Friday, 29 August 2008

Online maps 'wiping out history'

Internet mapping is wiping the rich geography and history of Britain off the map, the president of the British Cartographic Society has said.

Modern maps are accused of lacking detail - image courtesy of Google Maps


Thursday, 28 August 2008

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Your printer is lying to you

Out of ink? Already? When Farhad Manjoo's Brother printer abruptly stopped zipping out prints, he began to wonder if the printer wasn't simply lying that it was out of toner in order to trick him into buying more before he needed it. The prints hadn't been fading at all, but the printer simply refused to go on without a new cartridge.


MIT students' gagging lifted

An academic paper by three students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) which explained how to use the Boston subway for free can be aired, despite the attempts to block it.


Monday, 25 August 2008

YouTube for duffers

I've decided that YouTube is my poison this year. So I decided to make some rough-and-ready videos that will form a discussion of my growing disenchantment with football, and how I feel disenfranchised from the team I have followed for 30 years, Walsall FC. Now the subject matter is irrelevant, but the process of making the videos has been eye-opening.

I captured and edited them in a way that is easily low-tech, to prove that with limited resources it is possible to make something useful and more media-rich or user-focused. So my process is:
  1. have a single focus for each video, within a larger theme;
  2. use a Nikon Coolpix 7600 in video mode;
  3. capture video handheld or using tripod;
  4. use RAD Video tools from Bink Video to convert files from Quicktime to .avi, as I am using Windows Movie Maker - no need for extra whistles/bells in this project;
  5. import .avi files to Windows Movie Maker, by dragging and dropping;
  6. edit videos, spliced with simple transitions;
  7. embed user-feedback along the way;
  8. embed photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 7600 as appropriate;
  9. add extra audio recorded with Plantronics DSP500 headset and audacity [producing mp3 files] as appropriate, by dragging and dropping;
  10. login to YouTube [you need an account but you can create one with your google account]; and
  11. upload from your homepage and wait for the video to load.
The first video took 30 minutes to record, 4 hours to edit and a while to upload [I went away and had a cup of tea, so lost track of time]. The second took 30 minutes to record, 2 hours to edit and an hour to upload. Give it a go - it's great fun!

new name

Okay, so our Pathfinder project is over, but our work goes on. Julia in Art and Design suggested that we rename the blog to Learning Exchanges, and we liked that so here we are. In the near future we will be moving the blog to WordPress and hosting it locally so that we have more control and can move our work forward with plug-ins.

We intend to use the new site to showcase good and innovative practice in using technologies in the curriculum. So if you have some examples, email us at

We also have a new project funded through the HEA e-learning research observatory call for 2008/9 , called
"Connecting Transitions and Independent Learning: an evaluation of read/write web approaches" [CoTIL]. In essence the project, with our Transitions Team and NIACE, will be looking at the use of Web2.0 tools with new students, as they engage with academic life and transitions into HE. We'll keep you informed of how this one goes.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Do schools kill creativity?

This video is awesome and a must watch for those that have or know children in education.

Predicting the next 5,000 days of the web

Visual search engine is photographer's best friend

A new visual search engine could help photographers keep track of their photographs whenever, and wherever, they appear on the internet.

The TinEye search engine, developed by Canadian company Idee, allows users to search by uploading a picture rather than typing in a keyword. It then conducts a pixel by pixel search across the internet, flagging up all instances of that image even if it's been cropped, merged or digitally altered in some way.