Steve Boneham's blog

Helping people learn to use technology in education

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Information services and social media

As part of a session at the UCISA event ‘Using Social Media to Communicate’ I facilitated a task designed to explore attitudes to the use of social media by information services. Participants were asked to write comments about what information services should/shouldn’t do with social media and position them along a line of preference. The opinions expressed are presented here in the hope that they might be of use to services (re)considering their use of social media.


Linking the physical to digital

Presentation on linking the physical to digital with QR codes, augmented reality and NFC from the event Emerging Technology for Learning. Outlines simple ways to link physical objects to digital resources and considers the importance of the user experience when doing so in education. The talk was followed by a set of practical activities investigating the use of these technologies and a discussion around designing effective educational experiences with them.


Sweet child of mine

There are lots of great WordPress themes out there, but I always find something I’d like to change. Being open source, that’s pretty easy to do with a bit of CSS, HTML and PHP. However, when a theme is updated by the author, you risk loosing your hand-crafted customisation. That’s where child themes come in. They offer a simple, but flexible way to create a customised theme that inherits the style and function of it’s parent, but can be customised independently. And as any parent knows, their kids are always way cooler than their parents 😉

Read more... – bundles of fun (well, links)

To support a screencasting workshop I ran for Newcastle University library I wanted participants to explore and evaluate a range of screencasts. As this as a custom course, I had a bit of freedom to consider the alternatives to a page on our site. I looked at using delicious with custom tags and a diigo list, but neither offered quite what I wanted – something quick, simple, that I already used, that didn’t need registration and looked stylish. Enter bundles.


Remote podcasting training in elluminate

This posts reflects on the first full-day Netskills workshop run entirely online through Elluminate. This was a podcasting workshop adapted from an existing face-to-face event covering planning, production and publishing. In moving this course online, I wanted to provide the same practical learning experience and meet the same outcomes. This post describes how the online event was structured and supported and highlights where remote training required a significantly different approach.


Simple Augmented Reality with Aurasma

Mobile augmented reality is a rapidly emerging technology that allows a camera view of the real world to be augmented by overlaying it with information from the virtual. There are lots of apps that let you consume AR, but creating AR can still be pretty technical. The new Aurasma app lets you create some simple AR-type stuff by linking media to images using only your phone.


Zipcast: Live broadcast presentations with slideshare

A quick review of a new Slideshare feature I just tried out called Zipcasting. This lets you live broadcast your slides from within Slideshare with audio, video and chat, either publicly or with an unlimited number of invited participants via a custom URL. This looks like a lightweight, but useful, approach to remote presentation where you don’t need a fully-featured web conferencing system.


Why JISC projects should blog

Most JISC programmes require the projects they fund to setup a blog. However, it isn’t always clear to projects why this a good idea and how it will help them, the programme and the community. To help address this, we’re looking to produce a guide to blogging for JISC projects. I first want to address the ‘why?’ so that hopefully the ‘how?’ will become a little easier. I’ve summarised my initial thoughts on this here , but would welcome any that you have, so please leave a comment or get in touch.


Don’t forget your phone

Or An English phone in New York… I tend not to take much technology on holiday as it can feel like I’m still working. However, I was really impressed by how useful my phone proved, especially when our return flight was cancelled and I needed to sort out an alternative way home. This post reflects on why it will be the first thing I pack for my next holiday.


WordPress Workshop

The more I use self-hosted installs of WordPress, the more I’ve learned about how powerful, flexible and useful it is. So in my role as a trainer for JISC Netskills I’m thinking of developing a workshop to distill that experience into something that other people might benefit from. I’m aware that there are lots of great resources out there already, so see the event as a day of supported practicals where participants can install WordPress (locally), play with plugins and themes and start to explore how WordPress is put together and can be customised. I have a plan, but would love to hear if you think it’s worthwhile or how it could be improved.