App 11: audioBoom

15 December 2015


What is audioBoom?

audioBoom is an app that allows you to record and broadcast your own spoken-word recordings and podcasts for free, making it one of the most popular audio apps with audio bloggers, journalists, teachers, and podcasters.  audioBoom also has a huge library of professional and educational audio content for you to listen to on a wide variety of topics from providers including The Open University, 10 Downing Street, BBC Radio, The Guardian, The Economist, NME, Stephen Fry and Russell Brand.

audioboom genres

Find programmes on a wide variety of topics in audioBoom

Record and share easily

With audioBoom you can record and edit audio straight from the app, so you can get started without any special equipment.  You can add an image and your location to any clip and recordings can be shared from the app to your own website or blog, a VLE page, social media, or submitted to iTunes as a podcast feed.  Listeners can download your podcast for listening off line anywhere.

For students, it’s great because it’s a platform where they can showcase any digital audio work that they do, such as radio shows, adverts that they make, examples of radio journalism, etc. It’s also good because it’s something which is very shareable, which means students can easily get their work out onto social media.

For teachers, we can use it to share examples of audio – whether it’s clips of something or recordings of students or ourselves. It’s very useful because, as it’s online, you don’t have to worry about emailing large audio mp3 files, etc.

Jen Bartram, Lecturer in Radio Production, London School of Film, Media and Design, University of West London

Making sound-based educational resources

audioBoom is great for making sound-based resources that can then be accessed by scanning a QR code (a type of barcode).  Just scan a QR code next to a word to hear how it sounds, on a book to hear a book review, on a piece of work to hear some peer feedback, give an instruction in a treasure hunt and so on.  audioBoom generates the QR code for you.  Below is an example from The Open University.

A QR code which links to the Open University's programme about geneticist Barbara McClintock

A QR code which links to the Open University’s programme about geneticist Barbara McClintock


Considerations for using audio in education

To ensure that your recordings are accessible to everyone, including people who cannot hear the audio, it’s recommended that you provide a simple text transcript of the recording.  There are additional benefits to providing transcripts.

Using audio in education presentation by Sirui Wang, course developer/instructional designer at Colorado State University

Ideas for using audio in education

  • Broadcast live from events
  • Start an audio blog
  • Create news stories
  • Record audio feedback
  • Record interviews with industry experts
  • Post audio from the workplace
  • Record guest speakers from remote locations
  • Record seminars and conferences
  • Music lessons
  • Storytelling and oral culture
  • Learner radio programs (news, current affairs, talk shows, music)
  • Foreign language lessons and pronunciation guides
  • Create walking tours of art/sculpture or accompany a museum exhibition
  • Student counseling – study guides, relaxation tapes, stress management tips


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

audioBoom is also available on your computer via the audioBoom website

  1. Download the app
  2. Sign up or login with your Twitter account
  3. Select one or two topics of interest
  4. Browse through the broadcasts and listen to one or two
  5. Search for programmes related to your study, research, teaching or role. As you listen, note down your reactions – what makes you keep listening? Or what loses your attention?
  6. Share the recording you listened to in the best way for you, for example on twitter, through a link in an email, on Facebook
  7. Make a test recording on the topic of your choice, for example tips for making an engaging spoken-word recordings (tap the red button, top right)
  8. Save it, give it a title, category and perhaps add a photo
  9. After a few minutes the recording will be available to listen to in your Account
  10. Need to update your team? Don’t send an email, record an audio update!


Educators guide to the use of podcasts in education

JISC Guide to getting started with Podcasting

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How do you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


Anna ArmstrongWritten by Anna Armstrong, Academic Developer in technology-Enhanced Learning at the  University of West London.


Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


App 9: Poll Everywhere

11 December 2015
Poll Ecerywhere logo

What is Poll Everywhere?

Poll Everywhere is a polling app and website which can be used in the classroom.  The presenter uses the app to create questions which are presented on the screen at the front of the room.  The audience responds using the app and results are displayed live on screen.

how poll ev works

With this two-way conversation, the presenter gets a clear picture of how well the class has understood a topic, and everyone in the audience has a fair chance of answering and checking their understanding, or of asking a question themselves.

There is a variety of question types to choose from allowing a rich range of questions and responses to be generated, and it’s possible to split the class into teams to add an element of competition, too!

Poll ev question types

A variety of question types are available


Poll Everywhere

Responses are sent through the app and are displayed on the classroom screen

Presenters can use the app to:

  • Create and present questions ‘on demand’ in a presentation or lecture
  • Remotely control the presentation (PowerPoint required)
  • Select which question is displayed on the audience’s devices
  • Moderate answers before they are displayed on screen

Participants can use the app to:

  • Respond to questions posed by the presenter and see their responses displayed live on screen alongside responses from others in the class
  • Answers are anonymous so the presenter can’t see which responses you made, but they get an overall sense of how the group is progressing

Ideas for use in education

  1. Challenge students to set and present some questions themselves
  2. Encourage critical thinking with peer instruction
  3. Pinpoint what students need: ask diagnostic questions at the start of a new topic
  4. Encourage reflection and reinforce learning: Ask reflective questions at the start or end of a lecture
  5. Enliven a sleepy class with a short quiz or team competition
  6. Facilitate peer feedback in student presentations
  7. Evaluate answers in a revision class
  8. Publish a question on twitter and ask for responses from experts and professional bodies

More details can be found in our guide 8 ways to use Poll Everywhere

Presenters: How to get started with presenting

  • Sign up for an account at  It’s free for up to 40 responses per question, or your organisation may have paid for an account which allows unlimited responses.
  • Create some questions to stimulate thinking.  Questions which explore common misconceptions are a good place to start.
  • Optionally, you can add the questions to your PowerPoint presentation if you install the Poll Ev Presenter Add-in on to your computer.
  • Customise your unique ID so students can respond to your questions
  • Present the questions in class through a web browser or PowerPoint

Audience: How to respond in a presentation

  • Download the app onto your smartphone or tablet
  • In the lecture, open the app and enter your tutor’s unique ID
  • As questions are displayed on your device, answer them and see the results appear on the classroom screen
  • Ask your tutor if you can present some questions too!


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

Poll Everywhere is also available for your computer on the Poll Everywhere website

  1. Download the app
  2. Open the app and tap I’m participating

    Open the app and tap I'm participating

    Open the app and tap I’m participating

  3. Join UWL12Apps

    Join UWL12Apps

    Join UWL12Apps

  4. The question will be displayed on your device.  Type in and submit your response.  You can respond more than once if you wish.
  5. Check out what other people said:
view responses

Check out what other people said

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How do you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


Anna new Written by Anna Armstrong, Academic Developer in Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of West London


Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

App 8: WordPress

10 December 2015
WP logo

What is WordPress?

WordPress is a popular platform for creating blogs and websites. It is intuitive to use and does not require much technical knowledge. It is great for everyone who would like to create their own space online: we have developed this site in WordPress and it works a treat for us!

Very flexible and customisable, WordPress has found numerous uses in education. From blogs and websites through to whole learner-centred virtual environments, WordPress enables you to share knowledge and ideas, demonstrate and reflect on learning as well as participate in meaningful communities of engaged learners.  Michael Seery at the University of Edinburgh has used WordPress to create an excellent educational blog called Is this going to be on the exam?  and an online e-Portfolio for his Masters degree called MSc E-Portfolio.

WordPress can be accessed in a browser at or through the app. The app allows you to set up your own website in just a few easy steps (Fig. 1).

WP Create Account

Fig. 1. Creating an account in the WordPress app

The app can be used for making any changes to the site, such as adding new pages and blog posts, commenting, replying to comments or changing and customising the theme (Figs 2 & 3). More advanced changes, such as adding plug-ins, can be made more easily through the WP Admin panel on your computer or tablet (Fig. 4).

