Becta – Expert Technology Seminars Enabling flexibility – 8 December 2005
Transcript of presentation 5
25 technologies (in 25 minutes) to enable flexibility
Andy Black and Rob Englebright
NB: Because the speakers keep moving away from the microphone during this presentation, not all of it is audible. ROB: You’d better give us some time countdowns as well as Andy has a habit of over running I believe. We have here 25 bits of kit. This morning we’ve heard lots of people talking about how things can enable flexibility and we’ve got some ideas here. They are just ideas some of them, just ideas, but some of them have actually been used and some of them you should use. Right, we’ll move on to the very, very first. Time and money, we are going to save you time and money. So first of all can you turn your phones on. Ignore all the stuff they were telling you this morning, we don’t care about the blip-diddy-blip-diddy-blip. Turn your phones on and I want you to text in your questions. I’ve seen Jack Dee doing this except he gets it on his phone. I don’t want rude comments about knickers or giraffes or anything like that, just text in your questions. Lovely, we can hear some noises. ANDY: The word Becta is first, then space, then the question. ROB: If anybody hasn’t got their phone – and this will be interesting, who hasn’t got a phone here? One, two. Two. So your bits and pieces about having the kit, people who have got the kit stands and holds pretty good there. You’ve not got one at all? Don’t like ‘em? Fair enough. Right, while you’re doing that, we’ll move on and do some other bits and pieces. Power, we’re going to save you some time and money. Power, switch it off. There was a campaign recently by PC Pro, they looked at how much power a PC uses, if you want to go and look at it, it’s in the notes, we’ll put some better notes up on the thing. What they found was that PCs use an awful lot of power when they are just put left on standby mode. If you turn them off you can save yourself up to thirty quid a PC a year, that's quite a lot of money, especially if you have got a hundred of them in your school or in your college. If you have got 200 of them you are talking about potentially six or seven thousand pounds which is half a technicians leg or something like that maybe. So we have saved you instantly in this first couple of minutes, a couple of thousand pounds, so now you can spend the money on more interesting things. Technology, batteries, the things that make things a bit more flexible. This is a battery powered printer. This is something that went with a set of things I bought when I was a curriculum manager at a college in Sussex and what we did was bought some laptops, got some online testing facilities, you can go out with your online testing facilities, you can take the test, you can print out the results and give them to the person while you are out in the field because it doesn’t require any power at all. It is a battery powered thing, which is a jolly nice bit of kit. About 200 quid from H.P so we’ve still got plenty of money left. Battery powered projection device, Andy?
ANDY: Switch. ROB: Now this is where it gets complicated, I’ve no idea which one it is, I think it’s number three. Try that, yes, that’s you. ANDY: I actually have to tell you Rob, that I’ve cheated. Rob banned me from adding bits, devices but Andy, I have added a bit to that device, sorry. That is interactive white board technology free, downloadable off the web. No interactive whiteboard – with gyro-mouse. I am a fan of interactive whiteboards, I have one at home. I have a Mimio sticks on the side of any wall and it makes it a writing device. My three year old and five year old use it for practicing their letters and they love it. Sorry, no product placement but I’ll mention Toshiba, Compaq, NEC, Mitsubishi etc, RM product, no product placement, this is confidential from Toshiba, battery powered projectors, they are here and now. Battery powered projectors have got LED technology, they’ve got really large output, they are battery powered devices and the idea with those is that if you want a really short, informal session with three or four students in a darkened room. Maybe I shouldn’t say that! [Laughter] You can do it, more importantly it’s a device that’s wireless. More importantly it’s a device that’s got a USB port so you stick the presentation on USB without a computer. And more importantly – a clever product of course this – it has actually got a little roll out screen in the box of the projector. Even better, portability, it uses the same power charger the laptop does. You just switch between the two and I hate carrying power chargers around. Rob, switch machines, quick. ROB: Right, we can’t afford one of those because I come from an agricultural college. ANDY: It’s about a thousand pounds. ROB: I can’t afford one of those, we’ve got our projector, we’ve got our bits and pieces, what you may not have seen is one of these things here, it is called an inverter. You can get them for about ninety quid, very popular with caravanners I believe, I'm not a caravanner myself. What it is does is it turns DC power into AC power so what we’re going to do now is you’ve got your tractor, you’ve all got a tractor? You’ve got your tractor, you want to show somebody some interactive learning materials in a barn, a nice dark barn with walls. Sparks? Oh, no