Smart Devices for Learning, Sheffield Hallam 2013


This page provides an outline of the day with links to key resources from the sessions.

Welcome to Sheffield Hallam and to MELSIG

Andrew Middleton of MELSIG and SHU introduced this special focus event and its aim to develop and share experience and ideas.

Book launch

cover of the Digital Voices bookThe Digital Voices: a collaborative exploration of the recorded voice in post-compulsory education’ is out now. Several contributors were attending the event. Juliun Ryan spoke briefly about one of the case studies he had written.



Focus on Fieldwork – Opportunities, problems and solutions

Brian Whalley(Queens University Belfast) and Vicky Powell (University of Chester)

The session  looked at  the ‘Enhancing Fieldwork Learning Project’ ( ). We discussed ideas such as: the tablet computer is the ‘disruptive’ device. In particular how it fits into BYOD, flipped classrooms and student engagement, and what this means in terms of student uptake, accessibility and employability.

Results on the student use and uptake of devices were discussed and how fieldwork is disrupted by the introduction of smart devices, in particular the iPad in this project.

36 iPads, 1 Faculty, 101 Ideas

Robin Gissing (SHU)

A walk through the many methods being used in the University’s Health faculty to make teaching and learning richer by using iPads and apps. Robin was accompanied by staff (Melanie Lindley and Dave Ridley) and students (Lizzie May and Ryan Morton) who talked about their many experiences of using this technology and their ideas for the future.

Killer Apps – Designing for the Smart Device Learner

Alex Spiers (Liverpool John Moores University) and Chrissi Nerantzi (University of Salford)

Participants identified the ‘killer apps’ and the challenges and opportunities they present staff and students. How do we map smart apps to ideas like: communication, collaboration, sharing, creating, staying safe, and curating? What do we need to think about when we use smart technologies to support these approaches?

A list of all the Apps mentioned, with links, can be found here App List

Swap Shop

We reviewed what some of us are already doing with smart technology in a twitterfall activity which resulted in the #melsig tag trending in the UK. The activity involved setting a ‘problem’ via twitterfall which were then addressed addressed by small groups dispersed over two rooms (Team A and B). The purpose was to generate some new ideas for how smart devices will continue to disrupt teaching and learning as we know it.

Publishing eBooks – Recent experience

Andrew Middleton and Graham McElearney (SHU & University of Sheffield)

Following the launch of Digital Voices, Andrew and Graham looked at what was involved in preparing this extensive book and then publishing it through Amazon, iTunes, Smashwords, etc. Graham talked about iBooks Author, the free Apple software that allows quite a lot of control over the layout. Andrew spoke about publishing to Amazon and Smashwords.

Download: Publishing ebooks-recent experience

Smart Learning: Being Accessible

Steve Griffiths and colleagues (Royal National Institute of Blind People)

A look at the advantages and challenges for accessibility in using smartphones, tablet computers and other devices.

Post PC Students – Shift Happens

Anne Nortcliffe and students (SHU)

A group of students demonstrated how they are using their own smart devices to support their life-wide learning. The students then formed a panel and responded to some key questions about smart device learning, including: Who should choose which technology is used?, Should universities support the use of personal smart devices and apps?

Link to presentation:

Authentic & Smart

Andrew Middleton (SHU)

We like smart technologies but why will universities and colleges be keen to adopt our ideas? This session will map the ideas each of us have noted today to a framework for authentic learning providing us with a clear case for moving forward. Watch this as a screencast video presentation made with Explain Everything.

Building Apps using Buzztouch

Graham McElearney (University of Sheffield)

How do you build apps? Graham demonstrated Buzztouch and invites others to share their experience of building apps.

The VLE is Dead!

Brian Whalley (QUB)

Discussion group – what are the implications for the institutional VLE of the proliferation of ubiquitous smart technology?