Friday, August 31, 2007

Social Networking Update

I tagged onto my previous rant on Social Networking a link to a Channel 4 (UK) news item from Thursday 30th August, which is about employers beginning to ban the use of social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace from the workplace - I feel that this is a bit like King Canute trying to stop the tide - look out there's a big wave coming!!!!

I am gradually warming to Facebook, while self restricting my access to it ( Twitter seems to be running in the background though!).

I was reading Graham Attwell's article re the usefulness of some of the widgets available in Facebook and yes some are shall we say politely 'less than useful', but some are great and lead me to use FaceBook more and more as a 'One Stop Shop' aggregator some of the more useful add ons for me would be :

* Skype online

* My Blogs - a widget which shows the titles of new posts from friends blogs

* Del.icio.us - a great widget which allows you to switch to your Del.iciou.us page

* Twittervision - a widget which works on your own contact list

* YouTube - a widget which allows you to play YouTube vids in your space

* Friend finder - a great way to find if your e-mail list friends are also on FaceBook

and the latest which is thanks to Graham ,

* Zoho Online Office - a widget which allows you from within facebook to view shared files and upload new files to your Zoho account.

These are fab attachments which added to the constant updating of friends data makes it a must in order to keep 'in the mix'. A good example of how our kids are using FaceBook - my eldest daughter Sian came back from a few days in Paris yesterday evening and immediately downloaded all of the pictures from her mobile phone to FaceBook for all of her friends to see, they have posted theirs thus giving the group of 7 kids who went a vast library of images of their experiences..... 21st Century who needs old fashioned photographs??



As you can see from this post, my panic about constant online time in Social Networking is beginning to ease (or am I coming more under its spell?) - it was a timely thought as others such as Karyn Romeis is also looking into the use of the Social Networking Phenomenon.... I think that I am going out into the 'real world' now .............. not quite sure, as the line are a bit blurred between the two :)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blog Day 2007


Hey It's BLOG DAY 2007, a chance for us all to have alook at blogs which we would not normally read - as I spend a bit of my time getting in a tizzy about the lack of Bloggers in Wales I thought that it might be interesting to showcase some which are out there in the blogosphere, in addition there may be a few newbie bloggers who it is always good to give a shout out to.
1. First up is a blog called Not Since School - which is the Diary and thoughts of a Welsh Language Learner. I came across the blog when I actually caught some Welsh in a few Twitter Posts which was absolutely fantastic. A group of learnbers have decided to use Twitter's 140 character limit chat as a means for practicing their language work - Da iawn leiawelsh (twitter name for those interested in the Welsh Tweets).
2. Is the blog of Mike John a research student from The University of Glamorgan, who lists in his Facebook entry his main interest as - breathing :) The blog is called On a Hill with the subtitle ' Better to be on a hill thinking about God, than in a church thinking about hills - it was from Mike's blog that I picked up the figures on how many Facebook accounts there are amongst students at Welsh Universities.
3. This is yet another Welsh Blog, and is one which I should read and have only just discovered is not in my Bloglines Aggregator it is the Wales Wide Web Blog from the illustrious Graham Attwell, now this is a blog to read, invariably packed with relevant issues of the moment from the blogging and podcasting world - really a blog for your aggregator - and mine!!!! ( when I have finished this post)
4. My fourth offering is a blog from another academic Michael Webb, Head of the University of Wales Newport, IT and Media Services Department. IT and Media Services are responsible for all core IT services within the University, including myLearning Essentials and myCommunity. Michael's most recent blog post would be appreciated by any Welsh person ( as we are often called 'Taffies' - after the River Taff which flows through Cardiff ) - it is an experimental search engine from the University called Tafiti - Michael also posts about Facebook amongst many other topics ( as you would expect from the Head of IT and Media ).
Can I make it a full house of Welsh Bloggers ?????
Well almost my final blog is called 'Dancing The Polka With Miss El Cajon ' and is the blog of Chris Cope who describes himself thus - Chris Cope Cardiff, Wales Unable to give a straight answer as to whether I'm Texan or Minnesotan, I've moved to Wales. If I am anything, I am a beer drinker. I may also be a Welsh speaker, a writer, and a 31-year-old dirty old man. I dream big and achieve little... so as you can see it technically counts as a Welsh Blog even though the blogger is not from Wales - I love the journey from Barry ( Barri) to Aberthaw that Chris documents in pictures and audio....
That just about completes my task, all that remains is for me to drop a comment on each of these good people's blogs and wish you a good night ( Noswaith dda) it is now BlogDay as it is 0.40am her in glorious but dark, Wales.

Imagiverse Activities for this School Year











We were involved in the Hands Around the World experience from Imagiverse last year which was absolutely fabulous and gave us great enjoyment looking for all of the places around The World that our hands came from ( we even had one of our own do the Round Trip from Wales to California and back again !) - so as we all embark on our new school year in the
Northern Hemisphere - part way through the year in the Southern Hemisphere - I thought we might need the inspiration of some of the Imagiverse Projects to get us going so I have included the e-mail I recieved from Michelle Mock of Imagiverse ....

30 August 2007
Vol. 2 No. 2

Dear Paul,

Welcome back to another exciting school year! I hope it is an enjoyable one for you and that all your students have fun learning new things.

Imagiverse is sponsoring several projects that can add something new to your teaching and most are very easy to incorporate into your curriculum. Click on the images to learn more about the individual projects.





Postcards Around the World - There will be two exchanges (Fall and Spring) which are limited to 100 participants each. There are very few spots left in the Fall exchange. We have 95 interested and nearly 80 have completed and confirmed their registration. Nearly 50 have already expressed interest in the Spring exchange. These are very popular! If you wish to participate, don't wait.




