Learning Tech - shaken and stirred

H5P Interactive Video – Function test

Interactive Video

Of the H5P suite, this is perhaps the most intriguing one for me.  Perhaps in part as I believe that media integration in teaching is important, but that having students interact with media is such a powerful way to use video.  One of my recent favorites is Spiral and the Clip app in it allows for synchronous use of videos and for students to live comment on video as it is being played and for questions (e.g., multiple choice) to be embedded in places.  Importantly it also does not require students to divulge any personal information.

Moving to H5P,  it has a number of ways it can be used.  We know that attention spans for most media is quite short and video is no different.  Thus for smaller chunks or videos (a few minutes max perhaps), H5P has some interesting ways to create learning objects.  In it, questions types are put on top of the video.

I have taken a video my wife had created  and which is hosted on Youtube as a sample to work with and will …. tinker with the options.

Tomorrow – I will dig deeper into it, but here is a very quick and rough stab – notable is how quickly I was able to do this – perhaps 10 minutes.



H5P review – part one

H5P for WordPress

I’ve been playing with H5P on WordPress, and am particularly interested in its ease of use, features and in some instances, how it compares with other applications.  Some of the things possible on it remind me of Hot Potatoes which has been around since 1998 with the difference that with H5P they are easily embedded in WordPress sites or used on Moodle, other features are quite interesting (Interactive Video) and have a lot of potential uses in higher ed.

My general inclination is to open-source products, but I am not an evangelist for all things open-source by any means and see a lot of good in many of the commercial products, many of which have excellent and easy to use features available for free for educators.  In other words, as a pragmatic decision maker, I see benefits in either and it really comes down to the usability of a product.

As a WordPress plugin, it was easy to get started as it is installed on the TRUBOX server, and I suspect it will be on the Moodle server sometime in the next year (or possibly sooner)

General pros:

– It is open-source, and it fairly easy to use and free and has over 20 possible course uses ranging from the simpler (graph) to the more interactive and robust (interactive video).

– It is responsive and renders nicely on mobile devices

– As a WordPress plugin it works quite seamlessly

Here are some of the activities that may be more likely to be used or are more intriguing that can be created in H5P.  A full list is available on the H5P site.

  • Arithmetic quiz – create time-based arithmetic quizzes
  • Chart – Generate bar and pie charts
  • Collage – create a collage of multiple images
  • Course Presentation – create a presentation with interactive slides
  • Drag and drop – create drag and drop tasks with images
  • Find the Hotspot – create image hotspots for users to find
  • Image Hotspots – create an image with multiple info hotspots
  • Image Jxtaposition – Create interactive images
  • Audio Recorder – Create an audio recording
  • for Chat and Talk – embed an room
  • Interactive Video – Create videos enriched with interactions
  • Memory Game – Create the classic image pairing game
  • Multiple Choice – Create flexible multiple choice questions
  • Personality Quiz – Create personality quizzes
  • Quesionanaire – Create questionnnaire to receive feedback
  • Quiz (question set) – creat a sequence of various question types
  • Single Choice Set – Create questiosn with one correct answer
  • Summary – Create tasks with a list of statements
  • Timeline – Create a timeline of events with multimedia
  • True False Question – Create True False questions
  • Twitter User feed – Show your Twitter feed with H5P

General cons:

– A few of my bigger wants for it are that it doesn’t have a preview which would be helpful.

– It also lacks some of the versatility found in other tools.

–  It’s free, so those may be minor quibbles, but my experience is that the simpler something is the more likely it is to be widely used.  It’s not yet on the TRU Moodle server so once that’s available, it will open up a host of possibilities not currently likely to be widely used.

I will add to these initial thoughts in the days to come and then parse subsequent posts with focus on some of the features.

H5P tests

Here are a few H5P tests.





Oddly, can’t seem to edit out the numbers.

Column test 1

adds an window to room (it would help if it was actually a real room I had!)

Column test 2

adds an window to room (it would help if it was actually a real room I had!)

Timeline test 1

It’s actually a very slick way to use knightlab’s timeline – excellent H5P feature – easier that direct on timeline I’d say.

