Speech to Text to Speech


All new smart phones, tablets and computers (that have a microphone input), have speech to text and text to speech either built in to them, or will support software that will do it, and more often than not that software is free. This enables you to dictate text into any app/piece of software (email/webpages/notes/Word etc.)

Why is it a good idea?

Using these technologies can be hugely beneficial to people with dyslexia and dysgraphia, and visual impairments. They can also be beneficial to people with repetitive strain, or any number of physical disabilities. Individuals who are attempting to communicate in a non-native language can also benefit.

These technologies may well be useful to you in your day-to-day work, and life. I’ve noticed a growing number of people using this technology to dictating quick notes,  diary entries, etc., just because it’s quick and easy.


Today we’d like you to do one of the following:

  • Click on an appropriate link for your device and have a go at writing a note, or get it to read a screen for you, and tell us how you got on in the comments section of this post. Watch this YouTube video to find out how to enable Speech to Text on Apple devices. Or text to speech on Apple devices and Android phones. Google it if I haven’t given you a link to instructions for your device.


  • Click on the picture below, watch the video, then leave a comment on this blog post NOT on the video page please, about anything you found interesting or useful. Sian Shaw has been using tablets to assess her students and recently gave a (very quick) talk about it at one of our TeachMeet events. Sian details how her students are using the voice to speech app to facilitate inclusivity and accessibility, as well as it being a really handy thing for anyone to do and use.



Going further:

Your 5 minutes will be up for today, but as usual we’re keen to give you as much as we can. If you did not watch the video above as part of your task, then please do, as we think you will be inspired.  There are a number of tools out there for dictating text, or reading screens that you may also find interesting:

Using speech to text in Word

Typing with your voice with Google

Information about Dragon Dictate





5 Days of Digital Literacy is back on Monday

Hello, 5 Days of Digital Literacy is back this coming Monday (6th of February, 2017) so we thought we’d drop you a line to cover some admin for newcomers, and some news and information on digital badges.  Please read all of this post whether you’re new to 5 Days or not.


We thought you might be interested to see some statistics since the course started back in October 2016:

  • 292 people are currently following the blog
  • 2,411 comments have been made by you
  • 13,459 views of the posts
  • 1,474 tweet activities (tweets, reposts, likes, mentions, etc)
  • 438 digital badges have been awarded through Credly.com
  • 1,973 instances of activity with those badges (sharing, linking to LinkedIn, etc)

Welcome to newcomers

Signing up to this WordPress blog is essential if you wish to make comments, receive your digital badges, and have the posts sent to you automatically. You will find a ‘Follow’ section somewhere on this page (usually down the right hand side). Please enter your work email address into the field provided and press the ‘Follow‘ button. You should then receive an email asking you to confirm that you wish to join the blog. Please read the rest of this post newcomers, it may help you with the course.

Digital Badges

  • Congratulations to everyone who has engaged with the course, completed activities, and received their digital badges. Everyone who has completed all 5 activities from any one month on this course should have received their digital badge by now. Well done and please continue. If you think you should have received a badge and haven’t, then please contact me on jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk – BUT please read this page before doing so, as it may contain the answer you need.
  • A fair few people have completed 5 activities but not from the same month and so will not have received a digital badge yet. To receive a digital badge, you must complete 5 activities within the same month, as they are grouped in themes. We have, so far, posted 3 lots of 5 activities, and they ran in October, November and December 2016. You can see which month they were released right next to the title of the post. A bit of scrolling has to be done to find where you are – some of you may wish to scroll back, and fill in some of the gaps.  Please contact me by email if you think you should have received a badge, and haven’t: jason.williams@anglia.ac.uk
  • There’s also a number of people who do not have a Credly.com account set up and so cannot receive the badges they have earned. If you wish to receive a badge, you need to go to Credly.com and set up an account with your work email address.
  • We get a lot of queries about how you can show your badges to other people. Once you have a Credly Account you can share them on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or simply through Credly itself, and you could happy make reference to them on your C.V. The answer to this question can be found using Google. But here’s the link anyway.

Activities: IMPORTANT

  • Post your answers to the activities in the comments section of the post the activity is set. Just click on the link ‘leave a comment’ next to the title of the post.
  • Please read the activities carefully and answer them as requested.
  • There is a considerable amount of admin attached to this course, so following the instructions will save us work, and make your experience more enjoyable.

