Archive for May, 2010

Ah, the ageless Bloom

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

After many years of watching the industry I have finally figured out the path to Educational stardom. 
First restate the bloody obvious, repackage it by adding some obscure terminology then slap a new name on it – preferably something that will look good on the title of a book or publication.   Tee up a conference or two (try to get on the organising committee)  and ‘Bob’s your uncle”.
The problem with this plethora of theories is they cloud the real issues for the day to day teachers.

To be honest, if you want the biggest bang for your buck, go read Bloom, then have a serious look at what you’re doing, then fix it.

If you don’t know Bloom (or haven’t looked at him for a while) have a look at this reworking of Blooms taxonomy into a wheel. 

How does the traditional based lecture/exam model fit into this?


Bloom's Taxonomy as a wheel

Bloom's Taxonomy as a wheel

Includes categories (purple), key words (orange) and suggested activities (blue/green). / CC BY-SA 2.0
I nicked this from Doug Belshaws blog .  (I found it via Stephen Downes news feed) .
While we’re on the subject, which do you like the sound of more, “The Nichol Method” or “Nichol’s theory of learning”.   I’m sure I can nick something from Knowles without too many people noticing.

Facebook settings – You don’t know me, but I can see your daughter in a Bikini

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Using Facebook is becoming a bit tricky.   What the business called Facebook thinks you should share about yourself and what you think you should share about yourself are likely to be very different. 

The headline example is a real one.  A relative posted his travel pics on Facebook,  Other people he met on his travels also tagged him in their photos. One of these tagged photos was of a rarely visited South American ruin.  Clicking on this photo took me to the photographers Facebook album where I saw more great photos of this rare ruin, but included in the same album were photos of her family, her cat, her drunken farewell party, and pictures of her and her friends sunbaking.  Maybe she is happy about this, maybe not.

If you are on Facebook check your settings. 
If you don’t know how to do this – learn – now ( if you are a Monash AccFin staff member call me).

Usually I tell people using social media sites to lock down as much personal identifying information as possible.  Leave just enough to do the job (whatever that might be).

With Facebook it might be a good idea to not just limit but remove any non-essential information altogether, particularly if you use any of the novelty Facebook applications (like Farmville, Send a Drink etc) that require you to share your profile information.  

The other problem with Facebook is it’s not just you.  You might need to have a word with your friends about what they put up about you and how it’s shared from their site

Here are a couple of other things you can do when dealing with non-essesntial and/or non work related sites (Obviously there are legitimate reasons for sites to request information eg when you buy stuff online,  but that’s not I am refering to here).

  • If you need to provide an email address, create a gmail account and use that – not your home or work email. If possible make this gmail account the only contact for anything non essential.
  • Unless you are getting something delivered or mailed, don’t provide an address.  If I have to enter an address I use something like a government office or tourist attraction.
  • If they make me give a date of birth I usually use something like 01/01/1900
  • Don’t provide a phone number – if they must contact you by phone use a work number, not your home number, and definitely not your mobile.

I’m not saying don’t use Facebook or don’t engage with online communities and business, I’m saying be aware of what you’re sharing  and what the implications are.  If you are happy having it all out there for all to see, and are prepared for the spam that will result that’ s fine, but don’t assume your friends are as open.  

Sites like Facebook are not benign or static.  They are businesses looking to make a buck.  

If you have kids there are other reasons to be a bit careful.  Have a look at this then have a chat with them about how to set their (and your) privacy setting.

Android vs the IPAD

Monday, May 10th, 2010

Will Android based tablets kill off the IPAD?  Or will tablets all die off because no one can find a good use for them?

I don’t know, but I expect Android Tablets to be competitive.  There main disadvantage is also their main advantage – they’re not Apples.

Android based tablets probably won’t look quite as good, they probably won’t do the very simple things quite as easily, and the marketing certainly won’t be as hip and cool.  Most importantly, they won’t have the Apple halo and the Apple hype. 

But why are Android devices worth a look?

  • Android has an apps store too.
  • The apps are not limited to products that don’t compete with Apple or Steve Jobs view of the world.
  • Android handles Flash apps (and there are thousands of Flash developers out there). 
  • The apps are more likely to be open source – which (based on history) will result in more  free education apps. 
  • You will able to load the apps onto your PC or Netbook, (making them more accessible to more of your students) .
  • Based on everything we know about Apple they will be cheaper.

So if you really want a tablet, and can come with reason why you might need one, choose wisely.

Dell targets the IPAD

Moby Table – $99 US textbook alternative.

 That’s enough about hardware for now.  It’s pretty clear that a range of cheap options will appear.  I think it’s time to start looking at what we’re going to put on them.  I’m currently having a play with some eText software and having a look at some of the free digital texts – I’ll let you know what I find out.