Tag Archives: jj, Default

Editorial more power to your iPad⤴

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A quick test

I am posting this from the editorial an interesting iOS app.

Editorial is a plain text editor for the iPad with powerful automation tools and a beautiful inline preview for writing Markdown

I've only made a few quick tests with the app but it looks like it will be of interest with folk who like scripting. Editorial has a python based automation system with which users can use and build workflows. You edit these workflow in the app itself.

Although I know no python I managed to edit the publish to metaweblogapi workflow to work with this pivotx blog. I also managed to import and configure the FTP image upload script

I am writing this post in markdown and hoping my blog understands it or that the publish script converts to html first. Update I needed to add conver to html to the workflow. This was simple.

It looks like there are plenty of workflows to install and much for the tinkerer to play with.

My own use of the iPad has changed over time and I am not sure this is for me. I mainly use my iPad for browsing, reading RSS (and posting findings to tumblr & twitter), social media, note taking , email and some light image and video editing. I've a few workflow type things that I do in Drafts but that is about it. I'll probably poke around in Editorial and see how it goes. I guess you can't have enough choice in ways to post to a blog.

#glowscot wikis⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display » John's World Wide Wall Display

Aloe polyphylla Schönland ex Pillans Counterclockwise Spiral by brewbooks
Attribution-ShareAlike License

As mentioned in the previous post we are gathering requirements for a new wiki service in glow.

The current wiki solution, mindtouch is now no longer supported so we need a different flavour of wiki going forward. This is a great opportunity to think about how wikis can be used in learning.

We would like to hear from as many Scottish educators and learners with views on wikis. As part of this process we have put up a short survey and invite anyone interested to respond. If you are involved in Scottish education, a potential glow user, please take a few minutes to fill in the survey. This is a real chance to affect the future of Glow.

I would of course be happy to chat or otherwise communicate about wikis. If you would like to get in touch via a comment here, a tweet to @johnjohnston or with the #glowscot tag or any other method of communication. If you are not interested in wikis, but know someone who is, please pass this on.

Life in Links 2014-02-10⤴

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Some things I've Pinboard: bookmarked over the last week.

iPad Playflow at #TMTablet⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display » John's World Wide Wall Display

I went along to the High School of Glasgow this evening for TeachMeet Tablet 2. Work and traffic conspired to make me pretty late and I had missed the first set of presentations, arriving in time for the round tables.

At the last minute I had volunteered to organise one of these, on workflow, handing out work and gathering it in on iPads. I demoed showbie and we had a chat about some edge cases and how these could work.

After that we had some more presentations:

Sally Foster talked about using one iPad in class, with more ideas than I could take notes for. I liked, in particular, the idea of a the teacher moving round the classroom and showing pupil work on the smartboard via Apple TV (you could use a computer and AirServer too).

Paul Casey showed some apps for teacher workflow, Planbook, Gradebook, HanDBase, and iBooks (and Author). All of these apps look as if they can help with teacher planning and organisation.

Both Sally's and Paul's presentations were of interest to anyone with an iPad, you didn't need to be in a 1-2-1 classroom to get some great ideas.

David Muir then started what looks like a long term view, over several teachmeets at the SAMR moodle. Using iBooks he too us from substitution to augmentation, demoing some nice features of the iBooks app an a few minutes.

My own presentation was the last. I was showing an example of using several different apps in a row do preform a task. I've found myself often doing this in iOS and noticed in classroom visits that primary pupils seem to pick this up naturally, more so perhaps than with traditional desktops.

I've sen this referred to as app smashing or chaining, I prefer the idea of a playflow, having fun with a series of applications. (I do not want to smash or chain anything up;-)). Here is a quick and dirty screencast of the process I demoed, the only difference was at teachmeet I recorded an audience produced series of croaks as an audio track to the final movie.

Here is the process.

  1. Starting in Safari, use morguefile.com to find a copyright free photo.
  2. Save to Photo Library/Camera Roll
  3. Use superimpose to save a 'mask' with a transparent background.
  4. Saved To Photo Library
  5. Explain Everything: Import background then add image with transparent background. Create recording of image moving across background.
  6. Export movie to Photo Library.
  7. Open in iMovie for further editing.
I was delighted to see this tweet linking to a video today, showing I had at least a little impact:

Watch the #TMTablet tweets for the next teachmeet tablet.

