Quick access to ‘Things’

If you would like to explore some of the tools and techniques we covered in the course in your own time, the ‘Things’ menu item will now give you direct access to the relevant posts.

We hope you find this resource helpful. Please continue to share your thoughts and experiences.

All the Best

The DigiThings Team :o)

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So what did you think of DigiThings?

Well now we’ve reached the end of the course. It was a great deal of fun to put together and contribute to …but what did you think? We would love to know your thoughts in order to inform creating future courses using this approach…

Please could you take the time to complete our evaluation form – we would really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

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DigiThing 9: ‘Flipping the Classroom’ Presentation …and App!

Here are the slides from Tuesday’s workshop led by Dr Sharon Gedye.

‘The Flipped Classroom Lite’ App for iPhone/ iPad

If you have an iPad or iPhone, you may also find ‘The Flipped Classroom Lite‘ app created by Teachers Tech useful. The free version includes a course that covers all aspects of ‘Flipping the Classroom’ through introducing what the concept means to looking at a range of tools and techniques. These include podcasting, screen recording and video-creation. Each section contains a series of videos – however, as this is a free version, many are greyed out. If you’re interested in learning more about a topic, get in touch with your local Learning Technologist or have a look at the courses and workshops we offer.

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DigiThing 9: Flipping the Classroom


In this final instalment of the DigiThings course we will be pulling together what we have learnt from our exploration of a range of ‘DigiThings’ to think about how they can be used to support a flipped classroom style of teaching. This taught session, led by Educational Developer Dr Sharon Gedye on Tuesday 18th March, Meeting Room, Floor 2, 3 Endsleigh Place, will explore what flipping looks like and the benefits of flipping for student learning. There will be opportunities to critique flipping practice (What is good practice? Where are the problem areas?) and you will be encouraged to develop your ideas as to where and how you might flip your teaching.


A Little Background:

There is no one model for the ‘flipped classroom’; it simply refers to flipping the traditional delivery approach. Students access the ‘lecture’ and accompanying reading in their own time, at their own pace, prior to a taught session. This enables content to be delivered without using valuable contact time. The contact time is then freed up for advancing concepts, interaction, problem-based learning, case studies, collaborative, peer-assisted learning and discussion. This is not a new concept historically; Literature and Law students have to prepare for sessions by reading and preparing  and the Open University is based on this approach (Berrett, 2012). Before the industrial revolution, books were not mass commodities and lectures were the only way of transferring information. Technological advancements have led academics, especially in the USA, to reflect on current day practice.

‘Flipping’ developed from the work of Eric Mazur – a physicist at Harvard University – following his development of peer instruction (Mazur, 1997, Crouch and Mazur, 2001). Computer-based learning became integral to improving the quality of his programmes (Mazur, 2011; Mazur, 2012). Flipping was further developed by Salman Khan who created the Khan Academy, a free source of over 2600 online tutorial videos. He supports switching the traditional 95% of time in class to 95% of time actually working with students (Houston and Lin, 2012). In 2006 secondary school teachers Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams started to innovate in schools through delivering content through screen, video and podcasting.

Technology allows academics to move beyond the ‘sage on the stage’ style of delivery and enable students to receive the required knowledge through a more personal method (Bergmann, 2012). For many students, a typical lecture comes too fast and is often quickly forgotten. Using technology, students can pause and replay a video or presentation and focus on what they need to know at their own pace.  Students can also save the sessions and use them for future revision. Students can be asked to post their queries and views on a blog prior to a session to enable staff to prepare (Berliner, 2012). The traditional session, where students’ passively listen, daydream or fiddle with smartphones are replaced with increased student engagement through experiential learning activities.  Some students have initially been found to be resistant as they are required to engage and participate – they cannot be inactive (Houston &Lin, 2012). At Stanford Medical School, student attendance increased in a Bio Chemistry course from 30 to 80% as a result of flipping. Researchers at the University of British Columbia in April 2011 found students using flip learning had increased achievement over students taught through traditional methods. http://www.wired.co.uk/magazine/archive/2012/05/features/university-just-got-flipped?page=all

There are also challenges for staff. These include the time required to review the curriculum, and plan and develop the on-line resources to ensure that lectures are not replaced by poor digital resources.  Many staff need support to enable them to design and develop websites, podcasting, and the use of a variety of software such as Moodle, Voice Thread, YouTube, Slideshare, WINK, Audacity and Xerte. Academics in the USA have found repurposing existing open access materials time saving. Using ‘flipping’ alone does not increase success; it is the increased student interaction in sessions including reviewing and advancing the content, checking student understanding, collaborate activities and peer instruction that is key. For some staff facilitation to large numbers of students is daunting and they need support to develop the skills of participative learning methods.

