Sue Waters Blog

October 30, 2007
by Sue Waters
9 Comments

Farewell, CogDog. We know you’ll be back. Though you’re a dog you don’t scare us at all!

Alan LevineIt is official Alan Levine has left our shores and arrived safely back home in America. After an amazing 18 day “whirl-wind” Australian Cross Country Tour where he was in a different city almost every night I am left wondering, after enjoying reading his daily adventures – does this mean there will be a vaccuum in my life? No more CogDogRoo blog posts? :(

I was fortunate to attend Alan’s presentations on Melbourne and Perth; plus lucky to spend some time with him. Considering he was not well during this trip I am totally in awe at his work output. I spent 3 weeks at conferences, and was well, but could not match his incredible work. [image by cogdogblog]

Even though I did attend his workshops in a couple of locations I did not get the opportunity to participate in all his workshops and presentations because sessions at each locations was customized for their local audience. Fortunately Alan has left us the CogDogRoo wiki which contains a wealth of buried bones and gems that are a must to work through.

Here is an overview of the workshops and presentations on CogDogRoo wiki:

1. Being There: In that undistributed future

Emphasis of this presentation was “The thing about technology is you can not watch from the outside to work out how to use it—you need to embed and immerse yourself in this technology. Too often we look at a technology and make judgments without having the knowledge to make those judgments properly — because we have not taken the time to learn what the technology is about. ”

Read my notes from this session here! Check out Alan’s slideshare, Ustream recording, audio recording, notes and links from this session here! Make sure you check out his images from these his powerpoint on Flickr because he has added lots of extra notes to each slide!

2. What’s on your Horizon?

Horizon Report is released by the New Media Consortium each year in January which charts the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning and creative expression on the horizons of less than one year, two to three year and four to five year (here is the 2007 Horizon Report and this is a video interview I did previously with Alan on the Horizon Report).

During this presentation Alan overview the process involved in looking at the horizon of emerging technologies and discussed our Australian Horizon. Read my notes from this session here! Check out Alan’s slideshare, Ustream recording, audio recording, notes and links from this session here!

3. Virtual Worlds – Promise and Perils

This was an engaging introduction to what are Virtual Worlds and why they are becoming popular. As I am already using Second Life and my kids use Virtual worlds like World of Warcraft I wondered how others that had no exposure to Virtual Worlds would find this session. I was extremely pleased to hear it inspired people to join Second Life.

Read my notes from this Virtual World session here! Listen my audio podcast from the session here! Check out Alan’s powerpoint slides (displayed as a Flickr slide show. If you click on a slide it displays the information he has written about that slide, including URLs that you can follow for further information — this is a great feature of Slideflickr.com which he is using really well) notes and links from this session here!

4. 50 Ways to Tell a Story

This resources from this workshop is absolutely mind blowing. Definitely Alan is amazing crazy? because he used 50 ways to tell the one Story (about a dog called Domino) by road testing 50 different online tools. He worked through the whole process of:

I used this resource to determine which online video creators were worth testing (the posts related to this are Sunday Job! Road Test Some More Online Video Creators! and Job for Saturday! Road test of online video creators!).

5. Precious Web Gems

:( Wish I had got to do this session! The idea was for participants expose themselves to a small range of practical Web 2.0 tools that had been recommended by educators rather than being overwhelmed by too many. When I get an opportunity I plan to work through the task, road test some Web 2.0 Gems and the Web 2.0 Laundry list.

6. Powerful Personal Portals

This session was on how to use free web tools such as Google Home Pages, PageFlakes or Netvibes to quickly and easy build custom portal-like web sites to bring information from multiple web sites to the one location (here is the information from this session).

Pleaaaaase if you are reading this blog and not bringing the posts from this blog into a feed reader like Google Reader, bloglines or netvibes — make the time to set up your feed reader – it will save you time. Here is my “How to” subscribe to blogs information to get you started.

