April meeting notes

A larger than before attendance helped by a specific invitation to participants in the forthcoming Technology Enhanced Education Conference being held on May 6th in the Optometry Building to meet and discuss the programme. So we had @amcunningham, @egrommet, @mrsimonwood, @joenicholls, @sphericaln, @agentjohnson, Sarah, Nathan and of course @thoughtgrazing in attendance for some or all of the three hours from 12 ’til 3 on April 6th. Perhaps Wednesday afternoon (and a little bit later) suits folk better. No matter, I’m back from my world-travels and I’ll be more active in canvassing for dates and encouraging attendance from now on.

I couldn’t hear all that was being discussed – my hearing’s not what it used to be in any case, but nine people talking at any one time is just a little bit beyond my capability – but some interesting things were raised, apart from discussing the forthcoming conference.

A lively discussion took place between @egrommet et al on @amcunningham’s tweets about listening to Etienne Wenger the previous day. I’m not sure what the context was but it led to the names of George Siemens, Brown and Duguid (ie Cognitive Apprenticeship) and others being thrown into the argument. Such is the discussion of educational practitioners.

I was involved in a discussion about web hosting (I need a “proper home” for thoughtgrazing.com et al) and @mrsimonwood came up with 5quidhost – looks well worth a second look! I also had Rackspace recommended by @sphericaln, but I think (even with the recent BCS discount) that it’s a bit OTT for me.

Next stop was QRcodes and a discussion on which readers to recommend. [The conference flyer promotes a very large QRcode.] The QRCode Code Machine which both encodes and decodes QRcodes and is available as iPad and iPhone apps (and others ??) was mentioned – it’s now on my brand-new iPad {smug grin}.

This led onto iPhone apps in general and @egrommet showed me iProcrastinate (a neat task manager) which I just had to have; as well as Vtok which purports to enable Google Video Chat on the iPad (I’m yet to test that – although it has been installed).

Finally, as the time flew past just so quickly and as I swallowed my last bite of baguette to go with the second cup of coffee (certainly not up to Twin Peaks standard unfortunately), we started talking about what I will call (loosely) “digital citizenship”. I’ve blogged in other places about digital identity and the importance of context – knowing when and where and what to tweet, blog, whatever, in social media; @amcunningham retold the events of a recent social media “encounter” which caused her to examine what were the boundaries of her contributions to public websites, even though she kept her professional identity apart from those interactions. What should we be advising our students, future professionals, about why and how they should use social media? Does this have a part in Information (or Digital) Literacy – I feel it does. We need to be able to provide leadership in this challenging field where for instance facebook openness meets professional responsibility.

Final thought – does anyone other than @egrommet do regular and systematic “vanity searches” on the web to trawl for personal references. As a professional, perhaps this is something we should all be doing. We need to protect our professional digital footprint.