Lots of information about glow and glow2 trickling through twitter recently. There seems to be a change in timescale for Glow2. This was discovered: View Notice – Public Contracts Scotland which is a strange way to find out about the change, especially after Mike Russell’s initial announcement how Glow will be developed in September 2012 on YouTube. That announcement and the following summit last October lead me to expect more regular and open engagement.


On monday Charlie Love sent me an interesting link and which I then discussed tonight on Radio EDUtalk, after which Charlie tweeted:

Glew Tweet

What is Glew

Glew is beta software of a single sign-on framework which can be used to integrate Google Apps for Education and other services such as WordPress Blogs, Media Wiki, Moodle and many more. This is a test site so please accept that authentication and users may be removed during testing.

So pretty much a glow 2 style site with a lot of tools I’d expect from Glow 2. Although a Beta you get a really good idea of how this would work. The most interesting feature, to me was the expandability of the site, I asked Charlie about the possibility of adding a wiki to the feature set, in 15 minutes he had added a MediaWiki (the software used in Wikipedia!)


I highly recommend you pop over to Glew and have a look around.

Hopefully the 15 months that the Government have to work on glow will let them build something like this, if I was the Cabinet Secretary I’d give Charlie a call.

I’ve been a big posterous fan since June 29, 2008 since then I’ve blog with and about posterous a lot.

More importantly it is at the heart of EDUtalk where there are over 600 posts of educational podcast episodes of course Radio Edutalk.

Six weeks ago posterous was aquired by twitter and I had some Posterous Worries. I am now more worried as a few things have happened.

  1. The stuff that makes the edutalk.cc domain work with our edutalk posterous site broke. A bit of reading and guess work got it fixed. The real worry was that both a tweet and email to posterous got no response. In the past I have been amazed at the quick reaction by the posterous team to both problems and suggestions, to help with SLFtalk, the precursor to EDUtalk they added a feature to their API overnight.
  2. Over the last couple of weeks the posterous API 1 for posting seems to have broken. AudioBoos tagged edutalk are normally posted to edutalk via the api by a script. This has stopped working, admittedly I am still using the depreciated API 1 rather than the new one, but as far as I know, the old one was just meant to keep working.
  3. When posting audioboos and phlogs to edutalk we relied on the fact that a url to an mp3 file would result in the posterous player being used to allow the audio to be played. This seems to have stopped working.

I know that we have been lucky to have a wonderful tool like posterous for free. I expected it to go pro at some point and would have been more than happy to pay for the service. I pay for hosting for this and other sites, I pay for flickr…

I am not sure where to go for this, in the last Posterous Worries post I listed the features that we need. I’ve asked the question on Quora: Is there another service like posterous which allows anyone to email content and has an API? – Quora. I’ve still not got an idea.

Some of this I guess we could sort with wordpress and some plugins. The disk space for large files will be a problem. The submit audio via email will be a problem. I am open to ideas?

I have found Posterous Backup Tool for Mac and spent the £2.49 in the mac app store. This worked a treat and I now have 600 odd posts and the audio that was posted to edutalk (not audioboo or ipadio files) in a >1GB backup, I just need to figure out what to do with it.

On Thursday there was a fair bit of tweeting about delicious shutting down. TechCrunch blogged Is Yahoo Shutting Down Del.icio.us? (this post is now updated).

The first thing I did was backup my delicious links.

I’ve got several years worth of delicious links so was a wee bit worried. I also prefer delicious to any other system for saving links I’d seen. It is simple, the interface is clean, the network is useful without turning into another social thing and the API and scripts are useful. I have also used the delicious tools to display sets of links on various webpages (quite a lot in glow) which I don’t want to hunt down and change.

There have been a lot of suggestions for delicious replacements Diigo seems to be a favourite. I looked at this a while ago and, for reasons I can quite recall (probably lack of simplicity), I didn’t stick with it, although a lot of education folk use it. I downloaded Scuttle again and though about setting this opensource delicious like site up but I’ve not done so yet.

Delicious Pinboard

Yesterday I signed up for pinboard this cost about £5 to signup which I hope will mean the service will not go away. I imported my exported delicious link.

