British Library Sound Map – Sheffield

The British Library has a project just started where the general public can record short soundscapes to be kept and archived for posterity. The pilot phase is happening right in the gorgeous city of Sheffield.

There was an article about it on BBC Radio 4’s World Tonight yesterday (listen via iPlayer from 39min42sec to 44mins) plus an article in the Sheffield Telegraph.

I spent my lunchtime recording some soundscapes in town, geo tagging and uploading them. By the time I got back to my desk they had already made it onto the British Library Sound Map.

Here’s my tweet about it. Follow the #uksm on Twitter.

Application of this concept has some great potential for education. It also shows what a multi-tool the smart phone has become.

So if you want to be a little part of history, get recording sounds to Audioboo. More details are on my previous blog post about Audioboo.


Link to the best, don’t recreate the same old stuff

I followed a link on a tweet today to Jeff Jarvis’ blog post and I’m so glad I did.

Sometimes you come across some work that strikes a chord with your own work or beliefs. This was one of those moments. In his TEDxNYED video Jeff talks about using the best resources that are available and simply linking to them, instead of reproducing them. It does mean reassessing what education is, what format it takes, after all if you can access some of the best lectures in the world online, for free, (as I wrote about here and here) what is the value of sitting through someone else delivering the same topic without any interaction?

I remember something I wrote in the Social Media Co-Lab forums:

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 07:29 Following on from Free

I think we should be tapping into what others are providing without having to repackage the material into the ‘corporate identity’ of an institution. Doing so simple seems a waste of time and effort, and doesn’t necessarily reward (not financially speaking; more citing and recognition) the original author. If we are working towards a vast educational community approach to resources, I feel we should be finding (and passing on) the best examples of material already produced, and not necessarily recreating them.

For example, I was recently passed a link to a site where someone was creating screencasts of how to use various software. The individual had won an award for this site. Fair enough, what he’s created is a good resource now, all very uniform. But it doesn’t really align with my own philosophy. Why not just create a wiki linking to the best you can find of other people’s screencasts of how to use software? It may look more different and dirty but I’d say possibly it gets learners thinking about a few things: they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).

Which received a response from Will Richardson (yes that Will Richardson):

Posted on: Fri, 11/14/2008 – 12:49 Rolling Your Own as Opposed to Rolling Others

(Or something like that…)

Just picking up on what Mark said above in terms of choosing between making yet another how to screencast or collecting the best of what’s out there and spending time reading and thinking rather than creating, I agree. I like the effects he cites in terms of

“they see that not everything useful has to come from a recognised, uniform resource; they as learners can go out and find material and they need to evaluate its credibility; they themselves can produce material to share; they can be part of the bigger community (for example, by editing the wiki linking to all these resources).”

Not that it totally relates here, but a while back on my blog I posted about the need to take photos of beautiful places we visit when we can gets tons of photos of those places already on Flickr with a CC license that would let us remix and reuse them. Now I know that I want pictures of my kids while they are actually snorkling in the Barrier Reef, etc. but I wonder sometimes why some have so much trouble with using what is already out there instead of re-creating it in yet another way.

It’s Friday, and I’m tired, so I hope that made some sense. Yes, we want our students to be creators and connectors, but we also don’t want them reinventing the wheel either.

Well, here’s Jeff’s video for you to watch yourself (watchout for the language).

Social Media Co-Lab was created by Howard Rheingold

Radio package making / podcasting

I’ve found a rich seam of informative short videos from BBC Blast that can help students in secondary and higher education with media work.

This is the first of these videos, only a couple of minutes long and presented by a professional radio producer giving some tips about radio (sound) production and interviewing. The advice applies to podcasting as well. [Always think beyond the box.]

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "Radio package part 3- howto", posted with vodpod

BBC On Top of the Digital World

At the end of last week I was too tired to actually do any research or writing so I sat back and went onto BBC iPlayer. I usually look in the factual section: it means I might take in some useful information during a time when I wouldn’t necessarily be doing anything productive. I noticed a learning sub-category and clicked on it. There were lots of programmes for younger children and then down at the bottom was ‘On Top of the Digital World‘, from the BBC Learning Zone and aimed at 11-19 year old learning. The Learning Zone runs overnight on BBC 2, so you can set up a recording and watch the information programmes at another time.

I began watching it and thought, “WOW this is so good”. Over the weekend I managed to find time to play both available episodes. I think that the format is great. The programmes are 1 hr long per episode, but there are multiple articles each lasting between about five and 10 minutes long covering topics about how young people are using and interacting in the ‘Digital World’. This material can inform all age groups, and could certainly be useful to some of my colleagues.

