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    Top Ten Blog Posts of 2010

    January 1st, 2011

    I did a similar post to this one last year, and two of the posts in that top ten are also in this year’s top ten!

    A little more tricky to calculate this year as I changed hosts a few months back. These are the top ten posts from this blog (according to the stats) in terms of views. In reverse order…

    10. “VLEs are crap”

    This was a bit of a rant about how many practitioners and managers dismiss the institutional VLE and compare it to web tools and services that have “millions” in funding.

    This sparked off a bit of a debate with a consensus that how you use the tool is generally considered more important than the functionality of the tool. Comments also recognised that a VLE does not live in isolation and that Web 2.0 tools and services can be used alongside and plugged into the institutional VLE.

    9. A five stage model for using the VLE

    Often practitioners need guidance on how to use the VLE and this blog posting was a summary of the work I had done with practitioners over the years I have been working with VLE technologies.

    It was apparent from the comments that I wasn’t alone in doing this and various other models were referred to and linked to in the comments.

    One of the key criticisms of the model was stage one and “LearningTechie” wrote an excellent blog post on this.

    8. No more Ning

    In April it was announced that Ning was to phase out their free service. I discussed how I thought this was a mistake and offered some other free alternatives.

    I don’t have an issue with paying for premium services, I have a Flickr Pro account for example, however a free services does allow you to try and use it and see what you think. Prior to the announcement I was using Ning on an almost daily basis and found it an extremely useful service. Since the summer I have hardly even noticed it been used and haven’t used it myself at all. I suspect unless their business model is working really well, that Ning may at some point disappear.

    7. Cheese

    This post is a key part of my ILT strategy and direction at Gloucestershire College and explains how we are trying a more holistic approach to the embedding of learning technologies and ensuring that all areas are covered by curriculum teams.
    I posted this back in February and ten months later I am seeing that it is having an impact in some areas. So the next stage will be ensuring that all areas take it on board and link it in with their self-assessment.

    6. Snow

    Back in January 2010 we had the worst snow for forty years and I reflected on how ill-prepared we are in education when weather conditions and transport problems cause the physical closure of an institution and despite often having the technology in place, we still have a culture of closure and won’t (or can’t) use these technologies to overcome the problems of snow.

    This resulted in many different comments and one result of this post was a symposium that took place at the Plymouth e-Learning Conference.

    5. Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die…

    Back in April 2009 I posted how I thought Twitter would die. The fact that it hasn’t doesn’t mean it won’t. A controversial post that was still popular and resulted it taking its place in my top ten posts in 2010.

    Do I still think Twitter will still die? Yes I do!

    4. So you were thinking that you wouldn’t buy an iPad!

    Posted before the release of the iPad, this video from Penguin books showed them what they thought the iPad would bring to children’s books.

    Having now seen what the iPad can actually do, this video shows that the iPad has a lot of potential for the evolvement of the book into a more interactive and engaging experience. Many books and magazines are certainly making the most of some of the potential of the iPad.

    3. Will Twitter still eventually wither and die?

    This was a follow up piece to Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die… and I suspect contributed to the popularity of that 2009 post in 2010. I reviewed my top ten reasons and most of them were still a problem and in some cases more of a problem than they were in 2010. However with Twitter keeping on top of them for many, the problems were less of an annoyance and certainly were outweighed by the usefulness of Twitter.

    2. The VLE is Dead – The Movie

    My second top posting of 2010 was in fact posted to the blog in 2009!

    Considering this post was originally published in September 2009, the fact it is still one of my most popular posts demonstrates the enduring substance of that debate.

    1. Are you stealing stuff?

    So my top posting of 2010 was about copyright. Back in February I asked the question are you stealing stuff?

    It raised the issue of copyright and how practitioners often used stuff for teaching and learning in ways that may infringe copyright. The blog entry was inspired by a blog post by Simon Finch.

    My thoughts were that as professionals we should be setting an example to our learners and we shouldn’t be infringing copyright regardless of whether it made our life easier or because we feel that we should be able to. My posting did hit a nerve, with fifty comments to that post.

    I also did a follow up piece Have you stopped beating your wife? This I hoped clarified some of the issues about using the word “may” and the importance of asking the right question.

    What did disappoint me slightly was that in January I asked my readers and the e-learning community if they wanted to discuss this issue at a symposium at ALT-C 2010 in a post entitled Want to join the conversation? In that post many people expressed an interest in having this discussion at ALT-C… Alas the proposal was rejected by ALT and so I discussed e-books instead!

    ….

    So there are my top ten posts of 2010, any of your favourites in that list?

    What will 2011 bring to the blog who knows?


    Are you addicted to the Twitter?

    December 15th, 2010

    So are you addicted to Twitter?

    Do you check and post to Twitter:

    At events and conferences?

    During meetings?

    When you get into work you check the Twitter before checking your e-mail?

    At home whilst cooking?

    When sitting on the sofa when watching TV?

    In bed before you go to sleep?

    It’s the first thing you look at when you wake up?

    Do you decide on where to have coffee based on the free wifi so you can check the Twitter?

    When you bought a new phone, was the fact that it could run a Twitter app one of the main reasons for purchase?

    When handing over contact information do you say @user rather give you your email address?

    Maybe a more important question is could you give up the Twitter?

    Or do you want to leave a comment saying it not’s called the Twitter it’s just Twitter?

    So could you stop using Twitter? Not for ever perhaps. Maybe just over the holiday period? Or the weekend?

    Or is it not about stopping, but thinking about the importance of Twitter in terms of everything else.

    Personally for me the Twitter is about the coffee. It’s the conversation you have with colleagues over coffee in the morning, it’s the conversation you have at a coffee break during a meeting or an event, it’s the conversation you have over coffee at a conference during the breaks. It is a conversation without the constraints of geography and in some ways time.

    For me though it does not replace all those conversations, it adds to them, it enhances them, but in the main I still have those other conversations. I don’t use Twitter to avoid those or instead of them.

    Of course lots of things are said during those face to face conversations, mundane things such as the quality of the coffee, talking about articles and programmes, people we’ve met, people we’ve seen, the quality of the presentations, keynotes and sessions.

    There are also people we avoid during those conversations, those that only talk about themselves, those that only promote what they do, those that have opinions about everything: in other words those that don’t listen and talk all the time.

    With conversations over coffee, one of the key features is that you don’t hear all the conversations, and you don’t necessarily hear the beginning or the end. You dip into conversations, you join in, add, converse and leave. Of course if you don’t join in that conversation, rarely will you be missed, people may talk about you, or things you do, but generally you won’t be missed and you probably won’t even be thought about.

    Which brings us back to using the Twitter.

    If you are start using Twitter instead of real conversations then you may want to think about how you are using the Twitter. At the end of the day the Twitter stream is not important. It doesn’t matter if you miss any of it, you don’t need to check it all the time.

    If you feel you need to take a break from the Twitter then you probably do.

    For me Twitter is an important tool that I find very useful, there is a great community on there, however I can say the same about casual conversations over coffee. However like any casual conversation it’s not important to hear the whole and every conversation. You dip in and you can dip out. When you go away to events or on leave you will miss conversations at work, but generally you don’t need to hear them, important stuff will get to you if required.

    I know that if I don’t engage with Twitter that most people won’t notice and for me that doesn’t matter.

    Oh and I promise not to say the Twitter anymore!


    Windows Phone 7 Launch

    October 11th, 2010

    Today saw Microsoft launch a new attack on the mobile market with Windows Phone 7.

    In a market that was at one time dominated by Nokia and RIM, Microsoft are now entering a more crowded market with Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android both having a hefty marketshare.

    It’s not that Microsoft haven’t been here before, Windows Mobile devices have been available for years. However where Microsoft failed on these devices (same reason they failed on the tablet) was trying to recreate the desktop experience on the mobile device. They thought consumers would prefer an environment they were comfortable with, certainly that on the surface makes sense, so devices had a Start button and looked and felt like Windows XP. However the reality was that the touch interface, the stylus interface did not integrate well with a desktop like experience and as a result you got frustrated and annoyed.

    Windows Phone 7 is different and has a touch interface that looks nothing like a Windows desktop.

    So what did Rory Cellan-Jones ask Microsoft about the new Windows Phone 7 and what is it capable of?

    Note from the video that Windows Phone 7 doesn’t do Flash.

    There is also no copy and paste.

    Now both of those sound familiar….

    One thing that I do agree with Rory about in his blog article is

    The other reason this is so important is that Microsoft has realised that all the action, all the innovation, in the world of communications technology has now moved to the mobile. It’s where the next billion consumers are most likely to get their first taste of the internet; it’s where new ideas like app stores or location-based services or augmented reality are being tried out.

    I’ve said before that mobile is now and mobile is here now. It’s not that the next big thing is going to be mobile, it already is. Innovation now is in the mobile sector of the market, these are the devices that our learners are buying and using. The age of mobile is now.

    It amuses me to see people still saying that mobile is going to be the next big thing in education. Our learners are already mobile and already using mobile devices, we’re playing catch up now, not setting the agenda.

    So am I going to buy a Windows Phone 7 device?

    Possibly.


    Xerte Online Toolkits

    August 28th, 2010

    Nice video on the Xerte Online Toolkit.

    Still working on my implementation at GC.


    BBC News – iPhone App of the Week

    August 10th, 2010

    BBC News – iPhone App of the Week

    This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive. Though called iPhone App of the Week, most of these apps will work on the iPod touch or the iPad, some will be iPad only apps.

    This week’s App is BBC News

    Get the latest, breaking news from the BBC and our global network of journalists.

    By downloading the BBC News app you can view:

    • News stories by geographical region
    • News by category including business, technology, entertainment and sport
    • News in other languages including Spanish, Russian and Arabic
    • Video including one minute news summaries to keep you informed on the go
    • You can also personalise the app to suit your interests and download content for offline browsing

    Free

    The BBC News website is a wonderful resource and place for news on the web. The mobile version is okay too. Both versions do work on the iPhone and the iPad.

    However the BBC News website does rely on Flash for video. The obvious solution would be, as other news providers have, build an App.

    So the BBC did build a BBC News App for the iPhone and the iPad…

    However…

    UK media companies complained, so the BBC Trust said that the BBC News App would not be available in the UK, but they could make it available overseas!

    Eventually after much deliberation and consultation the BBC Trust said that yes the App could be made available in the UK. Yay!

    So what about the App itself?

    Basically it is similar to the website, the news is divided into sections.

    The advantage over the website is that any video is in h.264 format so it plays! Not all the news and video though on the main BBC website is easy to find on the App though.

    The user interface is much more iPhone like than the website so making it much quicker and easier to use.

    This is a really good App, just a pity that it wasn’t available in the UK for so long…