Işıl Boy's Blog

educational technology

Educational Technology Summit

23/05/2014 by · No Comments · EdTech


I am delighted to announce that I am organising Educational Technology Summit in Istanbul, on May 31. The purpose of the first Educational Technology Summit that will take place at Yildiz Technical University is to bring together educators, technology companies, entrepreneurs, managers and the media under one roof. This event will include local and international experts, inter-active workshops and panel discussions. The focus of the Summit, the first of its kind in Turkey, is to explore the latest trends in this field by raising new questions, and sharing best practice, in an age shaped by the widespread use of new technologies in education. Albert Einstein is going to give a talk at the Summit- YES- his hologram will be there! For further info please visit: http://educationaltechnologysummit.com


Looking for a distance MA programme? 3 reasons why you should do an MA with the University of Manchester.

22/01/2014 by · No Comments · EdTech

20140122-162352.jpg I have recently completed an MA in Educational Technology with the University of Manchester. It is a three-year course, and although it says “part-time” distance programme, it requires an almost full-time commitment. Sometimes, it was really hard to stay motivated but knowing that my course-mates were also studying hard made me feel better and kept me on track.

If you are not sure how much time you will be able to spend studying, and also have other tasks to do, you can manage everything with careful planning. Over the last three years, I was working full time and continued to present at many national and international conferences. In addition, I was involved in many relevant educational projects but all of these activities helped me to gain new insights and perspectives that supported my MA research.

So, here are the three main reasons.

1- By far the most important reason is tutors: The tutors were always very kind and helpful. They provided feedback within a short time and were always willing whenever I asked for help. I was also extremely lucky and (am deeply grateful) to have had the chance to work with Gary Motteram who supported me throughout the course with his profound knowledge, inspiring ideas and constant encouragement.

2. The content of this MA course was really ‘fit-for-purpose’. The text course materials were often supported with multi-media resources, along with a manageable reading list. Moreover, the use of electronic forums helped us to understand the various topics and to discuss the subject not only with the course tutor but also with our course-mates.

3- The assignments enabled us to reflect on what we were learning and to turn the theory into practice. We were not limited to working on a singular topic; for most of the assignments, we had the chance to meet online to discuss the topic with our class-mates. Furthermore, all the assignments paved the way to the dissertation.

I would like to thank all the tutors I worked with, my dear supportive course-mate Sophia Mavridi, and my dear friend Rakesh Bhanot who always ‘came to the rescue’ during hard times. If you are looking for a distance programme, the University of Manchester is highly recommended. I waited for five years after my graduation for a suitable MA course as I wanted a programme which would make a difference; I can now honestly say that it was definitely worth waiting!

Apple Leadership Tour, Istanbul

10/05/2013 by · No Comments · EdTech

“Today’s children see technology as an environment – not as a tool.” Helen Johnson

I was invited to attend the Apple Leadership Tour held on the 8th and 9th of May; a very well-organized event where we learned about the wonders of iPad to transform education, and bring magic into our classrooms. Keynote speakers, Helen Johnson, Joe Moretti, Petr Mara and Peter Ford gave very informative talks. The fact that they have all been teachers before made the talks even more useful for us. After the keynote talks, Jakob Steeinsig and Mehmet Akal conducted hands-on workshops where they introduced us to a variety of useful apps such as iBooksNearpodKeynoteShowbieExplain EverythingSocrative and Morfo. It was also inspiring to see how some schools (e.g. Eyuboglu, Aci, Bahcesehir and Doga) have already been implementing iPads in their schools.

Working on my thesis on the use of iPads, I want to discuss a couple of issues:

Should we integrate iPads into our curriulum? 

The answer is “Yes”. However, first we need to

1- Define our objectives

2- Expand and sustain technical infrastructure, and get support from the organization

3- Provide on-going training for the teachers and students.

4- Conduct a pilot study to see the strengths and weaknesses

5- Develop a policy for iPad use

But why?

It is important to emphasise why we should use iPads, and the answer is to promote mobile learning. We need to encourage ‘learning ownership’ as well as ‘device ownership’. In a nut shell, we should let our students learn anywhere and anytime they want, and help them take control of their own learning.

What would be good to see in the next Apple Leadership Tours?

It would be good to hear what strategies shools have developed, and what their policy is for iPad use. In addition, it would be really useful to learn what kind of problems and solutions, technical and/or pedagocial, they have encountered in the initial stages of integration. Of course, this would give encouragement to schools which are hesistant to use iPads. On a different note, if presenters could avoid using white backgrounds, it would be much better for the participants who want to take pictures of the slides; also for the dyslexic participants who may have difficulties with white backgrounds. Finally, the event provided an opportunity to make new friends and get to meet others whom we knew only online.

