myStarbucks UK – iPhone App of the Week

February 23, 2010

myStarbucks UK – iPhone App of the Week

This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will also work on the iPod touch.

This week’s App is myStarbucks UK

Free

For some unknown and arcane reason (well some comments I made on Twitter I believe) it has come to pass that across the e-learning world (and beyond) that I am a coffee addict.

Or it might be that I don’t touch instant coffee with a barge pole and only drink what I believe to be real coffee! You know the kind made with beans…

Now I do visit Starbucks, but to be honest it is not my first choice when I buy coffee, but it isn’t as bad as some places I have been to.

There is now an official Starbucks App on the iTunes store.

The official UK iPhone application from Starbucks! Want to find a store that’s open nearby or near a place where you’re meeting a friend? Now you can do that and more with myStarbucks. Explore our whole bean coffees, find delicious food and nutrition information, and build your own perfect drinks. Want to share? You can send your drinks to your friends by email, SMS, and via Facebook and Twitter directly to their iPhone or iPod ®Touch.

The only real reason to get this app is to find your closest Starbucks, and that’s about it.

You may recall, back in February 2008, I wrote about a proposed Starbucks App.

Imagine going to Starbucks having already ordered your drink from your iPhone?

Well this App doesn’t do that. It does list what drinks and food you can buy, but doesn’t tell you if they have sold out of a particular muffin or sandwich.

However if you do like drinking Starbucks coffee (maybe you are a fan of their Frappacinos) then this is certainly one useful App if you are ever in a place you don’t know and want a coffee.

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The Top Ten Blog Posts of 2009

January 1, 2010

These are the top ten posts from this blog (according to the stats) in terms of views. In reverse order…

10. Sony eBook Reader – First Impressions

Back in March I got my hands on a Sony eBook Reader and posted my first impressions. Since then I have found the eBook Reader to be a very useful device. So much so that in October I wrote e-Book Readers, are they the future? and in November I wrote So do you like books, or do you like reading? I also gave the Keynote at the JISC Collections AGM in which I discussed the future of e-Books.

9. It’s all about the coffee…

Twitter has been the service of 2009 and this was the blog posting of my presentation on Twitter that I delivered at the Handheld Learning Conference 2009 in October.

Of course really Twitter is all about the coffee. It’s the coffee you drink with colleagues during a break, where you discuss work, but also your commute, TV, films, the weather. It’s the coffee you drink whilst browsing the web and posting links of interesting web site to your blog or in an e-mail. It’s the coffee you drink in a coffee shop, reading the paper or a book. It’s the coffee you drink with fellow delegates during a break or at lunch at a conference. Where you discuss the keynotes, the presentations, the workshops, where you are going next, your hotel, the food, the coffee, what you do, where you’re going, what gadgets you have in your bag.

8. Sanyo CA9 Video Camera

This post from April was a repost of a blog entry that  first appeared on the Shiny Project Blog. The Sanyo CA9 Video Camera was one of the devices we had purchased as part of our MoLeNET project and these were my initial thoughts about this small handheld video camera. The camera proved to be a huge success in the college causing major cultural shifts in the way that practitioners and learners used video. Nice thing about the camera was that it was waterproof.

7. The VLE is Dead

This was the PR post for the VLE is Dead Symposium at ALT-C 2009. Just a trailer…

6. No Flash player on the Google G1

There is no Flash player for the iPhone and at its release there was no Flash player for the Google G1 either.

5. It’s not dead… yet…

This was posted before the ALT-C VLE is Dead debate. This was my response to various posts made by others on the death of VLEs.

4. G2 Google Phone

This posting is this high due to a high Google search ranking I expect… Not a huge amount of content, just some thoughts and a link on the then new G2 Google phone.

3. Ten things people say about using Twitter, but really they shouldn’t

One of two Twitter “ten things” posts I made in 2009. One of the things that does annoy me about Twitter is the way in which people like to dictate to you how it should be used and how you should use it. This is the top ten things you should never say about using Twitter.

2. The VLE is Dead – The Movie

We filmed the VLE is Dead debate at ALT-C 2009 and this was uploaded within 12 hours… I served something like 40GB of video in the first week of this post going live.

1. Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die…

Though Twitter has been the service of 2009, one day it will die… These were my ten reasons why it will die… one day….

It is a fact known to all that use Web 2.0 tools and services that one day they will no longer be flavour of the month, or will be swamped by spam, cons and hustlers. We have just seen the death of Geocities and services such as Friendster and Friends Reunited are not once what they were. The same will, one day happen to Twitter!

So there are my top ten blog posts of 2009 according to the number of visitors.


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.


It’s all about the coffee…

October 7, 2009

How Twitter is all about the coffee….

Using Twitter to form communities of practice.

A presentation from the Handheld Learning Conference 2009.

Do you Twitter?

Some people have “complained” about Twitter as shallow and lightweight, they have missed the point.

Is Twitter just about following people and reading informative links or is it about conversation and community?

I use Twitter in various ways, saying when I am drinking a coffee,to inform about what I am doing, blog articles and as a backchannel at events and conferences. However telling people is only half the story, the real value of Twitter is the conversation.

Of course really Twitter is all about the coffee. It’s the coffee you drink with colleagues during a break, where you discuss work, but also your commute, TV, films, the weather. It’s the coffee you drink whilst browsing the web and posting links of interesting web site to your blog or in an e-mail. It’s the coffee you drink in a coffee shop, reading the paper or a book. It’s the coffee you drink with fellow delegates during a break or at lunch at a conference. Where you discuss the keynotes, the presentations, the workshops, where you are going next, your hotel, the food, the coffee, what you do, where you’re going, what gadgets you have in your bag.

Twitter is about these moments, but without the physical and geographical limitations. Twitter allows people from different institutions, sectors, different, departments to share these moments. This presentation will look at how Twitter can be used to improve and enhance teaching and learning through the use of Twitter as a community of practice.


ALT-C Reflections Part Two

September 16, 2009

I really enjoyed ALT-C last week and not just because I won an award. It was an excellent conference and I found it a very rewarding experince from both a delegate’s perspective and as a presenter. This is part two of my reflections on the conference, you can find part one here.

So on the Tuesday night I rendered and uploaded the video recording I had made of the VLE is Dead debate and put it on my blog. It has proved quite popular.

There have been 600 odd views of the video and I have served 40GB of video in just a week! I am impressed it has been that popular.

So back to ALT-C, where my Hood 2.1 Workshop was due to start at 9.00am (another early start). I hadn’t realised when I put my flyer for the event together that MLT was the acronym for the Main Lecture Theatre.

altc09003

It’s quite big and not that suitable for a workshop, but we worked at it. I covered a fair bit and I have made a video recording which needs a fair bit of editing before I can post it online. In the meantime here is a list of the services we looked at.

I also mentioned a few gadgets as well, just to add a little bit of interest.

Due to a scheduling clash, it does mean I  missed David Sugden and Lilian Soon’s excellent Active learning with Mobile and Web 2.0 technologies workshop. I also missed Brian Kelly’s session too.

One of the problems with ALT-C is the sheer quality of many of the sessions and as a result you will miss them. I video my sessions, so though no reflection of the experience of being there, if you have missed me at least you will be able to get a flavour of what happened.

I really enjoyed Martin Bean’s Keynote which he delivered with passion. Some great slides too, take note and learn.

With lunch I was on poster duty, showing off my Glossy Poster on our MoLeNET project.

I enjoyed the Xerte and SL demonstrations I attended, but the tightness of time meant that a good (and probably heated) discussion on a distributed repository model and the IPR implications wasn’t had. Time to write a blog post on that methinks.

Final session of the day was the Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video Presentations. I was one of the judges so was at this session presenting the videos.

In the evening was the ALT Gala Conference Dinner which was very well cooked by the students from Manchester College and Sheffield College and where I was presented with an award…

Thursday morning saw another 9.00am start and the Distribute This workshop which went really well and was very well attended. Lots of discussion and debate on digital identity.

After that it was the final keynote from Terry Anderson which saw a huge flurry of Twitter activity which alas was not presented to the rest of the auditorium who merely saw the Elluminate chat in which no one was chatting!

After that it was time to go home.

Reflecting on the conference, I know that Seb and the rest of the ALT team put a huge amount of work into the conference and I appreciate all that they do. I do not envy the work they put in and end result is fantastic.

For me the online element of the conference is very important, allowing conversation, chat and to meet new people. This year it felt that finally ALT-C was also online. Crowdvine which worked so well last year, worked ever better this year, Cloudworks, which I was initially hesitant about, has proved itself as a great online place for links, comments and resources. Of course Twitter really came into its own. At ALT-C 2007 no one was using Twitter (well I was) but everyone was using blogs – I remember that’s when I first met Steve Wheeler. Last year at ALT-C 2008 there was only about fifty or forty of us using Twitter, this year according to the stats in Brian Kelly’s blog post, 633 people used the #altc2009 tag, now not all of these were at the conference, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were hundreds of people at the conference using Twitter.

What I found interesting in the discussion was that @jamesclay was a trending term. I believe that this was less used as a descriptor in Twitter postings, but more more in reply to what I was saying, in other words I was stimulating the discussion on Twitter. Difficult to show that, but it’s not as though I was a keynote speaker or anything. Twitter added an extra layer to the conference and despite the spam was a really useful tool.

So what would have I added to the conference?

Well though there was a great social programme, for me there wasn’t enough social spaces, a decent coffee shop type place, somewhere to meet those people you had promised to meet in Crowdvine and so on.

Just going back to the coffee and a note to all conference organisers, please provide an alternative to conference coffee and I would be willing to pay for decent coffee. Also have coffee available throughout the day and not just at coffee breaks. Well I would say that wouldn’t I.

A social cafe area for people to meet and discuss during the conference would be a real advantage, you could see the potential by how people used the exhibition area.

I also wonder if it is time that an unconference strand was added to the conference? A series of rooms available for open discussions and demonstrations. With Crowdvine and Twitter it would make it much easier to advertise these sessions and for people to join in with them. F-ALT has shown there is a demand for venues that allow for discussions and debates which don’t quite fit into the abstract submission process. It would also allow for debates on issues which arise out of formal presentations and keynotes that we don’t have time for in the main strands. An unconference format doesn’t mean disorganised or unstructured, but it does require an element of trust that something happens.

Overall I did enjoy the conference and it was certainly one of my highlights of this year. I would recommend that you do go to Nottingham in 2010. I know the timing is awful for those in schools and FE, for many it is the first week of term. However my view is that surely your institution can run smoothly if you’re not there and you can always check your e-mail and make phone calls. If you can, do go.


The coffee is still usually better…

July 28, 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.

Train delays, expensive hotels and piles of notes are a thing of the past for delegates joining JISC’s latest e-learning conference – because the whole programme takes place online.

Researchers, practitioners and managers with an interest in technology for learning are being encouraged to sign up now for the fourth online conference ‘Innovating E-Learning’ on 24 – 27 November 2009.

Delegates can interact in real-time sessions, watch presenters on video, meet other delegates in the virtual coffee shop, and comment on the conference using Twitter.

Conference organiser Sarah Knight said: “Innovating E-Learning gives people a chance to take a step back from their everyday work and look at technology from a different and innovative angle.

“Perhaps most importantly, JISC wants to provide a space for researchers and teachers to discuss the challenges facing their institutions with the keynote speakers and delegates from all over the world.”

Keynote speakers include Helen Beetham, the author and researcher who has played a leading role in the JISC e-learning programme, Dr Rhona Sharpe, principal lecturer at the Oxford centre for staff  and learning development at Oxford Brookes University, and Peter Bradwell, researcher at the think tank Demos.

They will explore topics ranging from the basic principles of using technology in education, to helping overseas learners and meeting the needs of employers.

Sarah added: “By sharing ideas and good practice universities and colleges can make sure that they stay up-to-date on new developments.”

Four years from its inception, the online conference continues to receive positive feedback.

One delegate at last year’s event commented: “For me, it is the most wonderful experience to be able to sit back and listen to so many knowledgeable people chatting away in such an accessible way about things I care about. I normally follow a number of mailing lists, blogs and social spaces, but being here is like having all that up-to-date information condensed and available at my fingertips.”

To register and find out more, visit the conference website.

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.

No more do you have to stand on platform 12 at Bristol Temple Meads wondering if the delayed 18.19 is in fact ever going to arrive before you freeze to death.

The coffee is usually better.

The coffee is usually better...

A few disadvantages as well…

No bag, so nothing to add to that huge collection at the back of the cupboard in the office…

No physical freebies, no mouse mats or mugs…

Finally the JISC have asked if I will be the conference blogger again, hmmm, do they realise what they have done….

Go, you’ll enjoy it.


I am having a coffee…

February 28, 2009

Yesterday I gave a few online presentations (conferences) for the MoLeNET programme.

One was on microblogging, entitled I am having a coffee…

The presentation covered blogging, RSS, Twitter, Jaiku, Moblog and even Flickr.