Sunday, 27 April 2014

LibCampWales - summary of IT session

LibCampWales gets underway with session pitching
I pitched for a session yesterday at #libcampwales inviting attendees to share their favourite IT service, program or application. This is my take on what was a lively and informative session. Thank you to everyone who shared and contributed their knowledge. I learnt a great deal.

My tip - Need to make infographics? Try PiktoChart  This enables you to easily create infographics really quickly. The free site has a reasonable range of starting icons and a couple of useful templates. It's easy to position the icons with accompanying text boxes and titles. In the free version your infographics can be saved and exported as a JPEG file, or shared on the web. A subscription service offers greater range of icons, design templates, and export options. Piktochart also enables you to create reports, presentations and banners (posters).

DropBox - tag line "your stuff, anywhere" . A cloud storage option that allows documents, files, photos, presentations etc to be accessed and synchronised across different devices and platforms. On the move and need to access a document drafted on your home PC? Not a problem if you have uploaded it to Dropbox you could view the document via your smart phone. The free version comes with 2 GB of storage. Other similar options to consider are :

  • Google Drive  "One place for all your files"  Start with 15GB of Google storage – free
  • SkyDrive  from Microsoft -also known as OneDrive. Start with 7GB of cloud storage.

Cloud storage may enable you to share documents with a group of people. This may even be a route to enable collaborative working on specific files?

Evernote Worthwhile re-visiting Evernote, it  has developed beyond the simple web page clipping / scrapbook service. Evernote is now an online note pad, allowing you to attach files, synch files between different devices, share and work collaboratively.

Augmented reality - how sci-fi is this. Use augmented reality to help explain how to use a photocopier, provide visitor information on location, or to enhance the experience. "Thanks to Aurasma, , every image, object and even place can have its own Aura. Auras can be as simple as a video and a link to a web page or as complex as a lifelike 3D animation. Use the Aurasma app to unlock Auras and share the experience with friends. Or get experimenting and use the simple tools within the app to create and share your own Auras".
 a App augmented reality app. See Aurasma in action on a £10 note :

 If This Then That. A tool that saves you time by synching your activity between internet services. Taken a photograph on your mobile device? Then set up a "recipe" in ifttt to have the photo saved to your DropBox. Posted a new blog entry then let ifttt post a tweet about it, and to make an entry on your LinkedIn timeline. Ifttt could also be used to help you archive and manage your contributions in social media.

We talked about the security concerns of using these cloud based platforms. Many employers won't permit their staff to use these tools because of these concerns. On a personal level you may also feel wary about linking a variety of platforms together and enabling mutual access and posting. There was also some concern about the way these services monitor and track your use of the web. It's Your call on this, but it is certainly something to consider.

Some felt that they wanted to find out about app development, and that they would like to experiment in this area. One suggestion was Code Academy   regular online lesson explaining basic coding, with suitable "homework" tasks enabling participants to gradually develop their coding skills. The Academy appears to build coding skills in a structured and logical way providing a sound basis for developing and embedding knowledge.

Several participants indicated a desire to experience online learning through a Mooc  (Massive Open Online Course). Some participants had completed a MOOC: like any distance learning these require a great deal of commitment, but benefited greatly from engagement from participants through discussion  in an associated online space.

Prezi  Presentation programme that allows zooming or flying through your presentation, incorporating images or video. This cloud based service allows you to work between platforms, share your presentations, and work collaboratively with colleagues. Noted as being far more dynamic and captivating than PowerPoint, but be cautious about not inducing motion sickness in your audience!

We also talked about IT solutions in wider use:

  • Chromecast - connect the Chrome to your TV and via your wifi connection, and with initial intervention from a device, view content from BBC I-player, Netflix, YouTube. You can also use the device to screen cast from your device
  • Spotify  - "music for everyone". Pick your own music, share playlists, get track suggestions from your friends.
  • BloomFM "The music app. is the all-in-one music app with 22 million tracks. Borrow music to play offline, free streaming radio, plays your music downloads.
  • Shazam is a mobile application that recognizes music and media playing around you. Shazam is the best way to discover, explore and share the music.

Also mentioned:

  • WhatsApp Messenger - "a cross-platform mobile messaging app which allows you to exchange messages without having to pay for SMS. WhatsApp Messenger is available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia and yes, those phones can all message each other! Because WhatsApp Messenger uses the same internet data plan that you use for email and web browsing, there is no cost to message and stay in touch with your friends."
  • 2048 maths puzzle. Apparently addictive, mobile phone game.

I repeat my thanks to all who attended this session, for sharing their experiences and knowledge so freely. I will be checking out these tools further!