Just a couple of boards – no nails :)

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Wow! Just look at the time – didn’t realise it was getting so late. ok I just have two things for you today which I’m sure some of you are going to find interesting.

ShowMe is a smashing Apple App that is like having an interactive whiteboard on your iPad screen which you can share with all your friends. In this Vimeo video you see it being used with school children but there is no reason why it should not be used in Higher Education. ShowMe is a free App and you and a group of friends or colleagues can set it up yourselves, it does not have to be initiated by the University or the Department.

If you do not have an iPad do not despair there is another free app you can use πŸ™‚ RealtimeBoard is another interactive whiteboard app but this one works on the web so you can use your usual laptop or desktop computer. RealtimeBoard seems to be aimed more at business people but again there is no reason why HE should not use it too. Go and have a look at the video there are lots of things you can use it for and it is very easy to invite others to join in with you.

Have fun – this stuff doesn’t have to be used for serious things πŸ™‚


It is all so exciting!!

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Now what was I talking about – oh yes, Twitcam. Twitcam is a great little addition to Twitter, just go to their site and follow the really simple instructions. Once connected a Tweet will go out on Twitter giving the url to your live video stream and you can Tweet and/or talk and let people view you all at the same time. Great for giving short demonstrations or for having people join in a discussion. I’ve linked it in to Second Life too, (this video on YouTube shows you how to do it) which will be great for those people who cannot join us in Second Life for the Research Seminars we run there. If you want to find the University of Worcester go into Second Life and search for University of Worcester. Don’t search for it on the Second Life Maps web page, it isn’t working properly (I have reported it to SL).

Just one more thing today. Go and look at what Mimas are doing now. Mimas are a JISC supported Centre based at Manchester University. Three of us went to see what they were doing with the Scarlet Project which is using virtual reality in education. What they have done now is to bring satellite imagery into the classroom. Really fantastic stuff for educators and students.

Aggression and citations

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Ummm, so many interesting things, where should I start. Oh yes, let’s do the really serious stuff first.

This video on YouTube by Richard Bacon from the BBC gives you lots to think about. Richard has been targeted by a cyber bully and wants to find him so he can talk to him face to face. Richard also talks to some other people who have bullied online. What do you think – is this type of behaviour ok or should we cyber-writers make the bullies sit up and take notice of, what is usually, the silent majority.

Something for the historians out there. 2014 will be the centenary of World War One and there’s loads of stuff happening on the web. This site is run by University of Oxford in collaboration with JISC. If you have something you’d like to contribute to the site why not contact them (details on the web site).

Finally another JISC funded project, this time at University of Bristol. The m-biblio Project aim is to create an app that allows “smart phones to be used for the recording and organisation of bibliographic information for students within a library context“. See if you agree with some of the comments the Bristol students have made. If you have a new idea add your comment here πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚ 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 Β£2.00) 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.

Socialise and Learn

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I went on my induction tour for The Hive this morning. Wow – what a beautiful place! Students won’t start using it until July but I think you are all going to enjoy the space and the facilities provided in this L-space place.

Seriously busy friending the students who are joining Second Life at the moment. I offer them a teleport, a chance to join our group and advise them to start friending one another. Social spaces are all about being social and being social supports learning! So start getting out there and being social πŸ™‚ It’s not just research students who have to learn to use digital media, we all do if we want to keep learning and growing through all our life. I found this really useful site about Digital Literacy, CyberWhy-s. I like the videos on the page I’ve just directed you to but there are loads more on this site – I was particularly drawn to the part specially for adults. So useful that it’s all on one site though.

A friend alerted my to an app called engag.io that helps you to keep track of all the different social media sites you use (don’t forget the more you socialise the more you learn). This article on the ReadWriteWeb says it is really easy to use – I’m certainly going to give it a try when I have time on the weekend.

Remember to socialise well – follow the advice from my previous post and the Twitter advice from the LSE. You might also like to try using one of these tools from the Educational Technology and Mobile Learning site. I’ve mentioned Scribblr before, ‘cos I think it’s rather neat but you might like to try one of the others too.

Developing Digital Literacies

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I was going to write about something completely different but then I saw the Tweet in the #jiscdiglit Twitter stream from CosmoCat. I’m not sure if many/any of you are aware that JISC is currently running a Programme called Developing Digital Literacies (unfortunately we were a little too young to join in). The Programme comes under JISC Cetis and on the Programme homepage it says,

“We’re working with colleges and universities to embed core digital skills into the curriculum. By digital literacy we mean those capabilities which fit an individual for living, learning and working in a digital society: for example, the skills to use digital tools to undertake academic research, writing and critical thinking; as part of personal development planning; and as a way of showcasing achievements.”

Which is, more or less, what we are trying to do here at Worcester. (I must say I really dislike the JISC homepages their new sites are much nicer. Have a look at the range of projects in the programme) What CosmoCat drew my attention to was Sheila’s work blog, which provides an excellent round-up of how the programme is progressing so far and what is happening with each of the projects. You can get a good idea of what it is like to work on one of these projects by looking at the blogs from them.

