Daybreak on ITV on kids using mobile phones in class

“Don’t get me started…..”, I ranted this morning. ITV’s breakfast show, Daybreak, was showing an item about school children using mobile phones in the classroom. There was an interview with some children studying a class (at 7.15 am?) who thought it was ok to have their mobile phones on in class, and they also spoke to their headteacher, who’d set up a policy of “we won’t ban mobiles, because we trust you to be sensible with your mobiles”. Even their parents thought their children needed their mobiles to text about after-school activities. Which is a little bit different from the stance taken by others to ban mobiles from the classroom completely. I understand that schools are concerned about the disruption caused by students texting, phoning, and silencing their phones during lessons. However, no-one mentioned the alternative. No-one ever seems to mention the alternative. If the children want to use their mobiles in class, why not let teachers take control and include mobile phones in their lessons and their students’ learning?

There are lots of things you can do with mobile phones in the classroom. I’m not going to go into loads of details, but here are a few examples and real-life examples.

1 . Permanent record of key diagrams/charts: One tutor, a colleague of mine, asked his students to copy some technical drawings and charts he was putting on the whiteboard. However, he couldn’t work out why some students hadn’t started to draw the diagrams themselves. When he’d finished his drawings, some of the students go out their phones, and started taking photographs of the diagrams!

2. Who wants to be a Millionaire-style live voting/testing knowledge: I recently did a live demonstration of using a survey in Google Docs to show how to get students to answer questions/vote from their phones in class, and display instant results in the classroom. It’s a live, interactive, fun way, of assessmentand getting learners to work together.

3. Apps: There are loads of mobile phone apps out there that can be using for learning and revision. Why not get students to search for some maths and science tools and share some knowledge, or write a critical review of some?

4. Audio and Video: Teachers can get students to record role play, drama sessions, even whole lessons and keep a permanent record of them. This is perfect for reinforcing learning and revision.

There, just a few reasons why we shouldn’t ban mobiles from the classroom. I even tweeted some of them to Daybreak, but to no avail. The Daybreak Facebook page has lots of comments for and against using mobiles in the classroom, but no-one mentions using them for learning!

Wake up to mobile learning!

Rant over.

May 11, 2012 at 9:52 am Leave a comment

Time for e-learning

As I’m now in a new e-learning job, it’s time to start posting some elearning stuff! I’m moving all my elearning-related posts over to here from my other blog – mistrust.wordpress.com – where all my music-making-related stuff will live. As well as my mine mistrustmusic.co.uk website, that is. I’m also on Facebook as elearningtim!

February 6, 2012 at 1:10 pm Leave a comment

RSS feed widget in Moodle

I’ve recently been looking for something that will display multiple RSS feeds in a widget-style display in Moodle, but there didn’t appear to be anything like a proper plugin or anything like that. There are allsorts of gadgets and widgets around that sit on your desktop and do what I want, but not a lot of web-based applications. I guess I could get our technical developer to create one, but in the meantime, I’ve discovered a website called Collected.info.

This is basically a feed aggregator – something that combines many RSS feeds, and can list the latest post from a feed source or mulitple sources, and also lets you create your own dynamic widget that can be embedded into a website. The good thing about this widget is that you can specify its size, colours, font size, and even hide the “Collected.info” logo (clue: choose a white background and the white logo). Ideal for dropping your feed block in to a label or webpage in Moodle! You can also choose lots of other feed collections from other users, some of which may or may not be suitable for educational purposes!

It’s definitely something that I’ll use again. It’s already in one of my college library Moodle pages. It’s a lot more stylish than using the good old Moodle RSS Feed block.

By the way, if anyone’s using Collected.info, or if any of the owners are reading this – it may be something to do with my browser, but whenever I add a new feed address, I always have to refresh the page for the link to appear in my feed list…..

Next up: RSS tickertapes…..

June 8, 2011 at 9:18 am Leave a comment

Tim’s Handy Hints: Backing up Moodle Forums

I came across someone on a Moodle users’ forum asking for help in backing up his course forums, but it seems there isn’t a way to do this without creating code-based scripts that run in the background, and other techie stuff. Not much help if you’re not good at writing scripts or haven’t anyone in your organisation who can do it for you!

