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.


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.

Why technology?

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Why technology – why want it, why use it, why create it? Technology basically means just anything man-made, now-a-days it tends to mean the most modern man-made things. I’ve found a few things to share with you that, for me, answer the questions I just posed at the beginning of this paragraph.

This article in the Wall Street Journal by Katherine Rosman is a good example. Katherine writes about an online company called Craftsy, this company sells education in all sorts of crafts. You can learn about “Advanced Fondant Techniques,” “Explorations in Brioche Knitting,” “Mastering Lace Shawls”, “Handcrafted Sugar Flowers” and “Stupendous Stitching” and all for only $20-50. People like to learn, they like to learn how to do things, even very much more expensive courses are successful online. Do read the article it’s fascinating – may be you’ll sign up for one of the classes πŸ™‚ All joking aside though, this article answers so many questions that we might ask about modern technologies – people are using technology to save money, to make money, to have fun, to replace classes that cancelled due to the current financial climate, to help them deal with loneliness and frustration, in fact for all sorts of reasons.

This next example is particularly interesting for me as it is about how to get helpful information to people quickly – rather like the University’s QuileR site (see the link in our blog roll). The post in the Fast Company blog is actually about how to help the “average” computer user to know how to use their computers more efficiently and, at the end of the post, there are links to some great videos from Google about how to do things. Technology provides not only the means to help people but to do it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Great reasons for using modern technologies.

I really like the Retronaut site, they have a wonderful collection of images and do some very clever things with them – things that we just would not be able to do without these modern technologies. The Retronaut site provides us with insights that would not normally be available to us. The images of the WWI soldiers on the particular page I’ve linked to are also an example of things we would not normally have seen.

This page from Edinburgh University of Undergraduate students’ advice to first year students is another example of something we would never have seen before. The ordinary person just did not get an opportunity to make their voices heard. In the past we would never have heard from individual Undergraduates like this, in fact you probably wouldn’t have heard from Undergraduates at all πŸ™‚ I rather thought that some students here would like to have a go at this sort of thing. If you do, just get in touch with me and I’ll arrange it all.

Adrift on a choppy sea

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Oh busy, busy days! I think I’m beginning to feel sea-sick – every time I think I’m going to put my metaphorical foot down on something solid, the ground isn’t there! I just keep trying to reassure myself that it will all calm down in the not too distant future – huh who am I kidding πŸ™‚ I’ve made notes about lots of things I want to mention to you – give me a moment whilst I sort through them.

For all of you out there who are struggling with getting down to work. This post from The Thesis Whisperer is for you. Do not worry anymore you are not lazy or lacking in motivation you just have a problem with commitment:) Have a read, it’s good.

UK Access Management Focus (what a name!) blog is part of JISC Advance. It’s not a very regular blog but interesting stuff appears there, like this post. The post doesn’t have a very inspiring title, “How can we create an identity economy for research and education?” but the contents are interesting. The post will probably interest lecturers and students, it’s a discussion about how HE uses the Web, the apparent attitude of the HE community towards the use of online resources. Get back with some thoughts on this – it’s all about Digital Literacy – I’d love to know what you think.

This next piece is about Barcelona putting swipe card facilities in all over the city. I want to know why, if Barcelona can do it why can’t Worcester? πŸ™‚ I would love to be free of cash – ever since they got rid of half-crowns and threepenny bits in 1971 (for those of you who don’t know threepenny is pronounced “thrupenny”)! Have a read – would you like Worcester to have this system too?

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™‚

A new semester

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Here we are again at the start of a new semester – all keen to do our best with this new opportunity! Well aren’t you? I’m sitting in a very quiet Pear Tree (no I’m not passing myself of as a partridge!) thinking about all the fantastic stuff I’ve been reading about, which is nice. I’m also trying to sort out the plans I have for work in the coming nine months – which I’m trying to look at through squinted eyes in order not to frighten myself too much πŸ™‚ So let me see, what goodies am I going to bring to you today?

One thing I must remember is to draw your attention to our site. It’s mainly aimed at lecturers – which is fairly obvious ‘cos it’s called, Calling all lecturers. I put at least three new things on there most days, it covers all sorts of stuff to do with, social media, educational technology, pedagogy related to social media, modern technologies, so that means anything from supportive technologies to virtual worlds – go and have a look leave comments and make (polite) suggestions πŸ™‚

Just had a quick look at the Guardian Live Digita Literacy blog and the article. Go and put your own ideas and comments forward – go on – get involved:)

I rather like this post on the cogdogblog. Please read, inwardly digest then see what you come up with. Do we feel compelled make patterns where none exist or are there really patterns in everything around us? Let me know what you think πŸ™‚

Shhh – it’s very quiet

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It is getting near, and nearer to the Christmas holidays and, as a result, the metaverse is getting quieter and quieter.

A post from the Networked Researcher on crowd source funding. I wonder if we will see more of this type of funding as every one and every organisation becomes more strapped for cash. It will be interesting to see if this is how the public eventually, truly influence what is researched.

I rather thought these next two items fitted together. First there is Pat Parslow in Working towards machine consciousness, writing about how learning theories fit together. It’s a bit Digital Literacy and a bit Education Theory, one of my favourite combinations. Then there is Roger Kay on Cognitive Computing. A really interesting forward look with someone who knows what he’s talking about.

Finally, I just could not resist this cute little chap. Do have a look at this video – NAO is bored and he is trying to get the attention of the man using the computer. I’d love to have one but unfortunately they are not toys. I’ve only put in one video but there seem to be lots out on YouTube. There is one video of a whole load of NAO dancing – I just love they way they wiggle their hips πŸ™‚

Ways of communicating

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I don’t know how much all of you are into metadata but I just had to bring you this smashing little video from some guys at Ghent University. These three guys make metadata sound really interesting (well of course it is).

Now this is one for our budding researchers doing their PhDs. I keep trying to convince them that they have to get out there and get their names and their research known. This short but sweet post is from the Mobilize this! blog which is, “A research impact blog from Canada’s knowledge mobilization network”. I just have one question – how on earth do you keep 70 people in a pub sober enough to have a discussion?!

Carrying on with our theme of Communication for this post. JISC fund lots of interesting things, some of the funding comes under the heading of Digitisation and Content. One of the things JISC funds, which comes under e-Content 2011, is the Cataloguing of Kays (Body Image in 100 Years of Kays Worcester) which has nurtured the World of Kays website in the bosom of the ILS family. Go and have your say on the Your stories page and upload a pic of your granny in her new frock πŸ™‚

You see my little chickadees you have to get out there and get noticed πŸ™‚

Digital Literacy?

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Just sorting through a load of stuff before I send it off to the printers – I’m sure I’m missing a document but I can’t think what it is :$ I’ll stop thinking about it then I’m bound to remember πŸ™‚

Out and about in the warm pool of the “network” I found this idea from Canada called Knowledge Mobilisation – a much nicer and more pedagogically correct term than Knowledge Transfer. I guess they are both intending to achieve the same ends but Knowledge Mobilisation makes sense to me. It’s what I’m doing right now and it’s a lot about Digital Literacy – it’s about making it easier for everyone to know what it is they need to know in order to survive. And I just love the picture of the pussy cat:)

From the Twitterverse I’ve just been looking at the National Union of Students’ charter on Technology in Education brought to my attention by #jiscl11. Smashing it says nearly everything that the push for improving Digital Literacy says! Excellent! Also could not resist bringing to your attention Dave White’s blog post on the JISC Developing Digital Literacies Program

Friday post

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I have noted that my posts on Friday’s are a little strange (what you say, stranger than at other times!). I don’t know if the strangeness comes from being tired or from all the stuff buzzing around in my head from everything I’ve read during the week. I feel as if I’ve read rather a lot this week so be warned πŸ™‚

I like the idea of an organised life – mine isn’t but I can appreciate, probably for that reason, why someone would want to create some order in their life. I pick up on a lot of PhD things and one of them is Eva’s blog (PhD Talk), this lady is an engineer, wow! On Monday Eva was talking about time management software – I never really felt I could trust this stuff, it always feels like time and motion study – it does its thing and then tells you that you have to stop doing what is fun. However, Eva’s blog has convinced me to try it (at sometime when I have the time), it seems to have worked for her.

Having presented at the conference in Coventry last week, and having written some feedback for Virtual World Watch, things related to Virtual Worlds are bouncing around in my head like a thingy in a jam jar. I put a few things that caught my eye on the site, “Calling All Lecturers“. I also attended a JISC Webinar on Curriculum Design and that has mixed in with my thoughts too. I’m still struggling to get the words to my thoughts out in some sort of order. There are many social media that we can use to change how we teach, not just for the sake of change but because the world is changing and we need to accommodate those changes. We need to accommodate those changes because our current students need to learn how to use these technologies which will increasingly become part of their working lives. We also need to accommodate these changes because HE is changing (whether we like it or not), not just the things like fees but how and why it exists. The students are changing; the types of students, the way they study, the way their lives dictate the time they have to study. Social medial are just part of that change, the move from University as we know it provides technology from commercial software companies. Virtual worlds are just part of that social software, they are not games, just another social media that provides really good opportunities for creating learning environments that are different from what we are used to. They don’t replace anything they just are another tool that makes it easier to create really interesting, flexible, agile curricula.

There you are, what did I say at the beginning – just a strange stuff πŸ™‚

Shopping in a holodeck?

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In the previous post I mentioned Microsofts Holodesk. In the video on the International Society for Presence Research site they go a little further and enlarge this to something nearer a real life Holodecks.

Putting together the Microsoft idea and this idea Debenhams are using we might be getting a little closer to living the Star Trek way. I really want to try this new idea out – which girl doesn’t like dressing dollies, even if the dolly is herself ?

Add all of that to what Apple are doing and we are really starting to see a revolution in shopping. The thing that every ordinary human being has to do at sometime in their life. How many of you out there currently shop online? I bet you that in 18 months time some of you will be using Apples new technology. Are we going to need bank cards?

For years I’ve been talking about the computer that sits in the corner of your sitting room – generally called a TV. Before he died Steve Jobs had plans for this too and it looks like his company are already taking the idea forward – is everything going Apple?

On a slightly more serious note before I finish. Do you have an avatar? Look what Kristine Shomaker (aka Gracie Kendal) is doing in aid of cancer research. I like this idea and the work Kristine is doing on identity is interesting too.

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