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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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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!

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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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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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website: What does 21st century learning look like?

Education.au offers participants an exclusive opportunity to hear, discuss and debate with leading educators and technologists about 21st century learning.

The seminar provides an occasion for educators, academics, researchers, policy makers, curriculum designers, IT industry, digital media developers who represent a diversity of views and approaches, to meet and discuss the challenge.

The program for the day will feature speakers from technology companies and education sectors providing insight about:

* What does 21st century learning look like?
* What does it mean for our institutions and learning environments?
* How will 21st century learning impact on schooling, parents, the community, workplace and further education?

Panel discussions and opportunities from the audience to interact with speakers.

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Article: In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History – Tamara Lewin, The New York Times-Education.

Good article on the growing trend of ditching printed textbooks for online sources and e-book versions.

Two examples of governments preferring this method of distribution of knowledge is Korea’s Digital Textbook Program and the California Open Source Textbook Project.

In the New York Times article there is a quote from the superintendent of a low socio-economic area school…

“A large portion of our kids don’t have computers at home, and it would be way too costly to print out the digital textbooks.”

This is something to think about with Cloud computing and Learning (or Course) Management Software, as well as other digital resources — are we adding to the Digital Divide in our march towards -more- technology use in schools?

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When I first saw e-Portfolios (for example – my me.edu.au portfolio also my LinkedIn page) they looked like a somewhat-interactive CV of activities and achievements. Useful, yes, but not like what the bigger e-Portfolios do.

I’ve been taking a look at a FOSS (Free Open Source Software) e-Portfolio software called Mahara AND at the same time reviewing clips on e-Portfolios (like these two clips…)

There seems to be a big difference between the ‘thing’ described in the clips (like Mahara) and what I had previously know as e-Portfolios. The e-Portfolios in the clips seem to have a huge amount of ability around networking principals in addition to the Pretty Page where someone might read a little about you.

Something to think about…
– If software like Mahara can display the ‘CV-style’ e-Portfolio, as well as have all the bells and whistles of collaborative working, should we be more likely to navigate ourselves over to this sort of system?
– How many e-Portfolios do you have? Do you keep them all up-to-date?
– Would you want different categories of people to view your e-Portfolio differently? (for example, a potential employer to see something different to a collegue)

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