Monday, January 26, 2015

Microsoft Hololens

With the reported demise (see one version here) of google glasses, news from microsoft about their work on hololens brings some relief for future watches. The video on the possibilities of the hololens provides a glimpse into a 3D virtual environment. Official launch of the hololens reported to be mid-2015 for developers.

Positive reviews on the prototype from usual reviewers - wired, cnet and endgadget.

The hololens can be envisaged as a follow through from microsoft's work with the kinect which has had difficulties moving into the mainstream beyond gaming. Forbes  article recommends some scepticism required beyond microsoft hype based on experiences with the kinect. So it's a watch the hololens space for the interim, to see what actually eventuates.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Ten years blogging

Late last year, while putting together the ‘year in review’ blog for 2014, I realised that I had been blogging since the beginning of 2005.  So this year, marks the 11th year of writing on this blog. In truth, I did not envisage blogging for so long. However, this blog very quickly became my ‘one-stop shop’ to archive books read (e.g. this one), conferences presented at / attended (e.g. this one recently - ascilite), technology experiences /encounters (e.g. most recent tablet - ipad mini - review), found resources / blogs (e,g, this one on ebook - tech variety), assorted musings (e.g. this one summarising learnings from readings from neuroscience), travel (e.g. trip to China) and very occasional vents. Hence, the time taken to compile blog entries, has repaid several fold through time saved on hunting up things.

A major off shoot of blogging has been a greater connection to the writing process. At the moment, I often use the blog to get myself into a ‘writing mood’. The writing of the blog, often just a capture of my ‘stream of thoughts’, provides the warm-up stage to the more serious business of academic writing. I often start a blog but may never finish the article. About 3/4 of tentative blog writings do end up on this blog, but many are partially completed ‘shells’, often, if technology connected, with a ‘shelf-life’ of sorts. Hence, my blogging folder now has dozens of started but unfinished ‘possible’ blog articles. However, these never completed and perhaps never ever to be uploaded starter pieces, prime me for more writing. So these fragments of writing have played an important role, despite never being shared with others.

The writings actually shared on this blog, provide a forum for me to collate my thoughts and collect links, papers, contacts etc. which might, at some stage, feature in my meanders through research and academic writing. I use the blog’s search facility several times each week and so the blog has become one of several digital filing cabinets I maintain. Access to digital features mean my brain does not have to store the minutiae of a busy work life and I know I can usually find items either on my computer, this blog or various colour coded and post-it marked hard copies of papers and books on my book shelves. I have managed to update my endnotes to point where sources of articles are – hardcopy (and which topic labelled box it is in) or digital (and which drive it is stored in). With the increase in ebooks, things are becoming more complicated as I need to remember which books are in the library (and which one, work, public, university), accessed via kindle or on shelves (at work or at home). So, another update required on endnotes added to my ‘to do’ list for this year.

If I am asked, why blog? I would say it is was originally just to find out what blogging would be about and then the advantages of blogging motivated me to continue the blog. The plethora of blogs on the cloud, attest to the diversity of ways bloggers utilise their blogs. It is up to a blogger to find their blogging voice. To maintain a blog, requires the blog to meet the blogger’s needs. For me, this blog has been a place to practice writing and to archive ideas and resources. As the years pass, the blog has become part of my modus operandi. It is a place to collate notes on books read, to consolidate and rationalise thoughts, to sound out ideas. In short, a place to ruminate, learn and deliberately practice writing. To blog is to become – a writer, a scholar, a thinker / tinkerer.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Plans for 2015

This is one of those years when it is difficult to make detailed plans. Firstly, my work section, envisages a large number of programme approval / development projects due to the outcome of the, now stretched out and overdue, targeted review of qualifications (TRoQ). To try to move things along the TRoQ is now renamed the Mandatory review of Qualifications (MRoQ). Secondly, added to the large list of programmes to be reviewed / re-developed, the academic division is being reviewed and restructured. The centre for educational development (CED) where I am based will be dis-established and a review of academic division functions will be carried out. After the functions review, staff will apply for positions. So at the moment, difficult to forecast where I will be based later this year. The current plans are for the new structure to be in place by the middle of this year. So plans for 2015 will need to be flexible as the year unfolds.

However, 'normal' work carries on. Therefore, a professional development focus this year will be to touch base with the foundational literature on apprenticeships, practice and workplace-based learning in light of last year’s readings (summarised here) and on-line courses / MOOCs on things neurological (one summarised here). Writing to disseminate the findings, recommendations and theory building from previous projects will also continue. I hope to submit at least 2 journal articles and have plans to submit abstracts for 3 conferences. 

The second focus will be to explore learning analytics (LA) further and to evaluate if LA will assist in better informing teaching and learning practice. I will need to work on the learnings from the recent ASCILITE conference, in particular the workshop on LA to apply to the NZ and CPIT context.

Work also continues with the support of various 'in-progress' projects (Project surface tablet, staff development with various programmes etc.) Therefore, lots to keep busy with as I continue my current main work tasks/foci until the outcomes of the review are put in place.