FINAL NOTE

If you are wondering about what the? with the title of this post check out this! (wonder if you need to be an Aussie to get it?)

October 21, 2007
by Sue Waters
17 Comments

Forget The Gossip! What Did You Learn?

ustreamsueAfter 4 days of workshops (mLearn 2007 conference and Alan Levine’s workshop) I was struggling to stay awake by the end of the day on Friday. But rather than sneak in a nanny nap in the afternoon (concerned it would effect my ability to go to sleep that night) I struggled on with the plan for an early dinner followed by early to bed.

Forgot to send the memo to my mate Simon Brown, re-early night, who decided that “Hey, Sue want to test Ustream.TV?” I should add I think he may have meant I want to test Ustream but me being Sue took over and decided that might be cool to do a wrap on the conference so decided to broadcast from my hotel room while convincing my new mate Lance from Melbourne that he should join me in the broadcast!

So with Simon’s excellent guidance we got Ustream working and grabbed an audience using twitter with viewers from England, USA and Australia. The whole wrap on the conference was going okay until Lisa Durff threw in the curly question in the chat area – “But what did you learn?” Boy, tough audience you actually want to know what I learnt? You can check out the recording here!

Good question Lisa! And really that is why it is all about — “what did you learn from attending a conference that you did not know before?” And for someone like myself who has spent a lot of time immersed in learning about m-learning and mobile technologies that is a real curly question — with no simple answer.

So this weekend I have been trying to bring the past week all together into one place (my wiki) so I can reflect on what I learnt from the conference. Once I used to write my notes with pen and paper but I have found that writing my notes directly on my computer then transferring them to my wiki site helps my learning process because it ensures I do actually reflect on what I had written whereas less likely with hand written notes.

There is way too much information to summarise in a blog post so I suggest if you are interested in what happened at mLearn 2007 conference and what was discussed in relation to mlearning (mobile learning) you check out the pages on my wiki that:

Here are some key points covered during the conference that we need to be considering:

  • When implementing technology there needs to be adequate support is provided for both staff and students. Common mistake is to not supply adequate support – e.g. when observed students who had PDAs supplied for their use 24/7 most were not using their devices effectively–poor use of text writing.
  • Educators using technology with students are often failing to build reflection into the process and we really need to build reflection into the learning cycle to increase the gain of the learning
  • We need to remember the things we knew before, in terms of good pedagogy, do not become irrelevant, and do not get thrown out with using new technology. If you throw out good pedagogy when you implement technology you can end up with bad situations in the classroom. So instead of the students gaining from using the technology their learning suffers.
  • Classic example of misconception of the ability of the digital natives is educators will assume if students are using the technology they must know what they are doing and must be understanding what they need to do.
  • The trouble with learner autonomy does not always mean that they will make good choices – as educators we need to make sure our learners stay on path.
  • Mobile phones are the most owned mobile device. There are 3 billion mobile phones worldwide. Nokia 1100 (a basic mobile phone) has sold over 100 million compared to ipods which have not sold near 100 million and there is not even 1 billion PC in the world.
  • The reality is that 2.7 billion mobile phones are text and voice only and are not high end mobile phones. So at the moment we need to be focus on the text and voice aspect of mobile phones if we are looking at using learner devices.
  • Mobile phones are the most personalised device that people have – most people do not willingly feel comfortable letting others touch their mobile phone. UK study indicated 9 out of 10 people could not live without phone and 18-29 year olds spend more time messaging than talking on their phones. Most people used mobile phones to connect to mainly 5 people.
  • With mobile phones there is a big distinction between mobile computing and mobile life style. The really successful services on mobile phones fit mobile life style. Services that make people stop, type it in just don’t succeed.
  • Mobile phones are seen by many as personal devices – for connecting with their friends and some educators indicated their thoughts that students may not be happy with using their mobile phones for learning.
  • There needs to be more emphasis on user content creation that using mobile devices for content delivery.

