It’s all useful stuff!

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It never ceases to amaze me that sometimes it is as if there is no news at all and then there is more than you want! Ummm, what shall I write about first – I know, something simple.

Movenote is a simple little app that gives you the opportunity to put not only voice-overs on your PowerPoint but face-overs too. The video at the end of the short post here provides an example for you.

I really like this next one. Learn how to speak and cook Italian with MIT! There are links to lots more free learning on this OpenCulture site too.

Not quite sure how this next piece of technology will make things more secure but anything that gets rid of the dreaded PASSWORD gets my vote. This article from the famous Forbes journal explains how Google intends to get rid of passwords. Keep your eyes open for it, it could be our salvation ๐Ÿ™‚

Another thing I hate as much as passwords are cables. They are everywhere, all over the desk, under your feet, arrgh! Wireless technology has helped a little but we need more – like this idea from Apple. I do hope they hurry up with this, I can’t wait.

This article from Technology Review is just mind-blowing. At last the age of technology is about to provide something amazingly useful, wonderful, fantastic! When someone says, “we are going to cure the ills of the world” you never quite believe them – may be this time they really mean it.

I was very pleased when I read this article. For me the quote from Paul Kagame at the end of the article is what Digital Literacy is all about. These are such good actions, I do hope he does not let anyone down.

I can’t wait to try this new technology from Intel, it looks such fun. The more serious applications of this, “perceptual computing” are endless – coming from a health background I can see how this is going to improve online healthcare enormously.

You might think I have moved a long way from Digital Literacy but all of this is what being literate is about. Knowing what is happening in the world and being prepared to make use of that knowledge is what being literate enables us to do. And we can have some fun too – here is a 12 days of Christmas list from ALISS, some of it is a bit gruesome but there are funny and interesting pieces too ๐Ÿ™‚

And the next big thing is …

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The rate of change we are seeing these days is similar to that seen in the industrial revolution. The changes are not just about how we use banking services or how we communicate with friends and employers. The changes affect fundamental aspects of our lives such as how we learn or how we are treated when we are ill. To be able to take advantage of these changes we have to be aware of what they are, so I thought I’d tell you about a few things I’ve been reading about.

I enjoyed reading this article that appeared in the Telegraph about how and why digital literacy is being (or is not being) embedded in UK compulsory schooling. Hearing about what some people, like Don Wettrick in the USA, (No 9 in the list) and the Play-i robots are doing in classes is really exciting. I do wonder just how many children get these sorts of opportunities, will it just be the lucky few?

Healthcare doesn’t miss out on all these new inventions either. Sandra Winkler, an occupational health researcher in Nova Southeastern University in Florida, has received a $1 million dollar grant to investigate the use of Second Lifeยฎ to support amputees in leading more functionally effective lives. In another instance of technology enhanced healthcare is an operation performed using Google Glass. Two surgeons, in hospitals more than two hours apart from each other, performed a shoulder replacement. This enables inexperienced surgeons to have the support of experts as if they were standing right next to them.

In academia we see yet more potential changes. This article is asking if Google Help with replace librarians?

For a few tips before I finish you might find these helpful. You can help keep yourself safe online by controlling who has access to where you are – this article tells you how to do that. Next, a list of apps you might find useful. Finally, a discussion from LSE on copyright, open access and moral rights.

Who, What, umm identity?

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Today I have brought together seven items that are all, in one way or another, connected to identity. Do have a go at some of them they really are quite good fun ๐Ÿ™‚

First up is Spezify, a visual search engine that will search for any picture with your name on it. Do you know what pictures there are of you online? Go and search for yourself and find out just how visual you are!

Next comes Pipl another search engine, this one searches for anything about you online, or for anyone else you want to search for.

By now you should have started to realise how this all connects to questions of identity. So first I looked at how our persona appears online. Now I’m looking at Second Life which provides the opportunity to create a different persona. For those of you who don’t know Second Life is a 3D communication device/social media tool where you can have meetings, or get together with friends to create a special online environment. For those of you new to Second Life (SL) here is the most recent video on how to shop for things in SL. One of the things that people have often complained about with SL is that you can’t access it on a mobile device – well you can now! Lumiya can be run on any Android device, tablet or mobile phone. You can’t do any building in SL with Lumiya but you can do everything else.

Just what else will researchers come up with? Well one of the things they came up with was touch sensitive devices (haptics or haptic technology). Moving on from there they are now working on how to add touch sensitive technology to telemedicine. So you will not just see and talk to your doctor, nurse or specialist online but you will also be able to feel them! eeek! Read about what the researchers at University of Texas are getting up to.

I could not resist bringing you this video spoof of how your grandparents use the Internet. At first the video seems dreadful but real but as soon as the presenter says his name is Bob you know it’s a spoof. A really great laugh but it does get you thinking ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s on the Digital Tattoo site from the University of British Columbia, excellent site, you might like to take a look round that too.

Last an old but interesting article from Heloukee on the Paradox of Openness. Yet another view of identity or identities online that should give you some food for thought.

Where we are

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I’ve been working with students and talking to others in Second life today. Second Life is a communication device, it lets us see representations (avatars) of one another, it enables us to talk in text or voice (to groups or individuals), and it gives people the opportunity to build things together, so people can create together anything from art to rapid prototyping. All of this at the click of a button and from anywhere in the world at any time. This tool thus lends itself to teaching (amongst other things), as an acquaintance from Arkansas State University demonstrated for me with the teacher training course they run completely in SL. I don’t intend to dwell on Second Life and how some are doing more with it than others but all this rather got me thinking about communication and communication methods these days.

