Thursday, December 28, 2006

#24 Second Life report

The Creative Development Team at Sheffield Hallam University introduce and reflect upon the virtual world phenomenon known as Second Life and its potential as a learning environment.
Here are some useful articles on Second Life and its educational application:

Here are a couple of photos showing the CDT meeting in Second Life:

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

#23 Nicky Joiner, Students Union Academic Affairs

Andrew Middleton speaks to Nicky Joiner, Executive Officer for Academic Affairs at Sheffield Hallam University's Students Union. Amongst other things we discuss social networking tools such as MySpace (, Bebo and Facebook.

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#22 '99 ideas for educational podcasting' - an audio poster #2

Andrew Middleton presents part 2 of an audio poster entitled 'Educational Podcasting - 99 ideas for a-learning'. In this 2nd audio-poster episode he speaks to several colleagues in the Learning and IT Services department at Sheffield Hallam University. He asks them what ideas spring to mind when presented with some of the titles he has given to his ideas for educational podcasting. The hope is that before the end we find idea 100!

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#21 '99 ideas for educational podcasting' - an audio poster #1

Andrew Middleton presents an audio poster entitled 'Educational Podcasting - 99 ideas for a-learning'. In this episode he speaks to several colleagues in the Learning and IT Services department at Sheffield hallam university. He asks them what ideas spring to mind when presented with some of the titles he has given to his ideas for educational podcasting. The hope is that before the end we find idea 100!

Contact: email lta-podcast "AT"

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

#20 e-Portfolios

Andrew Middleton speaks to Susannah Diamond who is leading the e-Portfolios initiative from Sheffield Hallam University's Learning and Teaching Institute. She offered a definition for e-Portfolios: they are digital presentations of meaningful and contextualised collections of assorted content. She proposes five major uses for portfolios: assessment; learning; presentation; personal development; and as a working environment.

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#19 Mooting

Andrew Middleton attends a mooting session. He joins Leslie Lomax and her undergraduate law students from the Mooting One module in a two hour mooting session to find out how this form of professional role play works and to consider its application to non-law disciplines. The Faculty of Development and Society's 'Mooting One' is an exciting module designed to develop research, legal argument, advocacy, team work, self-management and reflection skills. He references a session by Kirsten Hardie from the Arts Institute at Bournemouth presented at the HE Academy Conference 2006 entitled 'On trial: teaching without talking'. Hardie had used mooting with art students.

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#18 Teaching and lurking

Andrew Middleton and Mark Pettigrew discuss an article by Jakob Nielsen in his Alertbox column from October 9, 2006 entitled 'Participation Inequality: Encouraging More Users to Contribute' ( Can the ideas he presents in this piece be mapped to education, specifically participation in online asynchronous discussion?

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Friday, October 27, 2006

#17 Report from the Handheld Learning Conference 2006, London

Richard Mather reflects upon the Handheld Learning Conference 2006 held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London, October 12-13th.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

#16 Eifel Conference Report

Susannah Diamond reflects upon the Eifel Conference on e-Portfolios 2006 held in Oxford, UK. See More detail is available on the SHU Innovations blog at

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Friday, October 13, 2006

#15 Research Voices

Andrew Middleton speaks to Richard Lynch, a lecturer from Criminology, about his recent experience of using audio in his Blackboard course.

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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

#14 Castblaster review

Andrew Middleton reviews the Castblaster podcasting software.

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#13 Integrated e-Learning

Andrew Middleton talks to Liz Aspden about the new Integrated e-Learning course for Sheffield Hallam staff.

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Friday, September 15, 2006

#12 Textism and diversity

Andrew Middleton reflects again on the use of media and suggests that the time is not only right to consider opportunities for incorporating a variety of media into practice, but that we have a responsibility to consider the need of learners who have a preference for media other than text.

As I start to focus in on my personal projects for this year certain ideas from last year are starting to take more shape. Many of my projects have a media dimension (one way or the other) and I think I'm rediscovering why so many years ago multimedia was important to me.

I have always felt that media other than text was important and overlooked and that technology ought to be able to support wider use of images, videos and aural material.

So why, 12 years on from when I first started to develop multimedia materials, does text still dominate not only learning materials, but the activities with which students are 'engaged'? Further, are we excluding or neglecting students whose preferences are not for text-based engagement, but for aural, visual or kinetic engagement - or a mixture of those methods?

Given the significant improvements in legislation in recent years to improve accessibility for students with disabilities, the widening participation agenda, and the student retention agenda, it seems odd to miss the opportunity to adjust the emphasis away from 'textism' to a more inclusive approach to learning engagement. How can we make this adjustment?

