Tuesday, 26 May 2009

end of services

I've just picked up this email from JANET. It spells out the end of the JANET talk (VOIP) pilot to UK educators. I just need to clarify one point. JANET TXT service is still alive and very much kicking.

Read more:

" We have now made the decision not to take JANET Talk beyond its trial
phase. As the previous email pointed out we received feedback from JANET
Talk users and administrators, and also conducted a separate market
research exercise. All of the information gathered indicated strongly
that JANET Talk was not a suitable solution to meet the collaboration
needs of the JANET community. The main facts behind this lack of
appetite are:

* JANET Sites are now able to manage / allow peer to peer applications

* The commercial market has made significant advances since the JANET
Talk concept was realised, JANET(UK) is not in a position to compete
with the amount of zero cost alternative collaboration solutions

* The JANET Talk solution has significant usability issues

We are proposing to end the trial on the 29th May. Although we initially
set up the trial to run August 2008 to August 2009 in the light of the
feedback received and the lack of usage of the equipment it seems
relevant to end things early."

JUMPCUT - also dies

I also recently caught wind of the termination of another online technology. Namey JUMPCUT (masing up videos online). This service (owned by Yahoo) is wrapping up. It just goes to show, how careful you must be when relying on "free" Web2.0 services, as they can be quite easily pulled. The same thing happened to Google Pages ( now Google sites) and the Google Lively MUVE. And also many others - read the comment from Paul Jinks >>>>

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Open Source is a winner :O)

Congratulations are to RSC Scotland NE who have won a prestgious IMS global award for their Access apps suite of tools to aiist accessibility initiatives. This is part of the new edu apps range of tools aimed at teachers & students. All three groups of software can be download and run from a standard memory stick. I had a go woth the CORE version of the Teacher apps last week, and they ran a treat. Read about the award & download the apps, from their home page : http://www.rsc-ne-scotland.ac.uk/index.php

Also our local Worester College of Technology also won an award for their Moodle plug-in caled MR CUTE. This essentially adds a learning object repository to any Moodle. Find out more about MR CUTE here:

  • Yesterday we ran a live presentation covering the basics of learning object repositories by Mahendra Mahay. Watch a recording of this interesting presentation online here:

And finally, you can access the latest version of the OpenDisc projects CD choc full of open source softwarez:


Facebook gives you cancer!

And Twitter gives you piles. Well it does if you sit on your phone! OUCH.

I bet you trying to guess where I'm going with this one, well it's all in the pursuit of eradicating pseudoscientists out of practice. I noticed a remark Ben Goldacre made in his Bad Science column last week in the Guardian. It's always a fantastic read about the way eminent researchers pick and choose the bits of supposed rigourous reasearch to make their product/trial/paper look better than it should, or discredit others. The big pharmaceuticals are past masters at this malpractice. Ben Goldacre even managed to spend about 1/2 a year having a pop at Dr Gillian McKeith for her "Dr" status, that she purchased off the internet for a quid. Surprinsingly she's no longer a Dr!

Anyhoo back to the plot. last week Ben reported on how Professor Baroness Susan Greenfield. The Oxford University professor is head of the Royal Institution of Great Britain started to spout on about the horrors of social network sites that are frying our brains - well- "generation Y's" delicate brains. Apparently she bleats on like some quack snakeoil doctor in the gold rush. Didn't we have all of this when TV first came in?

Doktor Baroness Greenfield, continued to pick out randon bits of research to back up her rants, making little or no sense. It makes for interesting reading, as does the replies from readers on Ben's on Bad Science website forums:


The way the Ben teaches us about the way the Media twists the results of empirical data is very interesting and even makes the whole subject of strict clinical trials interesting. His reports on the way the more recent Omega oils trials were handled by the scientists and media also exemplify malpractice of picking out the bits that make your product look useful - when in fact it's was all very very questionable.

Sony PSP for learning

We are running the final day of our online conference today and have a ful day of presentations focussing on gaming technologies applied to educational contexts. We have been handed a few videos that discuss the use of the Sony PSP. I thought I'd share them with you. Very interesting stuff - especially the Second sight video.

second sight on PSP Consumer unit from kevbrace on Vimeo.

the use of hand held games (Sony PSP) from kevbrace on Vimeo.

Sony PSP handheld consoles use in education from kevbrace on Vimeo.

We also had a live session run on the DimDim webinar platform by Karl Royle who talked about the use of gaming technolgoies generally in education. A very intersting session. Watch it online here:

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Rapid e-learning tools

just thought I'd write a quick review of two very good e-learning tools I've recently experienced.

The first is a true rapid e-learning product called Articulate. The 2009 update and can plug-in to Powerpint to create very slick looking learning objects, consisting of a suite of quiz tools and other modules. You can easily and quickly create some very engaging self contained learning objects that can be exported to a standard packaged format and upload into your VLE in a jiffy. The results are very professional looking, and you can "re-skin" the results to brand the resultant screens with logos, etc. Making a slick looking packaged learning design. Add Flash widgets, videos, and other Javascripts and you are up there with the best of them. I sat down with a mate recently who ran through a series of pitches for some high profile customers. He had used Articulate to great effect. I was very impressed with the highly professional results. It's a must for those busy academics and small e-elearnning teams who need to bang out some high quality learning objects to populate those empty VLEs. Read some glowing endorsements here.

