Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Weblogs Birthday

According to Wikipedia, the phrase "weblog" will celebrate its 10th birthday on 17th December 2007.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Have Blogs had their day?

There are some really good articles here about Social Networking in general.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Video of the week (or should I say 'month' given the infrequency of my postings)

Quiet time and assimilation

Quiet Time and Assimilation

Our students have returned from Reading Week, but surprisingly enough, very few of them have done any reading! I also reflected on my own practice over the past few weeks. In the space of a few weeks, I have downloaded hundreds of journal articles which might prove 'useful' in my daily work. On checking my My Documents folder, I had amassed gigabytes of articles; all with very fancy titles but have read none of it!! Today therefore, in one session, I decided to concentrate on analysing two quality articles (critique, compare and contrast). We sat around a large table, didn't switch on any computers; and generally had a face to face chat. Students then had some time out to read, as well as browse the online stuff that was previously uploaded to the Virtual Learning Environment (another source of contention! Too much information - and not enough time to read, assimilate and reflect). On checking my links, I note that a similar practice exists. I continually find a useful site, send it to for use later on, and never return to that source. Instead, I search out new sources, bookmark those, and the cycle perpetuates. Worse still, in my browsing activities, I get lost in the myriad of web links that lead me to more interesting stuff for which I had not originally intended searching. I started off searching for web statistics on and before I knew it, I had clicked on a series of links that led me to information about hiding IP addresses and the Darker Web (which was much more interesting than the initial web statistics search. I know I ought to have studied computer forensics; but alas time is running out.)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Students' Blogs

It is always good to see students being pro-active in relation to utilising new technologies to advance their learning. Jonathan's blog at is one such example (but perhaps marketing may not be so happy about the UoC logo being used on a blog as there are strict 'rules' about what we can and cannot do with the official LOGO). Given that some of this work relates to the Internet Issues module and the Web Technologies module, it would be great if you were all happy to share your blog addresses and we could all perhaps provide feedback which may enhance their development. Let me know what you think. If staff and students from both University and Partnership schools shared their links etc, just think how much information we would generate on topics of mutual interest.
The Techie stuff - now that you have had the fun of creating your blog, try to look underneath the structure of the blog in relation to what is happening in terms of uploads, downloads, file compression, changes to HTML template, photobooth imaging for the avatar etc. Lots to think about here.

New video of the week

New video of the week comes from Teacher Tube this week.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

New Students; new courses

Web links for new modules appear on the left side of this page. Students on Programming modules may find useful stuff in the Programming, Computing, ICT, Tutorials, tags. Internet Issues and Web Technologies, use the WebTechnologies tag. For teaching and learning modules, use a range from ICT, Computing, Teaching, Learning, Pedagogy, Theories, tags. Those doing Systems and Networking modules - select the Systems tags (more on Networks next semester). Former student work such as podcasts, examples of computer based models etc will be uploaded to

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sharing Powerpoints

You need to look at where people can upload their powerpoints. It's a kind of Youtube, but for powerpoints (heaven forbid!). Search for Death by Powerpoint which is really appropriate.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pangea Day

Extracted from information on YouTube.
Here's a big idea: Pangea Day plans to use the power of film to bring the world a little closer together. We're divided by borders, race, religion, conflict... but most of all by misunderstanding and mistrust. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that -- to help people see themselves in others -- through the power of film.

On May 10, 2008 -- Pangea Day -- sites in Cairo, Dharamsala, Jerusalem, Kigali, London, New York City, Ramallah and Rio de Janeiro will be linked to produce a 4-hour program of powerful films, visionary speakers, and uplifting music. The program will be broadcast live to the world through the Internet, television, digital cinemas, and mobile phones.

Your film could be part of it. The online video revolution has helped spawn a new generation of grass-roots film-makers worldwide. Much of the output, of course, is mediocre. But hidden in there are amazing talents capable of using film to astonishing effect... and capable of telling stories that can create powerful bonds between us.

