H5P is a plugin that allows you to add interactive content to your iLearn unit. Here, Dr Kelly Gray (FMHHS) explains how she uses H5P in her units to enhance student engagement. This is the third post from a Spotlight on Practice interview with Kelly. As told to Kylie Coaldrake and Karina Luzia.
So many H5P activities to choose from – here are some of my favourites
Q Kelly, you’ve said you’re a huge fan of H5P. How do you use it in your teaching?
I basically embed H5P activities in every iLearn workbook. Students have said that they like the information being delivered in different ways to break it up so that’s how I do this.
Here are some of the H5P activities I use (below is an example of an image hotspot – CLICK on the ‘+’ to reveal how I use each of these H5P activities):
Yes, there is a learning curve
Q What’s your advice for getting started with H5P?
There is a learning curve and significant time investment required in getting familiar with H5P. I think for busy academic and teaching staff, it can be quite a feat, just getting it set up!
But I also think that, unless you start using it and using it often, it’s just going to continue to be hard. So my advice is get in there, have a look at it, play around with it, and keep at it. I’ve had days where I’ve spent two hours on an activity and thought that it hasn’t worked for what I wanted to do. But then three weeks later, I’ve realised ‘Actually that is the right activity for that learning outcome!’
Students say they like variety, and I certainly get variety through using H5P.
Every time I think ‘I’ve got a wall of text here’ or it’s just text-and-image, or activity after activity after activity, I’ll throw in an H5P. And I’m starting to use more and more of them. I have my go-to activities for different things now. For example, for definitions: I love flip cards (Dialog Cards). It might be something like ‘The number of people in Australia with diabetes is’ dot dot dot. Students flip the card after they have had a chance to think about it, even take a guess, rather than it just being in a sentence. It just drives that nice little wondering-and-guessing process.
I am mindful though that I don’t want any learning activity to be burdensome, it’s got to get the message through quickly. So when I try the Crossword activity (as another example) it’ll be a pretty simple one to start with.
A lot of H5P activities provide good formative feedback to students too. For example, the Image Hot Spots: you can get an image and you can add X’s and when you click on that, text appears. In our units, we use this to demonstrate dimensions of health care and we have this nice semicircle where there’s the six or seven dimensions and students click to reveal information about each one. It just slides in beautifully and it’s graphically appealing, so it has that visual impact as well as being interactive – so much more interesting instead of a whole lot of dot points. Every time I start doing bullet points now, I think this could really be done better beyond just reading a list!
H5P just happens to be a tool that helps me do that!
Q You’ve used H5P in online clinical placements too?
Yes, I mention these in this TECHE post.
We use H5P Documentation Tool to build documents – in this case, blog posts. Students are asked to write a mock clinical handover in groups in a tutorial. They do this in the document builder, which already has top tips built into the top of every page. These tips were developed, based on prior assessment task feedback. After formative feedback in the tutorial, the documents are exported, and are uploaded to a common blog which is set to individual view only. After all tutorials are completed, we unlock this to all view. Students then revisit this blog and read three other handovers (so informal peer review!) and use this to write a reflective piece – again using the H5P document builder with top tips.
Come and ask me about using H5P!
Q How did you approach learning how to develop activities using H5P?
It’s been mostly trial and error for me. H5P is not unintuitive but I think there are probably enough people out there now who are familiar with using it. I put myself up as an example, I’ve had fun, it was something I enjoyed.
My advice is to find somebody who has had fun learning H5P and go and have a chat. Why make this harder for yourself feeling that you have to sit down for five hours and try and figure it out when I already did the five hours. Come and ask me.
I’ll tell you if something will work or not, or I’ll give you an idea of which one to try because there are a lot of options in H5P which is great, but it’s also a lot to learn.
This comes back to the privilege and burden of teaching into so many different subjects that I talk about here. I wander into someone else’s iLearn unit, open a workbook and then I’m on the phone asking them ‘What H5P did you use here?’ And then I go off and play with that. But I’m someone who’s enthused by that kind of thing. For other people there might be other things that enthuse them more, and so would want to be able to short circuit that learning and get to that end place faster.
I have an ‘I love Excel’ mug. That’ll give you a hint as to what I’m like. My husband and his brothers are computer savvy and they love a good excel. I used to go to them with my problems and I would get three different solutions. I see H5P as the equivalent in the teaching space – if someone came in with a problem, there’d be 10 different ways to present something to students.
I had face-to face-lectures when I was a student. There have been generations of that evolving and getting good at it. I think the frustration that many people share is having to learn this new way of teaching and all the technology. It’s not a flip online, it’s a transition. It’s so much harder and we have to be kind to ourselves and say ‘it’s OK, we are going to get there, let’s all look for support’. There are people who just want to go back to face to face as online is not a landscape that they are comfortable with, and so we need to accept that we need to help people get through that.
View this short 3 minute video of Kelly showcasing some of her H5P activities.
Here’s how other MQ staff are using H5P
For ideas and tips on getting started with H5P, plus examples of how MQ staff (including Kelly) are using H5P in their teaching view the MQ H5P Showcase (20 minute video).
Become an H5P enthusiast yourself!
Are you interested in joining Kelly and other H5P users (fans) at Macquarie in discussing and sharing ideas on how to use H5P? After a successful ‘rapid showcase’ of H5P use in the Faculties during a recent Teaching & Leadership Community of Practice, there has been some interest in what we’re tentatively calling the H5P Enthusiasts Group, planned as a very informal get-together a few times a year, dedicated to sharing ideas around using H5P. If you’re interested in joining in, please pop your name into this form to get on the list and we’ll keep you posted!
Useful links and resources:
To add H5P interactive content to your iLearn site, Visit the INTERACTIVE CONTENT page of the Technologies and Tools website.
For examples of H5P content types, their applications and how to create them, visit the H5P website.
Kelly is also participating in the ‘Open for Observation‘ program in which MQ teachers are opening up their classrooms for staff to observe teaching in action. Read more and book in to observe.