Category Archives: Edu-Technologies

How to import a bibliography from an existing MS Word document into Mendeley

Neither EndNote nor RefWorks can “read” citations from an existing bibliography in a Word document not formatted using a citation management application. An earlier postdescribed methods to transfer references to an EndNote library from a bibliography formatted in Word. However, there is another way to do this using a free online service called WizFolio which can easily convert a pre-existing bibliography into an RIS-formatted file. You then  import the RIS file into EndNote or RefWorks.

Here are the steps:

1. Go to the  WizFolio home page:








2. Select Sign Up Now and create a free Wizfolio account.  Once you have the account, you can log in back at the home page:


3. Open your Word document and select your entire bibliography:











4. In your WizFolio account hold your mouse over the Add icon toward the top center of the Wizfolio window.  Select Import from Clipboard:









5. Paste your text into the box  that opens. You should  see Wizfolio inserting blank lines between the references in your bibliography:



6.  After WizFolio has inserted the spaces, click the Import Now button in the lower right corner of the page. WizFolio will attempt to locate and import records from PubMed and other sources:









7.  Select all the citations you’ve just imported. Click the Export button at the top of the page then select Export to RIS:


8.  Save the file.  It will be called MyReferences.ris.


1.  Open Mendeley.

2.  Locate the MyReferences.ris file and open it.  It should import directly into Mendeley:



3.  If it does not directly import into Endnote, import using the Import function using   Reference Manager (RIS) as your Import Option.



Be certain to check that all the information has been correctly imported.

From the heart of a teacher

Teachers are bullied in schools – by the same children they are supposed to guide towards adulthood. Their classes are disrupted, they are treated with disrespect and they are not even allowed to send a naughty child out of the classroom so that the rest of the class can be taught. Today, I found this open letter from a teacher on my Facebook group for teachers and he wished that there is a way to send it into the open so that other people can realise that they are human, they have feelings and they are hurt. Despite this, they go back and do their jobs.

I felt his pain, and many of the teachers of this special group of teachers as well. Fact is, teachers are people too! His letter follows, unedited:


Lately there has been a spate of posts on social media about teacher brutality that went viral. Shock is expressed from all spheres of society and our dear education department is promising that legal action WILL be taken.
There are, however some information outside those dreaded posts that is not revealed, because nobody wants to own up. Before that teacher lost control and hit the child, he/she has been ridiculed, disrespected, cursed at, stolen from, etc. for a looong time.
Remember that teachers in senior phases get up to 7 classes of more than 35 learners per day. Out of these, +/- 15 per class (add up to 105 learners a day) are disrespectful. They refuse to work or keep quiet and are blatantly rude when addressed. Attempted parent contact mostly goes unanswered or ends up in a disciplinary hearing with a warning, and the child is back, because they have rights. They cannot be put out of class, because they have rights. They cannot be touched, even if they smack or punch a teacher, because they have rights. They cannot be addressed harshly, even if they curse at teachers, because they have rights.

In all this, it seems like you give up your humanity when you become a teacher. Well, let me point out that under the straight face that we go back to schools with everyday, to face the same abuse from the same children, are normal human beings; we have children and parents like everybody else, we feel, like everybody else, we hurt, like everybody else… Because we are people too. I am not pleading to a child to start respecting me, because it is not in their capacity. I am pleading with our government to restore the dignity of teachers by not placing the rights if these unruly monsters created by this evil system above teachers rights, because we are people too. We also have rights.
All we want to do is our job, which is educating these kids back to childhood and into adulthood, which can only be done with the help of both the parents and our government. ALUTA CONTINUA!

(If someone knows how to get this out on the media platforms where everybody can see, especially government, it will be appreciated.)

Complete Mendeley Course for Researchers and Students

I have developed a cost-effective Complete Mendeley Course for Researchers and Students to help students and researchers to use the Mendeley reference manager effectively. The following topics are covered:

  • How to install the technologies
  • How to build your library online
  • How to build your library offline
  • How to organise your library
  • How to filter the library online
  • How to filter the library offine
  • How to use the search tools
  • How to use Mendeley to cite references (MS Word)
  • How to create a bibliography
  • How to change the referencing style

The course consist of 30-90 second videos that can be watched while you are waiting somewhere. The focus is on one skill per video, so that you can find it easily when you need to rewatch a video.

