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Word clouds

Word clouds

Word clouds are not only an interesting way to quickly get an idea of the content of a piece of writing, but can also be a navigational aid, if the keywords are linked to search results within a website or blog page. Creating the clouds is quite easy and several free online options are provided below. Usually you just provide a URL or paste in text, and a word cloud will be created, with the size of the word proportional…

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Recording a video or screencast

Recording a video or screencast

Presenting your content using a video can involve creating a simple screencast of a powerpoint, adding audio in the form of music, automated or real speech, with or without a talking head, through to a recording of a lecture in a recording room or out on location. You might use a video camera, or simply a smartphone or tablet. The finished product might reside on your institution’s server or on a private or public YouTube channel. Here are some useful…

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Free handbook

Free handbook

Richard Byrne has updated his free Practical Ed Tech Handbook for 2018. For many years, Richard has created and curated a wealth of teaching resources and made them freely available through his blog Free Technology for Teachers and other online platforms. If I was stranded on a desert island, this would be my go-to source of technology for pedagogy. It’s aimed at school teachers but meh…good pedagogical praxis is universal.

Editing your video

Editing your video

Video editors may be feature-packed or free – but usually not both. Or so I thought – til I found HitFilm Express. I have pretty limited know-how in this area but I’m able to use this straight out of the box to make basic edits and judging by the feedback around the web, it can do very schmick things as well. Well worth disabling your ad blocker for – you’ll need to do this to access the desktop download –…

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Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing

Skype is often the goto application for videoconferencing (Google Hangouts is also great) but there are alternatives. Zoom is a free, easy to use cross-platform application that prompts recipients to download a small app, although you can just use their web client, albeit with reduced functionality. You can also record up to 40 minutes and download the MP4, host up to 50 participants,  and hold an unlimited number of meetings. You can also videoconference people via the popular Facebook messenger platform through…

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Learning outcomes vs learning opportunities

Learning outcomes vs learning opportunities

“You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make it drink”. This sums up my discomfort with the terminology “learning outcomes” that underpin much curriculum development. Sure, it is usually preceded by the wordy catch-all “on successful completion of this course students will…”, but there seems to be a hot potato of responsibility for achievement sitting just below the surface. In our arguably justifiable discomfort with the traditional concept of the dominance of didactic delivery we are in danger…

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Authentic tasks

Authentic tasks

Using ‘real world’ datasets is a great way to engage students by providing them with an authentic element to their learning experience, as well as familiarizing them with their future environment. The AIHW website stands for “authoritative information and statistics to promote better health and wellbeing” and provides links to all sorts of health-related databases. Like all good government websites I suspect this will suffer from link rot even before the blog is published. The Australian National Data Service (ANDS) is a partnership led by…

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Gender influence on student feedback

Gender influence on student feedback

Ben Schmidt’s gendered language in teacher reviews – This interactive chart lets you explore the words used to describe male and female teachers in about 14 million reviews from RateMyProfessor.com. Blog from The London School of Economics and Political Science: Student evaluations of teaching are not only unreliable, they are significantly biased against female instructors.

Creating content

Creating content

GoConqr – Online curation of resources such as images and videos for content, including a repository for user-created resources which may be kept behind an interest group wall. ClassHook – Online curation of popular (some of them anyway) videos classified according to the academic principles they demonstrate. Great for engagement and flipped classrooms.

Evidence-based practice

Evidence-based practice

Annotated bibliographies are things of beauty for anyone undertaking scholarly works. The Science of Learning – brought to you by the Deans for Impact, this short fact-filled document provides not only a summary of recent (to 2015) research in cognitive science but also packages it around six key questions all educators will find useful. They even pooh pooh some common misconceptions about how students learn and think, including the oft-cited ‘students have different learning styles’ trope. Should you add a talking head…

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