In this episode we chat with co-founder of Brickfield Education Labs, Gavin Henrick:
LinkedIn: Gavin Henrick
Brickfield’s “Moodle Universal Design for Learning Guide”
Brendan Eich “… we need a GDPR for the United States”
Stuart Taylor (ST): hello i'm stuart taylor and welcome to conversations on online learning a podcast in which we discuss online learning and how to support it in each episode we'll ask our featured guests to share their own particular area of expertise and experiences related to online learning and we'll discuss how this has informed their understanding and practice we'll also ask our guests to share their advice on teaching and supporting learning online our guest today is Gavin Henrick and Gavin joins us from dublin welcome Gavin
Gavin Henrick (GH): good morning and how are you today?
ST: very well thanks how are you doing sir?
GH: oh doing great it's been a really busy crazy time at the moment but yeah no surviving great stuff great so i guess first of all just uh would you tell us what you do and how you came to do that i am the ceo and co-founder of brickfield education labs and we're a new startup of about 18 months old who focuses on sort of teaching quality teaching learning quality for online platforms specifically moodle at the moment and what we're initially doing is we have an accessibility tool which helps institutions find what their accessibility issues are help fix them and also help future-proof and stop some of those issues being repeated in the future so it's really about supporting staff and students in creating better content in inside of moodle my background before that i worked with moodle hq itself and remotely so but although i had to go to perth a few times which is not part of scotland but perth australia which is a long way away it's very hot when i was there worked with them for three and a half years and and worked with the moodle partner network before that i've worked with many institutions as a consultant doing in interesting developments improvements to different edtech moodle mahara deployments wordpress different things depending on what they needed they'd come to me with a problem and i'd find a solution for it and before that mix of tech worked in telecoms worked in hotel and pubs back when i was young so i've had a bit of a crazy journey of a career but yeah i am where i am now and it's it's really about focusing on creating uh an equal playing field that's using that european phrase at the moment for all learners and teachers online and often the the platforms used are aren't necessarily an equal playing field and they have barriers for some people to be able to use them so that's what our goal is is to really work with institutions and moodle using institutions specifically to help create that equal playing field for teaching and learning
ST: that's wonderful and i think that and that's something that will resonate with a lot of people especially and if they've come to um digital tools and and using those platforms um much more since you know the pandemics kind of force a lot of teachers and educators and students who haven't engaged with that and more onto that side and so i mean i wonder if you could speak a bit more about what those barriers might be and maybe what accessibility means um in this context in your context
GH: oh gosh okay it's a big one well if you think about it if you create a lesson in middle okay so if you go in there and you create um something that is all text okay so that's usually very accessible in html as long as it's done with a good editor but if you then start putting in um a big wall of text that's not well structured and so when someone's trying to navigate through it anyone's trying to navigate through it visually or otherwise it's harder to find the part that you want now you try to do that with a screen reader and it's got one heading and then it's got a 2000 words afterwards they would be they would find it much harder to find which paragraph they would need so by choosing not to have well structured text good headings maybe bullet points and subheadings and so on you're making you're creating a barrier for everybody to access and that barrier is what cause causes the disability if it was done in a good way or the best way initially there is no barrier and therefore no matter what a person's um skill set is they will be able to use it if they're depending on a screen reader it'll be able to navigate through those headings and that's just the layout of a piece of content on one page and then you can go into what about images and if you choose to use an image that is integral to your content and yet don't describe it and its purpose and its meaning to someone who can't visually see it you're making a decision to create a barrier the same as if you put in some media which is like audio or video like this podcast will be if you upload an mp4 and you choose to not create a transcript of it that's a choice you're making for whatever particular reason but you're choosing to create a barrier so these things don't happen by accident they happen because they are planned that way and they're usually planned that way because people don't realize the impact you don't realize that they're the ones creating the problem not the end user did you know what i mean?
ST: yeah definitely and i think that yeah framing that as a choice um and i think that it though those choices have been so implicit and beforehand i think that it especially the context they they're becoming way more explicit which can only be um for for the goods i i guess the the the issue is as well is when and something has been created already and without those uh you know inclusive choices in mind that it's much harder to kind of undo do you have to start from scratch every time if you if you have existing content
GH: no no so so here's the thing right so we just go back so you did talk about inclusion there so so hopefully people listening to this will know who tim berners-lee is well last year and actually in 2019 he and quite a few others got together and created a concept called the contract for the web and one of their key tenets in there is to make it affordable and accessible to everybody and isn't just about for people with a disability it's it's not for just people who can see or whatever it's for everybody right and so that it isn't it's more not excluding people rather than including others it's the way this is the way i look at it at least and the way i interpret that so if you if you have existing content and everybody does i mean one of the sites we did some testing on initially we generated well it's thing with 64 million qa tests on their html content and there was quite a few issues a lot of which was to do with the old editor and stuff like that um but there was a lot of images without tags and so on so firstly there's a lot of documents in lms's um pdfs often word documents powerpoints now if you're using the latest version of office 365 and i don't know are you a 365 house or a google suite house well then you're really lucky your staff are so lucky because it actually if you use the latest version of that and use the the app on your desktop it has a built-in accessibility checker that will catch most of the things and it will help you so you can put it in there and it will go hey and let's say you have a powerpoint slide there's no heading on this side you want to add one or do you want to use this piece of text as a heading or you've added an image in oh there's no description here do you want to mark it as decorative only or do you want to add a description into this box so it helps and supports and guides so if you take download your old word document go through fixing it and then just upload it again upload it as a word document don't save it as a pdf pdf used to be used as the default format for upload because it was accessible to everybody at least it wasn't accessible but it was usable on everybody's devices so they thought because it was so prevalent but nowadays with docx it's usable in most applications anyway so it's actually more accessible than a saved pdf from a word document usually and so that's that's one thing so stop using pdfs create the con so move the content into either html so like in moodle it's a book or a lesson or put it into the original word document and just upload it so you can go through those relatively quickly i mean to make all of your fixes with the documents and then in the html stuff well that's where something like our engine comes in because it goes into quiz questions and even into the the question and the answer and the feedback for an answer to check are they okay and so we have some bulk fixes that will help do some of the heavy lifting but then we have triages where they can say okay you've got 20 images in your course that don't have descriptions and you can go through them one at a time and you don't have to go finding where they are they'll sort of take you through them you can just add them in so it's remediation not redoing i think that's key and in doing using these wizards to help fix stuff they're educating themselves going oh wow i really should have described that better or i really should add a description so when they next go to create content you're creating better behavior it isn't that it's training them but it is creating an understanding of what it is i think that's key it isn't as scary about going back i mean ideally there is some technical stuff where um because it is html we're talking about a lot of the time and it would be better for an institution or a faculty to have their learning technologist work with each professor or teacher to do that stuff for them because they'll get very quick at doing it and one of the real common issues is meaningful links how many times you see a link click here go here do this rather than visit bbc website or visit just website or whatever it might be so those things should be meaningful and they should describe where the link is going and so one of our wizards specifically targets that and it goes off and it gets the website name and suggests as a replacement for the text so it's literally helping the the the people to solve their problems but so office has all that really cool stuff for the documents and then you have that within within moodle potential and you know a lot of people when they look at videos or audio and podcasts they go yeah but transcribing takes so long and it's such bad quality you know an automatic transcription is like a draft right and um so it's still going to be somewhere between 80 and 95 accurate okay so on that basis you now have a properly formatted it's usually a vtt file which is the format and or one of the formats and you can go in and correct it correct any of the words so yes you'll have to still read through it but if it's 80 95 accurate the time it takes to do that isn't going to be a lot and so i think it's about using technology to support the staff member to expedite getting their course to where it needs to be and then just having learned behavior about doing it better going forward and using the right features in moodle in 3.9 moodle had had an audit of the platform itself by an australian company and they focus on 20 pages to really improve their accessibility of a platform but also we contributed back in some fixes into the editor so instead of using the b tag it's now using strong because b is a visual change strong is a semantic change so the screen reader picks up that kind of thing
ST: that's great i i love that idea that these aren't like dull instruments that you're actually having a conversation with this technology and as you're using moodle and and using your learning environment and and that idea that it's confrontational and in in the best way and it's it's kind of kind of teaching you and and showing you um alternative ways of thinking about or alternative perspectives particularly and and kind of bringing everyone together but also that idea that you know accessibility is enabling staff to do that to actually implement that and and not having to be experts and and what can be sometimes you know very complex um you know protocols and things like that so …
