Tag: Twitter (page 3 of 11)

[INCOMING] #BelshawBlackOps11

Black Ops

Last year I took a personal digital hiatus better known as Belshaw Black Ops. I got plenty of stuff done, really appreciating the time out of the constant digital attention stream.

This year I’m planning to do the same for the month of December. It’s slightly difficult given my role at JISC infoNet, but here’s what I’ll be doing (and not doing):

  1. Spending time with family.
  2. Not responding to email. If you email my personal email address you’ll get an auto-response. Other than work-related emails on my JISC accounts, the only other way to contact me is my mobile number. Ask for it if you need it.
  3. Avoiding social networks. Yes, even Twitter. And Google+, Facebook. The lot.
  4. Not blogging. Or moderating comments.
  5. Collating and curating. Change doesn’t come through one person having a good idea. Change comes through ideas being packaged in such a way that they become memes and alter the status quo. I’ll be going back through what I’ve written and created over the past year and thinking through how it connects with other stuff.
  6. Playing Battlefield 3. What an epic game!
  7. Migrating web hosts. I’m sick to death of Bluehost. They used to be great, but now they’re slow and unreliable.
  8. Researching ancient monuments. Visiting Ggantija Temples and Hagar Qim on Malta has rekindled my interest!

Depending on when I have to defend my thesis, I may also need to spend time making clarifications and changes to that. All in all, if you need to contact me, ask my advice, or invite me to speak somewhere, you’ve got four weeks before 2012 to do so… ūüôā

Image CC BY-NC BaboMike

How to teach using mobile devices

iPad

I’m mentioned in The Guardian today in a short article entitled How to teach using mobile phones. However, as is the case with such things, what appears and what I submitted are two different things. For a start, my emphasis was on mobile devices more generally (not just phones!)

Thankfully, they’ve still linked to the resources I was asked to produce. If the link in the article doesn’t work (it didn’t for me) just search ‘mobile devices’ at the Guardian Teacher Network. I’ve decided to reproduce what I originally wrote here:

If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed to be in the pocket or bag of every young person it’s some kind of mobile device. They may forget their planner or even a pen, but they’re unlikely to be without their mobile phone. This, understandably, can lead to some frustration.

From the smartphone to the iPad to the Nintendo 3Ds the range of devices that young people have access to is growing Рand so is their power to connect people. However, many parents, teachers and even children themselves are unsure as to how mobile devices can be used for anything more than entertainment. Do mobile devices have a place in the classroom? Are they merely distractions to learning?

On the Guardian Teacher Network, you can find now find a PowerPoint to get adults and children alike thinking about how they can use everything from their mobile phone to their games consoles for learning. The PowerPoint gives 10 different scenarios in which mobile devices could be used to add value to what goes on in the classroom Рor even fundamentally change the types of activities that are available.

The associated Cribsheet gives suggestions and links to further resources as to how discussions¬†about mobile devices can be framed with school governors, senior leaders, teachers, parents and¬†children. There are many ways in which the resources can be used – everything from a PSHE¬†lesson (perhaps drawing up guidelines to responsible and appropriate use) to Staff CPD or even a¬†‚Äėtown hall‚Äô style meeting with parents.

With schools increasingly having the freedom and powers to innovate around the traditional¬†curriculum through Academy, Trust or Free School status, now is a good time to be talking through¬†the issues involved in mobile learning. Not only will it really engage pupils, but there‚Äôs the potential¬†for it to be used as a ‚Äėtrojan horse‚Äô for real curriculum change!

This was the second, more objective, draft. I’ve been promised that my first, longer and more polemicised draft will be used in a few weeks’ time. We’ll see.

PS Congratulations to @colport and the people behind #ukedchat – they’re mentioned in The Guardian today as well: Twittering classes for teachers

Image CC BY mortsan

5 free, web-based tools to help you be a kick-ass researcher.

UNIVAC

I do a lot of research. Not only is my day job Researcher/Analyst at JISC infoNet but when I go home I’m researching and writing as part of my doctoral thesis. Quantity and quality are different measures, but I’d hope that I’m at least half-decent at something I spend a fair amount of my life doing.

Being a researcher before the internet must have been a very difficult occupation. Much less access to information but, I suppose, on the other hand, it must have been a much more ’embodied’ existence than spending hours mediated by several different kinds of screens. Without a focus it’s very easy to become confused very quickly and be like a dog chasing after shiny cars.

My focus at the moment, as shown by dougbelshaw.com/research is upon:

  • Open Educational Resources
  • Mobile Learning
  • Digital Literacy

I use several tools to stay up-to-date in these areas and to discover new resources. Here’s five of the best:

Twitter + Storify

Storify

This goes without saying: Twitter is my social dashboard and an absolute treasure trove of useful information. The important thing is that it’s a network (of networks) of people who have expertise, influence and opinion.

Recently I’ve started using Storify to, for want of a better phrase, ‘curate tweets’ about stuff I’m researching. Here’s an example for iPad mindmapping apps. Asking a question, getting replies, curating them and re-sharing helps everybody.

LinkedIn Signal

LinkedIn Signal

This feels like, in a phrase Ewan McIntosh used five years ago, giving away some kryptonite as¬†LinkedIn Signal is truly amazing for researching specific terms. It’s based on your LinkedIn connections, which I’m careful to keep based on people I’ve met. It shows your relation to that person but also the most discussed links about that search term.

Try it. You’ll love it.

Amplify

Amplify

Amplify is for ‘clipping’ content from websites and adding your comments to it. You can find my most recent clippings in the sidebar of this blog. The power of Amplify, however, is twofold: (i) the people you follow who often post things you wouldn’t come across, and (ii) the search functionality.

Futurelab’s EducationEye

EducationEye

The ever-innovative Futurelab have recently announced EventEye, a paid-for version of EducationEye for (unsurprisingly!) events. EducationEye is a service that pulls in posts from blogs (including this one) and arranges them in a visually pleasing and useful way.

Again, there’s a search function available but it’s also handy for serendipitous dipping in and out of in order to keep up with the zeitgeist.

Quora

Quora

I use Quora about once per week. It’s a social question-and-answer site where people can vote answers up and down and summarise answers once there’s plenty of responses. It can work very well and there’s an extremely diverse mix of people on there. It’s certainly worth ‘tracking’ questions to see what kinds of responses they get and from whom.

Conclusion

So there we are! Five recommendations of tools that help me be a better researcher. What have I missed?

Image CC BY-NC-SA Stuck in Customs

#ukedchat TONIGHT about #purposed

As you’ll already know, #ukedchat is a weekly hour-long Twitter chat on a Thursday night between 8-9pm GMT. This week I’m guest moderating on the following topic:

What’s the purpose of education? Are we heading in the right direction?

Step 1

Watch this:

Step 2

Download TweetDeck (also Google Chrome version), use TweetGrid or use Twitterfall (my favourite) to follow the hashtag #ukedchat. More on that here.

Step 3

Join in! Read, respond, debate. It’s fast-paced!

If you like this, then you’ll want to follow @purposeducation, the hashtag #purposed and sign up to the newsletter at http://purposed.org.uk

Update

Here’s my summary with the entire archive of tweets here:

An extremely difficult hour to summarise given the frantic pace of the tweets! There was certainly a feeling that the purpose of education is much more than simply gaining ‘good’ examination results; most weren’t happy with the way education is heading in the UK. Although there was a strong anti-Gove sentiment, the overall tone of the discussion and debate was positive, with a sense that there was enough grassroots feeling to make educators’ voices heard in Whitehall.

‘Confidence’, ‘passion’ and ‘skills’ were perhaps the most used words in 140-character contributions to the question of what constitutes the purpose of education. Tweets mentioning the importance of holistic education, of equipping young people with the ability to learn how to learn, and of raising aspirations were among the most retweeted.

Many contributors mentioned how refreshing it was to discuss the fundamentals rather than ‘the latest web 2.0 tool’. Although some expressed frustration at only have 140 characters to express themselves (along with the speed of the updates) there was an almost-tangible sense of people thinking deeply about their beliefs as educators about the purpose of their profession.

How I’m organising my digital outputs in 2011

I had a fascinating Skype conversation with Amber Thomas, a JISC Programme Director. She mentioned the concept of liminality in reference to the ‘trajectory of ambiguities’ idea I’ve been writing about in my journal article. It struck me afterward that I need to firm things up a bit given that I seem to exist in somewhat of a liminal digital world.

So here’s what you’ll find me doing where in 2011:

Synechism

I’ll be writing, as usual, at dougbelshaw.com/blog about user outcomes (including: education, technology, productivity, leadership, design). I’ll be posting around 1-2 times per week and won’t be writing the ‘Things I Learned This Week’ series. It’s a shame, but it’s too much of a time-suck to justify.

