Why is Science Important?

I came across an article in The Guardian Science Blog just now, which lead me on to the Why is science important? site. And I immediately wanted to share it. But I wasn’t sure where it should go, in this my general blog or SpottyBlueBanana my blog for bringing useful stuff to parents to help educate their children. I’m tempted to put it in both, because it is so useful.

Thanks to Alom Shaha, a science teacher, for an inspirational piece of work.

Why is Science Important? video link.



Integrated Presentation

So you’re doing a presentation and you think that it’d be useful to make the content available afterwards. Well you can put the slides online. Job done. But does that give attendees at the presentation enough? What about people who come upon it in the future?

Well we’ve got technology available now that allows us to record more. (In fact we’ve had that capability for a long time; pre-digital and pre-web, it was just harder to do for most people.) But now it’s easy to do. Surely having your dialogue will make the content of that presentation a whole lot more useful, immediately and into the future. Therefore when you get up to speak record it with some kind of digital recorder; be that an mp3 player with a mic, a phone, an ipod, whatever gives a decent quality recording. Now you can tie the two together. The easiest way is at Slideshare. There you can host your slides and add your mp3 file (with position markers) to re-marry the slides with the audio commentary.

But we can go further. Set up a video camcorder somewhere nearby or have a colleague in the audience with one. By the end you’ve got a video record of the presentation. Now you can put that up on a video hosting site, YouTube being the best known, but there are others which might suit your needs better. That’s okay as it goes, but what about the slides. We’ll there are free online facilities that enable you to put the video and slides together, a good example being VCASMO.


Your video plays alongside your slides, which is rather useful for a demonstration.

Of course, there are other presentation alternatives, some of which I’ve previously written about here. And another one I need to do some work on being Prezi.

Community – Comments by Nancy White

I came across these comment by Nancy White, thanks to Robin Good, in which she talks about Communities; how to nurture them, what community members are looking for, issues of trust and digital identity. I thought they were well worth sharing.

Nurturing Community

Keeping communities going

People socializing

Losing community trust

Digital Identity issues

Stock photos

So you need some photos and you haven’t taken any suitable pictures yourself. Well there are some sites where you can download stock photos for free or very cheap per item.

  • Freerange – you just been to register for the service and then you have access to thousands of high-resolution photos.
  • Freedigitalphotos – has a catalogue of photos nicely categorised. You can download small images for free, and pay for larger ones.

And them there are the user upload sites. The most well known is Flickr. You need to check the licence agreement the photographer has applied to the photos; if a suitable Creative Commons licence has been granted then you can use the photo, as long as you attribute appropriately.

Use the best lectures and add value elsewhere

I came across this video today. It’s by José A. Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts. What José has to say aligns exactly with what I was saying at a recent forum to discuss the uses and implications of new technology, read/write web, and collaboration in lecturing within higher education. Whilst I don’t necessarily agree with removing computers from the lecture theatre, I certain agree with using the open educational resources, including lecture series’ provided by Stanford, Berkeley, Princeton, Yale, Harvard or MIT, and using podcasts to present lecture material. Why not use the best lecture material available? Students can access this material at any time. The added value of universities is the interaction with faculty; and this time could be increased by reducing the ‘pushing’ of lecture material. It’s said that students value face-to-face interactions with faculty; is a 50 minute lecture really that useful an interaction, or do they actually want more challenging discussion?