bit.ly – a better LMS?

Some readers may have followed my exploration of facilities offered by http://fur.ly and how it might be used as a learning management system (LMS). At the end of my most recent post, (see 3, below) I said ‘watch this space’, as I intended to explore another service – http://bit.ly.

I have now had the chance to delve into bit.ly and explore what turns out to be its greater potential for use as an ad hoc LMS.

First of all, to get the most from bit.ly, you need to register. It does work as a URL shortener without registration, but to use it to its full potential (which I don’t think I have yet fully tapped), you do need to register. It’s a painless process.

When you have logged in, you will see that over time, the URLs that you have reduced in length are all logged in your ‘area’. If, as I have done today, you wish to bundle some links together you can do this. Simply click on the offer to bundle your most recent links. You then have the opportunity to add/delete links as required and to rearrange them. Where http://bit.ly has the edge over fur.ly, is the way it allows the LMS designer to add an introduction (instructions) and allows the end user to comment/collaborate on the outcomes. This looks like it might be a powerful feature but I haven’t explored it. Please let me know if you do explore it.

There is also an analytics section which I have not explored either, but which may in time come into its own. If you have a play with it, do please let me know how you get on.

Have a look at my David Lloyd George ‘lesson’: http://bit.ly/f4RX56

Interested users will see that I have once again added a Google Form to gain feedback – you could use this as a formative test at the end of the web site sequence.

Please do let me know what you think.

Related posts:

1) https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/fur-ly/

2) https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/04/11/the-power-of-fur-ly-part-one/

3) https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/04/12/the-power-of-fur-ly-%E2%80%93-part-two-lms/

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Book Creator

picture of dilapidated phone box

Phone box, a dying icon

Today I’ve been playing with Book Creator on my iPad.

The App; designed for iPad, can be accessed on the iTunes store at http://bit.ly/10JrgV0

“The simple way to create your own beautiful iBooks, right on the iPad.
Read them in iBooks, send them to your friends, or submit them to the iBookstore. Ideal for children’s picture books, photo books, art books, cook books, manuals, textbooks, and the list goes on. ” [From page]

I became aware of the App during an iPad Academy session I attended last week.  This was presented by Lilian Soon at the University of York, to PGCE students.

I am one of the iPad Academy’s newest registered trainers (working across West Yorkshire, and East Lancashire) and had attended to get a feel for what is expected of a session. We explored a number of Apps (which I may deal with in a later post), but Book Creator was shown to me by someone else attending the session. I immediately saw the potential for this £2.99 App.

So today, after trying it out a few times – simply to get a feel for the menus etc, I set to, to make a book and to see how versatile the App was.  Book Creator allows you to assemble a variety of media and to present these in e-Book (.ePub) format for consumption on the iPad.

First of all Text:

Text is inserted in blocks, in much the same way you might insert text-blocks in older desktop publishing (DTP) software.  A sliding bar allows you to control the font size and a drop-down menu allows choice of font. The usual [B], [I] and [U] are available, along with [colour] and the chance to alter the background colour of the text-block. You are unable to edit less than the full text-block.

book-creatorNext Visual Media:

Inserting images and videos from your iPad library is swift and easy, as is the option to use the iPad camera to record a new image of video clip. Once inserted, the media can be re-shaped and sized with ease.

Next Sound:

You have two options for sound: record it there and then (useful for reading back what you’ve typed into the text-blocks, for accessibility purposes) or, apply a soundtrack to either the first page or all pages. Beware that this can be irritating if you do record an audio version of the text-blocks.

I’d hoped it could be fully accessed via any ePub reader, but it only seems to work in iBooks on the iPad. I’ve tried using an ePub reader on my MacBook Pro and it does show the pictures and allow me to read the text – but the video didn’t appear. So provided you can distribute the book efficiently, it should be a good way of consuming own-made books on the iPad.

Try mine if you like: http://bit.ly/10RIL23

You will probably need to download the file directly onto your iPad, unless you know how to get an ePub file onto it from your computer (another post, another day perhaps: but for now – http://www.apple.com/itunes/inside-itunes/2010/04/using-itunes-to-add-epub-files-to-ibooks.html).

My effort isn’t not much and it is messy, but it shows what can easily be done using this powerful App. Perhaps you could get your learners to CREATE something on their iPads?

Plenary

Last week, I was asked to write some script for a learning package; part of one chapter was about ‘plenaries’.

Definition of plenary

adjective

  • The meaning of plenary - Google search return

    1 unqualified; absolute:crusaders were offered a plenary indulgence by the Pope

  • 2 (of a meeting) to be attended by all participants at a conference or assembly, who otherwise meet in smaller groups:a plenary session of the European Parliament

noun

  • a meeting or session attended by all participants at a conference or assembly: working parties would report back to the plenary with recommendations

Origin:

late Middle English: from late Latin plenarius ‘complete’, from plenus ‘full’

From Oxford Dictionaries – link.

