Tuesday, 27 April 2010

emtacl10 - day 2

Starting off with a keynote by Chris Clarke of Talis:

Linking Education data - Talking about technology evolution (analogy of waves, can be disruptive). Every 10 years a wave of change in the internet? "Systems of record" in run up to year 2000, big investment, data in silos, big databases / systems like our LMS - innovative pretty much finished now. Last 10 years (web 2.0), investment in us - linking people and data, happening in the cloud. Enabling relationships.
Next up, "linked data". making the web data centric, not document centric. Making it easy to link data together (c.f. paying companies lots of money to do it). DBpedia big hub for linked data
(taking data from wikipedia). links between data sets growing exponentially.
Showing us examples - library catalogue (a linkable data set), BBC wildlife site (links created using concept of "deer" to link to external pages). Links to the idea of open data movement (showing http://data.gov.uk/). Why? There are also more smarter people outside your institution than inside (whoever you are), so why not let them do interesting stuff with it? Showing examples using government data set...
Particular example of Ordnance Survey - telling us about people being upset about paying for this data, due to public pressure, made available as open data set (cc type licence).
The real disruption here is changing peoples behaviour - still a few years off.
Now "open education". The value in education is in the relationships between educators and learners. Spend time on this, not on general content we want to use. "find, reuse, remix". MITopencourseware pionneers, more people doing this now. This first phase, next phase is what can we do with that content? http://p2pu.org/ early example of organising learning through open content. Flatworld knowledge - a commercial company - remixable textbooks, can view on demand for free, but then pay to print off that boook (or any mix of content from various books). Open High School of Utah - 1st school to use open content / have open curriculum. Finally got onto plugging TalisAspire(!), discount if you allow your content (reading lists) to be open.
The real disruption here is changing policies, changing licensing, etc.
Systems of record still important, but innovation is elsewhere. embracing linked data will allowed innovation. Challenge is changing policy more than anything else.

I attended the mobile technologies strand:

Library trailblazing, McCarthay -More about librarians playing - I like! Ryerson University, sounds similar in make up to Huddersfield Uni. Complain they are underfunded (though have more librarians than my institution!) One of there first things was SMS from the catalogue (text a catalogue entry to yourself). Asked students what they wanted to do online: Check opening hours, Book study rooms, check timetable, check borrower record, check catalogue, search for articles (as top 6).
Launched uni site and library site. Put most commonly asked for services on a new mobile site first. Quite restricted (to most desired functions and easy to do functions) rather than trying to do everything. Nice computer availability!
Also did a university wide one. Used students to do programming / graphics with librarian in charge - good idea! How may innovation prevention departments (sorry, IT depts) would allow that? Looks very much like the sort of information and display that CampusM would charge us a fortune for. Even talking about introducing location awareness into the next version...
Very impressed!

The ebook reader & the legacy of the paper book, Gasparini & Ugletveit - Talking about ebooks, e-ink, etc. Lots of example of ebook readers. Very basic introduction to them. Yawn! Move onto real books. Reading experience effected by quality of paper, ease of flicking through for navigation, can annotate (*gasp in horror*), see how far you've got, easily bookmark. Different ways of reading (active - learning? or passive - pleasure?). New ways of reading developed (hypertext, video & audio embedded in Vook, etc.). Started lending out ebook readers at Oslo, feedback included - wanting everything for their course on the reader, liking PDFs on it, found downloading difficult, impatient with time to turn a page. Seems to be a willingness to sacrifce some benefits of paper text for search functionality. Really want all their content on it to be most useful. Regular users want to do more stuff than just read books on it though!
Not convinced by their comparison of ebook with paper book, so not going to repeat them all here... Now listing guidelines that sound very much like pretty much every ebook reader I've ever heard of (search function, annotation / highlighting, etc...). Not impressed.

Developing and mobilizing the info skills for students on the move. Sheikh - Infoskills from the Open University. Have struggled with some accents this week, but I'm really finding his difficult - I may not be able to blog much about this talk, so apologies if I get anything wrong (it'll be my misunderstandings, not his presentation) :-(
Moving away from mix of print & electronic delivery (and small amount of face to face) to electronic only as much as possible. Talking about learning and teaching librarians at OU and stuff they are involved in producing - Safari, IL Toolkit, library guide, beyond Google, etc. Says they are looking at developing bite sized IL things for mobiles. Screenshots of Safari & iKnow (I've never seen iKnow - bad me! Aimed at employers). Think he's just said both are free to download. iKnow mobile looks nice and clean / spare. Have created a learning object generator tool for librarians to use - strict limits on word count per page, maximum pages, etc., to make sure mobile objects are bite size and fit nicely on mobiles.
Will be continuing to work on delivering mobile services to users, in various ways.
Sorry if I've got the wrong end of the stick about any of this - really struggled to follow accent.

