November 6, 2013
I’ve started an online course a Massive Open Online Course. #edcmooc Its title is E-learning and Digital Cultures and there appears to be over a hundred participants a good proportion well educated to degree level. We evaluated several videos this week and so far a lively discussion has ensued through threaded comments. (see eCollege.me).
My first comment was:
Very dangerous to give a machine total sway over the way we do things. I still see (or want to see) Technology as a tool. I don’t see it as deterministic. It is my axe head, my flint. These shaped society but did not determine it. The printing press is another technology that shaped society and its attractive to ascribe god like powers to it. It was its use that transformed society, it was not worshipped as a god. To suggest that society is technologically driven, in my view, leaves out the serendipity of the second video. We are so much more than the sum of our media.
The third video in the series is below:
My comment was as follows to what is found and what is lost thread:
While its a horrible thought in my view the little bird should have died after banging into the window (not an uncommon occurrence, The figures reported for bird strikes against windows are astonishing. It is often said that between 100 million and a billion birds die in the US each year after striking windows ref: BBC however this was done through extrapolation not fact!. ) as the natural is being sacrificed and ignored in favour of the technological. (see climate change) This is not new as city dwelling has had these problems ( lack of interaction with the natural) since inception. Seen as metaphor the natural is excluded, by choice (?) in favour of the technological; the natural has the power to interrupt the technological (e.g.bird in the machine) and the human agent is oblivious to nature until forced to react (frown) when banged in front of his face. the female has no problem with being unconnected as she has her mobile. The journey into space may provide “The Big Picture” but this does not translate into viewing the minutiae which are ignored.Digital education has no final goal where we are all digitally educated, learning is open ended. It is also a process, a very efficient one whereby we can interact quite promptly. It is interactive distance learning. What is missing? For me very little, a pint in the student union bar? Where it is so advanced is this ability to interact, a natural occurrence. Being talked to by lecturer, writing assignments and asking questions is standard fare. Seminars may work through the Google hangout? ( sorry no experience) What we have by writing here is a multi threaded argument whereby we can choose (or not), to respond.. Choice is expanded. Time is elongated. Pace is self regulated. I completed two Microsoft certified professional courses entirely online (Moodle) at my own pace. This is a four / five week technologically based course yet so far the “human” touch has not been ignored. We have videos of everyone. I feel quite at home.”He is happy whom circumstance suit his temper but he is more excellent who suits his temper to any circumstance”
I also came across this picture, updated Sistine chapel:
I tweeted it. #edcmooc
October 28, 2013
Multitasking what a wonderful skill, something we all do with varying degrees of success. I love the joy of doing it well. Second life hosting makes one quite adept with instant messaging, group and local chat. Holding the skein of many threads and responding to them all. Its like dancing in formation and indeed you dance at the same time. I also grab a tune, paste it into YouTube, grab the link paste it into my converter to mp3 and download it and no one notices coz it happens so fast. I love multitasking…maybe
Some people hate it, it seems. “When you are with me you must give me 100% of your attention or I will walk away” and they do this while multitasking themselves. Odd. Our brains, our neuronal pathways are a perfect example of multitasking. Just imagine ” Stop thinking I want to breathe” or ” I’m drinking tea stop talking and listening to music ” Ha! Bit extreme that but you catch my drift! However:
Because the brain cannot fully focus when multitasking, people take longer to complete tasks and are predisposed to error. When people attempt to complete many tasks at one time, “or [alternate] rapidly between them, errors go way up and it takes far longer—often double the time or more—to get the jobs done than if they were done sequentially,” states Meyer.This is largely because “the brain is compelled to restart and refocus”. A study by Meyer and David Kieras found that in the interim between each exchange, the brain makes no progress whatsoever. Therefore, multitasking people not only perform each task less suitably, but lose time in the process…..
Oh dear so it seems multitasking is not a good thing at the awareness level? My mother used to do it. She would read a book, knit a fairisle sweater and watch TV all at the same time cognitively processing all three at the same time. She could recall the book and TV and I ended up with a beautiful sweater.
