Educators and educational technology entrepreneurs have been mixing at SXSWedu. Our online learning platform, BMJ Learning, is thinking hard about its next phase, so Dr Helen Morant went along to the educational innovation conference in Texas to see if we could learn anything.
Now we can measure everything, we can start measuring the right things
The most exciting thing about online learning is how we can measure things that we couldn’t dream of before. Everyone knows that time is a terrible measure of value in education, but for a long time it is all we had. Now education and assessment are moving online, we have piles of data that is useful for students and their teachers, appraisers and assessors. What learners do online, and how they do it can all be recorded and fed back to create hyper personalised learning experiences. But perhaps the most exciting thing is that education is moving out of being a woolly social science discipline into something evidence based and important. And we’ve barely scratched the surface of the data. more…
28 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
This time last year I reviewed Browzine, an app that lets its users browse, sort and save scholarly and peer-reviewed articles on the go. Docphin (the Personalized Health Information Network) is of a similar ilk but with a few key differences; not least its focus on medical journals. Founded by a group of physicians in 2010, Docphin seeks to address the need of medical professionals to keep up-to-date with medical literature in an easily accessible format. By the end of 2013, it was being used by over 350 institutions in 15 countries.
17 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
The tech community has been watching closely since Facebook went public in 2012 and began its mission to engage mobile web users. News about younger users abandoning Facebook for the trendier Whats App and Snapchat have fueled many a doomsday warning, but refinements made to the platform’s app over the past year appear to have been successful. According to Facebook, an enormous 945 million out of 1.2 billion monthly active users were using the company’s mobile products by the end of 2013.
Now Facebook wants to offer content serendipity with Paper, a standalone iOS news reader app that delivers human and algorithm-curated full-screen articles and photos in categories you select like Tech, Health, and Pop Culture. Mark Zuckerberg said back in March that he wanted to make Facebook “the best personalized newspaper in the world.” However, it seems that the designers of Paper have come up with something closer to a glossy magazine. more…
6 Feb, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
Twitter generated an entire ecosystem of social networking apps, each striving to make using multiple social networks, posting everywhere and sharing longer posts, easier. Twitter then started cracking down on how third party apps could use its API and most of us moved back to using each network individually. However, there are still a few apps out there that can make social networking easier and more productive. One of the best is Buffer.
22 Jan, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
Diabetics could soon avoid pinprick blood tests using a smart contact lens that measures glucose in tears. A prototype shown off by Google (with a little help from Microsoft) uses an embedded miniaturised glucose sensor and wireless chip to measure glucose levels as often as once every second.
“We’re also investigating the potential for this to serve as an early warning for the wearer, so we’re exploring integrating tiny LED lights that could light up to indicate that glucose levels have crossed above or below certain thresholds.”
13 Jan, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
In December 2013, Facebook changed the algorithm that determines which “stories” are visible on the News Feed. It seems that the social network has begun to prioritise content from sources that users engage with most. Some fear that content from a ‘liked’ Facebook page will therefore become negligible if it does not engage its readers.
In fact, a week or so after Facebook made its changes, one social media marketing agency, Ignite, analyzed 689 posts from 21 brand pages. Ignite found that in just one week, the number of people who saw posts from those brands declined by 44% on average, “with some pages seeing declines as high as 88%.” more…
6 Jan, 14 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
Predicting the future, especially in the dynamic world of Technology, is a risky business. However, it’s that time of year when the great and good cast caution to the wind and suggest key areas to watch in 2014. Here’s a round-up of the main themes to look out for.
This is the big one. A survey for software firm Citrix showed that 91% of Americans are excited about gadgets you can wear – be they glasses, wristbands or clothing. 2014 promises smart-watch launches from Google and Apple, as well as a host of other tech accessories.
20 Dec, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
TV ads, with their emotive stories and soundtracks, tend to get the most attention in the run-up to Christmas. However, online sales figures show that digital now plays a significant part in seasonal campaigns. And not only in selling, but in promoting and monitoring a campaign too.
YouTube views and social buzz can be a good indicator of how a campaign is doing. With so many consumers now multi-screening (whether stacking or meshing), TV and online are more closely related than ever. The best seasonal advertising campaigns are therefore those that are cross-platform, with online, email marketing and social offering a brand experience that seamlessly blends with and compliments an offline campaign.
Here are some of the best performing and technically advanced campaigns from the past few years.
16 Dec, 13 | by Claire Bower, Digital Comms Manager, @clairebower
In a previous post, I discussed the increasing importance of social media optimisation (SMO) at the expense of traditional SEO methods. This week, I’ll be looking at how traditional publishers are testing this theory with product launches that rely almost entirely on consumer behaviour on Twitter and Facebook.
Buzzfeed, a website that combines a platform for detecting viral content with an editorial process to provide a snapshot of “the viral web in realtime”, revealed that it had reached a record high of 130 million global unique users last month.
The company credited a lot of the growth to an increase in traffic coming from Facebook. However, Twitter referral traffic has also surged, with 180% growth in the past year. The seven-year-old site is experiencing breakneck growth, with global unique user numbers up 350% year-on-year.
A key theme of the Corporate Social Media Summit (#csmeu) was how social media can help businesses achieve their strategic objectives.
Ian Robin, Director of Strategic Accounts EMEA at Hootsuite said that much of the confusion around linking the two can be traced back to how social media was originally adopted by organisations, usually in a ‘cottage industry’ fashion by individual departments who wanted to create awareness around a campaign. This approach worked to an extent but created variation across companies and without a clear vision of how social can be used in a strategically meaningful way.
To help unravel the confusion, some speakers at #csmeu gave best practice examples as to how approaches to social media have been tied back to clear business goals. Royal Mail uses Twitter to engage directly with and reply to customer complaints or queries. Martha Roberts, Head of Customer Support, explained that not only does this service help solve customers’ problems but also presents the opportunity to develop a rapport between staff and customers. Staff are given the freedom to use a personable tone of voice and this gives the company the opportunity to shine: not only is it a customer service exercise but also a great PR opportunity. As you can see from the photo below this approach has instilled improved consumer confidence. One of Royal Mail’s priorities is to be customer-focused and through this example you can trace it clearly back to what they’re all about.