23 Things: Badge

23 Things Badge details

As recognition that I’ve completed all 23 things blog posts, I was really pleased to earn an open badge. From the email telling me about this I was able to press a button and add the details to my LinkedIn profile – and was tickled to see the cute badger icon that is used by the issuer badgr!

As well as the attractive badge image – this can link to the criteria for earning the badge and also to the evidence – in this case my blog. I appreciate receiving this and it’s a nice way to close my 23 Things for Digital Knowledge blog!

Thing 23: Reflection

Here I am finally (and just a few weeks late!) tackling the final’thing’ by looking back over my experience of completing the 23 Things for Digital Knowledge activities.

The things that I particularly enjoyed are:

I really enjoyed the blogging aspect of the course, I find it adds an extra element to the experience  – first you read the articles and experiment with a tool – but it’s really when I write a blog post that I try to draw out some conclusions about what I’ve learned from the experience or what I might take forward.  I have been reading the community blogs – though I do like to have completed my own post before I head over as otherwise it can be quite intimidating! It was interesting to see how different people tackled different ‘things’ – many weeks had several options for activities and I didn’t have time to look at everything – but the community blog allowed me to share other peoples experiences of these and also there differing perspectives on things I’d also explored.

My only difficulty in completing the Things was time. Weeks where I had small pockets of time throughout the week to drop in and out where great.  I found it best if I could read an article  or have a play with a tool and then come back later to write the blog post (after a bit of thinking time). But at a couple of points I was really busy and didn’t get near the 23Things – I felt myself slipping back and ’23’ suddenly seemed like an awful lot! I was really pleased that the deadline for completing was extended so that I had a bit more time to complete.

I’ve never done a course quite like this before, I like the fact that it is fully out in the open and that much of the connecting is through blogs and Twitter. I like that I end up with my own completed blog as a memento of my learning experience. I’ll certainly look to do something similar again. I’m not sure what I’d change – personally I might try not to feel I had to do everything! I was part of the team providing support, so I’m looking forward to getting feedback from participants in this area.

At the beginning of this course I wrote this about  what I hoped to gain out of the 23 Things course:

I hope its going to be fun and will challenge me to try new things.

Looking back I think it has helped to challenge me to try new things – we can all benefit from a prod to move us outside our comfort zones! Taking part in the course meant that I took time to try to understand things that I couldn’t always see the immediate usefulness or application off. As a Learning Technology Advisor  I am often working to support staff to develop new skills at the edges of their comfort zones and this experiences reminds me of what that space feels like – both the possibilities and frustrations!

Image Credit: Susan Greig, Reflected Clouds

Thing 22: Vine

For this ‘thing’ – about fun and play – I decided to experiment with Vine. I wasn’t 100% sure what I usefully do with a 6 second video – but I was inspired by the examples on 6secondscience.tumblr.com. I began by watching the Lynda.com Vine Video Tutorial  which made it all seem very straightforward. However my experience was a bit more frustrating. I was using Vine on an Android phone and quickly myself stuck – I sought out help from my wise colleague, and together we realised that on Android the App relies on the built in back button, so I could escape what appeared to be an editing dead end. I wanted to put together a short animation as I drew a small picture with felt tip pens – a simple idea which proved more challenging than I’d imagined for the following reasons:

  • It is hard to hold the phone, press the screen and write at the same time!
  • I don’t find the  Vine app very responsive and couldn’t always get it to record when I pressed the screen.
  • I struggled to use the edit option – in the end attempting to make something in one go.
  • The lighting in my office is not great – even when I set up a lamp it was hard to get Vine to pick up the colours.
  • 6 seconds is a really short time!

But I persevered and managed to make a wee vine that I am quite proud off.

And a second version where I roped in a colleague to do the filming for me!

On the 23Things website it was pointed out that the Vine service is set to close – I had a look on the website and it appears that it will still exist ongoing in a cut down form with videos posted directly to Twitter. Which is good because I’d be interested to experiment with this further.

Thing 21: Online Games and Learning

National Museum of Scotland – Morse Code

This is a simple cute game that illustrates how text is translated into Morse code. It’s basic but I think gives enough information to get the point across. I did wonder how useful it would be for a younger child who had no idea how Morse code worked at all, or before a child could read well,  perhaps it could be usefully incorporated into some face-to-face teaching, or supported by further explanation.

