YouTube Voice

So you’ve decided to make a short vlog to introduce your module or deliver some content.
You’ve sourced a camera/phone/iPod/iPad and microphone* and selected a location to shoot it. You’ve created a rough storyboard and know what you have to say; but will it engage your users?

This article in the Atlantic outlines the ‘YouTube Voice’, and may give you some ideas on how to present to engage with your users.

The Linguistics of ‘YouTube Voice’

*Available from the TEL team.

We have podcasting kits, iPod, lavalier mic and Gorillapod stand to allow you to create your own content.

We are also able to assist when your product requires higher production values and advise on technology and techniques to get the most from your equipment when recording.

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Serious Gaming

Wouldn’t it be useful for employability if students could have experience of running a business before leaving university and having to do it for real?

‘Serious Gaming’ is filling that gap; allowing students to learn from their mistakes in a safe, virtual environment.

“There are challenges, but these challenges are great because…they help you improve. …There are going to be failures…paperwork…numbers that will confuse you, but thanks to …HOTS we can understand and learn these elements, which will help us to find a solution, which would therefore help us in our career”  Brian Gnanapragasm (student)

Michael Papaioannou is using an online simulation game called HOTS with level 6 students on the International Hotel & Resort Management module.

HOTS allows students to run a hotel property. They work in teams and make decisions on Human Resources, Marketing, Operations Management & Finance. They get regular feedback on their decisions, including comments from the ‘HOTS Reviewer’ that mimics Tripadvisor.

Learning simulation games are categorised as ‘serious gaming’ – ‘gaming’ because they have elements of fun and competition between teams, and ‘serious’ because participants are consolidating their learning through making decisions and getting feedback in the game.

HOTS is used by industry leaders like Marriott hotels to train their staff in
decision making.

“One of the great benefits of using HOTS is that we can put into action what we have been theoretically learning in the last three years of university.” Brian Gnanapragasm

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Using video

Barry Lyndon released in 1975 show-cased Stanley Kubric’s mastery of cinematography. Shooting scenes by candlelight required special attention.

Kubric acquired three Carl Zeiss Planar 50mm f0.7 lenses from Zeiss, lenses designed and built for NASA’s Apollo lunar programme to film these scenes.

Technology has come a long way since 1975 but it can only go so far. Modern cameras can film in very low light but they are not miracle workers. Often when watching television or films we can see the capability of this technology, but cameras used in these environments can cost upwards of £200,000. The consumer camcorders we use in the university can’t compare.

The visual aspect is one part, audio is a whole other field. Whereas a CCD or CMOS sensor will capture part of the scene, no matter how dark it is a microphone’s drop-off is like a cliff edge. Many are also omni-directional so any sound from around the camera, including itself will be picked up, so it is important to position your camera so that both audio and visual aspects are captured.

Click here to see some guides that will you get the most from a video camera.

Of course, if you want to hire Kubric’s lenses to film your presentation click here.

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Mobile Technology – digital sketchbooks

Stiudium do Ostatniej Wieczerzy

‘Study for the Last Supper” , Leonardo da Vinci, 1495-97

We all have in our pockets more technology and processing power than people had 10 years ago, even myself who decided to join the 21st century and finally invest in a smart phone.

The average car has more computing power than was used to send Apollo 11 to the moon, smartphones even more, so what can the devices in our pocket do?

I’m not suggesting that students should develop and design an entire space programme to populate Mars, but if they want to be as entreprenerual as Elon Musk I wouldn’t stop them. I have to admit, seeing a Falcon Heavy departing from the top of Stoddart would be impressive.

But having access to a wide range of technology on the move opens up a range of opportunities never seen before. I’m not suggesting students should use their phones as their primary source of learning, screen size, environment and resources all contribute to how people learn. These devices however are great for allowing users to create, record and collate information, think of them as a digital scrap/sketchbook, to take photos, short videos, pieces to camera, take notes, record audio, all of which can be downloaded as a reference for essays and reports or as artefacts to be added to a portfolio.

They can also be used to collect primary data using services such as Google Forms and Qualtrics out in the field, or to interview people. The uses are endless, it just needs a little creativity.

So I would encourage your students reconsider their devices, yes that are great tools for communication but they are also so much more.

