All posts by Alex Grey (Support)

Gojimo

Gojimo is a free app available on iOS and Android smart phones. Users have access to a large question bank built around a variety of subjects at A Level. Each question is a multiple choice option which gives feedback on correct and incorrect answers.

test_prep_app

 

Students can use the app on their own or in small groups to work through questions together on a tablet.  It could be a useful tool for teachers to use  questions.

You can download the app by searching for Gojimo on the App Store or Google Play store, or follow this link to find out more: http://www.gojimo.com/

Do you use any other apps for learning?  JISC are undertaking a research project and need you help.  Complete this form to be part of the research.

Update

It’s been a busy time so below is a brief update on some of the Innovation team’s work across the college over the last couple of months.

Open Badges

We’ve now issued over 1,000 open badges from our badge academy: https://www.openbadgeacademy.com/sussexdowns. Working with Emily Hanscomb, we’ve awarded badges for 95% and 100% attendance.  We’ve also secured sponsorship from Rotary Club (they’ve offered to fund purchase of 4 Chromebooks), Pelham House and Horseshoe Inn (thanks to Christina Cavallari) to support our work on the Employability Passport.

Building on the Quality Standards work, we’re in the process of developing a series of ‘Expert Learner’ badges to align with Induction process for Sep 2016.  Watch this space.

We’re also starting some exciting work with the Hair & Beauty, and Sports team to badge their level 3 and 4 courses and have submitted a new Erasmus+ bid so we have our fingers crossed to receive (even) more funding.

Finally, we’ve been recognised for the innovative work we’re doing and have been invited to to run a workshop on digital badges at the National Blended Learning Consortium Conference in Birmingham  next month.

Blended Learning Consortium

The Blended Learning Consortium is being recognised as the fastest growing consortium within FE.  As members we get unlimited access to a wealth of high quality eLearning resources.  Sam has secured some externally funded work developing the content for a new eLearning module that is focussed on E&D including mandatory areas of British values and prevent.  

Full courses are already available for the following: Digital Literacy L2, Employability L2 and L3, English L2, Engineering L2 and L3 and Health & Safety in Social Care L2.

Phase 2 will include the following:

  • Health & Social Care L3
  • Business Studies L3
  • Sports L2 & L3
  • E-safety – Anti Bullying
  • Beauty L3
  • Travel & Tourism L2
  • Enterprise L2
  • British Values Prevent

If you’d like further info on using these please get in touch.

Other news

We delivered 2 masterclasses on Google Classroom (over 20 staff attended) over both campuses and we’re currently working with Kevin C’s team to shape development of a new platform to enhance access to their various online databases and resources.  This work is being lead by Sarah Jayne-Smith.  A sneak preview of the new eLibrary site is available here.

Digital Signage – Kings

One of our more fun and experimental projects has been the design and nstallation of a new TV / digital signage in Kings restaurant.  It uses a £80 computer the size of a USB stick (called a ASUS Chromebit) to turn a TV into a digital display board.  Christina can edit the slides from her desk, add announcements, links and videos and then publish live to the restaurant.  

Get in touch

If you’d like any more information on any of the above or would like to run a pilot using technology to support learning, please get in touch at innovation@sussexdowns.ac.uk.

Google Classroom tip: Adding entire folders

Want to make it even easier for students to find your learning resources within Google Classroom?

This brief guide shows you how to add links to Google Drive folders right into Google Classroom.

You can then simply manage all your files through Google  Drive, without having to upload anything.

If students add the folder to their Drive, then any updates you make will seamlessly (magically) be synchronised to their devices.

If you’d like to know more, email innovation@sussexdowns.ac.uk.

Articulate

We’re pleased to announce a new service the Innovation team are now able to create high quality interactive eLearning content.  Using the Articulate package, we can build professional eLearning materials that include video, audio, text and a host of interactive elements.

Why not try out our very first prototype which shows how to use Google Drive.  Click on the ‘Launch’ button below to start.

Launch Presentation

Alternatively, we can embed eLearning materials directly into a blog like this:

Another example we’re working on is for Health and Safety training.

Launch Presentation

If you’d like to discuss the development of eLearning content for your course, please email innovation@sussexdowns.ac.uk and we’ll be in touch.

Check back for more examples as we create them.

