Student Response Systems Showcase event

On 17 September, the TEL&ED Team and the Medical Education Team ran a highly successful event showcasing the many ways Student Response Systems are currently being used at the University. Over 50 attendees, from all parts of the University, benefited from a mixture of case studies and introductions to the different systems.

“Really useful to see many different approaches.” 

“I liked the emphasis on student engagement and pedagogy.” 

It was very inspiring to see the different ways that people have used the same technology to engage their students – and the majority of attendees said that they had been inspired to use Student Response Systems in their own teaching.

“I really enjoyed meeting with like-minded staff and hearing all the creative ideas that are being tried.” 

“Came away with new ideas.” 

More information on Student Response Systems and their use – as well as details of the University’s SRS support network – including recordings of the presentations at the event, can be found on the TEL&ED Team’s webpages.

“Have definitely been inspired to use the technology.” 

The key to making this a successful event was the team of people involved in it – the presenters and the group behind the scenes – who all worked together, putting time and effort into it selflessly. It simply wouldn’t have happened without every one of them. Looking back on the event, from an organiser’s perspective, some other things that made it successful were:

  • allowing plenty of lead-in time for planning – we started discussing the event five months beforehand – which let us explore options and make arrangements safely
  • using Eventbrite for ticketing, and providing initial information about the event, even though we weren’t charging for attendance – which helped us to see interest levels and made managing attendance lists, badges, etc, relatively straightforward
  • having speakers from a range of disciplines, covering topics with different perspectives (both technical and pedagogical)
  • keeping the presentations relatively short – under 25 minutes each
  • asking the presenters to supply their slides in advance, so that they could pre-loaded and tested on the presentation computer

The thing that I would do differently next time would be to publish the full programme two weeks in advance of the event, in order to let attendees know exactly what to expect, and also to stimulate further interest.

Technology and the social experience of learning.

On Wednesday 2nd December members of the TELED team attended an event at the Graduate School of Education – Technology and the social experience of learning. Led by Professor Charles Crook, Director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute and Professor of Education at The University of Nottingham. Charles is by trade a Psychologist and his research centres around the role that technology plays in teaching and learning.

The main part of Charles talk centred around central practices in the Educational Landscape – all based on the way technology can mediate exchanges between people.

– Conversations – Collaborations using technology
– Assessment – As a social business and what role technology plays
– Exposition – Presenting as a social experience
– Congregating – gathering of people where knowledge can be generated

Finally the Darkside – not something I will touch on here but Charles views on this can be found in this article –  Cheating with essay mills: an extension of students asking each other for help? (link accessed 8/12/2o15)

Charles discourse on the main themes centred around an aspect that is core to the approach taken by the TELED Team in that technology should be used to support Education and not for the sake of using it. There is a fine line between providing students with all the information they need and the sparks to allow them to research and discover for themselves.

Charles highlighted two cautionary aspects of the Education Landscape where technology has had an impact, the Assessment Cycle and the Lecture. He warned about the over technological approach to the assessment of written work weakening the link between the student as author and the Lecturer as marker. While I do not think this is a new idea the increased role of technology while increasing efficiency on one hand which is wanted by students could be impacting the close relationship with the Tutor.

He also highlighted the presence of technology in the Lecture theatre as marginalising the teacher where they become a side note to a series of bullet points on an enormous display.

I found Charles talk very thought provoking and gave me a good nudge towards a more questioning approach to using technology and refocussed my mind to thinking Education and Pedagogy first and technology second.


Artificial intelligence generated music for video


Music is a powerful tool within video. There may be times when you or your students want to use music with footage. You might need an upbeat track to use as a ‘bed’ over a sequence of still photos? Or something a little punchy over a title slide to set a scene and grab a viewer’s attention? We can’t just use any track we desire and it’s likely that a copyright expired track may be a little dated. Despite recent changed to how copyright applies to education options are still limited.

So what can we as educators do? One option is to use music licensed under the creative commons scheme. This sits on top of traditional copyright but allows a more nuanced range of uses than a blanket ‘nope’. Sounds great, but anyone who’s spent hours trawling through CC licensed music will groan at you.  The great stuff’s already everywhere and the majority of the rest is pretty awful. Even then you might find it isn’t the right length and may need editing to fit your footage. Finding music to fit can be a time consuming and frustrating exercise.

Jukedeck should make life much easier. It uses AI to create bespoke music from the criteria you supply. In around 20 seconds you can have a track created in the style you choose at the length you need. You can fine tune the instruments used, BPM and general feel. The music is royalty free, which means you have no issues using it for educational purposes. Signing up for a free account gives you 5 free downloads a month, after that it’s $7 a track.

The private beta has already seen the likes of the Natural History Museum and Google using it. Jukedeck launched this week at TechCrunch Disrupt London’s Startup Battlefield.

More info on how it works –