GH: oh it is technical i mean let's be clear web content accessibility guidelines as a set of technical statements you know and if you've maybe got five or ten percent of your staff trained on using your LMS [Learning Management System] most aren't that's realistic it's the same people who show up to training every year they're all those 25 or 30 people are really good maybe maybe more but how many institutions mandate training on their LMS not many how many mandate training on accessibility compliance training or education not many so do you think you know training should be built into the core of the um kind of philosophy of higher education academies or learning and specialists generally i think it's about performance support you know the academic world has a lot to learn from the corporate world in training some some things to ignore but some things to learn and performance support so where you are providing the opportunity to learn at the point of doing is really important and if you think about how many training sessions have you been i won't say forced onto but i'm encouraged to attend and then you actually don't really get to use any of it for three or four months it's not not as helpful it's like if if lecturers go along and get trained on their LMS at the beginning of the year and they don't even set up a quiz or whatever for a month they've forgotten it all right with the best will in the world unless they're doing it the next day and that day so one of our things is about providing good tips and advice at the point of usage so one of the changes we put into 3.9 was changing how people add an image into moodle and so instead of before the description being a single text row it's now a text area with a character count of 125. so suddenly when someone looks at it and go oh i can actually write a sentence in there you know and they can see how much space that they have if we change the text for the tick box which means i don't need to do a description it used to be description not necessary now for someone who doesn't know accessibility they might just say yeah another image it explains itself it doesn't actually it doesn't talk but that's someone who wouldn't know potentially that text certainly wasn't helping them make a good decision so now we have this image is decorative only so that is a a very different intent when you tick that box of course you can still just take it and ignore it right you can't stop people making those decisions but at least the text there is nudging them to think the text box rather than a text row is showing actually no you have space here not just three or four words so red dog you can you can do more than that and you can say that the red dog is jumping over the fox or whatever it might be and you can see because if it's only a small text box you can't see beyond three or four words what you're writing anymore i think that the interface and the technology needs to be the expert on the shoulder of the teacher because they're not intentionally ignorant about accessibility it's just it hasn't been something that's like that's at the top of their their task list because they're a subject matter expert if they are an expert in plastic widgets about half an inch big you know that's what they're an expert in they're probably not an expert in online teaching and they're probably not an expert in accessibility so the system needs to help them in both cases
ST: definitely and i think that and but i was just thinking maybe if you could talk a little bit about what staff should do see if they if they have uh you know a tablet or as if they have a blank canvas or something if they're coming to to think about delivering a course and previously they did mainly face to face and um you know moodle was perhaps a little bit of a support for for that content if a lot of that's going to be delivered through um the or at least um their students are going to spend more time on their moodle what kind of things should they think about from the start?
GH: well um the first thing is don't think about content first okay but it really depends what you've got i mean but if you start building a course online from scratch and it's going to be an online facilitated course possibly with virtual classroom you need to structure it well you need to structure it preferably sort of in sections as they go through it so you get your curriculum out you throw you you look at what you usually did face to face and in a week you might have a video lecture well record it record it in small parts as well if you can break it into three parts that it makes it more digestible to people that they can download part one or whatever it is and it's 10 15 minutes long and then they can do the next one and so on rather than having to commit to one hour and any other content that you put up there you put it up in an accessible format so put up your word documents don't bother creating pdfs put up your powerpoint build web pages with the content and then you can add in links and when you're adding in links use the the url resource within moodle so like add a url one of the reasons for that is you can track to see how people have clicked it so um and that insight helps but one of the big things so when you're even doing that meaningful names and persistent structure if you don't have those two things you are creating a barrier for everybody to navigate so each week your lecture notes should be in the same place with a similar name like week two lecture notes applied math week two lecture no Runge-Kutta methodology whatever it might be and that's what and that's what the link that should appear on the course page because that course page is a a launch pad into all the stuff so make sure those things are all okay make sure they're not all caps because that isn't easy easy to read either that's one of the things that we check with r2 but it's making sure that that's also consistent so that you're going to start off maybe with your resources in a topic first and then you're going to have you're always going to have your your video your maybe your transcript your supporting notes your slide deck that you used and then you might have um activities so if you're having a forum there you might have a forum but don't you have to call it a forum they know it's a forum call of what it is so if it's about discussing Runge-Kutta methodology in comparison with something else your forum name should be that doesn't need to be anything else so they should be really meaningful and help people find what they're looking for and then you might have your other activities and then if you have assessment you can put in your assessment there and it'll be good to maybe really clear