Have you been wondering about online surveys, bookmarking, blogging, or podcasting but not really sure where to begin. Here are two websites that provide easy to follow video guides that will be really useful if you are thinking about using more web technologies in your teaching.

Web2practice from JISC Netskills:
So far they have developed five guides explaining technologies like RSS, microblogging (twitter), podcasting and social media. Each guide consists of a short animated video explaining the key concepts, with a useful accompanying short written guide covering potential uses, risks and how to get started.

Teacher training videos from Russell Stannard (principal lecturer in Multimedia/ICT at the University of Westminster):
On this website you will find an extensive set of easy to follow training videos introducing YouTube, iTunes, online surveys (Survey Monkey), delicious, wikis, audacity, camtasia, blogging, and podcasting to name a few. Each title includes a number of short 1-3 minute video clips that you can watch in sequence or view just the parts you are interested in. Russell Stannard has a special interest in english language teaching and a separate collection of videos under that title.








Here's a good way for sharing web resources and reference material with your students using the RSS feeds tools available in Moodle. For example, you can collect bookmarks for your course in delicious (tagged with a name specific to your course) and then set up a feed into your Moodle course that automatically updates as you add more bookmarks.

Here's how to do it:
  1. In your Moodle course click the Turn editing on button.
  2. Find the Blocks editor and add a new 'Remote RSS feeds' block.
  3. Click on the editing tool (hand tool) to configure the Feeds block.
  4. Click on the 'Manage all my feeds' tab.
  5. Find the RSS Feed logo on the website (that's the small orange square shown at the start of this post, labelled RSS or RSS Feed). Right click on the logo and select Copy Link Location or Copy Shortcut. Paste into the space provided to Add a news feed URL. Click the Add button. This feed will now come up in the Feed block on this page.
  6. Click on the Configure this block tab.
  7. The feed should now be available to select (there may be several feeds shown here depending on how they have been configured in other courses), select your feed/s with a tick. Choose how you want to configure the feed, for example give it a title, provide each links description, and display a link to the original site. Click the Save changes button.
  8. This feed will now be displayed and updated automatically in your course.

HTML for beginners




In tonights social media class Leigh said:

Have you been caught without your WYSIWYG editor yet? You know, when you're leaving a comment on someones blog, or trying to add a description to a photo and the text input box doesn't have the button for creating a link, making bold, or making italic.

Wondering about WYSIWYG? This is the editing toolbar where "what you see is what you get", (aha now the picture makes sense!). If the editor is lacking a few of the essentials you can still add links, formatting etc if you know a bit about html.

So we did a Google search for "what is the HTML for a link?" and W3 gave us all the details on how to do links and more.

Here's some info from W3:

HTML is a language for describing web pages:
  • HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language
  • HTML is not a programming language, it is a markup language
  • A markup language is a set of markup tags

HTML uses markup tags to describe web pages:
  • HTML markup tags are usually called HTML tags
  • HTML tags are keywords surrounded by angle brackets like <> but with no spaces between brackets and text
  • HTML tags normally come in pairs like <> and < /b >The first tag in a pair is the start tag, the second tag is the end tag
  • Start and end tags are also called opening tags and closing tags.

Angle brackets and key letters are just about all you need. We practiced links, bolding and italics by commenting on the social media blog, and turns out it's not as hard as it looks.
eg (but with no spaces between brackets and text)
< href="url">Link text< /a >
<>Italic text< /i >
<>Bold text< /b >
< scr="image url .jpg">

First, a quick check on wikipedia for delicious and social bookmarking.

What is Delicious?

"Delicious (formerly del.icio.us, pronounced "delicious") is a social bookmarking web service for storing, sharing, and discovering web bookmarks.
Delicious uses a non-hierarchical classification system in which users can tag each of their bookmarks with freely chosen index terms (generating a kind of folksonomy). A combined view of everyone's bookmarks with a given tag is available; for instance, the URL "http://delicious.com/tag/wiki" displays all of the most recent links tagged "wiki". Its collective nature makes it possible to view bookmarks added by similar-minded users." (Wikipedia, June 2009)

What is social bookmarking?

"Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to store, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web pages on the Internet with the help of metadata, typically in the form of tags that collectively and/or collaboratively become a folksonomy. Folksonomy is also called social tagging, "the process by which many users add metadata in the form of keywords to shared content".[1] (Wikipedia June 2009)

Here's a YouTube video showing how to use delicious in the classroom.



