Wednesday, June 29, 2011

ALT-C 2010 paper

Tim Neumann authored this conference paper for the ALT-C conference in 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

New spin off blog

Now that the APT project Phase 1 has come to an end, we have established a new blog to profile the APT work on mobile technologies in East Africa. You can find this blog by following the link below:

Androids in Africa

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

APT STAIRS finishes up

The APT STAIRS project officially came to an end on the 8th December at the Dissemination event. To read more about the event please click here.

As the project has now finished, I will be moving onto my next project, which means I will be leaving the Bloomsbury Colleges. I would like to thank everybody involved in the project and a huge thank you to the APT STAIRS team for being such a great team to work for. It has been a successful project that I was proud to be a part of and hope to stay in contact with you all.

Wishing you all the best and a great new year ahead with the next APT projects.
Caroline (APT STAIRS Project Officer)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

APT is blogged by Google

In a blog post featuring Google's connection with Blackboard, the search tool built for the LIDC in the APT STAIRS project was cited:

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New African mobile surveillance and feedback project

Enhancing Disease Surveillance And Response In The Animal And Human Health Sectors Through The Application Of Mobile Technologies

Mobile technologies are now increasingly being used across Africa for everything from phone to SMS texting. This is associated with widespread access to affordable mobile networks and handsets. In many cases this technology has overtaken the use of landline phones, radio and internet for communication in rural communities. Innovative examples of the potential of these mobile devices including the ability to make small SMS payments, receiving text alerts of market prices or receiving medication reminders for TB treatment.

The recent development and access to second generation mobile devices offers significant new opportunities for disease surveillance and prevention. The handsets now have accurate geo spatial sensing which enables accurate tracking of location and linking to text, image and data. The potential to insert memory cards means that not only can the devices temporarily capture data off line where a network is poor. This additional memory means that the handsets can be populated with appropriate disease extensions and support material in video, audio and textual format which the operator can refer to in the field.

There are already Open Source tools available for the Android platform which can be relatively simply be engineered to enable disease data collection. Data entry can be using a pen device, a keypad or touch screen and GPS settings are captured automatically. This data can then be transmitted through a GPRS or low bandwidth network to a central server where it can be analyses, mapped and modelled almost immediately after the data has been collected. The field worker can then be referred to information on the handset memory in the local language for example with advice on suitable biosecurity measure to adopt.

This initiative therefore aims to explore the opportunities provided by these mobile technologies to enhance disease surveillance in the human and animal health sectors, reporting and feedback in Zambia, Tanzania and Kenya/Uganda. It will draw on the extensive experience of its partners working in the field in South-east Asia and Southern/Eastern Africa, university based research and development expertise and the insight and experience provided by Google and other technology providers.
The project has been generously funded by the Rockefeller Foundation through the Southern African Centre for Infectious Disease Surveillance ( with an initial Tanzanian planning workshop in January 2010.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Videos from Africa

As part of the APT for AFRICA project, we are trying to develop a range of video and audio podcasts related to veterinary topics in Africa. We have currently have a recent graduate, Bev Panto, who will be visiting Kenya and Tanzania to record a series of video interviews using a basic Flip camera for use in Development Education. More details to follow.

In the interim, here is a video we shot earlier - the first video on the web of a calf with East Coast Fever filmed in Zanzibar by Andrew Hagner and the RVC Undergraduate Research Team.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Androids for Africa at Hanheld 2009

Nick Short and Andrew Hagner gave this presentation at the Handheld Learning 2009 conference in October 2009. They described how in Tanzania, the Royal Veterinary College has been working with aid projects and government services to explore the potential of mobile devices. By using the GPS geo-spatial functionality of the newer smart phones it is now possible to accurately track the spread of diseases such as avian flu. Working with the Google Android platform, the team have now developed a set of phone based forms which can capture and transmit key disease data to a central server.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Final APT STAIRS Event

We are holding our final dissemination event on the 8th October at the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes (London) at 2pm for anyone interested in learning about the APT STAIRS project.

The APT Team will be presenting their findings and sharing their experiences followed by a workshop on the future of online collaborative technologies, plus guest speakers from JISC and Bloomsbury.

To reserve a place at the event please register here.

