Microsoft Whiteboard for iOS

Microsoft has recently released the iOS version of its new Whiteboard app and I recorded this quick video to give my first impressions. There is certainly already sufficient functionality here for me to want to use it in my classes.

The features that I like are:

  • Infinite size canvas — like in OneNote.
  • Ruler for drawing straight lines at various angles.
  • Ink to shape.
  • Share to OneNote (as an image).
  • Share whiteboard with collaborators for brainstorming in meetings.
  • All whiteboards are stored in the cloud.

Features that it has that I didn’t demonstrate

  • Add images
  • Sticky notes
  • Ink to table

There are some differences between the Windows and iOS versions but I imagine that they will become more compatible in time. I would also hope to see some of the additional drawing features supported by OneNote being added as the product develops.

The iOS version follows on from the Windows 10 version that has been available for a while. There is a preview version for the web.

If you want to give it a try, visit You need a free Microsoft or an Office 365 account to use it.

25 Years of Ed Tech

In honour of the silver jubilee of the Association for Learning Technology (ALT), ALT Conference 2018 Co-Chair Martin Weller has been compiling a personal history of the development of Educational Technology (Ed Tech) covering the years 1993 to the present. The final episode, 2018 Critical Ed Tech was published yesterday. Ranging from AI, through the web, eLearning, MOOCs, back to AI and on to blockchain — like Lasers in the 60s, surely a technology looking for an application — it’s an entertaining look at all the disrupting technologies that somehow failed to disrupt education. And a sobering thought that I was there to uncritically early-adopt a lot of it too!

You can read the whole lot by visiting the categoryΒ 25yearsedtech on Martin’s Ed Techie blog.

Highly Recommended.

OneNote with Marija

This just seen on Twitter. A great resource from @teachermarija on using OneNote and OneNote Class Notebook in the classroom distributed as a OneNote notebook.

Minisurvey on VLE use

Last month I started this sequence of posts on using OneNote Class Notebook as a VLE by posting a simple 3-question survey using Microsoft forms. There have been four submissions (one was mine), so please have a go if you want to improve these results.

Here are the results.

1. Do you use a VLE?

100% of those who took the survey said yes!

2. What kinds of content do you deliver through your VLE?

Responses to Q2

NoΒ surprises here I guess. For most staff (and probably students too), the VLE is primarily seen as a content management system. Everyone uses PowerPoint and notes. It’s pleasing to see videos, screencasts and pencasts being used. One respondent uses podcasts. Reading lists and announcements are used by all. The respondent who selected “other” uses Diigo feeds and embedded learning objects created in Xerte and Articulate.

The good news is that OneNote class notebook can support most of these use cases with file attachments. Office attachments will open in the native app. Some media types, audio and video, can be embedded; YouTube videos can be automatically inserted from the YouTube share link. Other media types may need to be linked to.

It’s worth noting that OneNote pages support sophisticated text markup (with excellent accessibility features and the unique learning tools), and there isΒ digital ink support (for handwritten annotations) which rivals the HTML editors provided by most VLEs.

3. What “interactive” features of your VLE do you use in your teaching?

Responses to Q3

OneNote Class notebook on its own provides support for the equivalent of wikis (collaborative documents), Blogs, and ePortfolios. You would have to combine it with Microsoft Teams to have useful discussion boards (including video discussions powered by FlipGrid) and assignment tools (including grading rubrics). You can create very simple embedded quizzes and surveys using Microsoft Forms, but you’d need to link to your VLE or a third-party tool for more fully featured quizzes.

Having set the scene, in the next article in this series, I will describe the OneNote class notebook and how I use it!

Taking back control of the web

Even though I don’t teach, nor do much development with web technologies anymore, I nevertheless try to keep an eye on the many technical conferences that take place every year so that I can keep up to date on developments in the field. I’m able to do this because many of the conference organizers record the sessions and put them online. The JavaScript EU 2018 conferenceΒ was held in Berlin in June, and the videos have recently been published on YouTube (playlist). I’m keeping a record of the videos I watch in my TiddlyWikiΒ Journal.

I wanted to use this post to draw attention to two presentations that I think may turn out to be significant. Both are from members of the development team for the peer-to-peer web browser,Β Beaker Browser.

The first presentation is from Paul Frazee (@pfrazee), who argues, in Formalizing user rights on the Web, that the problems we are currently seeing with the web are due to the original architectural decision that created thick servers and thin clients and so put all the power of publishing, moderation and civic responsibility into the hands of big web service providers. He contends that putting the power back into the client and running a peer-to-peer web (possible because the Internet itself is built so that all nodes are equal) may change things for the better. You can read more about Paul’s ideas in his essay Information Civics.

The second presentation, from Paul’s business partner Tara Vincal (@taravancil),Β Imagine This: A Web Without Servers, gives a practical demonstration of how the peer-to-peer web works and how, with the Beaker Browser, you can experiment with a “serverless web” today. Her coup-de-grΓ’ce was a demonstration of Fritter, a peer-to-peer Twitter-like app, that uses distributed user profiles and hands complete control of identity and data to the user!

