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June 2013

May 2013

Following Links from #edtech13

An afternoon of #edtech13Bernie Goldbach snapped this shot in University College Cork.

ONE DAY in the annual ILTA Conference proved inadequate for my upskilling so I've cobbled together a list that I hope other attendees might visit to guide me into the rabbit hole of essential learning.

I sat in the largest Western Gateway Building on the campus of University College Cork and wrote notes that captured the essence of a dynamic ecosystem nurtured by the Irish Learning Technology Association (ILTA). I'm happy to hear the #edtech13 conference organisers have videos archived for rewinding and listening next week. I'll tune in for several hours of sessions that I missed.

In the meantime, if you attended the event and want to share or upvote an item that appears on my collection, please work away. I'll amend the listing below the fold as I wade through 10 hours of video content in June.

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Improving My Assessment Regime #edtech13

I SPENT THE DAY in Ireland's 13th annual EdTech Conference and took six pages of notes about improving my assessment strategy. The results will become clear in four months.

I got reinforcement for holding face-to-face interviews, something we do already in several academic modules. There's good 360 degree feedback in that practise. The real world F2F interview strips away the technology that normally wraps around most of my endeavours.

When I return to base, I'm going to write a tighter specification for the journaling we expect from our creative multimedia students. The average journal looks like it has been cobbled together in a fortnight or less, with no real evidence of reimagination.

Since the exam questions normally expect answers between 500 and 600 words, I will set up that standard for reports arising from reflection sessions and group brainstorming.

Several clever suggestions emerged during presentations and hallway discussion with the main follow-up being prompt questions that I should devise this summer.

Knowing what I do about Moodle usage and these simple assessment tactics, I suspect that several of my revised academic modules will rank among the most-visited on the Limerick Institute of Technology's VLE next December.

Sent mail2blog from my Xperia Z on O2-Ireland.


The Value of Essays

Shout to Mitch JoelBernie Goldbach in LSAD-Clonmel with an outline of an essay on a mixboard.

SOME OF MY the enjoyable and informative and thoughtful content I see every year comes in the form of student essays. That's happened again for me during the 2012-13 academic year.

Well-written essays from students cause me to reflect on essential readings and provide me 360 degree feedback on practical exercises. That kind of feedback is so critical and it will ensure the essay remains my preferred way of sharing explorations. It's also perfect for delivering dogma in numerous guises, which is another reason I keep essay questions on final exams in courses I teach.

Essay Reviews

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Apple and Corporation Tax

Apple TaxBernie Goldbach in Cashel | Cartoon by MacLeod.

THE SLOW AND MEASURED change to Irish multinational tax structures has started as the cacophony of criticism now blemishes Ireland's reputation.

While nobody believes Ireland is a money laundering State, the legal mechanisms codified by the Irish government (and others) make easy work of parking billions of dollars away from the hands of governments around the world.  [1] The current state of distressed financial balance sheets held by democracies cry out for all countries to agree to changes that would ensure easier taxation of profits earned by multinationals. Thanks to multinationals such as Apple and Google, Ireland is regarded as a tax haven. [2] Even if everything said in briefing documents about Ireland is untrue, some of the mud has stuck and that will put the Irish government on the back foot with its European task masters.

This is a major diplomatic challenge for all nations because tax policies need to remain a domestic imperative. But as investigators around the world have shown, tax codes weren't written for the age of the telegraph. In today's internet age, those calcified tax codes haven't a hope of catching up with billions of dollars monthly of corporation profits. [3] Perhaps it's time for unitary taxation.

Apple Tax

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When Teachers Rally

Running Low
Bernie Goldbach in Cashel with empty jars all around.

A GRASS ROOTS Rally happens in Dublin tomorrow to rally people behind a No Vote for a Revised CrokePark2. A promotional video explains some of the issues:

From my perspective, cuts in pay and squeezes to various allowances will continue under revised proposals articulated by the government. Some of this feels like fraudulent trading to me because the Irish government cannot hold up its part of the employment contracts negotiated over the years. If cuts happen in the public sector, many expect they will be applied by private sector employers.

Like a lot of people, I've taken a reduction of income without any major reduction in the cost of living. We still pay child care fees the equivalent of a mortgage. Petrol prices are not decreasing. The only way we can keep weekly food expenses close to their 2010 level is to cut back on meat, poultry, and branded products like sauces, nappies and cleaning materials. All the while, we must work longer hours on the job and in my case, it means the number of hours to prepare for work also increases.

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Peering into the Internet of Things

In a Kinaesthetics Seminar
In the photo, Bernie Goldbach felt inside the internet of things this past semester.

THE EMERGING Internet of Things caught up with me this acaedmic year. While simultaneously positioning myself 50 miles apart, I went beyond my Fitbit to a professional presence where I was inspired by creativity.

This September, I will deconstruct the internet of things during the Emerging Trends module on the Honours Degree programme I teach. It's a confusing space full of makers, clever startups and large corporations. And it has huge market potential.

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Biggr Fattr Flickr

New Look Flickr
Bernie Goldbach in Cashel with a new look on Flickr that many Pro users don't appreciate.

MY FLICKR PRO accounts just got more valuable. For $50 a year, I get an ad-free, retina-friendly online photo storage system for full-resolution images.

I also like getting three minutes of video, up from 90 seconds of video playback for my clips. But I'm limited to 50 MB for each image and 500 MB for each video clip. This is better than what people get with sharing sites like Facebook or Instagram, the two places that have stolen a march on Flickr since the iPhone entered the market.

It feels like Yahoo! wants me to simply convert to a free Flickr account but I can see a lot of value in the faster service while free of advertisements. Because of promotions and generous friends, I've rarely paid the full $49.99 annually for my Flickr Pro account.

There are some real advantages of staying with the Pro status, even though Flickr has removed my "Pro" badge under my image. For example, I like the stats I get with my Flickr Pro account and it is very convenient to be able to replace photos with a better image while knowing the URL of the image won't change. This has a lot of value when promoting a poster across a network of websites or when I want to change one of my images that some chancer has put on an internet property without attribution or permission.

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Improved Out-of-Office Replies

Rick O'Shea RespondsBernie Goldbach with auto-responder in Cashel. Image from a Mulleygram.

I HATE GETTING out-of-office replies and every summer, the scourge begins anew. There is a better way, suggested by Erik Qualman.

Ten minutes into his talk about "My Digital Stamp" at TEDxNashville, Erik Qualman suggests a better way to avoid inbox shock.

1. When your vacation starts, set your email's vacation auto-responder to say, "Thank you for your email. This mailbox is temporarily full. If your email is important please resend it on [Return Date]".

2. When you return, select all the emails you received while on vacation.

3. Delete.

See Erik Qualman's TEDx talk at Bernie Goldbach teaches digital etiquette to creative multimedia students in Ireland.