sparks. So what you do is you take your projector, you get your inverter, you plug it into your battery. You could use a cigarette socket but that's a bit girly really isn’t it? So we plug it in and off we go and hopefully we should have power. We’ll just switch back to Andy’s for a second and scroll your screen up so you can see what’s going on. Okay, we should have power coming to this thing here, this is powered off a car battery, so here we go. 250 amps this draws so its not going to last for an awfully long time, if you have got your tractor you can turn the engine on every now and then. But it is just to show you that it can, portability, flexibility – don’t think you have to do it in a classroom, you can go outside. It’s a lot nicer outside. I’ll turn it off now otherwise it’ll block up things. On to you, Andy. ANDY:
Thank you Rob. Switch back to me please. Here’s an interesting one, fuel cells. They are another product that is coming, it is here and now. That is what it’s going to look like. How do fuel cells work? Basically they use super concentrated methanol, the ideal Christmas drink I feel! And the idea is you literally rip off the top, don’t drink it, pour it into this little thing and that will power up your laptop or mobile phone. Don’t laugh about it, it’s great. Think emergency situation, think third world country, think anywhere you like, I don’t care but think about a situation where you desperately need power. You just rip it off that pack and off you go. They’re here now basically for mobile phones and laptops. [Unclear …] The other thing I want to talk about, who here has heard of the $100 laptop from MIT? It’s wind up technology by Peter Bayliss. Forget giving to countries we’re trying to support in the Third World, students want it, I want it.
ANDY: We won’t get it, I know. An interesting one there, one to watch really. ROB: Back to taking it back to the classroom. We’ve got interactive white boards, people maybe not liking them because they stand at the front, or for the purposes of this could you please be a wheel powered chair user. Now you can join in the class because we have this gyration suite, you may have seen them, you may not, about eighty quid and you can take it out and use it as a normal mouse out here. If you can click on the gyration suite thing for me, just use it like a normal mouse. Lovely, fine. Just to prove that you don’t have to use the interactive white board technologies. You can go right to the back, I think this one will probably go this far. Yes, and if I go to the side now, there we go. I’ll go back to the front because it makes it a bit more easy to use but you don’t have to stay at the front, you can take this out to the people. My students used to love these because it gave them the power. I used to teach special needs students and they liked being in charge and they also liked voting who was going to have it, so jolly good bits of kit. Mobile phone texting Andy. ANDY: Why do we tell kids when they come to school with the most powerful mobile device in history, to turn them off? I know it interferes with lessons but the fact is we’ve got to think about how we’re going use them. You using the technology today for texting questions in a lot of people are using [Unclear …] but who uses Truancy Call for their school? Does anyone know of Truancy call for checking on and managing students? There’s Fast SMS, there’s another firm called Edutxt, we happen to be using Edutxt today. Basically when you do an SMS, that's texting to you and I, you are either pushing messages out to learners or to parents or to whatever. Things like marketing, you've got a student, you want to keep them warm, talking about oven ready students, but in FE we want warm students and we want them in the door. Your able to text message the, the course starts next week, the course starts today and text them two days into term and say why aren’t you here? All that kind of stuff. Push and pull technology. If you looking at large numbers and if you are looking at the costs of keeping the student on a programme in FE and we don’t get paid really until the end, it really is important to spend a little bit of money to do that. ROB: Right, infrared, we’ve got this, this is eighty quid but it is a bit of a bother actually because you have got to carry this, you have got to plug this in to the USB and then you have got to keep it charged which isn’t that much grief but it can be a little bit. You can actually control all these things with little clicker buttons and they tend to
come with the projectors. If you look at the projector here you can see they have conveniently placed the remote control – I think there is an accessibility issue there maybe. What we have found, one of the discussions we’ve been having recently on one of our mailing lists is what happens to them. Obviously that one has been nailed to the ceiling to stop people from using it, which is a great idea, but if you are in a class and need to get it, what’s going to happen? A solution, a very, very cheap solution is this thing, a little infrared dongle and what it does, the actual card fits in here into this little PCMCIA slot to the side of your laptop that nobody ever uses. There we go, and we can run all our little PowerPoint presentations and bits and pieces using that, thirty quid, dead easy. You won’t lose it as well which is the main