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December 2013

Blind Referees and LinkedIn

My Flickr is My LinkedInLumia Screenshot by @topgold

IF COLLEGE STUDENTS expect to get meaningful endorsements from blind referees, then they should set up a LinkedIn profile and keep it updated.

Because I've more than 10 years inside the LinkedIn ecosystem, I get direct requests from recruiters, company directors and senior staff members of various organisations when they consider employing one of our graduates. In many cases, I haven't worked directly with or taught the job candidate but LinkedIn shows me on the faculty of a relevant educational institution. Sometimes I'm asked to to verify the syllabus that the candidate completed. Other times, I'm asked about the kind of group project work the student finished. I am asked to serve as a reference by prospective companies more than students ask me to list my details on their CVs.

We count on LinkedIn to help improve the opportunities our students have to complete three month periods as interns with creative companies. It's relatively straightforward for the companies involved to see the kind of academic programme I represent and to make a quick determination about the level of proficiency our students might have at various stages of their education. Thanks to LinkedIn, I can generate placement opportunities for students faster than a full-time student services staff member.

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Learned After Teaching Twitter for Seven Years

First use of a swear word on Twitter in Ireland
Screencap from Twitter in its early Irish days.

SEVEN YEARS AGO, we brought Twitter into our Tipperary college classrooms. Back then, the largest concentration of people tweeting in Ireland lived within 10 miles of each other near Clonmel.

I spent a few minutes thinking out loud about the main points I now teach when unpacking Twitter for academic credit in the Limerick School of Art & Design.

Learned While Teaching Twitter

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New Irish Third Level League Table Emerging

Chinese VisitorsPhoto of Chinese students in Tipperary by @topgold.

THE IRISH HIGHER EDUCATION AUTHORITY plans to publish "data to compare third-level bodies", explains Dick Ahlstrom in the Irish Times. "The performance of each of Ireland's third-level institutions can be compared in unprecedented detail".

The "performance-profiling system" effectively distills into another sort of league table for Irish third level institution. But that wasn't the goal of the new rating system, according to lead author Muiris O'Connor of the HEA's statistics unit. He told the Irish Times, "We felt that the best way to achieve the appropriate balance between institutional autonomy and accountability was to focus on the transparency of performance throughout the third- level education system."

One of the most popular referrer strings to my InsideView blog is for items I post about relative standings of third level institutions. Those kinds of results are based on reputational surveys, not evidential data. The HEA's new product might produce a different perspective on how various Irish third level institutions stack up against each other.

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Christmas Walkabout

Quiet Christmas
Photo by @topgold in the middle of Cashel on Christmas night.

I REMEMBER CHRISTMAS for different reasons and in 2013 it was a year of the milk walk and talk. We ran out of milk on Christmas night with a house full of 10 people so I walked three miles to get two litres at a motorway pit stop--but that isn't memorable.

Because I was on the streets after 9pm, I got to see and hear a side of rural life that I never noticed before. The streets and paths were cleaner than on any weekend. The noise level totally subdued--not a single boy racer was orbiting the town because all pubs and clubs were closed. In fact, our local McDonalds was taking drive-through orders only. And I saw a few other things.

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Christmas in Ireland

Watching Audioboo from Star
Photo of Mia listening to an Audioboo from PDX Misty snapped by @topgold with Lumia.

CHRISTMAS 2013 turned into a powerful audio affair--but looking back, Christmas Day has always been better with special sounds.

This year started with Christmas greetings from Oregon arriving in a three-minute audio clip published by extended family using Audioboo, a free social service. The day's music included a lot of seasonal tracks, some I've shared during December Audioboo moments throughout the month. I sent a three-minute Skype video to Arizona, using my phone to record the decorations around the house. And best of all, I was able to reach my 80-something mom on her cell phone and her hearing aid boosted my wind-swept voice to clear levels.

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Sketching Out a Way to Get 80 MPG

Click to see Mini Artist at WorkPhoto of Mia the artist by @topgold.

WE VISIT MINI showrooms once a month because in ten years' time our redhead wants to be driving one. She sketches a lot of them (like in this video).