Episode 1 covers:

  • Cyber celeb (0 – 6mins)
  • Checking you out online – identity (6 – 11min 57sec)
  • Hey that’s mine – copyright (11min 57sec – 18min 52sec)
  • A day in the life of Jellyellie (18min 53sec – 25min 35sec)
  • Anything goes online? – good/bad information (25min 35sec – 32min 20sec)
  • Cyberbullying ( 32min 20sec – 39min 52sec)
  • Getting the message out – political campaigning (39min 53sec – 45min 25sec)
  • Cyberstalking (45min 25sec – 52min 12sec)
  • What’s the point of age rated games? (52min 12sec – 58min – 57sec)

Episode 2 covers:

  • Making money online (0min – 7min 10sec)
  • Catching the copycat – plagiarism (7min 10sec – 12min)
  • Brains behind the games (12min – 17min 54sec)
  • The past online (17min 54sec – 24min 20sec)
  • Buying and selling online (24min 20 sec – 31min 26sec)
  • When gaming takes over – gaming addiction (31min 26sec – 38min 39sec)
  • Accessibility (38min 39sec – 45min 38sec)
  • Marketing online (45min 38sec – 52min 31sec)
  • Blogging (52min 31sec – 58min 52 sec)

I don’t know how long these will be available on iPlayer (programmes usually last about a week on there), but if they are still available then they are well worth a look for any age.

Link to the On Top of the Digital World site for iPlayer.

Howard Rheingold – credibility literacy

Yesterday I clicked on a link in one of Howard Rheingold’s (@hrheingold) tweets to his latest video in which he explains about the importance of literacy in determining the quality and credibility of information on the internet mainly accessed via searches.

He draws on some footage from a presentations he has given (which was standing room only) to illuminate some of his points. He makes an interesting distinction between skills, which are an individual attribute, and literacy, which Howard describes as skills + community as it rests in the realms of social so you can participate im the community of literates.

He presents five important literacies as:

  1. Attention
  2. Participation
  3. Co-operation
  4. Critical consumption
  5. Network awareness

All of these literacies need to co-exist.

Howard makes an interesting point about child safety, comparing concerns about online safety with the higher threats that exist offline. I think this ties in to my recent  post about OnGuard Online which really centres on talking to your children holistically about online and offline activity, and your own values. Howard emphasises the important of equipping our children with the ability to think critically, and this reduces any risk in their online activity. This ability is paramount to children being able to assess more generally the quality and accuracy of the information they encounter online, and giving them the tools to filter good information from bad, as we’ve shifted from a world of critically edited material pre-publishing to one where it is the responsibility of the consumer to critically evaluate.

There are two important questions we should continually be asking:

  1. How do I ask/phrase the question; how do I ask that search engine?
  2. How do I know what I’ve found is accurate?

Howard goes on to explain about personal ‘trust’ networks, an extension of the personal learning network in which there is a trust value added. And again this is an extension of the real life scenario, where you trust your doctor more the your mate Trev down the pub to give you health advice, but Trev knows a whole lot more about football, though his financial advice is a little dodgy too.

There’s a whole lot more in this video than I could hope to describe, so I suggest just watching it for yourself.

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Internet safety – OnGuard Online

I’ve posted previously about Internet Safety and the work of CEOP in Britain. Today I came across the The information is US centric, but there is much generic advice that is also useful for the UK. There’s a list of useful topic titles, including email scams, identity theft, malware, P2P security, phishing, etc. In addition there are some useful online question based games to get you thinking about the issues on a number of areas.

However, the item I’d like to draw particular attention to is the Net Cetera: Chatting With Kids About Being Online pdf document that helps adults (parents or carers) to talk to children about their internet use. This really is packed full of useful information; the main point being openly talk to your children, explain things, listen to them, and tell them your values for on- and off-line behaviour. Quoting from the site with regard to this publication:

OnGuard Online encourages you to use this guide with your kids, in your school, at your PTA meeting, or anywhere else parents might gather. Feel free to order as many free copies as you’d like, put your own sticker on it, reprint sections in a newsletter or on a website, download a button or link to it, or even reprint it with your own logo. These materials are in the public domain.

Net Cetera

Digital Literacy

BECTA does some great stuff. School age is where digital literacy is instilled and developed, not HE.

BECTA has come up with a short guide (pdf) which explains what digital literacy is. Also, there is a Digital Literacy Planning Tool (pdf) that helps digital literacy to be incorpoated into teaching.