Category Archives: video

ALT-C Reflections Part Two

I really enjoyed ALT-C last week and not just because I won an award. It was an excellent conference and I found it a very rewarding experince from both a delegate’s perspective and as a presenter. This is part two of my reflections on the conference, you can find part one here.

So on the Tuesday night I rendered and uploaded the video recording I had made of the VLE is Dead debate and put it on my blog. It has proved quite popular.

There have been 600 odd views of the video and I have served 40GB of video in just a week! I am impressed it has been that popular.

So back to ALT-C, where my Hood 2.1 Workshop was due to start at 9.00am (another early start). I hadn’t realised when I put my flyer for the event together that MLT was the acronym for the Main Lecture Theatre.

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It’s quite big and not that suitable for a workshop, but we worked at it. I covered a fair bit and I have made a video recording which needs a fair bit of editing before I can post it online. In the meantime here is a list of the services we looked at.

I also mentioned a few gadgets as well, just to add a little bit of interest.

Due to a scheduling clash, it does mean I  missed David Sugden and Lilian Soon’s excellent Active learning with Mobile and Web 2.0 technologies workshop. I also missed Brian Kelly’s session too.

One of the problems with ALT-C is the sheer quality of many of the sessions and as a result you will miss them. I video my sessions, so though no reflection of the experience of being there, if you have missed me at least you will be able to get a flavour of what happened.

I really enjoyed Martin Bean’s Keynote which he delivered with passion. Some great slides too, take note and learn.

With lunch I was on poster duty, showing off my Glossy Poster on our MoLeNET project.

I enjoyed the Xerte and SL demonstrations I attended, but the tightness of time meant that a good (and probably heated) discussion on a distributed repository model and the IPR implications wasn’t had. Time to write a blog post on that methinks.

Final session of the day was the Epigeum Award for Most Effective Use of Video Presentations. I was one of the judges so was at this session presenting the videos.

In the evening was the ALT Gala Conference Dinner which was very well cooked by the students from Manchester College and Sheffield College and where I was presented with an award…

Thursday morning saw another 9.00am start and the Distribute This workshop which went really well and was very well attended. Lots of discussion and debate on digital identity.

After that it was the final keynote from Terry Anderson which saw a huge flurry of Twitter activity which alas was not presented to the rest of the auditorium who merely saw the Elluminate chat in which no one was chatting!

After that it was time to go home.

Reflecting on the conference, I know that Seb and the rest of the ALT team put a huge amount of work into the conference and I appreciate all that they do. I do not envy the work they put in and end result is fantastic.

For me the online element of the conference is very important, allowing conversation, chat and to meet new people. This year it felt that finally ALT-C was also online. Crowdvine which worked so well last year, worked ever better this year, Cloudworks, which I was initially hesitant about, has proved itself as a great online place for links, comments and resources. Of course Twitter really came into its own. At ALT-C 2007 no one was using Twitter (well I was) but everyone was using blogs – I remember that’s when I first met Steve Wheeler. Last year at ALT-C 2008 there was only about fifty or forty of us using Twitter, this year according to the stats in Brian Kelly’s blog post, 633 people used the #altc2009 tag, now not all of these were at the conference, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there were hundreds of people at the conference using Twitter.

What I found interesting in the discussion was that @jamesclay was a trending term. I believe that this was less used as a descriptor in Twitter postings, but more more in reply to what I was saying, in other words I was stimulating the discussion on Twitter. Difficult to show that, but it’s not as though I was a keynote speaker or anything. Twitter added an extra layer to the conference and despite the spam was a really useful tool.

So what would have I added to the conference?

Well though there was a great social programme, for me there wasn’t enough social spaces, a decent coffee shop type place, somewhere to meet those people you had promised to meet in Crowdvine and so on.

Just going back to the coffee and a note to all conference organisers, please provide an alternative to conference coffee and I would be willing to pay for decent coffee. Also have coffee available throughout the day and not just at coffee breaks. Well I would say that wouldn’t I.

A social cafe area for people to meet and discuss during the conference would be a real advantage, you could see the potential by how people used the exhibition area.

I also wonder if it is time that an unconference strand was added to the conference? A series of rooms available for open discussions and demonstrations. With Crowdvine and Twitter it would make it much easier to advertise these sessions and for people to join in with them. F-ALT has shown there is a demand for venues that allow for discussions and debates which don’t quite fit into the abstract submission process. It would also allow for debates on issues which arise out of formal presentations and keynotes that we don’t have time for in the main strands. An unconference format doesn’t mean disorganised or unstructured, but it does require an element of trust that something happens.

Overall I did enjoy the conference and it was certainly one of my highlights of this year. I would recommend that you do go to Nottingham in 2010. I know the timing is awful for those in schools and FE, for many it is the first week of term. However my view is that surely your institution can run smoothly if you’re not there and you can always check your e-mail and make phone calls. If you can, do go.

Advantages of an online conference

I was going through the media I had uploaded to my blog when I found this.

This was a video I made for last year’s JISC Online Conference when I was the official conference blogger. It outlines some of the advantages of online conferences.

The blog, Letters from the Edge was well received last time and the good news is that I am going to be blogging again at this years online conference.

Upload video to Twitter from your iPhone

Since using the iPhone I have been using it (via Twitterfon) to upload images to Twitter using Twitpic. So what about video? Well the iPhone 3G doesn’t do video, though the new iPhone 3GS does.

Of course I don’t have the iPhone 3GS, but if I did I would probably upload video. I already upload video to Twitter using Shozu from my Nokia N95 though this does not work with Shozu on the iPhone, which only uploads photographs.

TwitVid allows you to upload video from your iPhone 3GS to Twitter. So what with Twitpic, Tweetmic and now TwtiVid you can upload images, audio and video to Twitter – though of course you can still do the 140 characters of text.

via Macworld

100 ways to use a VLE – #7 Assignment Submission

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We often ask learners to submit assignments, often with a top sheet and to get it signed in. All this takes time and staff.

So why don’t we use the tools that we have in the VLE?

Most VLEs like Moodle, have the option of allowing learners to submit assignment electronically. The student uploads their assignment (as an electronic file). The VLE records the time and date of submission and more often then not, gives the student a receipt of their submission.

The tutor can very easily see which students have submitted and which haven’t. Some VLE assignment submission systems can be configured to not accept late submissions, but even if you do, you will be able to see which were late and which were on time.

Using tools such as Turnitin, it is possible to add automatic plagarisim detection to the submission process, flagging up assignments which may or may not need to be checked.

So why don’t we do it more often?

Well there are lots of reasons and some of them are quite valid.

If you submit electronically, then you need to mark them electronically, and some staff have reservations about marking on a screen. Either they don’t like looking at a screen for a long time or they don’t have easy access to a computer. Also though tools such as Word do allow for commenting and annotation, they are not the most intuitive of tools to use. As a result they will often print the assignments out, this means instead of twenty learners printing out one document each, the lecturer will be printing twenty out, which takes time, the time which was supposed to be saved by the learners submitting their documents electronically.

The learner will need access to the VLE to submit their work. If they don’t have access from home, will they be able to do so from college. It makes sense to think about the deadline for assignments as a result.

What about when the assignment submission process fails? The VLE doesn’t work or falls over. Well common sense approach works here, in the same way if the member of staff who collects physical assignments was ill, you just work around the problem and provide the students with a different way of submitting work, or change the deadline.

What about if learners don’t want to submit electronically? If as a institution you are embracing the concept of personalisation, then electronic submission may be just one way in which students can submit work, you may want to offer them a choice.

One solution which staff may want to think about is changing the way they mark electronic documents, stop thinking of them as electronic paper documents that you “write” on, but as digital files and as a result use digital technologies to mark them. What about using audio or video to provide feedback? Record your thoughts and feedback as you mark the document; then the student will be able to listen to your feedback as a virtual you and they go through the assignment. The JISC Sounds Good project did some interesting work on this. One of the tutors at Gloucestershire College has also undertaken a trial with recording feedback, and has had very positive feedback from the learners, who have taken more notice of the audio feedback and found it more useful.

Of course some assignments just don’t fit electronic submission, a poster for example. However just because one format of assignment doesn’t fit, doesn’t mean we should never use electronic submission. Electronic submission actually makes it possible for a wider range of assessments to be submitted than just written assignments. Learners can submit videos, audio files, muti-media presentations. With tools such as Google Docs, wikis, Prezi, Slideshare and other online presentation sites it is now much easier for learners to demonstrate their understanding.

Submitting assignments through the VLE is one way in which you can increase use of the VLE and make it easier for learners to get a better understanding of how it works and more choice on what and how they submit their work.

Photo source.

Shiny Dragon Boating

One of the key things about getting staff to use technology, is to remove barriers.

One of the barriers is a lack of familiarity.

When asked by a member of staff if they could use one of our Sanyo CA9 cameras to film themselves in the recent Gloucester Docks Dragon Boat race, the answer was of course, and here is the result.

The next stage will be to take that video and show the member of staff how mobile versions can be made. This will include tools we already have in college and possibly using MoLeTV.

As a result we now have a member of staff who will be confident in the use of video technologies and the use of video with mobile devices.

Oh and a video for use on our atrium’s Knowledge Tree.

Post first appeared on Shiny.

Making Video

If you are making any kind of videos then I would recommend you check out this excellent guide from the Guardian.

Covering everything from basic techniques to special effects through to editing. If you are taking any kind of video then check the guide out.

Packing

Well I have started packing for the Plymouth e-Learning Conference. Well less packing and more charging. I seem to take more and more equipment to conferences these days. Some of it will be used in my workshops, some I will use to blog and twitter, and some I will bring because I think I might use it, but generally don’t.

Apart from the workshop equipment I usually like to have the following on me at conferences (and a jacket with big pockets to carry it all).

Laptop – though I have a selection of micro-laptops or UMPCs I generally always fall back on my reliable MacBook Pro. In the main as it has a decent keyboard, partly as I have a spare battery for it and it has a built in camera.

Phones – normally two, this year three. Not for making phone calls mind you. I have my work Nokia which is what people at work will be able to call and SMS me on. I have my home T-Mobile Nokia N95 which I use for internet, either on the device or configured as a wireless router, a digital camera, a video camera and a broadcast camera using QIK. This year I will also be bringing an iPhone!

Digital Camera – despite having the 5MP Nokia N95 I do like to have a proper digital camera with a proper lense. I would love to bring my Canon DSLR, but it’s too heavy, so I have a little Sony pocket camera which does the job.

Video Camera – I have found my little Panasonic HD camera a great tool for conferences, at the ALT Conference I used it to create a little video that I then edited on my MacBook Pro (another reason to carry that around). Quick and easy to use, and records to SD cards so video clips can be easily transferred to the computer.

MP3 Recorder – I always carry this, thinking I should record some podcasts when I am at the conference and never seem to get round to it… this conference I hope will be different.

Chargers – as batteries never seem to last as long as the conference.

So what do you bring to a conference?

Sanyo CA9 Video Camera

Our new cameras arrived, after a bit of a delay, our Sanyo CA9 video cameras are now in the hands of our learners and staff.

sanyoca9

With a conventional digital camera or camcorder, many users are understandably reluctant to film or shoot in the rain or other wet environments, for the obvious fear of causing water damage to the camera. The VPC-CA9, however, has earned the highest possible IEC 60529 waterproof rating—IPX8—allowing users to capture high-definition (1280 x 720-pixel) 30 fps footage without worrying about the effects of water or snow. The VPC-CA9 is operable down to a water depth of 1.5 meters (5 feet).

We wanted a camera which could be used outside, up mountains, in the countryside, on sports fields, in workshops and in classrooms.

It takes MP4 video and JPG still images, which are saved to an SD card.

Should be fun and allow us to use video for assessment and on mobile devices much more easily than the traditional DV tape camcorders we have used in the past. Also the sheer number of them will remove many of the barriers to using video that happens when you have to “book” a camera, or share a small number of cameras amongst a large number of students.

I will post some images and video later.

Post first appeared on Shiny.