Monday, 24 June 2013

I am here

Lovely little film promoting a new book discussing the shape of literacy in the 21st Century.


This could prove useful for those keen to use e-portfolios to promote creativity and alternative ways of expressing/assessing in education. Recommended by Mark Phillips, stumbled across by me.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

OcTEL begins

After dabbling with a few MOOCs recently, I've decided to dedicate myself & time to the UK ALT "MOOC" called OCTEL! It began today, so still time to sign up, if you're interested in participating. Looking forward to spending some virtual time with Martin Hawksey, who appears to be the architect of this beast.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

inspiring mind maps

I'm currently working on a workshop displaying the presentation capabilities of mindmap tools. 

The three tools I've used for presentations are;

1) - web based, collaborative, basic (free).

2) - a map of web 2.0 tools - web based, range of useful features even with the free version. The premium version expands the feature set.

3) Buzan's iMindmap - PC based, but does have an iPhone app.  As far as I'm concerned this one has it all, and stays true to the underpinning theories of Tony Buzans mindmapping principles. It works both as a brainstorming tool, as you would expect, but also then turns a mindmap into an impressive  presentation. In presentation mode it looks not too dissimilar to PREZI, zooming in and out of nodes as you traverse around your mindmap. It even exports the map to a Powerpoint version.  The best I've used bar none.

As you can see from this example my techniques improved markedly after attending an approved Buzan mindmap session.  If you adhere to the principles, it really does help improve memory, recall, and trigger ideas off from all areas of your grey matter.

The best I'd recommend for teaching and learning was one I reviewed a few years ago, called mindgenius.  The ability to export skeleton maps to word documents allowed students to rapidly work round ideas, then export nodes as word subheadings. Ideal planning tools for both visual learners and anyone coping with dyslexia.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

E-portfolios in HE

Useful video by a colleague of mine discussing the benefits of e-portfolios

Monday, 25 October 2010

Totally Totara

Totara is the name of a new venture between Kineo + Catalyst IT - A leading open source company based in New Zealand, Australia and the UK. Catalyst are one of the core Moodle developers and have one of the largest Moodle development teams. Joining this are the Flexible Learning Network - An innovative New Zealand based e-learning company that leads the Mahara e-portfolio project, the most popular open source e-portfolio system world-wide and often used in combination with Moodle.  Full press release here.

Totara will offer bespoke flavours of Moodle customised (as they do currently) to the corporate LMS market, integrating training tracking, etc, and now add personal learning plan in the shape of Mahara.  IMO, HEIs & FE Colleges could benefit from these new ideas of Moodle / Mahara integration.  This new venture also reinforces the increased awareness  and uptake of Open Source solutions across the globe.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

ipad Vs iphone4

iphone 4 image

I found these stats in the image  capabilities of the new iphone. I knew they had improved since Vs 1, but was surprised to see by how much. BTW, the new iphone 4 also has a front camera as well as the back one.
iPhone 45.0 MegaPixel2592x19361280x720Back-Facing
iPhone 4VGA640x480640x480Front-Facing

see this site for full technical spec':  & more here:

Before I mention my new iphone4, I 'd like to point you in the direction of 3 ipad reviews to bring you up-to-date on the best gadget of the century :

Now back to my new work iphone4. I took delivery of it yesterday.  Out f the box, it's less curvy than my old (orginal version 1), but on first inspection the interface is much improved. The most obvious difference is the obligatory 4 digit passcode needed to accces it. Not a bad idea. 
I re-instated my itunes account to begin download new apps. More about those on following posts. 

I tested the camera and video functionality yesterday and was impressed by the ability to shoot video and images from the same app. Not sure of the quality yet, but I do know there's an imovie app that enables simple video editing on the move.  I'll try that soon. ~   I've just downloaded the first images and; I'm very impressed at the quality (much improved - see above).The video clips I shot yesterday are also very good quality - apart from the fact that I shot them in portrait format - and I should have used landscape!  I'll upload one of those  videos to vimeo and embed it in this post shortly. But again the video quality looks outstanding for a mobile phone :OD

Now to add the Blackboard and Pabblepad apps. I'll update you on those and others in the near future. I'll also put up another post about the video capabilities of sed iphone, soon.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

the attitude or the technology?

Just noticed this short article on Wired Campus 

So I've just copied it >>>

"Faculty members and information-technology staff members alike say technology is useful for teaching and learning, but professors take a narrower view of what technology belongs in today's classroom, according to a report released on Monday by the technology company CDW Government Inc.

Eighty-eight percent of the 303 faculty members surveyed said technology was essential or useful for student learning, and over 60 percent said they used electronic materials in their teaching, according to the report.

The most popular tools cited by professors were e-textbooks and online documents, with faculty members reporting far less enthusiasm for other electronic tools. Under a quarter of faculty members surveyed use wikis or blogs in their teaching, and only 31 percent of professors surveyed considered online collaboration tools "essential" to today's classroom, compared with 72 percent of over 300 IT employees surveyed.
That suggests an interesting gap between technology staff members and professors when it comes to how smart classrooms need to be. How wired should teaching spaces be?

It's only a short article but really resonates with the situation here in the UK education arena. i.e. some see the benefits of the technology, and strive to create environments to nurture 21st century learning expereinces. This is often hampered by differeing levels of support (both IT and senior management) .

The comments about the reluctance to grasp the significance of collaborative platforms also does not surprise me - sadly.  The thread of comments posted under the article could have been penned by any UK educator - which is also quite scary. I advise you to read them - very insightful to see the interpretation of technology enhanced learning from differing perspectives. I especially like this comment :

If you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

My advice is to get back to basics and work from curriculum up - redesign to incorporate these (collaborative) learning methods - or they'll always be bolt-on. And also ensure the support mechanisms are in place - implementing technology is so about the people and so not about the "systems"
Use the JISC infokit to help redesign your courses - you know it makes sense !o) , it really is very good :

Transforming Curriculum Design and Curriculum Delivery through Technology