Doug’s clippings

I’m going to be using dajbelshaw.amplify.com to clip things of interest I come across online, adding my thoughts as I go. These will be auto-tweeted and saved to delicious.com/dajbelshaw.

Twitter

I’ve cut back drastically on the number of people I’m following on Twitter (@dajbelshaw). It might be just me, but the signal/noise ratio seemed to decline sharply in 2010. I’ll be autoposting things from here and Amplify and using it for mainly work purposes.

Facebook

I thought I deleted my Facebook (http://facebook.com/dajbelshaw) account in mid-2008, but it turned out I simply deactivated it. It’s now re-activated and I’ve gone about removing almost all of my ‘friends’, cutting back sharply to just my immediate family and close contacts. If you’re not one of those, I’m afraid I’ll be ignoring your connection request. Sorry.

As Facebook is the most popular social network and because pretty much all my close contacts are on it, I need to know how to use it effectively. Facebook’s also a great way to organise events and get groups started (without necessarily having a direct connection to people). More on that later, although you can (and should) ‘Like’ this blog there already.

LinkedIn

My policy with LinkedIn (http://uk.linkedin.com/in/dajbelshaw) is simple: I need to know who you are, have dealt with you in a professional sense, and met you in person to connect with you. I’ll only waive the latter condition if you’re somebody I know really well online. It’s a professional, not a social, network.

Quora

I’m still experimenting with Quora (http://quora.com/Doug-Belshaw). Coming back to the notion of liminality, it’s a great example of what happens when boundaries are broken down as a result of new ways to connect to people. I really like the way it’s structured and it marries Yahoo! Answers with Digg and wiki-like functionality. We’ll see how it goes. I’ll connect with anyone on there. :-p

I’ve got more to discuss in terms of how I’m organizing things – especially related to academic stuff. This post covers just what others will see.

[INCOMING] Personal digital hiatus.

Three years ago, at the end of 2007, I took a hiatus. Inspired by Stephen Downes, I realised needed a break from the stream. It’s time I took another one, but for different reasons. This time I’m taking a cue from danah boyd who explains her position well:

Years ago, I realized that there was no way to take a vacation and manage the always-on, always-in-contact lifestyle that technology affords. Initially, I thought that it’d be possible to simply ignore email while on vacation and deal with it afterwards but I realized that this was untenable. It takes months to catch up on thousands of emails and I’d come back and immediately burn out again trying to catch up.

She goes on to add that “disappearing without properly making certain that everyone has what they need is irresponsible and disrespectful.” That’s why I’m giving advanced notice that I’m going on a personal digital hiatus from Friday 17th December 2010 until Monday 10th January 2011.

In practice this means that during this period:

  • I won’t reply to any email (and any email I do receive will be deleted).
  • I’m uncontactable via Twitter.
  • I won’t be blogging or moderating comments.

If you need to get hold of me, there’s two options: phone me (if you haven’t got my numbers already, you don’t need them) or contact me at work (until 21st December / after 4th January)

I’ll keep on¬†clipping the occasional article I come across, but I’m intending to swear off Twitter, email and blogging for three weeks, during which time my wife will almost certainly give birth to our daughter. If that isn’t reason enough, I’ll also be doing the following:

  1. Getting back into shape. The snow has knocked my exercise regime for six.
  2. Producing ‘Best of Belshaw: 2010’
  3. Working on my Ed.D. thesis
  4. Thinking hard about the future.
  5. Spending time with my Dad (back from the UAE for Christmas)

So, if you’ve got something to ask of me, best ask before Friday. Please. ūüôā

HOWTO: Roll your own #twebay

Having sold individual things sporadically via Twitter (usually after mentioning I was about to put them on eBay) and finding myself needing to raise funds for a rather magnificent Sony Vaio P series,  I thought it was about time I developed a system. Enter #twebay.

(I hate the elision of ‘Twitter’ and ‘eBay’ as much as you, but it’s a convenient hypocrisy…)

Here’s what I did:

1. Set up and published a Google Doc and passed it through Bit.ly Pro to get http://dajb.eu/twebay. This includes my details (including avatar and photo), a rationale for selling, and details of the items.

2. Configured and tested a Google Form (via Google Docs) to collect information from those interested. I figured the important information was the person’s name, email address, bid amount and a box for any other details they wanted to give me.

3. Publicised it and asked for retweets.

4. Checked the spreadsheet attached to the Google Form at regular intervals and replied to those making bids.

I managed to sell 3 items within an hour with an additional one that I’d forgotten later in the week. These were all to people who I’ve known a while on Twitter but I’ve never met in person.

