Tag: Google Docs (page 1 of 2)

Mozilla needs your help with a final push for the Web Literacy Standard (beta)!

TL;DR: Mozilla is launching a new, open learning standard for Web Literacy. We need your help in finalising the skills involved and providing examples. You can jump in and help here: http://bit.ly/weblitstd-skills


I’ve been a bit quieter on this blog recently. There’s two reasons for that. The first is that I started a new, additional blog at http://literaci.es.

But there’s another reason: we’re reasonably close to a beta release for Mozilla’s new, open learning standard for Web Literacy.

By ‘we’ I mean the close to 50 people who have joined us at various points since February; they’ve helped Carla and me think through the many (and sometimes quite thorny) issues involved. The Mozilla Foundation is a non-profit, community-focused organisation: we need contributions from poeple like those who have volunteered their time and effort so far!

We’re aiming to launching the beta on July 26th. There’s a number of things that need to happen before then that are internal – things like graphic design, press releases and the like. But you can help, too! Here’s how.

Help us define skills

We’ve already got a competency grid (that’s in need of some Design TLC). Right now, though, we’re working on the skills underpinning those competencies. We also need at least a couple of examples of those skills.

You can dive in using the Google Docs and styleguide available from the link below. Please make sure you add/comment rather than delete!

http://bit.ly/weblitstd-skills

We’ve got a weekly community call every Monday that you’re very welcome to join. Further details of that can be found here.

Image CC BY marc faladeau

Weeknote 20/2013

This week I’ve been taking it a bit easier after three straight days of migraine over the weekend, and:

Next week I’ll be in Toronto for the Mozilla Foundation All-Hands 2013. It’ll be insane but awesome. I’m taking PTO (annual leave/holiday) for the week after that as it’s half-term for my wife and children. 🙂

Digital literacy, digital natives, and the continuum of ambiguity (#openpeerreview)

The cost of knowledge

I was going to do this earlier in 2012, but Alan Cann and Martin Weller beat me to it. And they’re researchers with track records. :-/

(As far as I understand it) Open Peer Review is a semi-structured process whereby people give you feedback on an article that you’re going to submit to an academic journal. I’m not a big fan of knowledge being locked-up in paid-for journals (hence the graphic above!)

I wrote an article with Steve Higgins, my thesis supervisor, entitled Digital literacy, digital natives, and the continuum of ambiguity but then didn’t really do anything with it. I’d like it to undergo a process of Open Peer Review.

Let me explain how you can help.

  1. Go to this Google Doc: http://bit.ly/L0uDNF
  2. Read the article
  3. Think a bit (no qualifications required!)
  4. Comment on the article – either a section or the whole thing
  5. Bask in the knowledge that you’ve helped an ‘early career researcher’

I’ll follow this up in a week’s time and see how it goes. 🙂

Image CC BY-NC-SA giulia.forsythe

A story of three requests.

I’m paraphrasing, but I received these three requests today via Twitter direct messages, leading variously to an email, an instant message conversation and a Google Doc.

Can you guess which I responded to?

Request 1

You know someone I know. I’m a teacher and we’re trying to do xyz – we’ve tried everything, asked our techies and we’re stumped. Could you help?

Request 2

Doug, I know you’ve said recently on Twitter that you don’t like doing what I’m about to ask, but I’m going to ask anyway. Could you pimp xyz for me? It replicates the functionality of one of the biggest websites in the world but it’s OK because there’s a competition. Perhaps you could add it to ‘Things I Learned This Week’?

Request 3

Can I twist your arm to join in a conversation next week? Here’s a link…

<follows link to Google Doc>

Here’s the plan: I’m asking a bunch of people I know and respect write a guest post each around topic xyz, also posting it on their blog to start a conversation. I won’t edit your post because I trust you.

Guessed yet?

Is now a good time to get an iPad?

There’s a website I check every morning after a quick scan of my emails and Twitter @’s and DMs. Yep, before I even find out if the world’s still there (via BBC News or, more likely, newsmap.jp on our touchscreen kitchen PC) I head over to Techmeme. If you haven’t seen it before, go and have a look now. We’ll wait for you. 😉

This morning I woke up to find an interesting juxtaposition of stories relating to the Apple iPad. Notwithstanding rumours of a 7-inch iPad in the works (hastily dismissed by John Gruber) the following couple of stories would make it seem like now is the time to get yourself an iPad:

What does this mean in practice? The ability to play almost any kind of media on the iPad, along with the long-awaited (potentially ‘killer app’) fully-fledged Google Docs.

Awesome.

But wait! What about the iPad naysayers? Those who say that it’s not neutral and that it’s only good for two things? My reply: no technology is neutral, nor is the language we use to describe things. There is no purely objective view/standpoint from which to judge anything. And as for the iPad only being good for two things? See above. 😉

A more salient point might be that this is v1 of the iPad. Although it marks almost a paradigm shift in computing, think of the original iPhone in comparison with what came after. Getting an iPad now, only for v2 with a ‘retina display’ and a front-facing camera to be launched after Christmas would be frustrating to say the least…

How WordPress-powered P2 is (hopefully) going to leave me more organized and productive!

Ever since I read Matt Mullenweg’s post How P2 Changed Automattic I’ve been thinking about how I could best utilise a similar system. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, watch this video:

But then it dawned on me this morning: there’s no reason I couldn’t use such a system for private, me-only stuff!