WP app menu

Fig. 2. WordPress app menu


Customising the site on a mobile device

Fig. 3. Customising the site on a mobile device


WordPress dashboard in browser

Fig. 4. WordPress browser dashboard

Ideas for using WordPress in education

WordPress offers much more than just a blogging platform. It has been used for university websites, virtual learning environments, e-portfolio systems, student portals, open courses, classroom communication systems, and many others.

Crucially, a WordPress site can go well beyond a simple depository of content intended to be passively consumed by students. In an excellent tutorial on the use of WordPress in the classroom on, Chris Mattia discusses the following models for using WordPress in education:

  • Collaboration model: students can contribute their content to a site managed centrally by the instructor.
  • Student ownership model: students create and manage their own sites (e.g. on, on the institution’s local installation of WordPress or on students’ own domains if they have them) and the main site is a hub that syndicates knowledge from these sites, with the students’ permission.
  • Open connected course model: similar to student ownership model, however it includes syndicated content produced not just by students, but also by the instructor(s) and other participants.
  • Student-centred model: individual students produce and syndicate content from other sites (their peers’, the instructor’s etc.).

Fun fact: The main releases of WordPress are named after well-known jazz musicians (the current one, 4.3, is Billie).

A learning experience centred around a WordPress site should be stimulating, challenging, relevant, purposeful and closely aligned with the module aims and learning outcomes. Well-designed WordPress activities offer huge potential to improve student motivation and engagement. Reportedly, thanks to its openness and flexibility, WordPress can overcome at least some of the limitations of more traditional institutional VLEs.


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

WordPress is also available for your computer on the WordPress website

In this activity you’ll start to create your own WordPress blog or website.  Before you get started, decide on a topic for your blog or website.

  1. Download the app (or open in your browser and set up your site directly there).
  2. Tap “Create account”. This will create an account on (on the differences between and read here).
  3. Enter your email address, choose a username, password and URL and tap “Create account”. Your account and site are set up for you.
  4. Tap the different icons and see what they are for.
  5. Write and publish your first post / page.
  6. To view your site, tap “View site”. You should be able to see your post, but you may want to change the default theme, i.e. the appearance of your site. To do so, tap “Customize” and then “Change” next to “Active theme” (see Fig. 3 above). Make sure you are choosing a free theme as many of them are paid ones. Experiment with the other settings too!
  7. See this simple website we have created following the above steps.
  8. As a more advanced activity you may want to find out how to add an RSS feed to your page – you will see one on our simple website on the right-hand side. Find a blog on a topic that is of interest to you and add it to your page as an RSS feed widget.
  9. At some point you may want to log in to your website on on your computer rather than a smartphone. This will give you access to the full WP Admin dashboard of your site (see Fig. 4). There are numerous tutorials and materials online which can help you with more advanced settings.

Further Resources

WordPress in the Classroom by Chris Mattia (

Teaching with WordPress – a website of an open online course on teaching with WordPress which run in June 2015. The course covers three main topic areas: open pedagogies and open course design, affordances of WordPress and course design in WordPress. It includes curated readings, learning activities, recordings of Google Hangout discussions and examples of different types of WordPress educational websites.

WordPress as an Educational Tool – an excellent wiki by Deb Kim, Jonathan Tang and Rhena Bowie on the possible uses of WordPress in education, its benefits (and related concerns), underlying constructivist and collaborative pedagogies, examples of WordPress sites in primary, secondary and higher education and professional practice, a useful list of popular plug-ins, a discussion of the platform’s most relevant features and an extensive reference list.

Building Connected Courses: Feed WordPress 101 – a series of blog posts on creating a educational WordPress site that can work as a hub for syndicated content.

The Politics in Spires blog – students as producers of OER – a HEA/JISC case study on the use of WordPress as a blogging platform for The Politics in Spires, a collaborative blog between the Oxford Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR) and the Cambridge Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS), including challenges and key lessons learnt.

Supporting small-group learning using multiple Web 2.0 tools: A case study in the higher education context – an example of a module design with various Web 2.0 tools, including WordPress.