Treating consciousness as awareness or attention greatly underestimates it, ignoring the temporary levels of organization associated with higher intellectual function (syntax, planning, logic, music). The tasks that require consciousness tend to be the ones that demand a lot of resources. Routine tasks can be handled on the back burner but dealing with ambiguity, groping around offline, generating creative choices, and performing precision movements may temporarily require substantial allocations of neocortex………..
In Buddhism mindfulness training is where you concentrate on the action that you are performing ” In walking there is only walking, in sitting there is only sitting” I am listening to music, thinking about this post and typing at the same time. I always work to music. However perhaps this isn’t a good thing……
I think multitasking is a fact of life these days. I think it is an evolution of the digital life we lead. I notice my cats in second life come up to me and “demand” attention to the exclusion of all else. As does my real life cat. I can attend to my cat and do other things.
Do one thing and do it well? Do several things and do them all well? Is this possible? Switching our attention very quickly from one thing to another. What I have noticed is that there is a threshold effect. The music playing in the background lifts me to a threshold of experience and I function at a “higher” level.
Clearly I am very confused.
Multitasking or not, please leave your thoughts in comments:
Meanwhile back on the ranch:
Brain Pickings advice which I don’t do coz I don’t sleep too well….
Build pockets of stillness into your life. Meditate. Go for walks. Ride your bike going nowhere in particular. There is a creative purpose to daydreaming, even to boredom. The best ideas come to us when we stop actively trying to coax the muse into manifesting and let the fragments of experience float around our unconscious mind in order to click into new combinations. Without this essential stage of unconscious processing, the entire flow of the creative process is broken.
Most importantly, sleep. Besides being the greatest creative aphrodisiac, sleep also affects our every waking moment, dictates our social rhythm, and even mediates our negative moods. Be as religious and disciplined about your sleep as you are about your work. We tend to wear our ability to get by on little sleep as some sort of badge of honor that validates our work ethic. But what it really is is a profound failure of self-respect and of priorities. What could possibly be more important than your health and your sanity, from which all else springs?
I don’t sleep very well. I have to knock myself out with drugs.
Maybe I should stop trying to multitask………………. Help please! What you think?
October 26, 2013
I took down the previous post due to objections. No one saw it except a good friend of mine and my partner. Here it is abridged. Its a shame people don’t leave comments. What are they frightened of?
Thought I better revamp my site. The old site is here I still have my commitment to poverty and I am still working on being extraordinary: feeling alone. I realise that we all are alone when it comes down to it. “Be thou an island unto thyself O Ananda” The Buddha’s last words to his chief disciple.
Loneliness – sabishisa or sabi, is profoundly important for haiku. Sometimes arising out of our well known solitary sadness, it is a state of empathy, of interpenetration, with all things. Loneliness is actually sought by the haiku poet so that he may be open to sabi. One of Basho’s haiku is addressed to a mountain bird, always heard in the distance, whose cry augurs rain:
Not sure if I like this theme but as usual I have no one to ask if its ok. So I can only persist in my folly. What the fuck I’ll keep trying. I will never give up in trying to make the world better than when I left it. I am a voice crying in the wilderness. No one hears, no one listens. Sigh.
So eCollege is looking good very proud of that site. I have high hopes of it. Its very sophisticated and has many features especially being mobile friendly. I will be pushing it shortly on LinkedIn through the RSA. It looks very good in my second life profile. I need to come up with lesson plans; they are there still haven’t got them down yet. I will ask for requirements I think. People should have Microsoft Design and Web. I will teach how to get a self hosted web site up and running. I can train people up and then “Train the trainers” so it is self perpetuating.
If you want to help please fill out the form below and we can get started. You can Skype me dude.starship ask for eCollege details and we can do something. The Internet is now part of our lives ever thought you should be a part of its?
October 23, 2013
Been having a troublesome day so……..
