iPod Touch has grown on me

Yes, I admit it, the iPod touch has grown on me. In fact, as colleagues, so generously pointed out yesterday, I can’t actually put it down. What changed from my last post? Getting my work email, contacts and calendar on the mail client. Now my problem is mainly stopping looking at the wondrous friendly red ‘you’ve got mail’ icon and working night and day.

youve got mail
you've got mail

Yes, typing is still a nightmare, and the auto-correct spelling drives me potty, but I am getting better and have come to realise it is a tool good for reading and not input (as a wise man once said). Watching anything on iPlayer is just a lovely experience and twitter is my lifeline on it . I still prefer a simple webclip of hahlo over twitterific – there was something about the interface for twitterific that I couldn’t get my head round, couldn’t find how to do direct messages, for example, or see all the tweets of one person, which I can do easily on hahlo. I also like the way hahlo will highlight and automatically twittersearch any hashtags in tweets – very useful for our smallworlds project.

We are hoping that the students we give the touches to will have the same love affair with them. Actually if they don’t I may want to question their sanity, but then what do I know about the youth of today?!

Using the itouch

Testing the iTouch this weekend has been interesting. I am writing this on the touch, so forgive the spelling!! I can only write in the HTML editor, not the wisywyg.

I was very keen to try it out, however it has been less thrilling than I expected, partly becuase I was already used to the GUI. The main reason though is because this is part of a project, I haven’t wanted to sync the device, so it is missing most of it’s best features – the PDA abilites for email, calendar, photos and music.

I do wonder what we will find on the devices when we get them back. I think we will need to give the students some advice about clearing their browsing history and logging out sites before they return the devices.

Halo is good for twitter and may be a good idea for the students to have some recommendations to use that.

TouchGraph is very pretty

AJCann touchgraph

TouchGraph is very pretty. I came across it whilst wandering around online (I find I regularly suffer from obsessive link-clicking until I forget what I came online for). I wondered into the Science 2.0 friend feed room, got distracted by the edubloggers room and saw a link for a list of PLE maps and diagrams (posted by Mike Bogle), and was amused to find Alan’s diagram on there. I saw beautiful one created by D’Arcy Norman and just had to see how it had been made (see how one things leads to another?).

Anyway, a quick play determined that it probably wasn’t the tool I had hoped it would be. Initially I had thought it could be used for students to quickly create a map/ visual representation of their personal learning environment, but it is powered by google search, so not as specific as it would need to be. I tried several different searches (jobadge/ Jo Badge with and without quotes) but none of them really represented what i was using. I tried ‘ajcann’ instead, and got a fairer map – the one shown above, it includes Alan’s slideshare account, twitter, microbiologybytes and technorati ID’s butmost the links coming off these centres are not related – for example, from twitter, the links are not to the people who follow Alan or are his friends.

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The evolution of my PLE

Alan set me some homework while I am frittering my time away at home this summer. He wanted to know if my PLE at work and at home were different. I have actually concluded that they are not different from each other at all. I am not sure what to think about that. Perhaps it tells me that I need to get some interest outside of work!

However, it did start me thinking about my first ventures into thinking about the tools I used online as a PLE. I started a wikispaces wiki, jople (natty name eh?!) mainly to play with wikispaces, but mostly in response to Alan’s tutorial on PLEs. I came up with something that looked like this:

Jos PLE in January 2008
Jo's PLE in January 2008

I thought I would redraw it. Only 7 months later, I was quite amazed by how it had changed…

Jos PLE July 2008
Jo's PLE July 2008

When drawing this second PLE, the main thing that struck me (and that I had trouble conveying in the diagram, I am a bulleted list kinda girl), is that there are many more connections between the tools I am using now. Flock has been instrumental in this, helping me to bring lots of different strands together. Start ingof this blog, and others, has also changed the way I use delicious to create RSS feeds on particular topics. Pulling an RSS feed into google reader from my delicious network has been extremely interesting and provided a real wealth of information that I haven’t accessed before.

Of course, the biggest change has been using twitter. Without it, I doubt I would have discovered or used half of the new tools I now use regularly.

p.s using Zemanta Firefox extension for WP on this post. It is tremendously cool. I found it reviewed on Doug’s blog that I started reading because I followed Doug on twitter.

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here comes my summer

All of a sudden, the school holidays are upon us. As my twin daughters started school in September, this is my first proper School Summer Holiday. I was lucky enough to switch to a term time only contract when they started school, so from Monday I will be off work until 28 August. Lucky you – I hear you cry! Well, I’m not sure about that yet – we will have to see if 6 weeks of childcare will leave me unhinged.

One serious issue for me is that part of the reason I justified moving to a term time contract was that it was quiet over the summer, and the academics I support didn’t want to know about plagairism and blackboard in July and August. However, I forgot that this was the time that I got all my work ‘housekeeping’ done. So, this week has been a mad rush of updating and report writing and tidying. Some of it will no doubt go home with me in the end!

I hope to keep twittering and blogging over the summer, so apologies in advance if I am moaning about camping in wet Devon or just moaning about being at home.

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OK, so here goes nothing

wordpress logoI have finally realised that I need somewhere to put all the stuff I am accumulating online and in my head. In order to preach web 2.0, I need to do it. While I started a blog to provide support to the School of Biological Sciences, I have noticed that there are more things I would like to record my thoughts about online, but they don’t necessarily fit in to that support role. I am hoping that this will fill the gap and that I can keep up regular posting! We’ll see.