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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

Who, What, umm identity?

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This is “me”

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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

One of me in SL

This is "me"

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.

A nice mixture

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This is "me"

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 Β£30 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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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.

Spoilt for choice

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This is "me"

It has been really amazing today – I have so much I want to talk about with you that I might have to make decisions about which topics to use!

I must share this with you. I just love it when Digital Literacy gets noticed by one of the big news papers. Here is an article by Sarah Knight from JISC talking about the importance of Digital Literacy in the Higher Education Network section of the Guardian. It is so important that universities and colleges realise that Digital Literacy is not just about ICT skills, researching skills or getting the market image right. Digital Literacy is about a whole cultural change and it is our responsibility to ensure that students leave their courses with the necessary mind set that will enable them to survive in a digitally dominated world.

This one next I think – I do love looking forward, especially at Christmas, so here is a glimpse of what our lives might be like in just a few years time. Just remember that quite a few of the things shown in this video are nearing a beta stage of production already, so the ideas presented here aren’t just stuff and nonsense πŸ™‚

This looks like a bit of fun for Christmas. If you are interested in gaming here is a site that gives advice on different gaming engines, tools and resources. Let me know if you create anything over Christmas, we can have a competition to see who produces the best game πŸ™‚

For something a little more serious but very interesting we have mapping the brain from Massachusetts General Hospital. These marvellous inventions and advances in technology for medicine are mind blowing. I don’t think the majority of the public know just how little is really known about how the body works. What the medical technologists are doing now will change the face of medicine in the same way that antibiotics did just after the second world war.

I’ve been trying to decide why I might need Jing, so I’m trying it out. I have Snagit which is excellent and only costs a little. I also have Camtasia which is also excellent but costs a lot. Jing, at the basic level is free so I think a lot of you might like to make use of its features such as grabbing a screen or image on your computer and sending it to a friend or putting it on your blog (with carful attention to Copyright of course). You can also share any Screen casts you make too through the free access to the Screencast.com – fantastic for hard-up students (or even hard-up lecturers). Coming from Techsmith these tools are very easy to use and there is lots of support with instructional videos, etc.

I think that’s all for now – do you think we are going to have proper snow tomorrow? I’d get my boots on if I were you πŸ™‚

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