I choose pinboard mainly for its delicious like simplicity and the fact it supports the delicious API.

Today things look a little brighter for delicious: delicious blog » What’s Next for Delicious? but I am quite happy to have paid my fiver. I’ve set pinboard to add any new links I post to delicious and set up an email address to post links from my phone. There looks like there are a few more useful features to explore later. I’ll keep using delicious at the moment and see how things go. It is, I feel, a good thing to get occasional reminders about our reliance on free services and to get the opportunity to pay for ones we really need.

Glow light came online today yesterday:

Glow Light is a new alternative Glow interface designed with a simpler ‘splash’ page. This ‘splash’ page will display a list of user specific links to allow easier navigation to other areas within the Glow portal.

LTS have a video to show how it works:Glow Light – Making Glow better clicking on the thumbnail above will show a full-sized screenshot.


In my opinion this is a great improvement over the ‘Staff’ home page that loads when you log onto glow, much less cluttered and easier on the eye. The branding is subtile and the page has indeed a light feel and it is lighter:

this is the NLC Central Services home page (Staff page) load:

And this is the glow light load:

Showing glow light is just over half the load of the Staff page.

Glow Light also combines the functionality of more than one glow page so it should save quite a lot of time. As a default it comes with 6 ‘navigation’ buttons on the left side 4 ‘settings etc.’ buttons at the bottom and a search box. (see popup image at top.)


Advanced Search

The search is much better than the old glow search. When you get to the results it gets even better linking to an advanced search with allows you to filter by type, and by various properties. The search is pretty fast (on the bases of a few Saturday tests). I never used the old search finding it nearly worthless, this new one looks like it will be valuable.

The six main buttons are as follows:

  • News: links to the old Glow Staff home page.
  • My Stuff: shows a further four buttons;
    • My Glow: opens the my glow page.
    • My Glow Learn opens the glow learn page.
    • My Forums: opens the forums in a new window.
    • My Blogs: opens your list of blogs in a new window.
  • Search: shows the search box as it is hidden when ‘My Stuff’ is clicked.
  • Favourites: opens your list of glow groups.
  • Create: shows buttons to Create Glow Groups and Glow Learn Courses. The Glow Groups button shows, or loads, a list of groups where you can create groups, clicking on the list opens the Create Glow group page for the group selected.
  • Timetable: opens your timetable page.

These are frequent tasks inside of glow and in the past would take quite a few click to get to.

You can customise the lists of buttons from the setting and add ‘link’ buttons of your own to the list. I ‘ll probably turn off the Timetable as I don’t have any classes and the Create button as I would normally work down to the site I am creating while I think about it.

There are 4 smaller buttons at the bottom of the main list: Settings, which opens the glow light settings. Profile, Help and Mail which are self explanatory.

My Suggestions

Although glow light is a vast improvement I think it could be made even better. Here is my 2 pence worth:

I like the way the create button loads the groups list on the page and although I don’t think I’ll use it I’d like the favourites button to load my favourites (and just my favourites) in the same way rather than take me to my ‘My Glow Groups’ page.

The other thing that I think could be improved is the buttons. As indicated by the bold & italic text in the description above the buttons have different tasks. Some hide or show elements on the page, some open links and some open links in a new window. I think this is potentially confusing and would prefer something a little more straightforward:


This is pretty quick and dirty but should illustrate the idea: Tabs hide an reveal elements and action buttons show if the link is in a new window or not.

The Future

The future of glow is looking a bit brighter, this is a long overdue facelift and perhaps indicative of the way glow is going. It now is starting to look like hub linking out to different services: glow, blogs (these were updated yesterday too, forums, glow learn and mail. The move to using open source, (phpBB, WordPress) familiar web tools is surely a move in the right direction. I hope too glow will move in the direction of constantly upgrading, or perpetual beta that is popular with open source and web technology (google, flickr) generally. Five years ago I had no idea what sort of web applications I’d be using now and I hope that the next 5 years will bring improvements and completely new ideas. If glow was a portal they services could be easily added when necessary we could have phpMotion ( a youtube clone) or laconi.ca (a twitter one) dropped into glows safe & secure environment at the drop of a hat.

