Glossy – MoLeNET

Blog of the Glossy MoLeNET Project

Plastered

Had a really good session this morning with a group of Plastering lecturers. They are keen on creating video podcasts on plastering techniques and using video for assessment.

I have lent them an Asus EeePC to experiment and pilot with (as it comes with a webcam) to see if they feel it is of use for what they want to do, or whether they want to use traditional digital video cameras.

We went through the process of capturing and converting video, putting the video on the VLE, on a PSP and on a mobile phone.

Though will have a minimal impact on the MoLeNET project, will have a much larger impact on learners next year, which is to be honest what Glossy is all about, long term impact and sustainability.

May 23, 2008 Posted by | eeepc, podcast, podcasting, staff, talk, video | Comments Off on Plastered

I liked it so much I bought the class a set…

Really nice positive outcome from two learners using the Asus EeePC as part of their course. The tutor now wants to use a whole set for the whole class for the whole of next year!

We are now seeing the impact of the Glossy project beyond the initial groups and staff as the use of mobile devices cascades through the college.

May 19, 2008 Posted by | eeepc | Comments Off on I liked it so much I bought the class a set…

Sketching on the PSP

One of the advantages of giving technology to learners is more often then not they will teach you what it can do.

We have been using PSPs (with the camera attachment) with a group of 14 year old learners. They have been using them to create stuff.

One of them today told our Alan about the effects option (something I had certainly missed, as had Alan).

One of the nice effects is the Sketch effect.

Sketching on the PSP

Now from a photography purist perspective you should really shoot in full colour and then use filters for this kind of effect.

Well that’s all nice and dandy if you have the computers (and software) to do this, but sometimes you don’t and come on let’s be honest a 1.3MP camera (which is what you have on top of the PSP) is certainly not a high end camera.

It’s actually quite an effective effect and much better than other sketch type effects or filters I have used.

Alas you can’t capture video with a sketch effect (though I am thinking if I can using a Pinnacle device we have.

Need to write a guide.

May 8, 2008 Posted by | psp, sketch | Comments Off on Sketching on the PSP

Little Linux Laptops

Engadget has a nice feature on the growth of Linux based UMPCs.Linux Ultra-Portables

ASUS set the pace with Xandros on the Eee PC, and HP has tapped Novel SuSE Linux for the 2133 Mini-Note, but whereas the Eee’s positioning has been somewhat of a loose hybrid between an adult OLPC and the Nintendo Wii’s culture of global inclusion, the HP Mini-Note has been strongly focused on reckless, immature students while acknowledging potential for senior executives that have been known to share their temperament.

It’s interesting to see how this product niche has almost appeared from nowhere and is growing rapidly.

It seems to be a product that appeals to people who already own a computer, but want a laptop (and a small laptop at that) to complement it. The advantage of these little Linux laptops as well as the small size is the small price.

I have already seen quite a few of these laptops in college, brought in by learners, so I am expecting to see more of them.

May 7, 2008 Posted by | eeepc, hp, linux, umpc | Comments Off on Little Linux Laptops

Initial learner feedback

As we roll out various deliverables of the Glossy project, we are starting to get some  feedback from the learners, both positive feedback and reservations.

The micro-laptop umpc format (we are using the Asus EeePC and the Stone UMPC) are proving very popular with learners, especially as they come with cameras.

Students are enjoying using the iPods (the classic and the touch) however as our network proxy blocks the iTunes Store, searching for podcasts is proving impossible. Once you know the podcast RSS feed then it is possible to subscribe to (and download) the podcast, but of course finding the RSS feed is difficult if you can’t search the iTunes store.

As we roll out the student wireless network, some of the learners are really pleased that they can now access the internet via their own devices. Was interested recently to see a student who had purchased their own EeePC, installed Windows XP on it and was using it with a 3G dongle from Three.

So MoLeNET is starting to have a real impact on learners and learning.

April 29, 2008 Posted by | eeepc, feedback, ipod classic, ipod touch, itunes, itunes store, learner, umpc, wifi, wireless | Comments Off on Initial learner feedback

Which would you choose, the iPod touch or the PSP?

I believe that the iPod touch has a lot of potential when it comes to mobile learning.

I think the SDK gives a whole new way of working with the iPod and Exchange intergration via ActivSync allows it to be used at an enterprise/institutional level that wasn’t possible before.

In our MoLeNET project we have a group using the iPod touch and another group using the iPod classic. If you remove the wireless aspect, the classic (or nano) is a much more flexible device. What makes the touch special is the wireless capability.

The fact you can browse the internet, use e-mail, web widgets, etc… on the iPod touch makes it much more usable for some aspects of learning than the “traditional” iPod.

My colleague Alan though mentions one failing of the iPod touch over other iPods. With the nano and the classic you can use them as USB storage devices to store files, however this is not possible with the iPod touch.

You will need to consider that the touch interface does mean the screen gets grubby pretty quickly and the included cloth will need to be used on a regular basis.

Another disadvantage is that it can’t play Flash based content.

So what about the PSP?

Well it has a bigger screen for one thing and it can play games!

I do like the PSP and at £120 is cheaper than the iPod touch.

It does not require iTunes and can be connected to a PC via a simple USB cable. With extras you can use Skype, record video and audio, and use GPS. The PSP also has built in speakers which means you don’t always have to use headphones.

However it comes with no onboard storage, so you will also need to buy a Memory Stick Duo for it. The wireless browser is okay, but nowhere near the level of usability or sophistication of the iPod touch browser.

Text entry is, well let’s just say, it’s interesting compared to other devices, it does mean that entering URLs is not easy.

The PSP can play “some” Flash based content.

So which one do I prefer?

WellI do use both on a regular basis, but for me the iPod touch wins out.

April 14, 2008 Posted by | ipod touch, psp | Comments Off on Which would you choose, the iPod touch or the PSP?

Apple Training

Had a good meeting with Alan who was totally enthused with the Apple training he undertook last week. Has raised his skill levels tremendously and his enthusiasm.

In the age of digital literacy and creativity, educators need to seek out best practice in the use of the tools available. Apple Teacher Institute offers a unique opportunity to develop the ideas you have already had about digital creativity, to see how others are using these new tools with great benefits in learning gains, and to understand the pedagogy that underpins the excitement of digital media.

On this four-day residential course, you will learn in an environment where you are given the opportunity, inspiration, space and support to be creative with like-minded colleagues. All learning on this unique course will give you a thorough background in digital media but is carried out in a relaxed and friendly manner so that newcomers to the disciplines covered will not feel intimidated.

At this event, you will investigate a range of activities that focus on different digital media.

What’s nice about what Alan learnt, was that he started thinking much more about the application to learning and learning outcomes rather than focusing on the technology and the software.

Myself and him now need to think about how we can capitalise on this and cascade the training to other staff in the college.

April 7, 2008 Posted by | apple, talk, training | Comments Off on Apple Training

Nokia N810, it’s not a phone, but can I have ten please

At a management training session on Friday I was discussing various GPS devices with the Head of School who has a responsibility for Geography.

After discussing various options, we eliminated the Acer C530 as it comes with routing software, we decided against the Nokia N95 as without a contract it costs too much and with a contract is too much hassle and decided on the Nokia N810 (it’s not a phone you know). So we are going to get ten of these devices and see how they go.

The Nokia N810 which has a wireless capability does come with GPS and mapping software, however does not come with routing software (this is an €99 extra). The Head of School specifically did not want routing software, but wants to use GPS, so the N810 is ideal.

Nokia N810, it\'s not a phone, but can I have ten please

We are also going to subscribe to Digimap which will allow us as a college to utilise digitised ordnance survey maps within the college to design learning scenarios with the Nokia N810. The Nokia N810 does come with maps, but Digimap will allow us to use Ordnance Survey maps to create learning resources to use with the Nokia N810.

April 6, 2008 Posted by | acer c530, digimap, gps, n810, n95, nokia | Comments Off on Nokia N810, it’s not a phone, but can I have ten please

Oh oh on they’ve arrived…

Well after much searching and ferreting around, our Asus EeePCs have arrived. Having been let down by one supplier, we found another source and even managed to get the 4GB black models with cameras.

Disappointed to hear that the colour versions will now not be made, as quite a few people wanted a pink one!

So far I am charging it up.

April 1, 2008 Posted by | eeepc | Comments Off on Oh oh on they’ve arrived…

ITS Meeting

Had our second ITS Glossy meeting to discuss how things are going from the technical perspective.

Wireless network is basically up and running and apart from the authentication issues it should work for the short-term.

Podcast server should be fine, but considering storage and back-up issues is more complex especially when we consider sustainability – which to me is an important part of the project.

Still having issues with securing the EeePC so have got some Stone UMPCs however these are lot more expensive than the EeePC.

March 31, 2008 Posted by | eeepc, meeting | Comments Off on ITS Meeting