The TechLec Podcast #004 – Learning Technology Manager

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 http://techlec.libsyn.com/podcast

 

The fourth podcast has gone live at the end of May, a delay (again) impacted by the delay of the last podcast, Ofsted visiting and an ear infection. I think  I am beginning to sound like a hypochondriac. The feature focus this month is with South Essex College’s Learning Technology Manager Ben Hutchens, a truly passionate techie and one who firmly believes that there is a convergence of technologists and educationalist in FE. As ever I am truly grateful for Ben’s input and helping with this podcast.

Andy

Making the Case for Online Learning

The FELTAG report recommends that we move to a 50% online model and I am sure a large number of educators ask “what’s the rush?” and “What are the benefits greater than what we already do?”. I could offer a number of answers, that are rather obvious, such as…

  • “What do we need to push us forward to catchup with our US cousins? another government mandate?” – It’s actually refreshing to have something worthwhile but with us ‘trailblazing’
  • “We can offer what we have to a diverse range of learners” – not to mention re-invigorate our own materials (your thinking of that colleague that has that photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopied resource!

But a recent TED talk by Daphne Koller says it all and much more whilst enticing top universities to put their most intriguing courses online for free with Coursera (cofounded by Andrew Ng). The lessons learnt make for interested observations. Daphne’s TED talk is certainly worth a watch- https://youtu.be/U6FvJ6jMGHU

What I did take way from the TED talk (given the complexity of requirements for Cousera) is that more than ever we will need Domain Experts (Educators) to organise, deliver and help develop the course materials with their strong understanding of teaching & learning but with a firm understanding of technology with the support of Technologists that can put in place the infrastructures and guide  others to what is possible whilst having a firm understanding of teaching & learning! The lines are becoming, and rightly so, blurred (no humming a certain tune please!) and we are going to be working in tandem for the good of our learners and not see technologists as a service.

 

Andy

Strong Memorable Passwords

I don’t get it! How many time do you come across somebody with the same password, or an obvious one, or they make a list? far too many. Normally this does not bother me but I think the last month I must have come across this issue close to double figures and I think its becoming or likely to become an epidemic…

Multiple passwords used to be the domain of the nerd, but with the range of devices, systems, apps and websites we are all likely to be swamped so please spread the word once you watch the video clip – https://youtu.be/L8AgezVfPlo 

 

Andy

Eastern (UK) Region e-Fair

I am not going to re-invent the wheel, so below is the blurb for the upcoming Eastern (UK) Region e-Fair, where I will be delivering one of the workshops. Want to get involved then read on…

On 3rd July, South Essex College, the lead partner for The Learning Consortium which is commissioned and funded by The Education and Training Foundation, will be hosting the annual Eastern region e-Fair at our new campus in Grays. The theme for the event is digital curriculum design. The recommendations of the FELTAG report have highlighted that FE and Skills providers need to be planning and implementing innovative models of delivery using technology. Therefore, the purpose of this event is to highlight examples and strategies for practitioners of how this can be achieved.

The event is free to attend for all FE and Skills providers in the region. There will be a range of key speakers (more info below) as well as workshops delivered by colleagues from the sector. There will also be colleagues showcasing their good practice in the use of learning technology in our Show and Tell area.

To view the agenda and confirm your place CLICK HERE

Like every year, the success of this event depends on the contributions from the region. If you would like to run a hands-on workshop or perhaps would just like a stall to showcase what you have been doing at your organisation, please fill out one of the respective forms below:

Workshop form – http://goo.gl/forms/b1S3uaiVoJ

Show and Tell – http://goo.gl/forms/nfSLPIa4Et

 

Key speakers

 Bryan Mathers – Think Out Loud club

Bryan is a learning technology guru who in part is an advisor to City & Guilds on embedding technology into learning design and is a lead support for the Think Out Loud club.  The club brings together other evangelists who share successes and pain to support each other on the Further Education sector’s journey to becoming more digital. In addition to this Bryan is heavily involved in another venture – Wapisasa.

Wapisasa is a digital agency – but probably not like any you may have seen before. For a start, Wapisasa is a non-profit organisation (Community Interest Company) focused on the development of young people (Rookies) with aptitude, creativity and enthusiasm. We use Mozilla Open Badges to map out a personalised pathway, and to recognise their learning and development. Each week, one day is set aside for self-directed interest-led learning, in the form of a Maker Day.

 

Stephen Heppell: Stephen is a leading voice on the role of ICT in learning and is Professor of New Media Environments at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice. He leads pedagogic research at the Centre and supervises PhD students. Previously, Stephen spent around a quarter of a century building Ultralab, which established an exceptional, unique, reputation as a world leading learning technology research centre. He later went on to head his own policy, research and practice consultancy which advises governments and national agencies throughout the world on the strategic development of ICT (www.cemp.ac.uk)

 

Stephan Caspar: Stephan is the lead for Media Development at Southampton University. Having previously worked in FE where he supported staff to make effective use of technology in their delivery. Currently he is working on content creation for MOOCs and the Southampton Learning Environment as well as producing their own podcasts, teaching students how to make videos with their phones, making short films to support funding bids, capturing lectures, conferences and events.