By seriously challenging our own practices and by actively and openly considering new opportunities to develop and adopt new approaches to teaching and supporting learning. I have thought about the values associated with text before when wondering why the use of other media has been neglected. I wrote this a couple of years ago,

Text is the most versatile and flexible of the media available to the author and is the most widely used medium in HE (Laurillard, 2002b: 94). Users are usually familiar with it – they can read, write, search and follow links in hypertext.

Digital text is also ‘light’ – it doesn’t take too much hard disk space to store it or too much bandwidth to distribute it compared with other kinds of digital media. It is also relatively cheap to produce and deliver, needing only basic hardware and software. It’s reliable – it tends to ‘work’. It’s no wonder then that many authors stick with text as their pragmatic default. It’s what they know.

But now we really are equipped with technologies, know-how and infrastructure to make a significant difference to the way people can learn.

Audio and video are now searchable - if you don't belive me see Podzinger. Storage on servers, and local harddrives is very cheap. Networks on and off campus can support the demands of YouTubers supplying and browsing video footage in their masses.

Let's be clear about this - I'm not suggesting a proliferation of passive learning materials in a variety of media, I am suggesting that all educational stakeholders, in whatever type of learning environment they find themselves, can consider developing more engaging and formative learning activities as users of and as producers of digitally varied media.

I have noted many times that many obstacles have been removed and many new reasons have emerged recently all leading me to think that the time is right after many years to seek a paradigm shift in the media we turn to in all areas of academic work.

The Web has matured; understanding of usability has matured; technical infrastructure has matured; digital technology has largely been normalised in the UK given the expectations of digital nativesat home; and storage, memory and PCs have radically dropped in price, and so on.

The only people who may still be worried that the time is not right is that group of learning technology advocates in education who are still calling for the adoption of technologies though haven't noticed that the Hot Mailing, MySpacing digital natives are taking over the staff rooms as well as the lecture theatres!

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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

#10 Digital game-based learning - a winner for UK HE?

Digital game-based learning has received a lot of attention in the educational technology press over the last couple of years. Andrew Middleton returns to the Higher Education Academy Conference, which took place at Nottingham this July, and the discussion session run by his team.
References for quotes used:
Foreman, J (2004) Game-based learning: how to delight and instruct in the 21st century. Educause Review, September/October 2004, Vol 39, No.5. [online];
Gee, J P (2003) What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Palgrave Macmillan;
Van Eck, R. (2006) Digital game-based learning: It's not just the digital natives who are restless. [online] EDUCAUSE Review, 41(2), 17-30.

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Thursday, September 07, 2006

#11 Point 'n' Click Plug 'n' Play Learning

In this programme Andrew Middleton discusses how access to media technologies is increasingly viable for academics and students, providing better opportunities for varied and highly constructive learning activities. He begins by describing the changing learning technology landscape before hearing from Sally Bradley, an academic who has started to take advantage of Point 'n' click and Plug 'n' play Learning where she asks her students to create reusable media objects to develop their understanding of Learning Styles. Note: The schedule episode on games will appear next due to unforeseen technical difficulties.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006

#9 The Flat classroom

Andrew Middleton reflects on David Warlicks idea of the 'flat classroom' and its relevance to higher education.

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Saturday, August 19, 2006

#8 Podcast changes

Andrew Middleton discusses making changes to this podcast: a change of title, duration, frequency of publication and production methods. These things are considered in the context of the Podcasting for LTA project which sets out to evaluate the impact of academic podcasting.
For discussions on methods being considered for podcasting see the notes at:

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Wednesday, August 02, 2006

#7 Audio Feedback, Media enhanced learning, Case-based learning

In 'In Brief' this week Andrew Middleton discusses new opportunities for enhancing LTA through the use of media by exploiting Web 2.0 technologies.
In the main feature Peter Walder tells us about Audio Feedback provided by the tutor and by peers.
The LTA Gem highlights Case-based Learning.
Media tools and sites
The show discusses new opportunities for enhancing learning, teaching and assessment with media. Andrew Middleton refers to Web 2.0 and various websites that may be useful to those interested in this area.
Also see,
For audio services see,
For Web 2.0 and the Read/Write Web see,
The Audacity audio editing software (and the Lame plugin needed for making MP3 files) can be found at:
Data and media storage sites:
Case-based Learning
Case-based learning is a problem-based approach to learning which draws on real-life case-studies and simulations.
The FDTL project can be found at:

