Flying high: social media and international student advisors

planeOur International Student Advisors have purchased iPads to help them keep up to date with their work and deliver presentations to prospective students whilst working abroad. Having never owned an iPad before these colleagues had requested a session to discuss the different presentation apps that are available. They were also interested in the different ways they can use social media to market their service as well as support students once they had started at the university. Below are links to the apps that I discussed with them:

Presentation tools

Google Drive – this can be used for assessing and delivering presentations that are created using Google Docs

Cloud On -‘ brings Microsoft Office to your favourite device’ enabling you to show Microsoft PPT presentations on your iPad.

Prezi – with the app you can run your Prezi presentations through your iPad even if your of-line

DropBox – by uploading your presentations to DropBox you will be able to access then via the app or through the webpage. This is a fantastic back-up option if your likely to leave your presentation materials at home.

Social Media

Scoop It – the web version can be used to create a visual list of on-line bookmarks. My colleagues were particularly interested in using this to create folders of support materials such as guides to local tourist attractions and things to do in Buxton.



Hairdressing resources

JISC, The University of Manchester and _Mimas have come together to create a fantastic resource website for trainee hairdressers and their tutors. Hairdressing Training is the name of the website which contains ‘step-by-step guidance videos, self-evaluation tests, worksheets and guides relating to an expanding collection of hairdressing styles and techniques’ the service’. Another good thing about this site is that the resources are also mapped to the NVQ Hairdressing curriculum.


Embedding employability in the FE curriculum with

Last week I was speaking to an FE colleague about the different ways that TEL can be used to embed employability skills into textile courses. As part of the discussion we were talking about blogs which got me thinking about the widget in WordPress and the way that it can be used to display links to your on-line accounts without the need for any coding. As I use the widget on this blog I demonstrated my account which contains a graphic portrait of myself, a short biography about my professional interests and links to my Twitter, LinkedIn and technology blog. Although I hadn’t thought about using to embed employability in the curriculum my colleague was really inspired and could see huge potential in using the tool with her students especially as she is going to use WordPress as part of her classes so that students are able to build up an on-line portfolio. Could you use with your own students? Now that I’ve been inspired by my colleague I can see the tool fitting in perfectly with media and art and design classesAs well as using the links to sign post employers to their work students can upload their own background image to their page which could be a photograph they have taken, a graphic picture or an illustration.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 17.54.21

Am I in? Using Twitter to increase student employability

This month Dragons Den star Hilary Devey is trying to help young people find work through the VideofyMe app and Twitter. The idea is that job hunters will use the app to create a short video CV which will then be tweeted using the hashtag #employme. Employers will use the hashtag to search Twitter for potential candidates.

I doubt this scheme will take off, it was launched twelve days ago and I haven’t been able to find a single #employme video on Twitter however I do think that video CV’s can be successfully used to support young people with finding work. By uploading the video to YouTube a link could then be added to the students covering letter and text based CV. Students studying practical subjects such as hairdressing, cookery or motor vehicle mechanics could use this method to showcase both their skills and personality. Video CV’s are also a fantastic resource for creative students who could include this in both job and university applications. Instead of filming their CV they could create a short animation or photography slideshow. The first video CV has been created using a simple animation technique and has proved to be extremely popular on YouTube  with 25000+ hits. Despite this a few of the scenes are rather dark and the video could be easily improved. An a class activity you could show the video to your students then in groups get them to brainstorm how the CV could be improved.

The second video is one of my favourite CVs from todays search.


AudionoteYesterday at #rscinspire13 Chris Barber introduced his audience to the AudioNote app which I immediately downloaded and am really excited about trying. The software seems to be exactly what I’ve been missing – an application that can cope with audio and visual note talking whilst cross referencing and sychronising both at the same time.