Finally: Please let people know they can still join in. Each month has different content.  We will pick up answers to the activities from all posts at any time, and this course will remain open.

Encouraging engagement with fun.



Image by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/chaoticmind75/

Well, this is the final 5 Days of Digital Literacy of 2016 – thanks to everyone who has engaged with 5 Days, We hope you enjoyed it, and very much hope you’ve found something useful.  We will be back in February 2017, but anyone can join in the meantime, and you can continue to attempt the activities.

Please contact us if you have any queries, whether it’s about any of the content or any missing digital badges – we are getting there.

It’s Christmas so let’s have a look at some toys

The following tools are free-to-use and can be used to encourage engagement among your students, maybe your colleagues, and maybe even outside work.  You could use them to introduce students to new words that are going to be used in the next class,  perhaps you could set up a couple of teams during class to play ‘Quiz Busters’ (you’ll no doubt recognise the design).  Or maybe you could get your students to design a crossword. Getting people to set up quizzes means they have to know the answers.

I’m sure non-teaching staff will enjoy these tools too, and may find some use either within your department/team, or outside of work.

These first two are freely available from Teachers Direct – they’re very easy to set up, just follow the instructions. You can ONLY use them however if you’re using the Google Chrome browser, which you have on your work machine on your Start Menu/All Programs.

Word Search: This does NOT work on handheld devices, but it is rather good and extremely easy to set up.


Quiz-Busters: Use Google Chrome to view this quiz.  Some of you will be very familiar with the format. You could set up a game, split the class in two, and run the quiz.  quizbuster

Have a go at the 5 Days of Digital Literacy crossword that I set up.  The answers are all words mentioned during 5 Days so far. These are very quick and easy to set up. They seem to work OK on handheld devices too. Visit Crosswords Labs to create one.


Have a go at the 5 Days crossword, then visit Crosswords Labs and create a quick crossword and share it with us all in the comments. You only need 2 words to make one. Once you’ve filled in the information, you need to click Generate, and to share it you then need to click Save, then copy the web address into the comments section below.


Find me some free educational toys/tools and post a URL to them in the comments.


from everyone at

Anglia Learning & Teaching!

Have yourselves a wonderful Christmas, and a happy new year. See you all safe and sound in 2017.

View one of my favourite scenes from a Christmas film – and log into BoB using your staff login – which is free for all staff and students to use.





Copyright Licenses: ERA? CLA?

era.pngIt’s important to have a running knowledge of copyright and what we are allowed to do within the HE sector, not least  because you may well find you can do more than you think.

We’re not able to deal with the entire subject here in five minutes, but we’d like to bring to your attention some useful tools to help you ascertain if you are free to use content. We’ll also offer you an explanation of ERA and CLA licenses, and how they relates to your use of media within the University.

What is an ERA licence and why is it useful for me to know that ARU has one?

The ERA is the Educational Recording Agency. In their own words:

‘Most educational establishments within the United Kingdom hold an ERA Licence either paid for centrally through agreements with the Government or Local Authorities or are licensed on an individual basis by ERA or through an aggregator

‘The ERA Licence allows you to copy broadcast material to use as part of a lesson.  It also allows the use of certain on-demand services such as BBC iPlayer, All4, ITV Player, My5, and S4C (On Demand). Holding an ERA license means that an institution can not only copy but also retain broadcast material. It allows institutions to build up libraries with valuable resources to be used when teaching.

Please visit our case studies page for ideas about how to get the best use out of broadcast material.’ Educational Recording Agency

We think you might find their FAQs interesting and useful.

Our ERA license allows us all – teaching, non-teaching staff, AND students – to use the Box of Broadcasts (BoB). We will talk about BoB at some point in a future post. Suffice to say, it’s a video-streaming service that gives you access to over a million TV programmes, films and radio programmes. Why not log in (using your staff username) and have a look around?

What is CLA and what can they offer me?

The CLA is the Copyright Licensing Agency. In their own words:

‘The CLA Higher Education Licence provides annual blanket permission to photocopy and scan from millions of books, journals and magazines and from a range of digital material such as e-books and some websites.