 

Through the Periscope

Through the Periscope is a new showcase of programmes, resources and seminars designed to give an overview to a range of technology solutions and ideas that you can then take away and use with your students. A selection of colleges are coming together to present during the running time, which is between January and February this year.

The courses are free to attend online and each of them has a range of static and live content for you to look over in your own time.

How do I sign up?

All you have to do to attend any of the courses is go to the link in the course list we’ve linked below. The short version is a quick list of all the courses being run, the times and the link; the longer version contains more in depth information on each course, what to expect and what you should be able to take away from it. We recommend you start with this list and have a read through to see what seminars are of most interest to you. Remember that for most courses the content will be live for most of January and February, so you have plenty of time to work through whichever ones appeal to you most.

Access the course handbook

There are two versions of the handbook, available via the links below:

Long version 

Short version

Remember if you have any questions about the course, or you see something you find interesting and want help implementing it within your own classroom you can contact the innovation team at innovation@sussexdowns.ac.uk. We hope you go check out some of the courses and come back brimming with ideas for your teaching.

Blended Learning goes even more Massive

You may remember our previous posts about the FutureLearn Blended Learning Essentials MOOC that we encouraged staff to sign up to and expand their knowledge of technology in the classroom.   Well not only is there a sequel, but this time it’s starring SDC.

Blended Learning Essentials MOOC 2 is both a great follow on for anyone who took the first part of the course, and also a perfect time for you to jump in and gain some new skills

We really enjoyed mentoring those of you who took part in our breakfast/twilight session drop ins and hope those of you who took the course felt you got out as much from it as we did.

OK, how do I join?

The course starts on Feb 1st and will be running for three weeks. This time around the focus will be on embedding practice into your digital resources, learning from experience and tackling difficult challenges with the help of blended learning.

Excitingly, some of the content for the second part of this course was filmed on site at SDC Eastbourne campus, and features interviews with various staff and students about their experiences and aspirations.

As with the previous course, once the start date comes around you will have access to all of the resources and be able to keep them for future reference. We know naturally how busy teaching is and how little free time might be available to complete the course, but as before this is a MOOC course, meaning you can work through it piece by piece in your own time and at your own pace.

Do I need to have completed the first course?

No, all you need to do is follow this link and sign up for a FutureLearn account. It’s free and fast, and once you have an account you’re also able to sign up to any other courses that are of interest to you. Make sure to leave a comment on the Blended Learning Essentials 2 page about your background and what you hope to get out of the course.

What if I get stuck?

As before, the Innovation team are happy to help out with any questions or ideas that the course may give you and we will be organising two drop in sessions to coincide with week 3 of the course to raise any questions or ideas with about what you’ve been inspired to do.

 

Google passwords get sync’d

Background

In December 2014, the Innovation team piloted Google Classroom as a tool to simplify the process of giving feedback to students.

The response from staff and students was so positive that 3 months later we requested that all SDC staff and students should be automatically provided with a Google Apps for Education account.

We now have over 100 teaching staff actively using it to manage assignments and feedback.

If you use it, you’ll know that all students and staff currently have separate passwords to login into the College network and their Google Apps for Education account.

What’s changing

From Wednesday 18th November 2015, we are making a change so that when staff or students change their College network password, this will automatically update their Google password effectively synchronising both passwords.

This means that students and staff will no longer need to request passwords be reset via the helpdesk as they can do it themselves using Ctrl+Alt+Delete.  Staff can also reset a student’s password in the normal way.

FAQ

Q – How can I reset a student’s College (and Google) password? 

A – From http://connect.sussexdowns.ac.uk go to  Tools > Student Info > Change Students Password or click here.

Q – Will all Google passwords be synchronised from Wednesday?

A – No. The synchronisation will happen next time a College network password is changed.

Q – If a student changes their Google password will this change their College password?

A – No. It only works from College password to Google password.

Q – I have more questions about Google account passwords.

A – Email helpdesk@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Q – I’d like some training on using Google Apps for Classroom e.g. Google Classroom.

A – Email professional.development@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Q – I’d like some more ideas on how to use Google Apps in my teaching.

A – Email innovation@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Digital Vocational Badges

Digital Vocational Badges
In this post post we want to introduce a major project officially launched at the Royal Society of Arts last week. It’s a project we’re hoping should lead to a brighter future for students seeking employment, called Digital Vocational Badges.

