Mobile phones 2: Text chat

Another idea is is to exploit chat options in mobiles. Whether this is through an artificial text type conversation or through setting up a backchannel this can chnage the ways we think about and interact with subjects.

  1. Fake text chat:

Assumption 1: To summarise an idea you need to understand it

Assumption 2: Narratives aid understanding

Assumption 3: Creating characters and interactions to illustrate a key point, debate or argument can be fun as well as consolidating

The idea is that students  (who know one another well enough/ are comfortable doing so etc.) use actual messaging or Whatsapp or similar to create text threads that summarise an argument or debate between two or more appropriate characters, they can rename their own identities to do this or use an online tool like

animated fake text exchnage betgween an Arsenal fan and the owner of the phone who is evidently a Spurs fan

animated fake text exchange between an Arsenal fan and the owner of the phone who is evidently a Spurs fan

Image of what is apparently a spurs fan's phone with an exchange between her and her friend who is an Arsenal fan. The banter turns to despair as the Arsenal fan realises they will not get champions league football the next seasone due to successive defeats

Static image version of fake text exchnage

  1. Teams (or other) backchannelAs with Zoom or Teams meeting chat in online sessions and meetings, a backchannel can elevate the quieter voices, change the dynamic of discussion and become a focal point for post-session continuation of discussion. Setting up and encouraging its use with their (and your mobile)UCL staff can try this: makes a great cloud-based alternative
  2. As an inclusive alternative/ accommodation.

The first two ideas here are about diversifying voices and providing opportunities to process information in different ways. Mobiles can, of course offer access where there might otherwise be no options. If the period of lockdown showed one thing it was that we can, if creative and flexible, provide connection and communication options that we might once never have considered. One such example using mobiles is set out below:

‘One case I experienced this year was with a BA student who didn’t have access to a laptop nor wi-fi. She has a young daughter and could only really work after she had gone to bed. I worked with her using WhatsApp voice notes, which she performed some evaluative assessment on but also doing tutorials via phone […] our final assessed tutorial was on a video call via WhatsApp, which was recorded audio and video. This student was close to giving up at the start of lockdown, but has walked away with a 1st Class BA Hons Degree.’

Jenny Coyle, Programme Leader of HNC and HND Acting and Musical Theatre, The City of Liverpool College University Centre. Source Barber et al., 2021 (Gravity Assist)

Mobile phones 1: Education apps

The first ‘talk teaching; talk tech’ on 24th Jan has, somewhat inevitably all things considered, been affected by the rampant Omicron but, assuming I continue to get only the one red line on the lateral flow tests, I hope that there will be at least a few of us there to launch the series. The first session is built around mobile phones and I’ll be interested to hear about how colleagues use theirs, get their students using them or about issues and concerns. To stimulate discussions I have produced a few starter ideas. I’ll be collecting ideas over coffee and biscuits via an in-session but asynchronous Mentimeter – contributions welcome via the participation link  

also share you best Mobile apps here

The first ‘station’ will be education or productivity apps. As I see it, Apps that have a direct teaching, learning and/ or assessment function can be divided into three broad types:

1. Used by anyone to collaborate

2. Used by students to access content

3. Used by teachers/ lecturers to create content

To start the conversation and to collect ideas I have selected a few to illluystrtae the types.

  1. Type 1 example: Padlet is a very well-known and widely-used collaboration/ sharing app. I have set one up as a way of collating examples but it can be used for a wide range of collaborative activities. The task in session wass to try sharing an app you use on your mobile (via your mobile) (obviously if contributing via mobile it’s best to download the app first).
  2. Type 2: Quizlet flashcardsMuch easier to search for, adapt or create resources (terms and definitions or language/ translations) on a laptop or desktop but the app is excellent to access content for revision, matching games and self-marking. Try this: download the app (scan this code), search for Mart_Compton, scroll to ‘Pharmacy’ and have a play. This mirrors the process it may be easier to encourage students to adopt. For quick access without the app go here
  3. Type 3 examples: (simple ones just to illustrate the point!):Image editor- suggest colleagues try ‘Photofunia’
    fake newspaper being read by someone concealed by the paper. The paper shows Martin Compton under a headline that reads 'UCL's new Provost'

    Quick edit pictures from ‘Photofunia’ for decoration or other creative endeavour

    Fake wanted poster showing Martin with text reading 'wanted dead or alive'

  4. Word cloud creator try ‘Word salad’ (iphone) ‘Word Cloud’ (android)

    Word cloud with a collection opf words releavnt to this post such as mobile and teach

    ‘Word salad’ word cloud made on iPhone

Talk Teaching; Talk Tech

As we stumble blinking into a landscape that is both utterly familiar but also forever changed as a consequence of the pandemic, we find that discussions about teaching modalities, pedagogic practices and assessment design – and the role that tech has to play in all of those – can be polarising and fractious. So much has changed in terms of what we understand about modalities and digital education and we are keen to capture and share colleagues’ thoughts, ideas and innovations in a range of ways. In addition to the more formal channels (such as conferences and publications) the Digital Education and Arena teams propose a regular series of informal sharing and discussion events. These will be mix of themed in-person, online and hybrid events where the emphasis is not on presentation but talkingsharing or brainstorming ideas. Sessions may be experimental, speculative, discursive and/ or evaluative. Above all, we want to create synchronous spaces (supported by a growing online resource bank) where we can subvert the usual CPD formats. Whether colleagues are experienced or complete novices, it is the coming together that is important. Whether you tend towards the sceptical or the evangelical or (more likely) sit somewhere between you will be welcome. 

We really wanted the first of these sessions to be in-person but, I suppose inevitably in some ways, Covid made doubly sure it needed to be postponed by firstly quarantining me and then coinciding the Government’s latest ‘work from home if you can’ announcement for the day it was supposed to happen.  Undaunted, though, we have a new date for the first session where the focus will be on mobile phones