DigiThings Thing 4: Presenting with Mindmaps

Introduction:

This week we are looking at mindmaps and exploring  how we can add them to our armory of tools for presentation.

OK, so I know we are all familiar with the ‘mindmap’ or ‘spider-diagram’. Many of us find it a wonderful way to harness the creative powers of our brain and develop new ideas and understanding within an idea or topic.  However, unless we have experienced it,  many of us are not aware that the humble mindmap can also be used as a wonderful way of presenting information in a non-linear way, that encourages ongoing thought and research beyond the confines of the immediate presentation.

A Little Background:

Mindmap on CC-BY-SA by robynejay

Mindmap on CC-BY-SA by robynejay

The name ‘Mindmap’ was coined by the British popular psychology author – Tony Buzan in the 70′s who proposed the concept that your brain would be at it’s most creative and resourceful if it worked visually by drawing on paper, a radial tree of thoughts, emanating from a key concept. Mind you, to be fair, this general idea of graphically visualising a concept goes right back to Aristotle.

Wikipedia gives a good overview of Mind Maps which suggests sticking to:

The Fundamental rules of mind-mapping:

  • Start in the centre with an image of the topic, using at least 3 colours.
  • Use images, symbols, codes and dimensions throughout your Mind Map.
  • Select key words and print using upper or lower case letters.
  • Each word/image must be alone and sitting on its own line.
  • The lines must be connected, starting from the central image. The central lines are thicker, organic and flowing, becoming thinner as they radiate out from the centre.
  • Make the lines the same length as the word/image.
  • Use colours – your own code – throughout the Mind Map.
  • Develop your own personal style of Mind Mapping.
  • Use emphasis and show associations in your Mind Map.
  • Keep the Mind Map clear by using radial hierarchy, numerical order or outlines to embrace your branches.

For some people,  real mindmaps (that stick to the rules above) can only be really created by hand, on paper, with lots of colour and drawing, but others have found the method of thinking and organising your thoughts, proposed by the general rules of mindmapping, transferred well to a digital form and a plethora of mindmapping tools have been developed to allow us to create mindmaps on a computer or mobile device.

These tools vary from some simple free tools which provide a visual way of joining concepts and thoughts, right through to highly complex desktop software, with high levels of functionality,  allowing you to build multi-layered documents that can then be integrated into other office tools.

There is such a wide range of software, that you might wish to review the  list of mindmapping software on Wikipedia, but to give you a start, you might like to look at the following mindmapping tools:

Mindmeister – offers a simple browser-based interface, with a range of mobile apps.  As it is free (for up to 3 mindmaps at least) and offers the functionality to present, we will be working with this tool in this week.

XMind – is a highly functional open-source desktop based mindmapping software that is available for PC, Mac & Linux.  The standard version is free, but unfortuneately this does not include the presentation functionality.  You can upload a mindmap to the internet for viewing, but there is no way to edit online, nor are there any mobile apps for this software.

SimpleMind - is a nice simple, clean software available for the desktop and for mobile apps, but does not support presentations, nor online editing, and most versions are commercial.

Wisemapping – is an open-source browser-based tool.  It is free to use and offers much of the same basic functionality as Mindmeister, including sharing, but unfortuneatley not the ability to give presentation.  It is however, unlimited and totally free.

Enough skills to get you going:

Well, first, you need to open an account with Mindmeister: 

Mindmeister offer a range of licenses, from a free basic version through to a premium version with unlimited maps and additional functionality.

For this week, you can if you wish, choose a trial of any of these ‘paid’ licenses, but I would suggest you just use the ‘basic’ version, which is rather hidden at the bottom of the page:

Choosing a license with Mindmeister

Once you have applied for an account, Mindmeister will send you a confirmation email and when you have accepted  this, you will be able to open the Mindmeister desktop:

The Mindmeister desktop

On the desktop folder, you will see that there is already an introductory mindmap created for you, so click on that to open it up in the editing window:

Click here to see the mindmeister workspace

The program is a doddle to work with, so just explore and have fun. It is mostly self-explanatory, but just remember:

  • Click  the Insert or Tab to make a ‘child’ sub-topic, below the highlighted topic.
  • Click the enter to make a new ‘sibling’ topic at the same level as the highlighted topic
  • You can move any topic by ‘click-and-dragging’ with the mouse
  • Once you have clicked on a topic, you can change its properties, add links, Files, Tasks or Notes as well as images or emoticons.

The program encourages you to play with the visual aspects of the mindmap, so go ahead and move things around and change their properties as much as you like.  Remember the rules!

Once you have got a handle on the basics, you can go on to share the mindmap with other mindmap users or use your mindmap as a presentation tool:

Sharing: click on the ‘share this map’ icon share-this-map-icon  and click on the ‘shared’ button and you will see how to invite colleagues to work with you on the mindmap. However, remember that of course they will have to also have accounts with Mindmeister first.

Presenting: Click on the ‘presentation’ icon mindmeister-presentation-button-1  and you will see a blue box with a #1 on the mindmap. You can move this and re-size it so that it contains the contents you want to have in your first slide.

You can then click the + button mindmeister-new-slide  to add another blue box that can be moved and re-sized to contain the contents for your next slide and so on.

For each transition, you can choose the effect to use and then click on ‘Start Slideshow’ mindmeister-start-slideshow, which will take you through the slides as you had arranged and ordered them. This works well if you want to make the presentation via a projector, but if you want to deliver the presentation online, you will have to either share your screen via Skype or an other screen-sharing tool, or you can share with those people that you have already shared the presentation with.

Good luck, although it is quite an easy program to get a handle on, it may take a while to learn how to get the best out of it.

And your task for this week is….

For your task this week, I would like you to start a MindMeister account, create a mindmap, share it and then try using it as a presentation.

  • Create a Mindmeister mindmap and then map out your thoughts on the subject: ‘Mindmaps for Presentation’.
  • Put the title in the middle and then think through the pros and cons and consider what opportunities and what challenges the tool will give.  Whilst you do this, try and remember the rules, we looked at earlier.
  • When you are happy with your mindmap, share it with others, to get their feedback.
  • Then finally try setting it up as a presentation and run it through for yourself or present it to some friends

Hopefully, this will give you a good feeling for working with mindmaps and using them as a presentation tool, but if you have time, try looking at the other mindmapping tools and see how they work and which one suits you the best.

OK, so what do you think:

Having looked at Mindmeister and spent some time making mindmaps, here are some things to think about in your blog this week:

  • Have you used Mindmaps before?  If not, would you use them again?
  • Do they fit in ‘personally’ with the way you explore a subject?  Would you consider yourself a visual ‘thinker’ or ‘presenter’.
  • Can you think of any particular projects, which you could use Mindmeister to collaborate on?
  • What did you think about the functionality of using Mindmeister for a presentation? Would you be able to use this within your own practice?
  • Do you think of mindmapping as working best at a personal level….or a collaborated level?

I hope you enjoyed this week and look forwards to reading your posts in the next few days.

 

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DigiThings Thing 3: Collaborative Presentation with Prezi

Introduction:

There was a time, maybe not that long ago, when it seemed that the default choice for all our presentations was the ubiquitous Powerpoint. Some people would make a real effort to get the best out of it, but others didn’t and the presentations could either end up terribly bland, or used a standard template that was full of grotesque graphic ‘frills’ that could make the presentations somewhat garish and off-putting.

When Prezi turned up on the scene,  it finally freed us from the tight cloak of powerpoint conformity and gave us the ability to easily create materials that are brilliant for the visual learner; using a completely different paradigm for delivery. It was non-linear and used a ‘zooming user interface’ that would allow vast amounts of information to be included, but not necessarily delivered. It allowed you to build a story and choose which bits to tell. You could pick and choose from the material, with the opportunity to digress from your topic if required, but always allowing you to come back to the core thread through the materials.

