Introducing Life, by UniServity.

Lifeby UniServity, combines the best technologies with UniServity’s world class learning platform to lift learning safely into the clouds. Read on to find out more…

View our Life Brochure and have a look below at the latest screenshots from our Beta Release!

13 responses to this post.

  1. Join the conversation, add a comment

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  2. Posted by Phil Bagge on January 15, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    What I really want is…

    Google Wave type tool (PrimaryPad) with colour-coding for pupils and secure chat based within the tool. Either text or even better voice chat. Should be secure within the school domain only to start but with the option to allow wider sharing as pupils age/maturity allow.

    An email system but it should limit children to only email within the current domain. When children get to a certain age or prove themselves responsible then they should be able to email outside the domain. All good security setting and spam filters. Any rubbish that looks like its being rude, should email to teacher so that he/she can discuss netiquette with the children.

    Expanded collaborative document system similar to Google Docs to include word processor, spreadsheet, slide presenter, mind-mapping, drawing. All of those can only be shared within the school apart from projects that we agree might be collaborative with other schools or other countries.

    A linked website builder which children can built sites similar to Google Sites, but with the ability to publish things outside the domain once permission is given by a teacher.

    A secure chat system that records the chat in case of a cyber bullying incident. Like children to have the ability to do video chat. Chat facilities to overlay any of the other collaborative facilities as well. Video chat and text chat should be part of the other collaborative processes. Like the ability to switch this off for children who can’t cope with that level of maturity.

    Equivalent of their own workspace – their wall. A mix of a facebook style discussion wall for posting. Children should be able to set up their own subgroups/communities. Initiate discussions about the next learning phase, negotiating curriculum.

    All of this should be on a single signup somewhere.

    These facilities should be available all the way through their educational history. There should be graduated versions of these facilities; skinned appropriately to look fun and funky in the reception.
    Take the same system “out there” into the wild” at the end of pupils formal education . Dis-establishing it from the system. Kid keeps all of their tools and the parts of the network that they want, but it’s no longer linked to a specific network (a school or college or university).

    When a kid gets over a certain age/maturity level they can start porting in bits and pieces from other outside agencies/services. (I hate all this constantly having to set up a new thing all the time.)
    A media repository – upload their own pictures securely. Provide a shared e-locker for material created in other mediums (e.g. a drawing or 3-D model in another piece of software).

    The ability to link/create/arrange targets, targets they write/drag from banks of child friendly targets collaboratively with the teacher. System detects when a child is working on a target and prompts for verbal or textual reflection.

    Should be a teacher marking system, plus a peer-monitoring system. So that children can give each other feedback for their contribution to collaborative activities. All that set of data should pull into the same system as teacher grading.

    I would like some sort of portfolio system – children should be able to star any bits of their contributions from any tool in the system, and they would be gathered together as “my best bits”. These are things that I’m proudest of that I want to share with my mum or my granny.

    A testing quiz system that is easy to create and store banks of questions much like a Quiz tool but pupils would be able to create questions and quizzes as well as teachers.

    I would like all this for free. (!)

    Reply

  3. To find out when you can begin to use life, have a look at the “When is Life Coming?” tab at the top of the page.

    More importantly however, this is your opportunity to shape the building of the Life learning cloud itself; what it can enable, the opportunities that it can provide for you and for your school.

    What Learning Opportunities do you want to make available for your students, teachers, parents, governors, wider school community?

    Reply

  4. Jon I think there is a big question of formal vs informal networking on the web in education which you raise. I often think that primary (esafety) and less confident teachers are going to need a one stop shop but that confident secondary teachers might not. Will students pre empt the decision by moving on to informal networks? In my opinion this is probable.