The draftsman with thread grid and squared paper

Der Zeichner mit Fadengitter und quadriertem Papier
(The draftsman with thread grid and squared paper)

Albrecht Dürer- 1525

Even the best artists throughout history have made use of the latest technology to help improve their practice. Dürer illustrates how a drawing grid can be employed to get the proportion on a foreshortened figure right.


Making a video using your phone:

Photography on the move:

12 Mobile Photography Tips Every Photographer Should Know

Note taking ‘apps’:

Recording audio:

10 best voice recorder apps for Android

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Teach Yourself

Encourage your students to be more creative with technology

We have created a variety of items which you can copy onto any SBS Blackboard site to encourage and enable students to teach themselves different technological skills. Students may want to learn these skills in relation to a module or assignment task, or to aid their own professional development.

As a business school it is important we encourage students to use different technologies which can be useful in the workplace. Learning new software can often be expected during placements or graduate jobs from complex telephone systems to advanced data collection techniques. Students and graduates won’t be expected to have prior knowledge on how to use every piece of technology, but a basic understanding and willingness to learn is advantageous. Learning new technologies is a fundamental skill which is unavoidable in the current job market.

Understanding the practical uses of technology can help our graduates stand out during the recruitment processes or when working in industry,  pitching themselves, a product, or an idea to senior staff.

While PowerPoint is an acceptable way to present information it is predictable and can be repetitive. Using alternative technology to demonstrate ideas in a more relevant or meaningful way can help the audience to see the presenters vision more clearly. Combining different technologies with PowerPoint will no doubt give our graduates the edge while working in industry.

By including these sections on Blackboard to encourage students to learn at their own pace and ability, it will help them build the skills employers look for. Most of the technologies displayed in the Teach Yourself resource are easy to use while maintaining a professional look and feel. This will be ideal for most students who have limited knowledge and time but want to upskill and create effective resources. For students wishing to advance their technological skill further there is information on and AppsAnywhere. To read more about click here.

The Teach Yourself resource includes information on how to make videos, infographics, websites, posters and more abstract resources such as animations and comic strips. For each tool there is an example and a link to some online guidance to help them to get started and learn the basics. We are encouraging students to independently problem solve using different tools such as Google and YouTube when using these new tools.

For access to the Teach Yourself resource ask a member of the TEL team.

Teach Yourself

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Turning Point Updates

Students voting using the Turning Point appTurning Point is a voting software we have access to at SHU for use in lectures or seminars to engage students and identify any misunderstanding or gaps in knowledge. PowerPoint presentations can be imported into Turning Point to enable the user to easily add interactive questions to existing lectures. To respond to the questions the students can either use clickers or the Turning Point app downloaded on their personal devices.

Recently Turning Point has undergone an update at SHU from Version 5 to Version 8. Although this hasn’t involved too many changes, there are a few differences both students and staff need to be aware of.

Student Changes – There are no changes for students using the clickers but if a student has the old Responseware app this will need to be uninstalled and replaced with the new Turning Point app. Also the students need to be aware that the server has moved from North America to Europe which will need to be correct in the app settings. Click here to download a user guide.

Staff Changes – To deliver a lecture or seminar with Turning Point questions the presenter will need to login to Turning Point via AppsAnywhere on a computer on campus.  Previously a presenter would only need to login to Turning Point if they wanted the students to respond using the app. To login to Turning Point, SHU staff need to contact IT for an account. Click here to download a user guide.

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Padlet is often used in The Sheffield Business School to allow students to ask questions about a module or to add topical information e.g. newspaper articles, links to relevant Twitter accounts or websites. This is a really great way to use Padlet but is this all that the tool can be used for?

Padlet has been marketed as a collaborative tool, however almost anyone who has ever used the tool will have experienced a Padlet crisis. Either the wall has become cluttered with too many posts or too many people have been posting at once causing the posts to dance around the page and become unreadable. To prevent this Padlet have increased the number of templates you can use. Alongside the traditional Padlet wall you can now create a Padlet canvas, stream, grid and shelf.

Increasing the variety of templates has increased the pedagogical benefits and possibilities of using Padlet for learning. There are a number of ways students and teaching staff can use Padlet; either collaboratively, for independent learning or to visually show understanding of a theory or concept.

