Category Archives: TEL

Twitter in Higher Education

For the uninitiated, Twitter is a messaging service that limits you to 140 characters and spaces per post (or per tweet)

The advantage for a lecturer is that you don’t need to know the phone numbers of students to get messages onto their device: they are the ones who authorize their mobile phone from the website and they subscribe to your Twitter “tweet”).

Twitter is basically a potential alternative to email, instant messaging and discussion forums, as ways of communicating with students.

Students can also use this when doing their classwork, trying to understand the material. Tweet: “I don’t understand what this reading has to do with New Media? any ideas?” Other students then respond. (This actually happened recently in a class)

Students can follow someone else who is on Twitter, who interests them. For example if they are thinking about technology in education they can follow @topgold who works for LIT and Tweets about a range of topics including the use of technology in education
Twitter integrates with blogs and other Web pages, providing Flash and JavaScript code options that allow Web pages to access Twitter updates.

What are the downsides?

The most common criticism of Twitter is that it enables inane interaction. Tweets that say nothing more than “I’m eating pickles” or “Really tired today” are not uncommon, and, indeed, the value of such postings to the casual user is minimal. TO be honest I just don’t follow people who put up posts like this. However there even when you have an ideal set of people to follow, as an asynchronous broadcast service, there is no guarantee that any individual tweet will be read, let alone responded to.

The selection of video tutorials below are taken from YouTube and will help you to set up your twitter account. Click on the small box in the bottom left of the youtube screen to get the full list of youtube tutorials available through this list

For more information on Twitter please below a link to useful websites I have found on Twitter


Mind Maps

mind map is a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.  They are used to generate, visualize, structure, and classify ideas, and as an aid to studyingand organizing information, solving problems, making decisions, and writing.

Mind maps can be used for:

  • problem solving
  • outline/framework design
  • structure/relationship representations
  • condensing material into a concise and memorable format

Mind-map tools that I have found useful are, Spicynodes,, SpiderScribeSlatebox  and mindmaple. Mind 42 is great for collaboration as its a web based application that doesn’t require your students to download any software and version control is not an issue. Another great web based application that can be used for mind maps is Prezi. MindMaple is a piece of software that is installed on your computer as opposed to being web based but it does offer considerably more functionality in terms of project management

Related articles

Evernote for Education

This is a great site outlining the use of Evernote for education purposes

Educational Technology Guy: Evernote for Education.

Making online quizzes using Moodle

Frequent in-class quizzes have been associated with positive learning outcomes including increased student achievement, attendance, and confidence (Ruscio, 2001; Wilder, Flood, & Stomsnes, 2001). Frequent quizzing reportedly maintains student study effort and promotes course engagement (Smith et al., 2000; Sporer, 2001). In general students rate the quizzes favorably and believe they are helpful in preparing for in-class examinations. Practice tests help students evaluate their learning and focus study effort accordingly (Maki, 1998).

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Social Bookmarking for Librarians

Social Bookmarking for Librarians

Enhancing the learner experience, using librarian facilities even when they are not open, is a goal of every college library

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Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks on the internet

CareerTech provide tips, ideas and help with web 2 technologies. They have made a great post highlighting  simple videos from the YouTube team giving advice for children (and adults) on how to use the internet wisely and safely.

CareerTech Testing Center: Steering Clear of Cyber Tricks.

Diigo – social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to organize, store, manage and search for bookmarks of resources online. Two of the more popular bookmarking services available are Diigo and Delicious Tagging is a significant feature of both of these social bookmarking systems, enabling users to organize their bookmarks in flexible ways. I have an account on both systems but my favourite by a long shot is Diigo.

What is Diigo?

How to set up a Diigo account

How to install the Diigo Toolbar on your browser: Internet explorerGoogle ChromeFirefox

How do I use Diigo if I cannot install the toolbar on the computer I’m using i.e. if I don’t have administrator rights on the computer

How do I import my bookmarks from my computer into my Diigo account

How to bookmark a website

How to book mark an image from a website

How a teacher can give feedback through Diigo

How to annotate a website using Diigo

Saving search results with Diigo

How to…. guide – for making quizzes through Articulate quizmaker

This section gives instructional short video clip instructions on how to compelte various taks using Articulate Quizmaker

Getting Started

How do I create a question with customised feedback?

How do I create  quiz with random questions taken from a database of questions?

