Tag Archives: Library

The trails we leave #eLearning

Continuing my interest in data and how it can be used, this project and associated video is a very useful indication of how data from one App (called ‘Human’) can show us how we move.

Do you walk, run, cycle? Continue reading

The Challenge of ebooks in Academic Institutions

The Challenge of eBooks in Academic Institutions #edtech

The goal of the JISC Report into the  ‘Challenge of eBooks in Academic Institutions’ project is to help “orientate senior institutional managers and to support institutions in the effective adoption and deployment of eBooks and eBook technology. As a consequence the project helps to support the wider ambition to enable improvements in the quality and impact of teaching, learning and research and meet rising staff and student expectations.”

“At present, for academic institutions, the ebook paradigm largely remains one of PDF format ebooks consumed using PCs. This is now dissolving. The ebook landscape is changing rapidly, driven to a large extent by developments in ebook readers and tablet devices which have enabled better ways to consume econtent.”

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Delivr.com QR Code

QR Code Library? #edtech

Delivr.com QR CodeI’ve talked about QR Codes for a long time now. They haven’t really lived up to the hype, and even I admit this now. But every now and again they pop up and someone does something ‘new’ with them. It may not be “wow, amazing” but it’s enough to remind us that there is still life in them yet.

Do you remember the supermarket that was set up in the underground station? If not then watch this: Tesco Homeplus Virtual Subway Store in South Korea. And I’ve talked about QR Codes being used in the Library too.

Well, what about combining these two ideas .. someone did. If you happen to be in Bucharest and are waiting for a train, you now have the chance to download an eBook to read for the train journey home, if you also happen to have forgotten to get yourself something to read before leaving home.

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UK Copyright – making sense of it

We all are bound to the copyright laws, but they are long and complicated. This series of videos produced by my old friends at CIPPM / Bournemouth University are worth watching.

These are really good videos to watch and share as they cover different aspects of how copyright has an impact on what we do, as professionals or individuals, and are worth sharing with colleagues and students (especially the last two on libraries, DRM, and license agreements).

This first one deals with a basic introduction to copyright law on YouTube:

The rest of the series covers other aspects of modern life and how copyright ‘infringes’ on what we do (or don’t do):

snap.vu QR Code generator

QR Codes: The nuts and bolts #QRCode #edtech #ukedchat

I’ve had some amazing discussions with some colleagues recently about QR Codes and how we can use them. When I got over the initial “huh?” response as to what they are, and they understood that the code can contain type of data, we started to get somewhere really quite quickly.

So, this post is really to consolidate my previous posts and to make it slightly more graphical – images are often easier to follow.

What is a QR Code?
In my first post about the codes -  – I quoted this definition of a QR Code:

“A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994.” Source: Wikipedia

Let’s face it, that doesn’t mean much to the average person. I explain it to people by explaining how it has already been used: Pepsi used them on bottles to give access to special games and competitions not available anywhere else on the web; they were used to advertise the release of the DVD for ’28 Weeks Later‘ film; and Calvin Klein used them to entice you to see their advert, “uncensored”.

There are plenty of links around (if you search) talking about how US realtors (estate agents to us UK folks) are using them on for-sale boards – instead of having to phone the agents when you see a property you like as you drive around, you simply scan the code on the for-sale board and get the low-down, price, photos, details, etc there and then. Marketing companies are seeing the potential, now it’s time for education to join them.

So;

  • You see/find the code,
  • You scan the code,
  • Your phone decodes the code, and
  • Your phone displays the text, link, e

Like this …

What kind of information can you contain/embed in the QR Code?
When you create the QR Code you will have to assign something for it to hold, to contain, to embed. This is text, always text, but what the text is is up to you. it could be;

  • Plain text (“Hello”, “My name is … “, etc)
  • Your phone number
  • Your contact details (name, email address, phone number, address, etc)
  • SMS / text details (including your number and a short message)
  • URL / web address

The method the user will use to open and decode this information will decide on how this information is used. If you stick to the above then it is highly likely that all QR Code Readers on the different platforms will know what to do.

  • Plain text – display text on screen
  • Phone number – ask if you want to dial the number
  • Contact details – display and/or store the details to your phone memory
  • SMS – create the text message and prepare for you to send it
  • URL – display and/or open the specified web address

All very powerful stuff.

Where can I generate the code?
There are many good and reliable places/websites you can go to generate your own code (for free), and here are a few I have tried and continue to use:

  • Kaywa - qrcode.kaywa.com/
    The first one I found and still one of the best
  • Create QR Code - createqrcode.appspot.com/
    Another good one I’ve reported on before, although not as many options
  • Mobile Barcodes - www.mobile-barcodes.com/
    Options to create a vCard, email, SMS, etc, and different sizes of QR Codes
  • Snap.Vuwww.snap.vu/
    This is good generator website as it has a basic (very basic) stats package behind each generated code, and puts a shortened URL in the actual image to help direct users who are unable to scan the code to the same content (see below). The image you download is good enough for print, so should be ready for all uses you can think of. The shortened URL refers to your code on Snap.vu so accesses/scans are monitored.

