#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.

Potato Crisps

Earlier today according to my records, I posted my 324th #sugsnip on Twitter. It concerned the death in May this year of John Walker – of Walker Brothers fame.

#SugSnip John Walker (d. 07/05). American born founder member of 60’s group The Walker Brothers. Real name John Maus bitly.com/tQoqeg

Within minutes @MardyCat had replied to say that she had thought the #sugsnip was going to be about [potato] crisps. Which made me think … ‘MMmmm potato crisps …

As of today, I have eight #sugsnip posts queued up for posting on Hootsuite, which leaves me with thirty four more to find before I finish on December 31st. I have seventeen, so I need to research seventeen more.

It isn’t easy!

I had thought that I’d like to go on and do another year’s worth of posts during 2012 but I really can’t find the time; not just to research the subject I choose but to choose the subject in the first place. Because of the eclectic nature of my snips, I’ve tried very hard to collate things that are off-beat and not necessarily known to the majority of people. For example, a recent post:

#SugSnip The first recorded sale of bananas in England was by merchant Thomas Johnson in 1633. bitly.com/rKaulS

… received quite a few re-tweets, although why this would capture the imagination of readers is beyond me.

So, I thought ‘potato crisps, there’s a subject to look at‘. So I did and contrary to my initial thoughts, it is the (ah, don’t give it away ..) – you’ll have to look out for the #sugsnip day 332 on 28th November!

Bonus snips on December 7th.

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?

#sugsnip – 200 days – the story so far

I’ve just scheduled the 200th consecutive day of #sugsnips (due to be published on Tuesday 19th July). Here’s a special foretaste for readers of my blog:

#SugSnip The 1967 Welsh Language Act required another Act (1993) to put the language on equal footing with English http://bitly.com/kAspeR

I last wrote about #sugsnips back in April, http://bit.ly/q9HgAD after I’d made the 91st daily posting to Twitter. Since then, I’ve passed the half way point (day 182), at which time I’d made over 200 individual postings – one per day PLUS bonus #sugsnips made especially during ‘named’ or ‘special’ weeks.

#SugSnip That’s 26 weeks done. 6 months. 200 specially researched tweets. Just half way! Thank you all for the RTs and the Papers 😉 BONUS Via Hootsuite

I posted my raison d’être back in January http://bit.ly/pfP9wI. Essentially, this was to create a daily Tweet, which contained some snippet of researched and verified information that could/would be of use or interest to anyone reading it.

Limited as we are by Twitter’s 140-character set-up, the initial challenge was to condense essential information into the Tweet along with relevant links. Research eventually led me to find Fur.ly, which not only shortens links but bundles them together: http://bit.ly/pF8Jzy. Further research led me to Bit.ly, which not only bundled but allowed short descriptions of the individual links contained – these could be used for instruction to readers (learners?) http://bit.ly/q1Ot7m. I still use Bit.ly because of its power. I don’t necessarily use it to its full extent in this exercise, but have done so with other, paid, work.

It’s worth noting here that Xtensis, who have hosted the NLN Materials for many years now, are working on a powerful URL aggregator that has all the potential to knock Bit.ly out of the water. http://www.xtlearn.com – why not register and play? Let Rod and Robin know what you think.

I’ve also tested several Tweet Schedulers during my first 200 days. http://www.twuffer.com has a nice interface and for a while was my first choice – but it missed the odd tweet, meaning that I had to ensure I read my Tweets every day just to check. Ditto: http://www.futuretweets.com – not reliable. I have eventually settled on http://www.hootsuite.com to schedule my #sugnsips. Hootsuite has not (yet?) let me down and presents me with a nice interface for creating and viewing my ‘pending’ Tweets.

#sugsnip readers have been very kind and many have been re-tweeted (RTd) or re-published in one of several http://paper.li/s, especially during ‘special’ weeks. Already researched and ready to go (I have to have a minimum of 50-60 ready for ease of mind) is a ‘Coats’ week (probably over summer!) and a ‘Materials’ week (probably mid September). I’m working on a ‘Wine‘ week too. Each is designed to show how teachers might bundle such short, sharp bits of information for learners to access. 🙂

The power of fur.ly – part two: LMS

Screen shot of EduVel blogAs I suggested in my previous post, fur.ly could be used for so much more than shortening URLs or even (as I have been doing within my #sugsnips) aggregating URLs. For instance, here is an example of it being used as a learning management system – LMS.

http://fur.ly/5hzo. [Please try this and let me know what you think]

All it cost me was a little time – everything else was free. [Late News – bit.ly can also do this. See end of post]

Obviously, anyone following the learning episode above will find huge pedagogical holes in what I have slung together, but that is all I did: I just slung a learning journey together from a few web sites I knew of and hoped that users/readers would ‘get’ the point of the exercise.

