Tag Archives: google plus

Social Media in FE and Skills – #jisc50social

Are you flying high in social media for UK further education and skills?

So are you using social media effectively to enhance, enrich teaching and learning and assessment in FE and Skills?

Maybe you are using Twitter to enhance learning through the use of Twitterchats or keeping lessons topical using a Hashtag.

This isn’t just about the Twitter, it’s about how you are using social media.

Are you enabling learners to debate and discuss using the communities feature of Google+ and using Google Docs for collaboration and assessment.

Do you have a Facebook page or group to engage with learners?

Is Periscope a tool that your learners are finding useful for live streaming from a workshop or the

Are your learners reflecting on their practice using tools such as Blogger, WordPress or Medium?

Why not help Jisc celebrate and share best practice by nominating yourself or nominating someone who is in FE and using social media effectively to support learners and learning.

Nominate them here.

Top Ten Web Tools of 2014

This is the seventh time I have compiled a list of the top ten web tools I have used during the year. I am finding it interesting looking back over 2008, 2009, 201020112012 and 2013 which tools I still use and which have fallen by the wayside.

Out of the top ten are speakerdeck and slideshare, as well as Flipboard. Flipboard really died for me when Google Reader was shut down.

At number ten in the top ten is Instagram. I still like Instagram and use it quite a bit to share photographs.

The ninth web tool for 2014 was WordPress, it’s a great piece of blogging software, and however I have not made as much use of it this year as in previous years.

At number eight is Flickr. I use Flickr to both store and find photographs. I used it a lot to find images for presentations.

Chrome and Safari are joint seventh, I like the fact that I can move between devices and take up where I left off and having a common history regardless of device.

Evernote is number six, I started again to make more use of Evernote to make notes and planning.

Google Docs (and Google Drive) is fifth in the top ten. From a collaboration perspective it is one of the best tools I have used. I like the fact that a team can work on a document all at the same time.

Twitter is at number four. I have found Twitter less useful this year and have used it a lot less than in previous years.

The third technology is Google Hangouts, which has proved very useful for meetings and discussions both internally and externally.

Second in the top ten is Google+. I find it more useful and powerful than Twitter. I like the conversations, the communities and adding photographs

My top web tool for 2014 is Dropbox though I use Google Drive for collaboration, from an individual perspective I like Dropbox, as it means I can work on files anywhere on my work Mac, my home iMac or my Macbook Air. What I like about it more than anything else, it just works. I like how I can use the Dropbox app on the iPad and iPhone to upload images and screengrabs to be used on my desktop machines.

Experimentation and Exploration – ocTEL


Activity 0.3 of the ocTEL MOOC asks

Experiment with and/or reflect on different ways of communicating with fellow ocTEL participants.

I have been using most (if not all) the different ways to communicate and chat with fellow ocTEL participants. I have posted and responded using the ocTEL JISCMail e-mail mailing list. I have posted to the Twitter and replied to other participants. Similarly I have done the same with the ocTEL forums. I have posted links and discussed using Google+. Finally I have posted blog posts to my blog (this one) and responded to blog postings from other participants.

What forms of reflection, challenge and learning do each of these do best?

How do they support relationship forming and community building? Is that important for learning?

Which do you prefer and why?

Each form of communication for me meets different needs.

For me the blog is an ideal place for reflection, well more posting my reflective thoughts. I actually do most of my writing in a word processor (Pages) on my Mac and then copy and paste into the blog. I have also made an effort to add an image to my blog posts. Partly so they stand out when linked to from in Google+ (and Facebook) but also so they add a visual identifier to those reading the blog posts and then trying to find it again.

I wonder if the ocTEL course reader would pick up the images in a similar manner to Google+ and Facebook.

Though people can post comments to the blog, one of the reasons I have posted the links to Google+ is that I find the discussion on Google+ is much more of a level playing field. My blog is mine and as a result I see it as a one to many form of communication. It’s not a place for community discussions, its a place for me to share my thoughts with others. What Google+ allows is a many to many communication. The Google+ community that was formed (sorry not sure who did that) makes it much easier to manage.

I have never felt Twitter is an ideal tool for conversations, it’s so much more of a broadcast medium. However it has worked for me as a discover tool using the #ocTEL hashtag. It is possible to have a chat with Twitter, but the 140 character limit makes more meaningful conversations much more of a challenge. This is where Google+ comes in, as there is no character limit.

As an active member of the ILT Champions mailing list and ALT-Member list, I would have anticipated that the ocTEL JISCMail e-mail mailing list would have been an ideal mechanism, and it would feed direct into my e-mail client. However the huge influx of e-mail to the list resulted in lots of people complaining and asking to be removed from the mailing list. The fact they were adding to the problem was completely missed by them! I found so many of the postings were “complaints” that in the end I stopped reading the mailing list. I am hoping that after the dust has settled that it becomes more useful.

I think one of the real challenges is using any form of communication tool to build a community. Very often the 1% rule comes into play. I am seeing similar engagement on this MOOC.

From my initial observation the rule does seem to be applying on the ocTEL course. The tools are been used, but not by most of the course participants. Will that impact on their learning? Well they will certainly lose a lot of the value that the interaction and engagement that these tools bring to learning, which will be a pity.

I am disappointed that we’re not making more use of video and audio, we’re not seeing participants creating short videos or podcasts.

Of all of the tools I use, I much prefer using the blog for posting and sharing information, however for conversations the winner for me is Google+, it works and is much more useful and flexible than the Twitter.

Google Plus One

Yesterday Google released their iOS app for Google+ and now those of us with iPhones can interact with Google+ using a native app rather than the mobile web interface.

Alas the new app doesn’t work on the iPod touch or the iPad, no idea if Google have submitted an app for either device, but it does seem limiting to restrict the app just to the iPhone.

I have used the Android App and the iPhone App is very similar in appearance and in many way very similar to the mobile web way of accessing Google+.

In these screen shots you can compare the home screen across the three platforms.

The stream view is pretty similar too.

Of course the main difference between the apps and the mobile web version is that within the apps you can more easily attach photographs to a posting.

The advantage of the Android App over the iOS app is how you can configure it to automatically upload photographs, but I am suspecting that many will see that as a disadvantage. The photographs are uploaded to a private web album and you can turn it off.

At this time I have no idea how and for how long I will be using Google+. For me at this time it has advantages over Twitter in terms of conversations and also advantages over Facebook too.

Download the Google+ App.