Monday, January 22, 2007

Tipsy Clock

This is absolute genius!

Ever find yourself just those few minutes late for a meeting? Missed a train because you thought you'd make just one more call? Or just congenitally always late?

The Procrastinator's Clock shows the time with up to 15 minutes error. In other words it might be on time or up to 15 minutes fast.

Result? Not knowing how fast it is you use it as the correct time ensuring that, at worst, you are on time or, at best, 15 minutes early for everything.

Now all I need is a utility to hide my watch. :-)

Truism Time

I've been deep in writing mode recently and it's not been going as quickly or easily as I'd have liked. Stupid problems crept in, the flow was poor and the overall concepts did not come through as well as they should have.

An enforced break over the weekend (looking at wardrobes if you're interested!) gave me time to reflect on the problems and devise a strategy.

As is often the case the answer is blindingly obvious. I hadn't planned.

In my efforts to just get things done I had neglected rule one and had sat down at my computer and started typing. That may be OK for a blog entry but it causes endless problems with any piece of writing over a page.

Other recent writing has followed the same path

  1. Think about the goals
  2. Mind-map the topics
  3. Research anything I am not immediately comfortable with
  4. Repeat until happy

Then, and only then, had I started writing.

The latest set of notes had followed another path entirely

  1. Sit down
  2. Write
  3. Hope

This is not as effective as the first method!

The annoying thing is that I know this. The idea of planning something beforehand is not new. I had been careful to do it every other time. The difference here was time. Under pressure to get something done I had disregarded every piece of good practise and hoped for the best. My mum would have told me "More haste, less speed". As someone who's careful to avoid cliche I wouldn't say that. But she's still right.

Monday, January 15, 2007


As you can see from the previous post I find the easiest way to update this blog is from right inside Firefox using Performancing.

This add-on allow me to compose my messages, add links, format and so on without leaving my browser environment.

If Writely (now Google Docs) ever gets a bit quicker I may never leave my browser again.

This week I have been mostly Winking.

On of the (many) difficulties with on-line teaching materials is the lack of interactivity. There is no way to immediately give feedback or explanations.

The only way around this is for two-way video links between tutors and students (meaning that the learning needs to be synchronous rather than the more desirable asynchronous mode).

A way of obviating the need for feedback is for as much demonstration material to be available on-line as possible. This requires some way of showing exactly what is happening on the screen.

The best tool I've yet found for this is Wink. Wink is a screen recorder with a built-in editor. When complete the screen grab can be augmented with sound (or text or titles or...) and the finished movie saved as a Flash format file suitable for viewing in most browsers.

This great freeware tool has saved me loads of time and is truly remarkable.

Highly recommended.

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Assessment 2.0 - the future of assessment?

Bobby over at the Scottish Education blog has written a paper about the future of assessment.

I don't agree with everything written there but it's definitely worth reading the paper.

And we're back...

As is all too common for many people I've been too busy creating e-learning to write about creating e-learning.

While this has undoubtedly not bothered you too much it has not helped me. The act of writing about what I'm doing makes a big difference in my approach. The reflection required to write semi-coherently about what I'm doing and the mistakes that simply committing my words to (electronic) paper reveal are definitely more helful to me than the two people that actually read this blog.

So, I'm back and I'm committing to updating. You have been warned. :-)

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