Bergmann et al (2012) advised staff to initially start small and choose a couple of topics or a short module to flip.  They recommend a structure of 10 minute multimedia presentations with accompanied reading material and questions and/or a blog for questions and discussion to enable staff to prepare for an activity in the whole cohort session. Staff also need to ensure that students without computers or internet access can participate through the university computers or via DVD.

Getting Going:

In preparation for the face-to-face session on 18th March you will need to do some pre-session ‘homework’ (thus modelling flipped classroom practice). Take a look at the following as a minimum (sample more of the resources below if you have the time and inclination).

Educause (2012, Feb). 7 Things you should know about … Flipped Classrooms. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

Mazur, E. (2011). Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn1DLFnbGOo  Accessed 09/07/13. This video is enjoyable and thought provoking but it is long. If you are tight for time watch from about 51 minutes to the end.



Bergmann, J., Overmyer, J. & Wilie, B. (2012). The Flipped Classroom: Myth or reality. http://www.thedailyriff.com/articles/the-flipped-class-conversation-689.php Accessed 09/07/2013

Bergmann, J. Sams, A. (2008). Remixing chemistry class.  Learning and Leading with Technology.  36(4) 24-27.

Bergmann, J. Sams, A. (2012). Flip Your Classroom: Talk to Every Student in Every Class Every Day. International Society for Technology in Education.

Berliner, H. (2012).  Inside Higher Ed.   Washington. USA http://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/provost-prose/%E2%80%9Cflipped-classroom%E2%80%9D#ixzz252uDrRf2  Accessed 09/07/13

Berrett, D. (2012). How ‘flipping’ the classroom can improve the traditional lecture. The Chronicle of Higher Ed, Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/article/How-Flipping-the-Classroom/130857/ Accessed 09/07/13

Crouch, C and Mazur, E. (2001). Peer Instruction: Ten years of experience and results. Am. J. Phys. 69 (9). http://web.mit.edu/jbelcher/www/TEALref/Crouch_Mazur.pdf Accessed 09/07/13

Educause (2012, Feb). 7 Things you should know about … Flipped Classrooms. http://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/eli7081.pdf

Houston, M., & Lin, L. (2012, March). Humanizing the classroom by flipping the homework versus lecture equation. Paper presented at Society for information technology & teacher education international conference (site) 2012, Austin, TX.

Khan, S. (2011). Lets use videos to reinvent education. TED lectures  http://www.ted.com/talks/salman_khan_let_s_use_video_to_reinvent_education.html Accessed 09/07/13

Lage, M., Platt, G.,Tregalia, M. (2000). Inverting the Classroom: A gateway to creating an inclusive learning environment. Journal of Economic Education. http://academia.edu/340051/Inverting_the_Classroom_A_Gateway_to_Creating_An_Inclusive_Learning_Environment Accessed 09/07/13

Mazur, E. (1997). Peer Instruction: A User’s Manual, Prentice Hall.

Mazur, E. (2011). Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tn1DLFnbGOo Accessed 09/07/13. This video is enjoyable and thought provoking but it is long. If you are tight for time watch from about 51 minutes to the end.

Mazur, E. (2012). Eric Mazur shows interactive teaching. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wont2v_LZ1E Accessed 09/07/13.

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DigiThings 8: Graphic Presentation

Fancy something a little different?

Why are we presenting? Are we sharing information? Highlighting facts? Explaining concepts? Often what we’re trying to do is tell a story. All of these things can be done in a variety of ways, but how about taking a challenge now and thinking about ways you could use graphic presentation media, i.e. cartoons and animation? There are many free tools for creating cartoons and animations out there on the Web.

Here’s a cartoon I made to introduce the idea of using cartoons and animations in the DigiThings course. Whilst utilising static images cartoons are often a very dynamic way of story telling. The annotations, character choices, expressions, progression from one frame to the next that are chosen by the compiler of the cartoon can be used creatively to tell a story in a dynamic and engaging way. There are many online tools to choose from with which to create cartoon strips like this one.