Remix, repackage, deliver: A case study for the ebook platform, Tonkin (UKOLN)- Open access about the structures behind things, not just making things available.
Hard to predict consequences of making data available (this is a good thing).
Need enabling technologies - need to be simple, cheap, relatively painless. Too risky otherwise.
Early eBooks - not nice in lots of ways! Showed some nice pictures of dead ebook readers. But of course nice to read in all conditions, and low power usage. So problem is content distribution, more than how nice they are to use.
What if your work was automatically converted to eBook friendly formats? What if your computer did that for you - though licence agreements / copyright may stop you... Get metadata automatically as well?
Once you have these documents you can convert automatically, what now?
Likes putting different OS on ebook readers, though cautions against hacking devices.

Blurring the boundaries (Me!) - http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/7456


Conor Glavin Keynote is cancelled - Boo! He's really good...

After lunch sessions:

The strongest link, Goddard & Byrne - How can libraries get involved in the semantic web / open data? Use RDF to publish stuff first of all. Tools to convert library stuff to RDF (showed some...). Many popular web publisher tools come along with RDF & semantic abilities built in (Zemanta plugin for blogs?). Eprints is a natively RDF app - yay! (Our repository uses eprints...)
Why do it? smarter linking - even standard identifiers aren't particularly unique (10 & 13 digit ISBNs anyone?). Lets us link stuff together really well, so also smarter searching. Show how it can disambiguate links /relationships. Imagine enriching our content with all the lovely data out in the cloud.
Major failure of libraries is not being able to do federated searching - surely improving metadata is better than trying to present bad federated searching better? Biggest hurdle for the libraries may be issues of trust?
Big advocacy role for librarians in linked data - we're good at this stuff (cataloguers) and good at sharing, so persuade others...
Great, very popular talk (standing room only).

Thunderstorms in Hallward, Smyth - Missed the start swapping streams. Talking about "backchat" in giving presentations at the moment - says students like to see that sort of instant, constant conversation. Do "open space" presentations (got a thunderwall area in their learning commons). Emphasis on engaging with people. Lots of distractions in this sort of environment - keep talks short! Can draw in people who weren't formally attending the talk, but passing or on the periphery. Make annotations to slides as he goes along - shows up to 4 screens, i,e, 4 images at a time. Helps people ask you to move back, recap, etc, as you go on - again, encouraging interactions. Makes it easier to do non-linear presentations.
They encourage people to use meaningful images next to relevant text - visual learning.

Showed us Multi-slides - plug in to powerpoint, allows multiple projectors with familiar interface. Annotations still allowed by things like interactive whiteboards.

Manifestations - images on glass walls from the libraries special collections. Now moved onto multi-touch, would like to drag these images around with multi-touch (like seeing these sort of random ideas thrown out, librarians have the great ideas...).

Finished off with quote from a book (Sea Biscuit). Automobile shown as awful in a quote as emerging technology, but don't let that put us off experimenting and linking with researchers.

Clickers: a tool for... - Passed out Interwrite audience response handsets ("clickers") to start.
Asked us a couple of questions - seem quite new to most people. Used "clickers" to get more interaction in classes. Asked if it was just fun, or improving learning?
thought carefully about how they used them, aimed to increase reflection and discussion amongst students (one clicker per group) - trying to choose the right question types for the right situation.

Piloted with sessions on plagiarism. 97% liked to use them. Believed it enhanced activity and interaction. Motivating for staff(and students?). carefully deign the right questions for different purposes.

Pilot lesson 2 was trying to assess learning in a class (series of 3 classes?) for masters students. Found a difference in pre & post testing. Students liked it. Adjusted the focus of the series of classes depending on pre test results (good!). Question design is essential. Immediate post-test may just tell us about recall, not learning (great, most people forget this)!

Conclusions that new technology still requires good pedagogis (good to see they have their heads screwed on right).

The day finished with a sponsor presentation that I won't blog!

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