Category Archives: altc2007

Using external web services?

Brian Kelly (who writes the UK Web Focus blog) has been asking the question:

Externally-hosted blogs, wikis, etc: (a) valuable solution for institutions which can save effort and resources; (b) to be avoided, as institutions need to be able to manage and tweak their own services or (c) an alternative view (please describe)?

He’s been using Facebook to ask the question and it is a valid question to ask. Should we as institutions take advantage of such services or should we be running our own services.

Some of the answers on Brian’s question make for interesting reading (Facebook login required) and he has been discussing this on his blog.

I use Flickr quite a bit now, finding it useful for not only organising photographs but allowing staff within Gloucestershire College to use them simply and easily. Now if I used an internal service this would probably also meet their needs, however those of you who have checked my Flickr feed will know I also used it quite a bit at ALT-C and delegates (and non-delegates as well) would have been unable to view (and in some cases use) the photographs. From my perspective using a single service makes life easier, there are lots of guides online, also using an external service allows me to use such clever applications like ShoZu.

One potential downside is what happens when staff leave? They can remove the photographs very quickly and easily.

Also though most Web 2.0 services are free, some like Flickr have limitations on the free account. The “pro” upgrade does cost and the question is who pays for that?

There are many more questions. Luckily for us some Universities have already been down this route and have created guidelines, check lists and risk assessment so providing the basis for any college which is looking at using external web services.

iPod touch

In a session at ALT-C I mentioned (and blogged)…

…about the rumours of new OS X based iPods, these may be wireless and may have browser capability. We should know by about 7pm tonight.

Well by 7pm we did know. I checked out the details via my phone at the conference dinner.

Apple did announce a new iPod with a touch interface (aka the iPhone) which will be available worldwide and will be wireless, have a browser and run a version of OS X.

Whether I get one, different story, £200 is a lot of money for a touch interface. I already have devices which can play music and video and portable wifi capability as well.

Having said that , it would be nice to have one, then again do I wait until the iPhone is available in the UK and get the phone element as well?

Decisions, decisions.

Whatever I decide one of the key things to remember is that our learners will by buying this iPod, they will be buying other iPods, other mp3 players, new phones, etc…. and we need to think about how they can utilise those devices to support their learning.

Google's Peter Norvig's keynote at ALT-C

Posted by ShoZu

Caught in the act…

It seems I am not the only one who was entertained by David Bryson’s piece on A blog about bloggers blogging others also enjoyed it, including Steve and Haydn.

I was caught on camera, and yes I was blogging (and eating at the same time).

Blogging and eating

I did also talk to the person sitting next to me…

One thing that I have found blogging about stuff at ALT-C is how it can be used to create and stimulate verbal communication. I doubt I would have spoken to Steve Wheeler if he hadn’t blogged about a session we both attended and on his blog he mentioned my blog.

Other delegates have come up to me and mentiond my blog. Others have mentioned the photographs I have uploaded to Flickr.

Yes everyone  focusing on their computers can be seen to be rude (here I am typing this during a session), but I know I have talked and discussed more during this conference as a result of blogging then I have at previous ALT conferences.

I reflected during the refreshment break this morning that though there were some people using laptops, many, many more were talking.

Personally I think blogging has improved the verbal discussion not replaced it.

Learning technology for the social network generation

I am at the Theme Speaker’s Summary Learning technology for the social network generation.

Marion Miller (JISC RSC YH) is talking through her background and is giving an overview of the RSCs.

She’s covering some interesting points, in the main learner control to start with, empowering learners and other issues.

At this point I moved over to large scale implementation session as I wanted to hear about that as well.