thing. I think it’s over to you, Andy. USB. ANDY: Switch machines. USB memory sticks, there are some people selling them at the moment I notice, 32 meg USB flash memory sticks, who’s got one? A £1 each. £1 each for 32 meg. When I go to my son’s primary school I give them to the head master, teacher. Really, really cheap, getting better. One gig ones are now 32 quid, one gig you can fit your life on really. But also with USB you are starting to do really clever things with USB. Stuff coming up, Simon White (WMnet) in the audience will be able to tell you a bit more about it, a thing called Tech News by Becta. You hear about things called U3 enabled USB or something isn’t it? Where you start to put applications on a USB stick, what does that mean? Well it means if you are a blind users and you want to run something like one of your accessibility screen reader programs, you slip the USB into any machine and it will run the program, no .exe files running on the machine. Think about how you port stuff around very interesting. I didn’t say I’d mention blogging but I will Rob, sorry Rob . I am a bit of a blogging fan, there is a great progam called Tiddlywikki, is it Tiddlywikki? Tiddlywikki is basically a web page you can save on your machine or your USB stick or whatever and write on it. So any machine you go to, even if it doesn’t have Word, it doesn’t have whatever, you can type into it and you can store stuff. ROB: A personal learning space. ANDY A personal learning space. A USB drive is a personal learning space. Some colleges now are giving them when they walk in the door to the students. Why even both giving students web space, sorry network space when they are coming in with 80 gig I-Pods. Go, quickly. ROB: Right, storage. ANDY: And I haven’t mentioned Firefox, nice browser. Oh I’ll put it up just to keep you all happy, there we are. Tiddlywiki there and Firefox. ROB: Right, where are we. G-Mail FS. G-Mail accounts. Your students obviously being the inept people that they are, if they are anything like my students, can’t keep hold of something that small or that easily –you can loop it round their neck – but unless you nail it to them it is going to be no good. So what there is, is the opportunity maybe to use G-Mail, free email service that provides you with at the minute I think I’ve got three gigs of free storage space there. There’s an application, a shell that runs round it called G-Mail FS. What you do is you install it on the machines in
your college and if I can find where we go, here we go, what it gives you in your list of drives is a G-Mail drive. So we open up your G-Mail drive, there we go, and that’s my files I’ve dumped up there, 10 megs a go, somebody else is keeping them. There is the theory, the possibility there that we won’t even have to have networks in our colleges because somebody else will do it for us. I like that idea because I am forever redoing the backups and stuff for students. So that is G-Mail FS, a jolly useful little application. Portable hard drives, Andy. ANDY: Portable hard drives, they’re really good, they ’re really flexible, they ’re very cheap. The nice ones - I’ve got to read a bit of text here - I’ve come to read my text. A bit of a comparison for all you people out there that are into backwards comparisons – a quick rustle of papers, here we go – here’s a comparison. I mentioned already one gig flash cards for thirty five quid, here is a ZX80, who owned one? Who know they ran faster if you actually put a tub of ice cream on top of them? That was on the Sinclair Help Line, I can tell you it’s true, I’ve rung it up. [Laughter] A 16K RAM pack for one in 1980 cost £49. 16K. In 2005 a 160 gig RAM drive can cost as little as £49. ROB: Sold to the man at the back. ANDY: Storage is irrelevant.
Just get on with it. Am I next?
ROB: No, I’m next I believe. Oh hang on, we’re not in presentation mode, that's why. What a mess. Sorry, we’re slowing down here a bit. Go. Oh no, it’s you. ANDY: You can talk Moodal. ROB: Moodal is an interesting product. It is an open source VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) that has taken FE by storm. Most of you here I believe are something to do with schools, I think that’s where they teach people to be bad so they can send them to FE colleges in my mind. [Laughter] Moodal isn’t. It is a free VLE and it is very, very popular, it has got about 40% of the market in FE at the minute and it is free. There is a good community supporting it. Two things I want to talk about. One is a repository that has been put on by one of our mentors for putting the National Learning Network materials into it. I won’t show you that but what I will show you is this here. Hang on, I’ve lost my links. Here we go. So this is the … here we go, UK Teacher. This is how easy it is to add resources. Some of you may have heard of these National Learning Network materials and how painful they are to actually add to virtual learning environments. This isn’t. She has created a module which has been adopted in Moodal 1.6, you go in, you turn your editing on – and it looks pretty as well, it looks all nice and friendly. You turn your editing on, say we’ll add an object in this case, because that's what she’s called them, objects. You give it a name and we’ll call it Manc because we’re Manchester. It gives you a list of all the objects you can pick from. ANDY: Hurry up.
ROB: I’m hurrying, this is very quick. We’ll go for a catering object because you all look like you enjoy a nice meal, typse of menu – this is just going through click-click to find the bit you want, it fires up the object, shows it to you and adds a little tiny box here that says add to course. That is how simple it is to add learning objects into this Moodal with this new object. I think that is a cracking piece of technology and that’s been built by the community, not been given to it by somebody who says you must pay for this, it’s been built by the community to meet the needs of the community. But I’ll be talking about non open source stuff in a minute. Okay, on to you ANDY: Right, okay. Sorry, I'm going to cheat now, using a smaller screen. I do apologise. We talked about learning platforms that are open source. I want to talk about a commercial one and I want to issue a challenge to the open source community. This is Blackboard, I am not a particular fan of Blackboard or Black C.T. or [unclear] … very nice, etc. This is Blackboard Backpack, have you heard of this? Blackboard Backpack is basically an asynchronous VLE learning platform so you can take learning, sync it wirelessly wherever, plug it into your network, work on it and then go away again. Work on it on the bus, on the Tube, when the students are bored they may do stuff, they might not of course. This is basically this is a version of Blackboard running off-line. I am interested in rural communities, connectivity is not everywhere, it is an interesting product and if it is something that work asynchronously, do it. It is based on an a product from an American firm called GoBinder by Agilix, which is a way of storing student notes, documents, etc, all in one place, it dumps them all in one file structure so students don’t save stuff all over the hard drive, very interesting and the great thing about it, it’s running on a tablet up there you may notice, a little Toshiba tablet here, it’s got a portable keyboard as well, it is running wireless to that projector, it is running wirelessly quite seriously … Write on tablet, it’s a white board isn’t it, surely? It’s a white board, I can write all over it. So I am not anti-whiteboards but tablets and wireless projectors, and if you are lucky enough to have three or four in the same room, or three or four PCs with a client which is freely downloadable and you can load it onto any PC you like. You can basically choose which student machine you want to show. Johnny has done great work today, click on that. Andy has done great work on that, click on that. Move around. That’s flexibility and portability, Tablets are getting cheaper all the time, I think you can buy a wireless projector and a tablet together for about two grand. Go. ROB: Right, we’re talking too much, we’ve run out of time. We’re going to be talking in Dave’s bit. Right, St John’s pod cast. There is a pod cast of all the St John’s ambulance stuff, you can download it for free, put it on your intranet and you have done your health and safety part at your school or college. That’s all we’re going to do. Pod playing on the move! ANDY: You’re really going to do this? ROB: We’ll do this very briefly just to show it’s there. Okay, here we go, your pod casts. [Plays Pod Cast] ROB:
There we go, that's it! So you can, radio stuff these days, you can put your bits and pieces in and off you go. Right hang on, if we keep them going. Games. That's me. Right, number one. We might need some volume for this. This might make your ears bleed because I think someone just turned it up. Right, okay, hold your ears ladies and gentlemen. This is a game that’s been adapted so that it can be used educationally. [Laughter] I’m not joking, this is a physics tutorial, you can shoot people. Oh we haven’t got any volume coming through there, what’s going on, let’s turn up that volume there. That's better. All right, here’s your physics, this is about absorptive ratios of wood, aluminium and steel. [Laughter] Then you have got to choose which of these tunnels you are going to go down, okay, because one of them is safe and one of them’s not. We’ll go down the lead one because it shields us quite nicely from the nasty harming gamma rays. Okay, we’re stuck now, let’s try going down here. We can go down here because there’s something we might want down this one which means we have to have that … oh there’s some nasty aliens. All right, game technology. ANDY: Stop. ROB: I’m stopping. All right, game technology, the interesting thing about it is that this company is offering the development kit for this because you can do this yourself, free. Well with a cheap licence anyway. The development kit comes with the game and it is very, very powerful. There is also another product for creating little games, Dark Basic. They are offering ten educational licences free to any institution in the UK, I don't think anybody has picked it up over here very much. Cracking stuff, cracking stuff, over to you, quick. ANDY: What I’m running here is a product called dotPocket, I’m running a pocket PC through a laptop through a projector. Not worrying about anything so I’m just running my pocket PC. This is a game that has been produced by CTAD Tribal and basically, I’m not going to run it now but basically this allows you to do snap games on the go. So basically these cards, after a few seconds – I’m not going to run it now but it might just happen anyhow – will turn over and you have got to remember where they are,yeh? Like patients They have produced an engine, it’s not content, you put your own pictures in, your own colours. Educationalists here, English words and then the French words. Pictures of foods that are healthy, picture the foods that are unhealthy. Think basic skills, think anything you like. ROB: You’re off. Right, Frapper Mouse. Another application, Google, very, very favourite of mine, Google. Creating communities, we’ve already heard that communities are very important, this is a community we’ve got of our IT champions in FE colleges. Look at them, we didn’t make them do it, they wanted to do it, they wanted to join in this community and put themselves on the map and give a bit more information about each other. It is a cracking little application, I suggest you poke your noses into that. Scype we won’t talk about too much, suffice to say we’ve got some freebies to give away. You talk about it, I’ll give them away. ANDY: How many of you use Scype or Google Talk at home? You’ve got broadband you can start to do it ROB:
Headphones anyone? ANDY: Scype 2, now has video. It is going to happen. BT are getting in on the act, they are very nervous Right, okay done that bit. I am recommending you look at Tech News if you want to know what’s happening with WiMAX, 3G, 4G, 4½ G, 15G, my colleague over there has just been to a wireless conference, wi-fi, it’s all gone ballistic. You know, you can pick up wi-fi wherever you want as long as you’re not in a rural area. WiMAX may give us 98% broadband, coverage in this county, unless you are under overhanging rocks. It may happen, I think it will happen. Go. ROB: Right, digital USB TV. Who has got a USB TV box? I have. I can’t find it. , It plugs in, USB goes in, you plug your aerial into it, you can record your programmes unlike your Freeview. Instead of poncing about with the old system where you have to record it on a video, transfer it into your thing using Movie Maker, fiddle about with it. Straight into your PC, straight on to your hard drive. I contacted the BBC to ask them about various bits and pieces because there is an awful lot of programmes they broadcast at night for revision purposes. Can you put them on your VLE? Yes, they said. You’ve got suddenly tons and tons of interactive resources. This is a quick one, look at the quality of the image, much better than you get on your video recorded and then transferred onto the PC apart from the fact that it’s got Bill Oddie in it. I think he was looking for whales. Tablets? You’ve talked about tablets. ANDY: I’ve talked about tablets. ROB: Audio, Audacity. Here we go. You haven’t got any time in your lessons, you haven’t got any time to do any other resources so what you do is put a radio mike on like I’m doing here and then you can walk around, you can do your lecture, you talk about it, it’s recorded. Then you just sub it on the website afterwards, free piece of software, you haven’t got to do anything else extra, okay. Dave’s getting nervous, he wants to make sure he is coming up here to do his bits and pieces. Wireless projectors. ANDY: Wireless projects. One thing I haven’t shown you of course is wireless projectors, there’s some interesting work coming out of the ICT test bed that Becta has been involved with. Who’s heard of test bed here? Look it up on the Becta site, we’ll out the URL up. They are doing an interesting bit of work with – oh let’s try it and see if it will work – they are called Visualisers. Now what do you use it for? Wiring up flowers, soldering, showing people acting so they can see stuff big screen, showing books underneath so you’ve got large text – comes with a kit, very nice. Go. ROB: Happy birthday Windows. We won’t go any further than that, that’s all we can do at the minute. Edubuntu, let’s flag this off to a number… Are we going? Have we got Edubuntu going there? No, we haven’t. Oh well, we’ve run out of time to do that unfortunately. What we’ve got on this laptop, if you want to look at it later when we’ve finished, this is running Edubuntu, it is a free open source operating system, it comes complete with Open Office 2 which is a complete set of office packages and bits and pieces like that. It is a cracking piece of software, it is the first one I’ve seen, Linux distribution, that I would actually use in a classroom or let my mum use, which is my test of things for how robust it is. It has also got a nice server system so you
can manage the class built into it as well so you can either run the server or the workstation. Cracking stuff. Okay, last bits and pieces, here you go. Where are we now? Okay, we’ve finished doing all of our rabbitting, we’ve just got to pick up some of these messages that you’ve sent us on the stuff here. Where are we? Here, this one? Do you have a pirate memory game? What sort of pirate memory game would that be? We’ll have to ask Andy that? ANDY: Will a U3 enabled pen drive work in a Mac? I don't know but we’ll find out. ROB: Why measure attendance and not engagement? I don't know what’s going on there. Becta has sorted out sending wireless projector along with video – I wouldn’t do it at the minute, no. ANDY: But it’s coming. It will do animations, it will stream animations quite effectively. ROB: Any plans for an AA WiMAX network? No. Can we have Mind Map trial on archive? Yes, you can. Right, that's it, we’ll shut up and go away and leave you to Dave Whyley. Thank you very much.
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