Looking at the Glow futures tender notice:

  • Interoperatability of Web Services using Open Standards
  • Scalable with capacity to expand the scope to serve a wider population
  • Glow Futures will apply open standards aiming to achieve unhindered data flow and interoperability. This model will help Glow to constantly evolve and remain modern.
  • The current Glow portal and data centre infrastructure is provided by a single supplier. We envisage that the new service could be procured in a series of lots which may be provided by a single supplier or by a variety of suppliers to allow for a flexible and dynamic approach to respond to evolving requirements.

Gives me a fair bit of hope. I just hope we have, in Scotland, enough money to resource it and the hardware to use it.


A while back I posted a quote from the guardian The long tail of blogging is dying which put forward the idea that a lot of blogs were going away as twitter and other easy stuff took over. Commenting was on the way out as tweeting a link or quick comment requires little work.

I think that is what is happening to me, it has been 4 weeks since I posted here, in that time I’ve made half a dozen or so posts to John’s posterous (very easily done) and at least 100 tweets.
In that time I’ve had ideas for about half a dozen blog posts, this being one. While it is easy to blog in my head, getting it into a fashion other will be able to read it take time, other things are easier.

Twitter seems to me to be affecting two aspects of blogging, commenting and reading.


Twitter certainly seems to be cutting down on the comments generally, I’ve notice a wee drop here (from few to fewer;-), and this quote from Jeff Utecht via Graham Wegner:

Because of Twitters live constant scrolling feed, we also talked about how the “life span” of a blog post is shrinking. I use to get comments on a blog post lasting weeks. Now I post a blog, it gets a comment or maybe two in a the first 10 minutes, gets retweeted for about 20 minutes and then it’s old news.

is a little worrying blog posts have always been in danger of being forgotten due to there date stamp, but 20 minutes is quite a short life span.

Graham Wegner’s Post explains how he is not too worried about this, happy in his own place (and quotes a nice cartoon), much struck a chord with me and started me thinking about my own blog/tweet mix.

I’ve noted over the last year or so, posts that attract a fair number of tweets and no comments. These tweets, like comments can add value to a post, but are now lost or at least disconnected from the original post. I’ve not seen a good tool to aggregate tweets and add them to a blog post.
Posterous has quite a nice facility in its comment system, you can tweet the comment, but it would be nice to see the opposite, the creating of comments by tweets.

My own commenting has shrunk and I am now making a more of an effort to comment rather that just think/tweet about it.


I do much of my blog reading via NetNewsWire which helps me keep up with quite a few blogs and store various posts (like the one quoted above) for later though and re-reading. I when I changed jobs I had even more time on the train to keep up with my feeds, but I am now driving most of the time and starting to rely more on twitter for posts to read. This can lead to missing many valuable things, if something is tweeted and not blogged it can disappear very quickly indeed, especially as we seem to be following more and more folk.

Today I read a blog post Catch Up Post – Part 2 – #weather_me « The H-Blog pointing to weather tweets in UK. which looks like a fantastic resource for discussing weather in the classroom. Following links to the developers blog I found a thank you to many twitter users for feedback and suggestions. I estimate I know about half of these but had missed all the tweeting that must have gone on a month ago. I also had not added the blog to NetNewsWire, I’ve done so now. The blog is also one of the Scottish EduBlogs not listed, as far as I see, on ScotEduBlogs.
I’ve had the same experience many times, finding a link from tweet by someone who is not usually awake at the same time as me and following the trail. This makes me wonder how much more I miss.

Of course twitter is in a lot of ways useful easy and fun, from the now 14 posts here tagged twitter I’ve had a lot of value from twitter and its API, but I am wondering how to make the best of both worlds.

A Plan

  • Check my feed reader more often.
  • Add blogs to my reader when I find them from twitter.
  • Comment more, if appropriate invite bloggers to add their blogs to ScotEduBlogs.
  • Add my delicious Network‘s RSS feed to newsnetwire.
  • Use TweetDeck‘s filter feature to filter out links from various columns especially favourite tweets which I use for bookmarking.
  • Work out a better system for following the comments of posts I am interested on.

I suppose there are now teachers whose first contact with Web 2 is twitter rather than blogging, this gives me a strange sensation, and makes me wonder what is next?

