Simonelipsticklibrarian’s Weblog

{September 29, 2008}   Virtual Worlds and Second Life

Last Tuesday I went along to the ‘Virtual Worlds and Second Life’ workshop given by Jenny which covered the following:

  • Virtual worlds
  • Second Life
  • Examples, with particular focus on Imperial College’s presence in Second Life
  • Hands-on – create an ‘avatar’ and explore Second Life.

In the ‘Hands on’ part of the session I created my own avitar ‘Sim Savira’ and with help from Katie managed to ‘teleport’ her to the South Kensington campus within Second Life. Unfortunately I didn’t get very far in the virtual hospital as I was distracted by making her fly, chatting to other workshop participants and attempting to change her appearance!

I thought that Second Life was amazing, and I was very impressed with how the Faculty of Medicine are using it for game-based learning activities based on virtual patients. I did think, however, that Second Life does take a bit of time to get to grips with, and you do need a high end video card and broad band to use it, so some students working off-site may have difficulties accessing it. I hadn’t used a ‘pie menu’ before, but maybe because I don’t play computer games I found it a bit tricky! I also think that it’s very easy to become distracted from the task in hand when on Second Life!


{September 10, 2008}   Falling behind…

I attended the workshop last Thurs 4th, but haven’t managed to complete any of the ‘Podcasts and multimedia’ activities yet so I’m a bit concerned that I’m getting behind! At least I’m here, however, at the self-paced session this morning and I’ve signed up for an account with Ning. I’m familiar with social networking as I use Facebookon a regular basis. The majority of my friends and colleagues have joined Facebook which is why I signed up, and some of my more creative friends have Myspacepages. Ning has a similar simple interface to FaceBook, and in the same way allows you to add friends to an initial basic profile. It does seem a bit limited, however, in comparison to FaceBook, as to how you can personalise your profile. I can’t seem to find any applications to add!

Going back to last week, John Conway’s ‘Multimedia in HE’ workshop was very mind expanding! Amongst other things I found out about the differences between steaming and podcasting, what an ‘oscilloscope’ looks like and how the physics department are using these new mediums of podcasts and videos to teach students. I was particularly impressed with the ‘Virtual Oscilloscope’ and John’s iPod touch! The virtual oscilloscope is a simulation within an online tutorial where students can play around with a model rather than the genuine piece of expensive equipment. A very impressive interactive example of web 2.0 in action!

{August 29, 2008}   iGoogle personalised page

I was bombarded with a variety of options this week and the majority of them I only had time to read about. Perhaps Tuesday morning after a Bank Holiday weekend isn’t the best time to start exploring new 2.0 areas, but I still went along to the self-paced session and managed to set up my own personlised homepage in iGoogle. I added some of the tools that I’ve discovered so far on the programme such as my RSS feed and my bookmarks, as well as FaceBook which I already use. I also added an extra tab for Google Earth.

I have been using my iGoogle page everyday since Tuesday, as Google is my choice of search engine and when I click on the ‘Google’ link within my favourites I am automatically taken in to iGoogle without having to log in which is great! I love the ‘Communication’ tab where I can sign into Hotmail and Facebook all on the same page and check my inboxes. Very handy.

Read through the other activities and I think that the only one which I might spend some time investigating further is ‘Google documents’, which look like they could be useful for creating & uploading word documents. It’s good to be aware of what the others are but not sure how much time I’ll have to do the activities for them…

{August 22, 2008}   Social bookmarking & tagging

I’ve now got my own account set up with and with a bit of help from Lawrence I managed to import all 150 of my Explorer favourites. So I now have lots of bookmarks saved with tags which don’t make much sense such as ‘Bookmarks’ and ‘imported’!! I made a start on re-doing the tags but I think that this is going to take some time…

I definitely think that it will be worth it though because they’re all retagged they will be much easier to find within the tag cloud . I think that it is a great improvement having a single set of bookmarks which can be shared. If for some reason my ‘Explorer Favourites’ vanish then all I have them all there on the Delicious website instead. I also love the visual depiction of the tag cloud. I must now remember to download the delicious toolbar widget into my Internet Explorer browser, as I couldn’t do this in the training room PC…

I didn’t get round to setting up a Flickr account, but I don’t have a digital camera so I can’t see much point at the moment. All my friends use FaceBook for sharing photos so I’ll stick to that for now…

{August 8, 2008}   RSS Google Reader

In the self paced session on Tuesday afternoon I created a Google Reader  account and subscribed to a few RSS feeds including the Guardian and Library. I have logged in a couple of times since then and I’m impressed at how quickly you can skim read through all the new information. It’s very user friendly – easy to viewthe new items and subscribe and unsubscribe to feeds. I will now just need to build logging on to Google Reader as part of my working routine.

Karen showed me how to add all the feeds from the Learning 2.0 programme participant blogs to my account, using an OPML file which is available on Owen’s page. This was tricky but well worth it as I can now keep up with new entries from everyone without having to log into Wetpaint . I’m still printing out instructions and filing up my ring-bound folder but I am feeling more confident now using all these Web 2.0 tools.

{August 1, 2008}   Wiki

I set my Wetpaint wiki up on Wednesday in the self paced session. It’s got a picture, a couple of paragraphs and a link to this blog. I think that it would definitely be appropriate in a work context. My team IRD already have a wiki on the confluence system and we all chip in with putting up and amending procedures. I’m much more familiar with confluence so I find that easier to use, but I think that wetpaint is a more sophisticated system where you can start threads, post replies and make ‘friends’ a bit like FaceBook. I have an interest in e-books but I think that a blog would be more appropriate for that than a wiki, as a wiki is more about involving several contributors.

The hardest thing I’m finding with this programme is keeping track of all the various sites and passwords! I’ve set up ‘Learning 2.0’ folders in my Outlook Favourites and in Hotmail and I’ve got a good old fashioned ring-bound folder with print outs and notes in!!

Thanks to a bit of help from Katharine here I am ‘Simonelipsticklibrarian’! I have learnt so much since 3.30pm this afternoon. Despite having a Hotmail account since 2001 I have never used MSN messaging before. I am impressed by how quickly messages can be sent and responded to. From ticking boxes on the pre-course survey I can see that I’m already aware of most of the programme content, but it will be excellent to actually have a go and experiment. I can see that blogs would be more appropriate in the workplace over instant messaging. It might be easier just to call someone or pop over and speak to them if they’re working in the same office. I’m also not sure if it’s possible to keep a record of the discussion (as with emails) on MSN which is a drawback for business chat.

{July 24, 2008}   Hello world!

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