Using Online Interactive Tools for Engagement


Questions & Quizzes

Using online tools for learning and teaching has been something that many of us have explored, or ignored, for years. You can waste many precious hours (and lose the will to live) testing and evaluating tools until you are so confused you don’t know which button to press next.

Debbie Baff and I (Mandy Jack) love them, and today we shared a selection of our favourites, which we have evaluated and tested in a range of ways so that you can just try them for size.

We began with Todaysmeet, which is a website that allows to you create an online space to ask, receive and answer questions. You just create a ‘room’, share the web address and begin asking and answering questions. It’s a great way to get a session started, or you can use it to pose questions as you teach

so that you can gain an insight to the level of understanding. You can also get students to ask questions and maybe even answer them too.


padletPadlet was the next tool we looked at. Padlet allows you to summarise a large amount of information and present it in visually pleasing ways. You can put in text, photos, graphs and other learning tools and share the image with students. You can use it to organise your lesson, including learning objectives, present information for exams or to stimulate a discussion. Padlet can also be used as an interactive questions board. Students can access a questions board 24/7 and anonymously post questions. The teacher can then read off and answer (and delete anything inappropriate) the questions each day.  It can also be effectively used as a Forum, where you might post a particular topic or issue, and students can post their opinions on the subject. Some great ideas for other uses here:


Zeetings was next. This tool allows you to add a fabulous range of interactive media into your sessions whether you use Powerpoint or not in your lectures and seminars. As a teacher, you create the web content and everyone participates from their own device, in person or remote, in real-time or in their own time. There is no need to download or install anything, just share the web address. I use this sometimes as I am building my lecture content, so I plan the questions and the media explanations that I think I will need. Other times I just add questions and polls as I go, if I feel the need to ascertain just how well something has been understood.

The final thing we shared was Polleverywhere, which is another online Live Audience Participation tool. Poll Everywhere is a simple application that works well for live audiences using mobile devices like phones or tablets, but you can us a PC if you accessing the poll remotely. People participate by visiting the web page you create, or by sending text messages or using Twitter. The poll will update in real time and the results can be shared in a range of interesting ways.

Like all the others we looked at today, Polleverywhere has quite a good free application that you can upgrade if you want more flexibility. We have managed with the free versions of all the applications that we have mentioned today.[:]

[:en]Let the pictures do the talking[:]

[:en]As part of SALT’s September IT activities Lleisiau Bach yn Galw Allan/Little Voices Shouting Out @lleisiaubach had the pleasure to deliver a session on Using Infographics in Education

info1info2 infor3

Lleisiau Bach/Little Voices provides support for children and young people to carry out research within the framework of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and to advocate for change informed by their research. Based at the Wales Observatory on Human Rights of Children and Young People at the College of Law Swansea and Bangor Universities, we are able to link the children’s research to world-class academic research, higher education teaching and training and wide engagement with community groups and statutory bodies.

In our current Little Voices Shouting Out project, children aged 7-11 in Wales have submitted their own report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the first time. This project is Big Lottery Funded and works with children in primary schools throughout Wales. Children learn about their rights and about the UNCRC and are trained as researchers to investigate the issues they select, using their own chosen methods. In addition to the report that was submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child for the Geneva pre-sessional hearings in October 2015, the project delivers results in the children’s own communities.

The children learn about their issues and develop skills in research and consultation, but they also take their recommendations to people in their schools and wider community who can help make the changes happen.  This has resulted in a positive change from small adjustments within the schools, for example in relation to play or the physical environment, to potentially far-reaching changes in policy and practice. Our methods have been developed over 10 years and we are constantly improving in light of experience. We are building our work collaboratively, for example with the National Assembly for Wales and Children’s Commissioner for Wales as well as the Welsh universities.

Interested? Please click here

Infographics in Education

As part of the Technology Enhanced Learning patch of the PGCert HE I was tasked with creating a learning resource using digital technology that can be deployed within my own teaching practice and to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the media chosen.

For the assessment, I developed an infographic on Children’s Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) which can be used for a wide range of audience ranging from children to adults.

Learning Resource

Strengths and Weaknesses

It was great to be invited to SALT for September’s IT activities and deliver a session on using Infographics in Education. Participants expressed an interest in knowing ‘How To’ create infographics so although time was spent looking at the do’s and don’ts of creating the perfect VLE

A great deal of time was spent on actively designing participant’s own infographic on a topic of their own choice.


Piktochart is the tool of my choice when designing infographics (although other online tools were discussed and used)-it’s easy to use, great options and the children I work with show high capability navigating around designing tools.

The session went well and had great feedback on how participants will consider using infographics as a future tool for learning.

Helen Dale-Research Assistant


[:en]IT Month update – Blended Learning and Making E-lectures[:]

[:en]Today’s session was a very interesting presentation and workshop from Paul Holland and Rhian Kerton called Blended Learning and Making E-lectures. Paul attended last year’s IT month sessions and particularly enjoyed the session on Campus Pack where he was inspired to develop his Blackboard lecture material. Together the pair has developed a range of material that helps to support their students’ knowledge and understanding in a range of complex topics.

Here are the slides that they used which are shared on SlideShare and watch this space for a personal update on the blog from the presenters.

If you would like to know more about developing your e-learning resources for student engagement contact us put SALT IT in the subject[:]

[:en]So what is Campus Pack?[:]

[:en]In today’s session we explored Campus Pack which is held on Blackboard. You can find the applications under Tools in any Module Content area so if you haven’t already done so, have a play.

So what is Campus Pack?


Campus Pack is a set of social tools (wikis, blogs, journals, podcasts, and discussion boards) that can be integrated into e-learning environments. These tools are used in courses in customizable ways, allowing instructors to create anything from private journals in which students can track their work and progress to a course-wide, open Wiki that allows students to engage in collaborative and team projects. They can also be used outside of the course for individual blogging, groups, organisations and for collecting and sharing personal content.

Campus Pack Blogs, Journals, Podcasts, and Wikis can be published at varying levels of privacy allowing instructors to create spaces for lab groups, class groups, TAs, or for individual students. Permissions can be set to control which users can view, edit, comment, tag, and/or manage the Campus Pack tool.

Campus Pack can also provide instructors the ability to not only track student contributions to any particular assignment or project, but can also grade any assignments that have been created. Activity Summary statistics include Total Entries, Total Views, and Total Comments along with a grid of individual student information.

I created two areas on Blackboard for the workshop. One area which allowed participants to engage with the content material as a Student would.  I had created samples of each of the tools so to generate ideas and spark discussions about these types on online tools. The other area was a dummy course where the participants were set as Instructors.  From here they created and explored content and got a real feel for what the tools could provide on their programmes.  The participants were keen to know more, which is great, so that means there will be more sessions in the near future.


Explore with Campus Pack in the Tools Section of the Module Content area in your Module on Blackboard.  Get in touch if you would like to know more about any of the tools or any of the topics that we are covering this September. You can also find help and ideas in the Help tab on Blackboard just type  Campus Pack in the Ask a Question search box.

Mandy Jack[:]

[:en]Twitter for student engagement[:]



It’s sometimes tempting to dismiss Twitter as a place for Justin Bieber to share what he had for breakfast. It can, though, be so much more than that. Some of you may already be using Twitter to connect with colleagues, organisations and professionals in your field, to support your CPD and stay up-to-date with the hot topics in your areas of interest. Have you ever thought about using it with your students, though? There are all sorts of opportunities to effectively use Twitter and related tools in your teaching. Take a look at the notes from my recent session, Twitter for Student Engagement, to find out more about using Tweet walls, hashtags, polling tools and much more to enhance your students’ learning. The notes include lots of useful links to find out how teachers are exploiting Twitter as well as some tips on managing your Twitter account and things to be aware of.
If you have any questions or comments, please get in touch. You can Tweet me @philippaprice or email[:]

What’s in a name?

 Are you bemused by acronyms and unknown software names? Wondering what on earth that list of sessions available as part of SALT IT month mean?sessiontitles

I’m not a learning technologist, and was initially bemused by the names that my colleagues seemed to be familiar with. Delicious, Diigo, Padlet, E-stream. What language were these people speaking? Klingon?
A similar thought crossed my mind in advertising SALT’s September IT month last week. I was planning on grouping the sessions by theme and communicating this to staff, but the SALT Lead in Engineering, Chris Jobling beat me to it! So all credit to Chris for the following excellent summary of how the IT tools can actually do to address teaching, learning and assessment pedagogical issues

During SALT’s September IT month, we have sessions on:

• Group Work supported by Pebble+ and Peer Assessed with WebPA
Developing Rubrics and Using Grademark for more efficient assessment and feedback.
• Lecture capture with eStream
Blended Learning and Making E-Lectures and also making your own videos with TedED or Powtoon.
• Using Twitter to get more students engaged and asking questions
• Developing your Blackboard Module, Doing More with Blackboard, Making Your Content Engaging
Curating educational resources, PADLET,
• Open Educational Resources with Xerte, Open Digital Badges
Personal productivity with OneNote
• Discuss with a new lecturer about his experiences in using technology this past year.

Will any of the above help you to improve your teaching? We hope so! Is there anything you need that isn’t covered? Let us know:

Also, have a look at our website for userguides and the Help tab in Blackboard to answer key queries. There’ll be drop-ins at both campuses for your queries on using Blackboard starting in the next few weeks.

What’s on this week?

[:en]This week’s SaltIT sessions begin tomorrow with Patricia Xavier as she shows how to turn mobile phones from distraction to attraction in your lectures. The session is to be based on the Salt conference session Using student devices to enhance engagement. If you would like to attend, you will need to bring a device to ensure that you get the most from the session.


Wednesday is another BlackBoard session. This week’s session with Mandy Jack looks at the use of Campus Pack to help you create flexible learning environments for you and your students, as they say on the CampusPack website “Extend your online learning environment with social, modular, integrated apps”.  Again, if you are planning to attend this session you will get more out of it if you bring a laptop or mobile device.

Edge Hill University has a great video that will give you an overview of what to expect from Campus Pack.

On Thursday Simon Gibbon demonstrates eStream software.  This session will show how easy the software is to use to record teaching session, and how to deploy the recording within Blackboard for students to view. The session will also discuss other uses for the software within a learning and teaching context. Read come case studies if you are still to be convinced



Book a place with Eventbrite the sessions are in CD201 starting at 12 each day. They are all streamed live and archived for viewing later. Catch updates on Twitter #susaltit or interact with the live sessions #susaltlive[:]

To Click or not to Click?


…that is the question. Today’s session led us to the Bay campus, where we were fortunate enough to be the first group to use the new PC labs. Unfortunately it did mean that we were unable to provide live streaming as the AV equipment wasn’t fully operational. There’s always a next time! The session was a brief introduction to clickers using TurningPoint Technologies which is a plugin for PowerPoint. So if you can use PowerPoint you can use Clickers! If you can’t, or haven’t yet, now is the time to try!


What are they though?

Clickers are an interactive technology that enable instructors to pose either spontaneously or ready prepared questions to students, and immediately collect and view the responses of the entire group.

A clicker system consists of three components:

  1. Clickers: wireless handheld transmitters (Radio, Bluetooth or WiFi are most popular);
  2. Receiver: a remote device that receives signals from the clickers, often a USB connection;
  3. Software: an application installed on the instructor’s computer to record, display, and manage student responses and data (TurningPoint is supported here in Swansea).

This is how clickers work:

  1. Instructors pose questions (verbally or with presentation software);
  2. Students submit their answers using their remote transmitters;
  3. The system instantly collects the results and saves the data, which can be view privately or shared with the group (anonymously).

But why bother?

What is the pedagogical value of using clickers?

No technology automatically enhances learning; rather, it must be used thoughtfully and deliberately to advance the learning objectives of a particular course. For example, an instructor in a large or medium-size class might choose to use clickers to:

  • Elicit student participation and engagement to prompt deeper thinking about a particular question or problem.
  • Monitor students’ understanding of course content in real time, in order to identify and address areas of confusion and adjust the pace of the course appropriately.
  • Provide students with instant feedback on their comprehension to help them monitor their own understanding.
  • Spark discussion among students as they compare, justify, or modify their answers.
  • Efficiently deliver and monitor session test, to hold student accountable for readings and lecture material and assess basic factual knowledge.

Potential disadvantages of using clickers?

There is a plenty of research that demonstrates the learning advantages of using clickers. However, there are potential issues to consider:

  • It can take an initial investment of time to learn to use the system and manage the data it generates; SALT can help you with this;
  • Monitoring students’ understanding and responding appropriately requires flexibility and some loss of some predictability when delivering lectures;
  • Using clickers takes time, so needs to be planned for;
  • Creating good concept questions (in particular, questions that help you diagnose misconceptions) can be challenging.

To download ideas for using Clickers in your sessions click this link Why use Clickers and get the TurningPoint User Guides for more technical advice.

Collaboration with Google Drive


Most of us are quite familiar with Google as a search engine, and have probably even used the proper noun, Google, as a verb, if you don’t know it ‘google it’!


However, Google offers an equally impressive set of tools that allow the user to “create, share, and edit” documents. Google Drive is a suite of web-based tools that allow for the creation of documents, spreadsheets, forms, drawings, and presentations, which can be used as a collaborative tool for teaching, learning, and productivity.


In today’s SALT IT session with Chris Jobling, we explored and experimented with the range of tools for collaboration and communication and developed ideas for our own use with students and colleagues. We even managed to try some ‘add ons’ that could really show our creativity! To start using Google Drive (or Google Docs as it is often called) you can get help and ideas from Google Docs Editor and if you are already using the applications you might like to explore the Add-ons again help is found in the Docs editor. If you didn’t make the session with Chris you can watch the session at your leisure on the SALT TV #susaltit (after 20/9/15) and read the tweets via #susaltlive. Enjoy Chris Jobling’s presentation or

Scan here
Scan with a QR code reader to access Chris Jobling’s presentation