Do go and look at all the information in the links above as it will give you a better idea of what this blog and the Digital Literacy Services in general are all about:)

Umm ebooks

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I’ve been thinking a lot about books just lately. I do buy books in hardcopy, they are very special books, lovingly cared for. Most of the books I buy, for work or just ‘cos I want a good story, are ebooks. These ebooks are books that have to be very portable, books I can put down anytime and pick up again whether I’m on a train or stopped for coffee. I have always read a lot but I think I probably read more now, simply because of ebooks. My phone goes with me everywhere and so my books do too. The end of 2010 saw a massive increase in the purchase of ebooks because of the success of the Kindle, and there is no indication that the rate of increase is slowing down. I’ve been looking at a few sites about ebooks and thought I’d share them with you.

I sometimes think that people have a conception of ebooks as just being like any other book but produced electronically. This isn’t so, publishers are working hard to produce books that have more interaction and more features than hardcopy books do. This graphic that I found on Tony Bates blog is a little old but it does provide a concise overview of ebooks. the graphic covers 2009-2010 but doesn’t appear to include the massive increase in ebooks at the end of 2010.

There has been some talk around for a while now that Apple has been working on digital publishing for the masses. This article on, “Ars Technica” looks at the latest Apple announcement and I can’t wait to see what follows. There are quite a few links worth following in this article and it provides an interesting read about this subject.

If you’re interested in ebooks, you will really like this Scoop.it site, Perspectives on ebooks. Smashing, just loads of stuff on ebooks, the technology, the publishers, effects on reading, just loads. Have a look, if you hate ebooks it might just change your mind, if you love them already you’ll find lots to interest you. Let me know how you get on πŸ™‚

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 Scoop.it 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™‚

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.

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 Scoop.it 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 Scoop.it 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.

POETS day!

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When I was just a tiny student nurse our Sister Tutor called Friday’s POETS day – Push Of Early Tomorrow’s Saturday. I’m not trying to discourage you from being anything but diligent in your work but, for me, Fridays still hold that anticipation of something good just around the corner πŸ™‚

Sorry about missing yesterday, very busy recording (and presenting) the new Semester’s Research Seminar (in Second Life) on the University of Worcester Island (http://slurl.com/secondlife/University%20of%20Worcester/145/188/25). The Island isn’t officially adopted by UW but it was created with a JISC grant and some gifted money as part of an elearning project a few years ago. We have a couple of lecturers using it and about three more who would like to use it but the Research Seminars are the only regular thing we do there at the moment. It’s good fun and you can learn a lot about researching, education and virtual worlds. We often get people from all over the world joining in not just lecturers and researchers from the UK so we get a lot of cross-fertilisation of ideas. I haven’t edited the video of the meeting yet but you can keep up with what’s in the diary on the Research Seminars page on my other blog.

Now then what have I found interesting recently – let me see.

Oh yes, 33 Interesting ways to use Mobile Phones (in the classroom). This is quite a long PowerPoint presentation but there are lots ideas that both lecturers and students might like to try out. I particularly like number 6 – I really like videos that show me how to do things – have a look πŸ™‚

I found this off-shoot from Instagram, it’s their Webstagram Photo of the Day. There are some smashing photo’s on here – why not give Instagram and their photo album Keepsy a go and see if your photos end up on Photo of the Day? Some of you more technically minded people might like to try the Computable Document Format from Wolfram to add interactivity to your blogs.

Talking of blogs and by extension blog posts, there are three I’d like to draw your attention to. The first one is a blog I’ve mentioned before Networked Researcher. I thought some of you might be interested in the post, Social Media as a Research Environment. The same chap who wrote that post also writes his own blog, Not a PhD Thesis which I thought could be interesting to you researcher students out there. The final one is, The Thesis Whisperer. Some amusing though perspicacious insights into Thesis writing.

Enjoy the weekend my friends.

Penmanship in a digital age

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A colleague ‘phoned me this morning to ask if I knew anything about pens that remembered what you write; she thought it would be a marvellous idea for students. Well if any of you want to look into its possibilities here are a few things to get you started.

Understandably these pens are all a bit on the expensive side. Some require special paper and/or special note books that also add to the cost but, hey, they do a lot for the money! So what is there on the market? There is a web page for Livescribe pens that has a video that shows you how they work. These pens not only record your writing they also record audio. Great for using in a meeting or tutorial, not too sure just how well they would work in a lecture hall. What could well be useful to some students is that they also translate, though I don’t think they would cope with more technical/discipline specific words. The pens cost between about Β£100 and Β£170 pounds but don’t forget all the other things you need too. The paper costs between Β£13 to Β£20 pounds for 4 note books and the headphones cost you about Β£30. It depends on where you think it is best for you to spend your money.

Then there is Logipen. This pen only needs ordinary paper and does not record audio. There is a receiver that you clip to the top of your note pad or loose leaf pages that records what you produce with the pen. View their video and compare the functions and costs with the Livescribe. The pen and receiver cost about $90 and, as far as I can tell, you can only buy it online directly from the company. With VAT the cost would work out about the same as the Livescribe but you do not have to use special paper.

I found one other on Amazon called E-pens Mobile Notes, it didn’t have a very good write-up but it only cost about Β£80. I’ll see if I can find some others, if I can I’ll pass on the info.

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 (http://www.scoop.it/). 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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