PebblePad3, due to be launched in July this year, combines Pebble+, a revamped version of the personal learning space we’re already using, with a new institutional environment, ATLAS, which replaces the current Gateway system to support active teaching, learning and assessment. There are also plans to launch a brand new Community/ Social space in 2013 , where users will be able to access a global resource centre across all institutions – resources being displayed in terms of popularity of use through users’ rating. PebblePad will now also be hosting the service which includes storing video – therefore there will no longer be an upload limit of 10MB per asset.
Pebble+ has been completely redesigned as a website with the menus at the top of the screen. The ‘Create New’ menu has been condensed and includes the ‘Upload File’ option. There are a range of generic inbuilt templates for recording (action) plans, experiences and reflections. Templates, including forms and profiles, can now be created by all users and customised for different scenarios – you could create your own course ‘workbooks’. They can also now contain confidential fields, a requirement for many Health-related courses. You can also select from a range of banners to change the appearance of your template, or create your own. The end result looks less cluttered (and therefore more professional) than what is currently available. Templates can be ‘favourited’ and added to the ‘Create New’ menu.
Other changes include the ability to submit ‘Assets’ directly to the VLE, although I’m not sure whether this would work with SharePoint. Also users can create extensible CVs through dragging chosen assets onto a Folio page (available in addition to the Webfolio) – this could be good for showcasing achievements using a range of media to illustrate, for example, the process involved to achieve The Plymouth Award.
PebblePad+ is still Flash-based, although the back-end is ready to convert this to HTML5 when this has been standardised. Those accessing PebblePad via an iPhone or iPad will be directed to the mobile (HTML) version, which currently does 95% of what the Flash version can do.
ATLAS is the new institutional workspace where students submit their assets for feedback, peer review and validation – it supports blind and double blind marking, moderation, external review and grading. It is HTML-based so can be accessed via any device.
A typical Workspace (the new name for Gateway) contains 4 pages: – About, Submissions, Resources and Conversations. The old Gateway structure has been flattened and multiple assignments can now be submitted to one Workspace. Owners and tutors will be able to see all submissions to all Workspaces they are associated with through a new ‘Dashboard-like’ screen. Assignments can be ‘paused’, so that feedback can be given to a formative submission while the learner is able to carry on with the piece of work. Assignments can then be ‘played’ again to continue for submission to a summative assessment – this way a learner’s progress can be tracked throughout their course. Templates can be customised for feedback and feedback collections of common statements can be collated and reused. You can also now annotate directly onto submitted work. Institutional resources such as referencing guides can be hyperlinked. Conversations can be saved as assets, with all participants being anonymised.
In response to meeting the new demands for auditing, there is much more recording available in ATLAS, including the performance of teaching staff.
In addition you can now create custom help sheets by selecting pre-defined areas within PebblePad Help in order to support introductory tutorials and/or specific tasks.
Notifications in the future will be better as students will be able to select how they want to be notified – SMS, Facebook, Twitter and/ or email.
All elements of PebblePad3 are designed to link to other systems – staff and student data, VLE, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Flickr and YouTube, enabling users to create and publish directly from PebblePad+.
Summer 2013 Rollout
PebblePad3 will be rolled out during the summer. There will also be a masterclass at the VC’s Teaching and Learning Conference on the 28th of June, with workshops available shortly afterwards. If you would like to discuss how PebblePad could be used to support your curriculum, contact your local Learning Technologist. In the meantime, you can get more information, including videos of the new workspaces and features, from the PebblePad website.