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

#6 Reusability Cultures

Are you the sort of person who will send a colleague a website bookmark? Do you discuss and share ideas with your colleagues? Do you ask your colleagues for their help in finding useful information? Most of us like helping each other. But do we share our work and actively seek out opportunities for reuse of materials? The main feature this week discusses this. 'In Brief' flags up the question "Sould we record lectures?" and the LTA Gem considers our use of MySpace and Facebook social networking environments.
Can we do more in Higher Education to share and reuse resources? Academia tends to have a culture where we share and develop our ideas together as exemplified in the practice of joint research and educational conferences. But when it comes to making and sharing resources could we do better? The main feature this week is a discussion with Dave Binney, Susannah Diamond, Lynne Dawson, Susan Curtis and myself on this topic.
In 'In Brief' I ask, "Should we record lectures?"
The LTA Gem from Angie Donoghue of Sheffield Hallam University's Virtual Learning Centre team proposes we should take a look at MySpace and Facebook social networking sites.

If you're not familiar with these social bookmarking sites take a look. Registration is free. You may be puzzled about why they have become such a powerful social phenonemon - but perservere! If you're over 25 and in higher education it may give you insight to how our students increasingly like to communicate and support each other.

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Friday, July 07, 2006

#5 The International Student Experience

This week I'm taking a slightly different approach to previous programmes - we'll be focussing on just one topic: The experience of the International Student. In the first half of the programme I'll be speaking to Viv Thom the International Student Adviser in Sheffield Hallam's Student Services Centre.
We spoke shortly after the International Consortium for Educational Developers Conference that took place in Sheffield this year. At the ICED conference Viv was joined by about 10 international students who answered questions from the international audience about their experience.
Photos from the plenary session are below.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

#4 Student Placement experience, Ethics and Accessibility in podcasting

I speak with four students on placement and consider the value of the experience. Also in the new 'In Brief...' section I consider ethical and accessible podcasting. The LTA Gems features academic colleagues reflecting on the benefits of podcasting and screencasting.

Information on these can be found in Wikipedia:

In the 'In Brief...' section I raise questions about ethics and accessibility legislation in podcasting. If anyone has any thoughts or information that could be useful, or just opinions, please email the show at lta-podcast 'AT'

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Saturday, June 17, 2006

#3 ICED, Mobile Learning, Games, International Students

In the mini feature this week I reflect on a couple of the sessions that I attended at the ICED 2006 educational development conference that took place here at Sheffield Hallam University. I look at two initiatives from Europe, one a role-play technique and the second a solution to delivering educational development materials by email:

The main feature crosses several themes of interest to me - mobile learning technologies, games for learning and cultural exchange. I talk with two post graduate students from Germany about their innovative projects. They're here studying with UK students from the MSc in Games Software Development at Sheffield Hallam University.
They mention PDA (Portable Digital Assistant) and PSP (PlayStation Portable) based projects. Try Wikipedia as a starting point for further information on these devices:
Also see:
Kukulska-hulme, A. and Traxler, J. (2005). Mobile learning: a handbook for educators and trainers. Routledge.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. McGraw-Hill.

The Big Idea - This week I suggested making a resolution to breaking down cultural resistance to reusability by 'daring to share' not just resources, but ideas and practice too.

Calls for Participation - send me your ideas for Ice Breaker Activities, News and Info and ideas for new features. Come and take part in making the programme!

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

#2 SMS Texting for learning

The main feature is a discussion about the potential for using SMS Text Messages to enhance learning. Karl McCauley and Susannah Diamond join Andrew Middleton in discussing ideas, limitations and current opportunities at Sheffield Hallam University for this technology. The LTA Report and briefing documents on innovation and practice in LTA are also introduced.
The documents referred to in the show are available to members of SHU staff at:
For people with ideas and questions relating to the SMS Text Messaging feature contact Susannah Diamond at s.m.diamond "AT"
If you're interested in reading more about how SMS Text Messaging has been used in UK HE see the following articles:
Garner, J. Francis and K. Wales “An Evaluation of the Implementation of a Short Message System (SMS) to Support Undergraduate Student Learning”. Mlearn 2002. Proceedings of the European Workshop on Mobile and Contextual Learning. 20 and 21 June, 2002
Horstmanshof, L. (2004). Using SMS as a way of providing connection and community for first year students. In R. Atkinson, C. McBeath, D. Jonas-Dwyer & R. Phillips (Eds), Beyond the comfort zone: Proceedings of the 21st ASCILITE Conference (pp. 423-427). Perth, 5-8 December.
Kukulska-Hulme, A. & Traxler, J (Eds) (2005). Mobile Learning: A Handbook for Educators and Trainers (F. Lockwood, Ed.). London: Routledge.
Naismith, L., Lonsdale, P., Vavoula, , G. and Sharples, M. (2004) Futurelab Report 11: Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning. Futurelab. [online:, visted 02/06/06]
Riordan, B. & Traxler, J. (2003). Supporting Computing Students at Risk Using Blended Technologies. Proceedings of LTSN Annual Conference 2003 Galway, Ireland
Stone, A. and Briggs, J.. “ITZ GD 2 TXT – How To Use SMS Effectively In M-Learning” Mlearn 2002. Proceedings of the European Workshop on Mobile and Contextual Learning. 20 and 21 June, 2002
Traxler, J., & Kukulska-Hulme, A. (2005). Mobile Learning in Developing Countries (G. Chin, Ed.). Vancouver, BC: Commonwealth of Learning.