So ask yourself this. If you had the entire world's attention for just a few minutes, what story would you tell? Perhaps you think the world looks at you, your country and your culture... and just doesn't understand. Then do something about it. Make a film and upload it here You never know. It could end up bringing millions of people that bit closer together.

Pangea is the name of the original super-continent which contained all the world's land mass before the continents started splitting apart 250 million years ago. We're launching Pangea Day with the vision that the people of the world can begin to overcome their divisions, and that the power of film can help make it possible.

Movies can't change the world. But the people who watch them can.

To register as a film-maker, to get more ideas about film submissions, or to host a screening or learn how you can get involved, please visit our website at

Monday, September 10, 2007

Posts from ict and computing blog

I decided today to reduce the number of blogs and concentrate on this one. As a result, I have re-posted here, some of the stuff that was originally on from 2006. Hopefully in the next few days, I will add this year's reflections on the ICT subject booster course run by the University of Cumbria (formerly St Martin's College). As well as the stuff we offered last year (see below) we added in a day's activity on creating a podcast. As well as the obvious enjoyment factor, it struck me that the additional knowledge acquired (those difficult to grasp technical aspects such as file compression and formats; video editing; sound editing and mixing; using mixed platforms); as well as the skills of presenting and working with others went way beyond our statutory requirement of teaching a few skills.

from ict-and-computing blog Monday, November 06, 2006

Some cool stuff.
It's very hard to keep up with all this information and new cool stuff which I'd love to have time to explore. Roll on retirement! On my recent searches I came across another two new graphic search engines at and also
Added to www. and I now have a nice range of graphical search tools to utilise when searching for dull things like OSI networking model. I was quite impressed by the video at and finally, the video demonstrating the powers of is worth a look.

posted by H M Smith @ 11:57 PM 0 comments

from ict-and-computing blog Friday, September 01, 2006

Subject Booster Course

St Martin's College (ICT Education Division) won a contract from the TDA (Teacher Development Agency) to run a Subject Booster Course for students about to embark on a one year PGCE course. Prospective teachers of ICT Education were given the opportunity to attend St Martin's for 2 weeks to brush up on their I.T. subject knowledge in areas of spreadsheet, database, web design, programming, and control technology. I have to say, that I found the whole experience very enjoyable. I was responsible for the spreadsheet input. It was lovely to have this opportunity to have the time to explore many facets of the application such as macros, VBA (Visual Basic for Applications), user forms, combo boxes, spinners, option buttons, advanced graphing techniques etc. It was very rewarding to observe the pleasure that the students displayed when they succeeded in tackling some very difficult tasks. They created very colourful front end forms, attached buttons to macros and were motivated to undertake some further study. Most importantly, through all their activities across web design, databases, control technology, they realised the potential of users (their future pupils?) developing ICT capability. In the show and tell session, the students shared demonstrated some of the projects that they had completed or were works in progress. Any technical issues that arose were also developed into a further teaching point; for example - graphics taking a long time to download on their web sites instigated discussion about the need for file compression; and the differences between bit map and vector graphics. All in all, the students and tutors gained a lot from the experience and by sharing and discussing, we all learned something new from the experience. Looking forward to next year when we can develop some ideas further.

posted by H M Smith @ 11:14 PM 0 comments

from ict-and-computing blog Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Bigger Picture! – Reflection on ICT Course Design in general (February 2006)

School ICT is boring (Freedman 2006). I have just finished reading a whole selection of articles on ‘Boring ICT Lessons’ and I have to agree with the author. By concentrating on some low level skill, pupils in schools are being stultified by learning tedious tasks on how to add a page break or how to insert a graphic into a leaflet. Unfortunately, as higher education tutors on secondary teacher training courses, we have to take some of the responsibility for the product that we are sending out into schools.