At the end of the course you will receive a certificate that can be used for continuing professional development purposes.


UX-designers target emotions to create a competitive advantage

Miklos Philips , a UX Designer @ Toptal, argues that designers have to cater for customer delight to create a competitive advantage and to promote growth. According to Donald Norman, author of The Design of Everyday Things, design is an act of communication; therefore, it requires a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating. If taken into account that companies are rewarded substantially when they connect with their customers’ emotions in a positive way, designers need to identify the powerful motivators that can help companies to create a competitive advantage.

Looking at the products around us, most of the designs speak to our emotions. We like or dislike it, we feel disillusioned or motivated when we use it, and we even love or hate certain colours. I will not buy an orange tool for my kitchen, even if it is better than it’s competitors. All designs ultimately produce an emotion, a fact incorporated in an old adage in the user-experience (UX) professionals world: “interaction with any product produces an experience (emotion) whether it had user experience or not.” All end products elicited an emotion from their audience; therefore, UX-designers are concerned with how an user interacts with and responds to an interface, service or product.

The response to a product or service or interface is regarded as an emotion; therefore, UX-designers do not only strive to design usable, functional products; they also strive to generate a certain emotional effect — usually a positive one — on a user while he or she uses the product. If the design is good, the response will be maintained throughout the user journey. Therefore, emotional design focuses on an interaction with the designed product that affects the user. In this article, I am using Philip’s guidelines to evaluate some of the products and interfaces I am using on a daily basis.

Approaches to designs

First, we need to look at some approaches to designing products, interfaces, and apps.


Functional design, or utilitarian design subscribes to the “form follows function” style prevalent since the early 20th century. This approach is based on the idea that the shape of an object or building should be based mainly on its function and purpose, and not on its aesthetic value. Current approaches to designing incorporates the aesthetic value to speak to the emotions of potential buyers of the products. (see the example from Philip’s article).


Philps refers to brutalism as the twin brother of utilitarianism. The form follows the function, but the product is also put together with the least amount of effort, the cheapest materials available and with zero regard to appearance or the human experience as can seen in the picture of a block of flats in one of the poor areas of the Western Cape, South Africa.

The flats are functional, but not pretty at all.

Aesthetics and Perceived Usability

Two Japanese researchers studied in the 1990’s two different layouts of controls for ATMs to invesigate if aesthetics affects perceived usability (Philips). The versions were identical in function, but the interfaces were not identical regarding their aesthetic value. The researchers found that the ones with attractive interfaces were perceived to be easier to use.

Philips argues that Braun, a very successful design and manufacturing company founded nearly a 100 years ago in Germany, is famous for its minimalist, elegant designs which captivated people since they are functional, but also simple, refined, good-looking and consequently a joy to use (see images below (Philips).

Utilitarian designs that are simply functional and feature-rich do not please people any longer. According to Tinker Hatfield, a shoe designer at Nike Nike basic designs are always functional but great designs will also say something to the potential users.

The Emotional Design Pyramid

Maslow (1943) postulated that human motivation is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth.  Based on his hierarchy of human needs, emotional design can be put on a pyramid that illustrates its importance (Philps).

People perceive functional and attractive things to work better than other things.  As illustrated in the Japanese ATM experiment, a product’s aesthetic value can affect its perceived usability. According to Philips products that include a pleasing aesthetic and anticipatory design can lead to such a degree of customer satisfaction, that minor frustrations and imperfections with those products will be forgiven.

During the 1990’s and early 2000’s Blackberry took South Africa by storm. The phones were not good-looking, but the free BBM function made up for an ugly design due to the high cost of Internet access in South Africa. And then Blackberry took the BBM function away, leaving potential buyers with the opportunity to choose any other phone. Currently, iPhone’s, LG’s, Sony’s and Samsung’s are the phone of choice, based on their people-pleasing slick designs (image Philips).

Emotions and The Brain

According to Philips, negative experiences focus the brain on what’s wrong; they narrow the thought process and make people anxious and tense. We feel restricted and frustrated if a website or an App is badly designed and doesn’t perform to expectations. In fact, this feeling can grow into a form of anger known as computer rage. Computer rage races our pulse-rates, forces us to click away from irritating sites and to delete Apps in frustration. When design goes wrong, extreme emotions can be produced.

Good emotional design elicits pleasure and a sense of security and safety (Philips). Until 1998, all PC boxes were white, and then Apple released translucent, candy-colored iMacs that signaled more than a renaissance for Apple; it sparked a widespread industrial design revolution since it found the sweet spot (image from Philips).

Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple Computer,  stated that design is much more that what a product looks and feels like, it needs to work well as well.  According to Bruce Claxton, Professor, Design Management at Savannah College of Art and Design, we seek out products that are not just simple to use but also a joy to use. In this regard, my Dell Inspiron 13, from the 7000 series serves as an excellent example.

Many manufacturers offers tablets (iPads) and computer, but Dell integrated a computer and a tablet to improve usability and user experience. Although I love my Apple products, they are not user-friendly in airplanes and when I work in bed. The screen of my Dell folds further back and can even be folded all the way back to change my computer in a tablet (see figure below).

From Passive to Interactive

Not long ago, the objects around us were mostly “dumb,” passive, one-way machines due to a lack of an interactive relationship.

My mixer could not talk back, but my new Thermomix machine can, a feature that allows me to form an emotional relationship with her. The interactive, chip operated Thermomix asks me if I want to see a recently used recipe or the interactive cooking book.

She also warns me when the lid is not inserted, and when a speed is insufficient due to the temperature of the liquid in the bowl.

My Apple watch reminds me to stand up and walk for one minute, a feature that can save my life since I forget to do it when I am working on my computer. Only when my legs cramps I realise that I have dismissed the haptic of my watch and sat for more than an hour in a certain position.

According to Philips such interactions cause an emotional relationship with our “machines” which give a rise to anthropomorphism or the tendency to project intentions, human qualities, behaviors, emotions, and character traits onto objects. If the product works well, we feel satisfied and altogether delighted because it puts what we were looking for at our fingertips at the perfectly right moment.

However, the relationships with ‘things’ can also cause a potential for negative emotions to kick in when ‘the thing’ is not doing what we want it to do. In such cases, we feel frustrated and not in control. Annoyance and irritation may arise with the possibility of escalation into anger if the aggravation persists. Therefore, good designs should be accompanied with excellent guides and help features to reduce the buid-up of negative feelings.

Guidelines for an emotional approach to designs

User-experience strategies need to include designing for emotion (Philips). They can use the power of user research and product testing to effectively set up and gauge the emotional impact of their designs. User-testing, deep research and subsequent touch-point mapping that identifies pain points, can afford designers with opportunities to identify the frustrations users may encounter while using the product. Designers should  strive to eliminate these frustrations, but they should also find opportunities to bring customers pleasure by changing critical moments into positive emotional experiences.

Three levels of design: Visceral > Behavioral > Reflective

Designs needs to work extremely well on three levels, namely, visceral, behavioral and reflective (See Don Norman’s seminal book on “Emotional Design.”).

Visceral level

First impressions are most important; therefore, the design can be regarded as effective when the potential user’s first response is that they want the product. This immediate, deep-level, positive, and instinctual gut reaction to a product’s design can create a competitive advantage. Visceral design also affects the perception of a product’s credibility, trustworthiness, quality, appeal, and even perceived ease of use. My first impression was that the Apple watch is fun, exciting, tough, speedy, uncompromising, but also intimidating.

Behavioral level
First and foremost products must work well for people, thereby contributing to its users’ satisfaction. Behavioral design focus on how the product or system, as evaluated by the potential users, meet their requirements and needs. It refers to pleasure associated with effectiveness. If users perceive it as something they can master and which makes them feel smart; they will buy it. Therefore, it has to feel good, look good and perform well. If it doesn’t work as advertised, it gives rise to an immediately negative emotion. Up to date, the only problem I have with my watch is that the heart rate monitor was troublesome (See figure).
After Googling the problem, I knew that I had to fit it tighter to my arm during exercises. Behavioral design also impacts the lifetime of apps on my iPhone and subsequently my Apple watch.
According to Philps, behavioral design is most important when apps are designed since 77 percent of users never use an app again 72 hours after installing it. As a result of good behavioral design, some apps are used on a regular basis and we can’t imagine being without them (Images from Philips)

Reflective design
 Buying and using products creates a sense of status in society, it’s about socioeconomic status. It’s about self-image, personal satisfaction, memories, reflecting back on the experience; therefore, beauty is a desirable feature of the products we buy (Philips). I want to know that it is beautiful, a pleasure to use, and can make my life easier, but I also want to know that I look good when I use it, drive it, and wear it. In this regard, I believe my Apple Watch speaks of good reflective design.