ProvidingΒ that they can gain sufficient user interest and traction,Β I think thatΒ there could be something very transformative behind these ideas.

I am on the peer-to-peer web: I have a copy of my TiddlyWiki Journal at, and my Fritter profile is If you want to have a look at these as peer-to-peer web, download and install the Beaker Brower, and follow the links in this paragraph (after replacingΒ https with dat).

Technical Note

A peer-to-peer website hosted in the Beaker Browser is only “live” while the browser is. For sites, data and apps to persist, there have to beΒ servers that keep a copy of the site alive when the local client is asleep. In the Beaker Browser world, this service is provided by other Beaker Browser peers, or by registering your local site withΒ This is a hosting service that works a bit like the BitTorrent. It keeps a record of the hashΒ that represents your local data, and stores and will provide a copy to other peers (even on the standard web) when you are offline. This is how I can make my journal and Fritter profiles public.

There is nothing special or centralized about the hash base server though. It’s just a Node app called Home Base. If you do have access to a server, You can run your own copy and maintain complete control of your identity online. I may try to set-up my own Home Base server at some point during the summer.

OneNote Class Notebook – Your Next VLE?

At last year’s SALT conference (#SUSALT17), I ran a session on using the OneNote Class NotebookΒ (ONCN) with the same title as this post. The title, of course, was meant to be provocative, but having used the OneNote Class NotebookΒ for three years now, I believe that it has great potential, is getting a lot of love from Microsoft, and deserves to be more widely known.

In this series of posts, I will attempt to open up my 2017 talk to a wider audience and bring in a discussion of Teams for Education, demonstrate the new ONCN plugin for Blackboard, and showcase my own use of ONCN in teaching.

To start things off, I’ll repeat what I did in my talk and start with a survey.

Please feel free to complete it. I’ll report the findings in a few days time.

Summer To Do List

It’s graduation next week, the official end of the University year and the start of the summer battery recharge. Inspired by a comment from my friend and colleague Chris Hall made at yesterday’s #SUSALT18 Conference, I thought that it was time to reactivate my blog with a few thoughts on what I want to achieve over the summer.

So here, in no particular order, are the things on my todo list.

  • Annual module review of my own modules.
  • Final Board of Studies meeting
  • Away day for programme review (planning to use the ABC LD Toolkit 2018Β from UCL)
  • Learn how to use the Rohde-Schwartz instrumentation in our labs
  • Play with National Instruments micro DAC
  • Produce a how-to for embedding OneNote class notebooks into Blackboard
  • Survey of my college’s Blackboard sites
  • Develop guidance for achieving the minimum standard
  • Help the University to define the data requirements for Annual Programme Review
  • Prepare my Senior Fellow HEA application
  • Train as an IET Accreditor
  • Properly flip my semester 2 courses.
  • Finish Laurillard’s Teaching as a Design Science and finally read Talbert’s book on Flipped Learning and Nilson’s on Specifications grading.
  • Continue to advocate for wider use of Microsoft Teams for Committees, Work Groups, Communities of Practice, Courses and Students within my University.
  • Go on holiday
  • ALT Conference

Some of these will be part of my CPD, some may be of interest to my readers. However, I make no promise that any will become the subject of a future blog post.

One reason that I haven’t felt the need to Blog for a while is that I have been keeping a (nearly daily) Journal in TiddlyWiki. It’s live, hosted in GitHub pages and reachable atΒ

#BYOD4L wraps

So the January 2018 run of BringΒ  Your Own Device for Learning (BYOD4L) is over! Thanks to the team, Sheila McNeil, Alex Spiers, Neil Withnell, Debbie Baff, and SuzanneΒ Faulkner for their expert guidance!

I didn’t do the tasks, but I did do a fair amount ofΒ connecting, communicating and curating this time.

My TiddlyWiki record of #BYOD4L 2018 is It’s one HTML page (index.html) which you can copy by pressing the save button. (The magic is all done with JavaScript.)

This TiddlyWiki an open resource (CC BY), so do explore, steal, and remix!

Techy Stuff

The Super Techy Stuff

If you want to do something similar, get yourself a GitHub account; cloneΒ Check out the websiteΒ for the branchgh-pages. OpenΒ index.html inΒ your browser. Find out more about TiddlyWiki, and how to use it,Β here.

BYOD4LChat Number 1

I created this page as a proof of concept using CoDog’s link extraction tool on the story that was curated by Sheila McNeil.

Observations, long tweetchats like this should be edited in the Text view in WordPress. Rendering the tweets in the Visual HTML editor view is not something that the WordPress can cope with, but is probably necessary if you want to add commentary to a chat rather than a straight record.

The page will take a long time to load as each tweet has fetched as HTML, embedded in the post and rendered by the browser! (I assume Storify caches the embedded tweets somehow to avoid overloading the Twitter APIs.)

There’s a danger that you might crash your WordPress server!

Conclusion, a story which can be archived as a static website (See Archiving Tweetchats) may actually be preferable!

Here is the Archived Chat