Like most other people these days I use a whole range of devices from the physical to the virtual to communicate for work, rest and play. We are all Tweeting, Texting and Scoopiting to our heart’s content, all day. We are communicating at a level of incidence never seen before and we are communicating about all sorts of things. Anything we can think about:

The above list does not include, of course, all of that everyday communication we carry on all the time with our bank or the local government (for example about housing) or the national government (for example pension claims) or the NHS (for example making appointments at the hospital).

So if we can’t communicate properly in the modern world, using modern devices of communication we will not only, not know what is happening, more importantly we will not be able to let people know what is happening with/to us.

Interesting bits and pieces

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Just a few things to chat about today – some are just interesting things, others are things to play with. ok, so what is first on my list?

I think I’ve mentioned Storify to you before as a great way to present interesting and newsworthy content. Today I stumbled across this really useful post from the ReadWriteWeb about the do’s and don’ts for successfully using Storify. It all seems so easy once you read it but the two examples show that the advice given is really helpful.

And now for something completely different ๐Ÿ™‚ Kissing it Better. I thought some of our nursing students (and lecturers) might be interested in this one. I think this is really quite a clever site – it is asking anyone and everyone to share some really simple ideas that help to bring a smile to the face of someone who is ill and/or to their relatives and carers. At the bottom of the page is a link to Notes on Nursing, written by Florence Nightingale – you can buy the book but you can also have a quick peek inside. Flo knew what she was writing about all those years ago – it still applies today.

Thanks to profhacker in The Chronicle of Higher Education for this next piece of information. The post about screencasting tools, the first one mentioned might be of a little interest to you all (‘cos it’s free) but I think you will probably prefer the second one (let’s face it it’s only about ยฃ2.00) Explain Everything. The post gives it a very good write-up and, although it is an iPad app it also works on a PC or Mac. It sounds like a very good way of keeping notes, etc throughout the day.

To end up, here are four links that will interest quite a few of you for one reason or another – they will especially interest education students (and lecturers). The first link is Confusing Words, where you can type in a word you confuse with another and find out its meaning, a cross between a dictionary and a thesaurus. Next is Cool Tools – a whole load of tools you can use with learners to help with their understanding of English, Maths, etc or just for fun. I really like the Oatmeal Grammar Pack, unfortunately it’s American but a smashing idea someone could work with for people on this side of the pond. Finally we come to The Free Dictionary site – you could use this stuff to embed on your own web page or you could just make personal use of it on this site. A great idea with lots of different discipline specific dictionaries available, go and have a look I’m sure you’ll find it useful.

A nice mixture

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I have a whole variety of things for you today. I was a bit busy last Thursday, off in Bristol at a JISC Workshop on Managing a Digital Media Collection. I know that might sound pretty boring to some of you but it was quite good fun. If you are really keen on something, want to share it with others and want others to share with you, you might find Omeka.net interesting. For ยฃ30 per year you can store 1GB of your work on Omeka’s server in America. This gives you an opportunity to produce a product like this one called, “Hurricane Digital Memory Bank” which runs on Omeka on its own server or this one which runs on Omeka.net, “Eastern Oklahoma Tuberculosis Sanitorium”. As you can see on both these sites they provide an option for people to contribute their own pictures and stories to the sites. If you do have a go let me know and I’ll put a link to it on the blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is something for all you iPad owners to try. I guess a lot of you have tried using iMovie to edit your family videos, well here is an app that looks as if it provides more for your $4.99. I found this on the “iPadinCanada” site which has a very helpful video on how to use the app which comes from Avid who produce editing programmes.

I just love this article from the European Space Agency. Unfortunately you can’t get any of this kit on the high street yet but you can see where all this might lead. I can see a time coming when you will all want your own augmented reality medical kit ๐Ÿ™‚

I would love to know how many of your lecturers are using the “clickers” like this lecturer does. Lorraine Weaver has a post on the UoW Interesting Practice site on her use of these gadgets in the Biological Sciences department. Would you like your lecturers to make more use of these “Personal Response Systems”? The biology students seem to have found them very helpful.

A quiet day

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As news goes today it seems a bit quiet. I found a few interesting things over the weekend though.

I just love this post from TechOn about a sort of “artificial skin” that can feel pressure. So often people can’t appreciate what this sort of work might mean in everyday life. Tokyo University though have indicated that their work could prove useful in preventing pressure sores for the ill or disabled, can be used to measure pressure exerted by a human hand and that information then used in robot devices.

Along similar healthcare lines is this news article from Mashable. When people complain about modern technology and mobile phones in particular this is the sort of thing that I like to direct them to. ok so for most of us our mobile phone is just something that is a bit useful but in some countries mobile phones are saving lives.

Again from Mashable for all you bloggers out there comes Embedly. Embedly is really neat platform for converting any url to embeddable media in your own blog. I like the look of this one – I think I’ll have a go at it, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Yeh – and now it’s Monday

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I hope all you chaps and chappesses had a great weekend – despite those very weird high winds. Yes thank you, I had a smashing weekend ๐Ÿ™‚

As you know this blog is all about Digital Literacy, that title covers a very diverse range of topics ‘cos Digital Literacy is everywhere – some people don’t see that and are a bit flippant about it all. There is one place though that all this Digital Literacy stuff is thought of as a very serious subject and that’s in healthcare – especially in the USA. I picked up the following little nugget from one of my mail lists. The post at the top of this page is about how gaming can be used to improve people’s health. A lot of the psychological stuff about using avatars has been known for sometime and used to treat such things as Post Traumatic Stress but it’s nice to see the healthcare people really applying it in a more general way.

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