The advantages of this method?

  • No eBay/Paypal fees
  • Buyer knows it’s going to a good home, seller knows where it’s come from
  • Time spent listing items for sale is massively reduced

Possible drawbacks?

  • You need a fair number of followers to gain traction/interest
  • There’s no formal feedback system
  • There’s potential to damage existing relationships when money becomes involved

Weeknote #27

This week I have been mostly…

Working on my thesis

Although working from home this week didn’t produce quite the number of words towards my Ed.D. thesis as I’d hoped, it nevertheless did result in a bit of a breakthrough. I now know why we’re not all talking about ‘digital literacy’ in the UK.

Selling stuff via #twebay

I’ll explain how I went about doing this in a separate post but, having already sold one or two things to Twitter followers this year, I had a go at selling a bunch of stuff using nothing more than Google Docs and TweetDeck. Check out http://dajb.eu/twebay – there’s still some stuff available!

Buying a car

I think quite possibly I have got the bargain of the year: a 1.7-litre Ford Puma (with the ‘luxury pack’) for ¬£350:

Doug's Ford Puma

There’s a large chance I was swayed in my love of Puma’s by the advert for them featuring Steve McQueen (which was on TV in 1997/8 just before I learned to drive):

Awesome.

Top 10 links I shared this week

As I explained earlier this week, it makes sense to combine my new ‘Top 10 Links I Shared This Week’ series with these weeknotes. The following links were those most clicked on (according to¬†bit.ly Pro‚Äės stats) when I shared them via¬†¬†Twitter this week. I don’t include links back to this blog.

Links given with number of clicks given in brackets:

  1. Futurelab – Digital Participation, Digital Literacy and School Subjects (61)
  2. Gumtree listing of the Ford Puma I bought (51)
  3. What Matters Most: Evidence-based findings of key factors affecting the educational experiences and outcomes for girls and boys throughout their primary and secondary schooling (39)
  4. Alumni magazines: Bah! (38)
  5. Barack Obama – LinkedIn (19)
  6. Digital Britain: Final Report (2009) (17)
  7. Firesheep (16)
  8. BBC News: Large Hadron Collider creates a ‘mini black hole’ (14)
  9. Feedly Mini: Redesigned (11)
  10. Demonstrating JISC’s value and impact (9)

Top 10 Links I Shared This Week – #5

The following 10 links were those most clicked upon (according to¬†bit.ly Pro‘s stats) when I shared them via¬†Twitter.

By far the most clicked-on link I shared was Why we don’t celebrate Hallowe’en in our house from this blog (258). But, as I pointed out last week, I’m not including my own posts in these Top 10s any more… :-p

Links given with number of clicks given in brackets:

  1. MSI AE1900 Touchscreen PC Refurb [eBay] (93)
  2. The ‘Perfect Storm’ of mobile learning adoption [diagram] (71)
  3. BBC News: Weakest schools in England to be taken over (67)
  4. How to Stop the Obnoxious “Top stories today by @yourname” (39)
  5. Howto: Roll your own FailFaire (27)
  6. New endowment fund for underperforming schools (26)
  7. BBC News: David Cameron unveils ‘enterprise visa’ (18)
  8. Five new themes – Official GMail Blog (16)
  9. Public Speaking: Concepts and Skills [information on thoughts-per-min vs. wpm] (14)
  10. 50 uses for mobile learning in 16 categories (12)

Top 10 Links I Shared This Week – #4

The following 10 links were those most clicked upon (according to¬†bit.ly Pro‘s stats) when I shared them via¬†Twitter.

I’ve decided not to link to my own blog posts this week. Seems kind of pointless given that you’re either reading this on my blog or reading this via RSS/email… :-p

Links given with number of clicks given in brackets.

  1. Michael Gove’s 25-year-old ex-adviser given ¬£500,000 free schools grant (100)
  2. Wikipedia: Carol Dweck (30)
  3. Apple App Store: JotNot Scanner Pro (22)
  4. NickDennis.com/blog: The Classroom Experiment (22)
  5. Lanyrd: Metaphwoar! 9th November 2010 (20)
  6. Connectedness in Practice-Based Education: The Why, Who, What (19)
  7. On The Horizon: JISC Mobile & Wireless Technologies Review – Quotations (15)
  8. HEFCE: Understanding student perspectives on lifelong learning (14)
  9. JISC: Effective Practice in a Digital Age (14)
  10. JISC: Practical suggestions to remain compliant with the Digital Economy Act (13)
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