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Archive for the ‘ICT & Education’ Category

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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.

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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!

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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!

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

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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.

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site: Wikipedia – by Wikipedia
site: Academic Papers on Wikipedia – by Wikipedia
site: Wikipedia Watch – critical look at Wikipedia
site: Principles and Patterns of Social Knowledge Applications – a paper on Wikipedia
clip: Trailer 1 from “Truth in Numbers: The Wikipedia Story”

I think you have worked out by now that I tend to use Wikipedia links to help explain jargon, conceptual and technical words and issues. So, in principal, I’m a fan of using Wikipedia.

Where this gets interesting, though, is siting Wikipedia as an academic source of information.

Do we trust Wikipedia – which is produced by ‘the masses’?
Or do we disown Wikipedia in favour of academically peer-reviewed works – therefore, produced by ‘the few and elite’?

My own view is that with ALL sources, it needs to be measured – for bias, for its own sources, for relevancy, for reliability. I like using Wikipedia as a first step in research, it tells me the basics and then I dig further into the sources mentioned at the end of the article.

In my own study, the academics will not accept Wikipedia being sited, so I leave it out of the bibliography.

– That being all tertiary… should Wikipedia be accepted as source for Primary or Secondary schools?

– Is Wikipedia more up-to-date (and so ‘correct’) then those huge collections of encyclopedia that collect dust in the reserve section of the library – and requires yearly ‘updates’ that never get used?

– Wikipedia is certainly more accessable then other encyclopedia, but is that a good thing?

– Is the collective might always right when it comes to ‘truth’ – or does that lead to being revisionist? is being revisionist wrong?

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Article: New Smithsonian site lets teachers and students create short historical movies — eSchool News

Site: Picturing the Thirties — Smithsonian American Art Museum

Tool: Primary Access — University of Virginia

More info on DigitalStorytelling: Educational Uses of Digital Storytelling — University of Houston; Center for Digital Storytelling

Ever been tempted to try out DigitalStorytelling for yourself, but didn’t know where to start (or have a bottomless wallet for resources)?

The Smithsonian and the University of Virginia have teamed together on a project focussing on a Modern History topic (namely the 1930’s), and because the tools and resources are free (hurrah!) this means YOU get to play with it.

Digital Storytelling is a fantastic way to engage students, teachers and just about anyone else who has ever wanted to be the next Ken Burns or Steven Spielberg. There are many different definitions of “digital storytelling,” but in general, all of them revolve around the idea of combining the longstanding art of telling stories with any of a variety of available multimedia tools, including graphics, audio, video animation, and Web publishing.

Digital stories are “mini-movies” created and edited by people like you and your students – using cameras, computers, scanners and their own photo albums. Everyone has a story to tell and new technology means that anyone can create a story that can be shown on a website or in a digital presentation.

Most Digital Stories contain a spoken story supplemented by photographs. Some contain small pieces of video footage and a musical background. Photos can be recently taken as part of the workshop or scanned in from old photo albums. — Digital StorytellingNew South Wales Country Area Program

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