FINAL THOUGHTS

WOW — for the Aussies did I mentioned I got to play with two iphones?

I am well known for NOT BEING INTO MOBILE PHONES , so don’t bother ringing my mobile phone or sending an SMS, but totally love the mobile web. Would be quite happy to flush my phone down the closest toilet and have never felt any strong desire to buy any mobile phone….until I got my hands on the iphone. Now that is a phone that I wanted to buy — fortunately for my husband it is not available in Australia. Hopefully when it is released here they will have fixed all aspects of the iphone that I don’t like.

October 19, 2007
by Sue Waters
21 Comments

Engaged OR Enraged? How Can We Do Presentations Better?

death by powerpointTo be honest I did feel that John Larkin was being a bit harsh when he said “Enough of the “world changing” five minute videos and please do not pad out your presentations with one video after another during a keynote at a conference unless you were the author of the included video(s).” But after being in conference workshops for most of this week, admittedly not with a lot of video, I do agree that presenters really need to think about how they present. [Image by Nick Hodge]

And lets just start with a disclaimer, the problem is not entirely with the presenters, we are also talking about me! My brain is so used to the high level of multitasking now that you REALLY NEED TO BE good to keep me engage. I switch off incredibly quickly if you fail to continue to engage me. And when I do come to conferences it does make me reflect on how my students may be feeling in my classes and how I do my own presentations.

So what is working for me? Well some obviously forgot to read the memo about:

  • The banning of bullet points! – ok will accept a few provided that there is minimal text
  • Extremely long text – totally can not focus on what is being said and the text
  • Bullets of long text and then reading it!

Please guys Powerpoints are ok but use of Presentation 2.0 method is far better!

I can see why John highlights his concern now about video because with so much great ones being available to use we are tending to grab for a video to enhance our presentation. But are we really enhancing it if every one it automatically grabbing a video. So now you have death by powerpoint mixed with killing with video. Is that like a double murder?

Am I any better? Probably NOT. So am now seriously concerned! Next week I have to do a presentation for our e-learning showcase (1 hr presentation followed by 1 hr hands on). The hands on will be fine (ROFL provided enough computers that actually work to record audio for podcasting). But what about 1 hr presentation?

So please help me by telling me!

  • What is engaging you in presentations?
  • What is enraging you enough to switch totally off?
  • What has been fun in terms of how a presenter has made you interact during the presentation and what has REALLY TOTALLY ANNOYED YOU?

PS Alan you were really good, for someone like me – even being unwell!

October 18, 2007
by Sue Waters
8 Comments

Smart Conference Sharing With Your Readers! How To Do It And Survive!

mlearn 2007Decided to give myself another title to add to “Most Disorganised Traveler of the Year Award!” and “Crazy Mutlitasker” “Smart Conference Sharing To Your Readers!” [image by sridgway]

Before I came to the conference I debated how to share the information from mLearn 2007 conference with my readers, without overloading them! My concerns were live blogging may overwhelm my readers (too many posts) and at the moment live blogging does not fit how I like to learn and write posts.

I would love to be able to live blog like Carole did at Alan Levine’s session on Being There. She was absolutely incredible — was able to listen to what Alan was saying and then blog live about her reflections on what he was saying at the same time — compare what she has posted with what I wrote. I like to write what is being said and reflect more deeply later whereas she was reflecting as she was writing! I have to give her the “Incredible Reflective Live Blogger” title as she was sitting next to me writing this post!

So my brain was ticking over–how do I ensure that readers that want regular updates from the mlearning conference get what they want, I learn how I like to learn and other readers get the posts they like?

Simple the answer is my wiki! What I have done is set up a page on my Mobile Technology in TAFE wiki specifically for the conference. I searched technorati for posts on the conference and added RSS feeds from each blog site to this page. This means that my readers can read news as it is happening from people who are live blogging — I can add new feeds to the page when I find new bloggers posting on the conference and it takes the pressure of me to feel the need to satisfy readers on my own blog! Team work in action from everyone!

