UK eInformation Group

Web 2.0 Updates

Virtual World Watch

Tracking activity in UK universities and colleges.

Virtual World Watch (http://virtualworldwatch.net/)  is funded by the Eduserv Foundation. It is continuing the series of snapshots that have been undertaken by Silversprite Helsinki on the take-up of Second Life within the UK Higher and Further Education sector. While Second Life is still the most used virtual world by  UK academics for teaching and learning purposes, an increasing number are experimenting with alternatives. VWW is extending its research to include these alternatives.

Recent posts on the VWW blog include Buddhist monastery: University of Aberdeen, Leeds Metropolitan University: from Second Life to OpenSim and Second Life at the University of York.  There is also a useful blogroll of UK VW bloggers.

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January 9, 2009 Posted by | Second Life, Virtual Worlds | , , | Comments Off on Virtual World Watch

May 2008 snapshot of UK HE and FE developments in Second Life

I was alerted to this by the excellent Internet Resources Newsletter. The May 2008 snapshot of UK HE and FE developments in SL summarises an investigation into the use and uptake of Second Life (SL) by UK Higher and Further Education. The research, carried out in the period up until May 2008, had four main goals:

  • to determine the “state of play” of SL developments within the Higher and Further Education sector,
  • to discover how these developments are supported, in terms of time, funding and other resources,
  • to explore the functionality of these developments, i.e. which types of media or interactive service they incorporate,
  • to establish how “busy”, or well-used, the developments have been and discover any impacts resulting from their implementation and use.

Even if you do not work in higher or further education, this report is worth reading in order to get a feel for how it is being used, the pros and cons, and the positive and negative attitudes of people directly involved and those on the sidelines.

July 6, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Comments Off on May 2008 snapshot of UK HE and FE developments in Second Life

Web 2.0 applications: yes, maybe, no?

I ran a Web 2.0 workshop for North West Academic Libraries (NOWAL) on 2nd May 2008 at Salford University. The aim of the event was to give people a taste of what Web 2.0 is all about and an opportunity to test drive some of the applications. Inevitably, we were limited by what we were allowed to use on the computers in the training suite, and the absence of speakers on the PCs meant that I had to do the commentary for Common Craft’s YouTube video ‘RSS in Plain English’ . I suppose one could regard that as a mashup of real/1st life and the electronic world!

At the end of the day, I asked the participants to think about which applications they would definitely use, those that are worth considering (the ‘maybe’ category) and those that would get the definite thumbs down. As they had varying experiences of the technologies, and were looking at them from different perspectives, it is not surprising that some ‘stuff’ ended up in more than one category. We even invented a new award (see And finally… )

No!

There was only nomination for this category. Second Life (SL) did not seem to have any supporters on this workshop. As one has to download software to run SL and run it on serious, heavy duty network connections we were not able to experiment with it on the day. Some of the workshop participants had had bad experiences with it in the past and I did not help matters by recounting the tale of my disastrous attempt to attend an SL meeting the previous evening. Those of us who had tried it agreed that the technology is still getting in the way and it has a long way to go before it is promoted to the ‘maybe’ list.

Nevertheless, it is being taken seriously by Manchester Business School who have commissioned design and new media agency Corporation Pop to develop a Second Life island for them

Yes

Pageflakes – for pulling together frequently accessed information of all types. Can be kept private but also made public as a Pagecasts, for example Dublin City Public Libraries, East Lothian Libraries, ActiveIT.

Flickr – publicise your events, launches/relaunches of services, new library facilities

RSS – great for personal current awareness, but also a way of adding content to your web site, blog, Facebook etc. and generally facilitating the sharing of content.

iGoogle – your very own personalised Google start page for frequently accessed information of all types, but ‘tabs’ can be shared with colleagues.

YouTube – link to ‘how to’ videos, create your own virtual tours of your library, or make videos of your key events.

Wikis – great way to collaborate on documents for example a glossary of acronyms and abbreviations (under development by one of the workshop participants).

Blogs – can be used as sources of information and as a quick and easy way to provide news of services, events and ‘What’s New’ to users. Several of the workshop participants were already active bloggers.

Maybe

Social Bookmarking for example FURL, Del.icio.us, Connotea, 2Collab – could be a good way to provide access to evaluated subject and reading lists. Connotea (owned by the Nature Publishing Group) and 2Collab  (owned by Elsevier) are aimed at researchers and scientists. “If only we could persuade our academics to use them” exclaimed one workshop participant.

Facebook – worth a try but, because of its structure and minimal import/export options, beware of possible extra work in having to re-enter content held on web sites, blogs and start pages .

Google Docs – several people thought that they might use Google Docs as a way of collaborating  on documents but only for personal use and for applications where it would not matter if the document was inadvertently made public.

Presentation sharing services for example Slideshare, authorSTREAM. A good way to share lectures and also presentations on library services.

Nominated for both the ‘Yes’ and ‘Maybe’ categories were: YouTube, RSS and iGoogle.

And finally…

A new category. The winner of the John ‘you-cannot-be-serious’ McEnroe award goes to – ta da, ta da:

Twitter

I did try very hard to convince them of how wonderful Twitter is and was joined in my endeavours by some of my followers (thanks chaps and chappesses, your efforts were appreciated by at least me). The presence of the BBC, Timesonline and even No 10 Downing Street on Twitter did not help. I suspect that the main problem is the Twitter associated jargon and nomenclature. The name ‘Twitter’ generated enough titters on its own, but when quickly followed by tweets, twitterstream, TwitKit, Twitterfeed, Twitterment, Tweet Clouds etc … well, I think you can see the problem.

May 11, 2008 Posted by | Web 2.0 - general | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments