Another Academic Year

One of me in SL

This is “me”

Here we are back again after the summer – how did it manage to go so fast? As this is the beginning of semester I thought it might be useful if I started right from the beginning again. I’m not going to just start right from the beginning again, though that would make my job really easy πŸ™‚ Things have changed quite a bit since I first started writing this blog – for one thing people are becoming more aware of what this digital stuff is all about and there are more digital literacy resources around. So over the next three or four weeks I thought I would bring some of the new resources to you.

As usual this blog will go out about once a week. SAM the hub for all the University digital news, goings on, policies, guidelines and resources will go out about once a month. The site, Calling all Lecturers for those interested in education, goes out at least daily. QuileR, the site for short training videos, is reviewed whenever I get a request for training or updates in a certain programme from either students, lecturers or other members of staff. Do contact me if you want to know more about QuileR. I put a message out on the ILS Facebook page whenever there is a publication.

Before I finish for today I thought you might be interested in Picadilo. Picadilo is a photo editing programme you can use online, it has plenty of tools to play with so try it out and send me your results.


Summer siesta

One of me in SL

This is “me”

So here we are – the last post of this academic year. Students and lecturers are starting to pack up which leaves the campus free to be invaded by builders and other such people. Backstage, where no one can see them, people are furiously preparing for next semester.

One of our students has taken advantage of some University supported work experience in Australia. Lauren is studying Digital Film Production here at the University on the Screenwriting course and whilst in Melbourne is writing a blog about her experiences. Follow her progress and let her know that we are thinking about her enjoying all that lovely Aussie sunshine πŸ™‚

Why not get blogging/Tweeting/Facebooking like Lauren and let us know what you are getting up to over the summer break. Give me the link to your publications and in September I’ll devise a prize for the person who gets the most comments over the summer.

Happy holidays everyone πŸ™‚

Who, What, umm identity?

One of me in SL

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.

The things people do

One of me in SL

This is "me"

Is the weather going to improve at last! All this wet is so boring – spring showers I can put up with but the last week has just been ridiculous! Never mind, today the sun keeps popping out and things look a little more promising πŸ™‚

I’ve been analysing the results from the Digital Literacy Survey and I find it quite strange how few people blog. Students, lecturers and other staff it’s all the same, regardless of gender, very few people blog. I quite enjoy blogging, it’s fairly creative and sometimes it even helps to wake me up a bit πŸ™‚ Martin Weller also likes blogging, he has written a post on the Virtues of Blogging as a Scholarly Activity – he’s been blogging for six years now and reckons it’s the best academic decision he’s ever made. I don’t know if I would go that far but blogging has certainly widened my academic network. It’s a good thing to practice getting out there and putting some thoughts on your subject, your studies or your hobby out into the big wide world. It helps you to become more confident in about presenting your own ideas, it develops your writing skills and helps you to find your “voice”, the identity you want to portray online. Blogging isn’t just for lecturers, it’s for everyone – a uniquely simple way of engaging with the rest of the world.

I found this post from Rose Wintergreen really interesting and moving. We all get miserable and doubt ourselves and our abilities at times and Rose has caught this perfectly in this post on Creativity and Misery. Do read it and the following comments, if you are feeling a bit low it will make you feel better πŸ™‚

So you see you can write about anything. Remember to link your blog to Twitter, Facebook and any other social media you use – you will attract more viewers and followers that way.

I wrote a little about bullying and bad behaviour online a few posts ago. I thing the work that journalism students at Michigan State University are doing on their anti-bullying site is great. The New Bullying is about cyberbullying and is produced as both a web site and a book which you can download. Although the videos are about school children, bullying occurs everywhere and to anyone – even people who think they are quite strong. May be the information these journalism students provide might be able to help you or a friend.

I have written before about networks for academics and researchers but I thought you might all be interested in this post about just how popular these all are. Read the post, Social Networks for Academics and go and join some of the networks it links to.

For those of you in history or archaeology, you might find this new, free, online book interesting. Archaeology 2.0: New Tools For Communication and Collaboration, is all about using new technologies in archaeology.

Keep your fingers crossed that it stays dry tomorrow – some sun would be nice too πŸ™‚

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.

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