Anything to say?

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I’ve been trying to find something interesting for you all. The advice when blogging is to not just blog for the sake of it but only when you have something to say – so I’ll shut up now … Umm, has anything turned up yet? Ahhh – what’s that on the horizon?

What is that strange animal – an open, open university? I like the idea of helping people to get on the higher education ladder and I applaud the work of the Open University and the provision of Open Educational Resources. I just don’t see how a completely free university can manage to keep going – I know we probably need one but I still haven’t read anything that demonstrates that it is sustainable. What do you all think about open, open universities?

I couldn’t resist including this book in today’s blog. It is so cute as well as clever. What we want are more learning opportunities like this but at a HE level. It would be great for history, archeology, health and drama – just loads of stuff. Do you have any good suggestions ?

Has anyone taken a moment to look at the T-SPARC project (Technology-Supported Processes for Agile and Responsive Curricula), you can find it on the JISC Design Studio site – lots and lots of ideas we can try out from here. More thought-provoking ideas and discussion can be found from a link to a recording of the very interesting Webinar on Curriculum Design: Changing the paradigm which can be found in the top cell of the table on the web page. It takes an age to load so be patient – go and make a coffee whilst it’s loading then sit down, have lunch and listen to the webinar.

I do always have lots to talk about but sometimes I think it would be a bit boring for a lot of you. The more technology (though not difficult) focused stuff, and sometimes more serious stuff, I’m at present putting on the Calling all Lecturers site. Do go have a look if you are into that sort of thing too.

Wow, just look at how much is out there when you really start looking πŸ™‚


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.

Making friends and influencing people

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I had a marvellous time on Tuesday afternoon when I met up with Michelle Rogers from Early Childhood Studies. Michelle is one of those people who has loads of enthusiasm and very quietly makes interesting things happen. We nattered for ages about the things she has been doing with the students she works with and the very interesting technology she has to play with. Hopefully I’ll be able to bring you some examples of what Michelle is doing in the not too distant future. If you can’t wait for that you’ll have to contact her yourself πŸ™‚

This post from The Thesis Whisperer should encourage all of you to go mobile. Dr Inger Mewburn is the writer of this blog as well as the author of numerous publications about research education. There are 20 replies to this blog at the moment so there should be lots of ideas for you to pick up about mobile learning and working – why not add your own reply whilst you’re there.

I have some more toys for you to play with this weekend. The first is Diagramly, it’s fun, it’s easy to use, it’s online and it’s free. I get really fed-up with Word at times, especially their awfully inflexible diagram tools. I’ve used a few different diagram programs, I think I’ll try giving this one a try too. Another useful tool is Citebite where you can link to a specific quote on a web page. Very useful if, like me, you read a lot of pages and can never remember just where it was you found that one interesting little nugget. A similar program is Awesome Highlighter – try them both and let me know which one you think is best.

Finally we are trying out a site for Lecturers called Calling all Lecturers. I try to put a little something on the site each morning – you can comment on it, send it to Twitter of Facebook or even start your own site and re-scoop the things you like. Let me know if you like it and what other topics you might like included on it.

So much to say – so little time

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I had so much I wanted to say to you today! Let me see just how much I can fit in to the time allotted.

First of all here is the Creative Commons leaflet. It will come out in hardcopy eventually but everyone is a bit busy at the moment.

First little snippet is about Google searching. I like this video produced by Google – most importantly the part where the chap says Google does not search the whole of the web.

I like this site for researchers/PhD students Vitae. This particular post on the site, about making the most of your PhD in a recession, was very interesting.

Finally a little something for lecturers, librarians and everyone else – this article from The Chronicle on ebooks and how they are developing in academia. I’m rather disappointed that they are still talking about .pdf but then it’s all a move in the right direction.

More tomorrow folks πŸ™‚

More before it’s too late!

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Just sneaking in past the post here with some in put for today. One thing I must say of course, is that yesterday I completely forgot to mention Wacom Bamboo. The Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch is their latest offering and it does look quite good. Let me know if any of you are using it and give your colleagues some feedback.

At last I’ve managed to get started on the screen capture about esubmissions/efeedback/etc for lecturers. Once it’s done (and it’s been passed as good enough) I’ll let you know who is using it and where you can access it. If any of you have been working on the pilot I’d love to hear from you.

Sorry about that – I did start this blog yesterday. I just got swamped by the screen capture stuff!

I’ve been having a look round and on Mashable I found this post about tools for quick screen recordings. I use Snagit for little bits and Camtasia for the big stuff but most people only want to grab a few minutes which the Mashable suggestions do just fine.

There are lots of reports that Google+ is growing fast. I must admit that I joined a few months ago and it was very easy to use (and much nicer than Facebook) but didn’t go back ‘cos there were so few people there. However, I’ve been receiving invitations over the last few days so it could well be worth looking at again. Are any of you using it?

ok must get back to the recording stuff now. See you tomorrow πŸ™‚

What are people up too!

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Had a really interesting meeting with a friend in the Charles Hastings Building on UW City Campus. She is working on the museum (not sure what the name will be yet) in the old infirmary building, it looks like it will be really interesting. We were talking about the use of QR codes as they will be used in the museum for people to follow-up on some of the exhibits. I found this post by Michael Bromby, Reader in Law at Glasgow University. Michael uses QR codes in his teaching but for me it all seems a bit ordinary. I’ve tried linking by QR directly to YouTube which was fun though and I think students would like to be able to access podcasts by QR. You might like to look at this “Getting Started Guide” from University of Bath that Michael talks about. It’s a bit old (2008) but is enough to get you started. I prefer ihop for creating code though as it is very, very simple to use. Take a look at this Prezi presentation which might give you some inspiration. Let me know what you use QR codes for and whether they are successful or not.

Don’t know if any of you have heard of the DUCKLING project from Leicester University. The project is all about how to provide materials and support for distance learning students. They have come up with some really good ideas though which could just as easily be applied to students in the university or for students on Earn as you Learn. Do have a look at the video on the JISC Design Studio page above, I’m sure you will find it very interesting.

Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with a programme called Scoopit ( It is a really quick way of creating access to interesting web sites. A lecturer might use this for their students but it would also be a great way for students to support one another. Anything that has a url can be scooped and you can add your own text too. You can add comments and/or re-scoop a site from someone else. There are a number of other things you can do as a Scoopit community but I haven’t had time to explore those yet. Why don’t you have a look and let me know how you get on.

Have a good weekend and I’ll see you all next week πŸ™‚

Catching up?

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Whoops! only just realised that yesterday occurred – I blame copyright – struggling with writing about copyright in even vaguely friendly terms turns the brain to mush and makes time stand still πŸ™‚ Anyway sorry about that folks – now to more interesting stuff.

Looking around the web I’ve found a few things that might tickle your fancy:) One is the idea of losing the PC. This idea has been around for a long time but it looks as if the iPhone and iPad are accelerating its demise. This short post from the ReadWriteWeb blog has a few things to say about the matter. I wonder how the loss of the PC will affect teaching in HE?

At least JISC have been thinking about what might happen. This presentation about mobile learning is anticipating the demise of the PC – it’s also anticipating the changing demands on HE.

Higher Education is looking towards the future and wondering what the new student will be looking for. This survey of a small group (1,000) of school children from 13-17 years of age seems to indicate that they will want a far more flexible way of accessing HE. Will mobile learning be the way for us to go?

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