A final note

Years ago one could never imagine that active learning could take place straight from your home desk.  IT in education has, and still is rapidly developing and expanding, revealing itself through new learning programs, apps, YouTube, user interfaces and smartphones.

The importance of information systems is undoubtedly noticeable and has contributed so much to individuals, businesses and societies. Thus the awareness of information systems is vital.

With the availability of so many platforms there should be no excuse as to why lecturers, students, teachers and institutions themselves should be not using these advances in technology to their advantage. The reasons as to why everyone should be aware or have some knowledge about information systems are staring us all in the face every single day. We just have to take a very good look around.

Author – Nyles Jacobs

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The importance of a well-designed user interface

 

UI-Designer-


Well-Designed User Interfaces

 

The user interface is the means by which a user and device interact. A well-designed user interface is a necessity in today’s world.  Developers and designers have to work hand in hand to create intuitive and responsive user interfaces that work for tactile, sensory, and traditional approaches.

Key aspects of a well-designed user interface include:

 

Creativity & Consistency in UI Design

 

Consistency:

Consistency ensures that the user experience is streamlined, it allows users to rely on knowledge they already have making them more likely to use and recommend the app or software.

 

 

 

visual hierarchy

 

Visual hierarchy:

Visual hierarchy is the arrangement of information based on getting the eye to recognise a focal point first and then gradually moving in a consistent manner around the page. It allows for clear ordering of information.

 

 

 

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Layout and order:

The way we perceive information can be enhanced or diminished by how the information is presented. Overcrowded disjointed unrelated information lessens the user experience and how much information is retained.

 

 

 

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Aesthetics:

The overall look and appeal, such as contrast, colours, visual flow, etc.

 

 

 

The reason why all of these aspects are so important is they make everything more intuitive and therefore enhance the user experience. User interfaces are no longer being designed for one platform they need to be functional over multiple new and expanding formats.

User interfaces also need to be designed for non-traditional users i.e. children, people with disabilities, etc.  Children face different challenges to adults and with the movement of tablet/smartphone usage in education their needs must be taken into account.  Well-designed interfaces allow them easier use of these devices as well as effective learning.

Well-designed user interfaces are therefore very important in that they make the user experience more intuitive and people retain necessary information more easily.
10 Commandments of User Interface Design
Courtesy of: Designmantic.com

Author – Taryn Reddy

Links:

References:

Anthony, L., Brown, Q., Tate, B., Nias, J., Brewer, R. and Irwin, G. (2013). Designing smarter touch-based interfaces for educational contexts. Pers Ubiquit Comput, 18(6), pp.1471-1483.

Argondesign.com. (2016). 5 aspects of a good user interface – Electronic design services with Argon Design Ltd.. [online] Available at: http://www.argondesign.com/news/2014/feb/5/5-aspects-good-user-interface/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Cao, J., Zieba, K., Stryjewski, K. and Ellis, M. (2015). Consistency in UI Design: Creativity Without Confusion. 1st ed. [ebook] UXPin, pp.6-11. Available at: https://studio.uxpin.com/ebooks/consistency-ui-design-creativity/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Fadeyev, D. (2008). Do UI Aesthetics Matter? – The Usability Post. [online] Usabilitypost.com. Available at: http://usabilitypost.com/2008/09/17/do-ui-aesthetics-matter/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Fadeyev, D. (2009). 8 Characteristics Of Successful User Interfaces – The Usability Post. [online] Usabilitypost.com. Available at: http://usabilitypost.com/2009/04/15/8-characteristics-of-successful-user-interfaces/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2016].

Linowski, J. (2016). GoodUI. [online] Goodui.org. Available at: http://www.goodui.org/ [Accessed 26 Apr. 2016].

Lund, L. (2015). Aesthetics in User Interface Design: The Influence on Users’ Preference, Decoding and Learning. Undergraduate. Blekinge Institute of Technology.

Porter, J. (2016). Principles of User Interface Design. [online] Bokardo.com. Available at: http://bokardo.com/principles-of-user-interface-design/ [Accessed 25 Apr. 2016].

Images:

52weeksofux, (2016). Visual hierarchy. [image] Available at: http://52weeksofux.com/post/443828775/visual-hierarchy [Accessed 15 Apr. 2016].