Prezi suddenly became the flavour of the month, followed by somewhat of a backlash as it became apparent that Prezi was a ‘marmite’ technology. People either love it or hate it. Whilst some find prezis both visually stimulating to watch and liberating in delivery terms, others claim that as a viewer, the visual effects can make them feel nauseous and as a presenter they can loose their way in a jungle of information.

There are also issues for those presenters who like their presentation slides to ‘double up’ as lecture notes, as although Prezi now offers the ability to download each screen of Prezi, the effect may not be considered as professional as is possible using a slide based tool such as Powerpoint.

In the end, the best choice will depend; both on how you as a presenter want to deliver your material and also on the learning styles of your audience. The truth is that you can still make very simple and linear presentations with Prezi if you so choose, and avoid the temptation to over complicate them or use too much zooming and spinning.  So the best advice is normally to keep them on the ‘simple’ side.

When Prezi first came out, users found that it had a steep learning curve and its functionality was quite limited, but it has been aggressively developed to the current version, where it is both easy to use and offers a wide range of functions including the ability to collaborate, present online, and edit via a desktop client.

Standing out from the rest:

So, we can see that whether we like it or not Prezi is a very different type of presentation tool that is likely to be popular with your ‘Visual Learners’.  However, it isn’t only the visual aspects of Prezi that make the program so different and versatile, there are also a host of other functions that are not so well understood or frequently used.

Collaborating with Prezi

For instance, Prezi will allow you to collaborate on a presentation with up to 30 colleagues or students , either in realtime or their own time. Once finished, you can deliver the prezi online, to anyone who has the link – they do not need a Prezi account.

This is a killer functionality and the only fly in the ointment is that the service does not provide a ‘live’ audio connection between the collaborators, so although you can pre-record your audio as a voice-over and load that into your Prezi, you can not have a conversation, without using another online audio service such as Skype or Google Hangouts or even a simple chat service such as Neatchat

Getting started with Prezi

For some, the first steps with Prezi can be a little confusing, so you will be glad to hear that they have extremely good training materials on their own site:

But, first, if you are not already familiar with Prezi, you might wish to view some of the available examples, either by looking through their training prezis at: https://prezi.com/support/ or by reviewing other users presentations in their ‘explore’ area at: http://prezi.com/explore/popular/ both of which are available from the home page:

The Prezi Home Page

Now, to get going;  follow these basic instructions:

  • To get an account, go to http://www.prezi.com/ and click on the blue ‘sign-up’  button and choose the license you want: I would recommend the ‘Enjoy Edu’ license available from: http://prezi.com/pricing/edu/ although you will need a ‘.ac.uk’ email address to register for this license.
  • When you are ready, click the ‘Create’ and you will go to a screen that holds ‘All your prezis’, from where you can click the blue ‘New Prezi’ button: The New Prezi button. You can then choose to use a template or simply open a blank prezi, so that the editing interface opens in the browser.
  • The editing window is very simple, and you will be on top of it after just a little experimenting to see how it all works: the top menu bar, gives you access to tools for adding frames, media and other elements. The left hand bar, allows you to create and edit the path that your presentation will take through the materials you are creating and text can be entered and elements moved within the central window.
  • You can add a range of audio, video and images by clicking the insert button and uploading the media. Specific audio can be attached to a frame on the path, by first selecting the frame and then uploading a voice-over in mp3 format.
  • You can enter text, simply by clicking in the editing area and writing, with some basic editing being self-explanatory.

After a bit of playing you will get the hang of it. Of course it helps if you have a good handle on the materials you are going to use before you start. You can’t use Prezi to hide a lack of materials and in fact arguably, you may well need a little more materials than you would on a similar Powerpoint presentation. Remember you can include materials into the prezi which you don’t have on your ‘path’. They can be there…just in case you want to use them or as further research materials for your students after your presentation.