Here is the official description from the app store:

By synchronizing notes and audio, AudioNote automatically indexes your meetings, lectures, interviews, or study sessions. Need to review the discussion about deliverables on your next project? Trying to remember what the professor had to say about a key point? With AudioNote there is no need to waste time searching through the entire recording to find out. Each note acts as a link directly to the point at which it was recorded, taking you instantly to what you want to hear. Didn’t take any notes during the meeting? No problem, you can add them later.

The reason I’m so excited about this app is because as a student I’ve been using Audio Notetaker for the last few years and have found it to be a life saver. As a dyslexic my short term memory is almost non-existent and I really struggle to take written notes whilst listening at the same time which results in a lot of information being lost. The Audio Notetaker software has helped considerably this with as I can create audio and typed notes at the same time whilst cross referencing these with each other and the lecture slides. I can also highlight important areas of the audio notes for example when a tutor is talking about an assignment brief so the information is easy to find when being referred to later. Although the AudioNote app has a lot less features than the Audio Noter which is a pc based lsoftware the app looks like it will be perfect for work purposes as I don’t need the additional features on a regular basis and I do prefer to carry my iPad rather than my laptop.

The features that I particularly like about the app are:

  • The synchronisation of the audio and visual notes
  • The ability to create bookmarks throughout the audio recording to highlight important points for easy referencing
  • A yellow background can be used instead of white – I suffer from colour sensitivity which makes white backgrounds too bright for my eyes

Screen Shot Audio Note



I tested the app during a staff meeting and it lived up to my high expectations! The app was really easy to use and I now have a comprehensive set of notes that are easy to navigate. When I click on the typed notes the audio that was being recorded at that time starts to play so I don’t have to waste time manually searching. i’m really impressed.


JISC Y/H Summer Conference 2013 #rscinspire13

Today wasn’t like a normal Wednesday, I didn’t get up at 6, I didn’t eat breakfast in the car and I didn’t drive to Derby. Instead I had a lie in, caught the train to Leeds and almost had a heart attack as I undertook the nerve raking task of delivering my first conference presentation.

I was delivering a session ar the JISC Yorkshire and Humber summer conference on ‘how to use interactive posters to engage learners’. My presentation explored how I had use ThinkLink with students in my previous role at Barnsley College.

Feeling rather unlucky my session turned out to be extremely popular and was fully booked before the day of the conference. When my session started they even had to turn people away at the door! Nervously I explained to the participants that this was my first time presenting and that they had to be kind to me. They certainly were as at the end of the session when they they filled out the JISC feedback form and I received two oks, 1 very good and 21 excellent marks!!! I couldn’t believe it. Being my own worse critic I though I thought it was awful as I didn’t feel overly confident or prepared.

During the session I gave a brief overview of ThingLink, demonstrated how to create a interactive poster using the software, discussed how I’d used the software in my lessons and then I worked with the audience to create a bank of lesson ideas. Below are the ppt slides from my presentation as well as a screen print of the lessons ideas that were generated.

ThingLink lesson ideas

Ideas for using ThingLink for teaching and learning

I was asked during the session if ThinkLink posters can be embedded into Moodle and the answer is yes. Once you’ve saved your image click on the embed button on the right hand side and a code will appear. Copy and paste this code onto your Moodle page and once published your poster will appear.

Below are a few ideas for using ThinkLink with Moodle:

  • Create an introduction to the module
  • Introduce yourself
  • Highlight key words and definitions
  • Introduce the equipment you will be using and highlight health and safety
  • Post homework task

If you are interested in using ThingLink  with your students you can download an information poster and how to guide that I created here. To help you generate your own ideas there is also a google docs site that already contains over 60 ideas for using ThinkLink in education – link.

How to find yourself a job in education

This week I delivered a careers talk to a group of PGCE students who are about to cross the finishing line and grab their first post as a qualified teacher. As it’s job hunting season, plus i’m about to start a new position in learning technology, I thought a post on how I’ve used the internet to job hunt might be useful.

Get a job in ecucationinfographic