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I find this rather exciting!

The National Library of Australia has thrown open its sacred doors and allowed us to go treasure hunting for text, images and media.

You can search newspapers back to 1803 and read articles, you can search for an image and purchase a print, you can play with maps.

Honestly, if you are teaching a Social Studies/Human Society & Its Environment class you need to click the link and play with the wonders the National Library have unearthed for us. Or, send the students there armed with an assignment to, for instance, create a timeline of events surrounding the Federation of Australia.

Links:

Ahhh, television. Waiting for your program guide to come out so you can work out when the ‘boring nights’ are on so you can catch up on homework. Scheduling late meetings or weekend events around the almighty will of the channel programmers.  Not knowing if tonights episode is actually a repeat, again, checking the Guide.

Chances are, if you are into TV for entertainment, or just love the documentaries, your life has been ruled more by the TV Guide then The Bible.

Now that all commerial and non-commercial ‘free-to-air’ (which now includes free-to-digital) stations have their online components set up, YOU CAN leave the Guide to those who feel the need to vote for the Logies, and take back your life!

What happens is – when a station buys the broadcasting rights to a program, they will (in most cases, though not all) buy the digital rights for a set period of time and make it available online.

Huzzah!

This means, if I miss the last episode of ‘Blood, Sweat & T-Shirts’ (which I did) I can hop onto iView (because it was on the ABC) and watch it up to a few weeks after it was aired.

This also means that shows with a large Geek following, such as ‘Doctor Who’ can be online days before it is actually broadcast on the ABC. (Yes, I watch a lot of ABC…)

Thirdly, if there is a series that will work better online then broadcast via the usual means, such as ABC’s new series ‘Bluebird’, they can chose to do that and not even screen it on ABC, ABC2 or ABC3 (the last two being digital channels).

What does this mean for teachers?

You might watch ‘Law & Disorder’ on SBS and decide the episode might be useful additional material for a topic you are covering in class – you then can either show the episdoe in class, or even give instructions for your students to view it on their own time before having a class discussion on the topic.

Very useful!

So who pays?

We do – in most cases the stations are either funded by the government, and therefore we pay in our taxes; or ‘advertising breaks’ are inserted into the online version, much the same as on regular commerical TV.

What technology do you need?

In most cases, you will already have everything to watch from a computer screen. If you want to watch from a standard TV, you can purchase a ‘computer to tv’ magic-box for around AUD$100 (here‘s the long and technical verion in an article).

Come to think of it… this also makes learning to program a VCR defunct… even better!

Did you know that today is Ada Lovelace Day?

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace

Ms. Lovelace wrote the very first computer program, inspired by Charles Babbage’s analytical engine.

The only daughter of poet Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace, was one of the world’s first computer programmers, and one of the first people to see computers as more than just a machine for doing sums. She wrote programmes for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computing machine, despite the fact that it was never built. She also wrote the very first description of a computer and of software.

Read more at Wikipedia.

Hooray for Girl Geeks!

I assure you, there is nothing wrong with me; I just want Apps.

This YouTube shows off the soon to be released Moodle4iPhone application to run Moodle courses through my iPhone. It isn’t a new skin or theme, it is an App, or a piece of software that you need on your iPhone that will display a Moodle course in a way that makes it easy to navigate and use many of the common Moodle-y tools.

Because it is an App, that means I won’t need to have people select the right skin, or clumbsily try and move around a page that was designed for 10 inch+ monitors on their little phone.

I’m too excited about this, and as soon as it is released I’ll be downloading the App and testing it out – then when I’m happy, I’ll bring my iPhone-using students over to use this fabulous new tool!

Oh frabjous day!

In a missive that made designerds and code monkeys everywhere swoon with Valentiney love, our sweetheart Google announced they would stop supporting IE6. Or as our codeslingers call it, IE666. Google pulled out their vorpal blades and with a snicker-snack, they left IE6 dead. Hearing the news was just like being in high school and getting a pass out of P.E. We are chortling with joy. Callooh! Callay! We love you, Google. Muah! Now, if you could only do something about Comic Sans and Papyrus fonts…

[from ThinkGeek email dated 2 Feb 2010]

When internet big boys Google decide to no longer support something, you know that it is time to switch.

Of course, you can always upgrade to Internet Explorer 9.0, the latest version of the browser only popular because it comes preinstalled on computers with Microsoft Windows, but there are greener fields.

The browser that most internet sites are developed for is Firefox (now in version 3.6), and Chrome is also a contender with Google backing it.

What I use on my Linux at home, as well as Windows at work is Firefox, but for my Mac I prefer Camino – it is based on Firefox code but I enjoy the interface much more.

Whatever flavour of browser you chose to go with, if you have been running IE 6.0, its time to change for the better.

I will be presenting at MoodleMoot 2010 on
“Changing from Distance Learning to eLearning”
http://imoot.org/ – come & feel the love in the room!

site: Google Wave – wikipedia
site: About Google Wave – Google

clip: What is Google Wave? – epipho
clip: Google Wave Collaboration Tool – wwwinsanelygreatmac
clip: Google Wave Preview Review “Revolutionise Email”? – mobilephone2003


Yesterday I got my developers ‘sneak peak’ version of the long-promised Google Wave… I have to say that I like it a lot better than wiki for the tasks I’m thinking of using it for.

My first thought is to use this as a curriculum development tool – allowing SME‘s (Subject Matter Experts) and an Instructional Designer (or ID Coordinator) to get together and work synchronously or nonsynchronously on developing courses, units, reading materials, etc.

I can see potential in the future to write the use of this tool into assessments – specially for group work, but also perhaps a way of revising ‘how’ a doument was built (because of the ‘playback’ mode).

Will it kill email? – not convinced, but I can see that it would be a helpful tool in collaborative work. Still won’t be useful for emailing out my Christmas newsletter with pictures of my dogs.