Sunday, 26 December 2010

IT Week 2010

I recently gave a presentation at Madinat Zayed and Ruwais Colleges on Podcasting

It was a really good day and everyone really seemed interested in the the talk I'll you can find my slides here: I have included links to the websites and video I showed and talked about at the end of the presentation but the whole talk really was an ode to JISC Digital Media its such a good resource it really is worth looking at.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Chairs of Learning

In Abu Dhabi Men’s College Library there are two things which look like the front of jet engines, except that they are green and orange. And you can sit inside them. In the middle of the busy library, with students and faculty walking backwards and forwards, the occupants of these two strange devices of cutting-edge technology sit in a world of their own, listening to their own programs, interacting with the internet or watching a podcast.

The Sonic chairs ( ) are individual sound pods, where the listener can relax in his or her own privacy and allow the lecture or commentary to surround them. As well as individual speakers at ear level, the whole seat acts as a sound membrane, allowing the lower frequencies to vibrate into the listener’s body, giving the feeling of a live performance.
The Sonic Chairs have their own individual iMac touch screens and volume controls, so that the listener can create his or her own learning environment, with no background noise to disturb their concentration. Students are free to immerse themselves in their own media at a volume that suite them, knowing that they are not disturbing anyone else in the Library.
As well as multi-media, volume controls and USB connections, you can pull up a little table which the listener can use to make notes, or rest their coffee cup.

Monday, 20 September 2010

HCT Shines on International Stage

Working for the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) and in particular Abu Dhabi men’s college is completely different to anything else I’ve experienced before. We get visitors from world-leading educationalists, sporting stars, politicians, members of worldwide organizations such as WHO and UNESCO, and celebrities. Al Rawi is the corporate news letter from the HCT and contains under the heading of HCT Successes contains an article about one of the main parts of my job visitors. Some of the people I have had the pleasure of meeting include a delegation from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, MIT senior entrepreneurship lecturer John Preston, Microsoft’s Craig Mundie, Australian Olympic swimmer Ian Thorp, University of Chicago President Robert J Zimmer and UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokovaust to name a few. This is what the article said:

“Hugely impressed with the standards of education and facilities on offer at the campuses, the guests have all been eager to see how the HCT model operates so successfully in eLearning, education technologies, research and training; and to hopefully to work collaboratively with the HCT to develop, produce and deliver cutting-edge programs in the UAE and their home institutions and countries.

Moreover, during their tours the guests gain knowledge and a clear insight into how advanced HCT’s philosophy is in delivery best practices education in a technologically advanced mode with emphasis on eLearning in a wireless environment. Many of these visits have resulted in partnerships, joint ventures and memoranda of understanding being entered into for the future benefit of HCT students and the advancement of facilities at the College campuses.”

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Capturing great teaching

An Arabic newspaper based in Dubai has asked the college for an article based on the Classroom capture pilot project we have been running at the College. I’m not sure if it’s going to get published or not but thought it was informative enough to put on here.

Capturing great teaching

Abu Dhabi Men’s College is always striving to improve teaching and learning at the College using the latest technology and academic research to enhance to student experiences. Creating a way for staff to capture the high quality teaching that they do was a high priority to the College. Looking at how other Universities and College around the world where doing this and assessing their strengths and weaknesses the College came up with cutting edge concept that makes the controls as simple as possible yet has multiple cameras capturing the whole classroom environment in the most natural way possible.

The College setup a classroom installed with six high definition cameras around the room, three on the walls front, back and one side wall. The others are in the ceiling above the front desk, one document camera and the final one capturing the screen all in high definition. Other equipment includes six directional microphones; pressure sensitive mats; a control system and video recorder complete the setup.

This is all controlled through an automatic intuitive control system that uses the pressure sensitive mats on the floor and the directional microphones to work out where the center of attention is and records that. The system is all controlled through a very simple wireless control panel. With the simple press of two buttons the system will start recording the teacher. Two more buttons and any students talking will be filmed. Any recordings can be professionally edited or just left as they are and then uploaded to the Colleges media streaming server for students to access. There is also the option to broadcast the live feed over the internet for people to watch from anywhere in the world.

