Monday, 24 March 2008

Windows Live Writer

Just noticed this. There's a blog tool in Windows Live which may or may not be particular useful - I'll try it out and see how it compares to this or tumblr etc. later - but what may be useful is the Windows Live Writer which allows composition of stuff off-line and then updates when you do connect.

As someone who has a decidedly dodgy connection these days, this could save a lot of bad language.

Friday, 21 March 2008

Kids in America

"In fact, one of the saddest but most common conditions in elementary school computer labs (when they exist in the developing world), is the children are being trained to use Word, Excel and PowerPoint. I consider that criminal, because children should be making things, communicating, exploring, sharing,not running office automation tools."
Nicholas Negroponte, Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab

So there is someone else who thinks like I do! Lots more at

In particular, I like the list of what Will Richardson, widely recognized as one of America's most progressive educational thinkers, believes 'kids' need to be now:

+ Networked–They’ll need an “outboard brain.”
+ More collaborative–They are going to need to work closely with people to co-create information.
+ More globally aware–Those collaborators may be anywhere in the world.
+ Less dependent on paper–Right now, we are still paper training our kids.
+ More active–In just about every sense of the word. Physically. Socially. Politically.
+ Fluent in creating and consuming hypertext–Basic reading and writing skills will not suffice.
+ More connected–To their communities, to their environments, to the world.
+ Editors of information–Something we should have been teaching them all along but is even more important now.

That'll be a challenge for many tutors too!

Thursday, 6 March 2008

SkyDrive and pbwiki2.0

Just as I thought I'd finished getting a few examples ready for a short talk at a VLE Forum tomorrow, along come a couple of e-mails about Microsoft's new SkyDrive and pbwiki offer me a nice version of their new wiki2.0 to play with!

SkyDrive offers 5GB of free space on-line and is part of the fetching new Windows Live display design from where you can access other things like Hotmail if you must. Not only does it look good but it also seems to work well. You can upload simply, especially if you use IE7 which allows drag and drop of lots of files at once (but not a folder, apparently).

You can create folders and basically recreate your My Documents if you wish (although if you include My Pictures and My Videos I guess you'll need more than 5GB!) You can also set folders as private, to be shared with specific people or open to the public. In the shared option you can also grant editing rights if you wish.

This is some web tool from Big Blue and could provide a ready-made alternative to lost USB drives if rolled out across an institution. The proximity of the hotmail button could be a pain, though, and don't expect much by way of images as it's a strictly icon and small print area at the moment.

You can view my Public Folder via the link above. Surprised the embedding code doesn't included some personalisation but maybe it's still early days.

Pbwiki 2.0 looks like a long-awaited make-over of this so easy to use publishing and sharing area. It's too early to comment on the changes in any detail but I've spotted a few things I like already. One problem has been the invasion of space of the sidebar which now can be pushed to one side. It's also more obvious how that important section can be edited. The big change is in the availability of a range of colours and a custom option. They were never particularly hot on designs and creating your own was really only for the experts so this new approach is good news.

My first efforts are under the name iline. Feel free to comment and watch as I make mistakes.