If, like me, you want to sketch your notes at a conference or event, and worry about missing important details or not being ready, here’s a cheat-sheet for you.
Pens: Get your pens (including back-up pens if you think you’ll run out of ink) ready and somewhere you can easily get at them. Also worth keeping an eye on is where you can store them for easy access whilst you’re sketching – pocket, bag, table, etc. There’s nothing worse than dropping your pens, book, phone, etc. when you’re trying to pay attention. Try and use at least two colours, and be consistent in how you use them (shading, highlighting, etc.) across all your sketches.
Page-per-note: Prepare each page of your notebook with the details of the speaker and/or presentation. Include name, Twitter name, presentation title, etc. in your own design. This way you know what space you’re working with for the presentation, and who it is for. Be careful to make sure you check if titles change!
As part of a new series of posts, I will be talking to authors of The Really Useful #EdTechBook about their work, experiences, and contribution to the book. In this seventh post I talk to Terese Bird, Learning Technologist and SCORE research fellow, University of Leicester.
DH – Hi Terese. How does the use of technology, in all its various forms, affect your day-to-day working life?
TB – Really, I do my job on the strength of first social media, and second mobile devices. I remember when I was being interviewed for my job at Leicester back in 2009, I was asked how I stay on top of developments in the field, and I said, “Twitter.” Even before I had any smart handheld devices, I was regularly using Twitter to learn from others in the field of learning technology and tech innovation generally. Even on extremely busy days, I can take a quick skim through Twitter, retweet a couple of things or put a couple of things on Scoop.it. Not only have I learnt from the blog post or news item, I have shared it, and often get some response on it — so in 20 minutes or so, I have done valuable horizon-scanning, learning, and networking in my field. Continue reading →
Looking back over the work on BYOD4L, my recent changes in circumstances, and my approach to the role I’m in, I was asked to write about something about the challenges of being creative (or not) in a role that doesn’t always require creative working or operation.
Due to the reflective nature of the post, that I am thinking and working towards being a better ‘learning technologist’, this forms the 13th part to my series of ‘what is a Learning Technologist?’
As a Learning Technologist I tend to make or create things. Everyday I write emails, attend meetings, take notes, support staff, advise colleagues, demonstrate systems, deliver workshops, etc. .. and that’s the ‘required’ stuff that an employer would see as my role. Continue reading →
There are always great lists and resources available if you take the time to hunt and search form them. I have a fair few saved and bookmarked. But, if you’re like me, I often lose or forget them. So here are a few of the ones I like, use, reuse, and recommend for learning or educational uses (including creative commons):
PhotoPin: http://photopin.com/ – “Search millions of Creative Commons photos from Flickr and add them to your blog posts easily.”
Flickr Creative Commons: http://flickr.com/search/advanced/? – I only ever use the ‘advanced search’ options as this enables to search only creative commons images. Sometimes I find it easier/quicker to use Photopin, but the direct Flickr search sometimes brings up more meaningful responses.
Stock.xchng: http://sxc.hu/– good quality images and illustrations available, just check with ownership and/or rights before using.
IconFinder: http://iconfinder.com/ – High quality icons for use by/for web designers with associated creative commons attribution.
FreeVector: http://freevector.com/ – Great website for backgrounds, characters, etc. in vector image formats for editing.
While the JISC Digital Media website is not a source for images like the above it is still and important resources for finding, editing, and managing digital resources, and one you should be aware of and visiting on a (semi) regular basis.
As with all lists it’s worth mentioning that while you found something really good using services like Google image search it is not necessarily OK to use in your materials. You could check with the image owner but it’s just easier to use the above services from the start to avoid a lengthy hunt for the legitimate owner.
Where do you go, how do you find ‘the’ image for your project, learning package, etc? Share your tips, tricks, and resources by leaving a comment below.
Note: Thanks to Fred Riley for helping me remember some of these I had forgotten!
Here we are, the final week, well done everyone, we made it!
A ‘Digitial Artefact’ you say? What’s that then? I was not sure when the MOOC started what a digital artefact was, but now understand it’s just another term, albeit slightly pompous, for a blog post, a video, an image, a collection of audio/visual elements that make are collected together in one ‘presentation’ mode.
And what is this artefact to do: The artefact will be critically peer-assessed on elements and themes of the course:
The artefact addresses one or more themes for the course
The artefact suggests that the author understands at least one key concept from the course
The artefact has something to say about digital education
The choice of media is appropriate for the message
The artefact stimulates a reaction in you, as its audience, e.g. emotion, thinking, action
I decided to bring together some thoughts around the MOOCs theme in a Prezi, see below: Continue reading →
Do you use images or photos? Do you check with the owner before saving or copying or using? Are you using Creative Commons (CC) images and think that it’s all OK because the image labelled as CC therefore you’ve done all your supposed to?
Do you in fact understand what Creative Commons is? If in doubt, before you go any further, watch this video: Creative Commons Explained.
A photo or image placed under a Creative Commons license enables you, the ‘borrower’ to copy, distribute, and display the work providing the photo or image is correctly attributed to the owner. Every CC license applies worldwide, is non-revocable, is not exclusive, and lasts for the duration of the works copyright.
Foldify (iPad): I can’t remember how or where I found out about this app but it is one of the best one’s I’ve ever bought/downloaded. It’s a simple idea – use one of the pre-defined blank templates of a 3D shape and draw on the explanded, unfolded, version to design your very printed 3D figurine. Through it’s simple and intuitive interface budding artists (and big kids alike!) can create and share their own unique paper figure creations.
“Draw, create, print and fold beautiful 3D figures with Foldify. You don’t need drawing skills, Foldify has tons of free content to create amazing, high quality figures!”
What are your pet-peeves about how your VLE is used – are you the culprit or is this what you see others do? Is it the technology at fault or how we / you / ‘they’ use it?
Come on, let’s have your examples of the things you’ve seen in your VLE that leave you in despair. Please leave your examples as comments below … we’ll see what we get.
Here’s a couple of examples I’ve seen over the past 5 years or so …
Learning resources and files loaded as simply ‘click here’ or ‘week one’ without any explanation. Try introducing the file with an appropriate name (‘Week one resources: [topic title]’) as well as some brief text about what the file is and what it contains, how the student should use it (read, discuss, activity, wider research, etc.), and what the learning outcome is – put the resource in the context of the learning and / or subject and / or timetable.
Well structured and detailed navigation … but empty folders. Even if you are using ‘adaptive release’ and the materials are loaded but not available yet, you could at least put a ‘holding’ message to say the materials will be available on or after specific dates – if it’s empty the student thinks you’ve either not done anything or it’s something they’ve done wrong.
Announcements on the home page / welcome screen … but there haven’t been any, either use it or don’t display it, an empty area can only cause confusion for students (see above).
I plan to collate the responses and comments into a fuller list (that’ll be part 2) which I’ll blog about in a month or two or when there’s a good range of comments. If you’d rather remain anonymous then please email me (‘david’ at ‘this website address’) and I’ll publish it minus your name.
Just how are Universities using Social Media, and how do they measure ‘success’ of the channel? I haven’t heard or seen an adequate response to these questions yet, but this infographic does give a little hint of what is going on:
By far the biggest effort is put into engaging their alumni networks and creating and maintaining the ‘brand’ image of the Institution.
Over 4/5ths of Universities use social media to engage their alumni network.
One in three Universities claim their use of social media is more “efficient” in reaching their target audience … but is this efficient in staff time or efficient in results?
Nearly 2/3rds of Universities say the number of likes or friends or followers is a measure of success, yet only 1/10th say the link between social media use and student applications is important.
1/5th of Universities think they are “very successful” with their use of social media, so that leaves 80% who think there is room for improvement … I wonder what they think they need to do that they’re not already, and why they’re not doing it yet then?
While Facebook is the biggest social network the Universities studied are using, services like Flickr and blogs have had the biggest investment (time or effort) since 2010.
Sorry, the title is dramatic, it’s meant to sound a little like ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’, but doesn’t really get there. This isn’t a post about Blackboard as a VLE, nor is it about the trials and tribulations of the whole upgrade process for a heavily used Blackboard system.
This is about one of the best bit of this summers Blackboard upgrade at UoL – the new text editor! Yes, that clunky and often sworn at text editor has been removed and a new one put in it’s place – the ‘content’ editor (if you’ve sign up for it). The best bit is that it works. The next best bit is that it doesn’t take an age to do anything, nor does it eat your PCs processing power, it looks quite nice AND it works – did I say that already?
What is so good about it? Well;
Options for text and font formatting are more tightly controlled – it’s more difficult to change font and font size, therefore making your materials and content more likely to look the same across the whole course.
Cut-and-paste from Word documents strips out the unnecessary hidden code and leaves only the basic formatting (bold, italics, etc), again helping your content have a more unified appearance.
Option to have the content editor full-screen (finally!!)
Edit CSS styles (if you like it that way) and have control over the design of your content.
Insert special characters.
Cut-and-paste tables from Excel or Word actually pastes the table in the editor, properly, and they’re easier to edit too (see below)!
Create and manage tables quickly and easily using the editor.
Edit the image properties easily when you right-click the image when in edit mode.
Insert mash-up (see above) makes it easy to search and insert from YouTube, Flickr, and SlideShare. Once you’ve chosen the content to embed you’ll have the options on how it is presented as well as what attributes are displayed (Blackboard … more mash-up sources please!).
The spell checker is far less clunky than in previous versions, and works in the editor instead of in a different pop-up box. Words are highlighted with a red underline and a left-mouse click on the words gives you the options to correct it.
Don’t miss this little gem – those three little lines in the bottom right of the editor indicate you can enlarge the box so you can see more of your content as you edit it! Yes, this is perhaps the best bit of the new editor, and a very important addition (finally I hear some say?)
There are a fair few resources on the Blackboard Content Editor page, as well as a good list of keyboard shortcuts which can make your online editing life a whole lot easier.
The title of the post ‘A New Beginning’ may be over the top, but the new editor does make working in Blackboard a much nicer and enjoyable experience, it brings the process in line with other online systems I’m used it (WordPress, etc) and one I am very happy to be using.