All this technology combines to make the highest quality recordings with the simplest setup and controls possible today. Giving students access to watch revision and reminder video’s of key topics in their subjects.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Library and Independent Learning Centre's eBook

I think this is a nice way to promote our wonderful Library and Independent Learning Centre, and also as a way to demonstrate the value of online technology, Abu Dhabi Men' s College has created a coffee table-styled book that has many wonderful photos of our students using the Library & Independent Learning Centre facilities. It also highlight some of the important visitors that we get in the centre.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Diigo - Research and collaborative research with knowledge - sharing community and social content

I’ve had a look at Diigo before and thought it look really good but never actually used it myself but it may be about to change. I don’t know how new this is but looking again at the Diigo site they are now offering Educator Accounts – a free premium account especially designed for educators. These are special premium accounts provided specifically to K-12 & higher-ed educators. Once your Diigo Educator application is approved, your account will be upgraded to have these additional features:

  • You can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)
  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.

If you’ve never heard of Diigo before have a look a following video for an explanation of some of the features.

    Wednesday, 26 May 2010

    ISTE 2010 Blog Roll

    I've just added myself to the ISTE 2010 Blog Roll "is a great way to share your blog and see what other ed tech enthusiasts are writing about in theirs. It's just another way you can get familiar with the upcoming conference, check-in onsite, and stay connected with your new colleagues when you return home. Last year we had more than 100 bloggers submit their info to our list!"

    I have to agree I've just had a look at about 10 of the Blogs on there and there is some good stuff.

    Tuesday, 11 May 2010

    Researchers Without Borders

    I don’t know if you’ve seen this before but I thought it looked interesting.

    “Researchers Without Borders (RWB) is a home for open research in education. It is a collaborative working environment in which individuals across academic institutions, disciplines, sectors, and levels of organizational structure can direct their efforts to solve shared problems, do collaborative research and development, and build productive working relationships and collaborations.”

    Wednesday, 31 March 2010

    Call for papers

    UAE Journal of Education Technology and eLearning - is accepting articles for the next edition of the journal, planned for Sep 2010. The articles can be sent on I would appreciate if you could also send the website address to your friends who are engaged in Ed Tech and eLearning in other institutes.



    Thursday, 18 February 2010

    SMS (texting) Students Pilot Project

    The College has started a pilot project SMS (texting) students study tips to 620 first year general education students. They are linked by a weekly theme and related to a twenty week semester. As they had to be generic and non-subject specific, for the pilot project students we have gone for the following subject:

    1. Course-start review
    2. Planning and prioritizing
    3. Organizing notes
    4. Active Learning
    5. Motivation
    6. Using technology
    7. Study Goals
    8. Critical Thinking
    9. Feedback
    10. Mid-course review
    11. Critical Thinking
    12. General
    13. Time management
    14. Educational Technology
    15. Managing stress
    16. Revision planning
    17. Finding out about the exam
    18. Revision techniques
    19. End-of-course
    20. Feedback

    Any example of the messages:

    Using technology
    Try using RSS feeds to keep you up to date with news in your subject area. Google, Yahoo and MSN have tools to help.

    Using technology
    Photo or video a whiteboard diagram, instead of copying it down. You can easily add these to OneNote why not have a go.

    Using technology
    Record audio notes to summarise key points. These will become very useful when revising for exams.

    Using technology
    Look at what apps there are for your mobile phone to help your studies. You will find useful apps for English, Maths, Science and more.

    I hope the English is accessible to the majority of readers English been their second language. There has been no official feedback yet but of the 620 students very few have chosen to unsubscribe from the service. I will be blogging any feedback I get but if you would like to know more please don’t hesitate to contact me.



    Sunday, 10 January 2010

    Educational video for streaming

    Some good resources on here of you’d like to have a look. HCT on iTunes aims to support learning by providing high quality educational video for streaming and downloading. All videos are optimized for playback on a variety of media players as well as mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPod Touch.


    Thursday, 7 January 2010

    Abu Dhabi Men's College

    Well I’m finally in my new post and will start properly blogging again soon. There are lots of exciting project starting here at the College already we have the in-house publications now only available online and linked through Blackboard. A student SMS system which if done correctly would make the college front runners in mobile learning. A College assessment project has also started which will look at developing an Assessment in Education Course for all academic staff members and assessment rubrics for the collage. All this and I only started two and a half weeks ago. If you would like to find out more about any of the above project please don’t hesitate to contact me. I will be keep my blog up to date on all of the above.

    Michael Bolton
    eLearning and Educational Technology Coordinator
    Abu Dhabi Men's College
    PO Box 25035
    Abu Dhabi