Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for April, 2008

Watching TV in Singapore
April 19th, 2008

I have been staying at the Nanyang Executive Centre at Nanyang Technological University during the last week. At the end of each day I usually grab dinner at one of the canteens on the campus and then walk back to the NEC. I relax a little and even watch a little of the local television. Shao Ping and I used to watch the local channels here during the years that we lived in Singapore.

It was good to catch a guest appearance by Kym Ng on the game show Deal or No Deal. She is my favourite Singaporean personality. It was hosted by Adrian Pang. I have always enjoyed watching the movie Forever Fever in which Adrian Pang played the lead. Some great footage of Singapore in that flick. Anyway, there are some photographs of the local media below for your enjoyment.

Read~write web presentation and workshops ~ NTU
April 19th, 2008

This week I have been based at Nanyang Technological University. I arrived last Sunday via Singapore Airlines on the new Airbus A380. Amazing aircraft. It is school vacation time back in Australia so here I am in Singapore, my second home.

First up on Monday I gave a presentation to a group of educators from across the island on current trends regarding web based technologies as well as illustrating some of the possibilities relating to the application of mashups and data scraping to your RSS feeds.

Flipping between a Mac and PC

The audience begins to arrive

Lecture theatre 12 is a great venue, not too big, not too small

Nice smiling faces

On Tuesday I gave a reasonably straightforward workshop on some of the tools that one can use to manage their news feeds and bookmarks. We looked at readers,, blogger, wordpress and twitter. During the course of the workshops I posted micro-blogs to the ‘universe’ on Twitter to demonstrate aspects of its possibilties and the universe responded with an engaging shower of meteororic responses from Sue Wyatt, Siva, Sarah, Russel, Chris, Alec, Keamac, Helen and Jane.

I have mixed feelings about the WordPress upgrade to 2.5. There are some interface improvements. Other interface let-downs. I amĀ  most unimpressed that it will not allow javascript in your widgets. Bad move WordPress. I just might switch blogging engines again later this year. I will certainly never use WordPress as the basis for my workshop. I will revert to Blogger. The WordPress server was slow, dead slow actually on Thursday and again on the Friday with frequent time-outs.

CED Traing Room, there is Dr Jacob Gan in the foreground

Wednesday was quite an exciting workshop. We looked at RSS feeds in a little more detail. The types of tools we explored included Yahoo! Pipes, Dapper and AideRSS. We also performed an autopsy on Google Reader to see how we could derive greater benefit from the tool. We performed CPR on Google Reader after we stitched it back up and you will be relieved to learn it performed to our expectations.

It was quite an interesting day and admittedly I was a little apprehensive as some of the technologies are a little quirky. Everything went quite well. It is quite neat when you can create an RSS feed from a site where none previusly existed. We “collected” data from a number of sites that did not possess feeds, established the feeds and then merged them into a single feed. In that manner, when the sites were updated we were informed via our readers, such as Google Reader.

More happy participants… Wednesday’s workshop was quite fun actually

Yesterday I gave a workshop at the Singapore Airlines Training Centre, the home of the world famous Singapore Girl where the newly recruited attendants are trained. During the afternoon I gave a workshop at the Hwa Chong Institution. Today I have an introductory workshop on what I call the core tools of the read~write web. I will post on those tomorrow.

Experimenting with Google Placemarks
April 16th, 2008

This is an attempt to embed a google placemark. Link

Singapore bound
April 12th, 2008

In just a few hours I shall be on my way to Singapore. I will be conducting workshops at the Centre for Educational Development at Nanyang Technological University for four days.

I shall also be facilitating workshops at Temasek Polytechnic and Singapore Airlines. Then, on Friday night, a Macintosh meetup. Excellent!

Oz-Educators Flash Meeting
April 12th, 2008

Well, that was a surprise. I whipped across to Twitter not long ago and I observed a sequence of messages between Sue Tapp, Jess McCulloch and Sue Wyatt regarding a Flash Meeting. I signed up and jumped on board. There were eight teachers in the meeting at one stage… Sue Tapp, Jess McCulloch, Sue Wyatt, Sarah Stewart, NRWatkins, Simon Brown, Fiona and myself.

It was the first time many of us had used Flash Meeting. I quite enjoyed the spontaneity of it all. These asynchronous tools require a little self discipline and the evolution of protocols. A bit like CB-radio. “10-4 Good Buddy” and all that.

We chatted about potential uses and planned for regular meetings as a forum for Australian and New Zealand educators interested in regional issues down here, underneath the planet. We all reside down here, downunder, and like Atlas we prop up the rest of the edublogosphere with our solid foundations and matter of fact approach to education and the classroom. Hey! Hey! Thanks for setting it up Sue! Legend.