GeoGebra – Puzzles

This is a nice interactive shape matching puzzle. I was interested to see that they don’t actually score you for being correct! I think it’s just the fun of knowing you’ve got it right! You can then reset it and do it as many times as you want too. They are challenging puzzles and I can see them being used as part of a maths lesson or for an interested child to explore at home. The interface feels exploratory, there are few instructions and you just pulls the pieces about to work out what does what.



It’s interesting that despite these being online games my first thought is to incorporate them into face-to-face teaching!

Thing 20: Professional Social Networks – LinkedIn

I have used LinkedIn for a number of years. I like that it gives me a public profile that I control, and in fact I don’t actually keep a paper CV any more, but I do update LinkedIn when something changes in my job or I gain a qualification. This ‘thing’ has inspired me to go and tweak it further!

It is useful for connecting with people you meet through work, its a way of keeping loosely in touch without the over sharing or context collapse of FaceBook!

The student case study for LinkedIn was interesting, I’ve not been approached for a post via LinkedIn, but it is certainly nice to think that it might happen!

Thing 19: Altmetrics

I installed the Altmetric Bookmarklet  (which is really simple to install and use). Then I explored a few publications in my area of learning technology. It was sad to see some very low altmetric scores – it made me think how comparatively easy it would be to increase these with a few well placed tweets. After all effort that goes into researching and writing papers it is sad to think that they are not being promoted and may not be read. The suggestions is that altmetrics are useful alongside citation stats, but a paper is unlikely to be cited if it’s not read by the right people at the right time – from what I see altmetrics is about measuring markers of  impact – about getting a paper out to an audience to be read.

I then went to see if I could find some work that I thought might have been more widely discussed an looked at the altmetrics for this paper by an esteemed colleague Professor Sian Bayne: Teacherbot: interventions in automated teachingBayne, S. 2015 In : Teaching in Higher Education. 20, 4, p. 455-467. This has been widely tweeted and picked up by a news outlet – which would also extend it’s reach.

The article A brief history of altmetrics,  Prof Mike Thelwall (June 2014), suggests several issues with relying on Twitter for altmetrics including:

Twitter has a wider user base and a wider range of potential uses. Nevertheless, it seems that only a minority of articles get tweeted – for example, perhaps as few as 10% of PubMed articles in the Web of Science 2010-2012 have been tweeted (8).

So you’d need to consider if the altmetrics used are relevant in a particular disciple? I work in digital education and technology, and I do use twitter for to keep abreast of current research, so this metric seems relevant to articles I’m interested in. This article also points to research which examines if high altmetric scores will in time lead to high citation scores?

As a reader of research rather than a writer – I’m trying to make decisions on whether an article is likely to be worth reading – and I can imagine taking a quick glance at the altmetrics to see its impact so far to help with the decision…

Altmetrics are the central way of measuring communication in the digital age, but what do they miss?, Nick Scott, LSE Impact Blog, (December 2012). Offered a really useful overview while also  detailing potential problems and pitfalls in current implementations.

Thing 18: Augmented and Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality

Engrossed in another world



As recommended for this week I tried InCell – a game where you are miniaturised into the micro world of human cell and must race stop the advance of a virus in your patient. I was able to use this during a team coffee break using the VR googles we have in the office. It was really good fun and worked well – I tried Google Cardboard before and had trouble ‘pressing’ buttons but this was very responsive. VR is still not quite the HoloDeck from Star Trek ….but it’s getting closer….



Augmented Reality

In contrast to the frustration of Geocaching – PokemonGo is easy to get started with. The little critters where even in my office the first time I logged in! I found two PokeStops just round the corner from work and have ‘caught’a few creatures already. I can see myself livening up a familiar walk with this. I saw someone using it on the bus recently – which would be an easy way to amuse yourself. Like Geocaching, I like the idea of people playing a game in the space that we share. It adds new layers to our shared experiences.

I can see as a game it has potential to grow, as you try to collect sets of creatures (I have 8/250 so plenty more to find!) and medals. I also like the idea that it encourages you to go outside and explore the world around you – something to encourage me outside for a walk on a cold lunchtime.



