Category Archives: altc2008

e-Learning Stuff Podcast #023: To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

Do you blog, do you read blogs, do you use blogging to support learning, are blogs dead?

Audio MP3

This is the twenty-third e-Learning Stuff Podcast, To blog, or not to blog, that is the question.

Download the podcast in mp3 format: To blog, or not to blog, that is the question

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James is joined by Kev Hickey and David Sugden.

Shownotes

Please turn off your phones and close your laptops

This week I am blogging at the JISC Online Conference. At an online conference it’s almost given that you will be using a computer, maybe even a laptop!

What about at a non-online conference?

 Do you now pack your laptop, extra battery, power cable? Or do you use a PDA, an iPod touch to make notes? Or do you still prefer to use that trusty old pen and paper?

Please turn off your phones and close your laptops

I remember the first time I took a wireless laptop to a conference (a JISC programmes meeting as it happens) and the hotel had wireless access and I had a wireless laptop. Some of the older people out there may remember a time when laptops did not come with wifi cards as standard.

It was a real enabler.

When a link was shown, I could there and then check the site out, add it to my bookmarks, or ignore it.

Whereas before I would scribble it down and try and remember to check it out later which would take up time – and there is never enough time. Often I would forget to check it out, or lose the piece of paper.

If someone said something I didn’t understand or couldn’t remember, a quick internet search saved me having to ask a question. I could remind myself of previous projects, previous presentations.

Today I will use Web 2.0 tools such as Twitter or Jaiku to correspond with remote colleagues and ask them the questions the presenters are asking me. Sometimes with interesting results. I will also blog about the keynote or presentation too.

Having said all that, I will also admit that at some conferences I will with my laptop check out my e-mail or check a few websites, usually during a conference keynote. Though I will also take notes or scribble actions.

This is more down to the conference speech being either not applicable or totally boring! You will know what I mean, some keynotes deserve to be ignored. I  remember going to one keynote at a conference  and they had a minister speaking who was so obviously reading a prepared speech he pronounced JISC, J I S C (spelling out the letters), rather than JISC (as rhymes with disc). Rather then walk out, I could get on with other things using my laptop.

I think part of the issue is that a lot of conferences are very passive experiences, and we are now all more active learners then we may have been in the past.

At the ALT conference back in 2006, most of the workshops I went to were 90% listening and 10% activity. The conference had a wiki and I think six of us contributed. It didn’t help that there was no wifi and very few places to charge a laptop.

In 2007, ALT-C had good wifi and a good preponderance of bloggers and this was the medium of choice, lots of blogging and lots of contacts made.

This year, Crowdvine (which I had first used at the JISC Conference) was the conference success story (though Twitter had its place too I think).

I am making an assumption that in this year’s online conference we will see a similar level of discussion and debate that has happened in previous years. The depth and breadth of discussion is something that you never really see at a non-online conference, well not during the presentation or workshop itself.

What I would like to see during a non-online conference, is an online area to enable further discussion and questions relating to the conference speech or workshop. Just to get a little of the depth of discussion we will see next week.

I tried this out myself at ALT-C at the two workshops I ran, I used a blog and got the workshop participants to blog their experiences and thoughts, it seemed to work quite well. Made life easier for me as in my Web 2.0 workshop there were about seventy delegates…

I have read that this hasn’t always worked when tried, but if there was full and proper wireless access and online delegates as well as attending delegates this could enable more discussion and debate.

Finally at any e-learning or learning technology conference would you believe that there are still people who object to delegates using their laptops during keynotes and presentations? The main complaint that was given was lack of attention and the noise of typing. At any other conference I would expect that kind of attitude, at an e-learning conference I expect everyone to be connected, either via their laptop or mobile device.

What do you think?

It’s definitely not for girls

One of the nice things that you do with YouTube is see the statistics for your videos.

For the Digital Divide Slam at ALT-C 2008 I with Steve and Joss produced a short video entitled, “It’s not for girls” looking at the digital divide in respect to gender.

Looking at the stats for it (as it is currently my most popular video) I was amused by the gender stats, click the image for the larger version.

