Tag: YouTube (page 2 of 4)

Doug on Productivity – Episode 2

Continuing the series I started last week, this episode looks at the importance of defining your own philosophy of productivity.

Things I Learned This Month – September 2010

Like this? Want it to become a regular monthly thing? Let me know in the comments below!

Doug on Productivity – Episode 1

I’ve been wanting to do more video stuff for a while. That’s why I’ve decided to begin two new projects, the first of which is a series called Doug on Productivity which I’ll try to get out every Monday morning (GMT).

In this first episode I answer three productivity-related questions about email, motivation and “writer’s block”.

Got some questions for Episode 2? Add them to the comments either here (below) or over at the YouTube page. 😀

Free schools: the good, the bad and the ugly.

The Good

I’m all for Free Schools in principle. The idea of community involvement in setting up a school is exactly what should happen in my book. I’m not so sure about the ‘parent-led’ part of it, but a school as reflecting community values and being responsive to context is highly in tune with my own political and educational thinking. That’s the good.

The Bad

But I’m not in favour of Free Schools if they’re all going to be along the lines of the West London Free School. It states proudly that it’s going to have a ‘narrow, academic’ curriculum focused on the Classics. Yes, that includes Latin.

I can remember reading for my MA in Modern History the debate between T.H. Huxley and Matthew Arnold (see here). The latter had a tough time defending the idea of a Liberal education based on the Classics in the 19th century, never mind the 21st. To say that “a classical education forms the bedrock of Britain’s most successful independent schools” is to commit the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc* – i.e. that there is a causal connection between the content of the curriculum and the success of the current elite maintaining their hegemonic power.

The Ugly

Toby Young, the son of a peer in the House of Lords and author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People is leading the project for the West London Free School, linked to above. I’m not sure who’s doing his PR but I really wouldn’t be using the video featured on the site (and below) as promotional material. Given the title of his book, perhaps he’s taking his own advice. I have never come across such a perfect example of a smug, inconsiderate and xenophobic story as the one he recounts with narrowly-contained glee towards the end of this interview:

Conclusion

So, schools free of Local Authority control, with the power to adapt their curriculum to the needs of their local community? Yes please!

What I don’t want to see, and what I think the school Toby Young is helping set up is a prime example of, is the perpetuation of middle class cultural capital masquerading as parental choice. Unfortunately ‘answering’ the question about the middle classes in your FAQ doesn’t make an iota of difference in practice.

*See, I can do Latin too and I just went to the local comprehensive. :-p

Hands-on with the Dell Streak.

So yes, I bought it, took it back and bought it again. But I’m keeping my Dell Streak now. It’s great. And this is my last post on mobile phones – well, this month anyway… 😀

Usually new mobile phones are known about well in advance of their launch. Everything from specs to early reviews are made available in order to create a buzz around the product. For example, a couple of years ago I was sent an LG Shine and encouraged (although not instructed) to take photos of it and blog about it. With the Dell Streak, however, apart from a great video at jkkmobile I stumbled across on the night before it was released in the UK, I’d heard nothing about it!

Full specs of the device can be found here, but the highlights are that it’s an Android tablet/smartphone hybrid with a 5″ screen. Yes, five inch! :-p

Let’s just get past the two (related) questions I’ve been asked most frequently over the last couple of weeks:

  1. Is it too big?
  2. Don’t you feel a bit stupid putting it to your ear to, you know, make phone calls?

My responses:

  1. It’s certainly on the upper limit of what counts as a phone size wise. Some, undoubtedly, will find it too big. But given that I tended to use my iPhone more for Twitter and other internet based activities than for phone calls, I don’t!
  2. It’s not Dom Joly size and I don’t really suffer from self esteem issues anyway. As for people who think that phones should only be able to make phone calls, get back in your cave please… 😉

Things I really like:

  • The whole experience and speed of the device makes it über-slick
  • Spotify, Dropbox and other official apps are better (to my mind) than their iPhone counterparts
  • The size of the screen makes everything… just better
  • It’s really quite thin
  • Several virtual desktops means you can organize your stuff
  • I don’t have to jail break it to set it up the way I want it
  • Widgets provide real-time updates
  • The camera is legendary and the in-phone editing functions are actually useful
  • It’s got a ‘gorilla glass’ screen – check out this video showing it being torture-tested!

Things I’m not so keen on:

  • The placement of headphone socket
  • Volume buttons alter up or down depending on orientation (confusing!)
  • You can’t delete things (e.g. emails) by swiping
  • It’s not running the latest version of Android (v1.6)
  • Proprietary power/ sync cable
  • Current lack of third party support (eg cases, speakers, other add ons)
  • The quality of sound recording when shooting video isn’t gerat

Stuff other reviews might not tell you:

  • As with the iPhone, music stops playing when you remove the headphones
  • Sometimes tasks don’t shut by themselves and drain your battery (a force close app is pretty much essential)
  • It’s not really possible to use the Streak with one hand whilst walking for texting, etc.
  • With Android apps you’ve got 24 hours to get a refund if you don’t like it or it didn’t perform as you expected
  • The power cable is similar to the iPhone’s in that the USB end plugs into the power cable

10 apps that are awesome on the Streak:

  1. Dropbox
  2. Fring (for Skype & instant messaging apps)
  3. Google Listen (podcasts through Google Reader)
  4. Handcent SMS (iPhone-like text messages)
  5. Opera Mini (web browser)
  6. Profiles (change between ‘Normal’, ‘Night’, ‘Outdoor’, etc.)
  7. Quick Addroid (add stuff to your Google Calendar quickly)
  8. Realplayer
  9. SlideScreen (really classy home screen replacement)
  10. Spotify

I’m happy to answer any questions you’ve got – including making another video, so ask away! 🙂

Apply for Google Teacher Academy UK!

Introduction

The first ever Google Teacher Academy UK is coming to London on Thursday 29th July 2010! The only reason I’m accepting for YOU not applying is if you’ve already booked your summer holiday for that date. And even then, it had better be somewhere nice… :-p

If you’re an educator (especially if you’re in the UK) this is a great opportunity to be part of something that we’ve called (and especially Tom Barrett) has called for over the last few years. In addition, you could get to become a Google Certified Teacher!

Application Process

There’s two parts to the application process: an online form and a 1-minute video.

You can apply for Google Teacher Academy UK here:

http://www.google.com/educators/gta.html

(closing date: 17 June 2010)

Advice

Here’s 10 bits of advice from me if you’re thinking of applying:

  1. Read what’s required of you. Seriously. For example, don’t submit a video that’s longer than 1 minute in length!
  2. It’s not how much you know about Google and use their tools already. You are allowed to show proficiency in other tools and processes.
  3. The video needs to address one (or both) of the these themes: a) Motivation and Learning, b) Classroom Innovation. You don’t have to feature physically in the video, but these themes do.
  4. Don’t whinge. Show yourself in a positive light.
  5. There’s no point in ticking every box for a question. It’s as if you didn’t tick any of them if you do that.
  6. In the ‘technology skills’ section, don’t do yourself down. If you’re not a newbie, there’s no reason to tick the newbie box!
  7. Read up on what Google Certified Teachers do and who they are. It will make your answers more informed.
  8. Post your video on YouTube. Not elsewhere. And make it publicly viewable (double-check!)
  9. Fill in your answers in a word processor (Google Docs!) and then copy-and-paste the answers in to the form. This will give you chance to reflect on them and run a word count.
  10. Some people have added the one-minute application video to their Google Certified Teacher page (e.g. Chris Craft). Check these out for inspiration – as well a YouTube search for ‘Google Teacher Academy’.

Conclusion

I’m firmly of the opinion that it’s worth giving up not only some of your summer holiday for Google Teacher Academy but also the time it takes to apply. You don’t need to be a current teacher to apply (I’m not!) but you do need to work with educators in some way. Cite your online as well as offline work.

This isn’t a time to be shy, it’s a time to step up and apply for something potentially life-changing. I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to the end of July! 😀

Image based on originals CC BY dannysullivan

Using a Sony Reader PRS-600 to make notes on academic articles.

I’ve been very impressed with my Sony Reader PRS-600 since I got it last week. It’s a great device for reading, highlighting and taking notes on academic articles. Since before I couldn’t find much useful video on how the highlighting and note-taking functionality works, I’ve quickly put together the above two minutes by way of demonstration.

Hope it helps. 🙂

Note: those reading via RSS/email may need to click through to see the video – or view it on YouTube!

Tenori-on, Little Boots and Melodica

This is another one of those blog posts best told through images and videos than text. Watch this:

That’s a Tenori-On. They’re expensive and perhaps not-quite-worth-it.

Fortunately, there’s an app for that:

There’s the official video on YouTube here. Version 1.2 of Melodica is $0.99 (£0.59) and Version 1.0.2 is free. The video above shows v1.2. 😀

Learning Score

Just to mix things up a bit, I thought I’d do this as a series of videos – it seemed appropriate to the subject matter. Learning Score is a visual planning tool for educators. And. It. Rocks. :-p

  1. Official promotional video
  2. My quick overview
  3. Planning a lesson from scratch in 10 mins

1. Official promotional video

2. My quick overview

3. Planning a lesson from scratch in 10 mins

You can get a 14-day free trial at http://www.learningscore.org/trial, but if you’re quick you can get a longer trial at http://www.learningscore.org/bett! 😀

Things I learned this week – #2

The most significant things I’ve learned this week have been snow-related. Have a quick look at the above YouTube video of me building an igloo. That took me 7 hours! Instead of getting all philosophical and talking about how good it felt to create something out of nothing and how I started to feel ‘at one’ with the snow, I’ll reflect on some practical considerations:

  1. I should estimate how long things are likely to take before they start
  2. The size of an igloo depends on the angle of the walls – easy to forget!
  3. There are lots of different types of snow.
  4. Igloos are actually quite warm!

I considered sleeping in it, but having worked on it for 7 hours straight every single muscle in my body hurt. I went in the bath, read my book and went to bed… :-p

Here’s a brief overview of other stuff I’ve learned this week, broken down by category.

Tech

Productivity & Inspiration

Academic

Data, Design & Infographics

Misc.

This made me laugh! (via Mashable)

This resonated with me – via Jennifer Hagy @ indexed

  • The ever-relevant and insightful Harold Jarche looks back at Seth Godin’s predictions for 2009 from 5 years ago (startlingly accurate) and his own from 2007, as well as looking forward to new and emerging business models.
  • I love mashups and Best of Bootie 2009 absolutely rocks. Especially DJ Earworm’s United State of Pop 2009 (top 25 Billboard songs, mashed up!).
  • Mashable reflects on ways social media has changed us. This post makes a lot of sense and I’m going to start to use the term ‘ambient intimacy’ to explain a lot of what goes on, online. It makes sense. 🙂

Frozen Britain seen from above

BBC News posted a great satellite photo of what Britain looked like without the Gulf Stream last week.

  • There are some places in the world you’re just not allowed to go. This post on listverse (via @dougpete) highlights the ‘Top 10’ of these.
  • Vicki Davis (aka Cool Cat Teacher) in a reflective and revealing post entitled Sojourner Truth outlines her recent struggles with blogging and celebrity.

Quotations

You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it. (Robin Williams)

A bank is a place that will lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it. (Bob Hope)

(both via @gbmiii)

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