Thing 17: Geolocation Tools

I decided to try Geocaching.com I downloaded the App to my phone and after a wee explore realised that I pass several geocaches on my walk to work. I was hoping that this blog post would be accompanied by a triumphant photo of a geocache – but it turned out to be slightly harder than I’d imagined!

I tried to locate 4 geocaches – at each location the GPS on the App was showing that I was very near the item – but I just couldn’t find it. I had been wondering how it would be that these items can remain in place in a busy city and this answers my question – they are hard to find! On discussing this with my wise colleague at work I also find there is more info on the App than I’d realised. If you tap the geocache you find out what type it is. So it turned out the 1st location was a Multi-Cache – these involve finding two or more locations with the final being a physical container – so this was really the start of a treasure hunt and I was looking for a first clue rather than a container. I found there are further details on the main website so here’s what I was looking for:
https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCPXVG_duddingston-details and I can see from the notes that others have found it fairly recently – so armed with this new information I might give it another go! I also notice it was hidden in 2005. It’s really interesting to me that there have been people looking for this geocache for the last 11 years and that I’ve been wondering past on my way totally oblivious to this game taking place nearby. The website offers an interesting page on the history of Geocaching it’s mad to think that GPS – something I pretty much take for granted (I love my Garmin for logging runs and Google Maps), has only been available for 16 years – how quickly technologies become ‘normal’.

The 2nd location was an EarthCache – these don’t have a physical container but instead teach you an Earth-science lesson. To log these geocaches, you’ll have to answer questions in the description.  Here are the details from the website: https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC1YF7E_samsons-ribs

3rd location – Mystery – may involve solving a puzzle for the correct coordinates. https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCWH8V_yobbies – Looks like other people have had trouble with this one too!

4th location – Multi-Cache https://www.geocaching.com/geocache/GCX4BK_weirs-way-an-edinburgh-volcano

The App keeps encouraging me to upgrade so I’m not sure how much of this I can use without upgrading? It also seems clear that you need to do some preparation via the website before heading off to the location. So this is not really the adventure I’d planned but it did take me away from my usual path, encourage me to get my feet wet, climb into bramble bushes and dig about under rocks and leaves and no doubt confuse some passersby with my odd behaviour! It also frustrated me just enough that I want to know a bit more and armed with this little bit of experience I think I could go forth and plan a proper adventure.




Thing 16: OneNote

I’ve moved to having a laptop as my main device at work and started to use OneNote for note taking recently. I like having all my notes in one place – it’s very similar conceptually to carrying round a paper notebook. I like that I no longer need to carry paper print outs to meetings.  I find the screen clipping tool that’s part of OneNote really helpful as you can easily grab the part of the screen you want, rather than doing a full screen gab then editing it.

I mainly use OneNote on my laptop, but have installed the App on my phone as this would be handy for note taking and drawing quick diagrams on touch screen. I had some trouble getting this to sync – it did’t find every notebook I had made only the one called ‘Me @ Sites – University of Edinburgh’ – but when I checked the properties this one was set to save to one drive and the others were saving locally – so I reset everything to save to OneDrive. There are now backing up to OneDrive, but I still can’t see them on the App.

By default I’ve got two notebooks called:

  • Me @ Sites – University of Edinburgh
  • Me @ University of Edinburgh

Which are confusing with such similar names!

By watching the instruction videos I found out that you can send emails to OneNote and that’s really handy for keeping information together.

I also like the idea of shared notebooks for collaboration and I’ve managed to set this up with a colleague for a piece of work we are doing together. I’ve still got to get more comfortable with OneNote but I think it has a lot of potential, for collaboration and also because notes are easy to search.


Thing 15: Tumblr / Storify

Here is my Storify –

Certified Membership of the Association of Learning Technology – All about Certified Membership of the Association of Learning Technology and how to get it

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was too pull together and how nice the result is. I’ll be looking for opportunities to use this again.

Tumblr is another site I don’t currently understand, so I also take a look at that – I like the way Tumblr looks and all the animated gifs!

I found this site http://mainlystudying.tumblr.com/ with some lovely images of study planning and visual notes. I’m a stationary geek so I find this kind of thing inspiring 🙂

Image Credit: Susan Greig Reflected Sunrise