Goggle calendar

So what is a google calendar?

Wikipedia has this to say about Google Calendars:

"Google Calendar
is a free time-management web application offered by Google. It became available on April 13, 2006 and is currently in beta stages. While users are not required to have a Gmail account, they are required to have a free Google Account in order to use the software.

Google Calendar allows multiple calendars to be created and shown in the same view. They can also be easily shared, either read-only or with full control, and either with specified people only or with everyone. For example, make one shared calendar for each sports team or club, and a separate calendar for private events. Events from both show up side-by-side on the same calendar, in different colors."

That sounds handy! Here are the steps to set up your own Google calendar.

  1. Log into Google.
  2. Click the blue link on your google page to Calendar (up at the top).
  3. Enter a few events to your calendar.
  4. In the left navigation area under My Calendars, click the drop-down menu that is next to your name and then change the colour.
  5. Click the same drop-down menu and select Calendar Settings. Change the name, NZ timezone etc. Don't copy the embed code yet. Instead click the link that says Customise colour, size and other options.
  6. Adjust settings to a width of 400 pixels (not 800 so that it fits in your blog) and other settings to your liking.
  7. Copy the embed code and paste as a new post in your blog.


If you are new to blogging or even not so new, Sue Waters (The Edublogger) provides some helpful technical pointers in her Top 5 mistakes made by new bloggers, with information about:

1. Copying and pasting text written in word into a blog post
2. Using copyright images in blog posts
3. Uploading images from digital cameras without resizing
4. Forgetting to link
5. Copying and pasting other bloggers posts

It's well worth a look, read through the comments as well for other bloggers feedback and extra hints.

A word about The Edublogger. It is "dedicated to helping educational bloggers with emerging technologies in education, share their own experiences and promote the blogging medium. It’s purpose is to share tips, tricks, ideas and provide help to the educational blogging community".

There's lots of useful information on this blog, see the Posts by Topic section down the right. If this sounds like it might be useful to you, then why not subscribe to it.

(Image: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3102/2627669442_ce269e9fb4.jpg, by jenny downing)

I am very disappointed to hear that the National Government has decided to cut funding for the highly successful Enviroschools programme. This programme supports schools to “integrate environmental education into the whole of school life” with the aim of creating “innovative and motivated young people, who instinctively think and act sustainably”. My family has been involved with Enviroschools for several years in Southland and Otago and have seen the positive benefits it has on children, parents and the wider community.

Today we are dealing with huge environmental problems created by our lack of understanding and sheer ignorance in the past, so it seems incredibly short-sighted of the Government to step away and undermine a successful programme that helps to instil environmental awareness and sustainable values in our children, with benefits that extend into the future as they become the adults of tomorrow. So, you have to wonder what the Governments motives are for taking this action to cut funding.

Amongst those who are worried about the Government’s decision are Nick Holmes and Guy Ryan (my nephew), who put together this great video ... “Enviroschools isn't just a kit, it's a part of lives and communities, and to show the importance of education for sustainability”. Nice work!



Twitter feed

Chris from Tuesday evenings social media class asked about setting up a twitter feed to her blog. Had wondered how to do that myself so followed the steps that Leigh suggested and there it is over on the right.

To get your own twitter feed:

  1. click on the "Get Widget" button (seen at the bottom of my twitter feed)
  2. fill in your twitter username in the right-side column and it will display your tweets in the central box
  3. select the background colour
  4. the Auto Scroll is disabled as a default setting so click on the tick if you want your tweets to scroll through automatically on your blog
  5. click on the "Get Widget" button
  6. copy the embed code in the pop-up box
  7. go back to your blog and click "Customize" in the top right
  8. click "Add a Gadget" in the layout boxes and select the HTML/Javascript gadget
  9. paste your twitter widget code in the Content box and Save

Wondering what a widget is?
I looked up wikipedia and it can mean a number of things in computing. A simple definition from Widgetbox (where the twitter widget comes from) is
Web widgets are mini, portable-applications that can be added to any web page
There seems to be some overlap in the terms widget and gadget if you look up gadget on wikipedia. Is there any difference between these terms or are they referring to the same thing, at least for the general masses?