I would like to express my thanks to Ipek Tiryaki from Troy Apple, and Apple Turkey for their kind invitation, and also to Bilgin Semiz and Deniz Yener from Apple Turkey for hosting such a fruitful event.


My Framework for Teaching with iPad Apps

03/04/2013 by · No Comments · EdTech

Working at Pilgrims Teacher Training, we have developed our framework for ICT courses with Kristina Smith. Last year, I started teaching with an iPad, so I adapted the framework for teaching with iPad apps.

The framework consists of five categories:

1- Searching: Searching for information (It is also necessary to introduce search engines for apps, such as quixey and appcrawlr)

2-Bookmarking: Bookmarking websites to save them online, and to be able to find them later

3- Organizing: Organizing materials online

4- Creating: Creating multimedia materials

5- Sharing: Finally, sharing the materials on social networking sites



Alexandra Chistyakova’s interview with me

16/02/2013 by · No Comments · EdTech

Thanks to dear Alexandra Chistyakova for the interview.

1. How did the idea of an International Symposium come to you?

Contrary to what most people think, this symposium on web technologies was not my idea. Our Vice-Director, Ayşegül Kıvanç, came up with this idea and was willing to organize something different. First, we thought it could be a one-day symposium. However, since there were many speakers I wanted to invite, we ended up organizing a two-day event. At the same time, we had no budget. So, I couldn’t invite them at all. Hence, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to all the speakers and sponsors who made this event happen.

2. What does the conference name “Wired In or Out” mean?

It came from my dear colleague, Filiz Diskaya; she was inspired by the movie “Facebook” and we all loved the idea.

3. In what cases can the use of technology, such as various ICT tools, be counterproductive and, perhaps, time consuming?

Integrating technology into the classroom needs careful planning. If there is no overall objective, and without on-going training, it can become counterproductive; even a burden. It is not enough to know how to use a web tool or an app; in fact, that is the easiest part. We need to consider whether our objective is technology-centered (the focus is on the capabilities of cutting edge technology) or learner-centered (the focus is on the way that people learn and process information).


So, the web tools we are planning to use need to be in line with the objectives. Then, we should make sure that every student knows how to use that tool. We cannot simply assume that every student in our classroom is tech-savvy. We also need to share our objectives with our students, and set some rules. Otherwise, students will think that they are just playing games on the computer. Indeed, we should help our students to see computers, or tablets, as educational tools rather than toys or machines for playing games .

Some institutions tend to believe that it is enough to install hardware in the classroom and ‘dip’ teachers into brief training workshops, but it doesn’t work. (Hoffman, 1996) Here, there comes a need for the investigation of Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge (TPACK) which intends to determine the nature of information demanded by teachers who are integrating technology into their teaching. TPACK framework has three main focus: content, pedagogy and technology; it suggest blending technology knowledge with pedagogy and content knowledge in order to achieve effective technology integration. (Mathew Koehler and Punya Mishra, 2006).

4. Can you please give an example of a successful use of technology in your classroom?

I have been using pbworks wikis for three years now and I have experienced several benefits. The main reasons why I chose to explore wikis are because they encourage transparent learning, promote learner autonomy, develop digital literacy, stimulate collaborative learning and foster motivation. Wikis are also one of the most popular asynchronous tools for writing practice. Smith, Alvarez-Torres & Zhao (2003:706) hold the view that asynchronous communication gives more time to work on a reply; hence promotes more in-depth understanding of the

information along with more thoughtful responses. Wikis also serve an important role to develop educational courseware; hence teachers will also be able to develop their courseware to collect their web-based and mobile learning materials. I have also developed courseware on wikis:http://blogging.humanities.manchester.ac.uk/mewxjib4. My objectives in designing this courseware were to show teachers how to use wikis in depth, to introduce some examples on wikis for classroom use, to show them some tools and apps which they can use on wikis, to help them test themselves on what and how much they have learned, and to encourage them to start using wikis. My foremost aim, while designing and developing this courseware, was to make it engaging so that teacher would be willing to use wikis with their students.

5. What’s your favorite application at the moment? Why?

I must say that I am an avid iPad user and my favorite application is Zite which is a free personalized magazine that automatically learns what you like and gets smarter every time you use it.

6. Isil, the First International Symposium has been a major success. What is next on your to-do list?

My course on “Using Mobile Technology” and my dissertation on mobile learning, and the use of iPads in teaching. I am pretty excited about my new mLearning course, and I am going to run it both at Pilgrims in Canterbury, in Istanbul and in Izmir. I have already explored teachers’ beliefs about the use of iPads in teaching for my MA assignment, and I am going to focus on the same topic for my dissertation. I am also planning to organize another conference but this time it will be totally different.

