Sunday, November 22, 2009

Thing #23: The end, or the beginning?


You’ve reached the 23rd thing. Be sure to give yourself a pat on the back for completing the program. Your reward for completing this journey before the 30th of November is a RED iPod, but before we finalise the list of recipients of this "prize", you have one more thing to do.

For your last and final exercise for this program, please reflect on your learning journey and post a few thoughts. Here are some questions to prompt you if you're drawing a blank...

  • What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
  • How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
  • Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
  • What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept?
  • If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?

To all of those who participated in this program, I thank you. Now that you have the skills and confidence in many of the Web 2.0 tools and technologies available to us, I hope that you consider this to be the beginning, rather than the end of something.


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thing #22: Create your own audio or video message

OK - for those up to a challenge, you should enjoy this "thing"! It's time to create your own simple video or audio message, and include it in your blog.

Rather than lead you step-by-step through the process, you are encouraged to explore various tools and techniques, and work out which one works best for you. If you're not sure, then take a look at what other participants have done, and feel free to ask someone who's been successful for their tips and advice.

To get you started, take a look at the following video that I just created using - a quick and easy way to record a video of your computer screen:

Other Resources:

- YouTube upload page
- YouTube - record video from your webcam (if you've got one on your computer!)
- Vocaroo - simple voice recording and sharing online
- - text-to-movie tool, worth a try!
- ... and don't forget that you've probably got a video and voice recorder in your pocket right now on your mobile phone!

Share your experiences in your blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thing #21: Podcasts

The word podcast is used to refer to an audio or video broadcast that is distributed over the internet. What differentiates a podcast from regular streaming audio or video is that the delivery method for podcasts is often done automatically through RSS.

In 2005, "podcast" was named the "word of the year" by the New Oxford American Dictionary, and with the growth of podcasting since then, it's easy to see why.

Podcasts take many forms, from short commentaries of less than one minute, to much longer recordings, such as a two-hour Monash University lecture! There's a podcast out there for just about every interest area, and the best part about this technology is that you don't have to use an iPod or mp3 player to access them. Since podcasts normally use the mp3 file format, a popular compressed format for audio files, you really just need a PC with headphones or a speaker.

iTunes, the free downloadable application from Apple, is the directory service most often used for finding and downloading podcasts, but if you don't have iTunes installed, there are still plenty of options.

For this exercise, you are asked to take a look at some popular podcast directory tools. Do some exploring on your own and locate a podcast that is of interest to you. Once found, you can easily pull the RSS feed into your Google Reader account as well, so that when new episodes become available you'll be automatically notified of their existence.

Discovery Resources:

To find out more about podcasting, watch this video:

There are many podcast directories available, including iTunes. Here are just two of the more popular ones that, unlike iTunes, don't require a software download:
- Podbean

Discovery Exercise:

1. Take a look at a podcast directory, either in iTunes, or another one of your choice. See if you can find a podcast that interests you.

2. Add the RSS feed for the podcast to either your Google Reader account, or to your iTunes podcast subscriptions.

3. Create a blog post about your discovery process. Did you find anything useful here?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Thing #20: Discover YouTube

Over the past few years, video hosting sites have exploded in popularity, allowing users to easily upload and share videos on the web. Among all of the players in this area, YouTube is currently top dog. YouTube users are watching hundreds of millions of videos a day, and uploading hundreds of thousands of videos daily. It was recently announced that every minute, 20 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.

Do some searching around YouTube yourself and see what the site has to offer. Of course, like any free site you'll find a lot of stuff not worth watching, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't explore and see for yourself what is available!

Discovery Exercise:

1. Explore YouTube and find a video worth adding as an entry in your blog.

2. Create a blog post about your experience. What did you like or dislike about the YouTube site, and why did you select the video that you chose? Can you see any features or components of the site that might be interesting in teaching and learning?

OPTIONAL: Try adding the video to your blog using the embed code provided on the YouTube page. If you're not sure how to do that, then watch this video below that I have embedded for you!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Thing #19: Discovering Web 2.0 Tools

Throughout the course of this Learning 2.0 program we’ve explored just a small sampling of these new internet technologies and websites that are empowering users with the ability to create and share content. But given time there are so many more we could explore. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of new Web 2.0 tools being launched every year. And although time will only tell which of these new collaborative, social networking and information tools will remain on top, one thing is for sure, they're not going to go away (at least anytime soon).

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to select any site from either:
(a) the 2008 list of Web 2.0 Awards nominees; or
(b) the CNET Webware 100 winners list.

With so many to choose from, it might be handy to first select a category that interests you (like Books or Personal Organization) and then simply select a tool/site to explore. Be careful to select a tool that is Free and that doesn't require a plug-in or download. The majority of these free, so this shouldn’t be a problem.

Discovery Exercise:

1. Select any site/tool from the lists above.

2. Explore the site you selected.

3. Create a post about your discovery. What did you like or dislike about the tool? What were the site’s useful features? Could you see any applications for its use in a university setting?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thing #18: Online Productivity Tools

The availability and use of online productivity web-based applications (think word processing and spreadsheets) has exploded over the past few years and for good reasons! These powerful applications provide users with the ability to create and share documents over the internet without the need of installed desktop applications. Some experts speculate that this emerging trend may mean the death to Microsoft Office and other software-based productivity tools, while others think web-based applications have their place, but not in the office. But no matter which side of the office suite platform you side with, on this both sides seem to agree; web-based apps have their place.

One large benefit to web-based applications it that they eliminate the need to worry about different software versions or file types as you email documents or move from PC to PC. Another bonus is that they easy accommodate collaboration by allowing multiple users to edit the same file (with versioning) and provide users the ability to easily save and convert documents as multiple file types (including HTML and pdf). And, you can even use many of these tools, such as Zoho Writer and Google Docs to author and publish posts to your blog. It’s this type of integration with other web 2.0 tools that also makes web-based apps so appealing.

For this discovery exercise, participants are asked to take a look at a web-based word processing tool (either Google Docs or Zoho Writer), create a simple document and then document your discoveries in your blog.

While you are looking at Google Docs, make sure you read about Monash University's plans to launch this service for all of our students later this month!

Discovery Exercise:

1. Either (a) create a free account for yourself in Zoho Writer; or (b) log in to Google Docs using your Google account details (the same username and password you are using in Blogger).

2. Explore the site and create a few test documents, spreadsheets, presentations, or forms.

3. Create a blog post about your discoveries.

For those who are enjoying the "In Plain English" series of videos, here's their explanation of Google Docs:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Thing #17: Wikipedia

How many times have you heard (or even advised your students) of the dangers of Wikipedia? Maybe you've seen an error or innacuracy in a Wikipedia entry? Well, here's your chance to improve the quality of Wikipedia, and learn a little more about how this massive online encyclopedia can be edited.

First, a few words of warning. If you are not a registered Wikipedia editor, then your IP address will be recorded and made publicly available whenever you edit a page. Also, if you are planning to make large-scale changes to a page, then you may need to learn how to edit a page. It may be easier to just make minor edits (to fix small errors or inconsistencies).

Discovery Exercise:

1. Visit Wikipedia, and find a topic for which you have some interest or expertise. It can be any topic, either professional, or a personal interest or hobby.

2. Click on the "discussion" or "history" tabs at the top of the page to see recent changes and debate on the topic you are viewing.

3. Optional task - If you are feeling brave, click on the "edit" tab to make changes to the page. Remember, only "save" your edits if you are confident that you are improving the quality of the information on the page.

4. Write a blog posting about your experience.