So here's the follow-on video of How to make a video using Camstudio, it shows how to add the title and credits to a video recording using Windows movie maker. I'm thinking that screen recordings could be useful for showing staff how to use Moodle or other applications. In addition screen recordings could be used for showing off-campus students how to access their online courses and other features of their course.

  1. Open Windows movie maker.
  2. From left options 1, import video.
  3. From left options 2, add titles.
  4. Option 3, save to my computer.
  5. Name movie and set location to save.
  6. Click show more choices and select other settings, then select 'High quality video large'. Then click next. The movie will open when finished compressing.
Here's the video showing how to use Windows movie maker:



Both Camstudio and Windows movie maker seem relatively easy to use. The biggest difficulty I found was trying to record in a shared office with people coming and going, telephones ringing etc. Most staff here at Otago Polytechnic have shared offices and several have mentioned this as a problem when using Audacity. I wonder whether we should have a room provided on campus that could be booked for recording purposes, or do we already have this?

Snowed in

With heavy snow overnight, Dunedin turned into a winter wonderland. With schools closed and hill roads treacherous, we had the day at home. Thought I'd turn my photos from today into a Flickr slideshow to share.



Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

This is how I embedded the Flickr slideshow on my blog using flickrSLiDR to create the embed code:

Create a Flickr account if you don't already have one and upload some photos. Organise your photos into a Set.
Open your Set and copy the URL.
Open flickrSliDR and paste your Set URL into the URL space.
Add the width and height. I used 500 x 400. Click on the Create slideshow! button. This creates the embed Code.
Copy and paste the code into your blog.

What is Technorati?

Technorati is an Internet search engine for searching blogs, competing with Google and Yahoo!. As of June 2008, Technorati indexes 112.8 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media.[2]
Wikipedia June 2009

To use Technorati, open it and 'search the blogosphere ...' with your search terms.


What is Wikispaces?

Information about wikispaces and how wikis work can be found at:

Wikispaces

Wikipedia

YouTube:




Here is my wikispace

Once you have a wiki account and have created a new wiki, follow these guidelines from wikispaces to get started:


Getting Started

  • Click on the edit button above to put your own content on this page.
  • To invite new members, click on Manage Wiki and Invite People.
  • To change your wiki's colors or theme, click on Manage Wiki and Look and Feel.
  • To set who can view and edit your wiki, click on Manage Wiki and Permissions
Need Help?
  • Click on the help link above to learn more about how to use your wiki.

Here is a link to the workshop wiki

  1. Download and install Camstudio.
  2. Open Camstudio, open region and select fixed region, set to 640 x 480.
  3. Open Options and set to record from microphone and autopan.
  4. In options, click audio options and click the volume button, then advance microphone button and tick the 1MIC boost option (windows only).
  5. Click the record button. Position the mouse over recording area and click again to record.
  6. The recording region will track your mouse (move your mouse slowly and deliberately).
  7. Click stop. Name the file and save (wait while it will be compressing in the background). When finished the movie will open.

  1. Open Windows movie maker.
  2. From left options 1, import video.
  3. From left options 2, add titles.
  4. Option 3, save to my computer.
  5. Name movie and set location to save.
  6. Click show more choices and select other settings, then select 'High quality video large'. Then click next. The movie will open when finished compressing.

This video is now ready for publishing online ie YouTube.

The video below shows how to set up Camstudio for recording. In my excitement I forgot to mention that once you have all the settings, hit the red record button and place the recording frame where you want to begin recording from (it's not recording yet), then left click and it will start recording.



I've now added the follow on video showing how to use Windows movie maker in this posting.

  1. Sign in to YouTube.
  2. Find a video you like, then click the link beneath the video that says Playlist.
  3. Select an existing playlist, or Add New Playlist and complete the details. Save Playlist info.
  4. Find similar videos and add to playlist to create a collection of videos.
  5. View your Channel by clicking your Username at the top right of the YouTube website.
  6. Find the box in the lower left that has the option to Embed this Channel. Copy the html code that is there and paste it into your blog.
  7. The easiest way to embed a playlist is to create a custom player. Go to your YouTube account by clicking the link in the top right that says Account.
  8. Click "Custom Video Players", then "Create Custom Player". Select a color and format for your player, and then choose what is going to play in it—you can choose a playlist, your own uploaded content, or your favorites—and then click the "Generate Code" button.
  9. Copy and paste the code into your blog entry or web page

  1. Sign in to google maps.
  2. Open the link to My Maps.
  3. Click on Create New Map.
  4. Add in title for your map and description. Click Save.
  5. Search for a map by adding a street name into the search box and then zoom in to find the exact location to add the placemark.
  6. Pick up the blue placemark and drop it on the location. A title and description box appears.
  7. Click on Link in the right hand corner and the embed html will appear, but don't use this.
  8. Click on the tab to 'Customize and preview embedded map' and zoom in to show the best view of your map. Check that the map size is under 450 (medium view) for the best view.
  9. Copy the embed text and paste into blog.