Glow should be at the trailing edge?⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display » John's World Wide Wall Display


A little blue sky thinking.

For the last few weeks I've been kicking the tyres of the new MS 365 glow. It is not without its teething problems, although these do seem to be getting found and fixed. Education Scotland seem confident that everything will get sorted but we have not had much indication of how long it will take.

The Glow Migration Update from Bill Maxwell, hints that the Local Authorities can take their time moving into 365 and new services will be rolling out:

This means authorities will be able to ensure, that together, we create the best possible experiences for Glow users, matched to their users’ needs.
The services and applications required to support this will be rolled out in partnership with local authorities. This will include the opportunity for any blogs, wikis and other services which local authorities want further time to consider to be uploaded.

There is a lot of work being done in getting the 365 site to work well for education, designing ways to aggregate content and build learner experiences. The one interesting place in the new glow so far is the LearnCat site, which is full of activities,

Scottish learners - you can learn to create, make, build, bake, grow, collect, code, tell stories ......and more
This is exciting stuff. It is hard to tell how this will work out until we have a lot of learners in the 365 glow, but to me, the concept looks great.

I think the main problem with the old glow and the new 365 service is its size, a bit of a behemoth, hard to change and adapt to particular circumstances. A lighter weight and more flexible solution might suit conceprs like learncat better?

Domain of One’s Own: Notes from the Trailing Edge

Yesterday I watch the video of this presentation at TEDx Sagrado Corazón by Jim Groom, who has blogged his slides and text: Domain of One’s Own: Notes from the Trailing Edge.

I think there are some great ideas for taking glow forward in the way Bill Maxwell wants:

we create the best possible experiences for Glow users, matched to their users’ needs.
The services and applications required to support this will be rolled out
(My selection from the Quote from Mr Maxwell above).

Jim says,

A forward thinking IT infrastructure (which would be fairly loose, fast, and cheap using open standards of syndication) would work to connect these various individuals into a network, creating serendipitous connections that taken together reflect the rich tapestry of who the people are that make up any institution.
Jim discussed the idea of giving users, flexible webhosting in a domain of their own. Jim linked to Jon Udell's post, MOOCs need to be user innovation toolkits where Jon writes:
There’s a reason I keep finding novel uses for these trailing-edge technologies. I see them not as closed products and services, but rather as toolkits that invite their users to adapt and extend them. In Democratizing Innovation, Eric von Hippel calls such things “user innovation toolkits” — products or services that, while being used for their intended purposes, also enable their users to express unanticipated intents and find ways to realize them.
Jim goes on to say:
This is exactly what UMW’s Domain of One’s Own is philosophically grounded in. Giving every student, staff, and faculty their own User Innovation Toolkit so that they can fully understand the principles of the web. Interrogate its limits, and extend its possibilities.
Jim then links to A Personal Cyberinfrastructure where Gardner Campbell writes,
To build a cyberinfrastructure that scales without stiflling innovation, that is self-supporting without being isolated or fatally idiosyncratic, we must start with the individual learners. Those of us who work with students must guide them to build their own personal cyberinfrastructures, to embark on their own web odysseys. And yes, we must be ready to receive their guidance as well.

What if....

The quotes above are from folk working in tertiary education, I am wondering if they could be adapted to schools. What if

  • Glow gave every learner and teacher in Scotland a domain. (Perhaps not at nursery, start with training wheels, at a certain point the wheels are taken off, 13 or 16 maybe). The domain could be kept for life. When a learner left full time education they could take their domain with them.
  • Glow added simple webhosting to it services for every user.
  • Folk could use something like c-panel to start up a new blog/wiki/eportfolio/whatever.
  • Glow was therefore open to using old tools in new ways.
  • This part of glow would not be one large application but lots of small ones that can be linked and aggregated in lots of ways.

Sounds a bit like glew.org.uk, it is a lot like Glew with even less centrality.

It does not preclude using 365, google docs or anything else. This would be a service that users would use their glow authentication to logon to.

I do not think this would need to be expensive. By using trailing edge technology, that is used all over the internet, this could be started fairly simply and grow if there was a demand.

Give teachers and learners in Scotland the opportunity to innovate. Much of the innovation in online education has not come from new applications, but teachers finding ways to use old ones in innovative and creative ways.

The argument in the current glow for not being able to add plugins or update the software for blogs (for example) was security and stability. By adopting standard webhosting, these problems would be to a large extent negated. Most webhosts can handle users doing daft things without the whole thing falling over. (I say this, not because I understand webhosting, but because I've done a few daft things as a customer). Taking things even further how would something like OpenShift, where it takes minutes to get a cloud application up and running, fit.

Why Not Just use the 'real' web

It has been suggested a few times that Scotland gives up glow, and teachers can choose to use any existing services on the internet. This might be fine if we all had access to use these services and they met with national and local security and data protection needs. As things stand we do not and there is not a level playing field across Scotland.

What Then...

Who knows, the field would be open. Just thinking about blogs and RSS (and I don't think of a lot else), I've blogged ideas for using blogs and aggregating them a few times:

I've no real idea of how easy it would be to set up authenticated web and domain hosting for a whole nation, but give the time and money that has been put into glow as a large central service, it might not cost too much to provide a structure for a lightweight loosely joined corner of the web for Scottish learners and teachers?

Might it be that by being at the trailing edge, using tried and tested tools, thatost and risk might be low, but provide platforms for teachers and learners to innovate?

Interesting Stuff 2013-10-18⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display » John's World Wide Wall Display

CAS Scotland Conference

Charlie Love points to the CAS Scotland Conference, I am looking forward to going along.

the details of the amazing speakers and workshops we have lined up for the Computing At School Scotland conference on Saturday 26th October.  This event isn’t just for secondary Computing Teachers. Those with an interest in technology and primary practitioners who want some support and ideas around technology and computing science are especially welcome.

It’s not too late to sign up!  Go to http://casscot13.eventbrite.co.uk/ to get your ticket.  If you have already signed up then please tell your colleagues in other schools in your area  - please spread the word about this great event.

from: CAS Scotland Conference speakers and workshops | Pedagoo.org

On Computing Education - The Windows Movie Maker Problem

Scottish, 14 year old pupil, Ross Penman gives his view on the state of computing education:

But what shocked me was the techniques being taught to create the web pages.

<font>, <big>, and <small>* tags, the align, border, and bgcolor attributes, jump links using <a name="">, embedding Windows directory paths in links to images, and, worst of all, the dreaded tables for layout.

We thought all of these techniques died out in 2001, but they are still being taught!

from: On Computing Education - The Windows Movie Maker Problem | Ross Penman


: OPEN SCOTLAND - Promoting the development and adoption of open education policies and practices in Scotland. #openscot


This works, although my colleague Ian who tested it with me suggested it was a solution in search of a problem, I am wondering if it could be used in learning?

TogetherJS is a free, open source JavaScript library by Mozilla that adds collaboration features and tools to your website. By adding TogetherJS to your site, your users can help each other out on a website in real time!
from: Mozilla Labs : TogetherJS via Doug Belshaw

TeachMeet Tablet 2⤴

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TeachMeet Tablet 2


An informal FREE conference about tablets in teaching and learning.

Tuesday 29 October 2013 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm with a meal afterwards for those who are interested.

Library in The High School of Glasgow, 637 Crow Road, Glasgow, G13 1PL

TeachMeets are teacher organised conferences/un-conferences.

Anyone interested in education can come along, the atmosphere is informal.

They are usually good fun.

The focus of this one is tablets in the classroom (ie iPads and the like).

You can sign up to come along, do a 7 minute presentation, a 2 minute nano presentation, lead a round table or just watch.

There are several different ways to sign up.

you can sign up to come along or present on the TM Tablet 2 wiki page

or via a google form.

or on eventbrite page.

Recent Finds and Fun 2013-09-30⤴

from @ John's World Wide Wall Display » John's World Wide Wall Display

Mozilla Webmaker

Webmaker moz

Mozilla Webmaker seems to have improved a lot since I last looked. In Doug Belshaw's Things I Learned This Week newsletter, recently, he pointed out that thimble now supported JavaScript, I went over to lok and found that the site now lists your productions: Search - for johnjohnston. I knocked up a couple of quick JavaScript examples: 5Dogs & flipcard, the later being an old one.


OpenShift by Red Hat, this is pretty amazing:

OpenShift Online is Red Hat's public cloud application development and hosting platform that automates the provisioning, management and scaling of applications so that you can focus on writing the code for your business, startup, or next big idea.

What that means is you can easily and cheaply (first 3 free), set up websites with applications. It is pretty geeky for a teacher but there are plenty of instructions, and they work.

I gave it a quick test last week and managed to get a 'server' up and running with etherpad is short order: Etherpad Lite. Not sure what I'll use that for, but I can delete it and start something else if I get to the max of 3 apps.

Openshif wp map

Slightly more useful, on an email list I am on someone asked how, using iPads, could a set of pupils construct a resource with a map and pins with images, text and video. I though this could be done with Wordpress a plugin and google maps. OpenShift allowed me to test this very quickly:

  1. Set Up a new app
  2. Installed Wordpress
  3. Added the MyGeoposition plugin
  4. Added some posts and used the plugin interface to add positions to these posts.
  5. Knocked up a quick google maps page to display the blogs RSS, which now had geo info.
  6. Added that to the blog
Here is the blog and the map.

OpenShift made it practical to turn a bit of simple blue-sky thinking into reality.

I am not suggesting that everyone should dive over to openshift and start playing. You need a slight friendship with the terminal, at least have heard of ssh and git (I've used ssh a we bit setting up the piratebox and a raspberryPi, heard of git). If you do, the possibilities for trying things out are wide open.

e-Assessment Scotland 13⤴

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On Friday I went to this conference in the University of Dundee. David and I were invited to broadcast and record audio from some of the speakers and others at the conference.

There was a pretty packed programme which is continuing online (I'll be trying to make the ds106 one. I only attended the keynotes as I was busy recording during other sessions. The atmosphere was great, folk from all sectors talking and sharing.

It was a great privilege to get access to the folk I talked to for Radio EDUtalk. As usual I am surprised at how generous folks are with their time and ideas. Lynn Boyle, @boyledsweetie did all the hard work of organising folk to come and talk to me. We also arranged to have a couple of people plus myself for each session, this makes, I believe, for a more interesting conversation.

I enjoyed and learned a great deal from the keynotes, although my notes are mostly single words to remind myself of questions to ask the presenters when we broadcast. I'll not blog much about these, but you can see Catherine Cronin's slide deck. She kicked off the topic of working in the open which was certainly a theme of my conversations throughout the day. Helen Keegan's keynote was mind-blowing: getting her students involved in an ARG without their knowledge.

I've now posted all the archive audio at EDUtalk with the tag easc13, if you find it half as interesting as I did you are in for a treat.

My other treat was to be able to have a great chat and dinner with David Noble, my edutalk partner and regular contributor Ian Field.

Not being in the classroom I was able to take a holiday to visit the conference. Many classroom teachers would have found it of great value too, if they could have attended. We know that many teachers are happy to give up a day holiday to attend cpd (we hare run well attended summer courses for the past 3 years), it is a pity that class committed teachers could not have a 'cpd day, get out of class free' card to be able to attend events like this. e-Assessment Scotland was a free conference and wonderfully organised.

Show Your Badges⤴

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I've blogged a fair bit about badges but still am conflicted about their value in the classroom. Perhaps because I've not used them in anger. Doug Belshaw when talking at the SQA assessment event last month, lit a wee lightbulb, he said something like: Badges from you community to show others, that is it for me, it is the community that issues the badge that is important. I love my talktina badge badge as I value the community that issued it.

Anyway yesterday I had a quick play with the Displayer API · mozilla/openbadges Wiki · GitHub and came up with a wee page that produces a script that will display a public collection from your open badges Mozilla Backpack

Show My Badges

More an effort to improve my baby steps JavaScript than anything else, this might be of use until something more professional comes long. screenshot