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Emerged Technologies


Four years is a long time in technology, but how much has happened since 2011?

Back in November 2011 I was asked by the AoC to present at a conference with Donald Taylor on emerging technologies and how FE Colleges should be preparing for them.

My slides and Donald’s are in this slidedeck.

My notes from that presentation are here, but how much has changed since then and had education really embraced and started to embed these emerging technologies.

Continue reading Emerged Technologies

One month later…

I recently noticed that I’ve not posted to the blog for a while, nearly a month!

It’s not that I’ve had nothing to say, much more I have been busy doing other things, holiday, mainly work, but also moving house. June is also a busy month in terms of events and I have been out and about a bit too.

I have posted to my other blogs, notably on my technical blog.

Voice Dictation – trying out Apple’s voice dictation.

Lost my Fibre – having moved house I lost my FTTC connection.

Music, books, movies and tan slacks – YouTube’s speech-to-text transcription can sometimes result in amusing closed captions.

In terms of events I went to the RSC Turbo TEL event where I presented four ten minute sessions on various learning technologies.

I also blogged at Anglia Ruskin’s Learning and Teaching Conference in Cambridge. I particularly enjoyed the keynote session from Bob Duke.

Lord Ashcroft Building #ltaconf

I have also delivered two webinars as part of an LSIS project on learner owned devices which was useful and interesting.

Yesterday I attended the RSC SW Learning Resources Forum, a really useful opportunity to share ideas and issues with colleagues who do a similar role in other colleges.

So hopefully not long now before I write another blog post.

Emerging Technologies – Horizon Scanning

On Wednesday I attended and presented at an Emerging Technology event for LSIS. The focus of the event was on the technologies that are on the horizon, and how colleges need to be aware and plan for the use of those technologies.

My opening presentation was around the new technologies that are on the horizon, but also covered how learning is changing, often as a result of changes in technology.

As part of the session , in groups we discussed the resistance and scepticism that change (and not just changes in technology and practice) that we find in FE Colleges. The conclusion is quite simple and one that is often forgotten, most people don’t like change.

Traditional models of change and change management have not really served education well in the introduction of new technologies. We still have to answer why aren’t they working?

It’s not as though change hasn’t happened, think about the use of Powerpoint, the use of e-mail, use of the web. These are all new technologies that at some point were new and shiny, but are now generally part of what most practitioners use in colleges today.

Was that change managed? Or did it evolve over time?

We also discussed the following questions: How is practice changing within learning providers? How will learning and the delivery of learning change over the next five to ten years? How can technology facilitate changes in practice? How can colleges prepare for the challenges and opportunities new ways of learning bring to education?

Technology is changing and some would say that the rate of technological change is growing even faster.

Think about something like the iPad for example which isn’t even two years old, but has had a profound impact on the way that (some) people communicate, collaborate, read, share and learn.

There are many new technologies that are on the horizon and these technologies will have an impact on learning, the question is do we need to, and how can we ensure that we maximise the opportunities that they offer?

Educase Horizon Report

JISC Cetis Informal Horizon Scan 2011

The Emerging Technology Seminar

Next week I am speaking at The Emerging Technology Seminar in Birmingham.

This one-day event has been specifically designed for leaders and managers and is your chance to gain insights into technologies that are on the learning horizon. There will be input from Google, Microsoft, sector experts and your peers who are already working with these new technologies. You will have plenty of time for discussion and to consider how these technologies may facilitate improvement through efficiencies, innovation and new ways of working.

Myself I am talking about horizon scanning, new technologies and the inevitable cultural resistance that colleges will face .

What new technologies will be having an impact on teaching and learning over the next five to ten years? How should colleges prepare and utilise the potential that these technologies will bring?

How is practice changing within learning providers? How will learning and the delivery of learning change over the next five to ten years? How can technology facilitate changes in practice? How can colleges prepare for the challenges and opportunities new ways of learning bring to education?

This session will provide an opportunity to discover, share and discuss the challenges and new technologies and practice bring to colleges and how they can best prepare for the change that is going to happen.

