Friday, August 31, 2012

(12) Week 4 Friday flicks: Communicating powerfully

Friday flicks: Inspiring learning and communicating research

This week's Friday flicks are fascinating examples of alternative approaches to two of the key roles that many of us play: communicating our research and teaching our students.

1) Making data sing

Hans Rosling is Professor of Global Health at the medical university the Karolinksa Institute in Sweden.
Hans is a passionate advocate for dispelling myths about the 'developing world' by:
1. making UN data publically available
2. communicating this data in ways that help people understand it

Hans has developed the GapMinder tool to animate data (see excellent 4 minute demo video here ).

This TED talk by Hans uses GapMinder to explore and illustrate very clearly the relationship between religion and population growth (it may surprise you).

You can download the Gapminder Desktop tool for free here.  If you encounter problems during the initial download of  Adobe Air, install Adobe Air first from this site.

2) Experiential and active learning

Continuing the theme of scientific reasoning - let's consider the extent to which our approaches to teaching are evidence based. One of the things we know from the developing field of cognitive science (and the coaching and training literature as well) is that transmission of information leads to significantly less learning than when we design learning approaches informed by cognitive science - these include practice, feedback, recall, peer instruction, surfacing and building on existing knowledge structures, self evaluation and reflection (see for example, this study reported in Science by Deslauriers, Schelew, Wieman, 2011;  and Prince, 2004).

Examples of evidence-based approaches to learning that are already being used in SENS include Team Based Learning, students active in prac classes and the use of clickers in lectures. How could we increasingly use the most effective and engaging learning methods?

This TED talk by John Hunter describes an approach to providing students with the time and experiences they need to understand and develop the skills to solve complex problems. While the students are younger than ours, the principles may be relevant.

Some questions - you may have others
Could we cede more of the control of the learning to our students?

Is there the opportunity for us to focus our efforts more on designing the conditions that allow learning to occur and new forms of understanding emerge, rather than delivering information?

Can we use this kind of scenario-based learning or game structure to engage students? make the learning visible? apply the concepts to real world problems? Build team work, negotiation, collaboration and reflection skills?

So, feel free to post your thoughts on either video in the Comments area below. Don't forget you will need to create an account with OpenID to post a comment.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

(11) Week 4: Digital security

This week we will be thinking about and improving our security online.

Digital security breaches

Recently, there have been significant security breaches such as this story published in Wired magazine of how a technology reporter had his digital identity stolen, and leaking of 6.5million LinkedIn passwords.

Step 1: Test if your LinkedIn password was leaked here.
Mine was - see below.

As our information on increasingly being stored on the cloud, Digital Security is becoming a vital 21st Century skill. Moving to the cloud means
(1) we need to use many passwords on multiple devices
(2) our data is online and easier for hackers to access

Remembering long strings of random numbers, letters and symbols is not something most humans naturally do well. In my work I observe many people set up accounts, and everyone becomes frustrated and stressed at the point of creating or recalling passwords.

So, given everyone is struggling with password management, perhaps we need a better approach?

Auditing your current level of digital security:
Step 1: Let's audit our current password management practices.

Q. Do you have any real or pronouncable words as passwords?
Q. Does your password consist of information that someone could find out about you? (I once guessed a friend's password first go - it was the name of his car - he was besotted with it!)
Q. Do you have the same password for more than one account?
Q. Do you write down passwords or record them digitally?
Q. Do you give others your password?

Just one YES means that your security is not a strong as it could be. (Sorry to be scaring you.  It's a necessary phase to build the case for change :-) I wont do it again I promise. Just this week! )

Now let's check the security of the passwords you use.

Step 2: Audit your passwords
Use this password checker How Secure Is My Password? to find out how long a computer would take to crack your password. Check a few of your passwords. (And remember that hackers have a bank of computers working for them, not just one.)

(A note to the (perhaps justifiably) paranoid among you, I am pretty sure this is not a fraudulent site collecting your passwords :-)

Step 3: Audit your own PC
See where your unencrypted passwords are cached. In Firefox, go to
Tools  - Options - Security - Saved passwords - Show passwords.
Your passwords are displayed.
 (Your passwords are stored here when you click "Save password for next time".)

So what can you do?

Solution 1: Choose and store your passwords more securely.
Choose secure passwords that are unique to each account and don't write them down.

Step 4:  Watch this brief video about good password management.

However, it is still almost impossible to remember a whole set of unique and secure passwords. So you will either need to store them securely with some kind of disguise / encryption, or upgrade to Solution 2....

Solution 2: Use a secure password manager such as LastPass.

Cost: This option takes about an hour to set up and some time to become fluent using LastPass.
Benefits: It saves a great deal of time and eliminates Password Stress. You never have to remember or enter passwords or fill in forms.  It is far more secure - passwords are iteratively encrypted thousands of times.)

It should be clear by now that most of our current password practices are not secure. However you may be having doubts that it is safe to store your passwords in one program such as a password manager. How secure is LastPass?

Read this article explaining the security offered by LastPass.  
Read this review of LastPass.

If you wish to learn how to use LastPass, continue... otherwise, you are welcome to claim your badge for this week and finish here with your new awareness and enhanced practice.

Step 5:  Download and install LastPass here

Step 6: Start using LastPass, with help from me or other LastPass users, or by referring to the instructions
- in short videos here
- or in this 13 min video 

You will need to:
- Install LastPass on your computer and onto the toolbar of each of your browsers
- Save the username and password for each new account you set up (LastPass will offer to save them for you). You may wish to select "Automatically log on" so you get straight in to the site.
- Allow LastPass to enter for you your username and password at protected sites you visit

Note: Remember to choose a very very strong password to be your LastPass password using secure methods we have looked at in this module, such as the first letter of each word of a phrase you will remember with a number and capital as well.



Congratulations, you have earned your
Week 4 badge: Digital Security! 


 Optional - Level up!

(1) Use LastPass on your mobile devices.

Purchase LastPass premium at $1 per month to download LastPass for your phone or tablet.
Here is a comparison of the free version of LastPass with the Premium version.
(Apologies for the cost. I have reviewed other Password Managers and none are as easy to use as LastPass.)
(2) Install free LastPass wallet (iPhone) to store Password information, credit card details etc.
Here are Android user instructions for the mobile version of LastPass.

(3) Advanced users may wish to explore two factor authentication to protect your passwords.

Susie's availability

I am on leave from Sept 3 - 7, but please book in to see me this Friday 31st September, or in the week of Sept 10th  for assistance with LastPass or any other issue. And in the meantime, draw on your Personal Learning Network - there are others around who may be able to assist!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

(10) Week 3 Friday flick: MOOCs

Week 3 review:
Hopefully in week 3 you enhanced your use of your mobile device and have found and shared some tips and new apps that make life a little easier. Thanks to all for suggesting more apps. I am collating these resources and will share them in a SENS Dropbox resource that we can add to as we go along. 

Thanks also to those requesting more Android information - we will harvest the knowledge that exists in the SENS Android users and provide that as well.

Project blog 
You will notice a few changes to our Project blog:
1) Comments
People are starting to comment at the bottom of the blog. #Brilliant!
From a personal point of view, your comments give me feedback on the impact of what I have written, whether it resonates with your, and your alternative or additional perspectives. Blog comments also build a connection between the author and readers, and between readers. This reader contribution and interaction is a feature of Web 2.0, and it allows more democratic participation in the construction of knowledge, and the exchange and enhancement of ideas.

2) Blog roll
I have added a blog roll on the right called Blogs of interest
A blog roll is a list of links to other people's blogs. This is a very common widget you can add to your blog that links your readers to other blogs of interest. You will see some of the blogs I have linked to are by members of our own community, which is fantastic. As we progress along the 12 weeks and move into the final Digital Literacy skill where you will be earning your Creator badge in a range of ways, some of you may wish to set up a blog. Blogging is a terrific way for staff (and students?) to crystallise our ideas, show our early work in an area, and ask for input from others. Many academics find blogging a useful way of sharing ideas a little more regularly than journal publishing process allows!

Friday Flick

This week we will explore the rapidly growing phenomenon of MOOCs - Massive Online Open Courses. MOOCs are online courses that are usually free, unaccredited and have no prerequisites. Consequently, these courses are often undertaken by huge numbers of students.

While many institutions have offered free online learning for some time (iTunesU, MIT OpenCourseWare) MOOCs have been the focus of much attention during 2012. 

There are two models of MOOCs (outlined in this paper in the Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning):
(1) Connectivist MOOCs: these were originally developed by Canadians including George Siemens who has curated a collection of articles on MOOCs using Diigo here.

(2) Contemporary MOOCs: In 2012 there has been an explosion of MOOCs provided by elite universities in the United States including
Coursera: courses designed and taught by award winning teachers at Stanford University, and now in collaboration with 37 other universities. For example, this course on Health Policy and the Affordable Health Care Act
- Edx: a collaboration between Harvard, MIT and now also the University of Berkeley, California.

The huge enrolments in MOOCs leads to some interesting effects such as students translating the courses into many different languages, developing learning communities and providing resources to support each other's learning. MOOCs advocates cite their potential to democratise learning at a global level, and provide more rich, connected and personalised learning experiences (see video below in Task 1).