I thought I would cheer myself up with some Art. I am more ignorant of Art than I care to mention but I know what I like. Perhaps the most famous paintings I have seen were in the Uffizi gallery in Florence my favourite city in Europe. Of note there is Botticelli’s Venus on a Half Shell:
Florence is so beautiful, the square with the statue of David ie wonderful. To sit in the square in an outdoor café, a little stoned, sipping Campari Sodas. Yes sipping because the point is to be with the ambiance without breaking the bank. to be smartly dressed is a must otherwise you will be given a table inside. You have to look cool. You should look like one of The Beautiful People, aging perhaps but aging gracefully. The fact we were camping on the side of hill 5 miles outside town need not be mentioned. The thing is wherever you go you have to blend in. Myself with my 25 year old slim, leggy Japanese wife (well she won’t read this but one of the reasons I married her not because her dad was a millionaire, nor that she had an IQ off the scale but because John Lennon had a Japanese wife; the coolest man ever. ) blended.
Oh dear aren’t I awful. Ooops. Back to Art. You do realise that all Art is generally available on the ‘net? So there is no excuse. Of course, if you must and the fact you are a technophile, you can make it a technology. So I love Kandinsky and below is a slider of his work.
Unfortunately this site doesn’t support Hi Slider so here is a replacement:
Here is a video of the eCollege site you can see the slider in action.
I know how to
be buy a computer. Probably I got used to people ignoring the box that did all the work but calling the monitor the computer, anyway I bought my first proper computer in 1994. It cost a fortune because i spent half the total price on a 17 inch monitor. You see you spend all your time in front of your monitor, the fastest and biggest computer need not be viewed through a 15 inch monitor. I have a 22 inch wide screen monitor and I run at resolution of 1920 x 1080. Makes sense to me. I live in front of my computer as my environment is not conducive to perambulations. You might find my graphics a tad large but to me they are normal. For example my signature is 36pt.
But to me its ok. A signature should be a tad flamboyant. I have said in Essential Free Graphics how important it is to have a good graphics program without spending months or years on Adobe Photoshop. All my stuff comes from Expression Design from Microsoft. The studio was selling a good few hundred euro but I don’t know why they stopped selling it but now its free. It does the job.
I created :
I did it all except for photoshopping the background of Penny the cat. you can get the rest of the story Not Another Kitten dot com. ” Tails from The Kitten Shop” a damn good read.
See? (I can do small!!!!)
October 22, 2013
October 20, 2013
I have a new site, moving the old WordPress hosted to my account with Hostgator. This gives me:
- Unlimited email accounts (my students can have one e.g. Bill@eCollege.me)
- Unlimited sub domains (this is a sub domain)
- I can now have a static web page for the main site
- I have all the features of cPanel
- I can allocate as much space as I like
- “We” can have as many blogs as we like as sub domains
- Its time to get excited
And much much more. Taken the site to a whole new level ready to start teaching. I have registered OnlyBlogs.net (currently redirected to here)as a companion site. I have also set up a twitter account @eCollegedotme.
Please read the latest post on NowChangeYourLife dot WordPress dot com for further details or fill out the form below if you want help or want to be a helper. You can also skype me dude.starship (Ireland), please do not just ask for contact details.
October 17, 2013
Infographic: How Many Students Are Completing Free Online Courses?
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MOOCs Massive Open Online Courses (free online courses that are open to anyone) are more popular than Justin Bieber right now, but, as is to be expected from such a new medium, these online courses have their own share of issues. One puzzling problem is the low completion rates almost across the board. Is the lack of price causing low commitment among students? Are these courses not engaging enough? Are they too long?
MOOCs are too young to have enough real data to figure out this mystery completely. Thanks to education blogger Katy Jordan, however, enough data exists to show that it’s not about course length or number of students enrolled, as shown in our newest infographic: how many students are completing free online courses or MOOCs?
So what is causing students of free online courses to stop short of finishing? Only time will tell. Until then, MOOCs will remain an attractive educational opportunity that few actually take full advantage of.