WordPress Essential Training by Morten Rand-Hendriksen (

Edublogs – the second largest WordPress site in the word, powering 1.5 million student and educator blogs.

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How do you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


Agata Written by Agata Sadza, Academic Developer in Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of West London


Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

App 5: Periscope

7 December 2015

What is Periscope?

Periscope is video broadcasting app which allows you to ‘explore the world through someone else’s eyes’.

Described by its creators as ‘the closest thing to Teleportation,’ Periscope allows users (‘Scopers’) to broadcast (‘scope’) video directly from their smartphone or tablet and to view live broadcasts from across the globe.

The whole concept of Periscope is to virtually pick you up and place you down somewhere you would never have access to if it weren’t for the app. Via Periscope you can get a front-row seat to events unfolding across the world in real time. You can virtually attend music concerts, sports matches, political protests, see point-of-view broadcasts from amusement park rides or take tours of different cities… The possibilities are endless.

To get started, you need to download the app to your device. You can then sign up to Periscope using either your mobile phone number or your Twitter account:


Periscope recommends that those with a Twitter account should sign up via the microblogging service as this will give them the option to subscribe to the Periscope broadcasts of the people who they follow on Twitter.

How to find and watch broadcasts

You can navigate around the app using the four tab icons at the bottom of the screen:

p menu icons

Watch                Globe             Broadcast          People

The ‘Watch’ icon is the default tab and tapping it from another tab takes you back to the home screen. When someone who you are following on Periscope is broadcasting live a notification will appear on your home screen. The ‘Watch’ screen also displays live scopes, featured scopes and recent broadcasts.

Click the ‘Globe’ icon to see a map of where current live broadcasts are happening around the world. You can zoom in to any part of the world and see what’s happening. This is a good place to start if you want to do some exploring!


A map of where Periscope live broadcasts are happening around the world


When watching a broadcast you can type a message to the Scoper, or to fellow watchers, or send a heart to indicate your approval by tapping on your screen. Hearts are the social currency of Periscope –  akin to giving something a “like” on Facebook.

How to broadcast


To create a broadcast , touch the ‘Broadcast’ icon and enter a title for your broadcast. You can choose whether to make your video public (open to everyone on Periscope) or private (only open to certain followers). You can also set chat options to determine whether or not to allow comments.

To share your Periscope broadcasts on Twitter, tap the bird icon before you begin broadcasting. When you go live, you’ll tweet a message to your Twitter followers.

When you are ready to begin broadcasting, hit the ‘Start Broadcast’ button. Periscope saves your video streams once you have finished recording them so that they remain viewable for up to 24 hours.

Ideas for use in education                                              

Periscope has many potential uses within education. It can be used for virtual field trips allowing educators to broadcast from places that may be inaccessible or impractical for students to travel to in person.

Periscope’s global reach allows instructors and students to connect to other people and places around the world with no cost involved. This may prove of particular interest for geography and history teachers.

Periscope can be used by instructors to broadcast live video of practical demonstrations.  The text chat feature means that Periscope can also be used to offer virtual office hours for students who have questions or need help, or to provide feedback to students on assignments.

Periscope can be used by universities to give prospective students guided tours of campus ahead of open days. It can also be used by educators a way to take virtual tours of other schools and classrooms, to see examples of best practice in action, or to tune into conferences or seminars that are being broadcast.


available on the app store resized get it on google play resized

  1. Download the Periscope app and create an account.
  2. Use the map to find someone broadcasting in the location of your choice.
  3. Watch their broadcast, or move to another part of the world.
  4. What did you find?  Tell us by tweeting with the hashtag #uwl12apps
  5. Create a broadcast of your own to share.

What do you think?

Is this app useful for you? How might you use it? Do you know of an app that does the same thing but better? Any tips for us? Share your ideas by leaving a reply below, or tweet us @UWL12apps or use the hashtag #UWL12apps


EwanWritten by Ewan Frances, TEL Support Officer, University of West London



Creative Commons Licence 12 Apps of Christmas by the University of West London is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.