What did you do today?

For a long time now, I’ve taken a Photo a day – since Jan 1st, 2011. I’ve only missed 1 day since – that said, if you have seen them, and have followed them on Flickr, you’ll perhaps have spotted that taking photos is one thing. Uploading them, another …

So, when during the week, I spotted a tweet from Ben Werdmuller, which lead to details of his latest project, Recording Life on the Ground  – it struck a cord. I’ve known of Elgg, his first major project, for a long time now; it impressed me when I first came across it.

This blog originally started out in Blogger (I think) and, when I started to investigate the possibility of linking WebCT and Elgg I moved my blog to Elgg. Sadly, we didn’t get the two linked, nor did I get Elgg set up at Portsmouth, but I did get those MScELT students who started in 2006 to use Elgg on what was then Elgg.Net

I’d never quite got into Known in the same way, though I have experimented with it. However, Ben’s latest project, designed to tie in with the current pandemic, is simple, but a good way to find out what people are actually doing.

Ben’s latest project, “Recording Life on the Ground” It’s based around a set of questions – he’d originally thought of 10, but 4 was the general consensus  – that’s not too onerous, but enough to get depth.

I’m looking forward to seeing the software, though of course there’s nothing to stop me answering those very questions here.

1: What did you do today?

I worked – mostly setting up exam modules for staff, but that wasn’t only it.

2. What did you enjoy?

The chatting – albeit on video, to members of the team; we had a few laughs, it was informal, but we got things done.

3. What did you find difficult? 

A very bizarre set of dates – one of my spreadsheets managed to have UK dates in one column – and US in another! Go figure! (Actually, I think it was because one column had decided to default to US dates, and the other had been left as a text column).

4. What has changed?

The weather 🙁 It’s finally broken. We’ve had a lot of sun. Today, it’s the last day of April, and finally the april showers arrived.


Blogging, and other tools generally…

I’ve started looking through various bookmarked pages; an interesting co-incidence that when I thought I’d try to look at a range of aspects of Blogging in HE, I found that WordPress now offers the ability to use an online creator at WordPress.com to write for a self hosted blog. Not sure I’d bother in the future, but useful to test it now!

So, blogging. Where do I start? Well, where did I start? August 2004; that was just before we started teaching a unit that was going to require students to blog, so I thought I’d better have a go myself. I wasn’t entirely sure, as I’ve never been a great writer, but I got going. Over the years my blogging has waxed and waned, I’ve taken to twitter , then as we started to move students at Portsmouth into Google Apps for Education, so Google+  seemed more relevant. (This is a general one, I lost the Portsmouth one when I left). There were other tools in between times, many of which stopped offering freely hosted services (anyone else used to use Elgg?), or didn’t work for long enough to really get students to use them (Google Wave anyone?)

Today, there are so many different options – recently, I’ve had Known mentioned to me; what I’d not realised is that it’s developed by Ben Werdmuller – who’d co-founded Elgg (which I’d liked a lot at the time).

I’ve just read another story covering the changes in tools used – other than Facebook, I’d say I’ve tried most of those, either for myself, or with students. Some I’ve stuck to, some I’ve drifted from. When I left Portsmouth, I realised the problems with having material tied up in a particular domain. Moving this blog was easy – WordPress makes it so. Extracting all my contacts from Google Apps far less so. I created a “takeout” – but it’s not going to be easy to get it all back into my current account. I am starting to do it manually. Guess this is where it all adds up to a PLE. (Or, given that these are mostly things designed to work with others, a PLN).

[Oh, and not sure I’d bother using WordPress.com to create posts in the future, though it is a very clean looking interface]