About Pete Roberts

By day I work as a learning technologist in GLEU - that's the Learning enhancement unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. By night I'm an electronic musician. Views expressed here are my own.

Worth reading: Innovating Pedagogy 2014

Here’s a really nice report from the OU that I’d managed to miss until now – Innovating Pedagogy 2014 – where they look at ten innovations that are bubbling under the surface or already making an impact. Some topics you might expect to see, but with an interesting and informed twist. Also look out for Pressey’s Automatic Teacher (around 1929).

http://www.open.ac.uk/blogs/innovating/ (small blog with downloadable PDF report)

You can’t beat a MUGGL part 1: Turnitin

The Moodle Users Group for Greater London (MUGGL) meet roughly every term somewhere around London, as you might expect.

Greenwich University

A drizzly day down the old Naval college

This Wednesday it was at the University of Greenwich, which I walk past every day so it seemed a chance to have a proper look around the place. I also then walk past Rhodes bakers on the corner of Greenwich market every day – tho’ that’s more a case of walking in. Their Chelsea buns are the stuff of legend. I digress.

The MUGGL is a nice mix of pedagogy and technology and is always crammed with useful, practical stuff and useful, practical, nice people. This one was themed around assessment and Turnitin UK were present, which was quite brave of them.

Gary Finnegan (Integrations Solutions manager) outlined their new direction regarding VLE integration. Basically their next generation offering will use an LTI plugin and replace all the other integrations in time. This approach is more like the old Basic integration, with content loaded from them in an iframe but with a local stylesheet to enable some branding. There will also be an easy upgrade path from Basic to their ‘Next gen’. This much we knew already and is why we took the strategic decision to stick with Turnitin basic at Goldsmiths for another year. We felt it made more sense to wait, rather than have a painful upgrade to something that was itself doomed. Still, it was nice to hear it was progressing along. We expect to be able to start testing it out in ‘Q2′.

I’ll post some other stuff over the next few days. Big thanks to the MUGGL organisers and Greenwich.

Mahara UK 2014

Last week I packed my bucket and spade and headed off to thunderstorm-struck Brighton for Mahara UK 2014 - not much use on a pebble beach as it happens.

Two day conferences can be a bit thin on compelling content, but fortunately not in this case. Before we went m’colleague Tina and I were getting a bit jaded about Mahara – we’ve had mixed success I think it’s fair to say – some inspiring, enthusiastic adopters and a fair amount of polite disinterest or people put off by the learning curve.

By the end of the first day I was convinced again – Mahara rocks. It was inspiring to see and meet people with so many great ideas describing how they’d used Mahara. Also nice to meet the developers themselves – and later on meet some sea life at the evening event.

By the second day I had a notebook full of spontaneous ideas about using it here at Goldsmiths – I won’t bore you with them here, I’ll blog again as and when we try things out and describe how it goes.

Here’s the Twitterings about it all: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23MaharaUK14

Roll on 2015 and a big thanks to Brighton Uni and Catalyst! And the people at the UMI hotel were really nice too.

Fancy working with us?


Join us!

We’ve a vacancy within the team for an Academic Developer (Technology Enhanced Learning) in the e-learning team at Goldsmiths. You can probably guess the sort of thing it involves – but here are the details :

Get your skates on – closing date is the 18 July.

BETT 2014

I went to the BETT exhibition and conference a couple of Fridays ago in the cosy, intimate surroundings of the Excel exhibition centre. It was huge. Surreal almost.

Some of the people I met had come a long way (Sweden for example). I’d walked and crossed the river from Greenwich – having finally found a reason to take the strangely pointless dangleway. I’m not good with heights.

So what to make of BETT? There was a massive amount of stuff on display covering all age ranges. Not surprisingly, lots of tablet stuff (mostly iPads). Had a chat with the people from Urkund too – an alternative to the seemingly ubiquitous Turnitin.

If nothing else, it drove home that if kids are increasingly growing up and being educated with all this tech, then at HE level we should be aware of it and not perceived to be stuck in the dark ages when they get here.

What was most interesting to me were the sessions. Students from Plymouth Uni talked eloquently about their use of social media and similar ‘cloud -based’ web tools. Ironically this was on the day when Gmail when down for a while – so always have a plan B. This brought to mind an exercise I had to do a couple of years back, mapping out my Personal Learning Environment. About the only thing I used that I think  wasn’t mentioned was Zotero. I was interested in their experiences of blogging too. Initially maybe a bit daunting but a great reflective tool and of course good for networking and developing a professional online persona. Or just rambling like I do.

I enjoyed Doug Belshaw’s Masterclass on Digital Literacies – food for thought there and I’ll blog about that when I’ve got some sensible thoughts together. Also on a similar theme was a talk from UAL about their ambitious communities of practice approach to engaging students and staff with digital technologies.

Resources from these that were new to me (or slipped my mind in the past) included:

So would I go next year? Hmm.