e-Learning Stuff Podcast #003 – Mainly Phone Stuff

June 30, 2008

This is the third e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Mainly Phone Stuff.

e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Mainly Phone Stuff

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes.


Wordle – a new way to look at tags

June 28, 2008

If you look to the right of this blog post you will see my tag cloud, which is basically a list, with the “importance” of tags (by number of times used) illustrated by the size of the font.

Wordle does something similar but looks very different.

Wordle - a new way to look at tags

Now unlike the tags on the right, the sizes here are not based on my blog, but some other indicator on the web; this is why windows is so large and molenet is so small compared to my own tag cloud.

However Wordle can use your del.icio.us tags, so the size of the tags is relevant to the number of bookmarks you have saved and the tags you have used.

Wordle - a new way to look at tags

It’s all just a bit of fun really, it really needs to be able to use other sites other than del.icio.us and the words need to be links.

Click either Wordle picture for a bigger version, create your own here. Thanks to Helen.

e-Learning on your TV

June 27, 2008

So do you need an internet connected computer to “do” e-learning?

Well of course you don’t.

Back in 2006 I mentioned at an online conference about showing digital images on your TV. So there I was looking in the Guardian today when this advert caught my attention.

e-Learning on your TV

If you look closer at the features you see.

e-Learning on your TV

What this means is that if learning content is saved as a series of images onto an SD card then the learner will be able to view that content on their new HD TV as well as watch Freesat!

If they have a DVD player, say a £17 one from Tesco (or a console that can play DVDs) they could convert learning content, video, audio or presentation into a DVD format that can be burnt to DVD.

In fact the Mobile Learning on a VLE presentation I linked to above was also available (at the time) in various video formats for mobile devices, I also created a DVD version as well which worked really well on my TV.

A question for you: Can your learners easily convert learning content from whatever format you have it in and stored on the network (or on the VLE) into a format which will play on their TV or DVD player?

In a previous blog post I mentioned various digital video tools which allow learners to do just that.

Now a question you may have for me regarding interactivity; well watching content on a TV or through a DVD player may not be interactive at all, but this doesn’t mean that the learning activity as a whole needs to be non-interactive. A book is generally non-interactive, but that doesn’t stop it being used as part of a learning activity or scenario. The same can be done with content on a TV (and often is with a video shown in a classroom or on YouTube).

So is this mobile learning, well it’s not using a mobile device, but certainly is learning out of the college and the classroom and therefore the learner is learning whilst mobile in a “sitting on the sofa” kind of way. It is about the learner deciding to choose where they access their learning, whether that be in college, on a mobile device such as a phone, or at home sitting on the sofa in front of their 41″ HD television.

Finally who will be buying TVs like the one advertised, I think you will be surprised by who does.

“Facebook a valid educational tool”

June 26, 2008

Is your institution using Facebook?

\"Facebook a valid educational tool\"

According to a report, if you’re not then you could be missing out.

The Guardian reports:

Teachers and lecturers are getting the lowdown on how to use social networking sites such as Facebook and Bebo in an educational way.

Most schools and colleges in the UK block access to the websites but they are missing out on their potential for education, a government-funded guide says.

Have a look at the full report.

Those of you who read my blog will know that I am not a great fan of facebook, the more useful and serious sides of the social networking sites seem to be overshadowed by users throwing zombies and playing games. Though it should be noted that a huge number of people are on Facebook and using Facebook. In respect to Bebo, the same picture can be seen though more often it is the younger learner who is using Bebo.

Making screencasts on your Mac

June 25, 2008

I have been looking at screencasting software for the Mac.

Screencasting is a way of capturing what you do on the screen as a video file. The more advanced applications allow you to record an audio track on top, whilst others also allow you to annotate and add text to your screencast.

They are a very useful way of explaining how an application works, how a website works, how to do something or explaining a process in an application.

They can also be used with presentation software, such as PowerPoint or Keynote, to create videos of your presentations which can then be converted into video files. These video files can then be converted by learners (or practitioners) into formats which work on mobile devices, or home DVD players, etc…

One of the original applications for this kind of activity is Ambrosia’s Snapz Pro X.

Snapz Pro X allows you to effortlessly record anything on your screen, saving it as a QuickTime movie or screenshot that can be emailed, put up on the web, or passed around however you want.

Snapz Pro X works for me and I do use it quite a bit.

Snapz Pro X

ScreenFlow is pretty good too, but Leopard only.

Making screencasts on your Mac

It looks fantastic and unlike Snapz Pro X the resulting capture can be edited, annotated much more easily.

ScreenFlow is a complete workflow for creating screencasts: powerful enough to capture your desktop, video camera, microphone & computer audio at the same time.


IShowU is suppose to be very good. I did give it a go and seemed pretty easy to use.

Need to show something to someone? iShowU is your answer! iShowU is designed to record anything on your screen, instantly — both audio, and video!

I wasn’t too impressed with the results of capturing video, ScreenFlow and Snapz Pro X seeme better at that. However IShowU does have a range of capture option choices depending on what you want to show the video on.


CamTwist can be used too, though the focus here is on web based video chat type video, so not something for high quality video or presentations. However for the web (ie via something like Ustream) it is ideal.

CamTwist is a software package that lets you add special effects to your video chats. It’s also possible to stream your desktop and still images.


One final option is to use screenshots (images) and iMovie. Capture a series of screenshots and then insert into iMovie and edit accordingly – though from experience this takes a lot longer than the above applications.


Overall there are many choices in screencasting on the Mac and of course with Parallels you can also now screencast Windows using the same software.

This is how I did the following screencast of Photostory.

Personally I like Snapz Pro X, but I think I might have a good look at ScreenFlow.

Nokia buys Symbian and then gives it away…

June 24, 2008

Nokia has bought the rest of Symbian and has “given” it away to the community via the Symbian Foundation.

Nokia buys Symbian and then gives it away...

Probably in response to Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android, Nokia has purchased the rest of Symbian and has announced, according to the The Register, that it will be then “giving it away”.

Nokia has bought up the bits of Symbian it didn’t already own and is chucking the OS into an open-source foundation along with the S60 UI layer, accompanied by Sony Ericsson and DoCoMo, who are throwing in UIQ and MOAP(S) respectively.

The BBC adds:

Nokia, which already owns 48% of the UK-based firm, intends to develop its software to compete with Google’s planned Android operating system.

This is an interesting response by Nokia to the “threat” posed by Android and the iPhone.

Jaiku? Why not?

June 20, 2008

I like Jaiku.

I also think you need to “do” Jaiku for a fair amount of time (and commitment) to get some real value from it.

There is value from incidental chat, what is incidental for me, may be new and innovative for you and vice versa.

Here’s an example of how useful Jaiku is to me.

Jaiku? Why not?


Lils mentioned Bluetooth which reminded me I had not got the link to some Bluetooth software that she had mentioned before in a (live) training session, so I asked her.

Not only did I get the link, but an affirmation from (Gary at) Weston College on how they were using it successfully.

Personally I think of it as a more informal Champions mailing list with the added benefit of RSS feeds.