Yesterday I had a fantastic day at BarCamp Perth. Initially I was reluctant to go because I am not a programmer and the program looked very techy. Reality was good mixture Web 2.0ers and programmers with excellent opportunities to network and learn f2f with people of similar interests in our own community, and who we would not have meet without BarCamp. Thanks Myles Eftos for putting the time in to make it happen.
Patience for my podcasts from BarCamp will be required as it will take me several weeks to process the audio before I put it up onto my podcast site. Here are my snippets from the day.
I did my talk on m-learning. Trevor Bennett (Edith Cowan University) was nice enough to provide his opinion on e-learning in his sector. Frances McLean and Kate Quinn provided additional assistance. Limited time meant it was mostly an overview of the difference in e-learning in Universities and VET sector with how this might influence the uptake of m-learning in these sectors. Shame no time to show toolboxes, learning objects or types of material we use on PDAs with students.
Loved how Trevor stated that “what Universities are doing is putting up content (e.g. course material) into LMS (e.g. Blackboard, WebCT) and then calling it e-learning when in reality it is just content in a Content Management System”.
Educating people on Web 2.0
Constance (librarian) and Kate (PhD student), from Curtin University, gave a fantastic talk about “Introducing Web2.0 to n00bs”. Good to know the challenges I face with staff professional development in VET are no different to the University sector. I did record this session but plan to track both of them down and follow up with in depth podcasts.
I admit it – definitely have been hiding from Second Life because I get up to so much that I have had to say there are some aspects of e-learning that I don’t have to know about and it’s okay to leave to others. So it was good to sit back and listen to Kathryn (librarian, Murdoch University), who is really into SL, do her talk of it. Her information on SL is located here. I also got to take her Avator for a test fly at the end of the day – LOL ended crashing into lake- didn’t drown but could not get out.
I really love how she started her talk with “I am really into Second Life, and I am going to explain why but I don’t necessarily expect you to share my excitement.” Which is exactly how I feel about what I do. One aspects that has me intrigued is the fact that she mentioned that under 18 are not allowed into SL, so I am interested in how VET overcomes this issue when we have classes of students composed of under and over 18s. Hopefully Sean or Jo will pop past my blog and explain (check out their great SL in Education wiki) ?
Problems with the Mobile Web
Nick Cowie did an excellent talk on the Mobile Web. Some great statistics like the fact fours phones with Internet capability are sold compared to every PC sold. Did a great demonstration of what Web Content designed for a PC looks like on a mobile device. Nick highlighted the fact that if we intend to create content for the mobile web we need to understand the difference between how people use the mobile web compared using the Internet on a PC. Without understand the fundamental differences we won’t get it right. They want “a brief, quick user experience…, just want core information with minimal content”.
- Small screen size
- Lack of QWERTY keyboard on many of the mobile devices which impacts on users ability to input information. Only 12 keys on most phones.
- Cost of access to the mobile web dependent on which company you are with (also need to look at coverage of their network since you might have a good plan but inadequate coverage)
- Hard to program for mobile web because there is so many mobile web browsers
Interesting point is Nick does not have broadband instead uses Wireless card ($50 per month 1G) which means he can access Internet wherever, whenever on his Mac.
University Projects with Industry
Tiang talked about the benefits of University software engineering students doing projects with industry groups. Getting University or TAFE students involved with some of our m-learning project may be worth considering (e.g. RFID, bar code, assessor database).
Trevor Bennett did a great talk as per usual on podcasting. If you are interested in podcasting at Edith Cowan University and how they use Profcast to record lectures on Macs check out this podcast.
Meeting people f2f was excellent and catching up with friends (thanks for coming Jenny). Really enjoyed the heated debate on “Web 2.0 does not exist” although I think other people at the restaurant didn’t. Wish I had recorded it since it was so hilarious. Looks like Frances has made some new friends (her and Gary Barber were up late last night twittering each other – obviously she was too busy to blog – at least Gary had time).
Thanks to all the sponsors that helped with the day – especially the excellent food and drinks. Was really great to see Microsoft fly Scott Barnes (Developer Evangelist) to Perth for BarCamp (although a bit concerned to see that he is into World of Warcraft), and providing drinks at the restaurant. Maybe next time Sean you could join us as well?