Friday, 6 March 2015

Week 8 Thinking Digitally embedding a soundcloud file

This week we did a show and tell and as people are still working behind the scenes on their artefacts I won't share them at this stage.

As a group we were trying to problem solve so I'll share one of the presenting challenges and some thoughts on ways forward.

One candidate had created a list of words with hyperlinks on her website, so that when you clicked on each hyperlink you were taken to her personal/professional soundcloud account from which you would then click on a soundfile.

However she wanted people, with one click, to be able to hear the soundfile straight from the website.

One way to approach this could be to embed the soundfile, still hosted on soundcloud, into her website so that with one click a browser would immediately open the sound file. To do this she would put in some html code in the back end of the website.  It sounds complicated, however as you can see from this screencast video which I've embedded into this blog showing you how to do just that, it's really just a matter of copying a piece of code which is created for you from soundcloud to your website/blog.

We also talked about her creating an organisational soundcloud account rather than a personal one and then actually encouraging others to create their own soundclouds, on a similar topic, with a common tag. She could advertise this on her website to encourage people to look for the tag, with a disclaimer that it's not content you have created.

Her next challenge is how to transcribe the content for people who want to read the stories, not hear them.  There is freeware available which does convert speech to text.  She might engage volunteers to undertake this role and she is also thinking about using a text dictation tool as well as recording sound.

Hope you have a good weekend

Friday, 27 February 2015

Week 7 Lead Scotland's Thinking Digitally course: Accessibility

This week we were discussing the accessibility of digital artefacts.  Heres a flavour of our discussions.

Is your digital artefact accessible?  What does that mean? JISC, amongst others, seek to answer the question; what is website accessibility?  We strive to be inclusive practitioners offline.  How do we take this approach online and apply it when producing digital content?

How do disabled people access websites?  The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative have gathered stories from disabled people with a range of impairments who access websites in different ways, e.g. a blind person may use a screenreader package which basically reads out what is on screen.

Common Knowledge is a good example of an organisation which has given thought to ways by which they can make their website accessible to their targeted audience of people with learning difficulties, e.g. large cursor on entry to site, the opportunity to listen to information as well as read it, lots of appealing photographs.

Some people who access your artefact may be sophisticated users of the internet and of assistive technology and some may be at the start of their own digital journey.  You could raise awareness of different ways by which people access the internet via your artefact to promote inclusion.  The BBC's my web my way and Ability Net's My Computer My Way encourage individuals to self assess their own needs and offer practical tips about making adjustments to standard settings to improve accessibility are offered.

How do I know if my artefact is accessible? The W3C Web Accessbility initiative have a site with rich information and details about ways by which you can evaluate the accessibility of your artefact. For example if you put the URL of your artefact into Wave it will highlight potential areas that you can reflect on changing to improve the accessibility of your artefact, e.g. having alt text for images. Please be aware that automated checks are no substitute for involving people with a range of impairments in testing your artefact to provide a much needed human perspective.

Next week we're doing a show and tell and the blog will reflect our conversations about usability.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Week 6 Lead Scotland's Thinking Digitally course: Reflection

Why Reflect?

This week we've been looking at ways of using digital tools to review our learning along the way ahead of the reflective account at the end of the course. Here are some of the links we've been looking at:

The University of Worcester's learning journals page offers helpful hints for keeping a reflective journal.

Business balls have gathered useful digests about the conscious competence learning model and other theorists such as Kolb's widely cited and debated 4 stage model of experiential learning.  Infed, a not for profit site of the YMCA George Williams College has gathered some critiques of Kolb's model.

image of Kolb's 4 stage experiential model of learning

What kind of learner are you?  The University of Leicester give an account of Honey and Mumford's learning styles suggesting that if you recognise your preferences you could play to your strengths. You could also seek to make changes.

We're gathering digital tools on our website encouraging recording, review and reflection which you can use to create practical task lists, to be actioned, and to reflect and make sense of what you have learned through your experiences.

Next week we'll be looking at web usability and accessibility.

More information about Lead Scotland's Thinking Digitally course

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Week 5 Lead Scotland's Thinking Digitally course

I should probably have started a blog on week one of the Thinking Digitally course currently being delivered to CLD practitioners who are members of the North Alliance, but better late than never! Over the next few weeks I'll share some of the links we are looking at as a group.

Online diary tools: Remember the milk offers the opportunity to create a task list of things against dates (seems straightforward) and has the advantage that you can email things to it too. Evernote works well too which like remember the milk will also synch with your smart phone if you have one.  Rednotebook also offer an opensource online diary. Blipfoto offers an online visual photodiary.  Here are a couple of examples of this site in action from frequent blilppers: Mike Russell MSP and Louise Macdonald, OBE, CEO YouthScotland.  It's the most friendly social media site that I’ve ever seen. 

Free sites for creating a blog: The one you are currently reading is obviously Blogger and we mentioned tumblr which is also fairly straightforward.  Check out this search for ‘literacy learning’ for example and you’ll see all blog posts related to that subject which will give you a feel for different tumblr blogs and the styles that people have chosen.  You’ll see that when you click into one that you have the option to ‘follow’ if you want to 'sign up' for future updates from that blogger.  I had created a wordpress blog which actually currently functions more like a website: volunteering round table. It has some basic functions such as contact us form, links to photos hosted in photobucket, one of many photohosting sites and so on. 

Happy thursday