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June 2014

Measuring Active Engagement in Learning #ELSS14

Engaging through Lumia
Photo of @topgold by Tina Coman.

THE DUBLIN ELEARNING Summer School is in full swing, asking "What impact is digital culture having on higher education?" Along with Eugene O'Loughlin in an #ELSS14 session [1], I will explore methods of measuring active engagement among learners in early 21st century third level classrooms.

I've started pulling together some notes on how I monitor and measure active learning in my third level modules. In my own work, I often start with a teaser on social media (on Twitter, Google Plus, Audioboo or YouTube) pointing towards a deep dive into essential reading material that should be mastered before a regularly scheduled classroom session. Many of my creative multimedia modules involve a collaborative element worth academic credit as part of the continuous assessment portion of the course. I favour buidling dyanamic content with Google Docs alongside an ePub production process that leverages Dropbox and Scrivener. With a little guidance, both the Google Docs and the ePubs can help the revision process. I also use Socrative quizzes to improve learning.

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Blogging from OneNote

OneNote in Hand
Screenshot from Microsoft.

I VISITED MY OneNote collection on my laptop while learning a technique Marjolein Hoekstra shared about blogging from OneNote. I'm convinced I can accomplish this clever publishing if I had a Surface.

That's because I need to see OneNote with its full extensibility inside Windows 8. And it also appears to need a hook into Word as well.

But here's another short blog post, revising my original Lumia content and then sending directly from OneNote to the the Typepad servers. This is the kind of mobile journalism that all hacks should learn how to use.

[Hat tip to @cleverclogs.]

Recalling First Words to Son

In the Bow
Dylan with Ruth and Mia snapped on Seafari.

EACH FATHERING DAY (that's Father's Day for Americans), I think of the next potential father in our family line. That could be Dylan (seated next to his mom in the photo).

I got a little sentimental about Dylan's first words, spoken so close to Father's Day in 2011. I put them under a blog post when he was one day old and plan to put them on this blog entry as well because I want to be able to find Dylan and me talking when I search for "first words to son". At the moment, people like Simon Cowell dominate the search results and I know little guys like Dylan deserve a look-in when people use Google to discover the diversity around the idea of talking to little men for the very first time.

First Words to Son

Below the break, there's an Audioboo from Dylan proudly singing his own Happy Birthday on his third birthday.

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Our Spiderman Does Not Like Accordions


LITTLE 2YO DYLAN (pictured with his Spiderman) is not a fan of live accordion music. I 've snapped him in the live venue as evidence of the traumatic moment he endured in Kenmare.

I'm also using this blog post as an experiment on my Lumia 1520, trying to see if Internet Explorer 11 lets me upload both an image and audio to this blog post. The handset is the most capable communications device I have owned.


Download Kitchen Trauma

Reset the Net

Reset the Net
Screenshot from

IN A FACEBOOK-CENTRIC world, it's easy to forget the importance of privacy. If you expect a level of privacy, you need to take an active role with your electronic gear.



In my third level modules, I teach the principles of encrypted search, how Tor might be used by traveling journalists, secure chats online and PGP. The information pack from Reset the Net offers other considerations and it's worth your time to skim the recommendations in order to realise how you might have compromised your privacy already.