Monday 20 May 2013

Spreading the word: The ripple effect of Slideshare

Last week I led a Twitter Mini Masterclass at Sheffield Hallam University with my colleague Joe Field and posted my presentation slides on to Slideshare. I was thrilled to receive an email from Slideshare to say it had been selected to be featured on their home page.


Slideshare Tweets
Slideshare also tweeted a link to my presentation via @SlideShareToday and @SlideShare. At this point in time my slideshare had 196 views. 


In the space of five days my slideshare has had over 3.5k views and 29 downloads, 14 shares on Facebook, 36 via Twitter and 15 via LinkedIn. 

You can track this data on Slideshare each time you upload a presentation. (More in depth analytics are available via the Pro version). There is also space for viewers to leave comments; a very useful opportunity to receive feedback on your presentations. 

Once you have uploaded your presentation slides you can choose to share your work through your own social channels and grab the embed code to display the slide deck within your blog or website.

Steve Wheeler, Associate Professor at the University of Plymouth uses SlideShare to share his keynote presentations that he gives all over the world.  One of his most popular slideshares to date was an invited speech given at the Learning Technologies event in 2012, which has currently had over 54k views. (I would recommend following Steve on Twitter as @timbuckteeth). 

I've often thought it is a shame that conference presentations are not shared beyond the event and conference website. Using SlideShare enables access to a far wider audience and good use of tags will help viewers to find your presentations via the search facility within Slideshare. Accompanying or subsequent papers and documents can also be added as PDFs. 

I give all of my work a Creative Commons licence which means viewers can download and share with accreditation but cannot use commercially. 

I think it is suffice to say that sharing your work in this way is undoubtedly an additional and very effective way of disseminating your work. Whilst I can't expect every presentation to be featured the possibility that it might is a bonus!

Sunday 12 May 2013

The best blogs on MOOCs, cloud computing, mobile learning, social media, digital pedagogy and more.

The EdTech online magazine has recently released a list of 50 must-read higher education and IT focussed blogs covering the likes of MOOCs, cloud computing, mobile learning, social media, digital pedagogy and more. The list was chosen not by the magazine but by the readers who were asked to submit thier favourite blogs and then vote on the submissions. I recommend you take a look!

I was pleased to see a number of bloggers I follow, but especially so when I saw David Hopkins who blogs from Technology Enhanced Learning Blog and tweets as @hopkinsdavid. 

Congratulations David!

This is someone I have had both the privilege to learn from and with. His blog is both informative and inspiring, but it was through Twitter that we first developed conversations on topics of shared interest. He encouraged me to write my own blog on social media, one I had initially set up just to demo blogging to my students. 

Our paths have continued to cross and through Twitter and blogging I continue to learn from David and many other educators who are freely sharing resources and thoughts (often provoking and inviting to be challenged). Through our mutual interest of digital identity and the use of social media by students, David and I went on to plan and prepare a presentation on Digital Footprints for the annual PELeCON elearning conference in Plymouth in 2011 (an event I would recommend you keep an eye open for - Led by Steve Wheeler @timbuckteeth). 

What has become clear is that it is through social channels such as Twitter, that have enabled our learning communities to grow. Because of the sheer volume of information passing through on a daily basis, I often come upon gems that interest me via those I consider as essential members of my personal learning network. It is these signposts that help to bring posts and tweets to my attention, alongside the serendipity of simply dipping in and out of the social channels. The use of re-tweeting and sharing tools to post links of interesting and valuable information, is one of the amazing positives of social media; creating a ripple effect that reaches far beyond your immediate connections. The use of comments within blogs enable rich discussions to both learn from and debate. Very often these have introduced me to new educators, increasing my network of connections. This in turn has highlighted opportunities to join webinars and MOOCs such as #ocTEL the Open Course in Technology Enhanced Learning led by ALT the Association for Learning Technology.

Within the comments of the EdTech blog post sharing the top 50 list of higher education IT bloggers, recipients of the award paid their thanks. David Hopkins went one step further adding this in his comment:

I was thrilled to be included as one of the people David values as part of his personal learning network. I can also agree 100% with the other names he mentions, as they too are valued by myself. I have also over time had the pleasure of meeting each of these people face to face. Prior to I have followed their posts having been introduced to them virtually through my own connections. Developing conversations online meant that we had already gone though the intro stages of meeting new people, so on meeting face to face for the first time, our conversations simply continued. 

The moral of this post? Value your learning community and share their contributions with others.

Had the likes of David and many others not shared information about their own networks, mine may still have been a very much smaller community to learn with than it is now.

Saturday 11 May 2013

Light bulb moment and have seen the light: Getting Google Glass

I have to admit that for some time I have been sitting on the fence, racking my brains as to how I might find a pair useful. Would I really want to look up out of the corner of my eye to view what I could more comfortably look at on my laptop, PC, iPad or even my phone (dependent on where I was and which if these were available at the time?

This video however completely changed my view and was the catalyst for all sorts of ideas forming in my head. Physics Teacher/Glass Explorer Andrew Vanden Heuvel takes a classroom on a virtual field trip into the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

In Andrew's blog one of his reflections was:
 "It’s not about the technology.  
As an online teacher, I frequently say, “It’s not about the technology, but what you can do with it.” We have now reached an inflection point in the evolution of technology where each new advance means we see technology less and can do more with it. What a tremendously exciting time to be in education!"

I then watched the official how to guide on getting started with Google Glass. I've missed the boat to apply to be a Glass Explorer but I've put my name down to stay informed about it. 

I still have slight reservations about when and where the glasses can and can't be worn, however I guess we had similar thoughts about people using mobile phones with cameras in public spaces. The glasses allow you to take pictures and video as well as access the internet. 

A company in America put out a ban ahead of Google Glass even being released, putting this image on their Facebook page. Will others follow suit? We will just have to wait and see. At the moment we can't even buy a pair.

Friday 10 May 2013

HEA Computing Seminar: Professional Online Presence

This week I attended and presented at a seminar led by Dr Thomas Lancaster (@DrLancaster) at Birmingham City University. This was the second in a series supported by the Higher Education Academy. I was invited to present when I met Thomas at the STEM HEA Conference. Also there, was Mark Ratcliffe, HEA Discipline Lead for Computing.

The day commenced with a talk from David While on professional development with a focus on what academics need to learn about what is happening in schools. What skills will they bring in to university? Whilst ever increasingly tech savvy, are they ready to apply those social media skills in a professional context. My experience says not following numerous conversations giving guest lectures to university students on developing a professional online presence.  

Thomas then went on to provide a context for the day and proposed programme outline. His first talk was about how we should go about constructing a professional presence.

My contribution was looking at how we can develop connections using social media as part of our professional learning networks, but also looking at some things to consider in relation to the impact our digital footprint can have. 


Thomas went on to give a second presentation. The focus was on strategies that academics could use to add content to their blogs and social sites, increase the reach of their research, gain publicity and benefit from the wider possibilities afforded through social media.

The discussions there after were about how social media has opened new communication channels to people we may never have met, as well as opportunities to collaborate. For some the use of social media in a professional was still relatively new so having the time to raise questions and put in to practice some new skills was useful. 

Throughout the event participants tweeted using the hashtag #heaprofpres. To collate these tweets Thomas used Storify, providing a record of the event and reactions to it. 

This is Water

This is a very inspiring speech given by David Foster Wallace to Kenyon College's 2005 graduating class. The video below is an animated version which has had over 2 million views.

One of the key messages he tries to give to the students is this:

The value of the totally obvious...
It isn't really about the capacity to think, but rather the choice of what to think about. 
It's worth a listen and for that matter a watch. The use of the animation brings it alive.