For new and old alike

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I realised that I had not provided anything for some of our newer students on the last few posts. So today here is something for the newbies πŸ™‚

I was wandering around the web as I often do and came across these really useful short animations from Jisc Netskills web2practice. If you are not quite sure what Twitter, RSS, etc are or why you should use them these videos explain it all for you.

Many of you already know how to find Creative Commons resources on the web. For you this Creative Commons New Zealand page is just one more useful link for you, for the newbies this is something you should add to your RSS feed πŸ™‚ Here are 7 Ways to Find Creative Commons Images.

I’m sure some of you are already using WordPress for writing your free blog. These two videos I found on YouTube explain how to set up a web site using WordPress and how to make it a commercial site. Pretty obviously this is not free but if you are thinking of setting up your own business online this is a cheap (about Β£25 per year), but good way, of doing it.

Mozilla, the web browser people, are developing a web literacy standard, i.e. the basics of what you should know and be able to do on and with the web. The competencies come under the headings of Exploring, Building and Connecting. If you are not sure of what this involves, take a look at this page and see if you are able to do all this stuff.


Communication, openness and freedom

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As most of you all know by now, I am a great supporter of Open Access in all its variety. So you will have to excuse me if the first thing I mention this week is Open Access.

This blog post is from the blog of Curt Rice, Vice President for Research & Development at the University of TromsΓΈ in Norway. From what he says it seems that Curt has had some quite strong reservations about Open Access for Research but he seems to be changing his mind. Read Curt’s argument in favour of Open Access, if you have any doubts about this new direction in academia I think this article could change your mind.

Another article this time from Pamorama, starts off talking about using social media in schools but the main part is about social media use in universities. I was in two minds as to whether to put this on the Calling All Lecturers site but I think everyone could be interested in this. Of course, this is about social media use in America but we are not far behind them. The article itself is fairly short but the comments and links that follow are very interesting. How would you like to see our University expanding its use of social media?

I’m going to try out AnyMeeting. It’s a programme for running your own webinars, it can be free (with advertisements of course) or you can pay about Β£15 per month to do it without advertisements. Skype is good but it only works well with fewer than five people, whereas AnyMeeting is supposed to work ok with up to 20 people. I’ll let you know how I get on.

I think I’ve said before that I use Penultimate as the writing tool for my iPad, however, I found this list for eight tools the other day. The site Educational Technology and Mobile Learning is admittedly aimed at schools rather than universities but it can be really useful for picking up learning and teaching tools.

Now then I really want to direct you to this next site ‘cos the way the blog is used and the particular discussion is very interesting. However there is a big “but”; the site is very, very coarse in the sense that there is a lot of swearing in the podcast – so be warned. Even if you do not listen to the podcast just look at the way the blog is used, very clever. The podcast is about the misunderstandings that can occur when social media is used if you do not know how to use it properly. The blog is called, The Overstand Podcast, and this is Episode 6 – Law of Attraction, the Podcast link is at the bottom of the first paragraph.

The complex and the simple

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What do I have for you all today? To start with here is an article from the University of East Anglia (UEA) INTO Partnership. Tim Powell-Jones has introduced the use of iPads to the International Business Diploma programme, he is really pleased with the results. Have a read and see if you think iPads would be useful as part of your course.

Paul Williams suggested this next piece from the Guardian to me. I must admit that, like Paul, I get very frustrated by the whole ebook/ejournal divide and Digital Rights Management (DRM), there really should be a better way of dealing with ebooks by now. I’m not too sure that I agree with Jefferson Pooley that we should make everything into Portable Document Format (pdf) it’s really difficult to read. On a semi-serious note I don’t even agree with his statement that, “[M]odern academics don’t read supine, snacking on grapes”. I thought modern academics read anywhere. I suppose part of the problem with pdf is that publishers insist on using stupidly old-fashioned layouts and font-faces. With all the clever digital stuff we do now we really should have a better option. Wolfram brought out Computable Document Format (CDF) ages ago, why do we not see more of that for ebooks.

Now for something completely different πŸ™‚ This is a site from the Government of South Australia, it has loads of really useful stuff for those people who would like some basic questions answered. This link is to their information about Skype. Do take a look and encourage other people to make use of it too πŸ™‚

What can’t you do online?

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I’ve found quite a hotchpotch of things for you all today. In fact I didn’t find the first item, that came via Paul Williams.

This Prezi is from Royal Holloway, University of London. A great resource for research students and undergrads alike. I’m sure you will like it and the funny video near the end πŸ™‚

I’m guess by now that everyone knows what Creative Commons Licenses are. The CC organisation gets involved in all sorts of things like the Open Data Hackathon earlier in February and the EasyBib Webinar on Thursday 21st. On the site the time says 4pm ET, for us that means 21:00 hrs (9pm). Even if you don’t join in do go and listen to everyone talking about the Open movement.

And now for something completely different πŸ™‚ If any of you are interested in Web Analytics, for example finding out more about your own footprint in Twitter or you want to do some research about networking/social media, you might like to have a look at some of these programmes. Some of them are aimed at commercial sites but that is no reason why they cannot prove useful to people in HE. Some are free – check them out:

    • TwitSprout will collect information and create diagrams from Twitter and Facebook
    • Netlytic will find and automatically analysis and discovery social networks from electronic communication such as emails, forums, blogs and chats.
    • followerwonk will find out all about your own Twitter account
  • There are lots more but I think the above will give you some insight into the sort of thing that can be done πŸ™‚

    Finally something which I think is charming. It shows just how comfortable we are all becoming with technology, the children in this post are not just Digitally Literate they are Digitally Fluent πŸ™‚

    a little light reading

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    I thought it was going to be a really nice day today. The sun was shining, there was no rain and the ground was starting to dry up but it is starting to look a bit grim now and I expect it will start to rain again at any minute. You had all better scuttle in doors, read the blog and follow the links πŸ™‚

    With all the bad weather we have been having I just could not resist bringing you this picture of London Bridge in 1814 from the British Library. Rather glad our weather is not this bad!

    I just love the debate going on in this article. If you like politics or are into Open Access then read this article on openness in politics by Nathaniel Tkacz and all the really good comments that follow it. You will need at least two coffees and a couple of pastries as it’s a bit long but it is really difficult to put down. I love the comment by Tim O’Reilly πŸ™‚

    Wanted: web-entrepreneurs
    . I really like this Feature article in the News Letter from the Department of the Director General of the European Commission. Have a read, get involved and get into the European Futures scene!

    If you have been doing any searching in Summon you will probably have come across Sherpa but I thought I would give you the link to their homepage. The work, projects and services of Sherpa are fantastic. Have a look at their site and see if there is anything useful for you there.

    I have loads more to share with you but I think I will save that for another day.

    Open Access Week

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    Over the last few days I’ve been talking to people about Open Access. I can’t lie and say I was thinking about it ‘cos I’m really clever, it’s mainly because this week is Open Access Week and all the publicity rather focused my mind on it. If you’re not sure what Open Access is Wikipedia provides a satisfactory introduction to it, for more interesting information look at the Open Access site (it’s in German but you can select the English version) and for a news article about Open Access and medical research here is a very readable Guardian article. Ive mention PLoS (the Public Library of Science) before on the blog and Biomed Central and even though you might not have realised at the time, they are another part of the Open Access movement. This is not just some flash in the pan, the recent Government supported report, the Finch Report, is being implemented by the Government and professional bodies. Organisations like JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) are providing lots of support to move OA forward. This is “a good thing” for students and researchers everywhere, at last (though probably not immediately) you will have direct access to an increasing number of articles on original research with little or no cost to yourselves (hurrah!). I love to see it when a plan comes together πŸ™‚

    I was going to write loads more today but I’ve run out of time – again! Just one little funny to finish with. Try this “social” drawing with your friends – let me know what you produce πŸ™‚

    Here we are again …

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    Hello everyone! Here we all are again being very, very busy in Freshers Week. All the oldies settled back in last week and are now back in study mode, whilst everyone new to this game is wandering around looking slightly dazed πŸ™‚ Welcome to you all whether you are returning or have just arrived!