The problem
We know our learners face an increasingly competitive and global job market and that in order to differentiate themselves, they need to demonstrate the skills employers most value. Look at any job ad and the formal qualification is taking a backseat. The real skills they’re seeking, the so-called ‘21C skills”, are those such as communication, collaboration and problem solving. So how do we recognise these skills in our learners and how can they share these with employers.

It seems incredible that after completing say a two year qualification with us, that when it comes to communicating this to potential employers, the best we can offer is to suggest using phrases like “passionate”, “good team worker” and “hard working” on their CV.

In other words, we invest huge amounts of time in formal qualifications that are of limited interest to employers and then get them to self-certify on the skills that employers actually want. The bottom line is that formal qualifications, no matter how impressive, and a well presented CV no longer equal employment.

But that’s just it: how do teaching staff formally recognise these skills and also in a way that students can share with employers. How can we capture spontaneous moments of genuine real-world problem solving, showing true grit or staying cool under pressure; how do you reward that student in a way that will mean something to prospective employers?

Our solution
Remember how in scouts or girl guides you would earn badges for achievements? We’re bringing these back and applying them to education, but this time they’re digital. A digital badge can be created for just about anything; attendance, perseverance, meeting deadlines. They can be awarded to students by anyone, who can then share them with anyone. The badges themselves can be explored to find out who issued it, what was the criteria and what was the evidence. Employers can drill down and see all the evidence that shows why the student has been recognised for their Commitment, Attendance or Showing Initiative This could include photos of customer feedback cards, attendance reports, or video testimonials from tutors.

Most of the technical infrastructure to deliver the project is already in place and we are building on the work by Mozilla and using their Open Badges platform.

It’s not just us either.   Read how 10million better futures are hoping to use this platform by 2016.

We need employers to build the badges
We’re piloting with sectors; hospitality & catering, complementary therapy and hair & beauty. In order to give our badges the most credibility, we are now beginning our outreach to employers to find out the key skills that they value most when choosing prospective candidates. We will then translate these into digital badges.

To inform this process, we have launched a brief skills survey available here for all local employers.

We’re also inviting employers to our launch event at the Kings Restaurant on 19th November 2015 where we’ll be capturing the criteria and evidence for the skills they need.  You can book free tickets for this event now.

For more information regarding the project please contact kevin.jones@sussexdowns.ac.uk

Welcome

The SDC Learning Technology Innovation team is now in its second year and we’ve started with a big bang and a new blog.  This will be the place where we share innovative ideas to help staff.

Firstly, we’re delighted to welcome our first apprentice to the team.  Sam is a previous SDC student and will be supporting staff designing eLearning resources over the next 18 months whilst earning a Diploma in Digital eLearning Design.

Going goo-goo over Classroom

We’re also really pleased at the excitement over Google Classroom and in the last two weeks, we’ve already met with Sport, English, Science, Media & IT to help staff use this platform for streamlining the student assignment submission and feedback process.  Mark Watts is doing some awesome work with his team and achieving high quality student work and 100% submission rates.

DJ Mix

Another tool we’re continuing to support is Office Mix, and have been working with English, Media and Communications to make any PowerPoint presentation become a richer resource for learners.  Professional Development are now running workshops to use these tools, so if you’d like to learn more about Google Classroom or Office Mix, book a place.

Flipping the classroom

Christina Cavallari in Catering asked us to film their guest chef demonstrating their latest hi-tech combination oven and we’ll be posting this shortly on planet eStream.  We also met with Emma Hartup and her team to discuss how to use their Chromebooks more effectively and we’re now planning a series of Hair & Beauty demonstrations to create a suite of flipped learning resources.

Digital Vocational Badges

This week our external sponsor signed off on our first deliverable, and will be funding our our major initiative this year developing ‘Digital Vocational Badges’.  This uses the Mozilla Open Badges framework and we’ll share more news on the pilot develops.

New home

We’ve also moved into our new Innovation Hub in Eastbourne, which is in the new Learning Technology Centre in the new A Level Centre.  So our new Eastbourne address is IH, LTC, ALC.   We’ll also continue to work from the Development Hub (CB226) in Lewes for 2-3 days per week.

Next time

We’re launching our plans to support a new MOOC on blended learning in FE provided by FutureLearn but you can find out more here.

We’re also working on a new initiative to launch our student College Digital Agents (CoDAs).

For further updates you can also now follow us on Twitter @SDCInnovation.