What Matters Now

After several months planning, Friday 10th July saw a group of us meet online to hear 18 speakers and performers explain “What Matters Now” to them.

I was proud to have a small part to play in organising and opening the event. Each person was given 5 minutes to have the digital floor and do whatever they felt. We had petcha ketcha style, poetry, DJ, song, and open minds and hearts. The performers and audience came from across the globe and the energy was 11/10.

The videos will be available soon.

The internet was designed for openess and collaboration. Big check in the boxes for this event.

Thank you to Mike for bringing us all together.

Lots of Love.

REACT Lunchtime Talk: Elements of Interactive Storytelling

During his lunchtime talk Daniel Burwen explained that careful consideration of the four elements plus the four spaces equals coherence for storytelling using technology. Here are my notes for the talk Elements of Interactive Storytelling.

  • The four elements are User experience,  Story, Technology and Aesthetics
  • The four spaces are Hearth, Reading nook, Anywhere and Workbook
  • The spectrum of Narrative mechanics between Games (interactive and mechanic depth) and Films (passive and emotional complexity)
  • Doing (games) vs feeling (films)
  • 1978 laser disc
  • 1983 dragons lair – depth was press button to not die
  • 1985 Mario brothers run, jump’ stopm’ kick shoot
  • 1991 another world – cut scenes appear
  • 1993 virtual fighter – 3d games emerge, camera language and large data
  • Mechanical depth and emotional complexity
  • Uncanny valley for virtual characters
  • Last of us game – unified aesthetic between film and game. The game is built for mechanical depth and is highly abstract
  • Attention economies for TV, laptop, tablet and mobile vary but the longer the attention the higher the value.
  • TV is $10- $60, mobile is free to $5
  • Focusing on tablets gives a good trade-off
  • Game called winosill might be helpful for displays e.g. at blaise Castle Museum 🙂
  • Mouse and keyboard vs touch
  • Interactive narrative is a goal as you can get mechanical depth and emotion
  • New PS4 and Xbox enable body movement and may be tipping point beyond control pads
  • Oculus rift headset – the less abstraction in interface the more emotional connection we can have and this type of device may be the new era post control pad
  • So where is this going? from first moving image film to Citizen Kane was a breakout experience for its time and it has been 41 years since pong
  • Wii came put in 2006 and since then we have great things across all the devices eg the oculus rift’ and Xbox kinnect, maybe we are about to bring them together

Since making my notes I have stumbled across the talk as a slidedeck on Prezi which you should check out.


Speaking: Mobile learning at Bath Spa

In my talk today at Bath Spa I set out to touch on key aspects of mobile learning, what is mobile learning and why we might be taking the time to care. Below are my supporting notes:

What is mobile learning

  • If you read nothing else, the JISC Mobile Learning infokit is a great body of work to get you started
  • It isn’t just about wheeling out devices, it is about seeking ways to enhance our teaching and learning by taking advantage of the opportunity and constraints
  • Mobility of people with devices opens new doors
  • Context is king
  • There are 100s of devices (demo’ed 3 tablets) and there can be social pressure on students to get the devices everybody else has
  • Mobile learning is leading to transformation in the classroom AND institutions are having to address this. Many institutions are are starting to address this with steering groups, research and initiatives such as “mobile clinics“.

Why Mobile learning?

Further signposts

Show and tell with UOB ebooks

I recently delivered 3 one-hour sessions to small groups of library types on the subject of all things ebook at the University of Bristol.

The University of Bristol has around 5,000 ebooks at the moment. Enough of a critical mass to get my interest in ebooks in the institution. John Hargreaves, Assistant Subject Librarian for Law kindly organised the 3 sessions which I was using to see what the problems are from the other side of the issue desk whilst giving them a brain dump of what I see as the opportunities and constraints.

Being the book reading type that I am, I was keen to wade in with using ebooks – that was until I actually tried to find and use any of them (more of that in future posts).

Problem #1 By using the library catalogue, ebooks as a “type of resource” are not easily surfaced without using an advanced search, which I believe is a huge barrier to “discovering” ebooks. I doubt very many people use the advanced search as the first port of call. My mental model is that I do a search and all results are shown, regardless of the ‘type of resource’ be that print books, journals, CD-ROM or ebook.

I came to each session armed with 1 print book and various ebook reading capable devices as to my surprise the library doesn’t have any staff ebook devices, each loaded with the same ebook:

  • Amazon Kindle 1st Gen
  • Sony ebook reader Touch Edition PRS-650 *
  • Desktop Windows computer
  • Apple iphone 1st Gen
  • Android Tablet *

* Thanks for the lend Mr Gray

#Problem 2: The libraries do not have the kit that they require – using ebooks from the other side of the issue desk is both theory and practice and in order to help folks with trouble they need to use the devices themselves.

After briefly explaining about the common ebook formats (EPUB, PDF, mobi) we had a play with each device using the “Responsive Web Design” ebook. The above list shows the most liked (kindle as best) down to the least user-friendly (pressure-sensitive tablet).

The test ebook also makes use of video which displays on devices that support EPUB3  video and this showcased why the ebook version may have an advantage over the print version.

Opportunity #1 Next I showed the ibis reader which I only have glowing things to say about it. I wonder if the platform could be integrated someday into the University system and act as the official ebook reader for desktop and mobile.

Then we tried a University ebook and things got really depressing.

We used the search keyword ‘china’ to find our guinea pig ebook.

It appears that the major education publishers ship ebooks using Adobe PDF as the ebook format of choice. Clearly this is to make use of the Digital Rights Management (DRM) but has the nasty side affect that none of the ebooks will run on a ebook reader such as the Kindle… thats right, ebooks that do not run on the most popular ebook reader device. So I think it isnt too much of a leap to connect the dots that access to ebooks and use on devices are two of the major barriers to ebook uptake. I sent an email to one of the major publishers to ask them about this but am yet to get a response.

We were all in shock. Say it slowly – “ebooks that do not work on ebook readers, are probably not ebooks”.

If you work in a library, what are the issues here and how to do you work with such barriers?

I hope to wade into lots more ebook stuff in coming months.

UPDATE 10th Jan 2012

The fantastic Ibis Reader has been acquired and so it is watch this space as  to the future of the platform as I know it.

PELC 2011

Me on the stage

Photo Credit

It was fantastic to be in Plymouth again this year for the 6th Plymouth e-learning Conference. For a full run down check out Steve Wheeler’s blog.

After last years great event I was pleasantly surprised to be asked to be on the steering committee to give my 2p worth of thoughts which made me even keener to attend!

There are a whole bunch of conferences and events and what makes this stand out is twofold: great people and a diverse collection of talks.

The people

From the moment of landing in Plymouth by way of train I met follow #pelc11 gang members old and new which really I cannot stress enough is a highlight for me. Everybody is so open to geeking out whilst still gabbing on about personal interests that it really didn’t feel like work.

New folk who’s blogs, tweets and projects I look forward to include: @t3h_pablohunny,  @andyjb,  @Marie_S , @CraigTaylor74, @janeseale, @ethinking and @doctrus

As you’d imagine a special shout out goe’s to Steve Wheeler for being an excellent host and helping to bring the event to life.

Talking points

Unlike some events where my ‘stand’ prevents me from attending sessions, I was able to enjoy a talk per session. Highlights include Andy Black’s session on mobile and Matt Lingard’s session on writing for the web.

My session, in the photo above with with Doug Belshaw and went down very well according to the kind comments after the session. We got folk to consider their own uses of mobile which allowed the session to fork between topics nicely. In addition to this session I was chair for a enjoyable session.

I love the people and the chat that happens in and around sessions that you just don’t get at enough conferences so roll on 2012.

Oh and I got to revisit my student days with a Goodbody’s breakfast at stupid O’clock.