And then sharing your Prezi:

Once you have got the hang of making your Prezis and ordering your materials together onto a path, the next thing to try is sharing it with your colleagues or students.

Sharing your Prezi for others to view or co-edit is easy, you just have to return to the home page and put your mouse over the Prezi you wish to share and click on the share button. You will then be able to choose a privacy level for the document (from private through to re-usable).  To let others view the Prezi in their own time, you can share the provided URL.  To allow them to edit the Prezi, you will have to add them (they will need an account) into the ‘add people’ box.  Anyone with the link will be able to view the prezi in their own browser, whenever they like, but to edit it, they will need to have an account, then be added to the list and sent an invite email.

http://prezi.com/embed/pev6l3yr6yor/

Presenting online:

Presenting online to up to 30 people can also be done from the edit window; you just have to click on the share button and then pick: Present Remotely. This will give you a link to share. Copy this and email it to your participants and they will be able to see you present the Prezi – They won’t need a Prezi account.
As I mentioned earlier, you must remember that there is no live audio feed, so you will have to either rely on pre-recorded audio embedded in the Prezi or provide another channel for communications such as Skype, Google Hangouts or even a simple chatroom.

Small Task for Week 3:

Learning the basics of Prezi won’t take you you too long, but becoming an expert may keep you busy for a few late nights and although it is pretty simple, I realise that it can be a bit confusing for the newcomer.  So, using the instructions above and the Prezi support pages, try and work your way through these tasks:

  • Create an EnjoyEdu Prezi account at: http://prezi.com/pricing/edu/
  • Find and watch some online Prezis by clicking on ‘Explore’ on the menu tab or go direct to: http://prezi.com/explore/popular/
  • Review some of the Learning materials by clicking on ‘Learn & Support’ on the menu tab or go direct to https://prezi.com/support/
  • Have a go at making your own Prezi – pick a subject you are familiar with and already have plenty of material to use.
  • Publish it and share it with your colleagues.  It is also possible to embed it in your wordpress blog, but if you get stuck leave a comment below and I will explain how.
  • Try inviting a colleague (and/or me) to help edit it.
  • Consider setting up a back channel to support your collaboration with Neatchat.

Some Points to think about in your blog post:

  • First and foremost:  Does Prezi work for you?  Prezi is a bit of a ‘marmite’ technology, you either love it….or hate it.  So, what is it for you:  ’yipee’ or ‘yuckie’?
  • Think about your presentation style:
    • How does your presentation work for your ‘visual learners’
    • Do your slides double up as lecture notes?
    • Do you just want slides to work as an ‘aide memoir’ for your talk?
    • Does Prezi work for your teaching style?
  • How would you be able to use the collaborative aspect of Prezi?  With Students? With Colleagues?
  • Can you think of opportunities for you to use Prezi in your practice?

Further Research:

There is lots of material and opinion on Prezi out there to be found on Google….

…but the best way to understand how Prezis work is simply to look at public examples of how they have been used.  Prezi encourages an open approach to sharing their presentations, so just search the Prezi archives.

 

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DigiThings Thing 2: PowerPoint

I’m sure that most of you are already fairly familiar with this application, so, rather than cover the wide range of tools available in PowerPoint, the aim this week is to equip you with the knowledge and skills to create good quality, visually appealing slides. Most of us have experienced bad examples of PowerPoint presentations, and the phrase, ‘Death by PowerPoint’ is often used. However, what tends to be overlooked, is that these presentations are bad because of the poor content and design, not because of the tool itself. In fact, PowerPoint can be an incredibly powerful and effective presentation tool, but unfortunately, too often it is misused, and presenters often fail to properly organise and present their content. Remember the old adage ‘content is King’. Presentations can be more than just a mass of endless bullet points and unnecessary text, and, believe it or not, it’s not obligatory to use the default templates in PowerPoint!! However, it is also possible to overwhelm or confuse the audience through overuse of unnecessary embellishments, such as animations, transitions, and too many images etc. If inappropriately used, these can make your presentation look tasteless and unprofessional, and the message you’re trying to make may get lost.