Mia will open and close every door she can reach on a Mini, then crawl through every space and often snap herself into every seat. I like looking under the bonnet. The Cooper and Copper D now have new generation 1.5 litre three cylinder engines and that means the diesel's fuel rating is above 80 mpg.

I take a brochure from our local Mini dealer every time we walk the forecourt because the range of options for the car is so expansive. The 2014 hatchback (a five door Mini) will be longer, wider and taller which should mean teens won't feel like sardines. And by 2015, there will be a Mini Clubman Estate on the road. Our favourite set of wheels is the Mini Countryman and maybe our 6yo will be able to enjoy some driving time with it before the end of the next decade.

[Bernie Goldbach carries a Mini USB key in his Bihn bag.]

So Many Santas

The Most Important Man of the YearLumia photo of Santa in Clonmel snapped by @topgold.

CHRISTMAS BELONGS TO CHILDREN and this month we share seasonal joys through the eyes and ears of our six year old daughter.

I also believe Christmas belongs to those who give. That is a message underscored by RaquelG on Audioboo. I recommend her dulcet tones as a Christmas gift to you. You can subscribe to her musings by RSS or by iTunes.

RaquelG Musing about This Time of Year

As we watch the days of 2013 dissolve alongside holiday smiles, I keep my Foursquare alerts poking around my local area in search of "Santa" and found one within two miles of our daughter's primary school. Score one for the business intelligence of Foursquare.

[Uploaded on Lumia using O2-Ireland mail2blog Typepad service.]

Making a List

Writing Christmas Cards
Photo of @miarosegold by Lumia.

ONE OF THE MOST motivational features of any new tool is watching its social effects. Such it is with learning the alphabet--you get to write Christmas cards.

For the past week, I have watched our six year old try to carefully print names on envelopes and then painstakingly print her name on the back of each envelope. Her writing style is 90% accurate because only one out of every 10 of her cards has returned for being unknown to An Post.

Mia is very driven to use all the letters in the alphabet during her Christmas card addressing. In this shot, she has found the letter Z in Hazel. I think I will help her mark her result by putting pinpoints on a map and connect the points on a list.

[Photo of Mia snapped with Lumia. Blog post uploaded with O2-Ireland using Typepad mail2blog.]

Wundering and Hoping to Present at CESI

Moleskine StackPhoto of Moleskines by @topgold.

WITH THE 2014 CESI Conference firmly pressed into all of my calendars, I am hopeful that our Wundering Moleskine project will have taken hold by late February so I have something to demonstrate.

We plan to launch a set of Moleskine journals on worldwide journeys, letting them record a growing narrative both in the journals and online. Behind the scene, a team of #ictedu advocates will watch the narrative through multimedia storytelling tools and PHP code.

The pages of each Moleskine need to be cross-referenced with handheld recordings. I also expect to use little nudges behind the scenes because these kinds of community projects can easily derail.

If you want to participate, please leave @topgold a comment on the blog. Otherwise, you might enjoy watching the #wundering artifacts percolate into your Twitterstream or appear as Instagram photos.

And if you're planning to attend CESI to watch the back story in my workshop, bring a fully charged smartphone and a vivid imagination so you too can sketch a few thoughts. When the CESI workshop concludes, several special digital artifacts will enter the flow and display on big screens in the May "Global Voices" conference at LIT-Thurles.

[Bernie Goldbach is on the organising team of the May 2014 ICT in Education Conference in Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland.]

Notes for Perfect Pasta

Enjoying spaghetti and calzonesPhoto of Spaghetti Carbonara by @topgold.

I LISTEN TO Wholesome Ireland sharing ideas from her kitchen and my ears perk up whenever she shares tips on pasta. I hope everyone using our kitchen takes her cooking advice on board.

For each 100g of pasta, you really need to use one litre of water and 7g of salt. I have sea salt directly to the left of our hob for this important task.

I don't think you should put your pasta into the pot until the water is boiling. And you should put the salt into the pot after the water boils. I've watched sea salt causes spots on the bottom of pans when it sits in cold water prior to boiling. And don't put oil into the water.

Never cool pasta in cold water. I think it's best to let the pasta cool down at room temperature.

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