One such tool for creating cartoon strips is Toonlet, http://toonlet.com/.

It’s very easy to use, can be used to quickly create dialogue based cartoon stories. There are a lot of junk cartoons created on the site, but a search facility helps drag out some useful examples of how people have used it. This example, Sun Safety, presents a very simple dialogue on the use of sunscreen, making a very serious point in an engaging short graphic story. Now what about a bit of chemistry? Remember all that stuff about chemical bonding? No? Let a Toonlet strip do the reminding for you, Chemistry Rocks!, possibly not the deepest chemistry reference in existence but does it’s quirkiness lend something as a revision tool that isn’t found in a flat, dull book page? Possibly, and if it breaks up the routine of PowerPoint and text books a bit then I feel it’s worth having a go at.

Cartoon strips are quick and easy to make. However, you may need to a little more action in your presentation in which case an animation tool might be more suited to your needs. There are many web-based animation tools out there of varying quality. I have made the following example animation with a tool called GoAnimate, http://goanimate.com/, which is quite an easy tool to use with a fair selection of pre-made characters and settings.

Animation for presentation by mark_pannell on GoAnimate

Both the cartoon maker and animation tools are fairly easy to learn to use and in a short time you can create quite sophisticated results. So now it’s over to you.

Small Task: identify an area in your own teaching or learning experiences where either of these presentation methods might be appropriate. This might be something in your own teaching practice, or something you had to learn in the past that you think could be taught in a more interesting way by using one of these tools. Use one of the tools suggested, or one of your own choice, to create a cartoon strip or animation for the thing you have identified. This might be a bigger project than you have time for in the week, but make a start this week if you can.

Having looked at these tools and spent some time starting a project in one of them here are some things to think about in your blog this week:

Have you encountered cartoons or animations in your learning experiences? Would you use them in your teaching? Do they fit in ‘personally’ with the way you explore a subject? Can you think of any particular projects you could use these tools in?

I look forward to reading your posts in the next few days.

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DigiThings 7: Infographics

This week we will be looking at data visualisation tools.  These are another way in which you can engage your students as they can help to get a concept across in a visual form.  We normally associate Infographics with a highly polished well designed poster that looks like some graphic designer has spent 100s of hour on.  But I will introduce you to some tools that will enable you to get a similar effect in a lot less time.

Data visualisation is effectively another metaphor that we can use to tell a story, much in the same way we use contextual examples. The use of these metaphors or stories make it easier for to whom your are explaining the concept to latch onto it.  To give you a better understanding of what an infographic take a look at the guidance given by the ONS

With this in mind take a look a http://www.easel.ly/ . they have an introduction video at the top of the page showing how to use the software. Under this is a number of templates that you can that you can start working with straight away.

As part of the task for this week, using the Easel attempt to describe one of the following:

(note: on their site they have a number of examples, click on one that you feel is the most appropriate and you will be taken straight into their editor)

  • An explanation on how π relates to the radius of a circle

  • A world map showing some of the cities with the largest populations

  • the consistencies of ingredients of your favorite drink(s)

  • The types of jobs that your students go into once they graduate

  • take some data/concept form your own practice and use the tool to visualise it.

I think how infographics can influence our perceptions of the world is fascinating. They also require good information literacy skills as they can sometimes be very misleading..  One of the most pervasive infographics, that we do not think of as one, is a world map.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Mercator_projection_SW.jpg  So many times we have seen this image in so many places we take it for granted as an acurate representaion of the world.  But of course it is not, as when attempting to represent a spherical object on a flat surface distortions will occur.  For example the image that I have displayed above is correct in terms of the shapes of the land masses but distorts area towards the polls. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercator_projection and compare this to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peters_projection .   This is another quite though provoking infographic on our perceptions of the world  http://static02.mediaite.com/geekosystem/uploads/2010/10/true-size-of-africa.jpg


  • Has these alternative projections of the world changed your perception of how the world look?

  • Why do you think the Mecator Projection has become so prevalent to how we perceive the world?

  • What effect does this have on our perception of the importance of certain countries?

  • Why is north up?