 

 

Green Screen

I moved on with Veescope (recent post) and tried an actually green-screen – so much easier, quicker and better results. The kit I used had:

  • Two stands
  • A crossbar
  • 3 screens
    • Black
    • White
    • Green
  • Carry bag

These are surprisingly quick to put up, less than three minutes in fact, the green-screen (creased from being folded) worked perfectly (no ironing required). The fact that the small investment in time to put up the green-screen up and down, as opposed to finding and filming against a ‘clean’ wall, is far outweighed by the quality of the final recording. I thought that it was worth of seeing how much these actually costed – only £30 (from ebay) with clamps for the material – not a fortune but I wondered if I could find a cheaper alternative…

A recent recording (when experimenting with Microsoft Mix) at home had me hanging a an old ‘blackout’ blind, that had loitered in storage, as a backdrop to hide the kitchen behind me. A spend of  £6 and an aerosol spray can of ‘Canbrush C67 by Orientus Industry’ paint later and I found myself in the garden spraying one side of the blind. It works but I soon ran out of paint, only 75% covered and about 50% of what was covered being patchy and in part pain had run (note to self: lay blind down not hang up next time).  So two things came from this:

  1. The paint was perfect for small areas or items (I have seen people use the inside of pizza boxes for small projects)
  2. buy a green screen kit

The cost of the kits are very similar but found for a smaller increase in price (£40 from ebay) gets you cotton muslin screens that have a stitched pocket for sliding the horizontal pole into, rather than needing clamps, the cloth is woven and better quality and the cheaper non-woven and can be ironed and washed (unlike the non-woven versions) and have a high tear resistance and is long-lasting. Currently at time of writing this post I am awaiting delivery.

Update: Screen arrived, great quality, glad i bought better woven screen. I have no criticism other than it would be nice to have a storage bag for the whole lot (£6 from ebay “speaker stand bag”)

 

Andy

 

Veescope Live Remote Control

The Veescope Green Screen app in a prior post has the ability to be remotely controlled, originally by another iOS device, more recently through the use of the Apple Watch (see screenshot above). I have access to three other iOS devices:

  1. Wifes iPhone (unfortunately with here most of the time!)
  2. iPad classic (does not like anything beyond iOS 5.5, and the Veescope app is iOS 6)
  3. iPad mini (from work and locked down tighter than Southend piers footings – but I am working on it)

I did however pinch the wife’s to have a go, first its a clear simple interface:

  • record
  • snapshot (Apple Watch does not seem to have this? – only going by screenshots seen)
  • next background
  • prior background

My first concern was that I needed to be on the same network and thought this may well cause issues at work (I could at least try out at home) – but fear not as it functions on Bluetooth connectivity, having enabled Bluetooth of both devices, and was a breeze. It may not look fancy or offer obscure options but it works an absolute dream.

I don’t think it’s likely but I would love the option of having this controlled from a Pebble Smartwatch!

 

Andy

Veescope Live App

 

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At the Betts Show earlier on in the year I saw the amazing Green Screen by Do Ink and liked the clean interface. However it is only available for the iPad , Do Ink have this on their development roadmap but they are a two person outfit and there is no deadline for it currently, I really wanted something for my iPhone 6+. Enter Veescope Live for iOS that is available in two flavours:

  1. Free  with watermark (in app purchase for removal)
  2. Full £2.29

The interface is not as pleasing on the eye but looking at the developers website www.dvdxdv.com it seems they have a wide range of products for Macs (including other Veescope products) and Final Cut. So what does it do? Well you can elect to have either movie clip backgrounds or photos that you can step through as you record (I imagine the holiday photo slideshow from hell!).

Now this is a fun app, practical and easy to use but its also another app that has made me spend money (after opinion and Pebble smartwatch apps) and it is money well spent! The app allows for not only green screening but also keying any background. My first attemt at using this app was to record against a pure white background and turn a 30 guided learning hour unit (50% already online) to fully online in about 90 minutes. A quite environment with good lighting and a clear background, allowing me to steady my iPhone, step in front of the camera at a bleep, and step away upon another bleep, tweak the “Key Fine Tuning” and I was good to go! A laptop (and remote presenter), a dry-wipe board in the background and a colleague to start/stop recording and I was a star in the making!

I have since found that using a real green screen (for under £40) is even easier, no having to steady the camera, hold a white sheet of paper in front, remove, bingo!

What I also like is the ability to apply “mattes” to the edges of your capture, say for if you have only a small green screen or recordable area you can reduce the overall recordable area. The ability to change your backgrounds (on the fly with a remote device or keyboard) and include recorded video clips really adds to this app and remote control (an upcoming post). It saves to your camera roll seamlessly.

There are even built-in tutorials from the app. I cannot recommend this app enough, especially if you are looking for a greens screen app on an iPhone.

Andy

 

 

The TechLec Podcast #003 – Apprentice Learning Technologists

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http://techlec.libsyn.com/podcast

 

The third podcast finally went live at the end of April, a huge delay due to illness (you can hear it in the pre-recorded interview during feature focus) workload, but I got there eventually again there are no show notes for this as it is made up of last months blog.

The feature focus is with South Essex College’s Apprentice Learning Technologists…

  • Dan (Southend Campus)
  • Jennifer (Basildon Campus)
  • Tom (Basildon Campus)

…and again I am truly grateful for their input and helping this podcast, especially with me feeling sorry for myself. I really wanted to get the apprentices early on in their roles, some three months, and hopefully will be talking with them again at the later part of the year alongside newer apprentices.

I am hoping that workload permitting that the next podcast will not be as late in the month! (it’s all a learning curve)

Andy