Other available technologies
This page outlines other technologies available for use in learning and teaching. Your FLT can provide advice and guidance, but not necessarily direct support, on the use of these technologies.
In use at Kent
Box of Broadcasts - television and radio repository
This is an excellent multimedia resource which allows teachers and students to schedule recordings of free-to-air digital television and radio. It then makes the recording available to all other users of the service, resulting in a huge repository of television and radio programmes recorded since the service began. To get started, go to https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand and log in with your Kent IT account details.
Talis Aspire - reading lists
Each module has an electronic reading list linked to its Moodle module. This is centrally provided and supported, but as it's managed by the library you'll find more information and training materials on the library website.
EvaSys - module evaluations
Once a taught module ends, an online evaluation form becomes available for students to complete. A link to each survey appears in the Module Evaluation block on the front page of Moodle, and each link disappears once the student has completed the survey. Schools and academics receive detailed feedback from this process which helps them to improve teaching and plan for the future.
Twitter - social network
Twitter is a microblogging and social networking service. It has been likened to sending a text message to the world.
It is simple enough to explainwhatit does, yet much more difficult to explain why to use it and what to use it for. The University has guidelines for its use.
Twitter allows you to submit (via your own twitter identity) messages (tweets) of no more than 140 characters which can be seen by anyone activelyfollowingyour messages (Twitter stream). While Twitter just seems like a short version of blogging, hence the name microblogging, it ends up being used in a very different way.
What can I use it for?
- Notification alerts: if you've just written a new and interesting blog post a quick tweet will advertise it to your followers.
- Status updates: if you've just got into the office, are heading out for a long lunch, or writing up some research, tweet so your friends and colleagues know what you're up to.
- Social networking: if you're going to spend the next hour in the Gulbenkian cafe, are excited about your football team just winning a semi-final 7:4 on aggregate, or wish to bemoan the state of the weather, a tweet will let all your followers know.
- Crowd sourcing: a buzzphrase in its own right, but if you're puzzling over something or want to solicit thoughts and ideas on a certain topic, send out a call for help over Twitter.
- Conference back-channel chat: during keynotes, presentations, and at any other time during a conference
- Sharing interesting thoughts/links: If you've just had an interesting thought, or come across an website you want share, put the thought/link into a tweet and post.
How do I use Twitter?
- Visit theTwitter websiteand click on the Sign up now link to register an account.
- Check out theTwitter Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs) page.
- Post your first Tweet, and if you aren't sure how, Twitter provide guidance onposting a tweet.
- If you aren't happy with using the Twitter website and want to download a dedicated Twitter application, check out the Twitter downloadspage for suggested clients.
- Ask friends and colleagues if they are on Twitter and if they are thenfollowthem.
Tagging and hash tags
Taggingis a mechanism to associating keywords as metadata to describe and definesomething(i.e. a blog post, a journal article, a tweet).Hashtagsare the method by which tags are used to define tweets. In order to use hashtagging, simply precede your tag term with the # character.
This is an example of a tweet which contains two hashtags which define and describe the tweet as involving something to do with Moodle and UniKent (abbreviated form of University of Kent).
Hashtags are useful not only to describe the context of a tweet to those that are following you, but also as a great way of adding to a conversation with others that you aren't in a follow-relationship with. There are many Twitter tools that take advantage of hashtags, one of which isTwitterfall, which allow you to follow all messages containing a hashtag even if you aren't following the authors. This provides a way to follow a conversation on a certain topic, and also discover new tweeters you'd like to follow. To get an idea of how this works, see the#unikent hashtag on Twitterfall.
If you are tweeting useful information as part of your teaching, you are advised to use hashtags to differentiate between tweets you want your students to pay attention to and other less formal tweets. Associating a hashtag to your lecture will also allow your students to tweet on-topic messages that you and your whole class can read without needing to follow each and every member of the class. This can be especially important if you have a 'not following students' policy (see follow policy below).
URLs (web addresses) can get quite long and cumbersome, which is whyURL shorteningservices have been popular for some time. When it comes to putting a URL in a tweet, URL shortening becomes essential due to the 140 character limit. Two popular URL shortening services are:
- https://tinyurl.com/- classic URL shortening service
- https://bit.ly/- URL shortening with optional tracking service (free account registration required)
Twitter listsare a Twitter provided mechanism of organising people you want to follow into different groups. In fact you don't even need to be following someone to add them into a list. Lists can be private (only you know who you've put into a group) or public (anyone else can benefit from your group by following it as they would follow a single user).
Once a list has been created then you can look at tweets belonging only to that list by visiting the list URL. For example, the Twitter userpeopleinkenthas created a list calledlearn:https://twitter.com/peopleinkent/learn
Some University of Kent tweeters you may want to follow:
- @UniKent- Providing official University of Kent news and information.
- @TheGulbenkian- Official updates with cinema and cafe news.
- @KentUnion- For tweets from Kent Student Union
There are likely to be people and organisations on Twitter that match with your subject and areas of interest; have a look on their websites and blogs to see if they're already tweeting. Looking at who other people are following is a way to find other interesting Twitter users.
If you've decided to use Twitter as part of your teaching activities (i.e. to share interesting thoughts/links) then you may start being followed by your students. At this point you should probably formulate a follow policy.
- Decidewhoyou are going to follow.
- Follow everyone who follows you, or;
- Follow people and organisations related to your organisation or teaching. Alternatively/additionally create interesting lists that your students view/follow.
- Do you want to follow your students?
- Not following students but only following a hashtag allows them to use Twitter personally without feeling like a lecturer is looking over their shoulder. This can increase their Twitter use which can in turn mean that they use Twitter more effectively.
- Instead of following all your students you may want to assign them to a group (public or private) to allow you to look in on what they're tweeting without their tweets taking over your main twitter stream.
- Whichever you choose, assess the people you are considering following before you do (most important if following everyone who follows you). You don't want to accidentally end up following spam bots.
- Don't follow someone to get them to follow you back and then unfollow them. It's bad considered etiquette and will probably annoy the person that starts following you.
Other technology to consider
Moovly: www.moovly.com – easy to make videos
Haiku Deck: www.haikudeck.com – visually attractive presentations
Powtoon: www.powtoon.com – slideshow and movie maker (limited free access)
Padlet: padlet.com – add text, images, videos and files to a communal online 'wall'.
Find and follow sources of information www.feedly.com
Save articles from the web for reading later. Also can be used offline. getpocket.com
Collate resources and publish to your social networks www.scoop.it
Content taken from social media and media outlets and presented in a magazine format www.flipboard.com
Share and view presentations www.slideshare.net
A workspace for daily projects. Keep everything in one online place which can be synced across all devices www.evernote.com
Reference manager and academic social network www.mendeley.com
Tool to create citations and reference lists. Scanning a book’s barcode with the tool produces a citation in a wide variety of styles www.refme.com
Suggested tools to save you time, make resources more accessible and work more efficiently.