially to us working in higher education. Every week, we will share helpful, interesting or controversial tweets, websites and articles relating to education and technology. Do comment, recommend and share!

Mediocrity v. innovation – Paul Taylor

“Why do we apply scrutiny to people working in innovation in a way we don’t to other functions like Operations, IT, Communications, HR or Finance?”

Regardless of whether or not the term “innovation” is overused or devoid of meaning, Paul Taylor’s rallying cry against mediocrity deserves some reflection. Perhaps not just the “innovation” sector, but a lack of scrutiny across all sectors deserves our attention.

Learning about learning technology through learning technology – EdX

Talk about practicing what you preach: A MOOC about MOOCs (and other learning technology), so to speak, culminating in a pitch for a new educational technology. The MOOC started last week and we will make sure to have a look at how it progresses.

Getting student privacy right – Adriene Hill

“Like everything else these days, education runs on data. Our kids’ data. Every digital move they make in school, on homework websites, and apps can be tracked. And it’s not always clear where that information is going or how companies are using it.”

A timely reminder that privacy is as (if not more) essential in the field of education technology as elsewhere.

Our brains rewired – Douglas Coupland

Last, but not least: Douglas Coupland’s (Author of Generation X and Microserfs) reflections on his experiences inside Alcatel-Lucent and how the internet has rewired our brains certainly make for an interesting short interview.

October 15th, 2014|Ed-Tech news and issues, Roundup|Comments Off on Weekly Roundup in Education Technology|

LTI Grant Winners

In 2013 we made substantial changes to our development funding, by insisting on a more formal grant application process. Since then we have put out 4 calls and have awarded seven grants. Criteria for success are more stringent and, commensurate with our new remit, bigger emphasis is put on “innovation” and “changing teaching practice”. Importantly, we also stress the need to share projects and new findings both within the LSE and with the wider HE community.

If you have a good project idea and are thinking of applying, we urge you to get in touch with us in good time by emailing lti.support@lse.ac.uk to discuss your ideas and possibilities with us before applying.

Below are the successful applicants with brief descriptions of their project aims.


Federica Bicchi (Gov): Multimedia and IR481 (Europe, the United States and Arab-Israeli relations),

Using peacemaker and video interviews with key figures to push student thinking, discussion and engagement with the Middle East conflict beyond the textual. 

Peacemaker is a simulation “game” which allows players to make decisions as either the Palestinian or Israeli leader, testing skills, questioning assumptions and gauging prior knowledge. Video interviews with experts serve to ground debates and questioning in the present.

Simon Hayhoe (Phil): The development of mobile devices as inclusive, accessible technologies for students with disabilities at the London School of Economics

Exploring the use of tablets to overcome challenges of sensory, learning and physical impairments.

This project examined the use of mobile devices as inclusive accessible technologies for students with disabilities. Focus on a) committing the LSE to be as inclusive as possible, b) investigating the general educational usefulness of mobile devices and c) evaluate manufacturer’s claims about accessibility features.

Peter Skrandies (Lang): GARP – Developing an online course in German for Academic Reading Purposes
(joint project with Language Centre)

Developing an online, Moodle-based reading course for intermediate learners of German who want to improve their academic reading skills, to better appreciate primary sources in German.

The aim was to foster the autonomous development of reading through self-paced activities. Students were given the opportunity to acquire specialised reading skills related to their own disciplines, research fields or personal areas of interest. The reading activities were supported by the development of a new Moodle plugin to allow flexible annotation of texts.

Gemma Stansfield (Lang): Flipping academic writing sessions

Flipping an academic writing session for LN991 (Academic Writing) to give students autonomy over their learning.

The plan was to design a new way of teaching which requires students to complete online tasks before class. On the basis of these, students can make a choice between two different face to face formats: 1) a longer discussion element in the traditional 50 minute class or a 2) 25 minute fast track option.

Rocio Diaz Bravo & Lourdes Hernandez-Martin (Lang): Videos to support language learning and teaching: oral presentations in academic contexts,

Creating videos to support face-to-face teaching for Degree and Certificate Spanish courses. 

The project delivered two videos: 1) an English language video “How to prepare and deliver an oral presentation in an academic context” and 2)  a Spanish language video with English subtitles of an oral presentation for beginner/low intermediate level. The second video was accompanied by self-assessed activities to support the Spanish language learning.

Lourdes Sosa (Mgm): Assessing the Disruptive Effect of the Internet on Education

Designing and delivering a disruptive teaching intervention to jump-start student thinking about “creative destruction”.

It was planned to devise a radically new different teaching experience, to be delivered in three different courses (Summer School, GMiM and TRIUM). Using multimedia (video recording & live streaming) and social media (twitter) elements to communicate / teach asynchronously and synchronously, the aim was to create an immersive experience that illustrates through doing how technology can disrupt markets.

Matteo Fumagalli & Helen Mayer (Lang): Independent Online Language Learning

Creating and online language learning space to support learning practical skills independently. 

The aim ws to create tasks in various language which develop and improve Digital Literacy skills; such as discerning and using online resources and sources, using web tools for self-study & organising independent study. Tasks will introduce web tools such as podcasts, social bookmarking sites and e-portfolios, and emphasise the learning potential of interacting with peers online (e.g. via forums, skypes, social networking sites).

June 1st, 2014|LTI Grant Winners|Comments Off on LTI Grant Winners|