I have downloaded the LibX toolbar and will see how I get on with it.

I already have the delicious toolbar though I tend not to use it and it is currently hidden to save space on my browser.

I have the Facebook toolbar which allows me to quickly get to Facebook and also set status updates from my FireFox browser, see if I have any new messages, quick links, and a quick way to add photos to Facebook.  I can also quickly see everybody’s status updates at a glance without logging into Facebook.

We looked at the use of games and virtual worlds in learning.  Our hands on practical session using second life was interesting but prone to technical problems – most of the group could not get into the Imperial College area so my avatar did not interact with many people.  We could have done with a longer session to allow us to mimic the medical students, I didn’t have time to register and start treating a patient.   I did manage to open virtual folders and see course timetables though.  I ran out of time to customise my avatar too.  Maybe we should all have pre registered before the practical session had started?

I could see this technology being useful for remote or distance learning students as long as their PC can cope (plus they will need broadband) as it allows them to interact with each other visually instead of just text based media.

This week’s activites covered the use of mobile technologies in higher education.  I personally don’t access the web via my mobile phone as the screen is too small.  I did coincidentally have free access to facebook on my mobile this week so I went online and had a look at it.  I found it to be not worth the hassle, it takes ages to type anything and you can only see a tiny portion of the screen.  I do have a netbook which is a much better ‘mobile’ technology and the internet access there is tied into my mobile phone account.  I do make use of text alerts for tube delays so this aspect is quite good and as the articles for this week’s activites showed, libraries send out text messages for books that are overdue etc.

I tried the hands on activity of uploading a photo to my blog but my mobile wouldn’t send it to my email address and I’ve lost the cable to attach it to a computer.

The second activity involves researching one of the areas discussed in the Learning 2.0 blog.  I will write that up in a later blog post.

This week’s activities involved using wikis, specifically Wepaint.  I did try this last year but couldn’t think of much to put on the wiki.  See last year’s blog at https://karenaitken.wordpress.com/2008/08/01/week-2-wikis/.  This year there is more structure to the wiki activity and I can add or amend things.  Sadly my group don’t seem to have added much yet so am not able to use the discussion threads there.  I have posted some comments and will see if anyone adds replies.

Editing text is easily done and you can see all previous versions.  I’m not sure if I will get informed about a change to my edit yet – don’t see where to watch the page.  This is a feature quite easy to spot on Confluence, the wiki used by Acquisitions and Access team.

I added a video to the video gallery and it was very easy to do when using a youtube clip.  However, I don’t seem to be able to make mine the featured video.   It seems that is a privelege for site moderators rather than mere contributors 😦   The layout of the video pages doesn’t seem very good to me, I would prefer to see the video comments closer to where the video is.

We had a lecture from John Conway, Learning Technologist at Imperial. He showed us how multimedia is used in higher education – I’m quite envious of the technology available to today’s students.

He showed us how lectures can be videotaped and put online with embedded links so that the students can skip to the parts that they are interested in.  The videos can be uploaded to the VLE to be watched whenever it suits the students.  Further links can be embedded in recorded lectures that will take the student to further information about a topic.
We learned that a series of lectures can be made available via RSS/podcasts.  Apparently this will become very useful if there is a Swine flu pandemic according to the article about how universities are preparing for Swine flu – see http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/jul/23/universities-prepare-emergency-swine-flu-plans
The videos can have subtitles added for hearing impaired students and also a student can zoom in on one particular area of the video if they are visually impaired.
We saw a virtual oscilloscope that students can practice on before they are let loose on the real thing so this technology can be used to to demonstrate any kind of lab equipment before students are allowed to use the real thing.

A copy of John’s slides are at this link  http://www.slideshare.net/learning20/multimedia-in-higher-education

I covered some of this in the course last year e.g. subscribing to podcasts via iTunes.   Same with searching for videos on YouTube and Google. See last year’s post at https://karenaitken.wordpress.com/2008/10/01/week-7-podcasts-and-multimedia/

I did find it useful to search YouTube when researching holiday activities and accommodation.  I would recommend watching a clip as well as reading a review.   See below for one of this week’s tasks – embedding a YouTube clip into my blog entry.

Another part of this week’s tasks is to add audio to our blog post so here is the latest Imperial podcast…

Imperial podcast July09

There are various online lectures available at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/media/onlinelectures.

This week’s activities revolved around using Facebook and Twitter.  I have been using Facebook for some time so have actually already done the suggested activities eg I set up a group to coordinate a trip to Japan with friends which stopped ideas about where to visit being buried in emails (plus you can add photos there).  I like using Facebook to share photos and have  21 albums so far.  Also there are some very good applications which I have mentioned in the learning 2.0 group page on Facebook.

I set up a Twitter account last year but didn’t really use it much throughout the year.  I made more of an effort this year and followed some more people and started sending a few tweets.  However, I am still not a fan.  I followed Jenny, one of our Learning 2.0 trainers who was tweeting from a conference.  I would rather see a conference update in a blog instead of random little sentences popping up in my firefox browser which make it really hard to follow what is going on.  I think Twitter is fine for people/organisations that want to send out a message to the public but for individuals it seems better to use the status updates on Facebook.

Have had a go at the optional activity of adding photos to Flickr. I hadn’t used it before, I have only ever put my photos up on Facebook. I decided to try it out as I really need to back up all my photos and only a few of my photos are on facebook.  Once I got past all the registering and setting up an account I downloaded a photo uploader tool to my desktop. I have a lot of digital photos so I will add them to Flickr in stages. I have uploaded all of my 2004 ones so far.
I quite like Flickr as you can decide who sees each picture, eg only you, only family, only friends, or anybody. I have created sets for my photos eg Crete 2004. I have added some tags eg butterfly. As I have a lot of retrospective tagging, I will only tag the public ones and the others will go into a relevant set.

I covered social bookmarking last year.  See my post https://karenaitken.wordpress.com/2008/08/22/week-5-social-bookmarking-and-tagging/

Over the last year, I did find myself adding items to del.icio.us when I was using Firefox browser.  I have never found the add-on to work properly when using Internet Explorer.  I didn’t use the imperial del.icio.us account at all.  I had another look at it and browsed some of the bookmarks relating to Flickr as that would be relevant to this weeks activities.

I plan to to upload my digital photos to Flickr and tag them.  I need to do this from home as that is where my photos are.

Week 2 has covered RSS and personalised homepages.  I covered this last year so see https://karenaitken.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/week-3-rss/ for my previous comments.

I really liked using Google Reader for my RSS feeds.  I use it nearly every day.  As the feeds are via my Google account, I can access them anywhere so I have set up both work feeds and leisure feeds.  I can also set it to check webpages that don’t provide RSS feeds automatically.

Personalised homepages were also briefly covered last year see https://karenaitken.wordpress.com/2008/08/29/week-6-online-applications-and-tools/ and my opinion on them hasn’t changed.  I never used the personalised page that I set up over the last year.  At work, I have 3 tabs set as my homepage and I prefer this to a personalised homepage.  Also, I can quickly access frequently used websites via shortcut icons on my toolbar.