    First of all I have a tip for anyone having difficulty finding the login page for the UW wireless network. Just type in if you are on the St John’s campus or if you are on City campus and that should take you straight to the login page. Do let me know if you have any problems at all.

    As it’s a special day I have five items for you. The first is about E-skills; whether you are just interested in doing things with your computer or you are ICT student this site has lots of things to try out. The next is another thing to play with or you could use it as a different presentation device. The site is GoAnimate! go and try your hand at creating animated videos.

    The next two are a little more serious. The contains lots of information about IPR (Intellectual Property Rights) which can help you understand all about Referencing for when you do your assignments. Something more to help with your assignments is the Learn Higher site on Academic Writing. There’s loads on this site so do check it out.

    Hope you’ve all had a great day today πŸ™‚

    A conflict of interests?

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    I know this sounds strange but I am fascinated by copyright. The history of it, the way it has twisted and turned over the last approximately three hundred years. ok, so it annoys me intensely at times, as I’m sure it does many other people. It is interesting that as things become popular they are scooped into the Copyright Laws and I like to watch the power the big businesses wield in the constant tug of war over what should be included. Don’t get me wrong, I think we do need something like Copyright Law and I think we should observe the law. I just find it rather amusing – in 50 years time the issues over things like Pirate Bay will all be old hat. The things like Pirate Bay will all have been legitamised and pulled into the Copyright Law and something else will be being wrangled over. The twists and turns of the Copyright Laws though do prove a problem for us when we want to use or to produce something ourselves.

    This is the (for want of a better term) “digital age” and things are changing, fast, very fast. We all have to learn quickly to use the newest and most up to date, to ensure we are not contravening a law or making an awful social gaffe πŸ™‚ We can keep up to date by following people like Lyn Parker and her Copyright compliance and the #copyright on Twitter and, of course, the Web2Rights resources site. Make sure you use the tools and information sources available to you through modern technologies – it is all there to help you and it’s free πŸ™‚

    I’d be really interested to hear your views on all these copyright issues – honest I really would πŸ™‚

    To be or not to be …

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    I am often torn about how serious, or not, I should be on this blog. I mostly try to keep things fairly light, interesting and even, dare I say it, fun. However, there are times when I feel there is little out there in the metaverse but serious stuff (times when I often choose not to blog). I tend to err on the side of, “if you can’t say anything real nice, it’s better not to talk at all …”. Today though I think I will say a few serious things just to try to press home what this “Digital Literacy” stuff is all about.

    I’d just finished the Research Seminar for February in Second Life at lunchtime and I thought I’d have a look at what was going on in the rest of the world (I mean the corporeal one not the virtual). I opened Twitter and was immediately bombarded by loads of Tweets on copyright issues (these are always very busy streams within Twitter). One Tweet on Digital Literacy though caught my eye from Catherine Cronin from the National University of Ireland. Catherine was Tweeting about a post on the ICTology blog about finding out what Digital Literacy means by analyzing one Tweet. Do read the blog – Ismael PeΓ±a-LΓ³pez takes apart one Tweet from Brian Lamb at the University of British Columbia to show just what skills are needed to be a member of the digital world we all, increasingly live in these days.