So, here are couple of things I’ve used in the past to back up Moodle user forums, and also view the content of lots of different forums without having to go into each course. Plus, there’s a program that can be used for making pdf copies of your forum posts.

1. Create new forum(s) for each course and assign your new students to different groups in a course. Then set each forum to be available only to the groups you want to have access. Keep your old forums for reference but hide them from your students, so you can archive them.

or…

2. Activate the RSS feeds for each of your forums, then copy the feed link for each forum into a feed reader eg Google Reader. I’ve been doing that way for ages as a way of following forums on different courses, rather than having to go into every course (you can also see how may courses/tutors are using forums properly!). If you want to archive them offline, you can use something like Feed Demon (free or paid versions) or convert your feeds to pdf using something like this…
http://rss2pdf.com/

Look out for more of Tim’s e-Learning Handy Hints!

February 15, 2011 at 11:30 am Leave a comment

One Blog….

This blog is no longer being maintained. Please visit my main blog at www.mistrustmusic.co.uk

Why the move? The time has come to have One Blog. It doesn’t make sense anymore to have a different blog for personal stuff, my music-making stuff, and e-learning stuff. It’s been a pain to have to maintain them all, and now I’ve got my iPod Touch, I’d have to log in to the different blogs and post to them at different times. it’s easier to have One Blog – so I can post about anything I like in the same place.

So, that’s sorted. Head over to –

Everything’s gone green – The world of mistrust music (and Tim Blackburn)

November 12, 2008 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

One blog…..

This blog is no longer being maintained. Please visit my main blog here to read what I’m upto in life, e-learning and music-making:

Everything’s gone green – The world of mistrust music (and Tim Blackburn)

Why the move? The time has come to have One Blog. It doesn’t make sense anymore to have a different blog for personal stuff, my music-making stuff, and e-learning stuff. It’s been a pain to have to maintain them all, and now I’ve got my iPod Touch, I’d have to log in to the different blogs and post to them at different times. it’s easier to have One Blog – so I can post about anything I like in the same place.

So, that’s sorted. Head over to – 

Everything’s gone green – The world of mistrust music (and Tim Blackburn)

November 12, 2008 at 3:30 pm Leave a comment

Interesting e-learning blogs

While I don’t get much chance to post my thoughts on what I’m up to with e-learning myself (usually due to posting on my music blog), I get regular email updates from places like SiteProNews and other web developer sites that tell me what’s going on in the world of e-learning and web 2.0. I also tend to check out a few other sites that give quite good, unbiased opinions on how to use things like social networking effectively and imaginatively not only in e-learning but also in business. There’s usually something that catches my eye that makes me think about my own practice and how I could improve what I doing, so I’ve decided to mention some of these blog posts and news items on a regular basis and hopefully spread the word about what the people are upto. I’ll add the websites to my links at the side of the page. Hopefully, the people who post the items won’t mind me quoting them and giving them a bit of a plug.

First up is an article by Lloyd Davis entitled Videoblog Masterclass – Using Video as a social technology. Lloyd describes himself as someone who “helps clients use social forms of media to make communication and collaboration easier”. I attended one of Lloyd’s seminars last year and found it both entertaining and educating. He seems to be doing something really innovative in terms of getting businesses to adapt to the social networking world. It’s something I’d definitely like to get into myself in the future. In this particular post, Lloyd talks about using video clips as a means of communicating and social networking, and the potential of things like mobile phone videos. He also discusses the cultural impact and practicality of using this sort of communication. You can read the article in full here at PerfectPath, and don’t forget to check out the rest of Lloyds other posts.

Other news…

I don’t think I’ve mentioned this on here but I’ve sort of been promoted at work (City College Manchester – a further ed institution in the UK). I’m now 4/5ths E-Learning Developer, and 1/5th E-Resources Co-ordinator, which allows me to spend a lot of time developing and promoting use of our Moodle installation, and generally helping promote the use of e-learning within the college.

June 20, 2008 at 1:49 pm Leave a comment

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