This manipulation of data to alter our perceptions is not just limited to maps however.  Here in an interesting article on the good and bad of infographics? http://idsgn.org/posts/good-and-evil-of-infographics/

16 Useless infographics


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Workshop 18th March: The Flipped Classroom

Educational Developer, Dr Sharon Gedye, will be running a workshop exploring the concept of the Flipped Classroom on Tuesday 18th March, 14.00-16.00 in the Meeting Room, Floor 2, 3 Endsleigh Place.

This is the final DigiThing and aims to pull together what we have learnt from the presentation tools we’ve been trying and to think about how they can be used to support a flipped classroom style of teaching.

Please could you indicate whether you will be attending by completing the form below so that we can get an idea of numbers. Thank you.

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Digithings Thing 6: Curation Tools

Welcome to week 6 of Digithings, this week we are going to look at curation tools, in particular we will look at Scoop.It.

What are Curation Tools

Curation tools are web and app based tools that are used to compile articles from the Internet. The most popular is Pinterest, which offers a very visual form of content curation. It allows the user to easily compile images from the web. The aim of them is to help find things of interest within your subject and then allow you to display the elements that you find of value.

Another tool that you could use for curation is Storify, this gives you the ability to pull in various articles, blogs and feeds from the web and display them on your page and allow you to offer your own narrative on them.

Curation tools like Scoop.It primarily aggregate articles that you find of interest, but the true value of them comes from when you as the editor can offer your own critique on them.

Why use Scoop.It

Scoop.It makes it quick and easy to source articles relevant to your area topic and displays them in a format which is engaging to the viewer. You can also connect your Scoop.It account to your social network or blog, meaning that you can easily reach a wide audience of like-minded people. Curation tools are available over a variety of different devices, meaning you are able to connect with the audience in many different forms.

You can also follow other users who have similar interests to yourself and re-publish their stories and then offer your own views on the articles. You can create as many topics as you like, so you are not limited to only one area of interest.

Scoop.It is useful for research, by searching the key words you enter for your topic, Scoop.It pulls the latest articles that may be of interest to you and offers them in the form of suggestions. This takes a lot of the pain out of searching the web for new articles related to your topic. You can also receive recommendations from other Scoop.It users, who may think that you might find certain articles relevant.

Curation tools are also a good way to get students to find and research articles that they are studying. They also offer students the platform to offer their own critical analysis and allow them the opportunity to collaborate with their peers. The tools help the students to frame and reflect on articles, feeds or blogs and add their own commentary.

How do I use Scoop.It

You need to sign up for a Scoop.It account at http://www.scoop.it/

Here is a short video that shows how you can use scoop it.

The user enters their area of interest as the topic title, Scoop.it then uses the key words that you provide to search the web for articles which may be of interest to your particular subject matter. It then provides suggestions that you can use to build your page. You can then curate the content within the article so that it pulls out the points that are relevant to you.

There are a few different ways to add content to your topic that are listed in this article.


Small Task

Once you have signed up for a Scoop.It account, enter a topic which is relevant to your area of research.


Enter the key words which are relevant to your topic.

Then start adding, editing and critiquing your articles, using

  1. Suggestions from Scoop.It
  2. An article from someone else’s Scoop.It site
  3. An article relevant to your research from the Internet using the Scoop.It Bookmarklet tool. http://www.scoop.it/bookmarkletInfo

Quick Tip

Don’t be afraid to add more topics as you refine you searches and subjects.

Further Reading

Exploring Curation as a Core Competency in Digital and Media Literacy Education by Paul Mihailidis – http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/article/2013-02/html

10 steps to curate your social media content with scoop it for increased value by Shirley Williams – http://socialmediapearls.com/10-steps-to-curate-your-social-media-content-with-scoop-it-for-increased-value/

Google’s Matt Cutts: Create, curate, don’t aggregate - Blog by Pawan Deshpande – http://www.curata.com/blog/googles-matt-cutts-create-curate-dont-aggregate/

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DigiThings Thing 5: Simple Interactive and Collaborative Presentations using Emaze

In DigiThings two and three you looked at Presentations using PowerPoint and Collaborative Presentations with Prezi. This week we will be looking at Emaze which has the interactivity and collaboration of Prezi but with the simplicity of PowerPoint.

What is Emaze?

Emaze is an online presentation tool for people who want more than PowerPoint. Emaze lets users create interactive and collaborative presentations via your browser on any device (PC, Mac, Tablets and Smart Phones). Presentations can be personally styled and contain a variety of content including text, images, videos, shapes and charts.

Why would I use Emaze?

