JISC RSC Learning Technologies

JISC RSC Scotland North & East

Following on from the last post on using Flickr Notes I’ve added notes (with hyperlinks to manuals etc) to the the above image on Flickr.

If there was a gadget girl least likely to need yet another audio recording device that would be me. Nonetheless, I’ve just purchased yet another audio recording device! It’s now been discontinued so a few suppliers are selling them off at £99 and I couldn’t resist.

The recorder could be useful for recording on-the-spot interviews, field work, providing audio feedback or recording lectures. It’s actually aimed at musicians so you can also adjust the playback speed without changing the pitch in mp3 mode which may be useful for language work or speeding up or slowing down recorded lectures.

Not had a lot of time to put it through its paces yet but happy with it so far. It’s deceptively light, has a built-in stereo mic and speaker for playback, you can also attach an external mic, records in 16-bit 44.1kHz CD quality .wav or mp3 format  and comes with a 2Gb microSD card and rechargeable AA eneloop battery. The battery life on one charge is quoted at 44hrs in mp3 mode and about half that for pcm. Seems pretty respectable.

Thought I’d record a quick audio overview of Google Alerts – an easy way to keep up-to-date with the latest information on your topics of interests and have the results delivered via email or rss.

As an example I’m currently interested in QR Codes and how they can be used in education. So I’ve set up a Goolge Alert. Here’s the process

1. Head over to Google Alerts. You don’t need a google account but if you have one it makes it easier to manage your alerts. If you’ve got an account sign in.

2. I could just type qr codes into the Search terms box but I can make it a  bit more precise by wrapping it in inverted commas. This tells Google to search for the phrase “qr codes” rather than two separate words. I can further customise my search by typing “site:ac.uk” after the “qr codes” bit. This tells Google to return results only from the academic community in the UK – the ac.uk bit.

You can find more information about Google Advanced Search features on their website. Knowing just a few of the features can really improve the quality of your search results.

3. You can also specify what types of information sources you want it to search. You can get results from the latest news articles, web pages, blogs, google video or google groups or choose comprehensive which searches all of these options.

4. You can specify how frequently you receive theses notifications: as-it-happens, once a day or once a week.

5. And finally, if you’re logged in you have the option to have the alerts delivered to your email address or you can have it delivered as an rss feed.

If you choose the feed option it will take you to your manage alerts page where you can copy the rss feed address and put it into your rss reader. I use bloglines, a web based rss reader. If you use Google Reader it’s already there for you.

If you’re not logged in, you have the option to specify the email address where you want your google alerts delivered too.

Hmm, hadn’t intended to write up how to set up a Google Alert as the purpose of the post was to demonstrate the audio of the pocketrak. So, if you’re still reading this :-) here’s the audio. Recorded at 16-bit 44.1kHz, topped and tailed in Audacity. A bit of compression added. Saved as wav file. Imported into iTunes to do the id3 tagging (the info that shows up in your mp3 player) and exported as mp3. You could do the whole thing in audacity but I prefer to do the latter bit in iTunes. I’ll write that process up shortly.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download Google Alert Overview Mp3

Launch full version in new window

screencast productions notes: recorded on a Samsung NC10 netbook using a trial version of Camtasia Studio 6 and an Audio Technica AT2020 USB mic. Embedded version uploaded to blip.tv. Full version uploaded to our own server. Still not 100 percent happy with the screencast workflow but getting nearer to what I’ll be happy with.

Flickr is an online photosharing site and currently hosts over 4 billion photos. The short screencast above introduces Flickr Notes - a great way to add interactivity to your photos.

Adding a note to your own Flickr Photos

1. Select the photo you want and Click on Add Note.

2. The box below appears. Click and drag anywhere inside the the dashed box to reposition it. The four small squares on the corners of the box are resizing handles. Click and drag on any one to resize the box.

In the screencast I mention how to add hyperlinks to notes – links to other resources. Here’s the html required to do that.

<a href="YourURL">Your Text</a>

Open hyperlink in new window

<a href="YourURL" target="blank">Your Text<a>

And here’s the finished note with hyperlink. You can find it on Flickr here

I’d be interested to hear how you use or intend to use Flickr notes for learning and teaching. Feel free to leave a comment :-)

This is pretty neat. A presentation pack tool for Slideshare, the online presentation sharing site. You can group together related presentations by different categories and display them in one package on a blog or website. This could be useful for conferences, workshops or class work. If you assign a unique tag to class presentations and ask your learners to do the same with their slideshare presentations they can be displayed in one easy-to-navigate package.

In the Presentation Pack above I’ve grouped together my own presentations with my podcasting tag. So it lists the 3 presentations I have with that tag. It also preserves the audio if you have that attached to your slides as I have in the middle presentation Portable Field Recording/Podcasting Setup.

You can also specify how pack is displayed – portrait or landscape. The final thing to do once you’ve filled in the fields is to copy and paste the embed code into your blog or website.

Create your own slideshare presentation packs

Navigation tips for the map above

1. Left-click and drag your mouse on any white space in the map window to move the map.
2. Click on the + or – symbols to increase or decrease the size of the map

3. Click on the rectangle with the outward pointing arrows to make the map full screen

4. On the map, right-pointing arrows are hyperlinks to various resources. Click on the arrow to take you to that resource

5. On the map, the icon with 3 bars across it indicates there is a note attached to the branch. Hover over it with the mouse to bring the note up

Background to using Mindmaps for Workshop Presentations

I was out at one of our institutions yesterday doing a short workshop on using images for learning and teaching. I stopped handing out printed workshop material some time ago and most of my support material is now online, usually on slideshare or on various wikis. I decided to revisit an old approach I sometimes used which was to deliver my presentations with a mindmap rather than the usual PowerPoint presentation. In the old days MindManager was my tool of choice but now I’ve moved over to MindMeister which has a number of advantages. The mindmap I created yesterday is online and shareable so as I went through various resources the participants could follow the links on the map on their own machines. I can also embed the map in a blog as shown above for future reference. It also has a live update feature so when I change something on the map it will display the latest version. So I don’t have to worry about various versions of outdated notes floating about. This will always be the most recent version and as this map is a work in progress I’ll be adding more content to it over time.


1. Create Map over at Mindmeister.com There’s a free and premium version. You can create up to 6 maps with the free version.

2. Publish Map. There’s a Share This button on the bottom of the map and this will bring up the Map Properties Window shown below. If I wanted to share this map privately with a small group of participants I’d click on the Share tab. In this case I want to make it public to everyone. Click on the Publish Tab (1). You have a number of options on this page including which category to publish it to, in this case Education and whether to password protect it. It also generates a permanent public URL for the map (2).

3. The URL is rather long and it’s much more convenient to use a URL shortening service like bit.ly if you’re asking participants to follow along on the day. You can also supply your own ending which makes it much easier to remember.

Paste the URL in the address box on the bit.ly page and click on Shorten

Bit.ly will suggest a random combination of numbers and digits (1) but you can override this (2) and specify your own. In this case nacimages


So the shortened address is http://bit.ly/nacimages which I pasted into notepad, increased the font size and displayed this on the data projector for participants to type into their browsers.

4. After the workshop the map can be embedded into a blog like this by once again going to the Share Map button, going to the Publish tab and clicking on Embed map… You can set various options here including map size and whether you want it to have a live update feature.


Copy and post the embed code into your blog. This blog uses WordPress. I make sure I’m in the html window (1) in the editor then paste in the code.

And that’s it. This blog post probably seems a bit wordy for what is really a simple process!