Hands Around the World - Students from classrooms around the world will create cut out paper "handprints" which they will send to Imagiverse for distribution to other participants. You will receive as many handprints as you send (at least one per student). There will be two exchanges. The Fall exchange is themed "Holidays Around the World". We have not yet settled on a theme for the Spring Exchange. There is no participant limit! This is a very easy activity, perfect for inclement weather days when your students can't go play outside. :-)


Weather Around the World - This is an ongoing activity. You can adapt it however you want. It is a great way to learn geography and about the weather in different places. Classrooms can report on their climate and seasons and later send weather reports. Reports can be sent regularly or only when there is something significant to report. The best part of this project is that it stimulates interest in things we sometimes take for granted. Lately I have been taking photographs of clouds passing through Southern California on the heels of Hurricane Dean. They are amazing, large, fluffy white cumulus clouds which are not frequently seen in this area. Where you live, this may be an every day sight. By observing and sharing, students learn in a fun, interactive way.

To learn more, or to register for these activities, please click on the Imagiverse - Universe of Imagination logo above. You can also go to our main pages at Imagiverse.ORG and click on
activities.

We hope you have a wonderful school year and that Imagiverse.ORG becomes a frequent part of your lesson planning.
Michelle Mock
I hope that like me this gives you some food for thought ..... go on give one of the projects a go - we have a school assembly song that I am reminded of - Love is better if you give it away so this is your chance to spread it around The World.
Many Thanks to Michelle Mock and her team for all of their hard work on these projects

Social Networking ( addictive??)


Is it me??? A question I have been asking myself quite a bit over the past few days..... and I am not sure of the answer. I seem to have become a Facebook person over the past month. It all began when I joined to keep in touch with people in my Hockey Club (as Chairman I need to know what is going on).... it wasn't long before I began to explore Facebook further, and found how easy it is to tie up all of your links from other places to the 'One Stop Shop' that is Facebook. It can easily aggregate my Twitter feeds, Blog feeds, Delicious links, it can also import YouTube videos and much, much more.....( I even seem to be playing Scrabble with Dean Shareski in Canada!)......... oh yes, the question am I becoming addicted to Social Networking , and is it just me???
The answer I think must be Yes, I seem to be addicted. Evidence for this I know that at this precise moment I should be doing some much needed planning for the new School Year which starts for us next week..... however I appear to be blogging about Social Networking !!!! ( I began at 9am this morning - getting on for 2 hours ago just checking e-mails and messages!!!) - very addicted. As for is it me, No I don't think it is only me judging by this piece of research by Mike at 'On a Hill' who has looked into just students using Facebook in Welsh Colleges!

"Out of curiosity I've explored Facebook this morning and looked at the regional and college statistics for Wales. These figures are correct as of today. The WALES network has 65,952 members. In hierarchical order the college networks (in Wales) have the following numbers of members.
Cardiff, 15,104

Swansea, 6,447
Aber, 5,995
Bangor, 4,145
Uni Glam, 2,243
UW Institute Cardiff, 1,653

UW Newport, 716

Swansea IHE, 481
Lampeter, 469

Trinity, 333

RW
College of Music and Drama, 332
NEWI, 356

A total of 38,274 facebook memberships.
(How many students are there in Wales?) (How old are these networks?) To make sense of these figures, some statistical work will be required to show the number of facebook memberships as a percentage of the student population of each of the colleges, as we are not really comparing like with like here. (I suspect that Cardiff on Facebook includes the College of Medicine.) I wonder if I can find similar figures for Bebo or MySpace?"

I haven't dared to open up Twitter this morning as I know that this could put paid to my 'Real Life' and work for the rest of the morning. Twitter, using Twitteriffic and Twittervision is brilliant. Those brief 'to the point' messages or requests which come Tweeting in also can take over the task in hand...... In answer to a question from Allanah King in Nelson NZ, I prefer Twitter to Skype messaging at the moment as the message interface is so much more pleasing on the eye. I also allows me to pick up messages from a wider group of friends/colleagues.

I have one concern if it isn't just me, is everyone else substituting some of their 'Real Lives' to these 'Virtual Meeting Places'.... In a Flat World and Classrooms without Walls I guess the answer must be again Yes!

It is interesting to see how these spaces develop, it is very much the case that some 'take off' and some don't. personally speaking the main sufferer at the moment is the Ning Social Networking site - Facebook and Twitter are so much more instant and interactive that I don't seem to have the time to go and check out my Ning Networks.........there you go Mr H getting sucked into the discussion about which Social Networking Site is better ........ where do we go from here........ will I wait for a friend on Twitter or Facebook to point the way to the next development......... ( off to the 'real world' - q. Is it still light outside ???? )
Update on story (Friday 31st August ) - It looks as if I am not the only person worrying over the use of Social Networking, Channel 4 News in the UK ran a story last night about companies putting bans on the use of Facebook at work. Their experiences ran strangely parallel to my own in that as their 'expert' stated 10 minutes can become 30 minutes, then an hour, and before you know it 2 hours may have gone by while you have been online !!!!! addiction of the 21st Century? The jury is out ..... catch up on the article at this link


Technorati Tags:

Blog Day 2007



Many thanks to Sheryl over at 21st Century Learning for the post about Blog Day 2007. It looks like a cool thing that more people should be getting involved in.

CELEBRATE THE 3rd BlogDay ON AUGUST 31st

What is BlogDay?

BlogDay was created with the belief that bloggers should have one day dedicated to getting to know other bloggers from other countries and areas of interest. On that day Bloggers will recommend other blogs to their blog visitors.
With the goal in mind, on this day every blogger will post a recommendation of 5 new blogs. This way, all blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, previously unknown blogs.


What will happen on BlogDay?

one long moment on August 31st, bloggers from all over the world will post recommendations of 5 new Blogs, preferably Blogs that are different from their own culture, point of view and attitude. On this day, blog readers will find themselves leaping around and discovering new, unknown Blogs, celebrating the discovery of new people and new bloggers.


BlogDay posting instructions:

1. Find 5 new Blogs that you find interesting
2. Notify the 5 bloggers that you are recommending them as part of BlogDay 2007
3. Write a short description of the Blogs and place a link to the recommended Blogs
4. Post the BlogDay Post (on August 31st) and
5. Add the BlogDay tag using this link:
http://technorati.com/tag/BlogDay2007 and a link to the BlogDay web site at http://www.blogday.org

Celebrate!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Transglobal Flashmeeting



I have taken the liberty of going ahead and arranging the 3rd meeting of this informal group of Web 2.0 Educators for Saturday 15th September at 22hrs UK (check out the time zones).
Our meeting on Saturday 25th August was very successful, at one point there were 13 people in the Flashmeeting, in addition to those listening on the live Worldbridges Stream.
For the meeting on 15th September the capacity is up to 25 participants, the meeting time is hopefully a better time for those in the Southern Hemisphere.... it is possible that we may have input from Asia ( Hong Kong ) so long as the Time Zones are not too difficult.
To find the meeting details follow this link - as pass it on to anyone that you think should be there....

Technorati Tags:

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Transglobal Flashmeeting


At 8pm Saturday 25th August the second Flashmeeting held between Edubloggers and Podcasters was held. The first meeting a month ago had 5 attendees globally, as you can see from the Skitch Map above we reached our target of 15 attendees this time around ( maybe 25 next time)... A salient point was made by Jason Hando from Sydney Australia, we need to get Educational Bloggers and Podcasters from Africa and Asia to come online with these technologies to give us their perspective on The World - I know that now with the $100 laptop scheme, and work by groups such as MediaSnackers - who recently trained bloggers and film makers in South Africa - these barriers should begin to break down... point well made Jason :)
This ties in with Terry Freedman, another of the Flashmeeting attendees point that it appears to be the same group of people who are meeting in different forums using different methods of communication - Terry asking the question is this going anywhere?
I think that to answer the question you only know when you see what that group of teachers and educators are doing in their own area to 'evangelize' the use of technology in the classroom... If you look at the CV's of some people who were in the meeting they mostly all have some element of 'Spreading the Word'with colleagues or teachers in their local area or beyond. ( Wes Fryer recently mentioned these people as local Yoda's)
An example came in a Skype conversation I had with Kirstin Hokanson straight after the FlashMeeting, Kristin will be using FlashMeeting as part of her work with teaching colleagues at her school this week where they will be discussing how using Web 2.0 tools could transform a classroom and how they teach.... this is just one example of many in which those involved with Web 2.0 are getting out there and doing it.... so I guess we do tend to be the same people meeting, but as with tonight, there were at least 5 people who have never been involved in using this technology before and now will certainly consider it.
If you follow the link you will be able to hear and see the discussion - also take a while to look at the detailed statistics which are recorded
link to Flashmeeting
We will have another meeting within the next fortnight, probably on a Saturday evening in the UK at around 10pm, making it more manageable for those in Australia and New Zealand.
I would like to say a big thank you to Jason Hando for co-hosting ( from 8,000 miles away), Lisa Durff for pushing me into organising it and also Sharon Peters for helping with the streaming to WorldBridges, also thanks to Jeff Howson who has put in sterling work promoting Flashmeeting around the UK and Europe ( I guess now, its The World too Jeff :)... and also to all 15 people who made it in this time.

Next time why don't you come and join us - I will post a url for the next meeting soon, on this blog and will e-mail it to those who attended this time....

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

News from ScreenCast

A note for all of you out there who are giving the Jing Project a try out. I have had some correspondence lately with Dirk Frazier from Screencast on a number of matters, one close to the heart of bloggers is embedding video into your blog.
Up until today if you used the standard embed code from Screencast (the Tech Smith product which hosts Jing Project files)the video will play 'full size'. The reason behind this from Screencast is that it gives you full screen high quality playback. Unfortunately as bloggers know this will play havoc with any sidebars that you have on your blog, I received this e-mail from Screencast this morning
Hi Paul,
With yesterday's update, the MediaRoll is now resizable -
and can be put into the left or right hand navigation areas of most
blogging software. As a user you can switch between "thumbnail"
view and "list" view. Here's an example of the new MediaRoll
in use: http://allthingsfittopost.blogspot.com Let me know if
you like the new (narrower) design.

Best regards,
Dirk Frazier
Product Manager
Screencast.com

Yay, I still haven't got to the preparation work for school in a fortnight !!! :( but, I have learned how to create a MediaRoll for my Screencasts :)The MediaRoll widget is on the right side bar! - in true Web 2.0 and Jing/Screencast fashion I have recorded a quick 'How To' to help you with embedding your own widget ( making the most of things until the trial period comes to an end on the 1st October ). To view the file names if you click on the icon top right of the MediaRoll it will give you a list view of the videos... have fun and do give feedback to TechSmith as I have found them very helpful, as they obviously continue to develop this product.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Last Word on File Converting ???

I say that tongue in cheek, as it seems that another day and another site emerges - this time the file converter, takes your YouTube/TeacherTube video and will convert them to .wmv (Windows) .mov (Mac) .mp4(iPod) .mp3 (audio_ .3gp (mobile) and .flv (flash). Great for showing Teachertube or Blip.tv videos off line in the classroom.
This great online gizmo comes courtesy of Wes Fryer's Moving At The Speed of Creativity blog, in an article written by Guest Bob Sprankle.
I, like Wes and Bob gave it a try and it efficiently converted my video, then prompting me to download it directly to the laptop - by passing the Zamzar e-mail route, which is definitely a step in the right direction - give it a try and then why not leave Wes or Bob a thank you.

Using Google Earth + Hurricane and Cloud overlay to track Hurricane Dean 07

Hurricane Dean 07 has today become the most dangerous Hurricane - a Category 5 with winds of up to 160mph.
I began tracking Dean, while actually looking at the track of Hurricane Erin over San Antonio, Texas. At that time having little thought of Dean becoming so dangerous. It began in the Southern Atlantic on 13th August as a depression with winds of 25mph.
I began following it on 18th August as it moved towards the Caribbean...




As I said already I was actually tracking Erin but took some Skitch screenshots as we went along... an ideal way to use Google earth in the classroom particularly with my new Year Group in September when we will be studying Extreme Weather from around the globe. It will be so easy to take these shots and build them into a blog or wiki on extreme weather...
This is the postion of Hurricane Dean 07 ( Cat 5) at 9.00 gmt Tuesday 21st August...



