e-Learning Stuff Podcast #055: Gordon’s alive…

July 25, 2010

We’re talking about Flash this week and the impact that devices like the iPad will have on existing educational resources, development of new resources, tools and importantly the impact on learners and learning.

With James Clay, Dave Foord, Rob Englebright and Ron Mitchell.

This is the fifty fifth e-Learning Stuff Podcast, Gordon’s alive…

Download the podcast in mp3 format: Gordon’s alive…

Subscribe to the podcast in iTunes

Shownotes

Photo source.

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Behind the scenes

July 24, 2010

A few days ago I posted a blog entry with an embedded YouTube video parodying the Old Spice viral video about how cool the Library is.

I found today a video of the behind the scenes, sure took a lot of work and takes.

Read more about how they made their film.


e-Learning Tech Stuff #003 – BBC News App

July 23, 2010

This week’s e-Learning Tech Stuff is looking at the BBC News App.

Download the iPhone version in M4V format.

Get the latest, breaking news from the BBC and our global network of journalists.

By downloading the BBC News app you can view:

News stories by geographical region

News by category including business, technology, entertainment and sport

News in other languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic

Video including one minute news summaries to keep you informed on the go

You can also personalise the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing

The BBC News website is a wonderful resource and place for news on the web. The mobile version is okay too. Both versions do work on the iPhone and the iPad.

However the BBC News website does rely on Flash for video. The obvious solution would be, as other news providers have, build an App.

So the BBC did build a BBC News App…

UK media companies complained, so the BBC Trust said that the BBC News App would not be available in the UK, but they could make it available overseas!

However today the BBC Trust having delayed the UK launch has now said that the App would be available in the UK.

The UK launch was delayed while the BBC Trust, the corporation’s governing body, assessed the proposals and their impact on the rest of the industry.

The apps do not “represent a significant change to the BBC’s existing public services,” ruled the BBC Trust, meaning that further scrutiny was not required.

So what about the App itself?

Basically it is similar to the website, the news is divided into sections.

The advantage over the website is that any video is in h.264 format so it plays!

The user interface is much more iPhone like than the website so making it much quicker and easier to use.


100 ways to use a VLE – #15 Keeping a learning journal

July 23, 2010

Learning can often be seen as a journey, moving from a to b. Though learners (and practitioners) often focus on the destination, the journey is actually the important part.

When it comes to look back on that journey, either for revision, assessment, moving onto a new journey (qualification), reflection on progress; it can be challenging to see where you have been, remember what you did, you saw, you heard, you challenged, you learnt.

Learners will often have a journal of some kind, usually a folder with notes, handouts, assignments. However a paper based journal requires paper! By placing the journal online, ie on the VLE, the learner suddenly has much more choice when it comes to recording their learning. They can type in text, record an audio file or upload a video. They can put in links to webpages, websites, different parts of the VLE, e-resources, e-Books.

The choice allows learners to record their learning at a time and place to suit them. If they want to quickly type something up they can, if they want to quickly record something using a mobile phone, they can and upload later.

Going online or using a VLE doesn’t stop learners handwriting their reflective journal, very easy these days to use a TabletPC to write, or more simply, write it out on paper, photograph it and upload. Digital cameras and most cameraphones are now more than adequate to photograph text and for it to be readable on a screen.

Learners can also tag their learning entries, making them easier to sort and search later. They won’t need to flick through a large folder they can just enter search terms and find stuff quickly.

So why put it on the VLE?

Well learning can be an individual process, but sometimes learners may want to share their thoughts, and read the thoughts of others.

Tutors may want to be included in the process to allow them to better judge progress been made on the course. Using a VLE allows these users to engage with the learning process.

Using the VLE also allows collaboration between users, so the journey need no longer be a solitary or individual affair it can be a journey with peers.

Another option is to use third party tools, such as wikis or blogs, and embed them into the VLE, this has the advantage of allowing learners to maintain their learning journal once they have left the college. The journal doesn’t need to be constrained by the size of a folder and so can contain a lot of content if required.

It is an expectation that learners will record their learning journey, by using an online journal on the VLE not only will their journal be richer in terms of content, but can be shared, searched and there is a lot less chance of it getting lost!

Picture source.


Using iPads for field Research

July 22, 2010

Later this year students at Duke University will be giving iPads to enable the students to college and analyse data in the field.

In the past data gathered in the field would not be analysed until the researcher was back on a computer off site, the iPad changes all that allow on site analysis.

From TUAW:

The primary goal, according to sociologist Jen’nan Ghazal Read who will be teaching the course, is to equip students with tools allowing them to make the most of their time in the field and master the complex methods on which they will base their research.

Yes of course laptops and tablets in the past also allowed for field research, however the iPad’s ten hour battery life certainly will allow for wider use in remote locations compared to your typical laptop (and certainly your typical £500 laptop).


Can a joke be copyrighted?

July 22, 2010

Interesting article on the BBC News website on copyright and jokes. No not jokes about copyright, but more if you repeat a joke are you infringing copyright.

Matthew Harris of intellectual property specialists Waterfront Solicitors say that, in theory, a joke can be copyrighted – but with shorter, snappier gags which rely on abstract ideas rather than specific plots, any infringement would be difficult to prove in an English court.

“The joke would have to be more than just a few words long,” he says.

“As long as it’s not word-for-word identical, there would have to be a relatively detailed plot [for it to breach copyright]. And if that plot were so abstract as to fall within the general field of comedic tools, that’s fairly debatable.

“I think a one-liner would fall on the cusp of what’s covered by the law.”

Read more.

So here is a question if you repeat a joke you heard on TV, radio or on Twitter, in the classroom are you in breach of copyright?

No.

From the Copyright Act:

The performance of a literary, dramatic or musical work before an audience consisting of teachers and pupils at an educational establishment and other persons directly connected with the activities of the establishment

(a) by a teacher or pupil in the course of the activities of the establishment, or

(b) at the establishment by any person for the purposes of instruction,

is not a public performance for the purposes of infringement of copyright.

However this is only the case if the joke is for the purpose of instruction and not say entertainment.


The age of mobile is now

July 21, 2010

I have been talking about using mobile devices for a long time now, well before I started working at Gloucestershire College (and all that MoLeNET stuff), well before my time at the Western Colleges Consortium (and that Mobile on a VLE presentation).

Despite protestations about screen sizes, lack of power, inferior operating systems, we are now seeing the rise of the mobile device as the next big step in computing.

The first computers were BIG and clunky and you didn’t just use them, you booked time slots to use them.

“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers!”
Attributed to Thomas Watson of IBM, but in fact no evidence to say he ever said it.

Computers then became the mainstay of business, something to do business on.

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.”
Ken Olson, president/founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977.

With the rise of the personal computer and importantly the explosion of the internet in the late 1990s, not only did we see computers in the home, we also saw a lot more personal computers in education.

Laptops at this time were expensive, but small portable ones were available, I really liked the Toshiba Libretto that I bought at that time.

In 2000 I was working at @Bristol in the centre of the Bristol Harbourside, one project we worked on was using the HP Jornada  and using JetSend technology to “squirt” URLs to the device that would then access the webpage over (what was then) a spiffy wireless network.

It was at this point that I could really see some real benefits of using mobile devices for learning, and using devices that weren’t laptops.

Over that decade we did see the emergence of the laptop over the desktop, more and more people would buy a laptop rather than a desktop for their main computer.

During that time I did a lot more work on using mobile devices for learning, focusing on multimedia content on devices such as PDAs, Media Players and mobile phones.

I remember in about 2001 driving up the M5 and getting stuck in one of those traffic jams in the early evening. My wife was watching the Matrix on my iPAQ PDA. I had converted a ripped DVD (uh oh I know) that I had converted into a MPEG1 video file, placed on an IBM Compact Flash Microdrive and played it back on the iPAQ using PocketTV. As she watched the film people in the cars looked into ours in awe and curiosity about what was that glowing light in our car. Of course today everyone can do this, but at the time it was both clever and geeky!

“I’m not convinced people want to watch movies on a tiny little screen.”
Steve Jobs of Apple in 2003.

The seminal presentation of mine, Mobile Learning on a VLE, at the JISC 2006 Online Conference really got a lot of people thinking about using mobile devices and put my name out there as a leader in mobile learning.

There were many others at that time who were also following the same journey as myself, people like Mick Mullane, Lilian Soon, David Sugden and others. We were all very passionate about using mobile devices for learning.

Despite our passion, we still heard the resistance from practitioners (and sometimes from learners, but usually practitioners) that the screens were too small, they weren’t powerful enough, battery life was too short.

We, with others, were very much involved in the MoLeNET programme and that has had a huge impact in FE in kick starting the use of mobile devices for learning.

Mobile devices in the last few years have also dramatically changed too. Mobile phones have moved on from phones that just made calls and SMS, to mobile computers. Apple have also changed the landscape, first with the iPhone, then the iPod touch and now the iPad.

“There are no plans to make a tablet, it turns out people want keyboards…. We look at the tablet, and we think it is going to fail.”
Steve Jobs of Apple in 2003.

Innovation now is in the mobile sector of the market, these are the devices that our learners are buying and using.

The age of mobile is now.