So…..what makes a good presentation? and what makes good slide design?

Have a look at some of the presentations on the award winning TED talks video site (http://www.ted.com/talks). This site hosts many inspirational and creative presentations to motivate you! The TED site also includes some very useful advice on ‘How to make your presentation great’:http://www.ted.com/pages/tedx_presentation_design Also, have a look at these ‘top 10’ design tips by Garr Reynolds, (best-selling author of Presentation Zen Design: Simple Design Principles and Techniques to Enhance Your Presentations) : Steve Jobs (co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc.) was known (and still is known) as an astonishing presenter and speaker, because he informed, inspired and entertained audiences with his keynote speeches. His presentations were stylish and simple, yet powerful, and, most importantly, memorable. Text and written information was always kept to a minimum, and he predominantly used images to convey his message, for maximum impact. Have a look at the following review of a typical Steve Jobs’ keynote from 2010 taken from the Presentation Advisors website: http://www.presentationadvisors.com/breaking-down-steve-jobs-wwdc-2010-keynote-presentation

Using visual content in your slides

As we’ve seen from some of the examples given previously, visual content can help to enhance understanding, and images have much more of a lasting impact than text. They can be used to reinforce your ideas, helping to illustrate complex thoughts or concepts. It is always best to use your own stock of photos/visuals if you can, as this overcomes any possible copyright issues. Try to gradually build up a collection of your own visual content for future use. However, if you do need to find images for your presentations, the Creative Commons search tool is a good place to start. It searches sites such as Google Images, Flickr, YouTube, and others, for content that can be reused or adapted. Remember though that you must reference the original source of the content. To locate the Creative Commons search engine, go to: http://search.creativecommons.org, and for further information about Creative Commons  go to: http://creativecommons.org/about

an important note about Accessibility

Remember that you must ensure that any presentations you create are accessible and inclusive as there is a legal obligation for organisations to ensure that no-one is disadvantaged because of a disability. This includes a requirement to make any reasonable adjustments to ensure that as many people as possible can access the presentation. For advice and guidance on this, please refer to the JISC TechDis site: http://www.jisctechdis.ac.uk/techdis/resources/presentations

did you know…….. PowerPoint 2010 provides the option to add narration to your slides (simply using a USB headphone & mic set), and then to save the presentation as a video?
This is a quick and easy way to produce a podcast/e-learning package which can be made available to your students to access online at any time. Give it a go.

The following video, ‘Creating A Video in PowerPoint 2010′, produced by Dr Jason Truscott, (Learning Technologist, ASTI, Plymouth University) shows you how:

Week 2 Task:

  1. Create 2-3 slides which include images and some text. The slides should inform the viewer about your hobbies or interests. Think about the best way in which to convey your message, concentrating more on visual communication.
  2. Output your slides as a video (you don’t need to add audio/narration if you don’t want to, it can be just purely visual if that’s your preference ).
    The help video above shows you how to do this if you’re not sure.
    Your final video should only be approx 20 secs duration (using the default setting of 5 secs duration per slide).
  3. Upload the video to YouTube (NB: Your video won’t be available for public viewing unless you specify this option when you upload, so don’t panic!)
  4. Share the link to your video on your blog, for the other participants to view and review at least 2 other participants’ slides, posting your feedback on the blog.

How to set up a YouTube/Google account, uploading your video to YouTube, and posting the link on the Digithings blog site:

  • Once you have your YouTube account, you can upload your presentation video to the site. To do this, sign in if you’re not already logged in (using the blue ’sign in’ button in the top right corner of the homepage).
    Then click on ‘upload‘ (NB: not the arrow drop down list beside it)

upload

  1. Choose ‘unlisted’ from the drop down options next to ‘privacy’ (this will mean that the video cannot be searched on YouTube, and can only be viewed by those who are sent the link.

file upload

2. Click on the large arrow to upload your video file from your computer:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 09.41.54

A timeline will appear to show that YouTube is processing your video:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.12.06

3. Once it has uploaded, you will see the ‘upload complete’ notification (see below).

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 10.13.44

To access the video & its properties, click on the blue url (web link) to the right of it. Your embedded video will appear on a new page.