View Community Learning Centre in a larger map

Last weekend I joined a dozen hardy souls braving the heavy rain and wind for a workshop on composting presented by Michelle of Organic by Design. I'm familiar with Bokashi composting and worm farms but was keen to find out more about hot composting.

Hot composting relies on heat to speed up the break-down of organic matter and destroy any pathogens and weed seeds; the temperature needs to reach 65-68 degrees celcius. Building a hot compost heap requires a bit of organisation. Firstly you need enough material on hand and a big enough area to build a heap about 1.5 cubic metres in size, and then some old carpet or heavy sacks to lay over the top once its built. Garden and grass clippings, manures, seaweed, hay, paper/cardboard (noncoloured) and food wastes (except fats or meat) can be added.

Here we are building the compost heap.



Starting with a base of branches and twigs you add alternating layers of green/moist material to brown/dry material ensuring there is a combination of coarse to fine material for aeration, and dampening the layers as you go. Adding an activator of beneficial microorganisms to the layers also helps, for example EM. Cover to insulate. Avoid saturating the heap with water so cover with a tarpaulin during heavy rainfall. The compost heap needs turning twice over the first week or so and takes about 3-6 months to mature, which is much faster than traditional cold composting which can take up to a year to mature.

If you were wondering about Bokashi composting I've been using this system for almost a year now, turning kitchen waste and food scraps into fermented material that is ready to be dug into the soil after a matter of weeks. My collection bucket sits in the corner of kitchen with no smell. In the evening I add the collected food scraps from the day along with a tablespoon of Compost-Zing powder (this contains the beneficial microorganisms that ferment the wastes). Pop the lid on tight and that's it. Once the bucket is full you set it aside for 1 - 2 weeks and then dig it into your soil. Easy, fast and good for the environment.

About me

I live in a small coastal community near Dunedin with my husband and two beautiful children. Dunedin is a small city located in the South Island of New Zealand. We have a small lifestyle block with a patch of native bush and several sheep. There's always lots to do; currently we are extending the house, developing a vegetable garden and trying to get rid of the gorse.

I work part-time at Otago Polytechnic in the Educational Development Centre and support staff in developing online learning programmes and resources. Prior to this I taught bioscience (human anatomy and physiology) and environmental science to tertiary students in foundation and undergraduate health science programmes and technician training courses.

Academic background:
Grad. Cert. in Applied eLearning, Manukau Institute of Technology (2011)
PG Cert. Tertiary Teaching, University of Otago (2006)
Dip Grad, Education, University of Otago (1993)
BSc (Hons), First Class, Physiology, University of Otago (1987)

Professional experience:
Educational Developer, Educational Development Centre, Otago Polytechnic (2008 - current)
Course Advisor/Writer/Editor (contract), Flexible Delivery Projects, Otago Polytechnic (2006 - 2008)
Senior Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, School of Natural Resources and Science (2000 - 2005)

  • Programme Manager: National Diploma in Science (2004 – 2005)
  • Teaching experience: Bioscience, Environmental Science for National Diploma in Science (NDS) and Bridging Health students (Biology Units Level 4–6; Core Health Units Level 4)

Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, Applied Science and Technology Department (1991 - 2000)
  • Teaching experience: Biology, Anatomy and Physiology for various student groups (NDS, Health Sciences, Sport’s Studies)
Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, Nursing and Midwifery Department (1988 - 1991)
  • Teaching experience: Anatomy and Physiology for Nursing students

Well done to Ivy Bean who at well over 100 (103 or 104 depending on which source you read) may be the oldest person on Twitter according to this story in the British tabloid newspaper, The Sun.
While her tweets about daily activities at Hillside Manor care home in Bradford where she lives, may not be that exciting she has amassed a huge number of followers since her first tweet on May 14 (over 11,800 already). Apparently she switched to Twitter after getting bored with Facebook and her enthusiasm for technology has inspired other residents at the care home to have a go. It just goes to show you're never too old to try something new!
You can see what Ivy is up to at twitter.com/IvyBean104

About me

I live in a small coastal community near Dunedin with my husband and two beautiful children. Dunedin is a small city located in the South Island of New Zealand. We have a small lifestyle block with a patch of native bush and several sheep. There's always lots to do; currently we are extending the house, developing a vegetable garden and trying to get rid of the gorse.

I work part-time at Otago Polytechnic in the Educational Development Centre and support staff in developing online learning programmes and resources. Prior to this I taught bioscience (human anatomy and physiology) and environmental science to tertiary students in foundation and undergraduate health science programmes and technician training courses.

Academic background:
Grad. Cert. in Applied eLearning, Manukau Institute of Technology (currently completing)
PG Cert. Tertiary Teaching, University of Otago (2006)
Dip Grad, Education, University of Otago (1993)
BSc (Hons), First Class, Physiology, University of Otago (1987)

Professional experience:
Educational Developer, Educational Development Centre, Otago Polytechnic (2008 - current)
Course Advisor/Writer/Editor (contract), Flexible Delivery Projects, Otago Polytechnic (2006 - 2008)
Senior Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, School of Natural Resources and Science (2000 - 2005)

  • Programme Manager: National Diploma in Science (2004 – 2005)
  • Teaching experience: Bioscience, Environmental Science for National Diploma in Science (NDS) and Bridging Health students (Biology Units Level 4–6; Core Health Units Level 4)

Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, Applied Science and Technology Department (1991 - 2000)
  • Teaching experience: Biology, Anatomy and Physiology for various student groups (NDS, Health Sciences, Sport’s Studies)
Lecturer, Otago Polytechnic, Nursing and Midwifery Department (1988 - 1991)
  • Teaching experience: Anatomy and Physiology for Nursing students

First twitterings

Have started tweeting? or maybe twittering? not sure of the correct terminology yet, but these are small posts (microblogs) of 140 characters or less updated on your twitter page that all your followers can view.
So how is twitter being used? You can ask a question, provide a link to something interesting, send out reminder post about a meeting/event, or simply tell everyone what you are up to.



Leigh introduced twitter at the last social media class, in the hope this might be an easier way for newbies to start interacting with others before getting going on their own blogs.

Sign up, fill in your profile details, then you can find people to follow. Clicking on someone's username takes you to their twitter page and you can see their recent posts and also who they are following; a click of a button and you can follow them.

Firefox allows you to install Twitterfox (see under the Tools menu, Get Add-ons and search for twitterfox) so tweets automatically pop up in the lower right of your screen. Clicking on the twitterfox icon (see red arrow below) shows you a list of recent updates, and you can post/reply from here.



Here's a neat example from an Auckland primary school teacher of what can happen with twitter: pirates ahoy . Sounds like a lot of fun!

A couple of weeks ago at the Socially Constructed Media course some participants were talking about iGoogle. It's like a one-stop page that shows your feeds and all sorts of other useful gadgets. My iGoogle homepage has links to my google reader, google docs, news sites, wikis, flickr, YouTube and lots of other stuff, all organised on one page.



It only take a few minutes to set up your own iGoogle homepage at www.igoogle.com. This YouTube video will get you started.

Podcasting

Here's a video from YouTube about podcasting that Jean in the SocialMedia class found.



Although traditionally considered to be audio 'broad'casts, podcasts are essentially any internet media (audio, video etc) that you can subscribe to, like you do with Google Reader. You can use a podcatcher like iTunes to catch the podcasts onto your computer which can then be downloaded onto an iPod.

Wikis and more


Back at the Social media course tonight and I have failed miserably on posting anything to this space in the last two weeks (note to self, must try to set aside some time!).
But to be fair I have been busy keeping up with the Educational Design for eLearning course and learning about Moodle (Learning Management System) and eXe (a freely available Open Source authoring application for publishing web content). There's lots of things to blog about and I plan to share all of this through this site.
This week we have looked at wiki's (collaborative webpages), starting with wikipedia the online encyclopedia. Leigh who teaches this course encouraged everyone to check out their own subject area on wikipedia and start engaging with the content by editing. Check out Otago Polytechic wikieducator site and some of the course development going on at the polytech.

At the Socially Constructed Media class on Tuesday night we embedded a YouTube video and here it is.



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