My view: I have done two online courses using Moodle via FÁS in Ireland, Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Word both of which have been certificated by Microsoft. Moodle offers a structure that you complete at your own pace, there are no lectures or teachers, however online mentoring is available. There was an exam at the end of the courses taken at an examination centre. . With MOOCs you can only get a certificate of completion. I have a love of learning and if I do not learn something new every single day I feel the day is wasted. It would be interesting to see the gender and age demographic to throw more light on this. Online courses are definitely the way forward and distance learning has been with us for some time.
Do a Google search to find a course in your country.
Below is a link to the US courses available.
October 10, 2013
A good graphics program is essential. Photoshop is used by all professionals and I did a free online course where I learned the essentials. Photoshop CS2 is very old but available free of charge. I use it primarily to make backgrounds transparent. I have a green studio in Second Life (dot) com which makes it easy to make a background transparent. The whole process takes minutes.
To make a background transparent use the magic wand to highlight the colour range then create a layer. Then go back to the main layer and cut the highlighted background. Save the file as a PNG which preserves the transparency. Once I have the image with the transparency I can add it to any picture I like.
However for everyday work I use Expression Design because it is so much easier to use. You can produce excellent graphics and manipulate images. You can also import Photoshop. PNG files are great and hold transparency information. I use it to create text logos and signs. It is made by Microsoft as part of the Expression Studio. The latest version is free.
If you need icons there is a good site here, Click on picture.
Because I am not very good at Photoshop and Expression Design is so easy to use I import the sheet of icons as a jpg then cut out the ones i want. However you may want to get rid of the background so use Photoshop for that. All this takes minutes. It is worth spending time learning both Photoshop and Expression Design. A lot of my learning has taken place through experimentation.
To capture any image on your computer you can use “Print Screen” top right on your keyboard. If you want to be a bit more sophisticated download and install 4 Shared Shot . This enables you to have control over what you capture.
TIP: Be careful when you download and install some free programs. The only way they make money is to install add ons. These can be toolbars or set your search engine to one they get commission on. Always install using the Advanced option and deselect the add ons or search engine choice.
Next post HTML.
If you have any questions about any of the above please fill out the form below!
March 8, 2013
You might be temptied to get a free site, weebly, webnode and WordPress all offer free sites and will let you register a gTLD a generic top level domain like dot com for a price. BUT you will find drawbacks. How many email addresses do you get, with forwarders? How much disk space? Can you have sub domains? You might get a dot me from wordpress like this one. i got this site to add to my SEO but the real site is Family Blogs dot info. Why? A big big reason compare the twp pictures below:
I registerd a domain with freehosting.com to discover it did not have an up-to-dare cPanel and that half the utilities were missinng. It took nearly three weeks, a dozen emails and the threat of a court action to get it to a paid hosting like it is on today. I get 24/7 support from my service provider. Anything I don’t know about domains and servers I can find out immediately. I have been using WordPress since 2008.
FamilyBlogs.info is a web site. blog.FamilyBlogs.info is the blog in a sub domain. The blog is set up as a family blog. I do the same with IrishSecure.com the blog is at sl.IrishSecure.com this is an individual blog.
A guiding principle for me isL “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach him to fish and he will never starve.” The days are gone where techys rule the web. Millions are doing it for themselves.
You can do it. Set yourself up as administrator, practice your skills. It will take up very little of your time BUT spend some cash as FREE things should be looked at carefully.
N.B. I make graphics animations and videos. I charge €10 about $6 an hour. Below is one of my favourites. It was made on my island in Second life.
March 7, 2013
cPanel contains all the utilities to manage your domain. It is very easy to use. There are excellant tutorials on every aspect you need to know. Here’s an animation to give you an idea:
There are more tutorials on Help.IrishSecure.com feel free to browse through them. Having your own domain can be as easy as a 2 minute set up of email and a WordPress blog to having a sophisticated web site that you might want at a latter stage.
Feel free to contact me on skype dude.starship (Ireland) or fill out the form below: