It’s mobile and it’s glossy

February 5, 2009

The 5th February sees the launch of the LSIS eCPD event in London. Not sure how many people will turn up due to the snow. I am thought about not going, though it was aright when I left, it has got heavier back home and even now it looks quite thick out of the train window as I write this.

I am running a workshop at the event which is looking at mobile learning. Unlike the MoD event, this time I have forty-five minutes which is longer, but is still not really enough time!

In the session I hope to get the delegates to discuss and talk about how mobile technologies can be used to support, enhance and enrich the learning experience of learners. I am also hoping (as I have done at previous workshops) the delegates use the same mobile technologies to post their reflections and views online.

The workshop blog can be found here.

The podcast channel (we’re using Gabcast) can be found here.

Some people will be posting to Jaiku and Twitter and I am also hoping to send images to Flickr, as well as video to Seesmic. There may even be some Qik video as well.

Even if you are not at the event, I hope you can still join in with the workshop by contributing to the stuff posted online adding comments, or joining in with the Twitter and Jaiku discussions.

The first session (as is the rest of the day) is being broadcast online using Elluminate and you can find out how to access the online stuff on the ALT website.

If people turn up it should be fun.

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Blowing my own trumpet

January 14, 2009

This blog post is really just me “blowing my own trumpet”, well can’t one do that now and again?

Why the self trumpeting?

Well the evaluation of the JISC 2008 Online Conference has been published on the JISC website.

One of the questions asked was about the blog I wrote for the conference.

The evaluation said:

Most of the respondents who included their comments thought the blog was excellent. Six people from forty-two did not find it useful or thought it was extra reading in an already busy conference, but most of the comments on the blog were in the following vein:

“It gave a useful overview of the conference that looked at the whole picture instead of the detail.  Also generated new ideas.”

“It was excellent and tied together much of the technology and reasoning behind the usefulness of an online conference.”

“For me it was one of the highlights of the conference – very, very good indeed.”

“Also enjoyed James Clay’s blog entries – amusing yet informative! Hats off…”

Really quite chuffed about the comments.

Finally to bring me down to earth, here is the bloopers tape from the conference, as not everything goes to plan….


and the winners are….

December 21, 2008

The Winners of the 2008 Edublogs Awards have been announced.

Find out who.


Top Ten Web Tools of 2008

December 18, 2008

This is a list of web tools which I have used extensively over the last twelve months. The reason for the list was partly down to the lists Steve Wheeler has been posting on his blog, and a prompt from him on Twitter. This is not an exact copy of Steve’s format I have also been working on a list of devices as well, which hopefully will be a second post later. I do quite like this format which gives an opportunity to review and share the tools which have made a difference to the way I work and have enhanced what I do.

Here are my top ten web tools in reverse order.

10.    Google Docs

I had kind of forgotten how useful Google Docs is for working on documents (as well as presentations and spreadsheets) and have now started to use it much more than before. The downside is that you need to be connected (though I believe Google Gears will allow offline working). The main way I use Google Docs is to write a document that I know I will be working from on multiple computers. Now I know I could use a USB stick, but it assumes I have the same application on all machines, which is not always the case. For example my work machines have Office 2003, fine, but my Mac has Office 2008 (the newer version), my home Mac only has Pages, my Samsung Q1 only has Open Office as does the Asus EeePC. Sometimes the PC is runing Office 2007. Using Google Docs allows me to have a single copy of a document, share that document and export or print in variety of formats. For example I can download my document as a PDF. In planning for the e-Learning Stuff podcasts we have been using a Google Spreadsheet to plan topics and times. For collaboration and working together, nothing really beats Google Docs, in many ways I think it is better than Sharepoint based on what I have seen on Sharepoint.

9.    Crowdvine

For me a conference is much more than the sum of its parts. It is much more than the keynotes, the presentations and the workshops. It’s the discussion, the coffee breaks, the small group working, the conference dinner and following up afterwards. What I like about Crowdvine is that it allows you to supplement a conference in a similar way to the coffee but doing it online. Though I used Crowdfine at the JISC Conference 2008, it really came of age at the ALT Conference in Leeds.

8    Remember the Milk

If you are like me you have a lot of different tracks happening all at once, college events, projects, conference submissions, workshops to prepare for, training; then keeping on top of all the things you need to do and deadline can be challenging. I had tried Outlook Tasks but the webmail version didn’t work as I needed to, so I tried Remember the Milk. As well as the web based interface (which means I can use any computer) I can also use it on my iPod touch as it is also available as an iPhone app (if you have the pro account). Very easy to add tasks and deadlines and as a result overviews are easy to see. Main result has been, I am meeting more of my deadlines.

7.    Evernote

You could ask what does Evernote have that Google Docs doesn’t? There are some features of Evernote that I really like which for note taking beats Google Docs. It has Tablet PC support and I really like the Tablet PC format and the ability to scribble notes. It also has an iPhone app which means I can make notes on the move. There are apps for both Macs and Windows which along with the web app means it doesn’t matter which computer I am on, I can access, edit and print my notes.

6.    Flickr

This year, having had a Pro account for a year, renewed my subscription for another two years. I have nearly 1500 photographs on Flickr covering a range of topics and events. From an events perspective I think Flickr adds so much more to an event. It can capture the event in ways that can’t be caught in any other way. Flickr is not only a great way of storing photographs, also a great place to find photographs, and many images on this blog are from photos from Flickr which are creative commons licensed to allow me to use them on the blog.

5.    Shozu

This was nearly my number one web tool. What Shozu does for me is when I ever take a photograph using my Nokia N95 I can immediately upload the image to Flickr. With a little preparation I can add relevant tags (or edit tags on the fly) and it will also add the geo-data using the GPS on the N95. What this means is that when I am at an event I can take lots of photographs and people who want to see what is going on can easily see from my photographs. It also allows me to capture my day in a kind of lifestream giving me a record of what I have done, who I have met and where I have been. I also Shozu to upload photographs to Facebook, video to Seesmic, and I have also used it to upload content to my blog.

4.    Wordpress

Though a blog is seen as a one to many form of communication, I do enjoy writing mine and over 50,000 views later, I get the feeling quite a few people enjoy reading it as well. I use a WordPress.com blog for many reasons, the main is convenience. As it is web based all I need is a browser to write a blog entry, though there are other tools such as Shozu and the WordPress app on the iPod touch which also allow me to write. I paid $20 for the space upgrade which as well as letting me upload audio and video files, also does a very good job of converting my films into Flash Video. The quality is certainly much better than YouTube, and I can embed the video on other sites as well. The stats are useful in finding out how people are finding the blog, likewise comments allow feedback.

3.    Qik

“This is James Clay, live on the internet” those were the immortal words uttered by me at the MoLeNET Dissemination Conference and broadcast live over the internet using Qik. At the time of writing nearly five hundred people have viewed that video which when you know only three hundred were at the conference, shows the power and potential of tools such as Qik. Basically Qik is a service which allows you to stream live video from your phone to the internet.

2.    Twitter

Though I joined Twitter nearly two years ago, this year (with lots of other people joining) it has really come of age to me. I use Twitter in various ways, as well as informing my community that I am drinking a coffee, I also let them know about various (what I think are) interesting things I am doing.  I tweet about blog posts I have made. I also use Twitter as a back channel at events and conferences, finding out what is going on and what I find interesting. However telling people is only half the story, maybe even as  little as 20% of the  story. The other key thing about Twitter is about communication, responding to other tweets, having a conversation. Responding to what others have written, or acting on what others have written.

1.    Jaiku

Though I like Twitter, I still much prefer Jaiku for functionality and the conversation. Jaiku is everything that Twitter is but with threaded conversations. Want to respond to a message of mine you can as a comment and all comments for that one message can be found in one place. You can also add RSS feeds to Jaiku which allows for responses to your blog posts, flickr photographs, news feeds, music, whatever RSS feeds you have. Jaiku also has channels which work like hashtags on Twitter, but channels are separate to your main feeds, so a conference backchannel won’t clutter up your Jaiku feed. 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.

So Jaiku is my number one web tool of 2008, what’s yours?

Top Ten Web Tools of 2008


EduBlogs Nominations

November 30, 2008

Last day to nominate for the Edublog awards, here are my nominations:

1. Best individual blog – Learning with ‘e’, Steve Wheeler – I always enjoy reading Steve’s blog postings and more often then not will inspire me to write a response. Other blogs that were in the running include Josie Fraser’s SocialTech blog and Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus. The key here was which blog did I read on a regular basis and which inspired me the most.

2. Best group blog – Pontydysgu – Lots of interesting stuff.

3. Best new blog – Dave Foord’s Weblog – Dave has a passion for using technology to support and enhance learning, he is always coming up with new ideas. A close second was Joss Winn’s Learning Lab my third choice was City College Norwich’s …from the elab…

4. Best resource sharing blog – Dave Foord’s Weblog – Dave has a passion for using technology to support and enhance learning, he is always coming up with new ideas.

5. Most influential blog post – Monkey Business – has inspired me and others to write responses, we have even recorded a podcast. F-ALT was a close second.

6. Best teacher blog – OllieBray.com – I enjoy reading Ollie Bray’s blog.

7. Best librarian / library blog – Paul Walk’s Weblog – I met Paul Walk through Twitter, met him in person on a train to the JISC Conference. I always enjoy reading his blog entries and they make me reflect on my practice and how we run our Library service.

8. Best educational tech support blog – eFoundations – this was difficult, I was torn between Andy Powell and Pete Johnston’s eFoundations blog and Brian Kelly’s UK Web Focus

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog – Andy’s Black Hole – Andy Black of Becta’s blog is always interesting. Geoff Stead’s moblearn: the mobile generation is learning … was a close second.

10. Best educational use of audio – Pontydysgu – Nominated for their use of live internet radio.

11. Best educational use of video / visual – Mark Kramer on Qik

12. Best educational wiki – F-ALT Wetpaint – this was an amazing part of ALT-C this year and has to be commended to bringing the Fringe to an educational conference and inspiring others to do the same at conferences across the world.

13. Best educational use of a social networking service – Jaiku, it’s the whole community – Though Twitter may be popular, the community of practice I have on Jaiku make me nominate Jaiku over Twitter. Flickr came close,  but it lacked the educational use for me.

16. Lifetime Achievement – Josie Fraser – what can be said about Josie, she has inspired others including me to rethink the way we use the web and the services we use.


Five Hundredth

November 29, 2008

500!

Five Hundredth

Well this is my five hundredth post on this blog. Since June 2007 when I restarted my educational blogging I have made five hundred blogs covering a range of e-learning subjects from Facebook to YouTube. I have covered MoLeNET and JISC.

There have been 51,782 views of the blog (at the time of writing) and the busiest day was Friday, March 7, 2008 when the BBC linked to my blog post on the launch of the BBC iPlayer for the iPod touch and iPhone. The most popular post was on the Sidekick Slide.

Since the blog was started I have added video and now a regular podcast.

Here’s to the next 500 posts.

Photo source.


50,000 Visits

November 8, 2008

Well the number of visits to the blog has gone past 50,000.

Yay!

50000 Visits

I have to admit I was expecting to pass the 50,000 mark back in September, but after a quiet summer the number of visits dropped off quite fast and it’s only now that I am getting the traffic levels back up.

Since the blog started (again, well I did have a WCC blog) I have started to add a lot more video and audio.

Over the next few months, the podcasting should become a regular feature and after my experiences doing the JISC e-Learning Online Conference I hope to do a lot more video.

So that’s 50,000 visits, here’s to the next 50,0000.