It's definitely not for girls

Should be taken with a pinch of salt really as the stats only cover the last few days and not the whole demongraphic of who has viewed the video.

So what about the video, well here it is again.

Are you a resident or a visitor?

One of the things we seem to do in the world of e-learning is categorise ourselves and our learners into groups.Are you a resident or a visitor?

One of the key pieces of work on this was from Marc Prensky on Digital Natives and Digital Immigrants. Now I was never really very happy about this idea that if you were old (like me, well I am not that old, but it’s sometime now since I first sent e-mail, 1987 I think it was) you were only a  digital immigrant and young people were digital natives.

However when I looked at the students at my college, I couldn’t see this age divide at all. Yes it was true many of the students were very happy and capable with handing digital devices and playing games, but not all.

We had some digital natives that fitted the description, but we also had a fair few that didn’t. There were students who didn’t and in some cases couldn’t use the internet and the web, not because they hadn’t been immersed in a digital world since birth, but because they didn’t want to. Also there are issues with many students in relation to the digital divide; they may play video games, but don’t have access to the web.

I also couldn’t see how myself fitted into this, I may not fit the digital native sterotype, but I knew (well others told me) that I was very much immersed into a digtial world and used the internet in ways in which they couldn’t fathom or understand. Was I merely a digital immigrant?

From my experiences on the web I met many digital natives and quite a few of them were over forty!

So it was quite refreshing to read on Dave White’s blog a post about residents or visitors to the online world. Like a few others, notably Andy Powell and Josie Fraser, I quite like this concept.

There are some who live in an online world and see the internet as part of their everyday life. This I can identify with. It was for example very strange at ALT-C 2008 to meet Kev Hickey, someone I knew very well from Jaiku. Over the last year we had discussed many e-learning issues and shared experiences of applications, but also I had seen his photographs from Blackpool, I knew the names of his dogs, I felt he was someone I would call a friend.

Are you a resident or a visitor?

So it was very weird to actually meet him in person at ALT-C. He is just one of many people I know from online in just my e-learning sphere, better wave to Lisa at this point…

I can quite easily see how that I can be a digtial resident, living part of my life in an online world. I do use the internet a lot and do use a range of online services and applications to make my life easier, to communicate, to share, to drink coffee and to have a bit of fun as well.

Working with many staff in the college (and quite a few students as well) I often find that they are merely visitors, using the online world when it suits them and meets their needs.

I’m reminded of a member of staff at a training session who was quite vocal about being a “technophobe” and didn’t want to use technology in her teaching (note the word teaching and not learning). So basically I ignored her, there were staff there who were interested. As we moved around the room, another member of staff started talking about how she used learning technologies, how she used the VLE and then she remarked on how she used MSN chat to converse with her students at a time and place to suit them. At this point the “technophobe” spoke up and said, “oh I use MSN chat all the time to talk to my daughter in Australia”. For me she is the perfect example of a visitor to the online world, using the technologies when  it suits her needs and ignoring the potential that other tools, services and applications could offer her and importantly her learners.

Having said that, on Josie’s Blog there was a comment from Mike Amos-Simpson which I think is worth repeating.

I think that perhaps when its considered as a ‘world’ it maybe makes too many people feel like aliens!

I agree with Mike that calling it a world could alienate people, but then again so does using the terms like digital native and digital immigrant.

So are you a visitor or a resident? Or do you prefer native and immigrant?

13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

The Official Google Blog has a really insightful and interesting posting on the future of internet video. One interesting statistic is that thirteen hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute!

What Google think is that:

In ten years, we believe that online video broadcasting will be the most ubiquitous and accessible form of communication. The tools for video recording will continue to become smaller and more affordable. Personal media devices will be universal and interconnected. Even more people will have the opportunity to record and share even more video with a small group of friends or everyone around the world.

I am not even sure it will take as long as ten years!

The new compact MP4 Flip’esque cameras that are now available make it even easier to shoot and upload video.

At ALT-C I was broadcasting video live from my phone over the internet, I recorded, edited and uploaded a video in 30 minutes in a workshop.

I wanted to share my video of the ALT-C and I was very able to do so and in HD!13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute