J3T – Judy and Tara talk tech

What happens when two friends get together, and pretty much impromptu, create 10 videos  in a few hours on 10 tech topics?

Tara Brabazon, Professor of Education and Head of the School of Teacher Education at Charles Sturt University,  Bathurst invited me (Courses Director, School of Information Studies in the Faculty of Education, Charles Sturt University , Wagga Wagga) to test this question.

The result was the J3T Judy and Tara Talk Tech series of 10.  Here we now have ten pebbles in a big digital pond – let the ripples begin…..  We introduce the J3T series here for you.

You will find the full series under the following topics:

J3T1 Email and the digital glut
Judy and Tara reveal strategies to manage the information glut. How do we control email? How do we stop email controlling us?

J3T2 Information Organization
Judy and Tara talk about how to manage information. How do students avoid plagiarism? How can software help to organize our ideas and sources?

J3T3 Managing Digital Lives
Judy and Tara explore how to differentiate our digital lives. How do we separate private and professional roles, on and offline? How is our understanding of privacy transforming?

J3T4 Creating rich learning management systems
Judy and Tara probe the problems and strengths of learning management systems. They explore how to create rich, imaginative and powerful environments to enable student learning.

J3T5 Open Access Resources
Judy and Tara explore the changing nature of publishing, research and the resources available for teaching and learning. They probe open access journals and the open access ‘movement.’

J3T6 Fast Media
Judy and Tara explore the challenges of fast media, like Twitter and other microblogging services. While valuable, how do we control the speed of such applications to enable interpretation, analysis and reflection?

J3T7 Sound and Vision
Judy and Tara explore the nature of sonic and visual media. When are sound-only resources best deployed? How do we create reflection and interpretation on visual sources?

J3T8 The Google Effect
Judy and Tara probe the impact of the read-write web and the ‘flattening’ of expertise and the discrediting of experts such as teachers and librarians. Judy also demonstrates the great value of meta-tagging.

J3T9 Are books dead
Judy and Tara asks the provocative question: Are books dead? They explore the role of platforms – analogue and digital – in carrying information to specific audiences.

J3T10 The future? Mobility
Judy and Tara discuss the future of educational technology. Particularly, they focus on mobility, through mobile phones and m-learning.

PS  I did not get my mowing man to text me at the right moment in ‘Managing Digital Lives’ – what a hoot!

Image: Blue Water cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by Louise Docker

Our everyday tools for success

REDToday I was genuinely honoured to head up a keynote session for the Rural and Distance Education Symposium NSW, being held in Sydney for two days. Over 100 fantastic teachers gather to share, learn, and re-energize so they can continue to meet the exceptional needs of students who are isolated by geography, health, disability, or other social reasons.

More than any single group I know, these teachers can really benefit from building a strong global PLN to help support their professional needs to grow in digital learning strategies in challenging circumstances.  Let me tell you, these teachers are a complete inspiration. You can visit the website for Rural and Distance Education, as there are some very useful resources availbale there. http://rde.nsw.edu.au/ 

It’s particularly worth checking the ICT tab – there is some gold buried there, particularly if you are passionate about accessibility.

My focus was the teachers themselves. I was on a crusade!

The digital revolution has created a world of global connectedness, information organisation, communication and participatory cultures of learning, giving teachers the opportunity to hone their professional practice through their networked learning community. What do you do to make it so?

Check out the supporting slide-set for Our Everyday Tools for Success.

Tagging my Technology and Teaching Practice

This week sees me concluding a year of academic activities by participating in graduation, and other professional events at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga. It is always a pleasure to celebrate the big graduation day with a new batch of happy graduates!

Meanwhile, much of the discussions back in the ‘academic halls’  hinge around technology and teaching practice, one way or another. Much planning for 2012 as a result!

As educators we are always looking for yet another way to bend an online tool to our purpose. Thursday will see me contributing to the Technology and Teaching Practice Research Group 2011 Symposium. The focus is on the communicative affordances of online tools. My spin is really just a futuristic focus on the changing context of the web, and the deepening issues for educators around search strategies and information retrieval.

Just a 20 minute discussion starter – so what could I do that introduces something new?

You can see the presentation slidedeck for From Web 1.0 to Web 3.0: A wolf in sheep’s clothing or a new culture of learning. You’ll notice a QR code on the front slide. This QRcode created at TagMyDoc points to a supporting document – and this code will download that too directly from TagMyDoc to your e-device!

The presentations throughout the day will have a series of papers included in a print document,  to provide supporting information and material for the presentations.  While I thought that this was useful, I also thought it would be interesting to show how to provide access to the electronic file directly from within  that printed document – or from where it is attached to the front of the slideshare presentation (that I have embedded in this post).

Now, it’s available to all ~ either at the Symposium, or anywhere else on the planet!  I do like this way of enhancing a slideshare presentation, and the ease of being able to share an electronic file.

Image: cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by opensourceway

Greasemonkey and Flickr for the adventurous

Some of my students are busy creating slideshare presentations, that we will be able to mill around, listen to their thoughts, and discuss ideas via Slideshare zipcast. The exciting thing about this is also the opportunity to help them develop new ways of managing online tools -AND images for work like this.

A tweet this morning from friend Darcy Moore asking  Dean Groom  (yes, he’s a friend too!) about image attribution in his recent blog post reminded me that I should crosspost  my tip to my students  about  my favourite image attribution tool right here too!

Here it is:

I promised a while back that I would share some more interesting ways to manage your image work online. Tips and tricks abound, but this one from Alan Levine is the niftiest around, so I’ve decided to share it first.


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Sebastián-Dario

So what am I talking about? Well of course, as you prepare your presentation (or indeed work on other image-related tasks in your professional work) one of the things you are doing is noting where the image comes from and providing a hyperlinked attribution. If, like me, you are backed into a corner for time, then you will most certainly end up at Flickr. (Even if not in a rush I still prefer to use FlickrCC, and think laterally in my search terms! I also love the new things it throws up for me.)

There are a few reasons for this:
1. You can store your own images at Flickr and build your own collections
2. You can ‘favourite’ other peoples CC.  images (something I regularly do as I collect images for my various bits of work)
3. Now you can also install a nice GreaseMonkey script to make the image attribute even easier.

Here’s what it’s about – read on, only if you are keen for an adventure!

Alan Levine has written a Flickr Attribution Helper – a browser script that embeds easy to copy attribution text to creative commons licensed flickr images. Greasemonkey is an add-on for Firefox browser. Once Greasemonkey is installed, you have the ability to add all sorts of magical things to the functionality of your browser.

To be honest, the only one I have ever added is Alan’s Flickr Attribtion Helper – but its insanely useful! See the image above – that red tee-shirt and the attribution were simply copied from the HTML box and pasted here in the blog! Done in one go!

Stephen Ridgeway, from New South Wales Australia, created a video that explains how to use the Flickr CC Attribution helper (thank goodness – a blog post by itself would never do it!). Download and install the Flickr Attribution helper (after you have installed Greasmonkey). Then watch the magic happen every time you go to a Flickr image!

Google reading levels and more


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo shared by Cayusa

Google does have traction, and can be used for many useful things, especially when people are not familiar with many other options. So it’s good to keep up-to-date with new features added to Google.

Google Docs has added pagination to their product. Useful?  YES!  I can’t tell you the number of times I have used google docs to work on something over a period of time, because I know I might be accessing the document from different computers in different places. I don’t always want to use dropbox, especially while brainstorming, and collaborating on a document. The downside was always the pagination stuff.

Pagination, or the visual display of actual page breaks – demonstrating how words will actually look on a page, how changes in margin/spacing will change page flow, etc. – has been a standard for offline word processing since the 90s. Having it available in Google Docs is both important in matching the standard and in adding a number of other vital features. This includes putting headers/footers on each page, putting footnotes on the bottom of corresponding pages, and in-browser printing (in now, a feature restricted to Chrome). However, pagination may also lead to other in-demand features such as page numbering. Users who prefer the unpaginated approach can switch to the classic format by going to View > Document View > Compact. If you’re eager to use paginated documents and haven’t seen the update yet, be patient: the feature will be come your way soon.

There are also some new sidebar options in reading leve and dictionary. Back in December, when Google first introduced its reading level limit on the advanced search page, it appeared there but not in the “search tools” section of the sidebar. So after complaints about the reading level limit not being in the sidebar at last month’s Computers in Libraries conference, it’s great to see the addition of the reading level limits to the sidebar today. It seems to be rolled out to all the browsers I’m using today. At least a few more teachers might  notice it when it is in the sidebar, even though searchers still need to click on the “More search tools” link to see them.

Along with the new Reading Level search tool, Google has also added a “Dictionary” search tool. Google has had a long history of connecting search words to dictionary definitions. Searchers used to be able to click on their search terms in the now-gone blue bar at the top. The words (or the definition link) went to dictionary.com and then in 2005 to Answers.com. By the end of 2009, Google was using its own definitions, including automatically generated ones from the web. Now, the new dictionary search tool may retrieve information in these various sections:

The Web definitions seem to match the results searchers can get from using the define: operator (compare define:library with the new results).  It’s much more visually accessible.

The older Google Dictionary which used to be available at http://www.google.com/dictionary seems to be gone.

via SearchEngine Journal; SearchEngine Showdown

Ever friendly Evernote

Not much to say about this – except you should take a look at Evernote if it’s new to you. Capture anything. Remember everything. Access it all. Find it fast.  Use it on any platform, browser or device.

Crystal ball gazing 2011 for Heyjude

This time of year there are so many articles and comments with predictions for the year, so I am not going to add to the collection – well not in general terms anyway :-)

If I could crystal ball gaze what 2011 will bring in my own professional work and learning experiences, I’d be happy. Really I would.

A few challenges that are staring me in the face will require my undivided attention, starting with this blog, my online tools, and my daily organisation of networked discussions.

What should my focus be, as I transition into the working world of a university academic?

Here is a bit of crystal-gazing:~

  • Be sure not to allow my head, thoughts, ideas ricochet endlessly like balls in a pinball machine.  Put time limits on myself, and set realistic goals!
  • Tidy up my online places, repositories, tools and then undertake a review of what I do and how I do it.
  • Work out what I want to share, and why?
  • Work out how I want to share!
  • Commit to solid professional reading, and participate in professional exchange.
  • Communicate with and work with people in my PLN to add value to my own work, and to stretch my own ideas beyond my current capabilities.
  • Share whatever knowledge and experience I can  through workshops, seminars, presentations, school-based work etc so that we continue to grow in our knowledge connections.
  • Push back into my professional community through collaborating, writing and presenting.

Sounds easy really!

Not so … it all takes time and grunt.

Currently my head really does feel like a pinball machine, with too many thoughts,worries, ideas, and work requirements competing for my attention. I’ve just completed some research assistant work for a colleague in the School of Educational Leadership at ACU, which I’m dovetailing with some course revision (before my official start at CSU) for one of the courses I will be teaching. I’m heading off for a day-long Committee meeting related to the  ASLA XXII Biennial Conference 2011.  I’m hoping to find time to get my head into Connectivism and Connective Knowledge 2011, with Stephen Downes and George Seimens.  I’m looking at my list of articles that I have promised to write. I’m totting up the upcoming presentations that I’ve also committed to for 2011.  I’m checking out the courses I’ll be teaching – all new to me, and nothing like my work in schools. I’m groaning … and wondering what to attack next, and how to improve things. Don’t get me wrong – it’s exciting but it’s also mind-bogglingly different.

I KNOW there are plenty of people who achieve more than I can ever hope to manage – so at least I want to figure out how to help learning within my PLN.

But at the end of the day I’m a  creature of habit, and it takes self-imposed changes to keep that focus. Like Jenny, I’ve done some blog renovation – though this year I did not change the banner.  When I started this blog back in 2006, it looked and felt different! I added some social buttons – to streamline the ‘look’ somewhat. Imagine that – we didn’t have all these tools back in 2006!

So what will I use this blog for in 2011?

  • I think that I will continue to do information dissemination – though not in the way I did back in 2006. I regularly share information via Twitter, Facebook,  Diigo, Delicious, with other tools sneaking in at times too – something that wasn’t possible back in 2006. What this means is that  my blog focus is adapting from the original 2006 focus.
  • In addition to writing about things that grab my interest, I think that I will also communicate with ‘new’ education and library professionals – some who may be taking my courses, or who may just needing a helping hand into the networked learning world.
  • Perhaps I will reflect on what I find in my new role, and the broader issues from a perspective beyond schools.
  • I’m not a clever reporter, so I think I will leave that to others.

Have I forgotten anything?

I’m looking for really new ways of looking at all this.  Like the tiny apartment that transforms into 24 rooms – I want to find out how to be more efficient with my work world in 2011.

Google proof your image attributions

Often, you are in a great need for some pictures to freshen up your webpage and would like to include one of these images. If you want to do this, there are quite a lot of steps necessary:
  • Make sure you understood the license correctly
  • Get the correct HTML code for the IMG tag
  • Link the image back to the Flickr photo page
  • Give the author of the image proper credits (Attribution)
  • Link to the Flickr profile of the author
  • Link to the license the image is licensed under

Flickr currently hosts more than 75 million images that are licensed under a Creative Commons license.  Depending on the license, you may use the images on your private or commercial webpage, or make changes to it.

ImageCodr solution

With ImageCodr.org, there is no need to do all this manually!!

You simply grab the URL of the picture page that you are interested in.

Drop it into ImageCodr.

Then ImageCodr.org will generate the ready-to-use HTML code for you to drop into your online platform of choice.

It will also display a brief and easy license summary, so you don’t get in legal trouble because you missed something.

I know that students (and teachers) just like to copy and paste images from anywhere into anything. But we really can’t afford to miss the opportunity to teach our kids real digital citizenship skills even if it’s just about how to use images.

From small acorns, big trees grow! What seeds are you planning on help grow today?

Free web stuff for your library

I couldn’t resist sharing this presentation from Sarah Houghton-Jan. You know – you really don’t have to have megabucks to squeeze the best out of interactive web spaces – just a co-operative and flexible IT manager!

Innovation and attention ~ locally

For many  campuses [and schools], the question is which learning technologies to support locally to support deeper student engagement with learning.

The information in the Horizon Report, published annually by the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI) and the New Media Consortium (NMC), can help.2 The report identifies and describes the key trends and critical challenges associated with those emerging technologies that are likely to have a significant impact on teaching, learning, creative inquiry, and student engagement in higher education over the next five years. It categorizes six areas of emerging technologies within three adoption horizons: a year or less, two to three years, and four to five years. A quick review of the report and its vast collection of examples and practices can serve as the preliminary research needed for an institution to proceed tactically.

This article from Educause Review addresses three technologies from the 2010 Horizon Report: electronic books, mobile computing, and open content. Both mobile computing and open content are within the one-year-or-less time-to-adoption; electronic books are in the two-to-three-years adoption horizon.

Read the full articleDeploying Innovation Locally.

Other articles in the  current issue Attention, Engagement, and the Next Generation — Volume 45, Number 5, September/October 2010 – are also worth reading.

Howard Rheingold’s article has some important points for us all to consider in  Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Always enjoy reading Howard’s thoughts!

If we want to discover how we can engage students as well as ourselves in the 21st century, we must move beyond skills and technologies. We must explore also the interconnected social media literacies of attention, participation, cooperation, network awareness, and critical consumption.
Although I consider attention to be fundamental to all the other literacies, the one that links together all the others, and although it is the one I will spend the most time discussing in this article, none of these literacies live in isolation.1 They are interconnected. You need to learn how to exercise mindful deployment of your attention online if you are going to become a critical consumer of digital media; productive use of Twitter or YouTube requires knowledge of who your public is, how your participation meets their needs (and what you get in return), and how memes flow through networked publics. Ultimately, the most important fluency is not in mastering a particular literacy but in being able to put all five of these literacies together into a way of being in digital culture.