I used to use the wonderful tool called Course Genie to do this a few years ago. It's now called Wimba Create.

The second tool I am reviewing is a student voting system by one of the main market leaders Promethean.

Promethean sell voting systems, and interactive whitboards. I used the active expression handset ( see above) in conjunction with the activestudio software. I ran a series of questions in a 1 day conference last week. The whole day went extremely well, and the voting kit provided an extra dimension of delegate particpation in the day.

The authoring environment was very easy to use install and use. The hard thing was triple checking the questions to ensure the wording was not biased. The system has a whole range of question types and each screen can be easily customised to add logos, images and other media. I pre-authored the questions before the conference, and pre-registered 90 handsets before I gave them out. I must admit I did practice a few times before I ran the questions in the live conference. On the day the system ran perfectly and was able to show responses immediately on screen once everyone had voted. It really is a very slick system. The tools even allow you to run another quick question on the screen whilst you debate the results of the previous vote. Simple to use & set up, effective and encourages student response.

You can even export the results into a spreadsheet to run some more complex statistical analysis of the resultant data. I really was impressed with the whole system. and it can also "plug-into" PowerPoint" to present a more familiar interface for those too busy to learn a new interface. And the online community pages set up under the Promethian World banner, allows you to upload and share your resources with others across the globe. Those clever Promethean people really have thought of everything.

A viable alternative would be those Quizdom sets, which offer simialr level of functionalities.

latest eportfolio gubbins

A recording (May 09) of a webcast that Julie Hughes gave for our online conference. Please watch the presentation entitled


Access the pdf presentation Julie ran through here:


And our information officer has just post a new case study in the excellence gateway covering how South Birmingham College have used individual learning plans in their Moodle. Read it here:


And I've just stumled across this little nuggett about ....

"Every student has access to a personalised online eportfolio over the
internet for home work and assignments, along with other tools such as
forums, resources, calendars, results and notes from teachers."

A very timely announcement in the light of the discussion going on at


which is a group similar to our online CoP: http://groups.google.com/group/rscmeg

find more about eportfolios in my wiki here

and... don't forget last month I also interviewed Emma Purnell about imnplementing eportoflios as a podcast.

its quite easy really

IQER to you and me!!

I attended the HE in FE conference recently where there was a big focus on the qaulity assurance of HE delivering in FE. Now Plymouth Uni were granted some CETL funding to devleop their HEinFE advice.

They have now produced a "course in their Moodle" covering IQER basics, for most to have a look at:


the site is working but the IQER is now under blended learning

you might like to login with www.help-cetl.ac.uk/moodle and then click on the blended learning course link.

  • Please note that copy presentations, keynote and the conference booklet have been posted to our website and can be accessed at www.help-cetl.ac.uk. This includes the notes from the breakout sessions and expert reportage session.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Eduserv Adobe Master CLP Agreement

Eduserv Adobe Master CLP Agreement

Eduserv is pleased to announce a new Adobe Master CLP (Contractual Licensing Programme) Chest Agreement. This allows all Higher and Further Education establishments to purchase from the Adobe Academic CLP Agreement at the highest level of discount (Tier 3) regardless of their spend under the agreement.

Adobe CLP is a scheme that allows Institutions to purchase perpetual licences and optional maintenance at discounted rates. A standard CLP scheme offers three tiers of discount depending on spend and until now, achieving Tier 3 has required institutes to purchase 50,000 points of product per annum, equating to over 300 copies of Adobe Acrobat Pro or 112 copies of Adobe Creative Suite 4.0 Standard Editions yearly.

Under the Eduserv Adobe Master CLP Agreement, all sites can benefit from Tier 3 discount regardless of their size.

Some smaller institutions (particularly in FE) have struggled to reach the minimum initial order level for the CLP scheme of 6,000 points and had to rely on the less generous discounts of the TLP scheme or even academic boxed product. However under the Eduserv Adobe Master CLP Agreement there is no minimum initial order. Please see below for a comparison of the typical pricing differences:

Pricing Example:

Adobe Creative Suite Master Collection 4.0 (non-concurrent)



Percentage Saving

Eduserv Adobe Master CLP Agreement

(NB: the exact cost will depend on your chosen reseller)


CLP Tier 2 Typical Cost



CLP Tier 1 Typical Cost



TLP Tier T Typical Cost



TLP Tier S Typical Cost



TLP Tier R Typical Cost



Academic Box Product



Sites may join the Eduserv Master CLP Agreement immediately - you don't have to wait for your existing agreement to terminate. The cost of joining the agreement is £250 per annum or £450 for both years.

Eduserv would particularly like to thank the UCISA Software Procurement Group for their assistance in negotiations with Adobe; an excellent demonstration of how the Community working together can facilitate changes with key vendors.

For further details and to sign up: www.eduserv.org.uk/adobe