Who needs a computer when a typewriter will do!

May 31, 2008

So let me guess your college or university has spent thousands if not hundreds of thousands of pounds on computers?

Why not get a bundle of typewriters?

Who needs a computer when a typewriter will do!

According to a BBC news item, a fair few people are doing just that.

They’re clunky, dirty and can’t access the internet, yet every year thousands of people buy typewriters when they could probably afford a computer. Why?

Well it’s individuals getting typewriters, not colleges!

So would you use a typewriter instead of a computer?

It’s difficult to blog with a typewriter mind you!

Photo source.

Colleges, universities and the digital challenge

May 30, 2008

The JISC and the Guardian jointly published a feature on the digital challenge facing libraries.

Academic libraries are changing faster than at any time in their history. Information technology, online databases, and catalogues and digitised archives have put the library back at the heart of teaching, learning and academic research on campus.

There are some interesting articles in there.

My job role is managing both e-learning (ILT) and the Libraries in my college, something which is happening more often in FE, I know Trafford College has a similar position and another college in the South-West is advertising a similar position soon.

I do believe it is important that the e-learning and learning resources functions within an FE College if not managed by the same person, the relevant managers should be working closely together. Libraries need to embrace the digital challenge not try and fight it.

Colleges, universities and the digital challenge

And before you ask, no, embracing the digital world, does not mean getting rid of all the books!

Dell enters the fray

May 29, 2008

From BBC News

Dell is joining the burgeoning ranks of companies offering cut-down laptops, called netbooks, aimed at the developing world and general consumers.

The laptop was shown by Michael Dell to the editor of website Gizmodo at the All Things Digital Conference.

Read more.

Dell enters the fray...

Dell is the biggest PC maker in the world and the fact that they have entered the market shows how big and how serious this market is to PC makers.

For a lot of consumers this is their second computer, their main computer is a desktop machine which sits at home. The micro-laptop (umpc) format allows them to have a second computer which is very portable. Though similar or slightly more expensive “proper” sized laptops are available, it is the extreme portability of these laptops that are one of the main attractions. The fact it has a proper keyboard is another feature which other UMPCs and portable devices lack and it would seem people like a proper keyboard – even if it is on the small side.

From an e-learning perspective this is a device (format) which I know learners like (from our MoLeNET experiences) and I would suspect that a lot of learners in FE will start buying (or will be bought) these computers. At a price point not much more than a gaming console (or even less) it might be seriously considered as a present for someone attending an FE College.

Also with the growth of student wireless networks in FE, this will allow internet connectivity which turns it from a “dumb” computer to a connected internet device. Even in those institutions without the bandwidth for a student wireless network, those learners may consider getting a 3G USB dongle.

Already I have “caught” a learner in our Library, using an Asus EeePC with a Three 3G USB dongle for learning!

Thanks Gary.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #002 – Stuff

May 28, 2008

This is the second e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Stuff.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #002 – Stuff

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

May 28, 2008

When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

When it’s a 10″ UMPC.

When is an UMPC not an UMPC?

Okay before I mentioned how Asus were releasing a new 9″ version of their EeePC, well according to Engadget they are going to release a 10″ version!

As if it weren’t official enough already, the subnote war is on. According to a Computex invitation from ASUS, the outfit is planning to not only showcase the Eee PC 901, but also a brand new variant that will likely go mano a mano with the 10-inch MSI Wind. We quote: “[ASUS] would also like to specially extend an invitation to you to attend the official global launch of the new Eee PC 901 and 1000 series.” There’s no details beyond that right there, but it’s plenty to whet our appetites on the heels of the 10.6-inch Eee PC 1001 evidence we’ve already collected

So would you count this machine as an UMPC? Well strictly no.

Is it a mobile device? In a way yes!

Will people buy it? Most certainly.


May 28, 2008

Alton Towers to “ban PDAs”

More than likely a publicity stunt, but implication that PDAs are only for work stuff.

Obviously I will now need to delete all the learning stuff from mine, as well as the podcasts, the music, the videos, disable the GPS, etc, etc…

Twitter has landed (on Mars)

May 26, 2008

Some of you may follow me on Twitter (or Jaiku) and will know I flit around the South-West and sometimes further afield.

Looks like there’s a new Twitterer to follow and they’re on Mars.

Twitter has landed (on Mars)

Nasa are using Twitter (amongst other web tools and sites) to update people on what the Pheonix Mars Lander is doing on Mars.

Twitter has landed (on Mars)

This to me illustrates another way in which micro-blogging tools can be used to provide information and interesting stuff to learners.

One of the features of Twitter is that the tweets are available as an RSS feed and therefore can be fed into a browser or into a VLE (such as Moodle).

Web worlds ‘useful’ for children

May 24, 2008

BBC reports on research into virtual worlds for children.

Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research.

They are also a “powerful and engaging” alternative to more passive pursuits such as watching TV, said the BBC-sponsored study.

Makes you think about how we can use virtual worlds in FE for learning.

Web worlds \'useful\' for children

Google helps the web to go social

May 18, 2008

BBC reported on how Google is making it even easier for people to interact online.

Google has joined the drive to make the web more social by introducing tools to enable people to interact with their friends.

Of course this means that educational and learning sites can use the same tools making it easier for learners to interact and engage with each other.

This may mean of course that learners from other “places” and “institutions” will interact and engage with each other.

Some institutions will see this collaboration as a “danger” or “cheating” and therefore block the sites. Whilst others will engage with this process and look at how it could impact on learning and enhance it and the changes that may be needed to be made to assessment models.

Adverts on Web 2.0 Services

May 13, 2008

BBC reports on how credit companies are using Facebook to advertise their wares.

Credit companies are using the Facebook social networking site to target young people, a debt charity has warned.

Credit Action says adverts promising cheap loans for people with poor credit ratings are appearing on the site and many break advertising regulations.

In particular, they are promoting two new products – payday loans secured against a salary or logbook loans secured against a car, it says.

It is an issue with any advertising based Web 2.0 service and one that you do need to consider if you are considering using Web 2.0 services within an educational institution.

Blocking the ads though may be considered one option, this generally doesn’t work for learners who are accessing the services outside the institution.

Even this blog has advertising inserted by WordPress.com over which I have no control and therefore if you found this blog through Google I suspect that there may be a credit advert embedded into the page.

It happens most times that a new viewer searches Google and finds a link to my site in the search results and clicks through as seen here.

Adverts on Web 2.0 Services

I have no control over those adverts and they are based on the text of my entry (and who is visiting), therefore you could potentially have an unsuitable advert. Now these are text based adverts so offence is less likely.

I could of course move the blog to my own web host and lose all the advertising, but the advantage of WordPress.com is that it is a free service and I don’t need to pay for hosting or bandwidth. Of course the real price I then have to pay is on the inserted advertising.

No such thing as a free lunch!

However other Web 2.0 services (such as Facebook) use banner and image based adverts and therefore there could be some unsuitable advertising.

I recall looking at a video streaming service and the two I looked at Stickam and Ustream, I chose Ustream as the adverts on Stickam could potentially cause offence.

As with any website (or service) which depends on advertising, there is a risk that there may be unsuitable advertising content over which you have little or no control.

It’s all about making a compromise between paying for services through upfront costs or using free services which are funded through advertising. What should we do as institutions?

Personally I believe that the decision about which services we should use it being made for us, by our learners.

Post first appeared on Hood 2.0 Blog.