4. From the menu below your video, select ‘share’ (a warning will appear to remind you that it is unlisted)

5. Copy the url (web address) that appears in the box at the bottom of the page:

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 09.01.32

6. Paste the link into your blog post on the digithings site, so that others on the course can view and comment on your video.

7. Comment/feedback on at least 2 other participant’s videos on the digithings blog.

Reflecting on this week’s topic…..

Some things to think about in your blog post this week:

  • How do you currently use PowerPoint in your work? for example, do you already use many of its advanced features?
  • Do you have any examples of good presentations that you aspire to? and what makes them ‘good’?
  • How useful would you find the ‘adding narration’ and ‘slideshow to video’ tools mentioned previously? can you think of examples of where you might apply them in relation to your teaching and subject area?

and finally!!!….. Before you find yourself reaching for the bullet point tool in PPT, take a few minutes to watch this very funny clip from YouTube, entitled ‘Life After Death by PowerPoint’ by Don McMillan:

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How do you do? :)

Hi All,

I saw my colleague Flea setting up and launching this pilot course and was curious enough to register for it as I wanted to see how it progressed. I thought I’d pop on here, (possibly abusing my admin rights in our WordPress site), and be a bit nosey about how everyone is getting on.

So how are you all? I see a growing list of blogs on the right, so quite a few people trying this out. That’s great as it’s new to us too so hopefully you’ll feed back on your experiences, as some already are, let us know how you are getting on, and of course ask for help if anything is proving a bit tricky or put us straight if anything is wrong.

If you need anything do ask, post a comment here and there are one or two experienced users trying this out who I’m sure will rally around to help.

I’m looking forward to week, er, well my week, when we’ll be looking at some perhaps slightly off the wall presentation methods. Until then I’m riding the bus with you all and seeing some new tools for myself.

Have fun, stay in touch.

Mark :)

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#DigiThings Thing One: Presenting yourself online through blogging

Welcome to the first module of DigiThings! In this module we will focus on presentations, exploring different tools and strategies to engage students and other colleagues, and are hopefully fun to use too!

The first ‘thing’ we shall be looking at is presenting yourself through a blog. We shall consider online identity through creating a profile and choosing a username and avatar to represent you online.

 

Why blog?

Educators are encouraged to be ‘reflective practitioners’ (Schon 1983) – looking back at what we have done and considering how we can improve. Steve Wheeler identifies this and six other reasons why he feels teachers should blog.

A blog (and using other social media) can also be useful for research, as articulated by PhD student, Kylie Soane, helping you to clarify your thoughts, keep informed and share what you’re doing with a wider community.

You may also find these Academic Blogging 10 Top Tips from the Guardian Higher Education Network useful

 

Tool: WordPress

WordPress.com is a free blogging platform. There are others, such as Google’s Blogger or Tumblr, or alternatively you can use the blogging tool in PebblePad. Your blog will be the mechanism through which you reflect and participate in conversations with others so please don’t forget to submit it to us so that we can link it from this main blog. If you already have a blog you are also welcome to use that!

 

Task: Setting up a blog and creating a profile

1. Go to wordpress.com (not wordpress.org as this is a paid service) and click on ‘Get Started’ WordPress - Get Started

 

2. Set up an account

You will need an email address in order for your account to be activated. You will also need to create a Username, Password and name for your blog.

Username: Choosing your username is important as it will be displayed whenever you comment on others’ posts and will also be used for any other WordPress blogs you may create in the future. It could also form the basis of your online identity, particularly if you have a few social media accounts and would like your online persona to be consistent. I use my real name (fleapalmer) but, depending on how you feel about your public profile and the blurring of personal and professional identities, you may wish to use a pseudonym. Namechk is a useful tool for checking whether a username is available across different social media accounts.

