The 50th post…wow…

What a landmark 🙂 Two years of blogging…two years of amazing projects, workshops, research, conferences…thanks to all our readers for sharing our journey!

And a big thank you to Linda for giving our blog a new outfit!

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Dick Ng’ambi’s presentation on the use of podcasting in Teaching and Learning at UCT

Prof. Ng'ambi at CPUT

Yesterday Prof Dick Ng’ambi from the Center for Educational Technology (CET) at UCT,  presented on his experiences with using podcasting for Teaching and Learning to this year’s participants of the podcasting@CPUT pilot project.

The feedback of participants was very encouraging:

“Prof. Dicks presentation was very good and insightful. Wikispaces introduction and eye opener. Excellent lunch!” , “Learnt so much more, need to think about all the exciting possibilities that podcasting offers. Thanks”, “The presenters really believe in podcasts and the enthusiasm is contagious!”

Click here for a recording of this session (1hr 25 mins)

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Workshop Google apps for Teaching and Learning

The 2nd workshop of our “2012 workshop series on Technologies in Teaching and Learning at CPUT” is just around the corner.

Topic: Using Google applications for T&L
Date and time: 22nd of March 2012, 14.00-16.00
Venue: FID boardroom, second floor, Roeland street, Cape Town
Facilitators: Roux Roussow, Information Technology and Anton Thiart, Civil Engineering

Workshop summary:

Emerging technologies, such as Google Apps, are increasing in use in Higher Education, as an alternative to institutionally owned applications and software programmes. These technologies are known for their simplicity, ease of navigation, innovative design and are most importantly freely available.

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce to the workshop participants a range of emerging technologies belonging to the Google applications family, which includes:  communication tools (Gmail, Google Talk, and Google Calendar); productivity tools (Google Docs: text files, spreadsheets, forms and presentations); Google blogs (Blogger); Google Sites (for developing web pages) and the social network (Google+).

Drawing from experiences of lecturers here at CPUT, the facilitators of this workshop will share examples, ideas and good practices for incorporating various Google applications/tools into teaching, learning and research.

Workshop resources

Anton Thiarts presentation: antonthiart‘ podcast

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2012 Workshop series on Technology in Teaching and Learning at CPUT

The Educational Technology Unit has just published this year’s workshop/seminar schedule on the use of technologies in Teaching and Learning at CPUT.

This year’s seminars will revisit some of the technologies that were presented last year and received interest and positive feedback from the CPUT community, such as podcasting, digital storytelling, Google apps or rapid eLearning. We have also included new topics such as the identification of at risk students using CPUT’s Learning Management System Blackboard or the implementation of a mobile clicker system at the University of Stellenbosch.

Speakers have been sources within CPUT but also from other institutions in the Western Cape. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to listen to first-hand experiences with  some of the most innovative tools and applications used  in the current Higher Education context. You can find the full programme here.

Workshops will be promoted on a monthly basis through CPUT’s newsflash and ETU’s internal mailinglists. For more information contact Daniela Gachago at

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Using clickers to collect data for my D.Ed.

by Joy Alexander, communications lecturer, Engineering, CPUT

Context: D. Ed. data collection

Rationale: The opportunity to collect data from a representative sample of final year teacher education students at the end of their B.Ed. program is always challenging. Their main focus at this stage is primarily to ‘wrap up’ their last associations with their studies and ‘get ready’ for their teaching. Attending to the data collection request of a researcher who might require them to complete a pencil-and-paper questionnaire is characteristically not on their ‘to do’ lists, especially if it involves an hour of their busy academic program. However, they made the sacrifice more eagerly when they learned that their participation would alternatively involve clicker technology, something they had heard of and were eager to experience as novice teachers.

Process: While my one rationale for using clickers was to draw the interest of the students to my research by offering them an exciting clicker experience, another rationale was that it could enhance the other facets of my data collection session. It would be possible to complete questions with fixed responses and conduct a focus group discussion on these selections at the same time. Before the average group of 30 students made their selections from the fixed responses for each of my 10 questions, I facilitated a short (2-3 minute) focus group discussion about each question in order to ensure that there was a shared understanding about the question and the fixed responses. I speedily recorded their key words on sheets of newsprint, which served as a visually semantic reference from which they could make a well-thought through fixed-response selection. (An audio recording was also made.) After that students voted. I then asked them to expand on most of the results of each question before proceeding with the subsequent ones. This latter facet of unpacking the reasons for these voting trends is a central focus of my thesis which received the attention it required.

Research impact: Using clickers to get instant results from students and share it with them immediately as part of a bigger data collection plan was gratifying. The students were noticeably eager to see the results after voting – they got a glimpse of their four-year teacher education experiences, expressed anonymously. I gained a vast set of quantifiable and qualitative data. The instant results lead sufficiently into a deeper discussion which was largely due to the trust already established from previous professional relations between myself and the students.

My feedback: As with any research there are ‘highs and lows’. The ‘low’, for me, is when I notoriously struggle with data collection. My D.Ed. research has not been the exception to this personal rule. After weeks of designing multiple configurations of a terribly boring pencil-and-paper questionnaire and painfully thinking about accessing a few data collection sessions, my supervisor and I began to think about more innovative and current ways of accessing and managing data needed for my research. We decided that I should pursue clickers. This was certainly the turning point in my research. It gave me a reliable data corpus that I could extrapolate immediately (and later) and subsequently manage the analysis, presentation and discussion more easily.

However, the combination of using clicker technology together with a digital audio recorder, sheets of newsprint and a focus group discussion in one 90 minute session with an average of 30 students, must not be underestimated. It is labour intensive. I was fortunate to have the help of a colleague from Fundani. She prepared the power point presentation for the clickers; set up all the technology; and spontaneously assisted me with audio recordings and other collegial considerateness. I am enthusiastic about pursuing and refining this methodology which I modestly attempted at CPUT (Mowbray Campus) as a novice researcher towards the end of 2011.

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Podcasting@CPUT kick off!

With yesterdays information and training session on the Podcasting@CPUT project, this year’s RIFTAL project kicked off!

The interest was amazing, 28 lecturers made it to the session and joined a lively discussion around the usefulness of podcasting for Teaching and Learning at CPUT.

Presentation 23 02 2012

Podcasts 23 02 2012

For more information visit our Podcasting@CPUT project page!

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Second Life workshop

Last week we spent three amazing days in Second Life, one of main Virtual Worlds used in Education all over the world. Denise Wood, Senior Lecturer and Researcher in Media Arts in the School of Communication, International Studies and Languages at the University of South Australia, facilitated a three-day workshop at UWC on the use of Second Life in Teaching and Research.

Virtual worlds can be used very interestingly for roleplay and simulations in Education. There are amazing historical or ecological sites, you could take your students to. Denise has also done amazing ethnographic research around how Second Life can support people who are isolated in their “First Life”, due to e.g. disabilities.

This is a short presentation I found on Slideshare on Second Life


And some useful links:

Alternative Viewers (faster than the Second Life viewer)


Alternative to Second Life (open sims)

Reaction grid

Examples for education

Edinburgh Second Life site:

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