November 27, 2009

Currently busy with lots of stuff, MoLeNET, JISC Online Conference and preparing for ASCILITE 2009. Not had much time to blog, plenty to talk about though.


November 21, 2009

I recently spoke at the European 140 Characters Conference (#140conf) in London at the O2 Arena on November 17th 2009.

I was on the educational panel at 4pm alongside Sue Black, Shirley Williams , Dave White and Drew Buddie. It was a fun event and a last minute decision we decided to stir things up a bit.

By the way in case you are wondering, I don’t appear in the video…

So do you like books, or do you like reading?

November 13, 2009

I am still of the opinion that e-Books and e-Book Readers are going to be big! Both Apple and Microsoft are working on devices which can be used to read e-Books.

I know that some people like books, well I like reading and e-Book Readers offer the reader a lot more than a traditional book.

With an e-Book Reader I can carry more than one book, I can carry a lot more than one book. I can carry documents too. The screen is reasonably large enough too so that it is easy to read. The battery life is pretty good too, much better than a laptop or a phone.

So why would you read a book on a phone?

Well Kevin Tofel from jkOnTheRun makes a very good point:

Think about it this way — if you’re always carrying your phone and an unplanned short opportunity arises to read a book, you don’t want to whip out a computer, do you? In a situation like this, you’re not limited to how much space you have. You can read with just one hand. You don’t need great lighting. It’s simply a win-win, all around.

This I agree with this view, there are times when you want to read and if you have your phone on you, then being able to quickly do some reading

e-Books are not about replacing books, in the same way that online news sites don’t totally replace physical newspapers, or YouTube replaces TV.

Likewise e-Book Readers don’t replace computers; what both e-Books and e-Book Readers do is allow reading to happen at a time and place to suit the reader.

So do you like books, or do you like reading?

Wherever you are…

November 12, 2009

Wherever you are…

Wherever you are you can participate in the Innovating e-Learning 2009 JISC Online Conference.

The JISC Online e-Learning Conference 2009 takes place between the 24 and 27th November.

To Retweet or not to Retweet

November 11, 2009

So what do I mean by “retweeting”. Well if you don’t use Twitter or don’t like Twitter, time to move on to the next blog post or the next thing in your newsfeed.

Twitter for me is becoming more and more a useful tool to support me in my day to day job. It is my community of practice. From Twitter I gain useful links, advice, ideas, events; I build relationships which allow for collaboration, projects, conferences and more.

Twitter is slowly replacing a lot of my e-mail communication as it is faster and more useful.

One of the strengths of Twitter has been the RT or re-tweet, the way in which you “forward” tweets from someone in your network to others who follow you. Not everyone who follows you follows all whom you follow. Make sense? Well look at it this way, at the time of writing David Sugden @dsugden follows me. He follows 74 people. I follow 421 people.

So I see something that I think is worth sharing from one of the 421 people I follow, so I retweet it, this way David sees it as there is a good chance he won’t have seen it. Likewise the 1309 people (minus spammers) who follow me will also see it.

So why do people do it? What content do they want to share?

Well I do it and I do it for a variety of reasons.

Here’s one…


RT @josiefraser The VLE: Dead Again? Come to the debate 16 Dec with @grahamattwell @timbuckteeth @jamesclay @nicksharratt http://u.nu/8smt3

I RT’d this Tweet as I thought my followers would be interested in knowing that there was to be another dead VLE debate. Not everyone who follows me follows Josie Fraser.

I also RT stuff I have posted, as a way of re-broadcasting a Tweet, because though people follow me, I know (as I do) don’t read every Tweet I post all the time.

One of the attractions of Twitter for me has been the simplicity of the interface and concept. Despite numerous tools available for Twitter, on my desktop I have stuck with the web interface.

One of the (many) reasons I don’t like (and as a result don’t use) Facebook is the complicated interface and features – well that and all those annoying bits like poking, zombies and farming…

Twitter though has started to add extra functionality and features to the service.

Some of these have come from the community, for example using @ to reply to someone was something the community brought to Twitter and was added to the system, as was the # hashtag to allow users to easily search for tweets about events, places, conferences, coffee, etc…

Now something new has arrived from Twitter, they have integrated retweeting into the web interface.


Unlike the simple RT @name and then quote they have used a very different system. What happens is if I retweet somebody’s tweet, that tweet in it’s entirety appears in my followers Twitter stream with a little note that says that I retweeted it.

Now I know some may get confused with this, thinking I don’t follow that person why has their tweet appeared in my stream… Twitter have come up with a pop up box that may allay that confusion.