A Padlet can be exported as an image, PDF, CSV file, or Excel spreadsheet enabling a finished Padlet to be shared, giving the user more flexibility. The resource could be used within an assignment or shared amongst a group as revision notes. For assignments using PebblePad or a WordPress blog, a Padlet resource can be embedded within the page. Remind the students to keep this as read only access if it is public facing to avoid others adding, editing or deleting information. Listed below are the different types of Padlet template and some pedagogical inspiration.

Wall example

As mentioned above the Padlet wall is often used as a collaborative tool. This is great as it saves automatically and can be made visible to all users, but can become overwhelming if many people are using the same wall – particularly at once. For large scale collaborations it would be beneficial to use either the stream or grid templates. So what could the traditional Padlet wall be used for? Walls could be set up by students themselves for group collaboration during a seminar task or group assignment. Padlet recommend the wall template for creating a mood board. Educationally speaking, students could use the mood board style to gather lecture notes, topical stories or to plan an assignment.

Canvas example

A canvas can be used to create a mind map or hierarchy of information. Posts can easily be connected together via an arrow or colour coordinated to visually show how they relate. If lucky enough to be timetabled into a SCALE UP room, a seminar tutor could design a task where each group of students create a Padlet canvas to visually demonstrate their understanding of the concept. The downside to using a canvas Padlet is that posts are always connected via an arrow. There is no way to link the posts without suggesting one leads to another.

Stream example

A stream is the least flexible way of using Padlet but is a great way to display FAQ’s. The posts are stacked vertically but can be reordered easily by drag and drop. As this only uses the middle of the Padlet space it makes the text easy to read and the space seems less cluttered. One downside to this is that if there are many FAQ’s it may take a while to scroll through the responses. If using a stream for FAQ’s it is recommended that the admin regularly checks Padlet to answer any questions, keep the relevant questions at the top of the page and delete any questions which are no longer necessary.

Grid example

When using this template the posts are snapped into a grid formation to enable each post to be visible and clear to the reader. This more structured approach doesn’t allow for much creativity (unlike the traditional wall) but is beneficial for larger collaborations. This template would be best used in a conference for participants to add ideas, external links and key points to a topic or could be embedded into a Blackboard site for students to do the same. For instructions on how to embed within Blackboard, click here.

Shelf example

Similar to a grid, the shelf template structures the posts in a clear layout to the reader. Headings are created at the top of the Padlet page then posts are added into the different columns. As this is a structured template it would also be recommended for large collaborations to prevent posts from getting buried. Specific to the Business School a Padlet shelf could be used as a structure for a collaborative SWOT analysis. It could also be embedded or linked to an assignment.

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Spanish Short Film Festival at Sheffield Hallam University

Spanish Film Festival at sheffield Hallam University

The languages department are proud to present the 4th edition of the Spanish Short Film Festival -Sheffield Hallam University.

The Festival is the celebration of a project completed by students of Spanish ULS Stage 5 at Sheffield Hallam University for which 8 independent original short films are subtitled into English!

There will be Q & A sessions with the Film Directors run in Spanish with live interpreting into English.

We are welcoming a wider international audience interested in cinema, culture, languages, translation, meeting new people and having a good time! All language students are welcome as well as all native speakers of any language.


The event will be hosted by the SBS Languages Society in Charles Street Lecture Theatre 12.0.06

Free entry – Refreshments and popcorn will be provided by Thomas Tucker.

Finally, two prizes will be awarded to the Best Subtitled Film and to the Best Film Director. The audience will have the opportunity to vote for the best short film.

This festival is also open to members of the public.

If you are a student or a staff member, please sign up here:

Look forward to meeting you all!

¡Hasta pronto!

See our Facebook page.

Spanish Film Festival at Sheffield Hallam University

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SANDPIT Crowdfund Campus

Have you ever wanted to turn your classroom into a marketplace where students can pitch their entrepreneurial ideas? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then SANDPIT Crowdfund Campus may be the tool you are looking for.

SANDPIT is an online platform that helps students to commercialise entrepreneurial ideas. It gives them experience of crowdfunding, but more importantly it gives them an experiential method to test and validate their ideas.

In 2016/17 Dr Shinga Masango used SANDPIT on her International Entrepreneurship module.

She talks about her experience in the video below:

Benefits of SANDPIT:

  • Structures the process of idea generation, pitch creation and virtual crowdfunding
  • A safe place for students to test their ideas
  • Practical and engaging for students
  • Pitch ideas which include a video, images and text on a multimedia online platform
  • Variety of assessment method
  • Staff have an online record of student progress through the 3 structured exercises (Idea builder/ Sales Simulation/ Investment Simulation).

student testimonial

Challenges of SANDPIT:

  • New software and process that requires learning for students and staff
  • Students were concerned about protecting their ideas, which were public within the student group so that they take part in the ‘Investment Simulation’ (Exercise 3, see below)
  • Assessment: students wanted acknowledgement for each exercise they undertook.

There are 3 exercises that can be used sequentially:

  1. Idea builder – students build their idea by identifying and researching:
  • their customer
  • the ‘problem’ or gap in the market that their idea will address
  • current solutions
  • the end goal
  • and their own solution.

Once they have gone through the reflection and research required for this process, students can ‘reflect, pivot or persevere’ with their idea.

Sandpit Idea generation

2) Sales Simulation – Students develop an online pitch or ‘campaign’. For the campaign they include:

    • A short video featuring the team and promoting their idea.
    • A brief description
    • A long description
    • Images – which may include the product, the team and e.g The Venture Matrix ‘Value Proposition Canvas’
    • Develop a ‘rewards’ system for different levels of virtual currency backing.

Sandpit pitch creation

3) Investment Simulation –  Students invest with virtual currency (‘campus coins’) in the ‘campaigns’ of other teams, leaving scores and constructive feedback on desirability and feasibility. 70% of the campaigns will not meet their investment target – this is to reflect ‘reality’ and build resilience and learning.

Sandpit funding

SANDPIT aims to give students the confidence to be ‘effective, employable and entrepreneurial’ graduates.

Sandpit Crowdfund Campus Introduction Demo by Henry Jinman, CEO of Crowdfund Campus:



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Health and Wellbeing (HWB) have been using PebblePad1 for years for students on placement, as it is an industry tool used by health professionals.

Sheffield Business School (SBS) began using PebblePad in September 2016 as an E-Portfolio tool, (once version 5 was available and the user experience more streamlined). Taking advice from David Beasant in HWB, the SBS TEL Team keep the use of it straightforward:

  • The PebblePad and ATLAS2 tools are put on Blackboard.
  • Creating the ATLAS workspace through the Blackboard site pulls all the students and staff through onto ATLAS. (TEL Team permissions are required for ATLAS workspace creation in SBS.)
  • Staff design a Webfolio3 or Workbook4 template. This creates a consistent structure that ensures students add relevant content, and is easier to mark.
  • The Webfolio/Workbook template are put onto ATLAS with ‘auto-submit’ settings, so when students save the template it is automatically submitted in their name. (Students need to be re-assured that they are submitting an empty template which creates a live link for staff to see, and which they can add content to until the deadline, when it will freeze for staff. It is different to Blackboard where only completed work is submitted).
  • A standard column is created in Blackboard grade centre, and feedback and marks are added there. (Although feedback and marks can be added in ATLAS, it would mean another VLE for staff to learn, and it is a university requirement that feedback and marks are on Blackboard).

So, some set-up time for using PebblePad is required by both staff and the TEL Team. Management is also required for student extensions on ATLAS.

Students on the Tourism Industry Experience course found it useful to show their E-Portfolios to prospective employers. See the video below for Philip Goulding’s experience of using PebblePad Webfolios.


So far, both the staff and student experience has been positive, and requests for using PebblePad are increasing.

Degree Apprenticeship courses are using PebblePad workbooks for the end point assessment. The Nestle students have begun using workbooks this summer, and the expectation is for all Degree Apprenticeships to use PebblePad.

Students can convert their PebblePad university account into a free alumni account for life, so they can take anything they create with them, and continue using the tool throughout their careers.

  1. PebblePad is a personal learning space. It includes tools like Blogs, Webfolios, and templates for reflection.
  2. ATLAS is the institutional assessment space for PebblePad; where submissions can be accessed and managed.
  3. A PebblePad ‘Webfolio’ (E-Portfolio) has a website structure with pages and drop-down menus. It is customisable by students and they can freely add content. (They can also delete content, although so far no student has deleted the Webfolio template structure created for them by staff.)
  4. A Workbook is a website template that students cannot alter. They can add information in fillable fields and link to evidence. A workbook can contain assessor fields that students cannot alter.
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