again whether it is a formative or summative assessment but the students know and if it's the first time that they're doing online quizzes in your week one there should be a test quiz you wouldn't ask someone to drive a car without a test drive or buy a car without a test drive you wouldn't want to drive a car without lessons so getting someone used to taking a quiz and understanding its interface and its workflow and the timing that you need to try and get them because it's different so giving them an opportunity to do that would be really good and the same with assignments having them go through that process and on board your students correctly because whenever you implement new technology in an organization there is a change management process there is a full onboarding strategy agreed usually faculty by faculty different staff groups have training sessions have onboarding have work dates so like handouts that they're given to be able to get as guides and teachers basically go yeah we're now going to start doing some online exams there go you have one hour where's the where is the support that staff demand and are entitled to given to the students so that was one of the things i did see or didn't see with the switch to more online i don't think students were onboarded i don't think the change management was as strong because it certainly wasn't talked about very much and when i asked people about what they did they were no you know we just we just set them some quizzes and that can be quite intimidating suddenly you're online by yourself at home dog barking whatever and you're trying to focus on a two-hour quiz and that two-hour quiz online during the pandemic really everyone should have had extra time to cope with suddenly this is now a different mode different methodology different scenario but you need to you need to warm people up to it you know so i would start off make sure you have a consistent layout every week so if they want to go back and find week one that's your notes they'll know where it is in what section and not many colleges mandate what they call you call like a a moodle baseline or a course baseline design or consistency and so what students often face is that every single course is laid out differently different naming conventions different structures some have stuff some don't have stuff and all you're doing is letting your students down as an institution if that's what happened that's what's happening and they should at least be consistent within a program or within a faculty because it will confuse i mean if you go in and your site and you're looking through a page you're scanning down through it you're looking for certain things to jump out so you can yeah that's what i'm after so if everything's moved around in higgledy-piggledy named differently then you you've got problems and it isn't that you're taking away freedom from stuff but you're trying to build quality you're trying to build persistence and consistency but again they just aren't aware that this is a problem so and it does people navigate pages or scan web pages if there's a few different ways one of the standard ways if you think about it google search is designed this way they start in the top left and they read across no that isn't what i'm after and that they come down to left again go across a little bit on a title no not that one down a bit across a bit so you've got the sort of like f-type shape down the left-hand side of the page as they navigate through it okay so if that's what they're doing then that's how they're going to navigate in in some ways a screen reader if someone comes in and goes hey give me a list of the headings to get their list of headings and they'll navigate that way that's essentially what the assigned person is also doing at that point and they can also sometimes jump around looking for links so for calls to action so so you might jump around and look at any extra links you don't want on your course page to have extra stuff that's taking them away necessarily from navigating through that course i just think it's really important to be consistent in that regard
ST: yeah and i think that going back to what you're saying about you know don't focus on the the content in in this context so you can dump everything on there and i think i've seen it use a lot this fabulous technology um as an information dump for putting loads of stuff on there but yeah thinking about how you're navigating that with with your eyes and how students might navigate that there is a parallel to how you navigate an actual physical environment right and then you you you don't want to get people lost you don't set up mazes if they're not necessary you don't set up these these barriers
GH: right absolutely and some course pages are really really good i know there's some colleges which have gone down the moodle baseline format or a course baseline format because people do the same in blackboard and canvas and other LMS's um i know ucl did stuff in that area i know portsmouth university did stuff in that area and dcu here and that was from a udl point of view so universal design for learning and it's about just creating consistency for your students because when you walk into a room you've got a blackboard your tables and chairs or rows of seats whatever it is so in the middle of course it should be somewhat familiar of all time they go oh yeah fine so if they haven't been to a module before they go into it and they go okay so i know there's going to be a book here which says course overview and i'm going to go into it and i'm going to be able to get an idea of the schedule it's going to have a list of all of the assignments it's going to have the marking guides for all of them and it's going to have the contact details for the lecturer because i really need to talk to them because you know what i've arrived a week late i've just transferred or whatever it might be having that consistency of information and support it's only what staff require and demand a nice and again rightly so if there's a technology change in an institution so let's give the same to our students definitely and i think as well what was coming up there is this idea um called this podcast and sees a conversations on online learning and the need for conversation and transparency between uh between you know staff and and their students and what that experience is but also intercollegiately between between staff and any kind of one situation that it can feel very isolating particularly right now obviously but um when you're working just just a a a desktop computer on on your course um and you're just by yourself but having those design conversations in kind of both ways you think that's that's something that that has got a lot of benefit to it absolutely and so i mean like when i think about courses in general online i break them down into sort of six areas so the first one is form i started off with assessment because you know as as it says um if let's start at the very beginning it's very good place to start so assessment is how whatever the course is is generally structured start with your forms of assessment and you go okay well what are we trying to do here are we going to use a quiz we're going to have them doing stuff in forums maybe have a lesson and have a scenario that they have to walk through and make decisions on that then you also look at well okay so that's the formulas of stuff then what about the summative how are you going to be doing that and is that a quiz is it assignments is there a peer assessment in there using something like workshop and then you go okay so now that's the now from a communication point of view what type of communication do we want from staff students and students students and student staff so are you promoting use of forums are using the announcement forum are you going to create other forums there to allow students to debate in that respect are you using group messaging one of the really good features of moodle that you can if you're using groups like for projects you can tick a box on a group and suddenly they've got like a private equivalent of whatsapp or telegram space within the course that they can use with messaging and if they're using the mobile app it comes up there so it's a much better easier to use experience for students and that's group messaging or you might be using the text based chat or zoom or teams or whatever so you define your stack of what you intend to use in the course then you look at collaboration and then you go okay so where do we want to collaborate here so maybe instead of me as a lecturer finding three really good videos about Runge-Kutta okay and that particular mechanism for for doing something maybe i should be asking the students to go all go away and find two good resources online about it it can be a video it can be a blog post it can be whatever so they go away and find it and they contribute it to like a glossary so it's student-created content so for them to find two good ones maybe they're going to look at 10 but at the end of it if you've got 50 60 students you've now got 100 items in there and not the three that you found but you need to be willing to do that in a class you probably would just give them a reading list or here's a list of things but online you can change the paradigm you can leverage students um in slightly different ways to challenge them and to give them those skills of researching making decisions about whether something is good or bad and you could use database for data collection or the wiki or some other tools you might use google docs or onenote or whatever it is for students to collaborate on and after that then you're usually this is upside down so that's why i'm doing it in this order and then you've got acquisition or this is where you're teaching them you're giving them content so you might have created a book in moodle or uploaded documents you might create a database of lots of data and stuff and information that they can use maybe all those bookmarks from previous years you share in there permanently so that's what that's what a student is going to be sort of acquiring the knowledge and trying to turn it into acquiring information to turn it into knowledge and the last part which is so key and often missed is feedback but student feedback so giving them the ability to get information back to you and that might be using something like choice where you have six or seven projects you're going right okay everyone let's vote you can just self-select into project groups here and they just do that or maybe you're using the feedback survey and you build your own feedback now or your own survey questions that's all well and good there is a bit of a science doing good surveys and do make sure that the survey is meaningful and whether you wanted to be anonymous or not and what that means but you also then got survey itself in moodle which has these pedagogically and research proven um tools to help you assess the quality of your course i know not an awful lot of people use them because they like to have their own questions but sometimes other people's questions are the best and i also mean when it comes to course feedback i usually go out to the experts so i have my own ideas i might add some extras in but i do like starting with what other people have done and use it again consistency so but that's how i structure the building of the course i decide which tools i'm going to use in those six areas and then it creates a familiarity for the teacher because moodle is a swiss army knife right i just listed off 12 different tools there the moodle is a swiss army knife of education and so is blackboard and canvas and desire to learn all of these they've got so many cool tools that you can use you can't use them all you could but it's best to really focus on a few both for yourself and for the students
ST: yeah definitely and i think that and bringing that back to the decisions that are made and what is um pedagogically sound as well and those like what what do and we've had these conversations before of uh you know what go back to your learning outcomes what do you want to do what do you need to do and then frameworks about how how can you um you get get your students to demonstrate that they they have achieved those and you point out those ideas of um you know there's clearly areas where acquisition and there there's there's tools tools for that and there's also those collaborative elements as well so i think that that that's really useful to break that down and and what you've just said there Gavin i think that's that's going to be really useful for staff who want to create something but they they don't know what point they should bring in or or how to structure that that's really great but it's about an institution creating their own as i said stack their own playbook so i'll give you a url that you can share after this but it is basically a guide broken 96 areas three across and it's you know and an institution can choose which ones they want so they'll go you know what we want you to use forum group messaging and teams or when it comes to acquisition we want you to use book documents and video so that this is our this is the playbook that the edtech and team supports you with so use our playbook and so you can give them a work aid that gives them this decision tree done it's all about supporting them and making their life easier
ST: that's great so we'll definitely link to that in the show notes and so that's that's that's brilliant um are there any other um resources out there that you know to help with this?
GH: there's so many i mean that is a simplified approach to the original moodle tool guide that was created 10 11 years ago by joyce seitzinger hope that i said that right in new zealand and then i created the moodle 2 version of it and it was translated by the community into lots of different things and it was one where it was similar it's basically going what you here's a list of the tools and here's the pros and cons for different aspects of them but there's there's a lot and but in the end what you want to do is look to your colleagues look to your institution to have made those decisions before this before we started recording one of the things i mentioned was that you know in this rush to remote on the online learning there was a lot of decisions that were made which weren't necessarily good for accessibility improving it or also data protection suddenly starting to use tools which had embedded advertising technologies which were basically harvesting and adding in and information about the students into their real-time bidding archive i mean there's if you look online for the founder of brave he started various legal cases against this to ensure that the different data protection commissioners handle it the uk data protection commissioner the ico has done a poor job really and said yeah we're not going to deal with this for the moment it's too difficult for the industry and that's a paraphrase but i think that was the intent but it doesn't seem that they're protecting students or anyone else so if you were using a tool what tool or what audit was done i mean do they have google analytics embedded do they have branch do they have quantcast do they have amazon have they got facebook twitter so you know the way when you go to uh a web page and it's a newspaper and you're reading about rolex and i know you probably read about rolex all the time yeah all the time yeah all the time and suddenly you're on another website and you're getting adverts for a rolex following you everywhere well this is what's happening you don't know who you are but they know they have a fingerprint of your computer device the browser the operating system and everything else and they may have cookied you but they don't need to anymore so they know that you were on the site with this content because they were also embedded on that site so when you go somewhere else if someone wants to sell to people who recently read rolex stuff they bid on it in the background these automated bidding and so somebody's adverts gonna get served to you you are being profiled so if you are doing something for your college course on any of these tools out there which have embedded trackers in them then you're exposing your students to that and there was one example specifically i think it was nursing might be wrong where they were talking something about like i don't know obesity support or dealing with people who are obese and then suddenly fat shaming ads started targeting some of or one of the students in particular everywhere they went and they were basically being stopped by advertising that came from content related to their course that's wrong but what was really wrong was there was no process in place for an institution to ensure that didn't happen and they're the kind of things you see people going hey no i'm using this or that or these other really cool applications which are free or whatever and suddenly your students profiles are being mixed with learning content which may or may not be related to them and they have no access to the daisy they don't know who has it they may never be able to fix it and so that's wrong and that's where using a platform which respects privacy is really really important and um so yeah it's um won't mention any of the particular tools but i'm pretty sure that if people have been at my presentations at alts and other conferences that have seen it's very simple analysis you can do you can go there's a project called the exodus project and it basically unpacks android applications and checks for code fingerprints of different tracking systems so get your favorite edtech tool from the web and go and find their app and see what they stick inside or there's another one where there's another url i'll give you that one as well afterwards where you can basically choose to look at the what sites are automatically embedded within a web page you can do with google chrome as well but this will then show you and list out what they are and stuff as well so that's really cool that's a free resource which is great but you can do it with google chrome so if you suddenly go to a page and you're thinking hey you know what well i want my students to have facebook likes available on their course page and stuff so what you've actually done is facebook are now tracking that that user is on that page is that good so yeah i don't know but i saw a lot of it a lot of people talking about all these cool tools they were using and it was the wild west of edtech yeah from my perspective you know if they had done the proper audits and really looked into this i mean when you look at good LMS's and good edtech they will give you the ability to get all of your data out as well and that's the second part of it how many of these actually have good data exports i mean even google doesn't give you everything about it but if you do a google checkout i think it's called it will download your calendar your documents everything in one huge zip right and facebook has something similar to that but of course there's no way that that's all the data that's there you know there's loads of stuff they're clearly not giving or admitting to or whatever and you know data protection commissioners can figure that one out but um knowing like moodles gives you all the logs gives you your grade books your feedback all of that and so some of the other systems out there do a really good job but they're the kind of decisions you want to have and in rushing online those decisions were made in haste shall we say
ST: and i think that that's that's so important because those decisions made in haste and um if someone's found that that particular tool or something has worked for them they're going to be pretty resistant to not to pulling it and unless you come from that perspective of well it's you know security and for your students and again because well i need to make everything a physical analogy but like in that same way that you know on-campus security is something that that no one would take lightly about who can walk into any classroom or whatever or or go anywhere those same issues are here right
GH: and even more so and with the the amount of data that is already out there and being shared and fingerprinted as you said yeah well if you if you want to make it a physical one it's actually allowing advertising companies to come in and look through the students bags when would that ever be allowed it's so great to hear that there are tools out there though that to run those checks um as well to to see and there are of of course platforms that their whole basis is on on that kind of um equity and some of those tools do a good job and are so i'll mention one tool like absolutely nothing to do with them so i mentioned one tool that when we checked it had no trackers at all and it's a good tool and it was called Vevox yeah it's like a q a type tool for live classroom support and stuff it was it was it's a nice tool but it shows that you can have a business without having all this stuff embedded in it yeah at least that's what it was then and there's a few others that might only have google analytics but don't have all of these other really aggressive real-time bidding systems although analytics google analytics is still tracking and if you're a google house as an institution your students have to bind to the fact that they're using google in the first place right but so if they just if if you are and they are using google analytics you can go okay well that still falls within the ring but if they've got four or five different tracking systems in there then that's clearly something that could be problematic and you need to just make educated decisions and legal decisions because this is illegal stuff it's like accessibility and data protection they're not wishy-washy likes to haves their legal requirements yeah and they're there to protect the students and the staff and the institution and and to support them so anyway sorry i'm putting my high horse off to the side right now
ST: no no it's it's so important to have those conversations i mean i i think we've covered like so many wonderful things and you've given us so many resources and we'll we'll link to those um as well and Gavin is there anything else before before we wrap up you want people to take away
GH: yeah um stop with 24 7 zoom there they're they're going to a university right a university they're not going to assume adversity okay and i'm currently interviewing for work placement interns in my company and so yesterday when i was chatting to one of the students and asking about their experience they're going you know seven hours a day zoom there's nothing about because i don't have to work remotely during the work placement from january to june i was asking about their experience learning remotely and they went seven hours of zoom in a day is very tiring and i just feel that i can't sustain that level of intent and if you think about it have we ever required someone to have that level of attention i mean when we ran the moodle mood there two two and a half months ago and it was 10 9 or 10 hours of zoom sessions i was exhausted i mean i do meetings all the time but usually half hour 15 20 minute meetings right but doing eight hours of zoom and then zoom it's in a virtual classroom it's not just about zoom by the way sorry zoom if you're if you're listening you know great product wonderful i use it but it's just being there engaged constantly i'm on camera and um i'm having to really focus the whole time it's not like while i'm sitting at a desk with a lecturer droning on sorry i meant speaking presenting and i can be sort of i can just block them out a little bit look down and make some notes and think about something and then we can re-engage if i do that during a zoom session the lecturer and everybody else can see the fact that i looked down and sometimes it's like hmm you do look away so you don't need to have people in a zoom call for the whole class the more you do asynchronous the better for the well-being of the student and of the staff stop with the synchronous it doesn't have to all be synchronous just because it was in a lecture theater because actually in the lecture here if you really analyzed how the students engaged they weren't there for 55 minutes they weren't
ST: yeah, you know in these kind of video conferencing things there's there's no back row there's no there's no there's only no even front row you're just sitting on the lecturer's desk coming to stare … it's it's very intense very intense
GH: it is yeah and i think that first the teachers and the students um they'd benefit from a little step back i think
ST: that's wonderful well Gavin it just remains for me to say thank you so much for speaking with us today much to think about and and thank you for your resources your provided ad for your your wealth of knowledge and experience it's been wonderful speaking with you it's been great opportunity to have a chat and have a conversation around edtech because it is it's key and you know this is the toolkit right they aren't the the end and all and be all they're just tools that we use to improve teaching and learn that's great and i'm sure people want to to follow up and find out more about what you do and is there a place people can do that?
GH: well yeah so our company is brickfield education also brickfields.ie or find me on twitter i'm g henrik g-h-e-n-r-i-c-k or contact me on linkedin i'm the only one there… that sounds wrong…
ST: okay that's great gavin you take care now thank you