Likewise the system doesn’t allow you to edit or add a comment. However though Twitter have added this functionality, you don’t need to use it, you can as I am sure I will continue to add RT and edit the retweeted post.

This though has some issues, especially in the way in which some people edit the post or add extra content.

Back on the 22nd October I posted the following tweet about the Windows 7 Burger.


OMG! http://bit.ly/2o317H oh dear….

I got retweeted by Stephen Hodge.


RT @jamesclay OMG! http://bit.ly/2o317H oh dear…. I really really want a BurgerKing now!

Now it would appear that I said I really really want a BurgerKing but I didn’t, I don’t even go to Burger King!

I did think about correcting Stephen, but didn’t really think it would change anything, so just left it. But I am guessing some people may have thought I wanted a burger!

The new way of RTing from Twitter will stop that happening, but also means that things like this won’t happen!


People use Twitter in many different ways and that’s always going to be a part of the issue of whether to RT or not to RT. You may want to have a look at my previous blog post on Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t that looks at the way in which many people tell you how to use Twitter.

The problem with RTs is that yes you may see the same thing a few times, but remember the one time you see something once and then you will value the RT. Don’t ask people not to RT, if you don’t like what they’re doing, don’t follow them, others may value their RTs.

Using video assessment

November 7, 2009

Rob Whitehouse describes how he used video assessment to improve retention and achievement with his learners. He explores with other curriculum staff in the college their experiences of using video.

A conference with a difference

November 2, 2009

Those of you who know me will know that I quite like online conferences and have participated in a fair few over the years. JISC are running another of their innovating e-learning conferences this November.

The JISC Online e-Learning Conference 2009 takes place between the 24 and 27th November.

Innovating e-Learning 2009 is just around the corner

Book now for the fourth JISC online conference ‘Thriving, not just surviving’ 24-27thNovember!

What are the challenges facing 21stcentury institutions? What opportunities does technology offer to help overcome those challenges? You can contribute to these debates in the company of leading thinkers, broadcasters and academics.

The 2009 programme features keynotes from:

Charles Leadbeater, (leading authority on innovation and strategy); Nigel Paine(writer, broadcaster, organisational learning specialist and former Head of People Development at the BBC); Rhona Sharpe(Oxford Brookes University) and Helen Beetham(JISC Learners’ Experiences of e-Learning theme); Peter Bradwell(Demos) on The Edgeless University.

Sessions include Brian Lamb(University of British Columbia) on opening up educational content, Graham Attwell, Martin Weller(The Open University), Rob Howe, (University of Northampton) debating the demise (or otherwise) of educational institutions, Becka Currantand colleagues (University of Bradford) on using new technologies to engage and retain students, Alan Staley (Birmingham City University) on acquiring workplace skills while on course, John Kirriemuirand Kathryn Trinder(Glasgow Caledonian University) on making the most of virtual worlds in teaching and learning, Mike Neary(University of Lincoln) onengaging key stakeholders in the design of physical learning spaces.

Looking for something else? You can also follow new work by JISC projects on transforming delivery of learning with mobile and web 2.0 technologies, and engaging employers and professional bodies in the design of the curriculum. James Clay(Gloucestershire College) returns as the conference blogger, guided tours of Second Life and opportunities for hands-on experience of innovative learning environments and resources in the Have-a-Go area complete a rich and innovative conference programme.

Innovating e-Learning 2009welcomes delegates from further and higher education in the UK and overseas. Proceedings take place in an asynchronous virtual environment so can be accessed wherever and whenever is convenient to you. Keynotes will be delivered live in Elluminate, a collaborative web conferencing platform (recordings will be available post-session).

Innovating e-Learning 2009 is a simply unmissable conference experience. Find out more and register now at www.jisc.ac.uk/elpconference09

Delegate fee: £50

There are a few advantages of online conferences over traditional face to face conferences, feel free to add to them in the comments.

With an online conference it is feasible to go to all the presentations and workshops even if they are at the *same time*.

If you are a reflective person, then like me the question you actually want to ask the presenter is thought of as you travel home on the train, with an online conference you have a chance to reflect and ask that question.

You can attend a meeting at the same time as attending the conference.

You can teach a lesson at the same time as attending the conference.

You can watch Doctor Who at the same time as attending the conference.

You can attend the conference at 2am, useful for insomniacs and those with small children.

Having said all that it is useful too to make time for the conference, shut the office door, work from home for a bit, wear headphones, move to a different office, work in the coffee spaces in the college.

You can see presentations again, you can pause them, you can ignore them and (virtually) walk out without feeling you may be offending someone as their talk doesn’t relate to you as you thought it did.

The coffee is usually better.