In the heart of the Waterside Campus, a new art installation by Senior Digital Marketing Lecturer and creative artist Kardi Somerfield is rewriting the rules of engagement, merging art and education to create a unique learning experience and visual identity for the newly refurbished Waterside bar. We recently had the opportunity to meet with Kardi Somerfield, to discuss her work.
Kardi’s work stands as an extraordinary tribute to Northampton, stretching three meters in height and an impressive nine meters in length. It encapsulates the very essence of Northampton. Boasting over 200 distinct locations and nearly 300 characters, this monumental piece symbolizes the heart and soul of the town. The installation, at its core, epitomizes inclusivity in our local community.
Creating a work of these dimensions came with its own set of challenges. Transitioning from drawing on a digital screen to delivering a huge-format vinyl involved creating a vast Photoshop file with over 1000 layered elements including buildings, characters, and wildlife.
One of the most intriguing aspects of Kardi’s creation is its interactive dimension. By integrating QR codes, she created a digital-physical bridge, allowing visitors to interact with the artwork in unique ways. This innovative artwork blends digital and analog technologies and transcends the visual spectacle to become a powerful pedagogical tool, particularly for storytelling within the realm of education.
Learn Tech and Learning Design recently reviewed some popular online voting/polling tools to investigate which offers the best options for student engagement. Criteria for assessing the tools included ease of log in and navigation, range of question types and formats, ease of participation and access on different devices. We also compared the range of features available on each tool’s free version versus the paid for version.
Of the four tools investigated – Kahoot, Microsoft Forms, Mentimeter and Socrative – Mentimeter was considered the easiest and most engaging to use, with enough access, reporting and variety in the free version to satisfy most learning and teaching needs. Here are a few of the features we liked in Mentimeter:
- Wide range of interactive presentation templates (they call them Inspiration)
- Students don’t need to create an account, just go to menti.com and enter the code generated by Mentimeter and displayed on the quiz/presentation
- Easy for students to participate on a mobile device (anonymously)
- Good range of question types – wordcloud, multiple choice, open ended, scales, ranking, Q&A
- Leaderboard function to inject some competition
- Unlimited audience, unlimited presentations in the free version
- Up to 2 question slides, up to 5 quiz slides in the free version
- Export to PDF function (export to Excel only in the paid for version)
Mentimeter appears to meet some accessibility standards, however it does seem that there is still work to be done. Otherwise we received positive feedback from another institution about their user and technical experience of Mentimeter.
Overall we felt that Mentimeter is a useful resource for encouraging interaction and real-time responses from students in a lively and engaging way.
However, staff should note:
The use of voting/polling tools must be driven by pedagogical requirement and offer new/different benefits to existing licensed products.
Staff must not use Mentimeter for collecting personal or sensitive information. Students do not need to sign up to engage in Mentimeter activities.
Academic staff should consider the diverse needs of their cohort, paying particular attention to the feelings that can arise from timed activities and leader boards.
Although not officially supported by the University, we feel Mentimeter offers additional features and opportunities for engagement to those available in Collaborate polling.
Staff should review the recommendations for the use of third party tools and speak to their Learning Technologist prior to introducing any new technology to ensure it is fit for purpose.
And remember, too much of anything isn’t a good thing!
Information regarding accessibility has been obtained from the Mentimeter VPAT: https://www.mentimeter.com/accessibility
All WCAG AA requirements are either supported or partially supported with guidance.
All Policies regarding Mentimeter (privacy, security, cookie, processors and candidate) may be found at : https://www.mentimeter.com/policies
Nicola Denning, Richard Byles, and Belinda Green
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