Millions of titles are included and we have signed up the rights from thousands of writers and publishers into one package giving you access for one annual fee – removing the complexity, time and cost you would otherwise have to endure.’ Copyright Licensing Agency


Go to the CLA tool and search for something, and let us know what it is, and what you were permitted or not do with it.  If you haven’t come across this before, we think you’re going to like the tool.  To search:

  • Visit the Check permissions page on the CLA website.
  • Enter a book title/the name of a daily newspaper/something you’re interested in and click search
  • Once you have clicked search, you will notice that you can refine your results on the left of the screen. So, in the case of searching for The Guardian for example, you’d need to click ‘Newspaper’ on the left.
  • Ensure you have ‘Higher Education’ selected in the drop down box marked ‘Check permissions by
  • Once you’ve refined your results, click on ‘Show Permissions‘ which is a red rectangular box
  • Let us know what you find and what you can do with it in the comments for this blog post.

Here are some search tips if you need them.



Podcasts and podcasting with your phone

“Can’t you smother it with tomato ketchup or something?”

John Lennon asking George Martin to cover up his horrible voice.

Today we will:

  • introduce you to the possibility of using your phone and MyPlayer for podcasting
  • introduce you to the private ‘personal’ category all staff have on MyPlayer
  • introduce you to free academic content in iTunes, including our University’s channel
  • give you an opportunity to have a hunt for interesting podcasts
  • discuss some reasons why you might consider podcasting

What if I don’t have a smart phone or don’t wish to make a video?

It’s absolutely fine if you don’t have a smart phone and/or do not wish to record anything, the activity below caters for you.

What we mean by Podcasting

The word ‘podcast’ is used generically to describe any video or audio file uploaded to the web. We will continue to use that generic term here, though the original term related specifically to a series of audio files released in sequence and downloaded by subscribers  (I’ll collect my anorak at the door).

What software do we have to deliver podcasts?

iTunes has a section called iTunesU. Hundreds of universities upload free-to-use content on to it. If you have access to iTunes then go and have a look, there’s some incredible resources up there. I’d like to think our teachers might encourage our students to find information on there too.  Anglia Ruskin University has a channel on iTunes that we use for podcasting – enter Anglia Ruskin in the search engine of iTunes, and see what we’ve produced. Have a search for Open University too if you get chance.

Staff can’t post things directly to our iTunesU channel (speak to me, Jason Williams, if you’d like to). However, I believe it’s good to know that ARU are representation on there of high quality materials, which have received tens of thousands of views and downloads from all over the world. The image below shows our latest collection:



All members of staff have access to upload to the University media library, MyPlayer. Everyone now has a personal category which is a private area they can upload to, and then share only to people who they give the web address to.

Why would I create podcasts?

  • It’s incredibly simple to do these days – and the quality of the image and audio is amazing on phones.
  • You can connect with students and let them know what’s coming up in the week/semester/course.
  • You can make very usable videos of activities to give feedback.
  • You can create short videos and answer frequently asked questions.
  • Set tasks or deliver content before class, to discuss in class.
  • Videos can help create a personal touch.

Why would I watch/listen/subscribe to Podcasts?

There’s a world of incredible content out there being delivered in this way. Whether work related or not, I hope you find something you like when you attempt the task.

How to create  podcasts with your mobile phone:

It’s very easy. Here are the instructions in short:

  • Go to myplayer.anglia.ac.uk on your phone
  • Log in using your staff user name and password
  • Click ‘upload’
  • and either shoot or upload a video you’ve made

View a short video tutorial on how to upload from your phone if you need more help.

Tips on how to make a podcast:

  • Don’t worry too much about the odd extraneous noise – life is noisy and you’ll never find anywhere completely quiet.
  • If you mess up a bit, cough or whatever, that’s fine, and is quite natural. However,  if you get something factually incorrect, that would be problematic and you will need to either correct yourself, or start again.
  • Keep it short and to the point – think about how long you’d watch a video for.
  • Nobody is going to be in the slightest bit put off if you have a piece of paper with you that you refer to.
  • I’ve found that balancing my phone on the lip of the screen-surround is a good place to shoot from:




You have a choice today:

1. Find me an interesting educational podcast, and post a description/url to it in the comments section (use Google to find them)


2. Use your phone to record a quick message, go to myplayer.anglia.ac.uk on your phone, and upload the video into your Private Category on MyPlayer via your phone. You will receive a link to that video in your email once the system has finished compressing it. (it usually takes about 20 mins) Copy that link from the email and paste it into the comments section. Here’s one I made earlier.

P.S. That quote at the top of the page?  Even John Lennon hated his voice – people are already used to yours, be brave.










Creative Commons


It’s important for all University staff to understand what Creative Commons is. Even if you never create or use any content, at some point you will have almost certainly seen something that looks like the logo above.  If you are putting a PowerPoint presentation together, giving a talk, or creating content for a web page, it’s in your interest to know what those symbols mean.

Creative Commons enables people to share what they have created, and acts as a signpost for users to help us understand in what way we may use those resources. It’s a simple idea that has led to incredible things.

What is Creative Commons?

Watch the short video at the top of that page.  If you are unable to do that, then please read the text on that page.

What the symbols mean:

Decipher what the symbols mean.


We’ll keep it light today, but we invite you to go further and look at some of the links provided below.

What we’d like you to do now is to tell us what the creative commons logo at the top of this blog post would mean if I were to apply it to a piece of music or an image that I had created. In other words, what could you legally do with resources that have that license applied to it?  Please post your description in the comments section of this blog post.

Going Further:

Licence Creator

Creative Commons has a simple and effective licence creator for you to use. Why not have a play? (click get started once you’re on the page)

How to make resources you have made into an Open Educational Resource (OER)

This is the best description of how to make your content open.

Sign up for our short online OER course if you wish to go further still.

 Useful information about making your resources discoverable.

Open Educational Resources


Welcome back to ‘5 Days’, and a special welcome to those of you who have joined the blog since last time. To new participants, please read the posts carefully, ‘Follow‘ the blog (by entering your email address in the ‘Follow’ field on the right),  and enter the answers to the activities only by ‘Comments‘ under the title of the blog post that you are reading and attempting.

Success and Badges

Well done to everyone who has completed any of the activities, particularly those who have completed an entire five days’ worth, and therefore have received a digital badge. It’s safe to say that the admin side of this venture has been challenging at times, so thank you for being patient and continuing to engage and contribute. Contact us if you think you should have been awarded a badge and have not.

Mystery Solved – ‘Something’s missing’

A number of you were asked to re-submit your Advanced Google Search answer a few weeks ago, as it appeared that the posts had gone missing. I’m relieved to say that the data wasn’t lost, it was just entered in the wrong place. It was the first post and first activity, so those of you who entered your comments either in the comments section of the video player, or into the introductory page of the blog, can be forgiven. Case solved, and no data lost, which means I don’t have to worry too much about it happening again.

Please let any colleagues you  know who might benefit from 5 Days of Digital Literacy to get onboard. The blog posts will remain open so anyone can start at any time.

Let’s get down to business.

‘What are OERs, what is OEP, and why should I care?’

Today’s session is useful for all University staff. We’ll show you how to find teaching materials and things that might help you on a course or when facilitating training sessions. There’s some fascinating resources out there and it’s useful for us all to keep up with movements and trends in the sector.

“Open Education Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use or re-purposing by others. Open educational resources include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.” (Atkins et al., 2007, p. 4)

Atkins, D.E., Brown, J.S. & Hammond, A.L. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement:

OEP is Open Education Practice and relates to the use and creation of open resources – an ethos of embedding the idea of open practice.

Creative Commons

Creatives Commons sits at the centre of the OER and OEP movement. For Universities and companies to make resources available, and easily identifiable as OER, they should have a creative commons licences attached to their work, which tells us how we may use their resources. We will talk more about that tomorrow.  For more information, visit the Creative Commons website. There’s a number of Open Platforms on their front page.


OERs appear across the web; YouTube, iTunes U, Vimeo being a few of the better known platforms. They also appear within University webpages, and are gathered together in OER directories and search engines. It’s almost impossible to talk about OER without creating your own list of resources/sites/search engines.

Today we’d like you to find something useful and/or interesting on one of the sites below (take your pick) and post a link to it in the comments section.


Post a link to any other collections/search engines of OERs you know of.

OER websites

Creative Commons search tools is a fantastic way of searching for OERs that have been tagged under the Creative Commons use.

OER Commons for something related to your subject

Open University on iTunes

Shakespeare: the downloads of images are incredible.

Great writers inspire: with some incredible materials curated from sources all over the world.

Science and Engineering – some wonderful free diagrams and GIFs here.

Open Education Consortium – general (although I found some useful Business and Law resources there)

Yale Open Courses

Wiki Commons is ‘a database of 31,495,482 freely usable media files to which anyone can contribute

Google Scholar  – You’ve learned about Google Scholar before if you completed the first week of 5 Days of Digital Literacy. It’s an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including academic publishers, universities, and preprint depositories looking for peer-reviewed articles.