I can “bond” with this product, the design contributes to the perception of improved performance and quality (attractive things work better) and the perception of pleasure. I do not have to dig into my handbag when my phone rings, I can answer a call by using my watch. Furthermore, this accessory ensure that I exercise on a daily basis. The ability to change the face to suit my emotions distinct this product from a functional design.

Apple strive to form an emotional bond between the brand and the consumers by designing products that interact with one another. Brands spend millions every year to renew that connection; therefore, designers need to strive for the same emotional connection if their products are to be meaningful and successful. Designers should try to give products a “personality”; something that resembles the real world and brings pleasure and fun to the interaction to persuade them to buy and use the product.

Digital designs are a moment-by-moment effect “in the flow”, but they also operate on these three levels in the brain, namely, visceral, behavioral and reflective (Philips). It is important to note that there is a delay between these levels: first it’s visceral, second it’s behavioral and lastly reflective.

The World is in Motion

More and more designers use animated micro-interactions and screen transformations to make them seem “alive.” The world around us is in motion, flowing and fluid;and these designs mimic the real-world to allow users to form a more human-like relationship with digital products via anthropomorphism. These animated designs speak to our emotions as Philips illustrated with the following examples:

Example 1: Jewelry store e-commerce concept by Tubik (Dribbble)

Example 2: Bluetooth pairing sequence by InFullMobile (Dribbble)

Example 3: E-commerce store concept by Remco Bakker (Dribbble).

Final Words

Currently the focus is on functional beauty and emotional dimension of products (Philips). It’s no longer enough to design a functional and useful products or interfaces. Almost anyone can create functional and feature-rich everyday consumer products. To stand out in this crowd, designers need to have a deep understanding of the customer’s motivations and behavior to enable them to translate these  into effective emotional design that is elegant, beautiful and truly unique. Only then they will be able to design products and interfaces that create competitive advantage and promote growth.

ePortfolios as high impact practices

George Kuh added eportfolios earlier this year as the 11th high impact practice.


In this video, Kuh (2016) identifies various elements of effective integration of eportfolios:

  • More than electronic record keeping tool
  • Longitudinal projects allowing students to store authentic work
  • Allows students to question their own work, in company of lecturers and other students
  • Allows students to invite peers, lecturers and even employers to look into their electronic toolboxes
  • Repository where students can see how far they came, how they developed and how they have changed
  • Others can see how far they came, developed and how they have changed
  • Ongoing process of reflection, integration, and digestion IF it is well-designed and structured
  • Every student in every field can benefit from having such a representation of their  work, development and growth
  • Reflection is most important since it deepens learning and knowing about what the student can do.

Although he does not pertinently state it, he identified two of the three cornerstones of a learning oriented approach to assessment, namely that:

  • learning tasks be designed
  • self and peers be involved in the assessment process

He did not state the importance of prompt feedback, but he did name the role of reflection on own work.


Click on the ‘Follow Me‘ button at the bottom of this webpage to be updated when new posts are published. Please leave comments with regard to topics that can be discussed.


Tired of typing Google docs? Use Speech Recognition

The Speech Recognition Add-on changes spoken words into text. Open your Chrome browser and follow these steps:

  • Create a new Google Doc or open and existing document
  • Click on Add-ons (top menu of Google Docs)
  • Type Speech Recognition in the search bar
  • Click on the Blue + button to add it to Google Docs (Mine is green since I have added it already)


  • Click again on add-ons (Google Docs menu)
  • Click on speech recognition
  • Choose your language (Afrikaans is there!)
  • If you select English, you can select the dialect as well
  • You can choose for example South Africa as the dialect


  • You can use a range of commands
  • Click on Save to save your settings
  • Click again on Add-ons
  • Click of Speech Recognition
  • The box will open (far right)
  • Click on Start (Blue button)


  • Click on Allow to use microphone
  • And start talking
  • Google will listen to you and type the text where you need it.
  • The microphone stays green to show that it is ready
  • If the microphone is crossed out, click on Start


Example of her excellence:




  1. I do not use the punctuation, I add it when I proofread my text
  2. Insert lines to show new paragraphs.
  3. Google learns quickly, thus the more you use it, the better she will understand you.
  4. For now, I am impressed.

Google understands my dialect of English, and her spelling is excellent – she can even spell “reëls” correctly!




Meet Google Home

Google Home is a voice activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. It is designed to fit your decor, therefore the base colours vary. Underneath the swappable shell a speaker waits to play back songs and allow Google Assistant to talk to you.

On top of the device is a capacitive touch display with four LEDs that are used to:

  • interact with Home
  • trigger the assistant
  • adjust the volume, etc

There are no buttons on the top, just mics that listen for your voice, but a single mute button can be found on the shell. Google Home can filter and separate noise from speech to offer an Assistant that can follow instructions.

You can ask it questions, tell it to do things and have your Google always ready to help. Just start with: “Ok Google” to power your Google Assistant up.

Google Home is a WiFi speaker that can stream music directly from the cloud. It also works as a smartphone control centre and an assistant for the whole family. You can access songs, playlists, albums, and podcasts from your music services by using your voice. You can also use Google Cast to send music from your Android and iOs devices.

Google Cast allows you to adjust the other speakers in your home. You can even get multi-room playback if you add one or more Google Home devices to a group of speakers to hear music where you are in the house. Google Cast will also allow you to watch choose videos from Youtube. Tell the assistant and the content will appear on the television.

Google Home can be used to:

  • playback entertainment throughout the entire house
  • manage every-day tasks
  • and to ask Google to do something
  • set alarms and timers
  • manage to-do-lists
  • control lights, switches and doors and Googles own Nest products

Google is working with others to allow you to:

  • book a flight or car
  • order dinner
  • send flowers

You can ask Google assistant anything:

  • weather
  • facts on Wikipedia
  • any question that can be answered by Google
  • ask follow-up questions.


  1. You can ask Google who George Clooney is. And then you can ask where he went to school. Google will understand that you mean George Clooney!
  2. You can even ask complex questions such as What was the USA population when NASA was established.
  3. Google can also read the relevant part of the webpage back to you.
  4. You can ask Google Home to play that Shakira song from Zootopia and he will be able to find the correct song from your favourite app without you having to name the song

Google Home supports the following:

  • YouTube Music
  • TuneIn
  • Philips Hue
  • Pandora
  • IFTTT (to activate recipes over speaker)
  • SmartThings
  • iHeart Radio
  • Google Play Music
  • Nest

Google Assistant and its machine learning capabilities allows Google Home to know you and your preferences. It can also act as a Chromecast Audio Receiver. Google Assistant is a Siri-like bot that is an adaption of Google Now and OK Google. It is called Google Assistant and improves two-way conversation experiences of those two services.

I cannot wait for the 4th of November when this little accessory with the big heart will be released!



How to use Google Drive offline

Google released a new Google Drive interface a few days ago. Google Drive, when enabled, allow you to access , create and edit your Google docs and presentations offline. I find it useful when I need to get access to my documents where no Internet is available.

The offline function is only available in Chrome browsers. Follow these steps to enable the offline function.

  • Open Chrome browser
  • Check the box next to
  • Choose Drive


  • Click on the gear icon (far right)


  • Click on settings
  • Check the box next to Offline to sync Google Docs, pages, etc to be edited offline as well
  • Turn off wifi
  • Click on document you want to edit and it opens in the chrome browser
  • When you are connected to the Internet, the files will sync automatically.


Best dictation software for desktops

Voice dictation allows you to record your ideas hands-free. I was kind of forced to try this out after being teased about typo’s when I am answering a Whatsapp, sms, or email on my phone. The small buttons are so frustrating, yet I have only decided to test voice dictation after somebody told me yesterday that Windows computers are the best, and that he has used Dragon NaturallySpeaking the past ten years. according to him he never have to touch his keyboard, Dragon allows him to control his computer hands-free, performing any task from typing Word documents to adding numbers in Excel spread sheets.

Although Dragon seems to be a perfect match, it is most expensive. I have a Mac desk top, Mac Air and a Windows computer. To be able to use Dragon on my devices, I would have to pay a lot of money. I realised that I have heard somewhere that Windows and Mac do offer speech recognition (dictation) functions, therefore, I have decided to do some research.

Esposito (2016) evaluated dozens of dictation apps and tested them for comprehension, accuracy, and ease of use to select the top four dictation tools for desktops (see Table).

=wptg_comparison_table id="2"