The Emerging Technology Seminar takes place on the 22nd February 2012 in Birmingham.

Emerging Technologies

At the AoC Conference I was part of a presentation that looked at emerging technologies and how FE Colleges need to be preparing for them. As well as myself speaking for the first part of the presentation, Donald Taylor, did the second half.

There then followed a workshop session where the delegates looked at the barriers and opportunities that FE Colleges would face with these emerging technologies.

Here are my notes and references, though they only cover my slides.


So what does the future hold?

VR Glasses

Do you worry about costs?

Do you worry about breakages and theft?

Are your staff resistant or sceptical to technology

Well you’re not alone and concerns and scepticism about new technology is not new.

Lets go back 300 years….

Emerging technologies


What new technologies will be having an impact on teaching and learning over the next five to ten years?


How should colleges prepare and utilise the potential that these technologies will bring?


We need to prepare and so lets see what is on the horizon….

Electronic Books

Who here has a Kindle or reads books on their iPad?

Amazon have said they sold more e-books than paperback books in the last quarter of 2010. They have sold millions of Kindles.

Apple sold 15 million iPads then they released the iPad 2.

There are numerous academic e-book platforms and collections, including the free JISC Collections e-book collection of 3000 books.

We’re using that a lot,  as are Oldham Sixth Form College who last month accessed the collection and they viewed 50,561 pages. We did 7,882 pages…


So when was the first mobile phone call?


When was the first handheld mobile phone call?


Mobile phones are not a new technology. However the phone as a mobile computer, the smartphone, though about ten years old now, will dominate the phone market.

National Star College, used 3G phones with GPS to enable learners to access information,  guidance and content to support them for independent living. The phones would tell the learners how to catch a bus, where to catch the bus, when to get off, how to get to their workplace.

Augmented Reality

…is the application of a digital information layer over the real world. Hold up your phone to a building and get information on its history and current use. Hold up to a college and see what courses that organisation offers. In an engineering workshop, hold your camerphone up to a piece of equipment and overlaid will be information, on what it is, what it can do and relevant health and safety information.

QR Codes are another way to add digital information to a physical space, at Gloucestershire College, we use QR Codes in the library on the shelves to provide easy and curriculum relevant access to online resources to learners.

Game-based Learning

Casual and mobile gaming is really big now in the UK. From the Nintendo Wii , the DS to the iPhone and iPad, as well as the Playstation and xBox. Gaming is huge and lots of different people do it.

When we talk about learners having a short attention span, can’t sit still for ten minutes in a lesson, how is it these same learners can play World of Warcraft for four hours…

Using games for learning is not new, as an old economics teacher I use to use paper based business games a lot. However video games now offer so much more and there are lots of ways that gaming can be used to enhance and enrich learning.

Many colleges, including my own, have been using Brain Training on the Nintendo DS to support the teaching of numeracy and encourage learners to enjoy maths.

Gesture-based Computing

The iPad is all about gestures. Microsoft Kinect allows you to play games without needing to use a controller. It won’t be long before we control our devices by waving our hands about!

Henshaw College who were already using the Nintendo Wii, are now using Microsoft Kinect to enable their blind and visually impaired learners to interact with a computer.

University of Portsmouth have already built an audience response system, MARS Motion Based Audience Response system, that can anaylse the hand interactions of the audience for answering questions without the need for the audience to use clickers or voting units.

Learning Analytics

You probably already know a lot about your learners, colleges gather huge amounts of data about each and every learner, about them, their progress, their success and their failure. The question is are you making use of that data to make business decisions? Are you analysing learners on entry, during their course and where they go, in order to make decisions about which courses you are running and importantly which courses you should close.

Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs.

IBM are able now to sell you a product that does this all for you. Making sure the right learners get on the right course and achieve success.


3G already offers fast wireless speeds, the future though will be 4G which will allow learners to have download speeds in excess of 20 Mbps, or even faster. This means that learners will be able to stream video content, access a range of media using mobile devices where and when they want to.

Of course 4G isn ‘t yet available, however Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education have demonstrated the potential of 3G technologies, by putting 3G wireless routers in their coaches, so that learners can access the internet, the VLE whilst on the bus journey in. Making use of “dead time” for learning.

Connected Televisions

80% of televisions sold today can be connected to the internet, they can be used to access content and resources. Whether they are actually connected is a different question. However popularity of services such as YouTube, BBC iPlayer, 4OD and other content delivery systems, demonstrates that this could be a real way to deliver learning in the home.

The College of West Anglia has developed Springboard TV to create and deliver video content to their learners. Connected TVs will allow learners to access this content from the comfort of the sofa is going to enhance and enrich the learning process.

The key though is are we ready as organisations to make this transition to take advantage that these new technologies offer?

Emerging Practice

It is not just a matter of the technology changing, we also need to change our practice and how we do things to realise the potential that emerging technologies will bring to our colleges.

Social Learning

The internet and networking, means that learners can learn wherever they want to? Of curse they have always done this, what the connectivity means is that they can access a range of different content, communicate and collaborate. Individual learning, becomes social, this means we need to rethink about the social spaces we have in our institutions and how they need to change to support and promote learning.

Blurring informal and formal learning

In the past (and now) students have come to expect to learn formally in formal learning spaces. However new technologies mean that learners can “attend” college without actually being physically at college through remote delivery and webinar technologies. We are blurring the demarcation between informal and formal learning.

Changing Culture

As a result colleges need to change their traditional cultures of resistance and sceptism and embrace a new culture…


One that encourages innovation and new ways of working…  A culture that sees new technologies as an opportunity…


A culture that rewards experimentation and innovation and encourages learners and practitioners to utilise new technologies as part of their joint learning journey.


There are other technologies as well: fibre broadband, voice recognition, voice commands, cloud computing to name a few. New ways of working, studying, all these will have an impact.

The future is coming, it always has and it always will, are you ready and will you always be ready for the future?


Martin Bean, Keynote at ALT-C 2009

2011 Horizon Report from Educause

Connect to Succeed Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education

QR Codes in the Library

Springboard TV


Student Analytics for Success

Mobile Learning: Catalytic Change – Online Webinar

The recording of my online webinar is now available.

James Clay of Gloucestershire College will deliver an online seminar (webinar) on the implementation of mobile learning across a college. The session will consist of a definition of mobile learning, looking at learners, learning as well as devices. It will look at the issues of a whole college approach to mobile learning. The session will demonstrate how mobile learning can be used to improve teaching, learning and assessment.

Thank you to LSIS for funding the session and the JISC RSC SW for hosting the session.

Mobile Learning: Catalytic Change – Online Webinar

On Wednesday 27th July 2011 I will be delivering an online webinar.

Mobile Learning: Catalytic Change – Online Webinar

James Clay of Gloucestershire College will deliver an online seminar (webinar) on the implementation of mobile learning across a college. The session will consist of a definition of mobile learning, looking at learners, learning as well as devices. It will look at the issues of a whole college approach to mobile learning.

The session will demonstrate how mobile learning can be used to improve teaching, learning and assessment.

The session will be hosted by JISC RSC SW and is part of the LSIS Technology Exemplar Network.

The webinar takes place on Wednesday 27th July at 11.00am, it is expected to take around an hour. The session will be recorded.

More information and how to get to see the webinar here.

More cuts

It was interesting reading a press release from BIS yesterday about closing more quangos.

The Strategic Advisory Board for Intellectual Property policy (SABIP), SITPRO (Simplifying International Trade) and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Advisory Body (WAB) will all close in the next year. The British Shipbuilders Corporation will be abolished next year.

What was more interesting were the footnotes.

Within the main body of the press release it said:

The announcement comes as part of the Government’s commitment to reducing the number and cost of quangos and builds on the 13 Public Bodies closures that have already been announced.

In the footnotes it said and my emphasis.