While these courses are not currently accredited, institutions are exploring means of providing some verification of students' completion - Udacity has just added the ability to print off a Certificate of Completion. In addition, while the main service that institutions are providing - education - is free, there are business models developing. Udacity sold their database listing the names of the 1000 highest performing students of 160 000 enrolled in a course on Artificial Intelligence to recruitment agencies.

Task 1: Watch this 2 minute video about Edx.

What are the challenges and issues with MOOCs?
There are significant questions being posed about MOOCs. These include:
- the quality of the learning experience (sometimes just videos and Multiple Choice Questions)
- the lack of interaction between instructor and students
- the validity of any certificate of achievement, and
- the significance of MOOCs for universities such as Deakin.
This article explores some of these issues.

What are the opportunities afforded by MOOCs? 
Deakin and SENS in particular are already providing rich online learning experiences that complement students' classroom, lab and placement experiences.  Our programs generally rely on face to face learning experiences. So, what do MOOCs mean for us, or our potential students?

(Read this article first in The Conversation about the opportunities MOOCs may have for Universities.)

Community engagement: Could MOOCs provide a way to engage our communities around key issues?

Bridging program: Could MOOCs provide a useful way to prepare and select passionate and capable students who are not otherwise eligible for entry to Deakin via traditional pathways?

Course Content: With the dramatic increase in high quality information available on the internet and particularly the Open Educational Resources movement, the role of the university is changing from one of providing content to designing and facilitating learning. Will course content or learning experiences from MOOCs be included in our programs?

Learning analytics: MOOCs (and in fact any learning experience with online tasks and a dashboard) allow the systemic collection of data to support the personalisation of learning, monitor students' learning progress and address their difficulties in real time. This is very different to traditional university teaching and assessment practices that generally identify students' lack of engagement, learning, progress or mastery when it is too late to address. See ECAR report on Learning Analytics in Higher Education.

Task 2: Watch the video below of the TED talk by Daphne Koller about Coursera and make a comment about your thoughts under this blog post. You will need to register with blogger or OpenID to obtain an identity to comment (this prevents spam).

Open Educational Resources links:

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

(9) Week 3 Part 2: Mobile apps and programs

Useful apps for iPhone, iPad and Android smart phones and tablets

[a big thank you to Brendan H, Jacquie T  and Tim C for their Android app recommendations! ]  

Ok, part 2 of going mobile - we will install some useful apps that will make life easier, more efficient and more connected. 


Step 1: Choose your level and your mission!

This task is customised... so choose your degree of difficulty based on your current experience level 
- Not yet mobile
- Newbie 
- Medium 
- Experienced :-)
(This is something we could do more in our teaching I think.)

If you are not yet mobile, and saying: "What's a smartphone or tablet?"
Task: Book in to borrow my iPad :-)
(A smartphone is a phone that can connect to the internet. There are the phones made by Apple (iPhones) and they use the iOS operating system. The other main type of smart phones run on the Android operating system. 
A tablet is the general term for iPads and other similar devices like the Galaxy.)

Are you a Newbie mobile device user - "just got my phone/tablet"?
Mission: Install and have a play with 3-5 of the apps below that interest you
Support: ask me or someone from one of the two groups below to sit with you (to reduce anxiety and uncertainty at the beginning, reduce frustration during the process, and ensure you experience success at the end!)

Are you a medium user of your smart phone or tablet?
Mission: Install 6-10 of the apps below that interest you, and post a comment below or tweet your favourite
Support: ask for help from me or others if you get stuck to reduce frustration and ensure you experience success

Are you an experienced user of your smartphone or tablet?
Mission: Install all the apps you want, but definitely include one of the Advanced tools at the bottom of the page
Offer support: Add your recommended apps as a comment under the blog post, tweet your favourite, and look out for others who may need a hand or celebrate their achievement. 
Support: ask me if you get stuck or need further challenges!

Step 2:
Open this web page in your smartphone and/or tablet so you can tap on the links for the appropriate device. (Type in and go to Week 3 part 2).

Step 3: Read through this list, and install the apps that interest you.
Voice Assistant
Increasingly, our devices are becoming hands-free digital assistants - understanding what we say to them, allowing us to do less typing and tapping, and completing tasks for us.

ANDROID Voice Assistant
Skyvi for Android (Free)

Siri for Apple iOS - already installed

If you have an iPad 3 or iPhone 4S or 5, you have Siri - the voice activated intelligent personal assistant
Here is the Apple Siri FAQ webpage.
To use Siri:
(1) Press and hold down the Home button for 2 seconds to turn it on.
(2) You will see the silver Siri button appear - purple swirling around it indicates Siri is listening.
(3) Ask a question or give an instruction. There is no need to tap the silver button when you have finished your question, as Siri senses you have finished automatically.
If you ask Siri "what can you do?" a list of possible commands and tasks appears.