Emaze caters to the more basic user. It offers more visualisation and better interactivity than PowerPoint but is far simpler to use than Prezi. Emaze aims to take care of the design, effects and building of your presentation, to let you focus on the content. It is therefore more limited than Prezi in terms of customisation but allows you to create sophisticated presentations with very little effort.

Emaze can enhance your presentations and more importantly your students learning in a variety of ways. Like Prezi, Emaze offers a great deal to visual learners. The interactive templates make presentations a lot more interesting and interactive to the audience. With Emaze being cloud based you can also share your presentations to an online audience of your choice or if you wish, the entire public. This means your presentations will have a greater reach and instead of having to upload presentations to a Digital Learning Environment (DLE) you can simply provide the link to your Emaze presentations.

Emaze also enables the presentation creator and the audience to choose how they interact with the presentation. Unlike PowerPoint which is typically viewed in the lecture theatre or downloaded from a Digital Learning Environment (DLE) onto a PC or Mac, Emaze can be used on Mobiles, Tablets, Laptops, PC’s, Macs or indeed most devices with an internet browser. This enables the audience not only to view the presentation how they like but also to work through the material at their own pace. Equally presentations can be created on a variety of devices and can even be edited whilst offline – for example on an iPad whilst on a train journey.

Another great feature of Emaze is the ability to collaborate with colleagues. Emaze allows you to create and edit presentations with peers and share presentations with colleagues for them to reuse. This includes working on the same presentation, at the same time, but on different devices and at different locations.

Other Emaze features include:

  • Built in Automatic Translation of your slides using Google or Bing
  • The ability to password protect presentations to restrict access
  • Share options via email, Facebook or links
  • And the ability to embed presentations on a webpage

How do I use Emaze?

The first thing you need to do in order to use Emaze is to sign up for account by providing your email address and password on the Emaze website.

It’s then worth watching the helpful video tutorials that Emaze offer.

For further tips I have created a presentation that breaks down different functionality into simple steps. The presentation is available to view below:

Getting started with Emaze

Finally for help and additional material, Emaze offer a constantly growing support centre.

Small Task

Now it’s time for you to get hands on with Emaze and create your own presentation. As Emaze can be collaborative you’re welcome to partner up and complete the task in pairs.

The task is to create an Emaze presentation on the topic of your choice using a predefined template. You will need to add Text, Images, Videos and Charts to your presentation and have at least 4 slides. Once finished you will then need to share the results with the group via a link from your Blog post.

Remember: You can view and edit you presentation on different devices so why not experiment!

If you’re struggling to think of a topic why not do a presentation on:

  1. What you learnt last week on DigiThings…
  2. Your subject area…
  3. Plymouth…
  4. A sports team…
  5. The university…

 Thoughts on Emaze…

I found Emaze to be a very simple and interactive presentation tool. I found setting up presentations to be quick and easy for the most part but did get frustrated at points. This was due to certain features not acting quite as they should all the time. I believe this is largely due to Emaze still being in Beta as the developers still work on the tool. When I experienced issues I found simply closing the presentation and reopening it would resolve the issue.

Overall I’m very happy with the presentations I can create using Emaze. The presentations offer a lot of interactivity, which helps make the content more interesting to the audience. The great part about the interactivity is that it’s really simple to provide as the tool takes care of it for you. Some things you might want to discuss in your reflective blog this week are:

  1. What are your thoughts on Emaze?
  2. How could you use the tool? Will you use it collaboratively?
  3. How do you think Emaze will impact on teaching and learning?
  4. What did you like about Emaze?
  5. What didn’t you like about Emaze?
  6. Any other thoughts?

Further Reading

If you would like to learn more about Emaze, you may be interested in the following links:

In DigiThings Thing Six you will be looking at Curation Tools which will begin on 24/02/2014.

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A rest week for DigiThings

I hope you all enjoyed looking at Mindmaps and that some of you found the time to explore them more fully.

This week, we take a little time off to reflect on what we have learned and will re-convene next Monday on the 17th of February for the next ‘DigiThing’ - DigiThings Thing 5: Simple Interactive and Collaborative Presentations using Emaze.
If anyone wants to post any thoughts to their blogsite about ‘Using Mindmaps for Presentation’, or indeed any last thoughts on the Prezi week, I look forwards to reading them.

Otherwise, bye for now…


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