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May 2015

#redacted thoughts from an American in Ireland

Handheld video by @topgold.

I AM FASCINATED with the current tension between the private citizen Denis O'Brien and the public interest. It's an issue playing out in the Irish courts while stifled in the Irish press.

I made a short YouTube clip [1] while trying to figure out what is happening in the case of #obrienvrte. The principal players aren't supposed to talk about the issues--although the spokesmen in the RTE audio clip [2] cited below bring clarity to some of the salient points. But in light of the information vacuum that emerges, interested citizens like myself are reduced to following the flow on social media not via #redacted mainstream media. I don't think that constraint sustains the public interest and hope the Irish courts right that wrong.

RTE This Week #redacted

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Twitter Machine Runs Over #obrienvrte

I AM BEMUSED at the ridiculous situation that Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien (known as #redacted on Twitter) has created for the world to view about the way investigative journalism is conducted. James Morrissey, the spokesman for #redacted, uses Irish radio to condemn an Irish parliamentarian, Deputy Catherine Murphy, for “peddling lies” in the Dail (Irish Parliament) but listeners cannot be told what she has alleged. And I cannot tell whether Morrissey is just banging the drum for private banking rights or just earning his pay as counsel.

I am not at Ground Zero of the controversy but I have viewed a YouTube clip [1] shared after Deputy Catherine Murphy read her statements in the Dáil regarding Denis O’Brien’s (DOB's) banking arrangements with a public entry, the Irish Bank Resolution Corporation and and its special liquidator, Kieran Wallace, whose accountancy firm (KPMG) has been asked by the Government to investigate the dealings of IBRC in relation to certain transactions (including the IBRC’s role in respect of the sale of SiteServ to a company owned beneficially by #redacted).

RTE redacted

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Seeking Ideas for in-Hand Student Engagement at #edtech15

I WALKED THE HALLS of #edtech15 to find ways to enhance in-hand student engagement. I think my primary conclusion takes me back into Moodle (screenshot below).

Screenshot of @topgold's modules.


Like many other lecturers I met, I face challenges from students who want compelling reasons to truly engage with academic material. Some students already have their life goals planned and don't want to be distracted. But most are drifting, hoping some compelling vista will appear to bring them into the land of full-time employment. To entice both cohorts into making deeper dives in the academic material I create, I need to develop a compelling in-hand experience for students.

Compelling and in-Hand

Compelling in-hand experience? What does that mean? Answering that question makes me think it means determining if students want to put the Moodle icon on their home screens. And as I discovered with the three phones I carry, there's a Moodle app for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.

During an ILTA conference three  years ago, I read this article by Scott Jenson, where he walked through arguments about businesses on the internet. Most of the business dealings I have for car maintenance, home repair, or restaurants never clutter either my desktop home screen or the start screen on my Lumia. I get what I need by asking Cortana for their phone numbers or street addresses or menus. And Cortana finds that information very quickly. I couldn't be bothered with installing an app to open it and scroll for the info.

We teach web developers in our creative multimedia programme how to set up their web projects accordingly. Since people need just-in-time information because they're searching with text or voice inputs, the websites must display the information clearly and quickly.

Search. Find. Read. Forget. And don't expect the viewer to install an app. In fact, most of our students don't have room on their phones for more junk.

Course News

From my personal experience, the best place to serve news about course material is inside Facebook. This is never going to be a solution for most lecturers because of the indoctrination professionals have received to maintain distinct presences separating their personal and professional lives. But those battle lines were formed last decade and Facebook has obliterated the distinction.

If you have a pressing compulsion to distributing information about an important academic event (a deadline, an important workshop or a guest lecturer), you need to push that information out onto Facebook. It's actually good business training. Get the message ready for dissemination. Include a call for action. Watch the message share. If you need more traction, connect the course news to an event. And if you want the world to know about your excellent course, put some money behind the event through a Facebook ad.

Rethink the experience and come half way

I’d like to meet more educators who rethink the experience and expectations of students entering the 2020 workforce. These students--our current clients--should be asked if they want the icon of the academic courses they are taking on their smartphones. If they don't I will not waste my time or our IT infrastructure on something that deserves to buried. 

I do know that our students respect the way Moodle can guide them through years of progressively more challenging academic endeavours. So I'm going headlong into improving the use of Moodle, rearranging each of the five modules I teach into multimedia storytelling moments. From Auguest 2015, each module will require students to upload audio clips or still images directly from their phones into Moodle for assessment.

I'm also creating a Facebook and Google Plus Event in each module for two specific items during every semester I teach. By doing these things, I believe I will enhance the in-hand experience for students.

I’m sure there’s a lot more to discover here. I believe educators from primary to post-graduate should rethink the web they used as students and ensure the course material shared online is meaningful and relevant to a new generation of natives who never heard the sound of a modem wailing into the ether.

If we accomplish this important self-assessment, we'll be closer to offering better engagement to students who may actually dive into our course material while perusing it in-hand.

[Bernie Goldbach is the senior pilot and creative multimedia lecturer at the Limerick School of Art & Design.]

Clever OCR Workflow in OneDrive

I HAVE DISCOVERED a clever way to automatically tag and organize photos with OneDrive. The cleverness starts with a leading image containing block capital letters. Let me explain.

Photo of kids on a pig by @topgold.

Like many other people, I let all of our handsets (Apple 5C, Lumia 1020 and Xperia Z3) automatically upload photos to OneDrive. When starting a new day's activities, I often print capital letters on a hand-made clapperboard, citing the venue or activity name on the clapperboard. Most of the time, my hand-printed letters are discoverable when I search OneDrive for them five minutes after I upload them.

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Getting Started with #MyDigitalCareer

Looking ahead to #MyDigitalCareer

SOME OF OUR best creative minds will jump directly from an Ordinary Degree into the workplace. As someone who needed six years from high school to a professional career, I’m passionate about how graduates enter today's digitally-enhanced space. I personally believe most graduates need more than a college degree to do well.

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When Every Jibe Cuts Away a Little Bit of You

Sara Jo Chipps appeared in my social media flow the other day, tweeting about sexual and racist jokes in the workplace. I've saved her string of tweets as a blog post below because I have three daughters who have to navigate work centres where they might not control the demeanour of those places.

Sara writes:

"Something happens when you are the only woman on a team or you're a minority member.

"Someone on the team tells a sexist or racist joke (something they deem innocuous) and the entire team looks to you for your reaction to see if you 'are cool or not'. 

"Something that is lost on these people is that you actually have no choice. If you react to the offensive joke you are at high risk of losing your job and killing your career. You will be dubbed as 'uptight' and 'not a fun person to work with', your work will be scrutinized and every mistake will be magnified by the fact that you 'aren't a team player'.

"So you do what you have to, you laugh along. Maybe you joke back, if you want to endear yourself.

"But the consequences of this are long lasting, the jokes get worse, you lose a little of your soul each time, and you are driven either to leave or draw an arbitrary line and complain.

"Once that happens, your job is over.

"I'm in management now. One thing I appreciate is that fact that you can set a culture of that not being okay early on. I say this because even though the person on your team laughs along or "seems cool" the reality is they have no choice. I experienced this on every engineering team I was ever a part of.  I laughed along each time, and although it helped my career, it ultimately hurt me as a person.

"I'd like a world where this doesn't have to be an issue".

Sara Jo Chipps is @sjchipps on Twitter. She made @girldevelopit and is now creating @jewelbots

Big Win for Little People with Facebook's Newsfeed

WHILE HEARING MOANING from brands and marketing teams after Facebook changed its newsfeed algorithm, I noticed videos I upload to Facebook quickly ramp up to more views than I have real friends. The screenshot shows what happened on a lazy Sunday morning after I uploaded a 10-minute newsround to Facebook.

I've hyperlinked to the Facebook video but you may need to log into Facebook to see it play. There's an audio clip from below.

Sunday News from Ireland


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Starting #edsketch15 with friends

Sketch by @topgold in Moleskine.

ON THE HEELS of another ICT in Education Conference, I noticed the biggest cross-talk and sharing is happens when images or videos are shared. Knowing that behaviour, I'm going to try to upload a sketch a day onto my InsideView blog and cross-post the images into an album on Flickr.

The idea comes from Steve Mouldey in New Zealand. [1] He laid down a challenge "to share a sketch every day in May" and then use #edsketch15 when sharing on Twitter, Google+, Instagram or any other social media.

Steve cites Austin Kleon's "Show Your Work" [2] when encouraging "everyone to sketch something they have been reading, thinking about, trying out, observing, questioning, exploring, reflecting on, working on that day".

Are you up for the challenge?

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