As E-Learning Staff Tutor last year and as Director of E-Learning this year, I’ve been keeping a record of what I’ve been up to. This is as much about me being able to cross-reference stuff as proving to others (if needed) that I’ve been fulfilling my role. Up until now I’ve been using Google Docs, which looks like this:

Work record on Google Docs

Now, however, with WordPress, the P2 theme and a plugin called Absolute Privacy, I’ve got a close, web-based system that should hopefully be a lot more flexible and powerful:

Word record on WordPress/P2 system

We’re discussing productivity for educators tonight at EdTechRoundUp‘s weekly meeting. Why not join us? I’ll post my reflections on this system next week! 😀

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A video introduction to using Google Calendar for timetables and meetings

I pushed out a new video to all staff at the Academy today. It’s 6 minutes long and demonstrates how to use Google Calendar in conjunction with Google Docs for lesson timetables and meetings. Although there’s unfortunately no RSS feed for it, you can catch these kinds of videos and general E-Learning stuff I produce over at NCEA E-Learning Updates.

This can be seen as an update to the following posts I wrote a few years ago:

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Acceptable Use Agreements, Definitions & Digital Guidelines

Over the past week I’ve been working on policies and documents relating to E-Learning and electronic resources at the Academy. The following are links to the Google Docs that were created with feedback from my Twitter network. They are very much still in draft form and I would therefore appreciate further feedback! 🙂

The idea is that the Acceptable Use Agreements stay relatively static, with the ‘Digital Guidelines’ and definition of what the Academy deems ‘inappropriate’ being more flexible and fluid.

Creative Commons License

All of these policies and guidelines are available under a Creative Commons license. You must give attribution, not use them for a commercial purpose, and share any derivative works using an equivalent license. Other than that, use away!

I’d like to thank Andrew Churches, whose excellent Digital Citizen AUA was the starting point for the Primary and Secondary AUA’s above. 😀

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Digital things upon which I *do* and *would* spend real cash.

moneyI’m not a huge fan of spending money on software and digital services. There’s a couple of reasons for this. The first is that I’m an advocate of Open Source Software (see Open Source Schools, of which I’m part). As such, I believe that making software available free of charge – with the source code inspectable – makes for better software and communities built around the functionality the software provides. The second reason is that I tend to like to have something tangible as a result of any financial outlay.

All this is by way of explanation as to why the following are services that persuade me to part with some of my hard-earned money. I follow that with those I use for free but would happily pay for! 😉

Things upon which I *do* spend real cash

Bluehost

I have a number of websites and blogs, all of which need a home on the Internet. I’ve found Bluehost to be reliable and very reasonably priced. They’ve got CPanel installed in the admin interface, which makes installing web applications such as WordPress and forums a breeze!

Flickr ($25 = c.£17)

Photographs are incredibly important things. They are a snapshot of a time that can never be recaptured, and evoke powerful memories. Despite backing up regularly via my Apple Time Capsule, it’s important that I never lose the most important of my photographs – especially those of my son. That’s why I upload all the ones I consider important to Flickr.

Purchasing a yearly Flickr Pro license means that more than just the last 200 of my photographs can be seen and that I can create an unlimited number of ‘sets’ in which to place them. 😀

Remember The Milk ($25 = c.£17)

You may wonder why I’d spend good money on what is, essentially, a glorified to-do list. It’s because Remember The Milk (RTM) is so easy-to-use and fits in with my way of working. The free account is fine if you just want to organise yourself via the web-based interface, but the real power comes if you’ve got an iPhone. The app for the iPhone is only available to those who have a Pro subscription. It’s a work of art in terms of simplicity and adding to your productivity. Great stuff. 😀

Things upon which I *would* spend real cash

Gmail & Google Docs

Gmail features c.7GB of storage With Google Docs providing an online, collaborative suite of office applications that are just a joy to use. Every time I reflect on the fact that I can use this for free, I count myself fortunate. Marvellous!

Super-quick synchronous Internet connection

We currently get broadband free from Orange as a benefit from my wife’s mobile phone contract. We pay an additional £5 per month to upgrade the speed from 2MB/s to 8MB/s. But that’s only the (theoretical) download speed. We get about 6MB/s download and 512KB/s upload.

I’d pay about £25/month for 20MB/s synchronous DSL and would even consider £50/month for 50MB/s. That really would mean ‘cloud computing’! 😉

Twitter

Twitter is a micro social networking/blogging service with a 140-character limit. I’ve connected to even more people than I had done previously via blogs in the Edublogosphere. It’s real-time and very, very powerful. Some people call it their ‘PLN’ (Personal Learning Network). I’m not one of them. I just think it’s great. 😉

If, for example, Twitter charged the same amount for a year’s service as Flickr does (i.e. $25) I think it would be hugely profitable very quickly.

WordPress

WordPress is the software that power this and, to be honest, most blogs on the Internet. It’s developed rapidly – mainly because it’s Open Source – and very flexible and powerful. If you don’t as yet have your own blog, I’d encourage you to sign up with Bluehost and install WordPress on your own domain via CPanel. You can, of course, just use WordPress.com

Which software and digital services do YOU pay for? Why?

(image by Joshua Davis @ Flickr)

Interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom

After a suggestion received, quite fittingly, from another Twitter user, Tom Barrett is weaving his magic again. This time, after getting educators to collaborate on ways in which Interactive Whiteboards, Google Earth, Google Docs, and Pocket Video Cameras can be used in education he’s turned his (and his network’s) sights on Twitter:

I got involved straight away – in fact mine’s the first tip on there! Get involved by contacting Tom (@tombarrett) 🙂

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