I guess everyone in the path of Dean 07 ( which sadly includes some small poorly developed villages on the Belize/Mexico border) has had plenty of warning, though having said that to date 11 people have been tragically killed by Dean 07... monitoring will continue.
Update on Wednesday 22nd August as Dean 07 crosses the Yucatan Peninsula it is downgraded to a Cat 1 Hurricane as you can see from the Skitch view below.



Google Earth
Below is a spectacular photograph of Hurricane Dean as it skirted around Jamaica, it was taken by the crew of the Space Shuttle on 19th August. The shuttle crew ( including a Welshman, and a teacher ) were bgought home early because of threats of high winds around Houston, Texas.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Flashmeeting meets Webcast Academy



In a first as far as we are aware Jason Hando (Sydney Australia) and Lisa Durff (Maryland, USA) carried out a Webcast using the UK Open University's Flashmeeting site recently, you can link to the webcast or view a video screencast that Jason took of part of the meeting using another great piece of Web 2.0 gadgetry called Jing - screencast here.
Following this successful trial and in conjunction with Jason and Durff, it has been decided that a further trial of Flashmeeting scheduled for Saturday 25th August at 8-10pm (UK time!) will be streamed live through the Worldbridges site!!!
You can access the Flashmeeting at the alloted time with this link.
For other information and a tutorial on using Flashmeeting look at my post of 15th August which includes Screencast Tutorials on using the site..... other than that we will see those who want to be there from around the globe on 25th August.

Is this a good Thing?

84%How Addicted to Blogging Are You?

Mingle2 - Dating Site



Thanks to Jeff Utecht at Thinking Stick for this - you take the test it's scary, but true :(

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flikzor - Gone ( anyone with a good review?)

I gave Flikzor a try out - it seemed to offer much, the chance to put live video and audio comments onto a blog is an interesting concept..... I tried it out a few times ( I know it's in beta) and failed to get it to register any audio or video ( yes I did e-mail the flikzor people - no reply yet!). Oh, and yes I did try fiddling with my settings - nooo reaction!

So basically as I said in the original post if it couldn't make the grade it would be OUT. It can't and subsequently is removed.... if there is anyone out there who has had a good experience with Flikzor, do let me know, I hate to condemn a product out of hand with no external feedback.... I have to say so far it is not looking good Flikzor people!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Google Earth Add-ons

I read Ollie Bray's post yesterday on Google Earth add-ons. They are really cool there is :
* a cloud overlay
* an earthquake overlay
* a hurricane/typhoon overlay ( including tracking data updated every 10 mins real time)
* multiple satellite weather overlays ( chiefly for US)

These look absolutely fabulous for Geography in Elementary (Primary)and High School, it works even better if you have a link in an affected area, I happened to be Tweeting about the GE tools when I was contacted by Stephanie Sandifer who was telling me about weather conditions in Houston, Texas, and how they were watching anxiously the track of the next Hurricane....
Further to that the Earthquake overlay sadly showed the rash of quakes south of Lima, Peru where so many have lost their lives....

Update Saturday 18th August I am grateful to Joe for the comment this morning and for pointing me towards this TeacherTube video on Google Lit Trips and Google Earth Communities - thanks Joe :)

Go to the Google Earth blog

A SlideSharing Site with a twist


Thanks to Ewan McIntosh that terrier of the internet for spotting the release a few days ago of Animoto a Slidesharing site with a difference! A difference you ask? Yes, a difference - produced by people involved in the film world (US of course!).... It allows you to upload your photos and then the site creates the cuts and gizmos ( you can re-master ) you then choose from their cool tracks and add to the video and hey presto it's done!( you can add your own audio which is where a podcast audio may fit ??) - a 30 second film show is free ( full length video $3 or $30 a year for unlimited space).
Original embedded video removed because the music starting up autmatically irritated me, I don't know about you - hence to view the video you will have to follow the link below :)
Fun to try out .... mine is of a cool Sunday afternoon spent recently with the grandchildren in the pool !!!- paddling pool really :)

Skype Woes



Message from Skype Friday 17th August 2007

Is Nothing Sacred!!!

So much for thousands of years of history..... now even the Cerne Abbas Giant gets Simpsonized!

Cerne Abbas Giant gets a new best friend!

Dooohhhh !!!! ;-)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Calling all interested Web 2.0 users, following a recent Flashmeeting
held across 3 continents, followed by a Twitter discussion with Durff
on the use of Flashmeeting as a form of 'back-channel' I have booked
another meeting for Saturday 25th August at 8pm UK, you had best use
the world time widget to find out the time where you are ( if you visit the
meeting link, it will also tell you the time to the meeting). The meeting is
booked for 2 hours and for up to 15 participants.
I am hoping that it will be a mix of those who have used Flashmeeting
before in addition to welcoming in 'newbies', I plan to act as guide and
facilitator.
Some information for anyone thinking of taking part :
* you can enter the meeting as a Guest ( no need to be a member)
you will have slightly limited access to certain aspects of Flashmeeting
* all you need do is click on the meeting url at the alloted time and follow
the instructions into the meeting.
If you would like to sign up for Flashmeeting as a user could I suggest that
you e-mail E.Tomadaki@open.ac.uk, you will need to give your own e-mail
details.


A booking has been made for 25-Aug-07 at 20:00 (GMT +0100) and
lasting 119 minutes.
This booking is for 15 people to use the application
FlashMeeting

Go to the following address for full details and to access the
event:
http://flashmeeting.open.ac.uk/fm/3568b1-9578

A .ics calendar file can be downloaded prior to the
meeting from the above address.

Although guest entry is available into the meeting, attendees
who do not already have an account may wish to create one
prior to the meeting so that they can Sign In to the meeting
and have access to all the meetings features etc. A link
to create a Sign In account is available via the
meeting web page.

----------------------------------------------------------------

THIS MEETING IS SET TO BE RECORDED

Once the meeting has been completed the replay and minutes
of the meeting can be accessed using the address above
i.e the url used to access the live meeting.

Please note: The replay of this meeting will be publically
available and will, for instance, be listed on the public
replays web page
http://flashmeeting.open.ac.uk/public/all/

----------------------------------------------------------------

For more details regarding FlashMeeting and terms of use
visit the project website at:
http://flashmeeting.open.ac.uk


Following attendance at recent skype conferences and speed geeking events I think
it might be advisable to have some form of agenda :
1) Introduction to aspects of Flashmeeting look at these links first to give you some background.

Lesson 1 - Research and About Flashmeeting.

Lesson 2 - Troubleshooting in Flashmeeting.

Lesson 3 - Public Replays and Statistics in Flashmeeting.

Lesson 4 - Flashmeeting Demonstration.

I am grateful to Jason Hando in Australia for doing development work
on the use of Flashmeeting in his recently produced Jing Presentation

2) Discussion on 'Best Web 2.0 tools for Education'
3) Ways of building 'Global Educational Collaboration' in a more inclusive way.
If there is any further information that you require don't hesitate to contact me
either by Skype, Twitter or e-mail.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Further Update on File Converters


As you may know dear reader I have been roadtesting file converters over the past week or so, mainly to try to get YouTube, TeacherTube and Blip.Tv videos onto the recently acquired 30GB iPod.
I am grateful to firstly Ewan McIntosh for tweeting about something ( no Ewan I haven't forgotten - honest!) which linked to Allan Ogg's tech-logg blog, I had a look around Allan's blog (like you do - nosy lot these Web 2.0 people he he!), and came across Movavi, a file converter very similar in design to Zamzar, which I had previously recommended.
I gave Movavi a try out today with file transfers of videos to convert for iPod, and I must say my experience was better than recent experiences with Zamzar (does tend to produce pop-up advertising!) - so the new (to me) kid on the block which is the winner ...so far is..... Movavi, give it a try :)
As they say - "It does what it says on the tin"

8 Random Facts Meme - Produced with Style

I know that there have been some creative responses to the recent 'attack of the memes' around the world I would like to draw attention to 2 from the UK.
An example from Scotland by David Noble who some may know better as 'Booruch' , David responded to being tagged by producing a creative Voicethread.



The other example is from the opposite end of the UK from Joe Dale on the Isle of Wight in England. Joe wanted to produce a thoughtful piece which broke from the norm and posted his meme here on blip.tv ( for those with a Mac I would warn you that this is a .wmv file and you will need a plug-in to play it)

Update
** Check out Adam Sutcliffe's blog post on Digital Students vs Analogue Schools - food for thought **

Voicethread Experiment

Today I test out the creativity of the blogosphere in a collaborative poetry writing exercise - if you find yourself with a few free minutes today why not add your thoughts on the image below in the form of a Haiku. All Haiku's will be moderated and won't appear immediately - go on have a go ( in whatever language you wish - I am looking forward to a range of accents and languages in order to show the colour of the world)



On the issue of globalising the new media experience, the UK based MediaSnackers, who travel the world giving kids a chance to let their voices be heard, were involved earlier this year with the 5th World Summit on Media for Children held in South Africa, watch their vodcast diary to see how they used their understanding and experience in training young people to be switched on Digital Journalists to give initial training to groups of youngsters who will go back and show their friends other students in Africa how to blog and make video presentations - Well done to DK and the MediaSnackers :)

Part 1 - A Video Diary ( the perils and problems of operating in a different country)

Part 2 A Video Diary ( The Solution and Resolution)

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


"Dubbed the "Wikipedia of curriculum" by its creators, the online community
known as - Curriki accessible at www.curriki.org - aims to provide a place online
where educators from anywhere in the world can post curricula and lesson plans
for review and use by fellow classroom teachers.


Like Wikipedia, the organic online encyclopedia that lets its users edit and update
existing entries, Curriki employs a philosophy of open access, encouraging its
members not only to use the content available on the site, but also to upgrade it,
modify it, and tag it to suit the needs of their students, wherever they are.
The brainchild of Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, Curriki was founded as a
way to provide disadvantaged teachers and students around the globe with open
and unfettered access to high-quality educational content."

This is a quote from the Curriki site, which I had not heard of until today when following up some links from my BlogRoll in particular a post from 13th July by Analog Girl in a Digital World Jennifer Lubke on an "Educationized Wiki".

The term is an amalgam of Curriculum and Wiki, however it appears to be curriculum network for teachers allowing us to upload resources that others can then edit an amend for their own classroom use ( not quite the blend of Curriculum and Wiki that we may have hoped for) however.... An interesting idea, it already boasts 32,000 plus members globally. It was certainly new to me..... how about you ?

Sun Microsystems I have more time for than most large IT Companies, after their generosity towards UK teachers in obtaining the Star Office Suite for use in school and at home for no financial reward ( beyond us remembering their name when we came to looking for an Office package for our own home PC's!) ... hey it's a commercial world :)

Another Interesting Web2.0 Tool


I was in the chat on the latest It's Elementary Webcast from EdTechTalk at Worldbridges on Monday night ( actually Tuesday morning). The conversation was on the merits of Podcasting with K to 12 classes, with guest speaker Mr Wesley Fryer from The Speed of Creativity. One gadget new to me which was discussed was CrowdAbout, a tool which allows your listeners to make comments either in writing, audio or video directly onto your podcast - for those of us who have to consider the issue it can be set up to be moderated (a little like Voicethread). So I thought I would follow the simple registration process and give it a go.... do leave some comments to allow me to test out the system !!!

Sign up for CrowdAbout and comment inside my show!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Learning 2.0 Debate

There has been an interesting discussion going on over at Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach's 21st Century Collaborative Blog re Learning for the 21st Century.
The first round of the discussion was based on the thesis : 'Should we re-name 21st Century Learning - Learning 2.0.
In the article Sheryl outlined very cogently the reasoning behind her contention that Learning is now significantly different from the Learning pre-Web 2.0 technologies,

"Web 2.0 – and ultimately School 2.0 -- is all about this two-way or group communication. The Web is no longer just a place to search for resources. It’s a place to find people, to exchange ideas, to demonstrate our creativity before an audience. The Internet has become not only a great curriculum resource but a great learning resource. The second generation Web is in fact, laying the foundation for ideas such as Classroom 2.0, Teacher 2.0 and Learning 2.0.

Personally, I still struggle when trying to explain concepts that simply have out paced the educational jargon we have available to describe them.

"If you want to project a cool, web-savvy persona, just tack 2.0 on the end of something." - Anonymous"

Learning 2.0 Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach

The post continues by gathering thought s of some educators using new Web 2.0 technology in their classroom environments, the results are inconclusive amongst this group. However there are compelling arguments both for and against the basic idea of Learning 2.0.

I think that most educators working in the field today can easily sign up for Teaching 2.0 and Classroom 2.0, are teachers being selfish and rationalizing their own change of emphasis and approach to education, why shouldn't we progress to Learning 2.0 and ultimately School 2.0. Or are we in danger of over labeling everything as Sheryl suggests?

Over at Durff's Blog a salient point was made about the terminology that we use as teachers which should make us wary of over labeling :

"As edubloggers who are somewhat (I speak for myself here) web2.0 savvy, which labels limit us? Those labels that others give us could prevent them from joining the conversation. Dembo has a point, are we being too congratulatory?
I need to remove labels that encase me within an edublogger web2.0 mentality. I need to reach out, to redefine my online presence, to be inclusive of learners.
The terms we so freely throw about include blogs, wikis, podcasts, webcasts, RSS, etc. These labels intimidate. They strike fear in those who don't know. Presenting the tools without these common labels may initially be helpful in getting learners to listen. One can speak loudly and still not be heard..." Durff's Blog

Sheryl has returned to the debate with her most recent post Progressive Education Round Two - in this scholarly discourse Sheryl looks at how the 'Progressive Education' views of John Dewey in the 1940's can so easily be fitted to the way in which Web 2.0 technology is used in the classroom, indeed back from Dewey to Piaget and beyond. This second discussion would seem to move the debate to the ground that - there have been progressive thinkers on Education throughout the historical record back to the Greeks. They all appear to be giving us similar models of experiential learning, could they have been advocating Learning 2.0 all along? Sadly it is the institutional nature of education that has drowned out these views over the years, even though teachers across the ages have seen it to be effective. Now we are at another one of those tipping points, where we have the possibility to change the face of education for now into the future - Now if that is the bold and reckless move that we need to make, perhaps I for one would be convinced by the argument in favour of Learning 2.0.

"We are developing, and seeking to use in education, digital literacy. That is wonderful. Now let us apply those skills to what really matters. What augments education is passionate conversation. Such conversations began with some guy named Aristotle. Those passionate conversations have continued throughout history and herstory. Now there is a way to digitally join that conversation. We can extend these conversations relatively cheaply. This opens the door for the common man and woman to enter into conversation with us." Durff''s Blog

We may eventually see that Schools of the Future are not actually bricks and mortar at all but schools truly 'Without Walls' in virtual space....

To contribute to the debate do go and read both articles on 21st Century Collaborative, I am absolutely sure that Sheryl, Durff and I would welcome your views.




Saturday, August 11, 2007

Beware of the Dark Side !!!

I was browsing though Allan Levine's blog and wiki on his upcoming trip to Australia CogDog Downunder. Alan has set up an excellent wiki on 50 Web2.0 ways to tell a story. I followed the links to a digital movie archive site where I found this superb version of Star Wars - I hope that you enjoy it.
LINK - sadly I cannot get it to embed directly into the blog ( I must be getting old !!)

Many thanks to John Pearce for the link to the YouTube file for Grocery Store Wars now below

The Winning Poem from CFP Eisteddfod 2007

The National Eisteddfod has just finished here in Wales. On St David's Day (March 1st) around the country most Primary and many Secondary Schools hold their own Eisteddfoddau or Eisteddfod competitions. At Cefn Fforest Primary we have a day of celebrations which is ended by the official Chairing Ceremony when poems written by our eldest pupils are judged ( all pupils choose a pen name - so real names are not known) - the winning poet comes to the front of the Hall and is allowed to sit in the very special chair - they are announced as 'Bard' (Poet), they then read their poem to the whole gathering - now I know that March 1st was a long time ago but the mp3 recording of our winning poet has only just been found ( hidden on a flash drive) - so here for you is the winning poem from CFP 2007 called 'Down in the Darkness'



Get a Voki now!

Using Voicethread with Comment Moderation

I took a walk down from my house yesterday afternoon and shot this Voicethread, which I have set up to see how easy it is to shoot, voice over and embed into the blog.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Embedding Voicethread into your Blog

I was playing around with Voicethread today following the Edinburgh Coffee Morning meeting which became a Voicethread - the guys at Voicethread have come up with the code which should enable Threads to be embedded in blogs which is cool.
You can embed your own Voicethread from the To Go box of your own Thread, however the code is needed to embed a public Thread, which is the second slide below. ( plus in the My Box on the right side bar should have the Voicethread Embed Code)



Thank You Voicethread you have a powerful tool here. Just one question from a teacher thinking about using this in a classroom, is there any form of moderation of Threads? I couldn't find a way to do this..... anybody know How To ??

The Blogosphere replies :

" Hi, thanks for the review. Yes Voicethread has comment moderation, here's a quick tutorial, http://voicethread.com/view.php?b=718
It's allows you to really curate the commentary into the best conversation possible.
Thanks again,
Steve
www.voicethread.com"

Thanks also to John Pearce for his comment on the same issue :)

Post Number 200 !

Yay we hit 200 posts today :)

I am a bit late on posting this one but the guys at Commoncraft Lee LeFever and his gang have posted another of their great easy guides this time on Social Bookmarking. I have followed the trail from Rachel Boyd and so this is it :



If you have problems with YouTube videos the shows are also available at Blip.Tv

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Is this the future of local Community Television?


BBC TV's Newsnight recently looked into an experiment going on in Belgium into people producing their own local tv programmes for broadcast to their own area ( I guess a bit like the local public access tv in the US). Using this system those wishing to watch your tv channel's content have to ask permission to view an interesting EU take on local tv channels link

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

TeacherTube Help on Crashing Browsers

A 'Big Thank You' to Adam Smith from TeacherTube for his prompt assistance over a problem that has been afflicting particularly Mac users. When opening blogs containing TeacherTube or YouTube videos our browsers have been crashing.

I apologise if that has happened to you when trying to view this, or other blogs containing these embedded files. My recent post of our 2006 Animation group seems to have been the culprit - as yet I don't know why ( I will edit this post when I get that information), Adam kindly sent me piece of code to embed in the blog replacing the offending code. The result was instant on viewing no timer, which seems a precursor of the crash - in fact the page seemed to open really quickly.

Thanks to Brian Crosby for an additional piece of help for Mac users in particular, make sure that you have the very latest version of Flash downloaded, as that seems to sort out some problems.

Thank You TeacherTube :)

Podcamp UK



If you live in the UK or US and are uncertain about whether Podcamp UK is for you - try these promotional trailers and see if it sounds like your kind of event...

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play


There are a group of UK Educational Podcasters and Edubloggers at this moment planning their journey and accomodation at this inaugural event.

Still need convincing ? There's only one way to find out - see you in Birmingham at the Birmingham NTI on 1st and 2nd September.
If you are looking for hotel accomodation check out the PodcampUK wiki



Year 6 Film Project 2007

This year we ran a transitional Literacy Project between all of the feeder schools and our Local Comprehensive School ( High School). Our oldest pupils (Year 6 - aged 10-11), worked on the project producing a variety of presentations.
The project had just finished when a small group of pupils who are involved in some of my digital media work approached me with a film project based on the book Rose Blanche by Roberto Innocenti.
They had a very clear idea of how they wanted the film to look, in the event we only had lunch time in which to squeeze in rehearsals, shooting, cutting, editing and post production. They were an excellent group to work with - in fact they only needed a quick 'how to' on iMovie and they were away.
We had as you expect in a film many hurdles to overcome - one for me was supervision, I had to be on hand just to know where they were and what they were doing ( at all times - school policy ). One of their problems was the variable weather that we had through May and June, so continuity became an issue.
Thier technical skills improved hugely during the project, from learning how to shoot scenes avoiding huge waste and re-shoots, to adding post production sound ( we have a group of pupils now who would make good Foley Artists - they taught me some things as well which was excellent :).
Their final piece of work was shown at their End of Year Presentation Awards, the Director, Producer and main driving force behind the film rightly became our first "Young FilmMaker of the Year".



* After filming and DVD making I made the fatal error of deleting the working files from the film !!!!! I then had no way of converting the file for upload - Step in the EduBloggersphere - thanks to Dave Stacey who posted me a link to a conversion download Handbrake which having used I would recommend you to download ( one for the Toolbox - you never know when you may need it.)
Apologies for the quality of the final project - the DVD is 350MB while the Blip.TV file is 53MB hence there is bound to be a loss of quality, I hope that this doesn't spoil your enjoyment of the film.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

"How To Guide" for ClassBlogmeister


There is a thriving community of users of David Warlick's Landmarks ClassBlogmeister at Yahoo Groups. Once in the group you get a steady stream of information and help requests. I was practicing yesterday with 2 fabulous tools which link from the Tech Smith people( who brought us Camtasia), called Jing and Screencast ( in beta format at present). My school ClassBlogmeister needed updating - pupils needed to be placed in new classes and old classes needed to be deleted.
Jing and its sister storage site Screencast ( thank you to Screencast for being of great help during this project) gave an excellent home for my "How To" video screencast on Deleting Classes and Changing Pupils to New Classes
I think that the ease of use of Jing has certainly given me the confidence to produce a series of How To guides ( I hope that when these products eventually make it to market they are not priced too high - plea to Tech Smith !!:)

Year 6 animation

This video was completed by a group of Year 6 pupils in July 2006. They worked on it during their lunchtimes - using a table top set up and shoooting with a Fuji still camera. The final cut with sound was carried out using MS Moviemaker...




My Year 6 film group this year produced a brilliant, atmospheric, black and white adaptation of the World War II book, Rose Blanche - problem - to make space on the Macbook, I have wiped the original iDVD and iMovie files and now only have a DVD version of the film - How can I rip it for conversion, and eventual use on TeacherTube ??

Any ideas out there edubloggers ??

Monday, August 06, 2007

A 2.0 Learner if ever I saw one!

Thanks to Judy O'Connell of the Hey Jude Blog - for this video originally posted from the Scoble Show at podtech.net.
The show is an interview with 14 year old Daniel Brusilovsky
"just 14, is for sure a reality check for any teachers hesitating to adopt Web 2.0. Daniel works in IT, and has his own blog and podcast show."
Daniel's work and learning in my mind goes a long way to put into words my feelings about the Learning 2.0 debate that is currently going on over at 21st Century Collaborative with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach.
Daniel is doing some amazing work in technology for his age and mentions plenty of web 2.0 tools and is undoubtedly engaged fully in the process, however he just sees it as a 'normal' thing to do and can't see what all of the fuss is about - he is truly a product of what you could term Learning 2.0, but I think he is the the product of all of these technologies and has used it as his platform for Learning, which is very much a subjective exercise for all of us - we have prefered Styles of Learning ( 2.0 may be one, but it has to come from the learner not from the educator !!!)

I've been Tagged !!!

I’ve been tagged by Jane of ICTUCAN , Richard Weinberg The EdTechGuy and Sheryl at 21st Century Collaborative the 8 random facts meme

First, the Rules:
1) Post these rules before you give your facts.
2) List 8 random facts about yourself.
3) At the end of your post, choose (tag) 8 people and list their names, linking to them.
4) Leave a comment on their blog, letting them know they’ve been tagged.

Unlike some friends and colleagues I don't usually enjoy this kind of activity, I think that I have lead quite a boring life really !!!!

1) I lived in Wales only until the age of 24, when I escaped to London.

2) I love a good single malt whisky.

3) I have owned 3 MG sportscars in my life so far !! ( though sadly not at present).

4) I have never been any good at winning prizes at fairgrounds - not so much as a goldfish!

5) I failed my A Levels (many years ago) - but still manged to go on and achieve a BSc Hons and PGCE.

6) I have played hockey for 35 years ( note to self - must retire soon!) almost exclusively for my home club.

7) I have managed to fail to learn any musical instrument ( I believe that this is a gift!!).

8) I love Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.

I now pass the tag on to :

Joe Dale

Chris Fuller

Grumpy Old Teacher - Roger Distill

Simon Mills

John Johnston

Keith the ICT Teacher

David Noble

Lisa Parisi

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Voicethread for Vodcasting

Just take a look at this excellent use of Voicethread by the inimitable Mr John Johnstone from Sandaig Primary in Scotland of his Walk along the Canal it bowled me over, what fantastic use is being made of these new technologies - thank you very much John.

Adding 'Bling' to your blog!

I know that you can go too far when adding extra functionality to your blog. As I use this blog is a bit of a 'test bed' for new tools and gizmo's that crop up in the world of web 2.0 as do some other edubloggers, I am not too worried about it becoming a bit cluttered ( the good thing is that you can get rid of page elements as easily as you can create them). Two new-ish gadgets that I have been playing around with today are :





* Box.net - A free online storage site ( which also allows you to embed useful files from your computer onto your blog with the Box Widget. My widget is on the right side bar of the blog - I have had this in place for a while, but the sizing was incorrect and didn't look good. Once you have signed and logged into Box, you can resize the widget and preview it before you copy the code over to your blog - it is easy to do.
Check out the Box for a very important file which contains the easy to copy code enabling you to remove the next blog navbar from the top of a Blogger Blog ( a very important thing to do if you are blogging or allowing pupils to access your blog in school)





* Vod:Pod - a free online video aggregator. A quick and easy sign-up to Vod:Pod the space where you can search a range of video sites (YouTube, Google etc) to bring videos to you. You load your saved videos to your own collection, copy the widget code which suits the position in your blog and simply paste it in. Thanks to Joe Dale who has had a Vod:Pod on his blog for a while now, it has taken me a few weeks to get around to trying it out.

Friday, August 03, 2007

This will sound a bit familiar

My wife forwarded this Powerpoint file to me from her workplace today -thank you Debbie :)
I think that the message will seem very familiar to all users of Web 2.0 tools.
Paradigm Created

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Skitch Invites






Draig-Goch still has one Skitch invite left - someone out there must want to give Skitch a go ????
Just a reminder that Ewan McIntosh over at edublogs still has Skitch invites to any interested people - check it out.

FLASHMEETING VIDEO WALK THROUGH


Today I will attempt to take you on a walk through of Flashmeeting - the (free) videoconferencing site run by KMI, The Open University and E2BN in the UK.

Lesson 1 - Research and About Flashmeeting.

Lesson 2 - Troubleshooting in Flashmeeting.


Lesson 3 - Public Replays and Statistics in Flashmeeting.


Lesson 4 - Flashmeeting Demonstration.


With a little help from:




The Open University Knowledge Media Institute (KMI)
The Open University Simple Network Applications (SNAPP)
The Centre for New Media - FlashVlog
The Making The News Project

** See post from Wednesday 25th July on Flashmeeting**


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Citizenship Video

On the usual wander around the internet this evening I came across this brilliant animation for Citizenship - Called 'All My Peeps' it is so simple but immensely effective. Thanks to Miss Krawczel's 2nd Grade Class.


by swardensky.

My Grandson doing his impression of John Pederson

Is it just me or is there a passing resemblance ?? (lol)

Removal of E-Mail Link and Next Blog Navbar

This blog post has given me the chance to try out Jing, using it to do a video walk-through of How To: remove the e-mail and next blog navbar, which scares teachers and administrators with good reason. The solution is a simple copy and paste using the file in the Box Gizmo in the right hand toolbar of this blog.
Follow this link to the video capture using Jing
and Screencast Storage
Next Blog Removal Code:


Big thanks to Allanah King from Appleby School, Nelson, New Zealand for the original code file :)

A Meeting in Second Life

It was getting on for 2am on Wednesday morning as a group of Web 2.0 educators gathered on the roof of The Bloggers Cafe in Second Life. As you may know I am testing my scepticism of the SL environment out by trying to make full use of it over the next few weeks. I got to hear about the meeting over the Twitter (tweets)thanks to Durff . As Women of Web 2.0 is on a 2 week break, the WOW2.0 group set up an informal chat in SL.
I have found SL frustrating yet strangely addictive over the past few weeks. The new ability to use voice communication is taking time to filter in, so the majority of conversation is still IM, which I find tedious, also when there is a large group as there was last night, the IM moves so quickly it is difficult to type and keep up with the chat on screen (WOW2.0 will be posting the chat online though, which will be helpful for re-visiting the links mentioned).
It was interesting to actually be involved in a 'real' discussion rather than the usual stilted and awkward conversations with apparent strangers.
The meeting was, as you can see from the snapshot above, well attended and the conversation flowed freely.
I dropped in there following a visit to the Edtechtalk Making Connections 14 Webcast. The Edtechtalk discussion ranged over Moodle ( thanks to Jason Hando from Sydney), Drupal and Podcasting ( using Audacity and Podomatic ). The chatroom at Edtechtalk was pretty full as well and again the notes which will be online soon gives excellent links to useful software.
I must say thank you to all of those in SL and at Edtechtalk Worldbridges for making all contributors welcome.
It would be interesting to see if we could introduce WorldBridges into the UK perhaps with an EdTechTalk UK

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