Is your class a bunch of wallies?

tweet wally

Tweetwally’s that is. Tweet Wally is a free Twitter wall that filters tweets via #hastags, usernames or key words.The tool could be used for a variety of in-class activities including as a starter by posing a question at the start of class and asking students to tweet their replies. A photograph or video could be tweeted out then students might be asked to express their thoughts on a certain subject such as  the emotions the picture provokes, what period in history the photo represents or what would the student do if they were in the situation represented on the photo? Tweet Wally could also be used at the end of he class to consolidate learning by using it to create a a quiz.


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.


Student approved apps

Although I haven’t tested out all of the apps myself they are all highly recommended by my A Level students. Hopefully your students will find these useful too, especially during this stressful exam period.

Apps for education

Click on the picture to see a larger, clearer image.

How some of these apps are used.

Polly who is studying for her AS’s, has recommended PenultimateEvernote Peek and Show Me. Polly uses Penultimate to create hand written notes before importing these in to Evernote Peek to create a series of flashcards that work by slowly removing the iPad Smart Cover. Alongside this Polly uses Show Me to create interactive presentations to consolidate her learning and create a reference point for revision.

Matt who is about to finish his A2s likes to use the note taking app Noteabiliy. He uses it to type, handwrite and draw notes. He’s especially likes it due to the audio record feature which he uses to record his one-to-ones so that he can re-listen to information in his own time whilst adding more detail to his notes.

How I use mobile technology as a learner

As a learning technologist technology plays a large part in my life therefore it’s no surprise that I use mobile technology to support my own learning. Below are are the apps that I am currently using.

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Notability – As the name suggests I use this app for note taking.  This app is one of my favourites as not only can I type notes, handwrite notes, embedding photos/pictures and annotate them but the app also has an audio recording function. I often use this app in conjunction with iBooks as whilst I’m reading I can copy sections of text, paste them into Noteability and then at the end of my study session go over the notes and edit them to suit my needs.
SimpleMinds +
– As i was only introduced to the Simple Minds + last week I haven’t got a lot of use out of it yet but I do plan on using it as a mobile alternative to the mind mapping software that I use on my desktop. I will use it to organise my thoughts and aid revision when I’m on the move.
– As a dyslexic learner I find taking notes and listening at the same time extremely difficult, I also prefer to learn visually so I absolutely love the Skitch app as I use it to make visual notes. This includes taking photo’s of recommended books whilst noting why they were recommended and talking pictures of board work in class and adding planning notes for essays. For a description of this app and to see how I used it during a training day see my post on apps for assessment
, Twitter and LinkedIn – are used to create peer support networks. This includes creating closed groups and using course hashtags to share links and discuss ideas.
– Throughout my studies WordPress has been a versatile tool. I’ve used it to reflect, share my thoughts and ideas, as a way of creating a learning community by using the comments function and an assessment submission tool for a number of modules.
– I have only been using iBooks for a short time but  it has revolutionised the way that I read and take notes (see notability section). I used to really struggle with the stop, start nature of reading from a paper based book and using my laptop to generate notes so I find this system to be much more efficient. Another feature that I’m fond of is the definition tool as you can click on a word and it’s meaning pops up. Again in the past I used to find it quite laborious having to put down my book to look up an unfamiliar word so this is so much quicker and easier.
Pocket – As their website states ‘When you find something you want to view later, put it in Pocket’. When I come across a link to a video, article, web page that I want to read but don’t have the time I  save I use the pocket bookmarking tool to save it for later. One of the features that I really about pocket is the way that it integrates with the Flipboard app.
Flipboard  – I use Flipboard to create a virtual magazine out of the content from my RSS feeder, my pocket app and hash tags that I am interested including MOOC hashtags. The app allows me to access all of this content in one place and again is a lot more visually interesting than reading large chunks of text.
Diigo – Diiggo is a social bookmarking tool that I was using for a long time before I got an iPad or an iPhone. What I like about this software is how you can access your bookmarks from any device that is connected to the internet. I have downloaded the app onto my phone to enable easy access to my bookmarks so that I don’t have to go through a web browser and sign into my own line account every time I want to access my bookmarks.

Socrative student response system

Last week I attended a training session on the use of Socrative. Socrative is a student response system that can be used  to create a series of educational exercises including class votes, group competitions and assessments. The best thing about Socrative (apart from it being free to use) is the fact that it provides students a chance to legitimately use their phone in class. The software can be accessed through an app on a smart phone or tablet computer as well as via the internet on a desktop machine.


I have previously used voting pads with my AS students but as I was unfamiliar with the software and found them quite faffy, however as Socrative seems a lot easier to use I will definitely be trying it out with my classes soon.