How to insert my quizmaker quiz into my LMS?

How do I insert hints into my quizmaker questions

Overview of Form View vs. Slide View

Question feedback

How do I set up branching in Articulate Quizmaker

Three things you should know about scoring in Articulate Quizmaker

How do I turn on/off quiz results, or customize my results slides, in Articulate Quizmaker

More advanced features

How do I “jazz-up” my question to look much better than a boring standard computer generated questions, by inserting video, pictures or sound

How do I format my text of my questions

How do I bring in pictures and other media bit by bit – part one – animations

How do I bring in pictures and other media bit by time – part two – timeline

How to use images instead of text in your multiple choice questions

How to use multi “hotposts” within a image in a question

Use a multiple-response question in #Articulate Quizmaker to simulate two questions appearing on one slide

How to give learners remedial help after they’ve used up all their attempts on a question in Articulate Quizmaker

How do synchronize closed captioning and call out graphics with video in Quizmaker

Video-based quizzes in Quizmaker & using Sequence Drop Down for Mad Libs style learning activities

There is also an on-line forum made up from Articulate users throughout the world. It is well worth a visit

Creating on-line quizzes for your e-learning courses – Articulate Quizmaker

Quizmaker ’09 has a range of easy to use features. These inlude:

  • Quickly group and randomize question pools—without separating questions that should appear together
  • Include images, Flash, and audio—even create a scenario that develops over several screens
  • Branch quiz takers to different slides depending on how they answer each question
  • Animate objects and adjust their timing on the click-and-drag timeline
  • Choose from a wide selection of professionally designed themes or create your own
  • Give your quiz takers specific results and feedback based on their scores
  • Get quiz results through e-mail, your LMS

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Feedback through technology

The results of our assessment influence our students for the rest of their lives and careers – fine if we get it right, but unthinkable if we get it wrong. – Phil Race, 2009

There is a tremendous amount of work being done throughout the sector to enhance student feedback. Feedback is an essential part of effective learning. It helps students understand the subject being studied and gives them clear guidance on how to improve their learning. Feedback can improve a student’s confidence, self-awareness and enthusiasm for learning. Substantial developments in educational technology allow staff to speed up feedback provision, to provide more detailed feedback and to encourage greater engagement of students with the feedback process.

According to Gibbs and Simpson (2004), good teacher feedback should focus on what students have achieved and what they need to do next. It should be timely, so ideally it should be available when students are ‘stuck’, when it will have maximum impact, and in time to improve subsequent assignments. Nicol and Macfarlane-Dick (2006) maintained that good-quality feedback should ultimately be geared to helping students to learn to trouble-shoot and self-correct their own performance. This might be achieved by providing feedback which, rather than giving the answer, points students to where to find the answer (for example, ‘go back to p 35 in the text and rethink how you would explain this point in future’), or by providing feedback on students’ attempts to self-assess their own work.

Other strategies known to enhance the power of teacher feedback include linking feedback information to assessment criteria, providing corrective advice and not just information on strengths and weaknesses, and prioritising specific areas for improvement. There is evidence that ‘feed-forward’ information is more effective than feedback information. Such information does not just tell students where they went wrong, but also what to focus on to make improvements in subsequent tasks (Knight, 2006). This helps to stimulate transfer of learning to new problems.

Both Yorke (2005) and Tinto (2005) have argued that teacher feedback is of critical importance to student learning, especially in the first year of undergraduate study. Teacher feedback helps to reinforce academic expectations in the early stages of a module or programme, and is especially important when academic demands differ from those experienced by students before entering HE (Yorke and Longden, 2004). Teacher feedback is also a source against which students can check their understanding of assessment requirements, criteria and standards.

Through feedback, students can learn from their mistakes and misconceptions and build on achievements. Over time, teacher feedback should help students to develop accurate perceptions of their abilities and establish internal standards against which to evaluate their own work.  Research shows that a great deal of feedback given to students is delayed (for example, feedback on the first assignment not being given until after the second assignment is due), not understood, demotivating and does not provide any guidance for future action. So how can technology fix that? The following screencast illustrates how I have used two features of the learning management systems – Moodle, to issue timely comprehensive feedback to students.

I would appreciate any thoughts that you have on how technology can enhance feedback and possibly some examples that you would be willing to share.

Further weblinks –

Related posts: Rubrics, Audacity, Moodle