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Showing posts from July, 2012

11 Days in July - Google Power Searching

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I started the Google Power Searching course 11 days ago - and just now took the test at the end (passed - getting a certificate!), which was quite tough and did manage to reinforce much of the stuff I'd been learning. I really enjoyed the challenge of taking the course, which was at quite a hectic pace, but it was really well organised and the course host has a fabulous relaxed style of presentation that was very easy to sit through. All in all, a fantastically enjoyable learning experience that will serve me well in all the searches I do from now on. There was an extra 'question' at the end that didn't count to my score, but a nice idea for feedback - choose the five mose useful or exciting things you've studied - mine were:
Use Google Books to help verify a particular type of answerWhat matters in a query (word order does, but not capitalization or most punctuation)WhoIsSearch by Imagesite: Unfortunately, registration is now closed for the course. However, altho…

Record from your WebCam

For some reason (a really dull one to do with updating systems etc) I found myself with the wrong kind of software for making a simple webcam recording yesterday. So, I played around for a while with one of the industry standard pro recording tools, which would have easily helped me make a fabulous picture in picture video of my screen, a PowerPoint presentation and me all together - but I could not find a straightforward way to just record me talking to the webcam (that isn't to say it's not there, but that it wasn't obvious). So, I looked around a couple of forums and somebody suggested Debut, which is free to download for non-commercial use...
...and it's brilliant! I was overjoyed after trying to get the bells and whistles software to do something simple for me and this is simply - install, open, talk to the camera, save - oh, joy!

On top of which, as I just wanted to clip the end off the video, I clicked on 'edit' and it downloaded a really nice (again fr…

Coursera - now, that's disruption!

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A couple of years ago, Katrina A. Meyer wrote about The Role of Disruptive Technology in the Future of Higher Education and said that "Disruption takes upsetting the status quo, focusing on student-centered learning, changing relationships, sharpening our insight, and designing instruction to increase learning and lower costs." Have a look at Coursera and see if you think these six criteria apply - I think they do.

I especially believe that this beautifully designed and well-supported MOOC might well signal the beginning of the end of nightmarishly large and evidentially inneffective lectures, as Universities really start to see the possibilities of using academics' time in much more fruitful one-to-one and small group settings. And I love that Coursera are deadly serious about peer asssessment - I absolutely agree (not everybody does) with Coursera's Daphne Koller that if students are provided with clear enough criteria, they are just as capable of applying those …

The brain and learning

Great post over at Learner Centered Teaching discussing our human survival need for control over our actions and environment and how this impacts on the learning process - where the point is made that the student who feels no control over the learning process may exert their control by not taking part... after which, a number of very pertinent questions are asked about 'who controls the learning process in your classroom?':
Who sets the curriculum? Who designs the learning outcomes?Who designs the learning environment?Who set the attendance, late work or late for class policies?Who chooses the textbook?Who sets the pace of learning?Who determines what feedback is given?Who determines the grading system?Who determines how information will be taught? Is the answer to any of these questions the students?

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Power Searching with Google

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I'm taking this excellent Google course that helps us to use Google to full advantage - learning how google works to become a better searcher. The course is broken up into six different classes, each with a set of lessons which begin with a short video. There are also activities to practice and test understanding. Being able to find knowledge more efficiently, saving time on every activity that we do (online - although note that some of this doesn't apply on tablets)... for instance, I've just done lesson two in class one and I had NO IDEA that it is possible to filter images by colour (sic) - white background is of course very useful for repurposing images. Colour also implies context - so using the 'black and white' filter will return mainly old photos or diagrams (which usually have white backgrounds). File under REALLY useful!
Sign up to the course here: http://www.google.com/insidesearch/landing/powersearching.html

Try a new pdf reader

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I've been having 'issues' with adobe reader for quite a while now, including installation problems with upgrades and so on. Frankly, I just don't like using it. Today I wanted to make some notes and comments and use a highlighter on a pdf and I was annoyed that I couldn't - why not? It may be that adobe reader x works in this way... but I'm just having trouble installing it, as I say! So, a quick Google search brought me to Foxit Reader, which is a revelation - it's fast, light and with a pleasant interface - it also lets me make notes and comments, highlight areas, open multiple pdfs in tabs - I'm sure there's more, but that'll do me for now. If something works it just works and I thought I'd share it with you.
Download Foxit Here

Creating Videos for Business

Linda Sedloff Orton from http://www.intelligentvideosolutions.com has written an excellent article entitled Tips for Creating Business Videos That Customers Will Watch. I’ve used it to help make this video and I’ve added a few extra notes about the process here, mingling Linda’s thoughts with some of my own (trusting she’s okay with my cheek!). I would love to see comments on my video, how it might be improved – it is completely diy because that’s my philosophy, but I’m also after it being well-crafted and well-targeted so that it might encourage potential customers to engage further.
Content tell a creative story and include a call to action (‘get in touch for a free 30 minute online consultation’ – or you could simply ask people to visit your website)make it informative and clever, show what makes your company and its services distinctive. hook viewers in from the startkeep it short - 1-2 minutes (youtube is a short form content space) - note that half to three-quarters of a page of t…