Monday, September 14, 2009


Have a listen to Sarah Sherman talking about the APT STAIRS project for the University of Leeds' podcast series.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Taking APT to Africa

The RVC Undergraduate Research Team ( has just returned from their project on East Coast Fever in the cattle of Zanzibar. This project also served as a pilot for the use of Google Android Platform devices for the collection of field data via the Google Open Data Kit. The project was a big success as over 400 animals were sampled from all parts of the main island. The devices were also a huge hit with the team who found them very easy to use for both collecting physical exam data and updating Twitter, Facebook, and the team blog ( The project hopes to provide answers to the Zanzibar Government about which vaccine strains to use as well as helping this exciting new mobile technology through its growing pains.

Award-winning status!

This week, Sarah Sherman presented at ALT-C 2009 (the Association of Learning Technology's annual conference). Focusing on the APT Model, Sarah highlighted the success of the project and the various offspring projects that have grown out of the APT approach. You can access the presentation here.

The team was also delighted to have been awarded best poster at the conference. To view the poster, click on the image on the left to zoom in. Special thanks to Caroline Bell, the poster's designer.

e-Cases presented at AMEE, Malaga!

The e-Cases project was presented on Monday 31st August at the Association for Medical Education in Europe (AMEE) conference, which was held in Malaga. This conference brings together those interested in Medical education (plus a few vets!) from all over the globe, and is the biggest of its kind.

Chris Trace, from the Royal Veterinary College, gave a ten minute presentation to a packed room. He then answered questions from the delegates for a further five minutes. The project was well-received by the medics there present, and seemed to spark some interest!

The presentation that Chris gave and a summary sheet on the e-Cases project can be found by clicking here

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Presentation at UCISA

Today the APT Director (Nick Short) and APT Project Manager (Sarah Sherman) presented at 'Universities and Colleges Informations Systems Association' (UCISA) to share experiences from the APT project.

They presented on the approach taken in Bloomsbury to introduce online collaboration amongst users, along with providing examples of how online tools were utilised to reach the needs for staff and students.
The presentation concluded with a discussion on the future opportunities offered by working in the 'cloud' together, mentioning the potential project APT for Africa.

To view the presentation in Google Docs, click here.

Article published in the Higher Education Academy

Our article 'collaboration is the key to learning' has been published in the Higher Education Academy: Medicine, Dentistry and Veterinary Medicine (Medev). To read the article please click here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Looking beyond the Google search engine

Academics often use the internet for research purposes, but with the vast amount of information on the web, it can often become a long tedious process. There are now many advanced ways to search the web to find relevant information quickly - check out Google's free tools below:

Google Suggest

Google 'show options'

Google Scholar

Google Advanced (search by file type)

Google Wave

Google Labs

Google Reader

Google Docs

For more explanation on these tools, click here

Thursday, June 25, 2009

APT Extension Project seminar/workshop

Last week the APT team held an afternoon seminar/workshop with the Centre for Distance Education (CDE), University of London, on the benefits of using social tools in education.
The seminar involved an introduction to the Bloomsbury consortium, shared experiences from the APT project on applying social tools in educational contexts, followed by an interactive workshop in Google Docs.

The event attracted learning technologists, managers, teachers, directors, advisers from across a wide range of university's in London, where discussions were held about how collaborative tools might be used to enhance learning, teaching and working in their institutions.

For more information about APT Extension, and other projects that have emerged from the APT Project, please visit our APT Continuation Projects web page.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Google I/O Conference

The APT project has been working with on identifying suitable Google Android technologies to support mobile devices in Africa. As part of this collaboration, APT secured a small amount of funding from JISC to send Kevin McDonagh of Android out to the Google I/O Conference in California last week.

You can read a full review of Kevin's experiences on his blog.

If you would like to hear more about this early development work, please email


Friday, May 29, 2009

Useful APT Links

The following links provide some useful pointers to what is going on in the world of mobiles, health and Africa.

Google Earth - Track the spread of the H5N1 virus worldwide since 2003 with this award-winning animated Google Earth Mash-Up.

mHealth for Development - Looks at the opportunities provided by mobile technology for healthcare in the developing world

mHealth for Development

Wild Knowledge - Allows you to create and share interactive forms, keys, maps or images for use on handheld devices.

Open Mobile Consortium - Collaboratively developing interoperable open source mobile solutions for social development.

Frontline SMS - A free, large scale text messaging solution for NGOs

Hope Phones - Old phones save lives...

Monday, May 25, 2009

APT for Africa

We are now working to take the APT project into a new context through partnerships in Africa. The idea is that the basis step by step model for implementing appropriate technology also has a relevance to projects in less developed countries. We re therefore looking to coolaborate woith communiuty based projects to explore the use of mobile phones running Android, Google forms and podcasting.

Our first initiative aims to explore the opportunities provided by mobile technologies to enhance animal disease surveillance, reporting and feedback in Africa. It will draw on the extensive experience of its partners working in the field, university based research and development expertise and the insight and experience provided by Google and other technology providers.

Development Model

The APT for Africa initiative builds on the JISC funded EMERGE programme and the Users and Innovation Development Model. This model has been adapted by the Bloomsbury Colleges to help create and implement a step based introduction to Appropriate and Practical Technology. This has been used to introduce a range of Google tools into teaching and research with significant success ( ). The intention is now to extend this approach to enable collaboration with partners in livestock and wider development arena .


The following partners are associated with this initiative:


Using the UIDM methodology, the partners will work with key stakeholders in animal health to identify appropriate and practical mobile innovations. In particular this could focus on the following areas:

  • Use of mobile phone devices to capture GPS based disease data by field staff for surveillance purposes

  • Disease, population, environment and vaccination monitoring using mobile devices

  • Decision, practical and professional support for front line staff from central offices

  • Access to location/context sensitive disease/treatment information in text/audio/video format

  • Local language based resources to support extension, education and advisory services

  • Developing new mobile communities of practice to share experience and support

  • Providing cross disciplinary services as part of the One Health agenda

These approaches will be trialled in a number of settings including:

  • Zanzibar – RVC student research project on East Coast Fever monitoring working with London Knowledge Lab

  • Arusha – Vetaid project with Community Animal Health Workers on disease surveillance

  • SACIDS – government veterinary surveillance programmes funded by Google and Rockefeller

  • Nairobi Veterinary School - educational programs on ECF working with British Council

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Stairway to online collaboration

The May ALT-Newsletter from the Association of Learning Technology has a feature-length article about the APT STAIRS project. Read it here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Presenting in Barcelona

Last week, Sarah Sherman (Project Manager) and Abigail Deamer (one of the APT STAIRS Demonstrator Leaders) attended the Blackboard European Conference in Barcelona where they presented at a poster session. The London International Development Centre (LIDC), where Abby is the Centre Manager, uses a GoogleDocs form to register members. The registration information feeds into a GoogleDocs spreadsheet, which acts as the Centre's membership database. A search tool for the database was developed to enable members to search for common areas of interest within the confines of the Blackboard area used by LIDC. The search tool is available as a stand alone tool, which is available here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

APT STAIRS back in the Guardian

The Guardian have reported on the gap between students and teachers using ICT in education and using our APT STAIRS project as an example of creating an awareness of this.
The article explains one of our demonstrator projects in detail and the benefits of using collaborative tools in the classroom. To read the 'Teach the Teachers' article please click here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

APT STAIRS demo at the JISC Conference 2009

Last month, Nick Short (Project Director) and Sarah Sherman (Project Manager) with David Flanders (Lead for Technology) presented at the JISC Conference 2009 in Edinburgh. The presentation focused on the concept behind the APT STAIRS project and was delivered as one of the live, demonstration sessions. Delegates were told how the Bloomsbury team developed the model of a simple, step-by-step approach to adopting innovative technology to support learning, teaching, research and administration.

This diagram illustrates the technological gap - observed in Bloomsbury - between students and staff (represented in this cartoon as Lecturers). Simple technology, such as GoogleDocs, can be used to bridge the gap at level (1). As users develop their abilities and advance the staircase, they can try out more challenging tools.

Read more about the JISC Conference 2009 here.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

JISC Next Generation Technologies in Practice Conference

APT STAIRS project team members Sarah Sherman and Tim Neumann delivered a presentation on the concept behind the project and the skills developed by stakeholders as a result of the project. The JISC Next Generation Technologies in Practice conference was attended by members of the academic sector across the UK in addition to fellow members of the Emerge community. The conference, which took place at Loughborough University, provided a fantastic opportunity for Sarah and Tim to let people know the successes achieved by the project, leading to a number of interested individuals wishing to try out online collaborative tools.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

APT STAIRS and the OSCELET community

The project demonstrator for the London International Development Centre ( involved the creation of a Google Docs spreadsheet to manage their membership directory. LIDC has developed a Blackboard Building Block, which uses the Google Docs Spreadsheet API to search for members with particular interests, presenting the results in Blackboard. This means that only members, who are all enroled into a Blackboard Organisation for LIDC, can access the database. All the documentation for the development is available on the OSCELOT website here: