The Market Square in Antwerp, Belgium
First, Glasgow Caledonian University….
I seem to have been talking about SMS texting a bit over the last while. Last week I was invited by Kevan Gartland to Glasgow Caledonian University to participate in an event on Feedback Enhancement in the Biological Sciences. This was one in a series of seminars on this subject organised by Glasgow Caledonian University in association with the Higher Education Academy. I outlined our use of text messaging (as described previously) especially in assisting with peer marking and rapid communication of results following a written class test for around 100+ students.
Also presenting at the event was Jamie McDermott from GCU who was demonstrating his use of www.textwall.co.uk especially in an inter-professional context in a session with some 500 students. This has proved most successful in engaging students in this large lecture context with many asking questions by text message were they would normally have been reluctant to pose a question verbally during the session.
….next, Antwerp in Belgium…
Then this week I was off to Antwerp in Belgium for the 2012 BlackBoard Teaching and Learning Conference. This time I was invited by Travis Sowders of BlackBoard Connect to be involved in a panel discussion on the use of SMS text messaging in the classroom. Travis chaired the session and there were contributions by Jo Spiller from University of Edinburgh and myself on our three uses of texting at Ulster; communication, feedback and voting.
**Update on Friday 1st June 2012. Slides from our session at Antwerp are now embedded below:**
**Update on Tuesday 19th March 2013. Interview regarding the use of text messaging in the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster as recorded in Antwerp for BlackBoardTV is now embedded below:**
…. in other parts of the conference…
For me one of the highlights of the conference was the keynote address by Kayvon Beykpour, general manager of Blackboard Mobile. He described the work that had been done to introduce push notifications in BlackBoard meaning that students can receive up-to-date information straight to their handheld device. This was well received by conference delegates. However, it was the second part of his presentation that appealed to me most where he described the new developments in mobile-enabled class tests / examinations. Tests set up in the mobile environment can be made available to users of an array of mobile devices, but they can still be accessed in the traditional way via a computer connected to the VLE. This new feature opens the possibility of running multiple choice and short answer tests for large groups of students, each accessing the test from the familiar platform of their preferred mobile device.
I was also most impressed with a demo of Kaltura video sharing software for Blackboard. This facilitates a You Tube type environment where video may be shared in a number of different ways to different user groups. For me this represents an opportunity to consider upgrading the platform for our YouTestTube video sharing project adding mobile functionality and making the site much more accessible.
There were a number of Tweeters at the event and the tweets from the #BbTLC2012 hashtag have been archived at the following address: bit.ly/ImS3zs
Not surprisingly, WiFi access throughout the conference venues was excellent and worked flawlessly. Antwerp is also a charming city to visit.
Today I am off to the University of Edinburgh to present at a TxtTools event on our use of text messaging for student communication, rapid feedback and voting. The event draws users from the public and private sectors so it looks to be a very interesting day! Agenda is here.
Update on 10th November 2011
The event was excellent and a lot of good practice presented. A number of tweets came from the event at these are archived here.
Last Friday I took part in the Heads of University Centres of Biomedical Science (HUCBMS) Conference 2011 held at the Coleraine campus of the University of Ulster. I was presenting on Using Mobile Technologies and Video Sharing to Engage Students in the final session on Innovation in Teaching and Learning. This turned out to be a very interactive session and I am grateful to the delegates for the many questions and comments received during and after the presentation.
My slides from the event are provided here as a PDF.
Today I’m off to the University of Ulster’s 9th elearning conference and will be contributing a poster about our work on Text Messaging for Student Communication and Voting. The poster has had a few outings before and is embedded at the bottom of this post.
If you have already seen the poster you might be more interested in our recent paper in Bioscience Education on the topic of Text Messaging for Student Communication and Voting. This provides a full descriptive account of our practice and some of the uses we have found for this ubiquitous technology.
The abstract of the paper follows and you can download the entire paper by clicking here or on the image below.
In some of our year one lectures we encourage students to send text messages as a means of asking questions. We have also used text messaging for in class voting. Text messages sent by students may be forwarded to the academic’s email account for ease of access and to avoid having to log in to a separate system to read messages. However, in trying to cope with incoming messages during a lecture session this requires a separate laptop to access email or to have an email programme active on the presentation PC. This presents its own problems as the content of messages might be shown to the entire class albeit inadvertently thus compromising confidentiality.
The mail feature on the iPod Touch / iPhone provides a lightweight and discreet solution to this problem. Staff can have email literally in the palm of their hand and quickly monitor for incoming messages as the lecture proceeds. This of course relies on wireless internet access within the lecture theatre for the system to work optimally and should be checked out before implementing a major exercise using mobile technology.
Email is something we are all to familiar with but I would be interested to hear if others are putting email to more “interesting” uses.
At the UK Centre for Bioscience Reps forum I presented a poster on our use of text messaging with first year students as a means of in-class electronic voting, for student to student communication and for staff to student communication. The same poster was also presented at the University of Ulster’s Centre for Higher Education Practice (CHEP) inaugural “Festival of Innovative Practice” back in June. A copy of the poster is provided below.
Today I was taking part in the University of Ulster’s Centre for Higher Education Practice Festival of Innovation Practice. I was presenting our work on text messaging with students and as part of the presentation asked delegates to vote (by text message) on the following statement:
Students should be encouraged to use their mobile phones in class for learning purposes
Possible responses were:
CHEPA – Strongly Agree
CHEPB – Agree
CHEPC – Disagree
CHEPD – Strongly Disagree
The responses (n = 13), as shown in the pie chart above, were predominantly in agreement with the statement though concern was voiced that the system could be open to abuse.
Students using mobiles in class both for voting and for asking questions of the lecturer (especially in large groups) has some attractive advantages though the approach should be carefully considered and tailored to the individual circumstance.
I would be interested to hear the views of colleagues who have employed text messaging in education. When does it work best? When not?
Many thanks to all who contributed votes and / or comments today!