Symposium blog:http://yildizunieltsymposium12.wordpress.com (A special thanks to our roving reporter, Vicky Loras, and our British Council interviewer, Rakesh Bhanot).

Symposium hashtag: #ytuelt


 Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge:

A framework for integrating technology in teachers’ knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017–1054.

 Smith, B., Alvarez-Torres, M. J. & Zhao, Y. (2003). Features of CMC technologies and their impact on language learners’ online interaction. Computers in Human Behavior. 19(6), 703-729

Hoffman, B. (1996): What Drives Successful Technology Planning, Journal ofInformation Technology for Teacher Education.

Mobile Learning & The Affective Context Model

16/01/2013 by · No Comments · EdTech

Mockus et al. (2011: 5) defines mLearning as “knowledge on the move”, and it is claimed that mobile learning, in addition to motivating learners, helps them to learn anywhere anytime since learning is now available to the learners’ in their own environments and is not restricted to (physical) classroom settings.

So, what is the relation between mobile learning and the ‘Affective Context Model’?

If people can learn things when they need to, then it is likely to be more effective. In this context, Jones (2010) discusses the ‘Affective Context Model, and describes learning as a process by which people attach importance to information. He states that people learn the things that matter to them. According to the ‘Affective Context Model’, there is a crucial difference between ‘pull type’ of learning (informal learning) and ‘push type’ of learning (formal learning). The ‘Affective Context Model’ is sustained by the learner in the pull type of learning whereas learners are indifferent to the information in the push type of learning.

Rosenberg (2010) also underlines the importance of informal learning and considers it as a cause factor for mLearning. With the help of mLearning, we are learning anytime/anywhere, which becomes a form of informal learning process, so pull type of learning is easily achieved. Nowadays, even when we are not searching for information, it is supplied to us via mobile phones. For instance, we can learn a lot of useful information if we use Twitter and follow educators who share great resources or websites.

Mobile learning provides intrinsic motivation, which comes from within an individual, since it makes learning more fun and meaningful. As we do not usually buy our mobile phones or tablet devices for our studies, we may nevertheless, consider them as fun tools to use. According to the study carried by Mockus et al. (2011), mLearning motivated students to learn, and most of the students stated that they found it beneficial, fun, and meaningful.

Siemens (2004) claims that informal learning has gained momentum; that people learn through personal learning networks, or when they are busy with some other tasks. He further states that learning and work-related tasks are interwoven, not separate; and the tools we use change the way we think since technology has a power over us to change the way we learn and process information. He also notes that knowing where to find the information is now more important than the knowledge itself.

Please watch the video below if you want to learn more about the ‘Affective Context Model’.


Jones, N (2010). Towards a Working Theory of Learning: The Affective Context Model. Available at: http://www.aconventional.com/2010/05/towards-working-theory-of-learning.html

Mockus, L., Dawson, H., Edel-Malizia, S., Shaffer, D., An, J., & Swaggerty, A. (2011). The Impact of Mobile Access on Motivation: Distance. Education Student Perceptions. Retrieved April 29, 2012 from: http://learningdesign.psu.edu/research/MLRTWhitePaper.pdf

Rosenberg, M. J. (2010). Marc my words: Thinking about mobile learning in the age of iPad. Learning Solutions Magazine. Retrieved April 28, 2012 from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/477/marc-my-words-thinking-about-mobile-learning-in-the-age-of-ipad

Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology & Distance Learning, Retrieved May 14, 2012 from http://www.itdl.org/Journal/Jan_05/article01.htm

Augmented Reality in Education

11/01/2013 by · 3 Comments · EdTech


Augmented reality is a 3D learning environment which connects real and virtual world. It provides interactive tools for learning, and  fosters informal learning. Besides, augmented reality increases motivation and engages learners. Above all, augmented reality is good for kinesthetic learners; it enables learners participate interactively with computer generated simulations.

My Top 3 Augmented Reality Apps:

  1. Quick Writer: is a text editor which enable you to watch things while you are typing. It is a great app for teachers who regularly attend conferences. :)
  2. Snapshop: helps you visualize furniture in your own home or classroom using augmented reality. It is an incredible app to practise furniture vocabulary.
  3. String:  is a magical app which recognizes framed pictures, and shows 3D objects as if they existed in the real world.

 Digital Storytelling with Augmented Reality:

Zooburst:  is a digital storytelling app that lets you create your own 3D pop-up book. It allows you to rotate around your book by touching and dragging the screen. With its Augmented Reality mode, you can create your own 3D pop up book; and bring it into the real world.

How to Create Augmented Reality:

You can create augmented reality with Metaio!

Some Articles on Augmented Reality:


The Potential of M-Learning

01/10/2012 by · 1 Comment · EdTech

M-learning (mobile learning) means simply letting users learn wherever, whenever they want, which is valued in the modern world where people cannot seem to spare enough time for anything. It also allows people to integrate their studies into other aspects of their lives.

E-learning is regarded as learning ‘beyond classroom walls‘, and m-learning, which is regarded as an extension of e-learning, is now seen as learning ‘beyond computer screens‘.  

M-learning provides intrinsic motivation, which comes from within an individual, since it makes learning more fun and meaningful. As we do not usually buy our mobile phones or tablet devices for our studies, we may nevertheless, consider them as fun tools to use. According to the study carried by Mockus et al. (2011), m-learning motivated students to learn, and most of the students stated that they found it beneficial, fun, and meaningful.

Two weeks ago, I gave a presentation on m-learning with my tutor  Gary Motteram, course director of the MA in Educational Technology and TESOL at the University of Manchester, at the World Members’ Conference in Istanbul.

 Our abstract: Mobile devices are usually the first thing we touch after we wake up and the last thing we touch before going to bed, we seem to have the whole world in our palms now. It is acknowledged that mobile learning, in addition to motivating learners, helps them to learn anywhere anytime since learning is now available to the learners’ in their own environments and is not restricted to (physical) classroom settings. In this workshop, presenters will discuss the potential of mobile learning for classroom use, and some issues to consider before using tablets in the classroom. Ultimately, they will introduce both online and offline apps for English language teaching and learning.

Our presentation:


 Mockus, L., Dawson, H., Edel-Malizia, S., Shaffer, D., An, J., & Swaggerty, A. (2011). The Impact of Mobile Access on Motivation: Distance. Education Student Perceptions.

Useful Mobile Applications for Online Learners

09/06/2012 by · 1 Comment · EdTech

Mobile applications which are generated almost on a daily basis help online learners, and it is now possible to create audio memos which is much easier than to jot down things on paper. Some useful free and paid applications for online learners are introduced below.

Blackboard Mobile Learn: Blackboard’s latest release is highly promising and is claimed to have been developed to create a more interactive learning experience. It enables push notifications which is extremely useful for online leaners to stay connected, and follow threads without even running the app. It also lets students receive notifications when new announcements and grades are posted. When we post something on the forums we may not be sure that it has been read but the push notifications seem to be very helpful by keeping us updated. (free)

Dropbox: This is a cloud-computing service which allows users to store documents, photos and videos. However, it is limited to 2GB, but users can get more space by suggesting friends. (paid)

Goodreader: This is a great application with many ingenious features. It is a PDF reader and an annotater app, but it also enables users to organize, and access any file; in addition, users can sync their documents with Dropbox. (paid)

Posterous: This is a great app to share ideas or maybe photos and videos. It can be used to write blog posts and lets users keep their posts private. (free)

Textgrabber: This app lets users extract texts from any printed sources, which is a perfect time saver for online learners. It also provides full-text translation. Thanks to Kristina Smith for suggesting this brilliant tool! (paid)

Docas: This is a pdf annotator and document reader only compatible with iPad. The key feature is that it allows users to annotate and create audio memos. (paid)

Pages: This is one of the best word processors, and lets users select the file format (Pages, PDF, Word) to share the document,  and it also works with iCloud by keeping the documents up to date automatically. (paid)

Diigo Offline Reader: This lets users save websites and download files to browse offline. (free)

Hope you find them useful, too! 

How to Make Slideshows (PhotoPeach)

07/06/2012 by · No Comments · EdTech

Photopeach is a great tool to create free slide shows. There are 3 reasons why I highly recommend this tool:

1- It allows users to upload photos; according to multimedia principle, people learn better from words and pictures than from words alone. (*Mayer, 2005) Of course, we need to search for royalty free images. Here are some websites where you can find royalty free images: freedigitalphotos.net, morguefile.com, pics4learning.com, http://www.sxc.hu, http://ookaboo.com/o/pictures.

2- It enables users to add captions in the show; according to spatial contiguity principle, people learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented near rather than far from each other on the page or screen. (*Mayer, 2005)

3- It is embeddable, you can easily embed it into your class blog or wiki. It also has two options if you want to view/ embed it:”story”, which includes captions, and “spiral” which shows only photos. (Please click on the image below to view full size).

You can create quizzes with PhotoPeach, but I believe Proprofs is much better if you intend to create online quizzes for your students.

Since we are getting ready for the summer holiday, you may ask your students to use photopeach to describe their dream holiday :-)


Please click here to check out my home-made video which shows How to Use Photopeach.

*Mayer, Richard, E. (ed.) (2005). The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Cambridge University Press