It’s been four and a half years since I blogged the original Moodle Tool Guide. The guide has long since gone its own way. It doesn’t belong to me anymore, it belongs to the Moodle community. But I still enjoy seeing how the guide continues to find new audiences, communities and applications.
This week I received a very nice tweet from Paolo Porcaro who has created perhaps the most romantic version yet, an Italian Moodle Tool Guide! 😉
@catspyjamasnz Hello, I translated in Italian your Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers (v. 1.x) and I’d like to send you a copy. tx
All of our generous MTG translators will have encountered the difficulties combination of not only translating technical and pedagogical terms but then making them fit a certain layout. In his email Paolo mentions the struggles of writing short enough Italian phrases to fit the matrix structure. Paolo did this translation while working for FormezPA, an Italian public administration agency who release all of their own publications under a CC-BY-SA license.
So here it is. If you don’t speak Italian, you may want to put it on your pinboard anyway as an inspiration for 2014: you can learn a little Italian and be connected to the worldwide Moodle community! Mille grazie Paolo!
See on Scoop.it – Digital Curation for Teachers Tweet I have written and spoken extensively about the use of Twitter in education: as one social network tool to connect, collaborate and amplify (Seven Degrees of Connectedness, Upgrade & Ampl… See on langwitches.org
I have a love/hate relationship with my phone. That is:
I love my iPhone.
I hate my office phone.
My office phone lurks on the corner of my desk, where it is tethered by cables. It sits there and collects messages for me, so that when I come back to my office a notification (a little red light) will tell me there are messages. Not how many, not who from, no headlines I can quickly scan, not when it was sent. It’s notification is binary – either there are or aren’t messages for me.
To personalise how I interact with other people and its information stream (voicemail) through this tool, I have to use voice menus and numbered buttons. The menus are read out in a language that also uses English words, but which has randomly assigned meanings to those words, eg robot voice: “For personal options…”
To aggravate matters, the menus are read out very slowly. Each menu seems to have 4-5 options. But seeing as the “human brain can only hold about seven pieces of information for less than 30 seconds”thank you, Dr John Medina, and I usually already have 3 things in there, I’m a little short on space. The phone doesn’t give me the ability to visually scan the options, and so I often need to sit through them 4x. The first two go’s I try to decipher its code (is “personal messaging options” the function that will let me record my outgoing voicemail message?). The last two go’s are to confirm my choice, as I know that pressing the wrong option, usually means go back to Start.
Curate & Remix?
Information curation from this tool’s information stream is also awkward. I can’t forward its information to Evernote or my calendar. I can’t copy & paste it to another tool. I need to transfer the information one handed to a post-it, from which I will then later type it in my calendar or Evernote. Or more usually it will join a pile of other data transcribed in this manner. The tool’s in-built archive expunges records after an undetermined but limited time.
On those rare occasions that I do sit through this process to actually listen to messages, I find that the system precedes each message with a lot of preamble: date, time, read out phone number – digit – pause – by – pause – digit! -before giving me the main act. And then the actual messages have a very low hit rate of usefulness for various reasons:
– too much background noise
– someone speaks too fast/high/low/soft/
– “Oh I thought you’d be there. I’ll get you on your mobile/email/Twitter/Facebook/at next meeting.”
– “I’ve also sent you an email about this…”
– “Hi this is Victor from UberAwesome. We are an eLearning production company…”
So basically, I’ve come to see my office voicemail as a very poor information & communication tool. It is infinitely less usable than other tools that provide me with information streams and artefacts I can remix: email, Twitter, Facebook, Yammer, Skype chat, Google chat, etc etc. And infinitely less portable and customisable than my iPhone.
It’s definitely you…
Because of our strained working relationship due to different working styles, I have been displaying avoidance behaviour towards my phone. It accusingly blinks its light at me but I ignore it. And unfortunately this means that on occasion, I have missed messages from people who do use this communication tool. This is not good.
How to manage this stream?
There are several solutions to this problem.
I could set it up to forward all calls to my iPhone. But my iPhone is my personal number, with my personal account. Also I don’t tend to answer calls from unknown numbers, choosing to let my iPhone voicemail be my hurdle requirement for unknown callers – usually sales people from banks/ insurance companies. All my social contacts and many colleagues are in my Contacts list and would be recognised, promptly answered and warmly greeted. But work phone numbers would not.
I could build a habit (it only takes 21 days right?) to check my voicemail every morning first thing when I walk into my office. But I won’t. Because it simply is an inferior communication tool where the amount of effort required to retrieve, use and manage its information, is disproportional to that information’s value. And I “hates” it. (Yes, petulance.)
Netsmart & mindful
So as I was preparing my workspace for next year this week, I decided to take a leaf out of Howard Rheingold’s book, Netsmart, and practise mindfulness. I am giving up on my office voicemail, and I’m telling people about it. I am cutting it out of my life. I’ve begun gently – changed my outgoing message to say I can’t answer the phone, and the best way to reach me is to send me an email (all work contacts have my email and for external people I spell it out in the message) or to text me on my mobile. but next year I will change that to something more emphatic.
So you can text me, email me, tweet me, Facebook me, Google+ me, Yammer me, Skype me, iMessage me, iPhone me, Whatsapp me, Viber me but don’t call me maybe?
Which information stream will you cut out of your life?
I thought I would share the “infographic” I created for the #DNLE MOOC at Stanford’s Venture Lab. It is an unsophisticated effort to plot functions of a curation tool I think would be needed to support social content curation by a learning community. For this exercise I chose 6 functions (though it could have been 45 and Bayeux Tapestry proportions):
community rights to share,
ability to reshare to community or PLN
and availability of the collection.
I then did an assessment of a standard LMS as it might be used in higher education, and also curation tools Scoop.It and Pinterest.
The resulting infographic is limited in space, time and research. But it has been fun to do, and has also distilled some thoughts for further “actual” research for my ever present Digital Curation PhD.
In a crisis like this, as we saw in the September earthquake, every person with a smartphone, iPhone or other mobile device, becomes a walking information post, both in a receiving and a broadcasting capacity. They may be accessing and posting information via Twitter, Facebook or email and act like a little communication hub for the people around them.So what can you do to help?
Provide free wifi access
Unfortunately in New Zealand our mobile data network is still small and highly expensive. So if you are in Christchurch and you still have power and wifi access, here’s something you can do to facilitate the free flow of information and communication during this crisis. Turn off the password protection on your modem and give passers-by the opportunity to access the internet.You may want to add a sign in your window to alert people to the fact that there is free wifi access available.