    Moving on from that rather pleasant idea I then came across two items. The first was about Pinterest and the copyright infringement problems it is currently wrestling with. This problem is analyzed by Martin Sloane on the Brodies Law Firm blog (they’re in Scotland), TechBlog. Trying to follow the ins and outs of this problem is also a Digital Literacy issue, any of us could find ourselves caught up in this weird world of digital copyright law – apps like Pinterest are very popular and can be very effective for promoting organisations. What the outcome will be of this tussle is going to be interesting – for all of us. The second was another copyright issue, this time about photography. “Do you need permission to take a photo with a chair in it“. The world is a smaller place these days and we have to be conscious of how laws in other countries affect us. The copyright law and the design rights law in France are clashing over this problem of a photograph of a “designer” chair (designed by someone who worked with Le Corbusier). This is not an unknown issue of copyright law – photographing “famous things” for profit requires the permission of the designer of the “famous thing”. What everyone is complaining about is that the effect of this is to restrict/reduce creativity, the very thing that copyright is supposed to protect and encourage. Read the article you can tell why the photographers are upset.

    What does all this mean for the average man in the street? It means that these days he has to be Digitally Literate just as in the past he had to be able to read and write.

    Sleep well everyone πŸ™‚

    Getting the show on the road

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    I really feel as if I’m settling in properly now πŸ™‚ I’ve published the web pages for Digital Literacy on the ILS site today and, apart from some minor hiccoughs they seem to be running ok. The pages are not completely up to date yet as I still have a few things to add but at least it’s a start.

    Thinking about publishing there is more on the open publishing front. This short article from Research Professional brings us up to date with what is happening on the tussle between open publishing and commercial journal publishers. You might have thought this was just an issue in the USA but as you can see from the article even universities such as Imperial and Cambridge are joining in the fight. What do you think – would you put your career on the line in a fight like this?

    You might wonder if the above item has anything to do with Digital Literacy. In fact the social and cultural effects of digital technologies on our lives is exactly what Digital Literacy is about. How prepared to you feel for the world of the future?

    Nattering about Digital Literacy

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    Life is a little more calm today, thank goodness, so I have more time to think about what I’m going to natter to you about.

    I notice that the Digital Literacy Campaign in the Guardian has stirred up a lot of discussion. Here are some examples of blogs 1, 2, 3, writing about it. I won’t talk more about the campaign and the issues it raises here as it’s a little too serious for this blog but I will put something on my other blog.

    One piece of news that I think you might be interested in is the Digital Rights stuff. You might have heard in the national news way back in November that Richard Hooper has been appointed to lead the Digital Copyright Exchange feasibility study. The idea is that the Copyright Exchange would hold information about copyrighted items and would enable people to contact one another about the copyright on a particular item. This sounds very sensible and very simple but it’s not simple. Do go and read the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) page about the Exchange and contact Richard Hooper from there if you know about something you think he should be aware of.

    To finish off I have some free Maps to send your way πŸ™‚ Open, Equal, Free, is a really lovely blog about education. The post about the maps not only provides food for thought but also has a number of links to free stuff! Part of Digital Literacy is about being able to interpret images – to understand what they are saying and how they are likely to influence our thoughts. Maps are very powerful images and they influence not just how we think about the world but also how we think about and behave towards other people in the world. Go and have a look at the post and download your own favourite version of a world map. πŸ™‚

    Have to go now and get back to evaluating the results of the Uni’s Annual Digital Literacy survey – we’ll announce the winners soon πŸ™‚

    Mid-week pause

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    The last few days have been very busy so I am now going to have a little rest, just talk amongst yourselves for a moment …

    I am in the process of reading this very interesting report from JISC about publishing academic ebooks and I came across the University of Michigan’s, MPublishing, free books on Digital Culture. There are some very interesting books in this list – you can read them free online or you can purchase the book if you would like to. I intend to work my way through a number of them, possibly starting with Media, Technology and Society then moving on to the Hyperlinked Society. Let me know if you read any of them and what you think of them – are these types of “free” book useful?

