Unio is a free interactive lesson delivery, student assessment and real-time tracking tool for the classroom. A simple description of Unio is that it works by broadcasting content onto student’s screens. They can individually annotate and follow along with the lesson while the teacher monitors their progress from their own screen.
The teacher sets up the lesson from the Dashboard. Lessons can be organised by topic. The lesson creator looks like a very basic slide editor. You can add text, images and even YouTube videos into your lessons. Previously created PDF, Word and PowerPoint files can also be converted into Unio lessons.
When the lesson is ready to be presented to a class, the teacher clicks the Launch Live Lesson button. This produces an access code. Students can open their browser on any device and enter the code displayed.
On the teacher screen, it’s possible to see how many students have logged in. The join code is still displayed for late arrivals!
Once logged in, the students will see the teachers slides. They can move through at their own pace, and add their own annotations to any of the slides.
If the teacher clicks on the “Students” button on their screen, they will be able to get a live view of the screen of each student, and what they’re writing.
This would make a great plenary task – annotated slides can then be reviewed as a class.
The teacher can even send feedback to the students.
This is a great feature. I’ve only seen Prowise ProConnect do similar so far. With Unio, the teacher can even take control of the students screen to help them out. They can also lock all the student screens – throwing up an “Eyes Front” message to enable the teacher to talk to the class without distractions (of course, they can always flick to another tab or app – so usual classroom discipline is still needed!)
The Unio software also allows teachers to add activities to their lesson. At present only quizzes can be added, but in the future this will include polls, assignments, group work and discussion tasks.
Click on the plus icon to add a quiz.
The quiz editor will be familiar to users of Socrative or Kahoot. Add questions, choose the correct answer and repeat.
The students will see the quiz questions on their device and can work through the questions at their own pace.
All the results will appear on the teachers screen. They can see the overall results, student results as well as a breakdown by question.
Overall I’ve been pretty impressed with my initial introduction to Unio. It’s a very useful tool for delivering lesson content in a class that has plenty of devices – whether 1:1 or BYOD. It’s device-agnostic – so you can use it on anything with a web browser, so iPads, Chromebooks and laptops will all work.
It’s still work in progress, and I’m interested to see how it changes as they develop it further. The lesson editor is a little too basic for my liking as it stands. I’d to see a few more tools to make it compare to the basic features of other interactive whiteboard software. When you type text you need to select the font size before typing. You can’t change it after it’s typed. I’d like to have seen a highlight and change feature. I’d also like to be able to change pen and line thickness when drawing. The eraser tool is more like a delete – you need to select with the arrow, then click on the eraser to delete totally. It would be nice if it worked like a regular eraser tool, removing pen as you rub over it. Am sure these tools will get tweaked as things progress.
For a free tool, it’s well worth investigating. Take a look at uniobyharness.com
If you’re interested in having a play with Unio, there’s a useful Getting Started guide here.