In my post QR Codes: In the Classroom I gave some examples of different content (link, text, etc) that had been coded to the QR Code and the different size and quality of the resulting code. It is imperative you take note of this as there is very little ‘loss’ of quality that is accepted by camera and applications before it cannot be decoded – use shortened URL websites (like bit.ly or is.gd) to create short, concise links to make good quality (and easier-to-read) codes.

Whenever you post a QR Code it is essential, in my mind, that you also put a textual element to it – if you’ve not used them before you might need to explain what they are. if nothing else you put a shortened URL along with the code on the page so people without the ability to read the code can still participate. This is why I like Snap.vu – it adds the short URL to the image.

What use are they in ‘education’?

So far the examples above are showing how they can be used in marketing and sales … but what of education? Can they be used? Well, of course they can, and we are only limited by our imagination and abilities in getting all the little bits of the process set-up and working together. By this I mean there is no point in using them around campus (a campus tour / adventure game, for example) if the Estates Group will remove them thinking they’re graffiti.

I listed a few ideas for uses in the classroom or educational settings in my post QR Codes: In the Classroom which included;

  • lectures and lecture slides,
  • hand outs and printed materials,
  • surveys,
  • textbooks,
  • libraries (linking to eBook versions),
  • assignments,
  • induction activities,
  • campus tours,
  • etc

How these things can be used is very dependent on the topic you want to cover; if you’re talking about the UK Spending Review and changes to the funding for Higher Education why not use them in your printed literature to point to

  • YouTube video(s) of the demonstrations to illustrate a point;
  • Google Maps of where the demonstration happened;
  • Copy of Lecture slides hosted on Institutional VLE or somewhere like SlideShare;
  • If nothing else, you could store your contact details in the code, or link to your vCard so students can scan and store your details for future use in their phones (name, office location, surgery hours, email, etc);

The list of possible applications go on.

Are you using them with your students or colleagues? If you are, or planning to, then please share how you are doing this (going to do it) by leaving a comment.

Augmented Reality on campus

There are many uses for Augmented Reality systems and applications already out there, but most I come across are for more generic “find a hotel” or “find a wifi spot”. These are great, but not really pushing the boundaries of what the technology can do.

I’ve read a little about how AR is being used in Education, which is good and I’ve spoken of these before – “Augmented Reality: does it have a place/future in education?”  and will continue to again as I find the links and research. But what about the other side of the education … not only in and out of the classroom, but to help the students around the Institution?

What about these ideas?

  • Student Orientation: What’s the worst part of being in a new place? For me it’s not knowing where anything is. You may have a room number, or even a building name, but where is that? If an Institution were to develop something that covered the whole campus (buildings, rooms, facilities, lecture theatres, etc) then the students could use it to find directions to the right place. You could use this to show the student how the campus used to look 10, 15 or even 20 years ago, as well as the history of the Institution and it’s previous staff and students?
  • Student Induction: Take the above one step further, the whole Induction process and programme could be incorporated (via QR Codes even?) into the app then the student could use the Induction programme to find their next session, the QR Code (placed outside the door to the /building room their about to enter?) to find out more about why they are there?
  • Library: Why not have an Augmented Reality app for the Library? Search online for the book/journal you want and AR can direct you to the floor and even to the exact shelf where the book or journal is? That would save some time, even more if it could tell you if the book was already out on loan.

These thoughts came about from watching this video on YouTube; created for the Junaio iPhone app, it worked in this example in the indoor 2010 Kiosk Europe Expo to guide visitors around and to help them decide where to go, and when.

If you know of somewhere that is already doing this then please let me know, I’d be happy to know that my thoughts and ideas were already being put into practice.

Also, if you’re interested in developing something like this I’d love to be involved in whatever capacity I could help with! Drop me a line or a comment below

Libraries and Cloud Computing

There has been much written about Cloud Computing in recent months, and this presentation is a good resource to add to the mix; looking at what advantages, or disadvantages, can be expected for a library in the Cloud (I tweeted this presentation over the weekend but, after re-reading it, thought it worthy of a post here);

Libraries and the Cloud

I found the following statements struck a chord that I’ve already emailed them to a colleague who works in a library, along with the presentation;

“The days of each library operating its own local servers have largely passed. This approach rarely represents the best use of library space and personnel.” Marshall Breeding (Slide 57).

“The University of Westminster estimates it has avoided a spend of £1million in moving to the cloud, cutting expenditure on new hardware and software upgrades.” (Slide 70).

“I don’t see a major difference between hardware obsolescence and service obsolescence.” Michael Klein (Slide 84).

and perhaps the biggest quote, which can be applied to many elements of higher education, not just the library;

“The biggest cultural component is that organisations have to become more willing to use platforms,. technology, and services that they don’t directly control.” Carl Frappaolo (Slide 89).

Are you involved in any form of Cloud Computing? If so please let us know what you’re doing, and how you have achieved (or aim to achieve) it.