Preview of PebblePad 3

Attended a PebblePad workshop in Preston today at which a demo of PebblePad 3 was given. Didn’t get the opportunity to play with it directly 😦 but some demo accounts may be available shortly so will keep my eyes open. Interface looks light and airy with more opportunities to use it a more like your desktop. Multiple asset types can be opened which is good. Text formatting within asset fields is also great, which will make blogs and webfolios better in appearance.

There is a social element that draws in from popular Social Networking apps, Facebook, Twitter and Blogger, as well as posts out. Institution tab acts like a portal with one stop login to other systems, pulling information in and linking out to more details, all admin customisable. The main difference is being able to completely customise the standard wizards and forms with your own designs. At the moment you can create new forms but not replace the standard set. The other useful feature is being able to replicate assets across multiple PebblePad accounts.

The workshop also went over some of the features in 2.5 and I now understand the potential of forms and gateways much better. One of the issues we have had with PebblePad and the disengaged students is being able to assess what they are having an issue with. If we had used the Gateway instead of a Blog we could have tracked student progress much better. The other thing I realised was how you can create a work booklet for students to complete as they progress through their studies. Again shared and published via a gateway, becomes an effective means of keep track of students you don’t meet face-to-face. Some good lessons learned today, Ill be definitely working on the booklet idea. Possibly as a means of implementing focus questions around the GROW model of coaching, for staff and students.

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ELESIG: Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning

On October 6th I attended my first symposium of the Evaluating Learners’ Experience of e-learning special interest group (ELESIG), held in London on the topic of Effective Learning in the Digital Age. ELESIG is an international community of researchers and practitioners who are particularly interested in understanding how learners use and experience technology in their learning. It was an interesting meeting, where the highlights for me were presentations by students giving first hand accounts of activities they had been involved in, including a major survey soon to be published by the NUS on student perception of different technologies in a learning context.

As part of the day I had the opportunity to give a 10 minute presentation on the PC3 project as part of “Members’ Corner”. The presentation focused on our future activities working with Nick Halafihi and his team on the PDP module for Level 1 students in the Carnegie Faculty. One of our challenges is to engage with these students from the project perspective to get their feedback on the coaching activities, when we are not directly involved in the teaching process this time. We need unobtrusive but effective mechanisms for working with a relatively large group (220) of students that doesn’t place significant additional demands on them and doesn’t interfere with the module itself. We have some ideas but are keen to hear from colleagues about ideas that have worked for them. And ELESIG seemed a good group to ask.

Following the seminar I recorded a short video summary of what I had talked about: