I haven’t got time to use technology: Have you really got the time not to?

In this post Anita Holt, Manager of the Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) Support Team in ILT, provides an insight into her experience and recommends some useful tools to help academics engage with TEL.

For quite a few years now I’ve been enjoying the benefits of teaching and learning tools, which can be accessed via the Internet, that are free and very easy to use. I’ve been delivering staff development in the use of technology, to teachers and lecturers, for over ten years. I have found, that for anything to be widely accepted, it really does have to have both of those components, the very short learning curve being the most important.

Over the years I have established there are 3 basic reasons why teaching staff don’t adopt new technologies; these are self-confidence (quote: I won’t be able to do it, it’s ok for the young ones, but I’m too old I don’t understand IT, it’s wasn’t around when I was at school), confidence in the equipment (quote: what if it all goes wrong, when I’m in class, I’ll feel stupid) and time (quote: it takes longer doing it on a computer, I can do it quicker myself)

I found using Web 2.0 tools that students can access outside the classroom, allows staff to build their confidence in the privacy of their office or from their home computer.   The students will also be accessing the resource outside the classroom, using their own computers, so the worry of equipment failure and the tumble weed moment is minimised.

Ok so that’s two of the reasons out of the way, now let’s look at time. Many people wrongly assume using technology takes longer than using traditional methods. If they consider the tasks like for like, they would realise how much time they are are saving. For example let’s compare creating and administrating a multiple choice test.

What are the steps for the paper-based methods?

1) Prepare and word-process test 2) Hand out tests to students 3)  Collect completed tests from students 4) Mark tests 5) Create a spreadsheet to record results 6) Record results 7) Compose and send email to students containing the test results

Now let’s have a look at the online version. What are the steps for the online self-assessment test?

1) Copy and paste test from already prepared word-processed test, into an online quiz creator 2) Send students the link to the online test. Steps 3 – 7 are all done automatically.

Therefore, as you can see, using the online version does save a lot of time and eliminates the need for physically doing certain tasks.

One of my favorite online quiz makers is Proprofs Quiz School. It’s really easy to use, you can create questions of any type, such as multiple choice, True/False, multiple answers, essay style, fill-in the blanks, matching etc. You can also easily embed audio, images and video into the quizzes. It allows you to assign different points to each question, customise feedback, insert company logos, it offers immediate feedback, automatically generates certificates of achievement and much more. The basic account is free, but for about £40 per year, you can access a whole host of other features, such as an analysis of question data and a downloadable Excel file on user attempts and results. You can also use it to create polls and surveys, so it may also be useful for research students. Sign up for a free account and explore all the quiz features for the first month for free http://www.proprofs.com/quiz-school/

Another of my favorite online quiz makers, at the moment is Quizlet, as not only does it create quizzes, it also creates flashcards, matching games, and worksheets, from just one set of information.   It also has a very low learning curve, so if you are confident in using the copy and paste facility in Word, and you can access the internet, you should pretty much be able to use Quizlet. It also has the added bonus of being able to be easily embed it into your VLE.

You can access Quizlet by visiting www.quizlet.com.

Why not give it a go.

Anita Holt :TEL Manager Faculty of Health and Life Sciences.


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