Introducing TED-Ed: Lessons worth sharing

This IS exciting! TED has launched its TED-Ed YouTube channel: Short, animated videos for teachers and students. TED-Ed’s mission is to capture and amplify the voices of great educators around the world. We do this by pairing extraordinary educators with talented animators to produce a new library of curiosity-igniting videos. You can nominate a teacher, nominate an animator or suggest a lesson here:
http://education.ted.com

What’s wrong with being a geek and an academic?


cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by extranoise

Within the world of academia, you will find all sorts of people with all sorts of interests and backgrounds.

So wrote Deanna in her post  What’s wrong with being a geek and an academic? She  made it clear that people in academia are not simply disconnected from the real world and only talk about their research!

In fact, there are all kinds of people, and for me it’s been confirmed that all kinds of people are right there in academia, as they are in schools.  They play and research in virtual worlds, they are passionate rock climbers, musicians, and creatives, and  they are exploring many aspects of learning –  and geeking that research as well!  We use Facebook and all kinds of social media to teach, share, communicate and engage in discovery with our learners.  In fact, I have found that academia is a much better place to be for ‘geeking your research and learning’!

Charles Sturt University recently went through a major re-branding program, that is being rolled out through all necks of it’s global woods.  It’s easy to be cynical about costs involved in this, but the reality of our online interactions is that marketing is linked to what is visually current for users, and the media that works for them.  The uni needs to meet the online needs of the scholars and alumni and this marketing is directly linked to the way it is seeking to evolve their courses and respond to future needs.

I was pleased to see that they are rolling out mobile versions of access to CSU.

It’s easy to access CSU on the go. Content and services provided through m.csu have been specifically optimised for use on smartphones so that they are quick and easy to access, and will continue to be refined and extended.  More will be added so I hope it’s great.

I was even more excited to see that the official template for our email signatures includes the option to add four social media links: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Now that is officially cool!

New Horizon Report – 2011 K-12 edition out now!

The 2011 K12 Edition of the NMC Horizon Report, a research effort led and published by the New Media Consortium, is finished and is available now at http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2011-Horizon-Report-K12.pdf

Three international organizations — the New Media Consortium, the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) — collaborate on identifying technology experts and other aspects of the research, and this year, for the first time, each organization is planning a significant event related to the new report for each of their audiences.
CoSN started the rolling release yesterday with a private webinar for their audience of school CIOs around the world. The NMC follows with a major event at their annual Summer Conference, held this year in Madison, Wisconsin, on Friday, June 17th. ISTE rounds out the release effort with a major session at their annual conference in Philadelphia on June 27.
The report has been released under a Creative Commons license to encourage broad distribution.

Emerging devices, tools, media, and virtual environments offer opportunities for creating new types of learning communities for students and teachers. Dede (2005) described the interrelated matrix of the learning styles of neo-millenials as being marked by active learning (real and simulated), co-designed and personalized to individual needs and preferences, based on diverse, tacit, situated experiences, all centred on fluency in multiple media, chosen for the types of communication, activities, experiences, and expressions it they empower.

The Horizon Report K-12 edition, issued annually since 2009, has identified and described emerging technologies that are having a significant impact on K-12 education, re-iterating the diversity of influences in the learning spaces of our schools. For school librarians the report directs attention simultaneously to both information use and learning and highlights the fact that 21st century technologies are unlikely to be empowering unless they are in the hands of an informed learner.

Key Trends in 2011:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less

  • Cloud computing
  • Mobiles
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
  • Game-based learning
  • Open content
Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
  • Learning Analytics
  • Personal Learning Environments
Watch for more information at the Horizon K-12 wiki at http://k12.wiki.nmc.org which will have have a tweak or two before June 17th.
Once again, it was an honour and a real buzz to be part of the Advisory Board in 2011. My personal thanks go to Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer at NMC for being the driving force behind this work.
Dede, C. (2005). Planning for Neomillenial Learning Styles: Implications for investments in technology and faculty. In D. G. Oblinger & J.L. Obliger (eds.), Educating the Net Generation. www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen

My eThings in Overdrive on Friday Night

Friday night and I’m excited! No, not by knitting!

I  mean it … I AM excited by this latest innovation in my eWorld.

I’ve really liked the idea of being able to borrow ebooks and audio books from my community library.  I admit – I tried it.  But I found it just one-step-too-many-clunky.  You know – log onto the computer – log onto the library catalogue – log onto Overdrive – download the item – transfer to my device.  No – not for me. Kindle ‘air-wave’ downloads I liked. Not this.

But then I noticed in my blogstream that Overdrive had released an App for the iPhone/iPad.

So I downloaded an App to test it – quickly searched my local library – and five minutes later was listening to my test book as I wrote this post.  Superb!

This is a fantastic option for all education settings, and your community library.

I am so glad that my community library has Overdrive!

I AM excited!

Here’s some of my screen shots from my iPhone.  Below you’ll find more information.

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From an OverDrive Press Release via No Shelf Required:

Public, school, and college libraries now provide direct eBook downloads on the iPad® with the free OverDrive® Media Console™ app. The optimized app enables users at more than 13,000 libraries worldwide to wirelessly download and enjoy eBooks and digital audiobooks from a local library on the Apple® device. Popular and best-selling titles, including “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larsson, “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins, are a few of the Most Downloaded Books from the Library (www.overdrive.com/mostdownloaded). These digital books and more in popular genres like romance, mystery, thriller, and virtually every subject can now be borrowed from libraries and enjoyed in an optimized iPad app.

The OverDrive Media Console app for iPad is available in the App Store (http://bit.ly/OverDriveApp). To see if your library is a member of the OverDrive network, visit http://search.overdrive.com.

OverDrive’s app for iPad gives users wireless access to their library’s EPUB eBook and MP3 audiobook catalog without a PC. Users can find their library using the app’s “Get Books” feature, then browse for titles, check out with a valid library card, and download directly to the iPad. Brightness and text-size controls allow them to customize their eBook reading experience. Users can also create bookmarks and resume from the last point accessed. The eBook and audiobook titles from the library automatically expire in the app, so there is never a late fee.

The iPad app joins the previously released OverDrive apps for iPhone® and Android™, which have been downloaded by more than half a million users worldwide. In addition to iPad support, OverDrive’s app for iOS devices was updated to enable new features, including landscape and portrait orientation, support for hyperlinks, and an updated interface with a lending countdown calendar.

OverDrive provides digital distribution services for more than 13,000 libraries, retailers, and schools worldwide with support for Windows®, Mac®, iPod®, iPhone, iPad, Sony® Reader, NOOK™, Android, and BlackBerry®.

QuietWrite is worth a mention

I was intrigued by a few recent references on Twitter and by bloggers of  a new tool called Quietwrite.  So I’ve jumped on over, and taken a test drive.

This is definitely a distraction-free online editor, allowing  you to concentrate on your writing, rather than wrangling with a blog interface. Easy to use, and  quick to get on with it.

Larry Ferlazzo explains:

Quiet Write is a new and simple application that lets you write online in a no-frills environment and then publish your work and are given a unique url for your creation. Registration is equally as simple — your email and a password. Unfortunately, unlike other somewhat similar apps, you can’t add images to your page.

It’s no “great shakes,” but it could be another option for a super-easy place for students to publish their work online with no hassle.

Quietwrite offers:

  • Focus on writing
  • work is automatically saved as you write, so you’ll never lose a thing.
  • Start a simple no-frills  blog in seconds and share your writings (use it for conference/meeting notes as well)
  • Edit what you write on an iPad
  • Export writings to your WordPress blog

Now hang on – that last point is a nice feature!  Here’s what this means:

Quietwrite offers peaceful WordPress integration: Link your QuietWrite account to your WordPress blog. This will allow you to easily export any of your writings to your WordPress blog, whether it be on wordpress.com or on your self hosted domain. We’re sure that our editor will be a delightful addition to your WordPress workflow, allowing you to concentrate on fleshing out your blog posts, and then quickly exporting it to your blog.  A  peaceful place for people to write anything, for anywhere. That includes blog posts, books, articles, or that sci-fi novel that you’ve been putting off.

I’m liking the sound of this new-fangled toy :-)

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?

Kids of Dreams – 2010 marks 21 years!

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It’s not long since our wonderful Friday evening launch and celebration of the 21st edition of our annual Kids of Dreams publication which celebrates literary and artistic talent. Student’s  prose, poetry and artwork from Years 7-12 are included in the publication.

It was an amazing night! Why?  Well it was ‘special’ for a number of reasons.  I was the main editor of the production this year, along with my wonderful Teacher Librarian colleague Kirsten Reim (who wrote a wonderful editorial for me), supported by my ever efficient library team. We came to the job a little late this year, so it was a complete scramble to the end, making sure that everything was as right as possible.  So much writing, so much art, so many decisions about layout and presentation. It was an amazing and rewarding experience to be able to work on a publication that showcases the work of our students who have the courage to speak up in artistic forms.

Author Brian Caswell provided the judging of the student’s literary works. Brian was Writer in Residence at the College earlier in the year.  Brian’s comments for each item he chose for an award are worth reading – so much so, that this year I included the judge’s comments within the publication itself  as a record of achievement for the students.

Kids of Dreams was  launched on Friday 19th November with the help of my talented Twitter friend Mark Pesce (inventor, writer, theorist, panelist on #newinventors, obsessed with language, communication, social networks).  I was able to tell the audience that Mark was the first VIP guest to come to the College as a result of an invitation arranged through Twitter!

Mark provided an inspirational keynote/official launch presentation – and focussed on the power of creativity to drive our learning and thinking. Creativity and inspiration is inside us all, and around us every day. How we harness these talents and opportunities is up to us, and how we share them with others is the key to change and development of value in all we do.

Hey! I never thought I would be MC at an event with Mark!!  Thanks very much Mark for making out 21st celebration a stunning success.