    Reply

    • I’m not an expert in this field so my comments are from the point of view of someone who uses the web for learning every day in school. I therefore take a pragmatic view. The tension seems to be between governments and businesses wanting to both legislate for and privatise eLearning and a rapidly growing community of learners who will naturally seek out the best, free, most contemporary services out there to network, collaborate and create online. The key issue for me is ownership. How personal can a one-stop-shop service be? What will motivate young people to share their work inside a locked down system in an environment that looks and feels like it could belong to anyone? There is a huge focus on the primary school marketplace for products like this where issues of safety are, perhaps, more acute. I am really interested in what “Life” has to offer but not sure I can wait until September to try it out. I appreciate how hard it must be for companies like Uniservity to keep pace with the open source, rapidly moving nature of the web. I also realise that there are very few truly free things out there. Let’s hope that “Life” is future proofed as much as possible and fully customizable by the user. I suspect that schools will, more and more, attempt to create a kind of patchwork quilt of solutions that enable all kinds of exciting elearning to take place, rather than opting for a single solution. That’s not to say that something like “Life” couldn’t be part of the quilt.

      Reply

  5. Posted by Diane Cox on January 17, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    Some thoughts:

    I think the idea of using cells and apps and allowing them to be pulled in to build a personal learning space is great.

    Hopefully there will be a basic toolset of easy to use apps such as blogs wikis forums quizzes surveys and a photo gallery tool included in the basic product, and implemented seamlessly so that the students of teachers not so confident with web 2.0 can quickly start to benefit from the learning opportunities they can provide ‘right out of the box’.

    More adventurous staff and students should also be able to integrate external free tools which appear on the scene.

    Younger students should also be catered for by a simple graphical interface and voice tools.

    Mobile access via all the key smartphone platforms should be supported, to enable the streamlined capture of classroom learning direct to the cloud for immediate sharing with peers and parents.

    Teachers should benefit from simple to use assessment tools that enable them to quickly and easily update students progress and targets on an ongoing basis and have this feed directly back into the school MIS (enter the info once…)

    The ability a la Google Apps/Office 2010 to edit docs in the cloud and remove tedious downloading and uploading.

    Schools should be able to decide how ‘open’ or ‘closed’ their platform is on a whole school, year group or community basis.

    LAs and schools should be able to see meaningful statistics on school usage. Teachers should be able to see meaningful statistics on their students usage.

    Having an SDK available to integrate existing tools and develop new apps also sounds good especially for secondaries with investment in existing systems.

    Subscription to blogs forums podcasts and content pages/cells via RSS or email subscription would be super too, as well as the ability for users to be allowed to publish blogs externally,

    Enough for now…

    Reply

  6. Posted by Phil Bagge on January 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    I know what you mean about waiting for things or just getting on and doing what you know the kids need. However I suspect that lots of teachers will not be as advanced or web friendly as we are. Something like life could make a really big impact on main stream which is quite exciting and it is nice to see a company thinking educationally first and foremost.

    Reply

  7. The potential of this Life Learning Cloud is enormous. I particularly like the ease of editing without downloading/uploading steps – the fewer steps in editing and adding information, apps and learning experiences, the better in my opinion – far more likely to be used by less confident users of ICT in school. I showed the site to my class today and they liked the visual appeal of the boxes and the ease of the toolbar at the top for accessing their profile/homepages etc – they are already becoming quite keen on keeping their own blogs up to date, and are also keen to share with others – so anything that makes life easier for primary school children is good.

    As mentioned earlier in the discussion, a “one-stop-shop” approach really does make life easier for primary children (and less confident staff – and me, because I’m always pushed for time!) – the fewer passwords to remember, the better! (for me in my ageing state and for younger children). I just hope it will be as easy to embed web 2.0 tools from other sites.

    As to improvements/suggestions, I will talk about my current wish-list – the tools I want to see as part of my one-stop shop to enable greater collaboration and co-construction of learning opportunities are:
    – real-time online editing of shared writing (similar to primary pad/google wave)
    – improved survey tools – easier to set up (like surveymonkey) but with functionality that enables pupils to meet national curriculum requirements e.g. searching, preparing visual representations (graphs/more whizzy presentations)
    – onlne video conferencing functionality – like skype, but controlling which classes/profile sets can contribute – more than 2 classes at a time with video, eg when sharing storyteller between small schools (see recent tweets by Joga5)
    – wikis – biggest drawback at the moment is that two pupils logged on separate pcs overwrite each others work – if that worked more like a real time editor, would be better
    – we are in process of incorporating securus desktop monitoring in school – would appreciate a similar safeguarding process for any entries on a learning platform/cloud to notify me of any causes for concern – we will have something in place at school but need to ensure we can follow up any e-safety concerns arising from use of learning platform/cloud at home – I know we can follow up messages at the moment by requesting an excel file, but there are so many tools for communication such as forums and wikis and we don’t necessarily always want to approve all inputs, but want to be able to follow up as necessary…….

    I hope this doesn’t sound negative – we have had great experiences with the current product and one of my main issues will be winning over staff who are just getting onboard with our learning platform, though I hope the similarities and ease of use will be the persuading factors….

    Reply

  8. Posted by Pilgram on January 23, 2010 at 7:26 pm

    Mobile integration

    Platform Capability

    Ability to post data direct from mobile devices as well as edit data within the capability of the device. Data upload to include geotagging so that photos can be displayed in the appropriate location on a map. Photo upload from mobile phones to include facility to add captions to photos via text eg 1 send from mobile device includes photo, gps and caption data. These to be uploaded automatically into folders on the platform (which of course can have varied access capability).

    Ability to set mobile device to receive data from a particular location. When mobile device reaches a particular location triggers download of data, photos, video, text, multimedia in appropriate format for mobile devices.

    Educational benefit

    Ability for younger learners to use trails around school or local area and receive data telling them more about a particular area, such as photos of how the area was in the past.

    Ability to create treasure hunts for orienteering type exercises where learners have to find a particular location and then receive a clue or data.

    Ability for children to create their own trails around school grounds putting information about their favourite places, what a particular plant or feature is, etc.

    Ability for older children to create trails around their local community giving open information to others.

    Reply

  9. Posted by Pilgram on January 23, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    Platform Capability

    Full integration of Twitter or similar feeds- ability to Tweet (or …) from within Life.

    Educational Benefit

    Alternative to Forums and Wallwisher allowing quick and easy response to activities.

    Reply

  10. We have the UniServity cLc learning platform at the moment and I am mightily relieved to hear that we’ll be able to transfer a lot of the “stuff” we have on it to this new Life Learning Cloud…

    Things I liked when I saw Life Learning Cloud include the layout options – the cells appeal enormously; the navigation options look user friendly; I liked the way you can just click on a cell to edit it (rather than going through all the boxes on the right hand side of our current platform). I like the way it autosaves (I think I’m remembering that correctly – if I’m not, please can you add it to my wishlist) – that will be much easier for our youngsters (even me when I get distracted when half way through something).

    Things I would like to see on this new Life Learning Cloud…..
    – real time collaborative editing – like Primary Pad/live meeting/dabbleboard – text and drawing – options….
    – being able to have more than one person editing a wiki page without losing what the other person has done when they save it (now that’s a big ask!)
    – simple ways to add/edit users/user groups, etc
    – keep the voice recorder on every wysiwyg
    – much simplified survey tool (but with the ability to ask different types of questions and analyse data using pretty pictures, so we can use it to teach handling data ICT skills – branching database possibility would be great, too)
    – something similar to skype for schools working together embedded into the LLC
    – tools along the lines of voicethread and wallwisher that are part of the LLC, so pupils don’t need to remember more than one login
    – please keep the icon login – it’s great for the younger children
    – drawing options for younger children to share their ideas more easily
    – keeping the ease of embedding web 2.0 tools on pages – preferably ensuring ease of login to those tools for pupils? see comment for voicethread and wallwisher

    I’m sure I’ll think of lots more! and I really look forward to seeing what is in store as it all develops!

    Reply

  11. I have been using the cLc for a couple of years now is two different schools. WHilst it has all the functionality you could want, it could never be described as pretty.

    Everyone I have shown Life to has commented on what a vast improvement the looks of the interface are. I think the ability to add and delete cells from your own space is great, allowing pupils a much better experience when using the system.

    Will the SDK be released before LIFE, allowing some keen programmers we have here to start to create apps?

    Reply

    • We will be releasing the Life API in the summer to selected partners and users. We will then look to make the API more widely available during the beta release.

      Reply

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