You can issue a whole range of instructions or ask questions such as
"What is the weather tomorrow?"
"Find all the emails from Jasmine yesterday"
"Send a text to Anthony saying I will see him tomorrow"
"What is 137 times 53?"
"Where is the nearest Thai restaurant?"
"Set my alarm for 6am tomorrow"
"Create a new meeting with Peter at 11am tomorrow"

If you have an iPad 3 or iPhone 4S or 5, you can dictate your emails and notes rather than type them using the iPad or iPhone keyboard.
To dictate:
(1) Open an email and tap Reply as you normally would.
(2) Tap the microphone button in the bottom row of the keyboard, and dictate your email.
You can also speak punctuation. For example, say all of this including the italics:
"Dear Mary comma new paragraph 
Thank you for sending through your draft full stop Here is my feedback full stop new paragraph 
Regards comma Susie full stop"

Personal Trainer app
Runkeeper - Android and  iPhone  ***excellent app ***

Dropbox (for iPad and Android) is free storage in the cloud - this means you can access your files on any computer, smartphone or tablet such as iPad

Simple notes tool:
Notes - this app is already on your phone. You can easily take notes then email them at the end of the meeting.

More advanced note tools:
Notes plus for iPad
Evernote for iPad and   Android

PDF readers
Adobe Reader

GoodReader for iPad $5.49
iAnnotate  for iPad $5.49
iAnnotate for Android
Read eBooks

Bluefire reader for iPad
Bluefire reader for Android
iBooks for iPad
Here are some alternatives to the iBooks apps for Android

Genius scan: scan receipts, documents and email them to yourself
(note you can also just photograph it with your smart phone or tablet and email the photo to yourself)
Genius scan for iPhone and iPad
Genius scan for Android

 Twitter client: Tweetdeck

Desktop version for your computer
iPhone / iPad   

Voice recorders Voice memos - this app is already on your iPhone
Audio memos for iPhone
Dragon Dictation for iPad and iPhone
Quickvoice for iPhone and iPad, Android
Dropvox - iPhone and iPad (puts recording automatically in Dropbox)

Tramtracker for iPhone and iPad
Tramhunter for Android
SmartPark - iPhone and iPad, Android (find your car, parking meter alarm)

BusinessShopping list apps: Hungry for Android, Shop Shop for iPhone and iPad
AusPost for iPhone and iPad, AusPost for Android
Domain for iPad (Real estate search)
Urbanspoon restaurant finder: iPad, Android
Media Consumption
TED talks for iPad and iPhone 
TED talks for Android 
TED is a site with amazing 15 minute video talks by passionate smart people trying to improve the world.

Flipboard and Zite are amazing apps that present in a beautiful format free content from newspapers from all over the world and from magazines such as Scientific American. 

Flipboard for iPhone and iPad (click the + to add content)
Flipboard for Android
Zite for iPhone and iPad
Zite for Android
Books: iBooks - and read loads of free classics no longer in copyright
Books: Amazon website: buy print books, or the Kindle version and read them instantly on your iPad
Internet radio: TuneIn for iPad, Android
Television: iView for iPad (ABC catch up tv) Android app is coming apparently.
Education: iTunesU
Music: Shazam for iPad, Android - identify the song playing on your radio or at a restaurant **magic**

Weatherzone for iPhone and iPad and Android

Wolfram Alpha: iPad and iPhone $1.99, Android  $4.00 **genius**
Scientific Calculator: iPad and iPhone,  Android
Calculess: iPad, scientific calculator with nested expressions
Google earth: iPad, Android

e-Anatomy: iPad, Android
and many many more in your discipline to discover

Flashlight: iPhone3 and 4iPhone4, Android
Compass: iPad, Android
Timer:  iPad, Android
Google translate: iPad and iPhone, Android

AstronomyStarWalk: iPad $5.49 **beautiful** Sky map for Android 

Drawsomething for iPad and iPhone, Android
Words with friends; iPhone and iPadAndroid

*** Advanced tools ***

1. If this then that: This web site (not an app) allows you to integrate your social media sites with a set of rules

2. Vyclone: collaborative video creation and sharing

3. QRReader for iPad, Android:

Download the app. Scan QR codes using your camera. Try this one to the left :-)
You can create your own QR codes here

And for those who still like looking things up on manuals, you can find the Apple manuals here
Step 4: Now you have downloaded and played with some new apps, share your views with your personal learning network... so, post a comment below or tweet which one you like the most. Or you may wish to write about others you recommend.

Great stuff!
You can now proudly attach your Week 3 badge :)
and check if your neighbour needs a hand...

Thanks everyone :)