How did I know to add the RSS feeds from blogs? Well Frances is a great friend and she showed me how she did it with her student blogs — check out her instructions. Frances ROCKS!

So on my wiki page for the mlearn 2007 conference I have:

  • Elluminate session schedule that people can download so they can join the live sessions if they choose
  • RSS feeds from each blog that is posting on the conference
  • Photos feed from the conference
  • Links to websites where people have located information about their presentation
  • Twitter feed from mlearn2007

This makes it easier for:

  • My readers to keep updated with the latest information
  • Me to go through the information from the conference, reflect on what has happened at the conference and then write the information in a form that suits how I want to learn

Please let me know your thoughts? Is the wiki helpful? If so, have I missed anything?

Apologies to all the fantastic people that I have meet in the past few days – and my readers who want to hear about them — but even for this multitasker it is hard to keep on top of all that I am doing — the posts are coming. In the meantime stay tuned and watch the wiki page for the latest updates.

October 16, 2007
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

Exploring Ports, Libraries and Chocolate! What a Day!

ferryMMMmm not sure what I can say? DON’T trust Google weather predictions?

Melbourne is known for being a lot colder than Perth and I was told to pack my warm gear even though it is spring. Melbourne weather on Google for the week did look like it was going to be colder and wet later in the week (Annelieske even bought an umbrella yesterday based on my weather updates). Just looking out the window and looks like another fine day! So decided to check the Bureau of Meteorology web site — looks like weather reasonably fine all week in Melbourne and slightly warmer than Perth for the week! And I have no summer clothes with me!

With such fine weather yesterday we went for a quick sightseeing ferry ride to Melbourne Port and back. My work is located in the Fremantle Port area (actually on the South Mole behind our Maritime Museum) and I work with lecturers who train people how to operate the large ships. So I am always really fascinated to look at how different ports operate — michaelthinking now that one of my colleague from our Maritime Operations section will need to bring me back to Melbourne for a proper tour of the Port because it is the 8th busiest port in the World. Looking forward to chatting with my work colleagues so they can explain some more details when I show them my pictures of the Melbourne Port.

Next we were lucky enough to meet up with Michael Abulencia from RMIT. Apologies to all my librarian friends have I been in the dark ages? Michael showed us through RMIT’s library which has now been set up to encourage collaboration and sharing. What a bubbly place it was – I wanted to hang out in there! The library is broken up into zones — quiet zone and a zone where interaction is encouraged (thus noiser area). Everywhere you looked students were working in groups, excited, interacting… so full of life. They are allowed to eat and drink. WOW wanted to take photos but did not want to offend students. Would love to hear from people like Kathryn and Con what the libraries are like at their Universities – are they set up similar? What are your thoughts on this type of set up?

Michael also showed us his work location–yes, have to say he has a nice view of Melbourne but does it beat my view of the ocean? We finished up with a lovely lunch followed by dessert at a chocolate shop (lets hope Noodlez does not hear about this!). Mmmm death by chocolate mousse. Thanks Michael– I was great catching up with after chatting online for more than a year!

chocWe finished the day with a nice dinner with Carole McCulloch sitting outside at a Cafe on Southbank Promenade. Melbourne really beginning to grow on me! Looking forward to Alan Levine’s session today although I hope he is feeling better? — and welcoming reception for mLearn tonight!

Believe that my readers that helped me with tips for traveling forgot a few important ones: 1) Pack comfortable walking shoes — have very sore soles on my feet 2) Pace your eating — food is a major part of networking but go for small portions if you have any hope of surviving conferences

But I didn’t think of them — so if you have any more tips keep them coming!

October 14, 2007
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

Help Required For Disorganised Tourist!

horseWell the good news is the “Most Disorganised Traveler of the Year” managed to arrived in Melbourne with all essential items thanks to lots of guidance and tips from my readers! Unfortunately I should have also asked for ‘must see tips’ for tourists because we arrived in Melbourne early so we (Annelieske and I) could be tourist and then had no idea what is worth seeing/doing in Melbourne! Bummer!

