About Matt Lingard

Learning Technologist at the LSE Centre for Learning Technology

Hotseat: social networking for the classroom

I wrote last month that I love lectures.  As part of that post I highlighted the use of Twitter in the classroom by a History lecturer at The University of Texas at Dallas.

In a similar vein Purdue University have developed and are trialling a social-networking tool for the classroom called Hotseat.  It allows students to give feedback, ask questions & have mini-discussions initiated by the lecturer (or themselves) while attending classes.  The great thing about Hotseat is that students aren’t restricted to a particular input method, there are many ways students can contribute – via the website, SMS, Twitter, Facebook or MySpace. There also seem to be iPhone/iPod Touch Apps.

There are a couple of videos from Purdue explaining it further:

Presenting Prezi

I was reminded on Friday by the ever-innovative LSE Careers Service that I never shared my attempt at using Prezi, so here it is.  I’d seen it used at a couple of events earlier in the year so when I was preparing for this year’s new academics induction I thought I’d give it a go for my Social Software in Teaching slot.

While it’s nice to sit in a presentation where PowerPoint doesn’t feature I’m not wholly convinced by Prezi.  My main gripe is that I found it incredibly fiddly to use.  It took me a long time to put this together, OK it was my first attempt, but I’m not sure it was worth it.  The main advantage it seems,  putting the occasionally sea-sickness inducing animation aside for now, is that it doesn’t need to be a linear presentation.  It’s very easy to jump around and as most of my presentation could have been in any order I let the audience decide!

The LSE Careers Service Prezi I saw on Friday is below.

Screen Recording Made Simple

Update October 2010: ScreenToaster is back, ignore text below that says otherwise

I’ve just finished testing various free web-based screen recording tools. I’ve been looking at them for a new course at the LSE run by the LSE Careers Service & the Language Centre called English for Career Success. As part of the course students have to give a 5-minute presentation to the class.  As a practice exercise before the live event they have to record themselves doing the presentation using a screen recording tool.  They then receive feedback on it from the tutors before delivering the real thing.

Here is an example of a screen recording I just made using Screenr and below it you will find notes on it and my other two best finds ScreenToaster (no longer available) & Screenjelly. I recommend watching in full-screen mode.

All 3 tools are web-based, free & require an account.  They publish with a unique URLs & can also be embedded elsewhere as I have done above. The quality of the output is good for all three and they can all be viewed full-screen.  However there are some important differences between them which may affect which you choose.

Learning & Teaching Competition Winners

The Jorum* Learning & Teaching awards are given to innovative learning and teaching resources that have been created under a Creative Commons license. You can find out more about all six winners on the Jorum website and below I have highlighted two in particular.

All of the resources are free to use and can be linked to from within Moodle.

Making group work workMaking group work work

This video resource is aimed at giving students and tutors a better understanding of the challenges of group work and how to overcome them!  There are 10 episodes such as Managing conflict and Assessing group work which can be used independently or worked thru’ in order.

The website includes help for students and staff.

Reading Skills Tutorial

Produced by the Skills@Library team at the University of Leeds, this is an online tutorial to help students (and staff!) improve their reading skills.

*Jorum is a JISC-funded online repository service for teaching and support staff in UK colleges and universities.  It exists to encourage sharing, reuse and re-purposing of learning and teaching materials created by the community for the community

ALT-C 2009 Highlights

Conference Dinner at Manchester Town HallEarlier this month staff from CLT attended ALT-C 2009, the annual conference of the Association for Learning Technology.

Conferences can be hit-and-miss affairs and I find it’s usually wise not to set one’s expectations too high; however, for the second year running, ALT-C was excellent.

For me the keynotes usually provide the conference ‘edutainment’, you can be fairly sure that they will be humour, some memorable nuggets and an underlying message (although that’s not always clear!).  Overall the ALT-C  keynotes delivered and I took something away from all of them.  I think because I’d seen both Terry Anderson (live) & Mike Wesch (lots of videos) speak before, it is Martin Bean’s keynote, A Journey in Innovation, that particularly sticks in my mind.  Martin is the Open University’s Vice Chancellor Designate.  He’s an excellent speaker and his keynote is worth a look even if it’s just for the initial stuff on innovation scepticism & his overview of the current (changing) HE landscape.  His talk finishes with enthusiasm for the OU’s SocialLearn project which aims to provide students with a personal web platform for their learning; one I’ll be following with interest.

You can watch Matin’s keynote in full below and you’ll find the other keynotes & invited speakers on

There appeared to be two hot topics in the parallel sessions. 

October 1st, 2009|Conferences|Comments Off on ALT-C 2009 Highlights|

New audio recordings: ICA talks & debates

 Previously unpublished recordings of ICA talks from the 1980s went online last week on the Britsh Library’s Archival Sound Recordings website.

“Featuring talks and debates with top cultural, artistic and political figures of the day, this latest addition the archive offers a chance to explore in detail cultural directions in the UK from 1981 to 1994.

The talks comprise over 880 recordings, over 1000 hours of audio, on subjects including art, literature, performance, fashion, film, music, philosophy, psychology, biology, feminism, AIDS and politics”

These recordings are publicly accessible and as the LSE Library also subscribes to this collection many are available to download for academic use.

Read more about the collection or access the collection

Example recording

From 1987, Politics of Exile: Asia, Caribbean, East Europe A conference on the political situation in Asia, the Caribbeans and Eastern Europe, speakers include Tariq Ali.

Image source:

September 28th, 2009|Images, Audio & Video|Comments Off on New audio recordings: ICA talks & debates|

Futurelab Research Day

Ceiling at the British AcademyToday I attended the Futurelab Research Discussion Day at the British Academy, an event that’s slightly off my usual radar.  Firstly it was a research day and secondly, although Futurelab’s work is very much relevant to the whole education sector, their focus is more schools than tertiary education.

Most of the day focussed on an ongoing research project: Beyond Current Horizons which is aiming to “build a set of challenging and long-term visions for the future of education in the context of social and technological change”.  This morning 5 research-based trends were highlighted:

  1. Development of a denser, deeper, more diverse information landscape
  2. Weakening of institutional boundaries as well as a blurring of: work/leisure,  public/private,  education/work/retirement
  3. A greater reliance on technology for learning and work and an increase in the support needed
  4. While the separation of information & location continues other factors, such as access and identity will still be dependent on geography
  5. Increase in ‘working with machines’: outsourcing human tasks, redefining intelligence, devolution of responsibility (leading to a dependence?)

And with these trends come challenges:

May 19th, 2009|Conferences|1 Comment|

Plymouth e-Learning Conference Report

Snorkle a Turtle at the Plymouth AquariumThe 4th Plymouth e-Learning Conference was an excellent event and for once I made good decisions in choosing which of the many parallel sessions to attend. I’ve not had a good track record recently!

The best learning technology tool I discovered was Marginalia.  It’s an open source annotation tool which can be plugged into Moodle discussion forums.  You can try it out – on it’s own or in this Moodle course.  I don’t have an immediate use for it but it’s always good to have an answer when you hear: it would be great if Moodle could… If you [LSE staff!] are interested in finding out about or using Marginalia please let us know.

There was plenty of discussion over home-made flapjacks in the well-planned E-pedagogy: Emperor’s New Clothes or New Directions? and I thought the format of the session worked really well.  Prior to the session the flapjack baker had elicited thoughts from a wider audience (via Twitter) on “What promotes learning?” resulting in 42 responses.  The session itself was a good mix of presenting, discussion and feeding back as we worked towards how (if) technology changes or enhances learning.  Participants were invited to post an answer online afterwards:  “Does ICT really change what good learning looks like? And if so, how”.  Unlike the pre-session task this has not been answered yet!  I suspect it was never tweeted 😉

Moodle Conference

Martin Dougiamas KeynoteMoodleMoot UK 2009 was held at Loughborough University before Easter.  The conference brings together learning technologists, systems administrators and teachers from all education sectors to discuss all things Moodle.  The main keynote was given by Moodle-founder Martin Dougiamas and focused on the ongoing development of Moodle and in particular the next version, Moodle 2.0. It was great to hear Martin talking about usability and openness in particular.  I think one of the key factors for the popularity of moodle here is its ease-of-use (particularly when compared to our previous VLE!) so it’s always good to hear that usability remains high on the agenda.  From the Moodle wiki:

  • Users should be able to easily learn what is there for them
  • Users should be able to move around “their world” within Moodle with a minimum of effort.

By openness I’m referring to the ability for Moodle to be integrated with other systems such as repositories and eportfolios but also changes that are being made to make it really easy to include other content from the ‘open web’ such as Youtube videos & Flickr photos in your Moodle course.  There’s much more on Martin Dougiamas’s keynote on Nitin Parmar’s blog.

April 20th, 2009|Conferences|Comments Off on Moodle Conference|


Yesterday I gave a short presentation to the Humanities Department at Imperial College as part of an e-learning staff development event.  The live presentation wasn’t recorded so I decided that I should finally get around to producing a “slidecast”, something I’ve meaning to try for a while.  A slidecast is a PowerPoint-style slide presentation with synchronised audio.

Making the Slidecast

Here’s what I did:

Step 1 – Preparation (10-mins): I started by making a few edits to the original PowerPoint slides – adding a title slide & hiding the students names.  I also had a quick practice with the Wimba Voice Tools.

Step 2 – Recording (20-mins): I recorded the audio using Wimba while clicking through the actual PowerPoint slides.  I decided I would restrict myself to one ‘take’ with no post-editing. However you could edit (& record) with free audio editing software such as Audacity. After making the recording (12’58”) I exported the audio file as an mp3 and then uploaded it to the Internet Archive.

Step 3 – Publishing (25-mins): This involved uploading the PowerPoint to Slideshare, a free service for sharing presentations and other types of files.  I then used the built-in slidecast tool to synchronise the the audio file with the slides.  This meant listening thru’ the whole recording again, hence the time required.

The final presentation is available via the slideshare website but can also be embedded elsewhere as I have done above.  It was a very straight-forward process and not too time-consuming for a first attempt.

This is just one way of producing a “slidecast” and there are plenty of other options, so if it’s something you are interested in doing don’t hesitate to get in touch with us: