Sep 022008

Some thoughts from Suki on the Logicalis Realtime Generation Report 2008:
“I’m wondering as to whether digital identities established elsewhere pre HE in their social group – they may be less inclination to develop another digital identity at university unless it is part of their course. I do believe that social networking site will remain ‘social’ and will not worked ‘mashed up’ with a system perceived for learning. I think we can learn from the social from the flexibility that it gives for feedback and support and access to other plug-in systems that we use as an institution. Scaling online institution communities targeted at programme levels (peer-to-peer) may have some scope for building networks and engagement.

“It’s obvious that the degree of technology experienced pre HE will affect and determine university choice and we need to keep an eye on trends at secondary schools/colleges. These students are only young!!! I can understand how many are not sure what they expect from a university technology wise as they may not even know what a university may have to offer! There should be should a study done for mature students and international students so that comparisons can be made on the digital experience.”

Sep 012008

The 2008 UCISA survey of Technology Enhanced Learning For Higher Education in the UK is now out. Its key findings can be seen on pp. 7-8, but those which interest me most include:

  1. “the rise to prominence of e-learning strategies”, which stands as a rider to the growing use of the term technology-enhanced learning;
  2. “Post-92 institutions have larger Education Development Units (EDUs) with greater numbers of academically-oriented support staff. Pre-92 institutions appear to provide more support locally suggesting a more devolved provision” – so we stand-out as unusual in the post-92 sector, with a very small, devolved team aspiring to empower staff to engage with new tools and approaches;
  3. “there is a vastly reduced range of VLEs and similar systems in use since 2005… The tools that have increased significantly in usage are those for podcasting, e-portfolios, assessment, blogs and wikis”;
  4. reward and recognition are issues for everyone; and
  5. “support, streaming media, mobile computing, podcasting and Web 2.0” are the new matters arising for HEIs.
Aug 292008

Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map, the president of the British Cartographic Society has said.

Modern maps are accused of lacking detail – image courtesy of Google Maps

Read more…

Aug 262008
Out of ink? Already? When Farhad Manjoo’s Brother printer abruptly stopped zipping out prints, he began to wonder if the printer wasn’t simply lying that it was out of toner in order to trick him into buying more before he needed it. The prints hadn’t been fading at all, but the printer simply refused to go on without a new cartridge.

Read More…

Aug 262008

An academic paper by three students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which explained how to use the Boston subway for free can be aired, despite the attempts to block it.

Read More…

Aug 252008

I’ve decided that YouTube is my poison this year. So I decided to make some rough-and-ready videos that will form a discussion of my growing disenchantment with football, and how I feel disenfranchised from the team I have followed for 30 years, Walsall FC. Now the subject matter is irrelevant, but the process of making the videos has been eye-opening.

I captured and edited them in a way that is easily low-tech, to prove that with limited resources it is possible to make something useful and more media-rich or user-focused. So my process is:

  1. have a single focus for each video, within a larger theme;
  2. use a Nikon Coolpix 7600 in video mode;
  3. capture video handheld or using tripod;
  4. use RAD Video tools from Bink Video to convert files from Quicktime to .avi, as I am using Windows Movie Maker – no need for extra whistles/bells in this project;
  5. import .avi files to Windows Movie Maker, by dragging and dropping;
  6. edit videos, spliced with simple transitions;
  7. embed user-feedback along the way;
  8. embed photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 7600 as appropriate;
  9. add extra audio recorded with Plantronics DSP500 headset and audacity [producing mp3 files] as appropriate, by dragging and dropping;
  10. login to YouTube [you need an account but you can create one with your google account]; and
  11. upload from your homepage and wait for the video to load.

The first video took 30 minutes to record, 4 hours to edit and a while to upload [I went away and had a cup of tea, so lost track of time]. The second took 30 minutes to record, 2 hours to edit and an hour to upload. Give it a go – it’s great fun!

Aug 252008

Okay, so our Pathfinder project is over, but our work goes on. Julia in Art and Design suggested that we rename the blog to Learning Exchanges, and we liked that so here we are. In the near future we will be moving the blog to WordPress and hosting it locally so that we have more control and can move our work forward with plug-ins.

We intend to use the new site to showcase good and innovative practice in using technologies in the curriculum. So if you have some examples, email us at

We also have a new project funded through the HEA e-learning research observatory call for 2008/9 , called “Connecting Transitions and Independent Learning: an evaluation of read/write web approaches” [CoTIL]. In essence the project, with our Transitions Team and NIACE, will be looking at the use of Web2.0 tools with new students, as they engage with academic life and transitions into HE. We’ll keep you informed of how this one goes.