Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Mashing" the Learning Journey

In a recent trip to Japan, I attempted to do a "full scale" documentation of the observations of the trip with both blog and googlemap (including several other elements) - to figure out how massive it is if we were to do one for potential upcoming study trips.

In general, the following were incorporated to create the entire 'sensation':
- Blog
- Images (using digital camera)
- Video clips (using digital camera)
- Movie editing tools like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker
- Internet links (for information)
- Search tools (to find out background of places before traveling)
- GoogleMap (to mark down the places of visit)
- Online Image storage platform like PICASA
- Online Video storage platform like YouTube

Pre-trip Preparation:
1. Knowing the itinerary is critical as this would decide the format and the layout of the documentation.
- The general concept of the structure should be ready before any work is done electronically. Else, it would be massive and messy to re-organise the information and media at the end of the trip. Of course, we also leave room for refinement along the way.
2. Deciding on the choice of platforms. For instance, I like to use Google suite because most applications are interlinked (Blog, PICASA, GoogleMap)
3a. Setting up the blog - to decide what should be in the main blog and what else appear in delicated pages or appear in the widget.
3b. Setting up the GoogleMap - to decide what to be reflected in the map. Indeed, it would be great if we could reflect the flow of the trip in the map, too.
4. Input the known information into the blog first. This includes
- Creating the Googlemap specially for the trip & marking the places on the map
- Embedding the Googlemap in a delicated page in the blog
- Creating the relevant widgets and put in the relevant links

During the Trip:
1. Take lots of images - depending on the use of these images - unless they are meant for print in posters or magazines - Image of resolution about 2MB would be more than enough
2. Take video clips - each not longer than 1 minute, they could be stitched with movie editing software. This would reduce the 'bulkness' of the clip.
3. Download (from the digital camera) images and videoclips regularly (e.g. once a day) to organise and categorise when necessary.
4. Upload the images into the online image storage platform and organise further into smaller albums for the ease to manage.
5. Identify videos that are relevant and related - stitch them together and upload to online media storage platform regularly.
6. Select the more significant or representing images to be put up in the blog.
7. Embed the respective online photo albums and embed it as slideshow in the blog.

To 'announce' the completion of the blog, insert the "addthis" feature to the blog. Upon completion, share the blog via Twitter and Facebook :D

Here is an example of the map created for the recent trip:
The blog that goes with this map could be found at

View 2010 Tohoku, Japan in a larger map

Sunday, June 06, 2010

GCCCE 2010 Paper Presentation for W06

Would not have thought of presenting any paper in a Conference that's targeted mainly for the "Chinese World" of Educators - but it happened. So, it once proved again, its the relevance that overrule the medium of communication (Mandarin vs English).

Indeed, I think many a time, because we were so exposed to the articles and educators in the English speaking world, we were pretty ignorant of the vast amount of work carried out in the Chinese-speaking world. Yes, look at the papers that were presented in the conference! On the other hand, it's through this one-time experience that made me wonder... does this group of educators do things differently, as compared to those in the English-speaking world?

Things that could be better...
  • I guess, it's really a matter of expectation and preparedness - which was 'shaped' over time and our previous experiences when presenting papers in conferences - be it big or small.
  • What would cross one's mind when one is told it is a Workshop? The physical layout, settings (including equipment) would definitely be different! One would not expect it to be a tutorial set-up with rows of chairs and tables lined up in straight rows. That defeat the objective and the strategies that people would normally employ in workshops!
  • It's the engagement level that one looks out for - participation is one of the key highlights, what's more if it's an ICT-enabled workshop! (Hahaha... I could find my ex-ETO self coming back again!). Unfortunately, there seemed to be disalignment in expectations, and perhaps interpretation of what a workshop entails! {sigh...}
  • I guess nothing got more frustrated when the enquiries went nowhere... it went like a ping-pong ball that bounced around because there was no 'ownership' or clear direction on management of enquiries by the organiser! {another sigh...}
  • Well, of course, the last assumption we had was the event took place in NIE! Hahaha... We presume the event 'must' be taking place in NIE since NIE is the co-organiser. Nevertheless, we were lucky to have the logistic personnel in NIE to assist. Phew! Else, we'll be late too!
  • Indeed, not knowing that there was a chairperson assigned to the session (oh yes, we were not told), we started at 1.35 pm about 5 minutes before the organiser (and his team of people came in). Hahah... in chinese, we really 喧宾夺主. It's both unforgetable to us as well as the organiser, I believe.

This is the 2nd time presenting a paper that is related to the use of Web 2.0 applications and platform. Indeed, it's a collaborative effort with Ching Ya - to share good practices we have in SST, in particular, for this conference, those that were implemented in the Chinese Language subject. It's heartening to be able to surface good practices within just 6 months.

Here's the Blog that host the information and materials prepared specially for this occasion:;

Glogster (II) Further Exploration

Revisited Glogster this morning,hoping to generate some good ideas that could bring this tool/ application into teaching and learning... but I think, at this point, is still very much for the 'creation' - as an end-product. While explorating, I discover that some features are really very easy to use - that helps in the user experience! Of course, there are also limitations (which I always find the excuse for it - because it's free! What more could we ask for?)

Of course, apart from just creating the Glog, I've also embedded it into the blog (which is habitual of me!), to go with further elaboration...

I think, one of the greatest advantage, as compared to direct upload to the blog is - one could layout several objects in the poster, and possibly making use of the non-standard text format. It certainly encourages creativity.

Illustration 1: Using photographs to create an digital poster, to be accompanied with text. One could also select appropriate text and images (including animation) to create the 'ambience' and enhance the "message" in the presentation.

Illustration 2: A video clip is embedded into the poster, with appropriate text. The additions around the 'key' components enhances the context of the content.

One potential activity: Students capturing acts of goodwill - a description, followed by one's own response to what's observed. Images and clips speak a thousand words.

Glogster has made it quite easy to upload video clips - as it allows one to copy the link of clips that are already uploaded to media repositories like YouTube. The only thing which is not obvious is, after clicking at the 'upload' button, one doesn't know whether the operation is activated or not until the image/ video clip appears in the uploaded window.

One other aspect - layout - it's limited to portrait only. There is no way to change the final display (in blog) by editing the size under the html environment. It simply conforms to portrait and 're-size' accordingly.