I’d never understood the word plenary to mean anything other than that hinted at by adjective 2 and noun above. I suspect that many of my readers have a similar understanding? I certainly had no inkling of the Pope’s indulgences.

It concerned me therefore to think that I could write part of a lesson planning chapter titled ‘episodes’, which included ‘plenaries’ in the outline brief. Sadly, it made little sense to me.

Plenaries were often the least active part of lessons. Teachers tended merely to sum up what happened during the main phase and pupils did not have the opportunity to articulate what they had learned*.

So I had to research the subject and although none of the literature I found suggested that plenaries were anything other than a bringing together (usually at the end), I found that in educational circles they don’t just happen at the end of a given session, especially if you are using ‘episodes’ of learning activity. It would seem that plenaries occur after and throughout each activity – who knew!

We always called this reviewing and it happened at the end of a lesson and at the beginning of the next. Words eh?


References:
http://www.teach-ict.com/teacher/plenary/plenaries.htm

http://francisfarrell.blogspot.co.uk/2006/05/good-lessons-4-plenary.html

*Source:

http://bit.ly/WYuy4X

© Crown copyright 2002
Produced by the Department for Education and Skills
Extracts from this document may be reproduced for noncommercial
or training purposes on the condition that the
source is acknowledged
www.standards.dfes.gov.uk
www.dfes.gov.uk

#Advent #SugSnips

https://i1.wp.com/farm9.staticflickr.com/8201/8162101242_dae954feae.jpgSome readers may remember the series of #SugSnip tweets I posted to Twitter every day of 2011.

I’d started these postings on 1st January 2011 (see my 1st #SugSnip blog post) and they culminated in a publication on ISSUU. The publication had a foreword by James Clay and this year, I am taking a leaf from his book (so to speak) and copying his idea of daily  posts throughout #Advent. In my case I’ll run right through the month.

 – See James’ 2011 musical advent calendar.
– Also watch
his 2012 cinematic calendar as it unfolds this year.

Please read on (beneath the ISSUU book) to learn more about my series of #Advent #SugSnips 



My thanks once again to http://cpwilson.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/embedding-issuu/


I’ve toyed with the idea of delivering #SugSnips again for quite a while as I’ve missed the research involved, it’s been a sort of hobby for me. However, I wanted to present the information in a different way. My first thought was to create a Google Presentation and to post the link to one slide per day. However, this turned out not to be as easy as I’d first thought. Although each slide had a different link the whole presentation was viewable – so not much use for a daily ‘reveal’.

Each of this month’s #Advent #SugSnips has therefore been created as a separate presentation. I had to use Google Chrome to be able to capture each presentation URL (rather than the ‘edit’ URL) but this seems to work OK. You tell me?

I’m also using bit.ly again to create the shortened URLs of this link, reducing it from 114 characters to just 13!

Also like before, because it was the most reliable during 2011, I’m using HootSuite to schedule my Tweets. This time I am also copying the daily posting to Facebook.

Creating the presentations hasn’t been straightforward, but I’ll log that journey later this month. Suffice to say I won’t be recommending the method I’ve used for easy distribution.

I hope you enjoy reading these #SugSnips. I will publish the entire 31 slides as a single presentation in January, along with the bitly bundle. Enjoy.

ISSUU – SugSnips

Some readers will remember my previous SugSnip posts.

Well, I have now published all of the 400 #SugSnip ‘tweets’ in book form on ISSUU, the digital publishing platform.

I’d originally tried to author the book via the Amazon Kindle website, but to no avail. The instructions seemed clear enough but as it turns out, were too demanding for the technology I had to present. Most of the content consists of tweets, with a link to a collection (a collation really) of other links supporting and expanding the #SugSnip link. I just couldn’t see how this would work on a Kindle book (and it didn’t).

So I set it aside and got on with my life.

Just the other day though, I got an email from ISSUU reminding me of their presence and, given a two hour drive from Nottingham this week, I got to thinking about how the book would look and feel on ISSUU. Well, it looks ok and as a bonus, all of the #SugSnip links work.

For example: Tweet 195 on page 35, about Levi Jackets, still has the Bitly bundle https://bitly.com/bundles/dsugden/R available for viewers to read.

Please let me know what you think.

Other info from http://cpwilson.wordpress.com/2011/02/07/embedding-issuu/ – with thanks.

TechDis Ambassadors

Ever since the first meting in August, I’ve been working with some delightful colleagues on the planning of a new initiative being undertaken jointly by the JISC TechDis and the JISC RSC SE.

The intention is to create and develop a community of TechDis Ambassadors in the south east of England. The TechDis Ambassadors can be students or staff.

In the first instance, interested parties have been asked to fill in a short form by 12th October and to then attend a face to face meeting at Guildford College, on 8th November. Invitations are offered to all areas of post 16 education [the further education sector] based in the JISC RSC-SE region.

The aim is to promote and celebrate the use of technologies that help the learning process, especially for those who experience difficulties with their learning. Our meeting on 8th November will explore ways in which this can be done and begin the project planning process.

A Facebook group has also been set up for TechDis Ambassadors and the hope is that this will form the basis of an ongoing, collaborative community. Anyone with tips or tricks that promote and celebrate the use of accessible interventions is welcome to join. Or, you can follow the TechDis Ambassadors on Twitter.

150 Friends

How many friends do I have?

The question caused me to stop and think following a recent Facebook comment from Col Hawksworth as the answer appears to be 150!

150? Really, so many?

Well so Robin Dunbar has been suggesting since 1992. It’s a flexible number where Dunbar has set the more likely norm at 148, having extrapolated research into primates onto humans. Dunbar argued that …

…150 would be the mean group size only for communities with a very high incentive to remain together. For a group of this size to remain cohesive, Dunbar speculated that as much as 42% of the group’s time would have to be devoted to social grooming. From: http://bit.ly/vVKEqe

MMmmm. Now that I’ve read some of Dunbar’s work, maybe I do have 150 friends, especially online and in my wider field of work. Dunbar insists that his theories hold good even with burgeoning social networks like Facebook and Twitter – because 150 is the maximum number we can have some personal history with:

…there is a general relationship between the size of the brain and the size of the social group. We fit in a pattern. There are social circles beyond it and layers within – but there is a natural grouping of 150.

This is the number of people you can have a relationship with involving trust and obligation – there’s some personal history, not just names and faces. From: http://bit.ly/rrbyO4

To celebrate my birthday earlier this month, I invited some friends around to my home for pie and peas and as much to drink as they liked. I had to limit the numbers because the house would have been too full, but over twenty people attended and I could easily have invited another twenty – if there had been room. So that’s a third of all the people Dunbar suggests I could happily call friends. Around another thirty or so sent their best wishes via Facebook or Twitter and many others sent cards and/or texts. So I can go with the 150 (ish) number, now I’ve thought about it.

But the key is ‘personal history’. Only those with whom we have had personal history can be called friends. One friend (a true friend, even by his own statement) once said to me “you can never have more than a couple of friends Sugg! Everyone else is an acquaintance” and I ‘sort of’ went with that. His idea of a friend was someone who would drop everything to help if needed, someone you could/would confide in and someone you could rely on totally. I am lucky enough to have several friends like that and most of them came to my birthday party.

On the wider periphery of friendship, social network friendship especially, we have similar interactions don’t we?

When someone needs the answer to a question, or help with a cause we try to help in some way and if we can’t we re-tweet or ask other friends if they can help. Don’t we? Each of those social interactions deepens the trust and adds to the personal history Dunbar refers to.

Online, I have a number of ‘friends’ I’ve never met and in those cases, ‘friend’ is perhaps an ill chosen term – ‘acquaintance’ might be better. Nevertheless, some of those non-met friends have helped me online and I have helped them (not necessarily the same person tit-for-tat you understand) and they thus begin to form the outer edges of Dunbar’s Number.

Thanks Col 😉

Also see:

http://www.commonsenseadvice.com/human_cortex_dunbar.html

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/04/136723316/dont-believe-facebook-you-only-have-150-friends

http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/books/how_many_friends.html

Reviewing 2011

Last year, I waited until 31st December to review my blogging year.

This year, I intend to review #SugSnips at that time, so I’ll make a critical review of my 2011 EduVel blog posts here and now, pre-Christmas.

First of all, I am 600+ views down on this time last year.

However, I suppose that’s not too bad because statistics show that this is the year’s 50th post, whereas last year I posted 78. I guess that another reason for the lower number of posts is that I’ve branched out and started writing two other fairly regular blogs:

Saturday Walks – http://saturdaywalks.wordpress.com/
I started this blog last December to separate the more personal aspects of my life from other areas. It was something I’d planned to do for many years and began with the idea of continuing the events John and I have shared since 1999 (cycle ride).

Nutritious, economical foodhttp://shoestringfoods.wordpress.com/
I started this in September following my increasing (renewed) interest in all things epicurean. It started as a blog to help folks become more confident in cooking cheap but nutritional food – instead of cheap, tasteless rubbish from supermarkets.

One main theme I’ve stuck with this year has been the #SugSnip challenge, which involved daily posts to Twitter, but as I will write about that next week, I’ll look at the eclectic range of other subjects I’ve written about this year.

I waited until last week  http://bit.ly/uevmxz to write about the work I’ve been doing for the last six months. It seemed unfair to do so earlier as I was working with so many other people on that prestigious piece of work.

In October http://bit.ly/tGyyz1 I reflected on the differing digital needs of individuals. I think that this will be a reoccurring theme throughout 2012, as social media websites continue to chop and change their provision, presumably to survive in an economic world that seems to have flat-lined.

Over summer https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/08/ I discussed screen-capture software and why Flickr didn’t have (still doesn’t have) a really good smart-phone App. Even now, I have to go to Photobox to print my Flickr pictures and to Picnik to edit them. Come on Yahoo! Flickr is brilliant, but it could be so much better.

I’ve also had grumps about things such as software updates (why so many, so often, so demanding of time?) and the vagueness of some social media terms and conditions. I dabbled with situational aware social media like FourSquare and Gowalla http://bit.ly/sPlMrb, became the mayor of eight places – and resigned! http://bit.ly/ozki08.

I re-found Wordle: http://bit.ly/rrSpzz

I learned a lot about Lego WeDo this year too http://bit.ly/sG6syh, helping to deliver sessions early on and then wondering how I could break into the junior school market with my new-found skills from then on. Anyone?

This year I’ve published several ‘guest posts’ too. Each one came from a dry call and each one has done what they said they would do – i.e. write something we both agreed upon for nothing more than a by-line notification. I’ve been happy to help, as it has enriched the diversity of posts from EduVel. http://bit.ly/vl6YBd (ignore first one – it’s by me!)

Work has continued to be erratic but very interesting. I’ve been to a few colleges to deliver training for staff: Blackburn, Newcastle under Lyme and Gloucestershire to name a few and at Kirklees College I was asked to deliver a session for foundation degree students studying childcare. By far the biggest piece of work was at Leeds College of Music, where I helped a great team of chums to develop a new VLE environment (mentioned earlier).

Going forward, I’m working with Jackie, Alison and Sally on a LSIS project, with TechDis and with RSC-SE – if it finally kicks off in 2012.

That was 2011 that was!

Merry Christmas everyone.

300th #SugSnip

Earlier today, I posted my 300th consecutive #sugsnip (the first was published on January 1st 2011). Here’s what it said:

#sugsnip Barbed wire was patented by Joseph Glidden, following Michael Kelly’s earlier development, ‘thorny wire’ http://bitly.com/nAzt3z – and here’s a picture to go with it – http://bit.ly/n4OvXV

I most recently wrote about my #sugsnip challenge back in July http://bit.ly/p5JXP1 after I’d made the 200th daily posting to Twitter. Nothing much has changed.  I’ve posted several special weeks like ‘Materials’ and ‘Compare Words’, and I’ve managed to keep up to the eclectic demands of my subject matter.

I’ve also introduced an ‘Obituary 2011’ feature on Sunday’s too. Morbid I know – but it’s interesting to find out (remember) just who has died this year! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deaths_in_2011 is a great starting point for this sort of research. I’ve restricted my ‘findings’ to those people I have been aware of in my life, whether sportsmen or women or other types of celebrity. I’ve purposely avoided the more public deaths (Amy Winehouse, Osama Bin Laden etc.) and only hope that my publications (there have been some surprises) do not distress anyone.

There’s still along way to go (65 days unless I’m very mistaken) and there’s still time for a few ‘special’ weeks. Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep up to the need for constant research and regular checking that the posts have gone (from Hootsuite these days).

Has anyone started using this sort of short, sharp delivery of information/reminders with learners yet?

Why hasn’t Flickr got a belting App?

There was some discussion recently about the success of new and emerging photo sharing sites such as Instagram and Photovine.

The counterpoint of this discussion was the effect it has on more established sharing sites like Flickr (and Photobucket?).

At first, I failed to see the point of the discussion (as I interpreted it) as Instagram and Photovine offer completely different services to sites like Flickr and Photobucket.

Ref:http://davepeck.visibli.com/share/K4VmAN written in response to http://thomashawk.com/2011/08/flickr-is-dead.html

I had to ask the question (via Twitter): What do people want from photo sites? Why is Flickr dying? What changes are needed? @alextronic replied to @dsugden @jamesclay and @davepeck – It’s an amazing site that could do with a better app!

And that made me realise the problem. Flickr really could do with an App that does ‘stuff’. Following a recent James Clay blog post [http://tech.jamesclay.net/?p=2099]I recently bought the Paper Camera App http://bit.ly/qxJuMK (to go with Instagram and all the other photo Apps). I paid 69p. and am only marginally disappointed with it. How difficult would it be for a company like Yahoo! to develop an absolutely belting App that allows the pencillification of Paper Camera along with all the different filters found on Instagram. Even if they charge more than 69p! After all their customers have an abundance of photos – perhaps they’d like to play too?