Twitter image Mirjami Manninen from smashingmagazine.

Aberdour Station Using the Social Web to enhance teaching and learning is a course listed on CPDFind.

It is being run on Saturday 1o May by David Noble who is a member of the OpenSourceCPD ‘collective’. David is best known for producing Booruch my favourite educational podcast.

last November I blogged  CPD in Aberdour about a previous cpd event David ran. As you can see from that post I had a great time.

I chat to David fairly regularly on the EdtechRoundup Flash Meetings and he has always an interesting view point or idea on Web 2 in ed, he has a deep knowledge and experience about the theory and practise.

If you want a quick start guide to or refresh of Web 2 in education you could not do better than taking a trip to Aberdour to spend a day in David’s company. Pretty railway station too.

I just spent a few minutes at Sprout Builder which seems to be another way to build widget.

Sprouts are interactive and portable chunks of web content. Some people call them widgets, mashups or mini-sites but we just call them sprouts.

I have not really tested may of these types of service, but it only took me a couple of minutes to build a ScotEduBlogs feed widget.

It looks like you can do a lot more with sprout builder than just pull a feed. some of the examples include audio and slideshows. The sign up made me admit I was over 13 so not something for the classroom, but it might allow you to make something for you classes.

There seems to be a ton of embedding options, click on the share button to see them. You can add to facebook, myspace, iGoogle etc. or get an embed code for a post or webpage.

Feel free to embed ScotEduBlogs on your site, or better make a slicker one for the ScotEdublogs community.

Looking back on this post before I fire it off it seems even more of a mixed bag than usual. As usual fairly garbled, but the first half contains some wonderful links and the second what looks to me to be a great resource.

I spent the first part of yesterday morning (and the last hour or so this morning) following a trail that either started in a tweet from cogdog or a post recent addition to my feed reader.
Tony Hirst’s OUseful Info is a great source of ‘mostly over my head’ mashup info and other stuff, eg: We Ignore RSS at OUr Peril or « feedshow – A Feed Powered Web Page Presentation Tool

To Comrades in Non-Programistan – A Message from Feedistan included a great youtube: DataPortability and Me (Get Your Data Out!) and had me laughing. It also pointed to The Party Line of The Peoples Republic of Non-Programistan which was created (as far as I can see) to support a presentation at the Symposium on Mashups, you an watch the recording of the Welcome to the People?s Republic of Non-Programistan session which features laugh out loud fake Russian accents.

The point of the Non-Programistana is to open up mashups to non-coders, although they will allow some html. They point to Exhibit and give interesting examples: Industrial Warfare – Version 4.

This lead me to Exhibit part of MITs SIMILE Project:

SIMILE is focused on developing robust, open source tools that empower users to access, manage, visualize and reuse digital assets.

Exhibit can be used to

Create interactive data-rich web pages

and there are some great examples that can be popped from the Exhibit homepage.

I have been talking to some Glasgow colleagues about filling the 5-14 database gap that has appeared when we got upgraded to windows xp. I had suggested a few online examples that children could use for querying databases and Zoho Create for creating databases. While the querying examples went down well, Zoho seemed too imageless for catching primary children’s imagination. It also look a little like a spreadsheet for some teachers. likewise lazybase.

Exhibit looked like it might fill this gap, so I’ve spent the rest of yesterday morning playing with it. The Getting Started tutorial is very straightforward and will allow you to work through an example on your own desktop. I started with an idea from our own curriculum, information about the EU. The idea is that the children could research basic facts about the EU and add them to a google spreadsheet. With the number of countries in the EU a fair sized class could get one country each.
Exhibit allows you to build a simple html page which will read the spreadsheet webpage and create an interactive database. Amazingly it allows multiple views including a nice timeline and table views. One of the Exhibit examples incorporated famfamfam.com flag icons, interestingly these are name with ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country codes, I could add a column to the spread sheet and include these, it was the easy to show the flag on the records:

I have been playing with Google chart maps, which use the same iso code so it was simple enough to add these.
Anyway in a couple of hours i was able to put together a google spreadsheet and a Exhibit Test. The latter will need more work, but you can get the idea. I think this will work in class and hope to try it out next term. I need to know a bit more about logging on multiple uses with the same ip address to a spreadsheet, but I hope to quiz Tom Barrett about that. I also need to find out a bit more about creating forms for google speadsheets.

The workflow would go like this:

  1. I’d start a spreadsheet with the correct column headers
  2. Put together a webpage to pull the data via exhibit.
  3. The children would research the required info (wikipedia)
  4. the children would add the info to the spreadsheet, directly or via a form
  5. The children would query the webpage to compare EU countries.

At the moment this would only work as a one off, a webpage would have to be created for each time the lesson was carried out for a class. A quick look at the Google Spreadsheets Data API would suggest you could create a spreadsheet automatically, by uploading a blank this could then be loaded by a hph version of the Exhibit Test page which would dynamically load different spreadsheets (with the same headers). Unfortunately this would violate the Party Line of The Peoples Republic of Non-Programistan, and more realistically be beyond my limited skills.

As I just wrote at the start of this post, it is a bit of a rag bag, but it tells the tale of my Sunday morning’s fun, following a web of links and playing with a great tool. In the afternoon I went for a walk

Or some sort of micro/mini blog that lets you add just a bit more than del.icio.us to a link…
Interesting things I’ve noticed today:Skitch example

Mr W sent me an invite to skitch, which looks like an interesting ‘add notes and shapes to an image and upload it’ sort of application. You can upload to my skitch or flickr among other places or use it with Comic life from the same developer.
Thanks Neil.

I’ve not really seen a need to use twitter as it would seem more useful to say consultants and conference dwellers than teachers, but I noticed a couple of interesting posts Christopher D. Sessums :: Twitter Me This: Brainstorming Potential Educational Uses for Twitter and ELT notes: This Twittering Life which are food for thought.
Kind of links to the ideas hovering around David Warlick‘s posts: A Bucket of Drops?. and It Isn?t Easy which join up in my mind at least. The possibilities of the new technology are accelerating away from what actually goes on in the classroom. There are some interesting comments in the It Isn?t Easy post, including one about an unnamed blogging guru giving an admiring teacher an unasked for autograph, which made me laugh out loud.

Exciting for me Pivot X2.0 screenshots., I use pivot to run this and the other Sandaig blogs, looks like they have a lot of nice new features in the works.

So i probably don’t need a micro blog for these notes to myself, just keep a textmate window open all day and add to it.

Blogged from tm

Class in a box box

Although I am ready for my holidays rather a lot of interesting things have appeared on the horizon in the last couple of weeks.
On the software front I finally got round to using scratch with the children, samorost is inviting and we tried out slideshare. As usual I underestimated the amount of time I’d have to teach in the last couple of weeks of term and suddenly we have no time left!

A couple of weeks ago our pcs were refreshed and this should really make a big difference to using ict in the school, the old ones were getting really slow. At the start of this week I had another flurry of excitement when our class in a box box arrived, the laptops to go with it have not got here yet but hopefully this is going to be a great resource to use ict flexibly across the curriculum next session.

My job next year is going to be rather different than what I’ve been doing this year.

This year I’ve been teaching with ict across the stages using our new media room, unfortunately for me this didn’t really work out as planned, term one the suite was not ready, term 2 went as planned, but staff leaving and a lot of staff absences kept me in class most of term 3, term 4 saw the switch from the mitel managed service to dell and put our network out of action for 4 or 5 weeks.
From my point of view this has been pretty disappointing.

Next session or staffing number change for the worse and I’ll be changing roll.
It looks like I will be spending a fair amount of time on Emotional Literacy, working with children who have problems in this and other areas of their learning. Pretty challenging, especially as a lot of the things I’ve been doing over the last few years have worked best with our more confident and motivated learners, how much blogging, dv, podcasting I will be involved in is in question I think.
I’d be really interested in anyone who has experience in these areas passing on ideas and tips, especially ones involving ict and Web 2.0

I am also looking for a wee summer project, hopefully involving being paid for something I enjoy (edu, blogs, html etc) again ideas gratefully received.

I will be continuing to blog a bit over the holidays as I have a few things to think about that I’ve not had time for.

Have a great summer