Posts Tagged ‘tools’

it about how you use the (web 2.0) tool, not the tool itself

Friday, July 30th, 2010

This week I was fortunate to be able to attend a seminar presentation by Associate Professor Matthew Allen, called “Using Web 2.0 in Your Teaching”. Matthew is a Teaching Fellow of the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and is the leader of the ‘Learning in Networks of Knowledge‘ (LINK) project.

Matthew emphasised that Web 2.0 is about connection and stressed that when thinking about Web 2.0 we need to take into consideration the 4Cs.

    • Components: what feeds into the knowledge work system
    • Cognition and Collaboration: thinking and working together forms the processing system
    • Communication: the results of processing become public and the basis of audience reception and conversation

      Matthew presented us with his top 10 Web 2.0 tools and gave us some great ways to use them for learning & teaching. It was useful to be reminded that it’s not about the tool, it’s about what you can do with the tool. Here’s his list – I was surprised that I was only familiar with only two of them. They may not all be mainstream, but they could add value to the learning activities/ experiences you develop.

      1. xtimeline – xtimeline enables users to create timelines of events, in a constrained but flexible format, with collaboration features, and public communication options
      2. listphile – “a powerful tool for organizing and collaborating around structured information. Call it a database tool, if you will (but please don’t scare anyone away)” [**I couldn’t access this link today, but will check again later]
      3. slinkset – slinkset creates social news sites, private, shared or public like digg, with extensive yet simple to use design features
      4. posterous – posterous is a powerful yet simple blogging engine with a particular emphasis on ease of posting: do it by email
      5. mind42 – Mind mapping is … about entering ideas, arranging them … and refining and deepening ideas with colors, links and other attributes”
      6. quizlet – quizlet is a flashcard production and use system, with inbuilt group and collaboration features and innovative ways of testing knowledge
      7. reviewbasics – reviewbasics is a web-based service allowing users to work together to review documents, websites images with an emphasis on annotation
      8. springnote – “wiki, word processing, and file organization [and] … sharing, having collaborators… to organize all the information you need at your fingertips”
      9. – knol is Google’s answer to Wikipedia: editable, classified user-generated content based on the idea of a ‘knol’ (a unit of knowledge)
      10. wiggio – comprehensive group collaboration tool: calendars, to do, sharing, online meeting and polling … people work as teams, not a group of individuals

      You can also access the presentations on each of the tools on Slideshare, and a video recording of Matthew’s presentation capturing his discussion on each of the tools. You can follow Matthew on Twitter and read more of his work on his website (look for ‘writing’ tab).

      augmented reality software/applications and educative possibility

      Monday, September 21st, 2009

      I’m just staring to understand the applications/technologies underpinning what’s being called augmented reality. Lots of fun, amazing to see and a high potential for use in education. I had seen some of this stuff before but didn’t quite get it even though it’s been around for a while. I’m not drawing parallels or comparisons to (immersive) 3d virtual worlds as I think that they are a different application of (augmented) reality (or do you think they should be considered in the same genre of application?) I’m interested in the application of this in education and how it might support authentic learning experiences that help build students’ understanding.

      Here’s a video of a demo of a free (cross platform) application from ARSights to take you on a tour (via a collection of models linked in Google Earth) of some of the significant landmarks around the world on your desktop. All you need is the marker (use the same cutout for all models) and a camera connected or built into your computer. You can also download the models from via Google Earth and view them at your leisure

      Having someone demonstrate an application to me (drum sequencer) I’m starting to understand that there could be significant educative value of this technology. Basically it’s a visual marker recognition system that uses a camera to ‘read’ a marker (a bit like a QR code) that then overlays a 3D image of the object on the card that is viewed on the computer screen. These can moved/shifted around to change the output of the sequence, a little like the concept of siftables demonstrated during a TED Talk by David MerrillThe interactivity is important to note, as it adds a another dimension to this technology as suggested by this quote from d-touch website:

      “The distinctive feature of d-touch, compared to similar systems, is that the markers can be visually designed to convey meaning to people. By allowing the creation of markers that support interaction both visually and functionally, d-touch can enhance most applications normally supported by visual markers, including interactive guides, mobile service access, mobile games, interactive story telling systems and augmented reality applications that have broad visual appeal and are not constrained to ugly glyphs.”

      The video below shows a demo from d-touch and a drum machine ‘reading’ the markers to play a sequence.

      These technologies is also being developed for mobile devices with some clever and useful applications. The demo below is nearly too cool to believe!

      There must be any number of possibilities for education, eg. 3D models for architecture, medicine, chemistry, biology, etc. Are you aware of any other demonstrations/applications of this type of technology in education that you could share? … and what of uses for mobile devices?

      there’s more than one way to deliver a podcast

      Sunday, August 24th, 2008

      I recently attended an Apple Roadshow that was focussed on the introduction of iTunes U in Australia. I was interested in what they’d tell us about the ‘program’ and also to see what they could provide as support for ‘workflow’ (getting podcasts uploaded).

      While a little cynical about our institution having to be locked to delivering podcasts through iTunes, I was pleasantly surprised to note that this wasn’t necessarily the case. We could link to a podcast (kept in iTunes U) directly from a unit section in our LMS. So, each object has the ability to be accessed via an individual url rather then through the iTunes feed.

      The other thing they told us about was the ability of iTunes U to provide access to both public and private podcasts. This means that we would be able to tag some of our material as public and freely available (say more for marketing and communication purposes), while other material could be tagged as private and only available for registered or authenticated users.

      They also have a nice feature in the iTunes U server software/application called Podcast Producer that tops and tails, and watermarks each podcast to provide a uni/faculty ‘livery’ to each object. This would save a lot of time in getting podcasts delivered to production, and at least give some consistent ‘look’ to what was made available.

      I suppsoe iTunes U is a lot like Lectopia (the system we currently use to record lectures live) in regard to processing the recordings, but it doesn’t do the actual lecture theatre recordings – it’s more suited for individual desktop work. I did come away with a different view on what Apple were providing and can see there could be benefits for those involved in the program.

      As our institution hasn’t yet signed up for this service, it would be useful for us to at least encourage our leadership to enagage in talks and examine the usefulness of such a service for our university, both for teaching and learning, and for marketing.

      my iPod

      Monday, April 28th, 2008

      Understanding that others have written on the subject – I wanted to give my spin the on the (just about) ubiquitous iPod.

      “A most underrated device the (Apple) iPod is“, (as Yoda would say), and I wouldn’t go anywhere without my trusty multi-media device. Other than these devices being cool, with great design, neat user interface and having some street cred, they are also immensely useful for teaching and learning.

      I use mine to play music (sometimes), play podcasts (both audio and video a lot of the time), play video (TV, movies, presentations etc.), show photos, store files, and record audio (interviews). I won’t make any comments regarding the iPod Touch as I see it as an alternative to the way I use my iPod (and because I haven’t had enough experience with one to know it’s full range of functionality and/or limitations).

      I can do all these things in a personal way (like, I’m the only person interacting with the device) or I can, through the Component or Composite Audio Visual (AV) cable, share everything with an audience. (NB* the newer iPod Classic require a new version of the AV cables).

      I can use it walking, riding (the bicycle), traveling in the car (or on the train/plane), at home in the lounge or in the classroom/lecture theatre.

      iTunes is the main piece of software I use to upload audio, video, and photos to the iPod, but I have some other software and hardware that allows me to add value to the iPod.

      1. The Belkin TuneTalk is a great little recording device that plugs into the bottom of the iPod and enable digital recording (but watch out for a new version for the latest iPod Classic).
      2. Then there’s the Griffin iTrip Auto (FM transmitter) that allows you to play your iPod through the car stereo system (charges the iPod as you go).
      3. And what about an Elgato eyetv digital TV tuner? I have the ‘hybrid’ model which does analogue and DTT (free view). This means I can capture of an old analogue VHS tape player and convert to digital and then save to iPod. You plug a co-axial cable into one end of the ‘stick’ and the other end goes into a USB port and via the excellent software you an watch and record free to air TV. Once recorded you are able to edit the recording (removing advertisements maybe) and then export as an iPod .mp4 file. If you have Roxio Toast you can also burn to DVD. This enables you to record something on TV in the evening and use it in your teaching the next day!
      4. Then there’s other handy things like a 3.5mm headphone jack splitter which effectively enables two people to listen to the iPod at the same time (you’ll need another set of head phones). You can pick these splitters up form an electronic store like Dick Smith Electronics.
      5. A small carry bag is also useful. I found a great design from Eagle Creek that’s got enough compartments and room for the bits and pieces. Not sure if they still produce the model I’ve got, but the Hip Check looks close.

      I’ll probably go into more detail on the intricacies of exploiting the educational uses of the iPod in later posts (like creating & subscribing to podcasts) and in the meantime provide a couple of links to post by others… Kate Foy | Rob De Lorenzo | Manoj Jasra, and surely many more. Feel free to comment and provide a link if you’ve written something on the subject….

      The bottom line: everyone (particularly teachers) should have one, or at least something that can do the same sort of things. I really can’t think of a reason why you shouldn’t. If you can think of a good reason – let us know!