We did manage to check out a bit of Melbourne starting with a lovely breakfast at a restaurant on Southbank Promenade overlooking Yarra River. A customer and the waitress told us we must check out the Queen Victoria Markets — apparently not to be missed — so we went for a nice walk to the markets. Along the way we just HAD to have a ride on a horse and carriage… while I also made sure that I took lots of tram photos (something that you have to do when your city does not have trams!). You can watch the adventures of my trip in my Flickr account.

Please note always a good question to ask your friend — do you actually like shopping?–oops!!! After a nice long walk to the Queen Victoria Markets we discovered that we both really hate shopping! And to top it off there was no good clothes or hair for my Second Life Avatar! So instead we went searching for a bookstore because when I get an opportunity I really love to read a good book…

grahamThis afternoon I meet up with Graham Clark — who was nice enough to invite us to join him and his friends at the Pixar Exhibit for their 20 years in Animation. WOW the pictures drawn by the artists for creating the films were so amazing. Thanks Graham for letting us join you!

There will be a few opportunities to check out some more sites during my stay — so please tell me–what sites should I be checking out in Melbourne?

Before I finish this post I just have to say right now I am thinking I am in total heaven! Annelieske has gone out for dinner with a friend and I have the place to myself…. No noise — no kids fighting–no what’s for dinner–just me lying in bed with Mac! Chomping on a bit of chocolate….and we each have separate rooms. Best part is mine has an ensuite bathroom —bliss!

Sorry everyone who wants to catch up this week I may have to choose Mac over you! Except there may be a small issue of Internet access. Now this apartment may not have a plug in connection for a laptop above toilet (YUCK) but it does have wireless that I can pay for. Normally I have to pay a daily rate at a hotel. Here I am paying for Azure Wireless which unlike the access I have had in other hotels has a download limit. So I have paid for 5 days or about 580 MB download. I am thinking we should have a bet as to how many days I will have Internet access for based on a download limit? 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5?

I should probably also mention that Telstra was nice enough to send me an SMS to tell me I am at 109 % usage of my data plan on my PDA—that has been only from 2 days of use!

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider subscribing for free.

October 12, 2007
by Sue Waters
12 Comments

Help Required For Most Disorganised Traveler of The Year!

todolistLets admit it…I am a bit concerned! Tomorrow I am leaving for Melbourne to attend the Mlearn 2007 conference and we all know that unfortunately I am a TAD absent minded when traveling. So shocking that I deserve the “Most Disorganised Traveler of the Year Award!” (Mlearn conference is all about the mobile technologies and their use in education i.e. mlearning or mobile learning)

Since I will be away 8 days, I seriously need HELP! So this time to organise myself I decided the key was to write a to-pack-list (with highest priorities at the top of the list) unfortunately I did not plan on running out of room on the list!

My highest priority is to make sure that my readers and networks also gain from what I am learning from the conference — so I am planing to use online tools to remain connected and would love tips from others. Here is where I am at so far:

  • Live Blog or not? - Kate Foy has shared some great tips on live blogging at conferencesnot sure that I will live blog only because I personally prefer to read concise information. Am thinking I will use desktop application or Google Documents to write notes during sessions. The article she linked to gave fantastic tips for locating yourself at conferences so you do not annoy others with your computer.
  • Limit myself to max. one post per day. My thoughts are if I write more posts per day this can be overwhelming of my readers so I might be better putting information on my wiki?
  • Want to use Twitter to stay connected with my network outside the conference and to maintain connections with other participants. Would love tips on maximising the use of twitter at conferences!
  • What have I missed? Are there any other tools and tricks you have used or seen used at conferences that I should use?

While you are at it… you may like to give advice on other travel tips e.g. items I must pack or tips for meeting new people (without freaking them out)