Having previously taught in Scotland, I have to say that the Scottish system of acknowledging both computing and ICT concepts seems some way ahead of England. English schools have ICT, which often consists of low level publishing tasks.
I have grave concerns about the kind of teachers that are being trained for the future. Our students are familiar with the Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 curriculum and unfortunately, many of them think that all they need to do is gain the level of knowledge required to continue teaching in the same way as they had once been taught. My own personal agenda therefore, is to tackle some of this misconception and hopefully drive students to ‘think outside the box’. In today’s session, we had a lively debate about Skills versus Capability. This discussion never ceases to amaze me as someone always manages to come up with a unique viewpoint. I have even changed my own mind to a certain extent, on the role of skills based training with students. In an ideal world, all students would come into Higher education, being able to read and write succinctly; and also be able to navigate their way around an online ‘Help’ screen. Unfortunately, too often, they are unable to think for themselves and often resort to asking the tutor or another student “How do you insert a header and footer..?” or similar task
Most “web authoring” packages contain bloated tools that once created, can only be viewed with an equally bloated application to view them (Front Page and Internet Explorer spring to mind). Whilst the use of such “packages” (I won’t use the term “application”) allows students to create all singing all dancing effects on screen at little educational cost, where are the long term benefits of such an approach? Where are our designers of the future coming from? If we are perpetuating the cycle of training ‘users’ rather than ‘thinkers’ then we are doing a great disservice to our learners.
More of this rant later.

posted by H M Smith @ 10:48 AM 0 comments

Social Software

Interesting video on the use of social software

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

New Look and Ted's Talks

Hope you like the new look to this blog! I thought it was time that I tried out the updated blogger (as the previous look was from the beta version).

Today an interesting email arrived, highlighting Ted's Talks. Once you get past the blatant advertising, there are often some useful snippets that are worth watching.
Click title above to view the video.

New Stuff

It's a busy time at the moment, with marking, meetings and general madness. I haven't had a lot of time to commit to anything this week, but I came across a few useful links from the virtual teachers' site in Australia and also from a variety of other sources. Enjoy! - another Educational Blog - the Internet Dictionary - See videos of real teachers in action - Digital History - Mirandanet Presentation

Sunday, May 20, 2007

E-Learning Conference

I am delivering a hands-on session at the college's e-learning conference and started to put together all the stuff I would deliver about Blogs. It is amazing how much information is out there about Web 2.0 social software (see and how it is being used un higher education and research. There is currently a lot of talk about the arrival of Web 3.0 - the semantic web and although I would not usually advocate Wikipedia, it is worth checking out the information from if you want to find out more (also

Back to the Blog session. I will likely be asked - what is a blog anyway? - as I titled the session at Friday's conference "Create a blog from Scratch - for beginners and luddites!" I have so far come up with this list:

-A website which contains periodic chronologically ordered posts on a common webpage
-Online journals where content is arranged in reversed chronological order
-Similar to Discussion groups
-Simple content management tools enabling non-experts to build easily updatable web diaries or online journals

Used for :-

Collaborative activity
Aggregative content management
Collective intelligence of users
Repurposing/remixing online information and knowledge repositories
Online social interaction
Sharing resources, knowledge, experiences and responsibilities

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Other Perspectives.

North and South of the border

I always advocate that we are learning from each other ALL the time. It is important you get fresh ideas from other sources which may enhance your teaching. One such site is Learning Teaching Scotland (see
I often get ideas from the Australian Virtual Teacher Centre too. You can subscribe to their newsletter or download past issues form their website at

For you web developers out there, some useful summary sheets can be found at

You can also download and print the pdf version from

Tutorials online

Monday, January 01, 2007

Free podcasts

See Free Podcast link at right side of this blog.

Web 2 Technologies

Virtual Teacher –

Using the Internet in schools can be fascinating for students IF they are educated about the possible pitfalls, bias, effective ways of searching etc. Some useful links below can aid discussion:

For those of you who are still not up to date about the social use of software on the web and the use of Web 2.0 technologies, see
(plus download the free ebook- “Coming of Age” about Web 2.0 technologies from the link at the bottom right of this blog)