Password: Ensure your password is secure through using a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. It’s recommended to use a phrase rather than one word, although this can make your password quite long! Don’t check the ‘remember my password’ box, especially if you share a machine. You may want to use a secure password manager, such as LastPass, particularly if you have lots of accounts as trying to remember them all can be quite challenging!

See http://learn.wordpress.com/ for more details about setting up your account and other features that you can add to your blog.

 

3.  Activate your account

You will be sent an email to confirm your account. Follow the instructions, click on the link and you’re ready to go!

 

4. Fill in your profile

The Dashboard is where you manage your blog – e.g. changing settings, creating new posts and/or pages and seeing how many ‘hits’ (visits) you get. You can get to the Dashboard by hovering over your blog name in the top left-hand corner.

Dashboard

One of the most important things to do is to complete your User Profile so that others can find out a bit about you! Fill in as much as you feel comfortable with remembering that this information will be available to everyone on the web. Although WordPress doesn’t ask you for too much personal information, other sites, such as Facebook and Google, encourage you to create a detailed profile. This is the deal – you use their products for free, in return, they use your information for targeted advertising. Of course, you can use this to your advantage through creating your own ‘online brand’!

 

5. Create your Gravatar

Your gravatar (globally recognised avatar) can be a professional photo of yourself or a picture that represents your username. Avoid using the default as people may not bother interacting with you as they might think you’re not serious or even a spammer! To create your Gravatar go to the dashboard and in the left-hand menu select Users > Your Profile > Change your Gravatar and follow the instructions to upload a picture.

You can also choose a theme for your blog and add a tagline to explain more about your blog’s purpose.

 

6. Write your first post!

Here’s how to write your first post… (written instructions can be found at http://learn.wordpress.com/get-published/)

[wpvideo a81PKPUD]

Don’t know what to write about? This course is all about trying out new tools and reflecting on how they might be useful in your practice, sharing thoughts via your blog. You may find the Reflective Framework useful to guide your thoughts.

Key Skills: How easy was it to set up your blog? Did you have any problems? Do you have any tips to share?

Profession-specific: How do you feel about having a ‘digital identity’? Are you using your own name or a pseudonym? Are you aiming to combine your personal and professional identities or will you keep them separate?

Evaluation: Do you think keeping a blog would be useful for your practice? What are the benefits/ issues? (You may find this article interesting: ‘Academic blogging: a risk worth taking?‘)

Integration: How could blogging become part of your workflow? Could you use your blog with students? research colleagues? How often would you post?

7. Register your blog with us!

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A bit more about DigiThings…

DigiThings officially starts on Monday!

Here’s a bit more information about what we’re going to cover…

If you can’t wait, have a look at this excellent ebook by Nancy Duarte, Resonate, which looks at all aspects of preparing and delivering persuasive presentations, examining speeches and employing storytelling and screen writing techniques.

Looking forward to meeting you all next week!

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Welcome to DigiThings!

DigiThings is a self-directed, peer-mentored online programme that aims to help staff with teaching and research responsibilities to explore and engage with social media and digital tools.

Each week a new ‘DigiThing’ will be introduced for you to explore and evaluate in terms of whether it could enhance your practice. You are encouraged to write a reflective blog post to share and discuss your experiences with colleagues.

The Programme will be delivered in modules, each one being over a span of about 10 weeks, with a break half way through.

In response to findings from research conducted by PedRIO (‘Teaching and Learning: The First Year Experience’ by Professor Debby Cotton, Professor Pauline Kneale & Patricia Nash) and Learning Development (‘Uncovering the experiences of first year students through video diaries’ by Joe Allison and Oxana Poverjuc) the first module will look at different tools for delivering presentations.

DigiThings will begin on 13th January 2014

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