MitchDesigns, (2016). Hiring User Interface Designer. [image] Available at: http://www.mitchdesigns.com/blog/hiring-user-interface-designer/#.Vy-iQyHzLZU [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].

timbdesign, (2016). Innovative and Fresh. [image] Available at: https://timbdesign.com/web-design-color-palettes/ [Accessed 29 Apr. 2016].

UXPin, (2016). Creativity without Confusion. [image] Available at: https://www.uxpin.com/knowledge.html [Accessed 8 Apr. 2016].

Smartphones, the future of education?

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Smartphones have become an integral part of our daily lives.  We use them for everything, from phone calls, to surfing the internet, to taking photos. With their compactness and impressive processing power it’s no wonder they can aid in education.

Many schools are starting to integrate smartphones into classroom activities; some even have a “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) policy. Smartphones in classrooms can help students either with or without disabilities, with so many educational apps such as: voice dictation, flash cards, study schedulers; all of which can help increase productivity.

Smartphones can improve the classroom experience by making it more interactive, by enabling students to turn their smartphones into “clickers”, so as to participate in activities such as: class polling, quizzes, and backchanneling.

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The smartphones being so portable and integral to modern everyday life are invaluable as they allow students to research at the swipe of a finger and allow for learning outside of the four walls of the classroom.

Smartphones can be beneficial in the classroom for many reasons: instant internet access for research, taking a picture of the day’s work for reference later, taking short videos or voice recordings during lectures, keeping track of schedules, access to email, etc.  However, smartphones can be a negative, as they are potentially distracting, can be used in cheating, and students without access to smartphones could be left out of important classroom interactions, they may also be difficult to integrate into traditional education. Teachers can use smartphones for file sharing, uploading class notes, and even taking attendance.

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Even though it seems like the best and most obvious step forward, the question still has to be asked and answered. Will smartphones be a hindrance or a help in the long run?

Below are videos about technology in education:

Author – Natasha Ravera

 

Links:

(http://www.core.co.za/ipad-education/)

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-HIWzuDM7w)

(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2Ly1FOHIa4)

 

 

References:

1.Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Mobile Phones in Classrooms. (2012). http://www.smartschools.ph/tools/teacherresources/12-03-05/Advantages_and_Disadvantages_of_Using_Mobile_Phones_in_Classrooms.aspx

2.Carey, J. (2012). Teaching with Smartphones. The How of 21st Century Teaching, Voices, Web Tools That Deepen Learning. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://plpnetwork.com/2012/11/21/teaching-smartphones/

3.Casey-Rowe, D. (2013). Smartphones In The Classroom: Working Smarter, Not Harder.  Retrieved April 21, 2016, from http://www.teachthought.com/the-future-of-learning/technology/smartphones-in-the-classroom-working-smarter-not-harder/

4.Hennessy, M.A. (n.d.). Using Smartphones (and other PDAs) in Class: These Days, it’s Cool! Retrieved April 20, 2016, from http://lessonplanspage.com/using-smartphones-and-other-pdas-in-class-these-days-its-cool/

5.Smartphones as Tools for Education: Getting Smart With Smartphones. (n.d.). Retrieved April 21, 2016, from https://www.ecyclebest.com/resources/smartphones-as-tools-for-education

 

Images:

(http://suefrantz.com/2011/07/10/socrative-turn-student-smartphones-into-clickers/)

(http://btclounge.blogspot.co.za/2013/06/smartphones-in-classroom.html)

Best Apps – Gojimo and Khan

Apps have taken center stage in the world by assisting us with our education in this fast growing technological world. Apps such as Gojimo and Khan Academy are very different but both serve the same purpose.

“Everyone deserves a free, world-class education” – words said by the Salman ‘Sal’ Khan, creator and founder of the Khan Academy. An App like Khan Academy has been help to of assistance to students who cannot attend lectures because of unforeseen events. This organisation was created with the aim to provide free and world-class education for everyone. The resources are free and available to everyone around the world with short lectures are provided on YouTube. However, Khan Academy has its own negative, as not everyone can find it easy to access the lectures on YouTube owing to terrible internet connections, thus at a disadvantage.

With Khan Academy as a global app that assists everyone across the globe, there is a free App for South African matriculants – (Gojimo) that has been launched to help matrics get through their most important year of their schooling career. It offers free content specifically written for SA matrics with different subjects offered to choose from. The App offers random quizzes, give access to old questions and answers to give a better understanding of the material learnt in class. One of the biggest advantage the App poses is that once the App and the subject content has been downloaded to your device, you don’t need a connection to work through it considering that students do not have an internet connection everywhere.

With technology integrated in education, education will be much easily accessible and fun if the technology implemented is efficient and available to all.

Author – Chantelle Seabi

References:

1.Wright. S, April 2 2015, 2014 Techgirl

2.Khan Academy, November 15 2014, 2016 Khan Academy

 

Information Technology in Education

The ultimate goal of the implementation of information technology (IT) in education is to support all individuals involved. IT has the capability to meet the needs of schools and provide quality education, which will apply to obtaining lifelong skills.

IT is beneficial to students as it assists them in collecting all available resources and exploring new learning mediums. This involves using IT as a manner to stimulate creative thinking and learning. Students are able acquire new IT skills that can inspire new careers. Teachers can now use this tool to setup a suitable environment for interactive learning. By using it effectively teachers can reconcile the student, parent and academic work. The integration of IT in the syllabus criteria can make it easy for educators to compile exams and tests for students.

Achieving complete success when implementing this idea, support structures need to be set in place i.e. – leadership from the government- as they will be providing all the necessary resources. This would include maintenance and necessary training of educators, the use the relevant software and technology including the development of new software that are especially made for primary and secondary learners. Support should be provided to school heads as they will be taking upon the role of mentors of the change.

With regards to taking schools diversity in consideration, there should still be a school based readiness and flexibility towards the implementation. Once having overcome all possible barriers and already having solutions set for problems that may arise, IT in education can be beneficial for all societies.

Author – Ayanda Pietersen

 References:

1.www.info.gov.hk/archive/consult/2004/wayforward-e.pdf

2.https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub7203.pdf

The significance of Information Systems

The significance of knowing about information systems is to acquire more knowledge and skills of managing, recording and backing up information. Information systems help everyone in general to keep a record of their work and personal information, which is kept or backed up using electronic devices and/or documents which will help it to be easily accessible both internally and externally and it also helps in decision making.

Main typical components that make up information systems are: hardware which is made up of machinery and support equipment (input and output devices, storage and communication devices); software made up of sets of information processing instructions (programs and procedures); data are raw facts or observations. It also has networks which are communication channels that allow sharing/transferring of resources and information; people are end users that operate all information systems. With the use of these components in education, students get to enhance their understanding of technology and be more advanced in virtual learning interactions. Being able to use information, for studying, examination purposes and in their careers, making it more valuable.

Technology uses relating to information systems serves as distribution of information. For students, it enables self-service to perform administrative functions and tasks; integration of data sources; support new learning, teaching opportunities and technologies; supports open interfaces and integration with other database systems; enables ongoing, flexible reconfiguration of applications; and includes implementation and support services. Information systems improve our way of analyzing data and processing it, it basically advances our information technology knowledge and skills. It’s relevant to know more about it as it makes life much easier.

Author – Victoria Chauke

References:

1.https://eternalsunshineoftheismind.wordpress.com/2013/02/20/what-makes-up-an-information-system/comment-page-1/

2.http://www.techlearning.com/student-information-systems

Welcome note

The biggest factor that has contributed to the success of internationally recognized businesses lie behind their information system. Administration information systems, Finance information system, operational Information systems and so forth. Just as important it is for businesses, it’s been a critical element in education and the development thereof.

An example of a major information system in education is the Education Management Information System (EMIS) which was specifically designed to manage information about students, educational institutions, academic records, and other information relevant and regarding education. It was also mainly created to monitor performance of education, distribution and allocation of educational resources and services.

In addition to this, educational information systems and its rapid development has lead to the birth of ‘apps’ explicitly for educational purposes, e-learning, and other user interfaces in education. Many education institutions have developed to such an extent where tablets and smartphones is the basic material required for learning.

Author – Nyles Jacobs