Monday, May 29, 2006

#1c LTA Conference (continued)

The podcast presents the last three conversations from the LTA Conference at Sheffield Hallam University.
Andrew Middleton speaks to Bob Steele about the 'Developing Games for Learning' project. This initiative was a Games for Learning awareness raising initiative, where Bob's undergraduate Visualisation students had been matched with academics across the faculties at SHU. Andrew and Bob are joined by two academics, Claire and John, who had been introduced to the project during the session. Together they discuss interprofessional learning, opportunities for commercial interest, and how the principles of student learning engagement map to game play.
Graham Holden, leader of the Assessment for Learning initiative, launched at the conference, discusses how current good assesssment practice can be developed.
Finally, Andrew meets up with Anne Nortcliffe. At the beginning of the day they had co-presented a session on Audio Notes. Andrew notes the way in which the audio files are used as 'Pre-vision' files, leading to deeper discussion in the lecture sessions that follow.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

#1b LTA Conference (continued)

More conversations from the Sheffield Hallam University LTA Conference 2006 which took place in Sheffield, UK on the 17th May.
Also a Call for Prticipation: Do you use ice breaker activities either in the classroom or online? Contribute your ideas for ice breakers to the Ice Breaker Pool being collated through this programme. E-mail with your techniques.
In this half hour podcast Andrew Middleton of the Learning & Teaching Institute speaks to academics, support staff and students attending the LTA Conference 2006. Andrew speaks to: Chris Glover (Assessment for Learning Initiative), Manny Madriaga (D&S), Andy and John (D&S students who took part in the European Challenge), Dave Crutchley (Head of LTA in HWB) and Peter Walder (D&S),Mike Bramhall (Head of LTA in ACES), Matt Spriggs (student on placement in the LTI),Viv Thom and Jackie Calkwell (both from the Learner Support Team in Student Services Centre), Dave Cotton (Careers, Student Support Services), Helen Bywater (HWB involved in the CIPL CETL), Richard Mather (LTI), Rob Appleyard (HWB), Lyn Clouder (from Coventry University, a partner in the CIPL CETL), Abbie Deeming (from Chesterfield College).
A third and final compilation of conversations from the conference will appear shortly.
The Big Idea selected from this episode was suggested by Abbie Deeming who was visting the conference from Chesterfield College. She was particularly impressed by a session she attended on 'mooting', a technique from Law practice that shows how research can be presented in an engaging way using thorough multi-participant approaches in arguing different perspectives. (An interesting site on mooting is Mooting Net at which includes instructions on getting started). Abbie's contribution is the last in this series of interviews.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

#1 Podcast launch at the LTA Conference 2006

Andrew Middleton introduces the Podcasting for LTA initiative and meets delegates at SHU's LTA Conference. Andrew set out to speak to at least 30 different people in this first episode of the podcast in an attempt to ensure the podcast provides an opportunity for anyone to contribute and share ideas and good practice.
Regular programme features are introduced including 'The Big Idea' - an ambitious promise to offer 'a big idea for LTA' for each week of the year.
Andrew succeeded in speaking to so many people that coverage of the LTA Conference has had to be split over this week's programme and an extra programme that he will slot in next week where we will hear from other delegates, including some of the Faculty Heads for LTA as well as Graham Holden, who launched the Assessment for Learning initiative at this year's conference.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

About LTA Show Notes

I've set this up so that information provided in the 'Podcasting for LTA' podcast can be posted online.
You can subscribe to the 'Podcasting for LTA' podcast from Sheffield Hallam University (UK) with the following subscription feed address:
And you can access the blog about the year long project at