The abolition, merger or termination of BIS funding of 13 Public Bodies was announced on 24 May 2010. Those bodies are: seven Regional Industrial Development Boards: UfI/Learndirect; Learning & Skills Improvement Service; Institute for Learning; Standards and Verification UK; IiP UK; and Hearing Aid Council.

There were three press releases on the 24th May relating to the cuts in funding:

None of these went into any detail about which Quangos would be cut, one of them said:

£80m from closing the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) and other savings in Department for Education quangos.

I have searched previous press releases from BIS and there is no detail on any of the savings to be made.

There is nothing (that I can find) on the LSIS or IfL websites about the cuts in funding.

Thanks to Bob and Seb for the noticing the footnote.

Edit: Screengrab in  case it disappears…

…also frozen the page using FreezePage.

96 slides in 12 minutes – Presentation Styles

At a Becta LSIS Learning Innovation, Embracing Technology Conference at the NEC last year I had a twelve minute slot for a presentation on how the future of learning is mobile.

I did use slides.

Now the accepted model for powerpoint presentations is 2-5 minutes per slide, so if I was presenting according to the accepted model I would have had no more than six slides.

So how many slides did you have?

I used ninety six slides.

Did you really?

Yes I did.

I remember been asked to send a copy of my presentation to the organisers, which I had to do via a version uploaded to the web as it was too big for e-mail. I then got a “worried” e-mail reminding me that I only had twelve minutes and that I might have too many slides. I did in fact cut a few slides, I think initially it was over a hundred… so cutting to ninety six was quite tough!

Even at the event, I was taken to one side and reminded how important it was to stick to the timeslot I had been given.

Then it was time….

I use to have quite light slides when I started doing conference presentations, but was noted by someone else that my slides a few years ago were getting more text heavy… and it was true! I had more and more text on my slides.

So I decided to stop how I wrote my presentation slides and think again about how and what I present.

Most times text is on slides as a crutch to the presenter who may not know their stuff, or certainly doesn’t have the confidence to present without the security blanket of lots of text.

I decided that if I was using words I would use phrases or key words. Where possible I would use images.

So where do you get the images?

Most times they are images I have taken myself or had taken for me. But for a lot of images I use creative commons licensed images from Flickr. There is a wealth of images available on Flickr and they can be used to convey lots of different things. If I can’t find the image I want, I have been known to get the camera and go and take the image. I also upload my images to Flickr, not just so others can use them, but if I am out and about and I want to use one of my images I needn’t worry about having it on my computer as it may be on my Flickr account.

Images are very powerful and can convey and support what I am saying

But what about the text?

Presentations are not about text they are about presentations.

Word documents are about text, so write a Word document or a blog post.

I try to use a small number of words and where possible avoid bullet points.

I have seen too many presentations that consist of bullet points with lots of explanatory text, often too small to read!

But when I post my presentation online…

Come on, really who is the presentation for, the audience in the conference room or the online audience.

Remember that the core audience for a presentation is the live audience in the conference room. It is not the remote audience who will only read your presentation and won’t get the full benefit of your actual talk and any questions afterwards.

If it is necessary to offer a more detailed presentation online. then video or film the presentation. Or how about creating one text heavy presentation for the online audience who won’t hear you and one for the live audience who will.

Anyone who puts loads of text onto a slide so that it makes sense to someone who reads it online (notice the use of the word reads) then they might as well not present their work and just print it out and let us read it.

Presentations that are watched are different to documents that are read.

Use the right tool for the right audience and the right location.

I can’t take all the credit for how I create my slides for my presentations, one of the articles I read gave me a real insight into making a good looking presentation. The article talks about the different presentation styles of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs and reading it, it makes a lot of sense to me.

So what of the rules about 2-5 minutes per slide?

If you know the rules, you can break the rules.

So how did I do?

Yup, I delivered all ninety six slides in twelve minutes. Got lots of positive feedback as well. The feedback was on the content of the  presentation and what I said, and not on the presentation slides themselves.

Job done!