My biggest challenge was deciding upon a site that would allow me to have simple pages that linked the learning journey together, for this I chose http://shrib.com. Shrib has the advantage of (similar to all of the Etherpad clones) having an editable URL. Anyone following the route will notice that I’ve used bloom1, bloom2 and bloom3 as my ‘tail’. The downside (for now) is that these are probably editable by anyone – so just how I would overcome that remains to be seen – but for now it’s ok – it works.

I’ve used Shrib to provide online pages, which explain how to use the fur.ly page for going backwards and forwards through the web sites presented and what to do at each stage.

My preparation includes locating the web sites I wanted to use and the order in which I wanted to present them. I then created the intervening Shrib pages to separate the websites and finally – having decided what the user would need to look for on those pages, I created an end-test using Google Forms. In real life I might have asked the user to give me their name and email address, so that I could give them feedback but for the purposes of this demonstration the end test restricts itself to 2 simple questions and a comment box.

So, is this really a form of impromptu learning management system (LMS)? I think it is. I think it will suit those who are working outside of institutions (maybe WBL, ACL, Voluntary etc.) as a means of guiding learners. I’ve tried the resulting journey on my iPhone and it seems to work very well, opening each page as required and allowing me to contribute to the Google Form.

I’d love to know what you think. Please comment below or DM on Twitter.


Part of my investigation has allowed me to delve further into bit.ly http://bit.ly the URL shortener mentioned in my previous post. This may have great potential than fur.ly as it can bundle URLs too. It also presented the URLs in a friendlier way than fur.ly.  Watch this space.

#sugsnip – the first three months

Well, April is here and the sun is shining.

To be fair, the sun has shone now, on and off, for a whole month – March being one of the driest on record (apparently). And with April, comes the end of my first three months of submitting #sugsnips on Twitter.

In fact April 1st was the ninety first; the end of my thirteenth week.

#SugSnip From Chaucer, through calendar changes to French fish – The origins of April Fool’s day are still disputed. http://fur.ly/57aq

I started posting #sugsnips on January 1st with the intention of posting a snippet of information to Twitter every day for a year (See https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/twitter-sugsnip/) and have posted two previous updates (see end…)

I have purposely kept away from posting e-Learning ‘snips’ as I think there are enough people doing that within my community of practice and have tried instead to post an eclectic range of facts, fun and information – ‘stuff’ I hadn’t realised I didn’t know (e.g. the April 1st #sugsnip) and stuff that I do know, but suspect others don’t e.g.:

#SugSnip Hedge Schools grew out of the Penal laws that forbade education for Irish Catholics.  http://bit.ly/eDAjP6 + http://bit.ly/g6LWAL [I learner this from the magnificent Terry Loane]

I’ve also post facts and information that has always been of interest to me such as the ‘food’ weeks (there’s another coming up tomorrow – 4th April). These have also been the ones which have received the most interest, with the ‘cheese’ week receiving notice from Jon Traxler, Claire Bradley (2), James Clay, Matt Pearson and Steve Halsted. That week, I also posted four bonus Tweets which supplemented the daily serving.

I’ve begun to use http://fur.ly/ more now as it gives me the chance to post even more evidence of my ‘snip’ without using up too many of the Tweet’s 140 characters. I think the most URLs I’ve crammed in to Fur.ly is six, but it could probably take more. I do wonder though, how people explore evidence presented in this way, as it doesn’t seem overly obvious how to access the packages URLs or how many there are. Any comment?

Responses and comments have been great and it always gives me a sense of achievement when someone RTs or replies: I feel then that I have helped in some (very) small way. And that’s what I see my job as – helping others. I set out to show how techniques such as this (daily, timed snippets of … whatever) could be used to supplement a learner’s understanding.

Anyone doing it (yet)?

1st update https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/02/18/twitter-sugsnip-first-review/

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


I came across fur.ly today.

What a difference it will make to my #sugsnip series of Twitter postings. For more about #sugsnip please see my original post and last week’s review.

Fur.ly is a URL shortener!

It works in much the same way that bit.ly and snipurl (and many others) take long internet addresses (URLs = Uniform Resource Locators) and shrink them down to a more memorable size. (e.g. the address of last weeks #sugsnip posting reduces down to http://bit.ly/sugsnip and http://snipurl.com/25ph3l)

Fur.ly however, goes a stage further and can hold several links in one shortened URL.

For my #sugsnip series, this will be (eventually) a great boon. I say eventually because I already have quite a few set up with the Tweet-schedulers I mentioned in my previous post and a few more stored ready to go. The point of #sugsnip is to model the use of micro-blogging tools as a means of knowledge delivery – short, sharp bits of information that have all been double checked for accuracy.

The double-checking means that most #sugsnips carry two shortened URLs (usually by bit.ly) that direct the reader to two different web sites (there may well have been more) supporting the information supplied. Quite often I have to visit several sites, especially if one of my sources has been wikipedia, as many websites seem to just copy from there. I DO try to find corroborative evidence before posting.

However, the use of two URLs does take up valuable characters that could be used to introduce the subject in question. Using fur.ly will allow me to not only put my usual two URLs inside the one link, but others too – if I feel it to be useful.

Many thanks for the supportive comments I received after last week’s post – especially to Lisa who commented on the post itself. 🙂

Twitter #sugsnip – first review

It’s been a few weeks now since I started my #sugsnip challenge. I started on January 1st with the intention of posting a snippet of information to Twitter every day for a year. https://eduvel.wordpress.com/2011/01/03/twitter-sugsnip/.

I’m now approaching my fiftieth (50th) uninterrupted posting (19th February 2011) and thought it might be worthwhile reviewing the process so far.

I had thought that the idea of posting short, informative messages via Twitter (but the challenges outcomes would not necessarily mean that Twitter would be exclusively used) was a sound one for use in education. Teachers might see how they could send similar snippets of subject based information to learners and I firmly believe that modelling this idea is a useful way of evaluating its potential impact.

Since January 1st I’ve recorded 13 comments, re-tweets or other re-postings from readers. A 26% response from a disinterested audience doesn’t prove anything, especially as it is 26% of the total posts that received a response and not 26% of the actual readers – who’s number I cannot possibly know.

I remain quite encouraged by that feedback nevertheless, but would be more encouraged, if there were more of it. Perhaps my eclectic choice of subject matter is what prevents visible interest? I have tried to do subject-weeks (e.g. food, history etc.) but maybe even these are too off the wall. Please let me know.

Remembering to post something everyday has been more of a challenge than I had thought it might be. To overcome this I though it would be worthwhile trying out a few of the Tweet Schedulers available. I’ve tried three so far:


I didn’t stay with this site to long because it just didn’t work for me. Whilst it does have all sorts of facilities in addition to Tweet scheduling, it missed a few of my scheduled Tweets, very early on. The interface isn’t as clear and straightforward as some either.


So far, Twuffer has been my favourite, although it has let me down a few times. Out of 37 Twuffered Tweets, 3 didn’t show. They seemed to have ‘gone’ but then didn’t show on Twitter. However, although I moved onto another scheduler after those three failures, I will try again because the interface is straightforward and you have to login through Twitter, so there is no separate registration.


So far, futuretweets has not let me down. Once you are ‘in’ it works in very much the same way as Twuffer and seems very easy to work with. Of the two I would still prefer Twuffer, but this might only be because I tried that first.

I’ll try others as I go along.

So what do readers think? Has anyone noticed my #sugsnip challenge on Twitter? Could you use a similar methodology to communicate with learners?

Twitter #SugSnip

I’ve recently set myself the challenge of sending a snippet of information to Twitter every day for a year. I started on January 1st (1/1/11) so I suppose it’s a sort of resolution? #SugSnip

The idea of doing this occurred to me back in 2009 and I did in fact make a start at that time. However, due to the pressures of work (I was really busy at that time – unlike now where I don’t know where the next job is coming from) and the fact that I’d not appreciated the groundwork required for such an undertaking, it soon fizzled out. The preparation of checked, reviewed, interesting, useful (to some), possibly thought provoking, pertinent and varied snippets of information within the limitations of a ‘Tweet’ was a challenge I’d initially underestimated.

However, I did think that the idea was a sound one for use in education and that modelling the idea would be a useful way of evaluating its impact.

I’d been speaking with someone about the idea and it occurred to us that the slow drip feed of subject-specific material to learners might help them with their retention of knowledge. Of course, it might not be Twitter that was employed to effect the drip feed as regular posts to a Moodle forum, to a Facebook ‘wall’ or even SMS texts could do the work too. Nevertheless, I decided that I would use Twitter and that I would be governed by its 140-character rule. What’s more, using a hash tag would help with the future tracking of snippets.

I’m still not sure how the #SugSnips will pan out theme-wise: So far [3rd January 2011] I’ve posted three, all of which are food related, so maybe I will try to keep Monday to Friday snips along a related theme with sport snips on Saturdays and religious snips on Sunday. I quite like the idea of random snips too, so remain undecided about how they will unfold. Perhaps if I review progress over coming months, this will have become clearer?

I have about a hundred snips ready and waiting to go right now and will add to them when time and opportunity presents itself. All #SugSnips have been vetted inasmuch as I’ve checked more than one place that such a thing [subject of snip] exists, is true and is verifiable by others. The link I provide (I provide a URL with every snip) is taken at random from amongst the sites I’ve checked. Where space allows (remember I only have 140 characters including spaces), I will post a further URL to add veracity.

So far, I have snips listed under the headings of youth; food; drink; history; entertainment; computer/web 2.0; education; religion and words. These may well re-form as time passes and the boundaries are bound to fade but they help me to keep control of my findings.

Because I have a modest amount of followers on Twitter, I may provoke some response, which may in turn result in some kind of worthwhile outcome. One of the food snips has already caused some discussion, for which I’m grateful.

In the meantime I’m enjoying the research and learning lots of stuff myself – much of it interesting but not yet of much use. But as we often hear: One man’s meat is another man’s poison http://www.answers.com/topic/one-man-s-meat-is-another-man-s-poison