Twitter feed test 1

Dialogue card test 1

Interactive video test 1

Interactive video test 2

ETUG, Ed Tech Summit and Ed Tech conferences

My most recent attendance at ed tech related conferences was interesting.  I was at the ETUG spring workshop in Kelowna in early June and previously at the Ed Tech Summit in Toronto in April.  I admit that titles like “Summit” seem a little heady, the spirit of both conferences was interesting.  With a background that has focused mostly on language education and my personal long interest and participation in CALL and Educational Technology related aspects of conferences, these conferences, particularly the ETUG spring workshop were familiar territory.

Unlike traditional conferences where presenters “read” papers (I’ve seen that – reading a manuscript….. zzzzz) or deliver lecture style presentations on their research, ETUG was much like the typical language education conference in that sessions tended to be participatory and hands-on.  I much prefer that style for a lot of reasons – perhaps first and foremost because whether in language education or working as a learning technologist, I find it much more purposeful.  Yes, theory drives good choices and pedagogy, but it is the active research/scholarly teaching aspect that speaks to me.

It was also a nice change to go to a couple conferences just to learn.  It had been quite a while since I was at a conference at which I didn’t present.  Often I find myself presenting a couple (or more) times at a conference and while it is wonderful to be part of the discourse as a speaker, it can also draw a lot of my focus and energy on the sessions I’m leading.  Sometimes we just need to be a learner and get ideas and see innovative approaches from colleagues.  To that end, it was a nice change.  I imagine that at future such events, I’ll be sharing ideas and approaches – whatever those may be, but I felt juiced up from the energy and ideas and came home with a few new arrows in my quiver.

Time, space and (un)reality

A couple weeks ago at Sun Peaks, my weekend and general getaway, I was watching a friend, Richard, play Pokemon Go.  He’s got a decade plus on me, and while I don’t have an aversion to gaming, Pokemon Go hasn’t quite drawn me in… yet.  Anyway, my son at the tender age of 9 and Richard who’s in his early 60s subsequently had a good long conversation about Pokemon Go and all sorts of things about the various Pokemon.  It was quite intriguing to watch from the outside as they talked about the various characters, their powers, etc.  Their 50+ age difference was completely irrelevant – their shared passion and interest was key.

So, I did a little Googling – I’m more of a sleuth than a gamer in honesty – and see

that the cultural phenomenon of Pokemon Go is beginning to be dissected and it has been in the news a number of times.  For example, I had heard last year that there were news warnings about the danger of accidents and I’m sure that some traffic patterns and general behavior has changed for many.

I can’t help but think that this new augmented reality game is just the beginning of what will be a powerful wave of games and such wherein virtual objects appear like they are in the real world.   Players interact with the objects and characters in the game, players may get a short term boost of exercise (better than the opposite) , but what about real social interaction with the world, and of course, importantly, people around them.

Watching my son, who hasn’t played Pokemon Go – he doesn’t have a cell (yet!), but knows the Pokemon world inside out, talk about it though, offered a different view into social elements that gaming offer – it wasn’t the playing of the game, but the shared enthusiasm and excitement of the characters and the quest that generated social interaction.

This is a very preliminary thoughts on this, and I suspect it will get mulled, twisted and turned in my head in the coming weeks, eventually leading to some clearer ideas.  It’s gotta percolate for a while.  I’m not sure where it’s going, but there are some interesting questions on time, space, reality, sociolinguistics, learning (or not), interactions and more.



First muse

The first few weeks into my new gig as Educational Technologies Coordinator here at TRU have been fun – highly collaborative team of folks who are open-minded about new ideas and work together in ways I haven’t previously witnessed on campus.

Starting here has also helped me reflect on things I’ve experimented with over the years and how those may or may not apply to various disciplines and what kind of things may be a good fit.  The list of tools I’ve tried in class is varied – some more successful than others – Padlet, Voicethread, Speakpipe, Kahoot, Titanpad (now decommissioned), Wikis, some collocation tools, Mind Maps, Frequency Level Checkers, Screencasts, LMSs, blogs are a few of the things I’ve used.  Some were brilliant for my purposes – a couple didn’t work as hoped for various reasons.

Over time, I’ve narrowed down the things I’ve used in class significantly and it has been abundantly clear for some time in my own teaching that identifying a few things, lining up how to use them in pedagogically sound ways, and keeping it as simple and straightforward, has been most beneficial for my students.

So what am I going to use this blog for?  Probably musing, sharing and making me try to articulate ideas on things.  Doing that inevitably makes me think through how, why, what.  Along the way, what will perhaps be my longest foray into blogging might turn into something.

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