    I thought some of you might like to look at this post from the Mind/Shift blog. There are a number of apps here that look like fun especially the first two Scribble and Squad. There’s also a post linked to this about Girls and Maths – have a read. I replaced the word Math with Digital Literacy and found the arguments still hung together:)

    I couldn’t resist giving you this to look at. It’s a teaching resource about plagiarism but I didn’t really look at anything except the second slide. There’s a short video on the slide and I think the character in the video is really cute. I put it on the site but have to include it here too.

    New leaflets in the Digital Literacy Series

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    Ahh, great to be back again! The first blog in the new year – I hope you are all raring to go πŸ™‚

    This is just a short blog to bring you the new leaflets I have been slaving away at. I will, eventually make them available on the new ILS website but I still have some work to do on my part before it is presentable. So here are the leaflets for you:

    ILS – Digital Literacy Series No.1 Creative Commons – a Brief Overview
    ILS – Digital Literacy Series No.2 Good Practice advice for education in a digital world
    ILS – Digital Literacy Series No.3 Creating Safe and Effective Online Learning Resources
    ILS – Digital Literacy Series No.5 OER Framework – Supporting Text and Flow Chart Page 1, 2&3, 4

    Please post a comment if there is any topic in particular you would like to see a leaflet on or if you have any comments about these first ones.

    Time and tide get your feet wet

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    I’ve been looking at some stuff about the changing learning and social world, age, technology and our engagement with technology. Well, that’s my job I suppose but it’s also what fascinates me. There has been a lot of debate about Digital Natives and as far as I’m concerned the idea has been proved to be a myth. This article from The Economist comes from last year, it talks about Digital Natives, etc but there are a few other points it raises that make it interesting beyond that boring topic. About halfway through the article it suddenly asks, “What about politics …”? What the author goes on to argue is that the new media people engage with is not making them more politically aware, in fact the author thinks it is all just a superficial sham. Read the article and let me know what you think.

    After I read that article I fell over The Mindset List from Beloit College in America. I think this is very useful, it reminds us that not just every generation but every age views things differently because of what they have grown up with. So each intake of school leavers to University sees the world differently from the previous year’s intake. I think their YouTube video explains it really well – ok it’s American but I’m sure you can see what they are getting at.

    Another YouTube video I found was this one by Lou McGill. I suppose this is really aimed at lecturers but I can think of at least on PhD student who will be interested in viewing it. Having discussed this sort of thing with him over coffee on Monday I guess it could have been what sparked off my ideas for this particular blog post. Lou is not unfamiliar to me but I don’t think it’s wrong of me to say that this video is smashing, it really makes you think about how we teach and how we behave with students. Lou talks about a course she has done online, what she experienced,how it made her feel and how it added to her conceptualisation of Digital Literacy. Excellent stuff.

    I couldn’t resist bringing you this – just look at this cute little computer, a real Thumbelina πŸ™‚ I want one!

    Copyright, copyright, copyright

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    Urrgh – copyright. The leaflet is coming to an end but there is one big hurdle left to leap – Crown Copyright. It is just so annoying, it’s like trying to nail jelly to a tree! Never mind eh πŸ™‚ I thought you might like to look at some of the web sites I’ve been using. They are very easy to use and not a bit overpowering.

    The first, one of course, has to be the National Archives site. This site just has so much in it – I feel like a child in a sweetie shop! Go and look up where your family came from or look for look for the farm where grandad used to work.

    I also rather like the Intellectual Property Office. I know it sounds dull but if you want to find out about Property Rights in detail these are the people who can help you. If it’s not on the web site contact them by phone or email.

    If you want to learn about Copyright take the self-directed IPR and Licensing module on the web2rights site. It’s all very easy to follow and you can stop and re-start again whenever you want.

    Just Tweeted by JISC – I thought you might like to see the JISC comments on the Government report, “Peer Review in Scientific Publications”. Researchers and research students could find this an interesting read.

    I’ll try to find something a little more “fun”; speak with you again tomorrow πŸ™‚

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