[:en]Looking for inspiration in your teaching?[:]

[:en]A while ago, I came across a website (via twitter, incidentally) called Learning Wheel.  This particular site is a community site where you can collaborate and share resources or technology that can be used to enhance your teaching or professional development.

Each wheel is split into 4 sections and each section has a series of ‘spokes’.  To quote Learning Wheel themselves:

“LearningWheel is a model of digital pedagogy designed to enhance learning and develop digital literacy skills. It has several unique layers:

  1. Visual pedagogically informed tool
  2. Created by practitioners for practitioner
  3. Categorised in to four pedagogic ‘modes of engagement’
  4. Can be ‘Resource’ specific
  5. Can be ‘Contextualised’ to a subject area
  6. Can be ‘level’ specific
  7. Promote free and accessible digital resources
  8. Collaborative approach
  9. International perspective
  10. Scalability: flexible and adaptable”

There are two that stand out particularly for SALT, and one of these are in the subject resources and is aimed at the trainee teacher, although it’s just as useful for practising teachers too:


The other can be found in the resources section, and is focussed on Assistive Technologies:


There are lots of subject specific wheels too, so have a look.  You may find some useful resources for your discipline!  If you feel you can create one, then there is an option to be the captain of your own learning wheel.

As with all collaborative resources, the resources contained within each of these learning wheels are not necessarily used by Swansea University, but if you are interested in any of these tools and want to know more then SALT would be more than happy to look at some of these with you and suggest alternatives where possible.

If you do use some of these learning wheels, please share it with @learningwheel and also with @susaltteam or contact SALT so that we can promote the good work that is going on, not just in Swansea but further afield.




Bett 2017

[:en]Welcome to 'BETT' sign with lots of people entering the show.I last week was fortunate to go to Bett 2017. I have been going to Bett, which I know as the British Educational Training and Technology Show, for 13 years! To me, it is the place to showcase and, or, explore the use of information technology in education. Although that can still be said to be true, the size and scope are definitely not the same. According to Wikipedia, the show began in 1985. It started life at the Olympia Exhibition Centre in London, and moved to the ExCeL in the London Dockland area in 2013 (which I feel is a much nicer venue). So with over 30 shows under its belt, I think Bett is rather good at what it does. Bett attracts visitors and exhibitors from all over the world (great to see and explore different ideas) and certainly from all over the UK (great to network too). When I first began taking my PGCE students to Olympia, Bett seemed to encouraged people of influence and, or, money to attend. Nothing has changed except the perception of ‘peopleof influence’. There are now lots more learners and humble teachers to be found at the event, reaffirming the idea that student voice, student influence, and student led-learning do count, and if you want to be a teacher in the 21st century maybe you should find out what it is all about!  Check out the storify at https://storify.com/susaltteam/bett-2017[:cy]Croeso i arwydd 'BETT' gyda llawer o bobl yn dod i mewn i'r sioe.

Yr wythnos diwethaf, ges i’r fraint i fynychu “Bett 2017”. Rydw i wedi bod yn mynychu ‘Bett’, sydd yn sefyll am Hyfforddiant Addysgol Prydain a Thechnoleg Sioe am triarddeg mlynedd. I mi, dyma’r lle i arddangos ac/neu archwylio’r defyndd o dechnoloeg gwybodaeth mewn addysg. Erbyn hyn, nad yw maint na’r cwmpas yr un fath. Yn ô Wikipedia, fe ddechreuwyd y sioe yn 1985 yng Nghanolfan Arddangosfa Olympia yn Llundain ac yn bellach wedi symud i’r ExCel yn Dociau Llundain yn 2013 (credaf bod y lleoliad yma llawer gwell!) Felly, gyda dros trideg o sioeau, dwi’n credo fod Bett n llwyddianu yn eu maes. Mae Bett yn atynnu ymwelwyr ag arddangoswyr o bob man yn ybyd (mae’n arbennig cael y cyfle i archwilio syniadau gwahanol), yn enwedig ar draws y DU (cysylltiadau da iawn). Pan ddechreuais mynd a’n myfyrwyr TAR i Olympia, roedd Bett i weld yn annog pobl â dylanwad ag/neu arian i fynychu. Nad oes dim wedi newid heblaw am y canfyddiad o ‘bobl â dylanwad’.  Mae yna bellach llawer fwy o ddysgwyr ag athrawon ostynedig i’w weld yn y sioe, Bett. Mae hyn yn cadarnhau’r syniad bod llais y myfyrwyr, eu dylanwad a fod dysgu o dan eu harwain nhw yn bwysig iawn. Os ydych am fod yn athro/athrawes yng nghanrif 21ain, felly y dylech chi ddod o hyd i beth mae’r holl beth am.

Edrychwch ar y Storify yma https://storify.com/susaltteam/bett-2017[:]

[: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 salt@swansea.ac.uk put SALT IT in the subject[:]

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.

[:en]Intro to Blackboard session 9th September 2015[:]


worried cat
Worried ? Me ?

Having spent most of the previous week fretting and being unreasonable to friends and family due to nerves at the prospect of being streamed live to the Universe University (it just felt like the Universe), this was actually OK !

I forgot a few things, I said a few things wrong and had to correct a few other things.  The order was a bit messed up and I’d neglected to set up a nice clean, empty module to use for the demo.  Still … hopefully no-one noticed and as long as no-one ever reads this, I should be able to get away with it !

It is all just a case of finding the spots in the room where the roaming eye of the camera cannot see you.  Suddenly, security returns.

This does raise interesting possibilities for delivering sessions over the two campuses, as providing equal provision is on our minds at the moment.  It seemed to go alright from my end and it would be interesting to hear how it was from the viewers end, either streamed at the time or just watching the recording.  Let us know what you think if you view any of them.  If you don’t we might just assume you loved them and keep doing it.


Click here for the Blackboard Quick Guide handout

Click here for the Session outline


SALT’s Top Ten Tools

[:en]Every year Jane Hart (http://janehart.com ), founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies, compiles the Top 100 Tools for Learning. The 2014 Annual Learning Tools Survey comprised votes from 1038 learning professionals across 61 countries. (2015 survey closes on 18th September 2015 http://c4lpt.co.uk/top100tools/voting/). So to kick off our technology for teaching month each member of SALT was asked to look at the 2014 list and indicated the tools that they use and would recommend to others for use both in learning and teaching capacity and within their daily working life. After tallying the scores these tools came out on top (they are in no particular order):

Audacity logoAudacity: A free, open source cross platform software for recording and editing sounds

Audacity is a very easy to use tool that can be used by teachers in many ways such as podcasting, module introductions, recording of speeches, development of language learning, record comments/opinions/discussions; its use is limited only by your imagination. The links below provide further information and ideas:

PowerPoint logoMicrosoft Office PowerPoint: Microsoft’s presentation software package

PowerPoint was launched 25 years ago and it is estimated to have been installed on over 1 billion computers. Most people have been subjected to death by PowerPoint at some point in their lives, but it is the go-to software package that most of us use to deliver a presentation of some degree.  Everyone can improve some areas of their presentation here are some links that will help:

Creative uses of PowerPoint:

Some good hints, tips and further reading:

Google drive/docs logoGoogle Docs/Drive: A free web based application which allows documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms to be created, edited, stored and shared online. Google Drive is a cloud based file storage service

In SALT we use Google docs for our weekly team meeting agenda which allows all of the team to add/amend the agenda and action points. During the meeting the main action points are added in real time and thus no requirement for editing and circulating them after the meeting. Google docs also facilitate synchronous and asynchronous collaboration across the team when working with documents/spread sheets etc. Existing in the cloud allows for anytime anywhere access across all devices, with inbuilt revision history it is easy to view and revert to earlier versions of the file and see who made specific changes. The links below provide more information:

If you want to hear more about the way Google Docs and Google Drive has been used at Swansea Chris Jobling will sharing his experience of using Google applications to support group work. Click here for more info: https://salt.swan.ac.uk/event/google-drive/

Wikipedia logoWikipedia: A collaboratively written encyclopaedia freely available online

Even though Wikipedia’s founder Jimmy Wales once warned readers not to use Wikipedia for academic purposes an American study shows that the majority of students use Wikipedia when researching essays. For me the key word in the last sentence is ‘researching’.

Many academics and universities distrust the service with warnings of ‘never cite wikipedia’. The beauty of Wikipedia lies within the references which can lead the reader to some excellent (and some not so excellent) further readings. The fundamental point to student use of Wikipedia is that they should use it as an information source and be aware that their academic work needs to be supported with references to acceptable scholarly sources.

Many UK Universities are working wiki Wikipedia through the Wikipedia Education Program to contribute to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects in an academic setting.

Skype logoSkype: A software application that enables video and audio calls over the internet

Skype has evolved into much more than just internet video calls. The latest incarnation supports video calls, instant messaging, group video calls, voice calls, screen sharing and file sharing. The range of tools enable some powerful uses in an Education setting such as distance learner support, bringing experts into the classroom from anywhere in the world, online tutorials, remote student interviews. The link below suggests 50 ways to using Skype: http://www.teachingdegree.org/2009/06/30/50-awesome-ways-to-use-skype-in-the-classroom/

Hywel Thomas presented at this year’s SALT Conference on his experience of using Skype to support nursing students the video can be viewed here: https://mrclabsestream.swan.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=5630~4o~osjYKqy2

Chrome LogoGoogle Chrome: A free software web browser developed by Google

Google Chrome is the most popular internet browser with 52.82% of internet traffic as of Aug 2015 (http://gs.statcounter.com). I’ve not been able to find any definitive article explaining for the meteoric rise in recent years but it could be a combination of the ubiquitous Google usage (Google Docs, Drive, Google Search, Chrome on Android devices). As a team we use Google docs to collaborate on documents, plus members of the team have Android devices and thus familiarity of Chrome and integration with Google docs and drive is one of the drivers why we use Chrome as our browser of choice. It is also easy to customise Chrome to make it our own using extensions, themes and apps.

Dropbox logoDropbox: A place to store any files in the cloud which can be accessed anywhere and shared with anyone

Everybody has been in the situation where your USB stick is not in your pocket with your lecture notes and presentation just as you enter the lecture theatre. This is where Dropbox comes in; store all your files in the cloud and access them via tablet, mobile device, PC or laptop easily without the need to remember carrying those USB sticks etc. Files in your Dropbox account can be shared with others easily (including non-Dropbox users). You can set Dropbox to sync files between computers, which is really handy if you work on multiple PC’s (Home and Office).

Wordle imageWordle: A word cloud generator, where words that appear more frequently in the source text appear more prominently

I have used Wordle when analysing surveys and questionnaires to create data visualisations so that I can pick out key themes that are being mentioned within the freetext comments before deeper analysis of the results. Below are further links that provide hints, tips and uses for Wordle:

YouTube logoYouTube: A video-sharing website

YouTube’s USP is the amount of content it holds; 300 hours of video are uploaded every minute! There is a huge breadth of knowledge (and rubbish) on YouTube, if I ever get stuck using a software package I first use Google to find some help this inevitable ends up in viewing a YouTube video which shows me the error of my ways (or the error in the GUI design). There are a lot of thought provoking videos as well as Educational based videos. Many universities have YouTube channels used for marketing the university and the courses it offers. These videos along with a whole host of the “good stuff” can be used in learning and teaching, many can be embedded into Blackboard modules which further opens up the use of different learning scenarios and methods such as discussion thread baseds around the content of a video, flipped learning, demonstrate experiments or laboratory techniques prior to lab work.

Kath Ficken presented at the SALT conference on how she has used video to support laboratory teaching and field trips, view the video here: https://mrclabsestream.swan.ac.uk/View.aspx?ID=5625~4s~tetezyqk

Google LogoGoogle Search:  A web search engine owned by Google Inc

We’ve all done it, need to know something…. Google it. Want some tips on how to improve your Google searching take a look at the links below:

(Thanks to Philippa Price and Sam Oakley for the Google Search links)

We will be circulating our own Swansea University Top 10 tools for learning survey at the end of the month, keep your eyes peeled and inbox ready for the link. Also if you have any comments about any of the tools listed or wish to share ways that you may have used them effectively please leave them in the comments box below, or tweet us @susalt #susaltit[:]

Do you need more SALT in your diet?


Book a Session Here

On Tuesday 8/9 our September events kick off as we share our top ten most often used tools. Sometimes we don’t have time to mess about learning new software and even wonder what half the tools do on the software that we do use. If that rings a bell then read Simon’s post on Tuesday. SALT team member Simon Gibbon has collated the team’s most regularly used tools and created an interesting selection uses for your teaching.

On Wednesday 9/9 Matthew Allen will be providing an Introduction to Blackboard session. This may appeal to new staff or staff who have yet to discover the powerful resource BB can be. The session will be held in the Coleg Cymraeg Video Conference Room CD201 which is the floor below SALT from 12-2. It is estimated that the session will run for about an hour with opportunity for questions and discussions to follow. The live feed for this session can be obtained by clicking the button below and you can join in the session by sending questions via Twitter #susaltlive

Watch Introduction to BB live here

On Thursday Chris Jobling will be sharing his experiences with using Google applications to support group work. If you have an interest in creating online learning spaces for students to use as they develop collaborative pieces, share ideas or materials with each other, then this is the session for you. The session will be held in the Coleg Cymraeg Video Conference Room CD201 which is the floor below SALT from 12-2. It would be useful for delegates to bring a laptop, tablet or mobile phone. It is estimated that the session will run for about an hour with opportunity for questions and discussions to follow. The live feed for this session can be obtained by clicking the button below and you can join in the session by sending questions via Twitter #susaltlive

Watch Google for Groups live here

[:en]Live stream for September IT Events[:]

[:en]Remember that if you can’t attend the Make one Change Events for September ‘Making IT Resources Work for Your Students’, you can always watch the live stream which will be posted daily here on the blog and on our Twitter feed #susaltit #susaltlive. You can participate from your desk by using the Twitter feed #susaltlive to ask questions during the session. You will also be able to watch them later from the SALT TV e-stream resources, #susaltit.

Watch event live

Not live till 9/9/15[:]

Twelve Technology Tools for Teaching


Tue 8 September SALT’s Top 10 online applications – we will send a list of our personal favourites, generated from Jane Hart’s 2014 the Top 100 Tools for Learning.

The following tools are those that will help you get organised for your lectures as painlessly as possible, providing the best opportunities for student engagement.

Wed 9 September Introduction to Blackboard – From this practical, hands-on familiarisation session, participants can expect a concise overview of the tools and features available in Blackboard, knowledge of how to integrate and modify content and activities, and methods for locating further information, help, and training. In addition to increasing their technical know-how of Blackboard, participants will be encouraged to discuss pedagogical and practical issues associated with using these tools to support learning and teaching.
Thur 10 September Google Docs for collaborative writing, presentations and supporting group work
Tue 15 September Clickers – Discover what Clickers are and how they work. In this session you will have a hands-on, interactive guide to using clickers with ideas of where they might augment your lectures and best support your pedagogy.
Wed 16 September Blackboard 2 -This session will look at ways to improve the student experience when using your Blackboard modules

  • How to improve navigation
  • Improve accessibility
  • Reduce the scroll of death
Thur 17 September Xerte is a tool that allows you to rapidly create quality interactive learning resources or get learners creating for each other.
Tue 22 September Mobile Technology – This session will guide you through setting up and using a range of easy-to-implement options and give you ideas for the upcoming academic year.
Wed 23 September Blackboard 3: Campus Pack – In this session you will explore the collaborative value of Campus Pack. Campus Pack contains a range of tools that can be used for activities that involve blogs, journals, wikis, discussion boards and podcasts and can be used to generate ePortfolios.
Thur 24 September e-Stream – can be used to record teaching sessions and then make them available for students to view at a later time. This session will demonstrate how easy the software is to use, and how to deploy the recording within Blackboard for students to view.
Tue 29 September Grademark – This session will show you how to edit and mark student’s work online with GradeMark®
Wed 30 September Blackboard 4 – Tests and Quizzes. In this session you will explore the tests and quizzes functionality within Blackboard.  This will include grading tests and the use and creation of pools of questions for re-use year on year.
Thur 1 October WebPA – using the WebPA system as integrated into Blackboard and we’ll also consider some experiences of Swansea lecturers using feedback from previous users (staff and students) to enhance your use.
Fri 2 October By this date we hope to collate university staff’s best resources for learning and teaching. So don’t forget to send us your favourites.