Monday, 26 March 2012

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Xerte - Online interactive learning object generator

Over the coming weeks I will be writing some simple tips on creating resources and ideas for embedding the use of technology.

As we move nearer towards offering a percentage of all courses online we need to find a way to produce interactive learning content that is effective and simple to use. Many of these are expensive to buy licences for but Xerte, developed by the University of Nottingham, is free for all teachers and students to use. The software allows you to create a wide variety of Interactive pages by using ready made templates. This demonstration shows examples of most of the types of pages that can be created.

As well as creating full online learning objects you can also use it just to create simple one off pages that can be emailed or linked to your Schemes of Work. Xerte allows to embed video, podcasts, twitter, flickr, Google maps and much, more which makes it so versatile to use.

Don't just think of it as a tool for teachers though as it is a powerful software to introduce to your students. You could allow them to produce assignments or presentations as coursework or even allow them to create resources for each other.

Having used a few content generators Xerte is not the most user friendly interface around, and some of the support resources I have found are a little difficult to decipher.... However saying that it is one of those pieces of software that is really simple to navigate once you have been shown and produces some really effective resources in little time. It is defnitely worth investing your time in learning about it.

If you are interested in trying this software out and would like the ILT trainers to support you, please make a comment below and Tony Welch or I will contact you to arrange a suitable time to meet. If you have this article useful, interesting or just pointless please click on one of the reactions below. This will help me gauge the articles I write in future.

Wendy Peskett - ILT trainer

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

As Gabcast now charge for calls in advance I'm trying Gcast. same dfference really. This is an unedited podcast made via a telephone call. Cost was 10p per minute on T-Mobile PAYG. Will cost more from other suppliers.

Subscribe Free

Monday, 23 February 2009

QR codes

QR stands for "Quick Response". It is a two-dimensional bar code created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. QR Codes are common in Japan, and most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

Activity - Point your camera phone at this QR code and see what is says.

If your camera phone can't read the QR code try going to and installing the reader.

You can also make your own QR codes on this site. How about using it in the following ways:

  1. Make QR codes, linked to your Scheme of work, with notes for students to "capture" - They might look at it if it's on their phones!

  2. Make a treasure trail for induction - Put QR codes outside certain rooms or ask certain people to carry them with them during the day. When the student finds the next QR code it can tell them some information about the room or person and them give them a clue for the next one to find.

If you have any more ideas for using them in teaching.. Please comment here.

Friday, 5 December 2008


Gabcast allows to to record a message directly from your mobile phone and publish it on a Gabcast channel. From here you can embed it into your blog. Here is an example I did earlier today.

Gabcast! ILT training #1 - My test

Call from mobile phone

Monday, 24 November 2008

CPD record keeping & REfLECT

When creating your CPD records, please be aware that the records need to be more than a list containing the date, title of activity, description and length of time accounted for.

To help you improve your CPD record keeping, to meet ifl requirements, I have listed below the main features that REfLECT asks you to record within its CPD record assets.

The subheadings below (in bold) are the type of asset you might record. The bullet points are the headings that you should be keeping records of.


  • Reasons for undertaking the activity
  • Knowledge / skills gained
  • What was the impact of the activity?
  • Reflection on activity


  • Attendees
  • Outcomes – You are asked to describe what was decided and what outcomes resulted or what actions were set. Or you can add links to meeting notes.
  • Supporting resources - to help you achieve the outcomes set: books, journals, web links, people, training courses, electronic resources.
  • Reflection

Ability or Achievement

  • Evidence
  • Reflection


  • Activities – List the activities which formed part of the role.
  • Evidence
  • Reflection

Here’s a link to the full IFL CPD guidelines

The ILT trainers will be running sessions on REfLECT throughout the year. The next one is on Thursday 27th November

What else are we doing to help?
-The ILT Trainers are listing the Learning Outcomes for each session they deliver (on the information page when you book a session - Training Area of Intranet). You can copy and paste these into your CPD record (and edit them if you need to) to save you time.

Please comment below if you have found this useful.......

Monday, 3 November 2008

Creating screen tips in PowerPoint or Word - Accessibility

Have you ever heard the saying "A picture is worth a thousand words"? It's very true most learners will really benefit from visual resources, but there are some learners who have visual problems; these problems will vary and include; colour blindness, macular degeneration, cataracts and full loss of sight. These learners may have issues with getting information from visual media and the use of text will play an important part for them.

In any image there will be a wealth of information, and teachers will be expecting students to look at key parts of it. Usually this is done by using a key with letters or labels on the image which link to headings or notes on a different part of the diagram, or by using arrows and marginal comments. These methods disadvantage some learners. People who find it hard to track print get lost moving between the image and the explanation. Learners with motor difficulties cannot easily scroll from one part of the document to another, and those using a screen magnifier can get completely lost.
Learners may therefore benefit from screen tips over hotspots. As the learner’s mouse point hovers over a hot spot, the information appears in a pop-up window. As learners move on, the information disappears, so they are not confused by masses of print.

So what is a Screen Tip I hear you asking - It is a part of a picture that you have selected and labelled which displays the text when you roll the mouse over it.

Activity 1 - See what a screen tip is
1. Download the PowerPoint presentation Creating screen tips.
2. Now open the document and use F5 to view it as a slide show.
3. Roll your cursor over the shed door. Did you see the screen tip appear?

Activity 2 - Create your own screen tips
1. Open the PowerPoint presentation in Normal View.
2. Open word document Screen tips tutorial and use it to create the following hotspots:
  • "There are three steps to the lower garden"
  • "Keep children away from hot barbecues"
  • "Ponds should have grills over them to prevent children falling in"
  • "The sprinkler hose is a trip hazard"

Adapted from the NIACE E-Guides Training Materials 2008