Saturday, October 28, 2006

Moblogging: Turn it on again

Some time ago in Turn on, tune in... send email! I wrote about how I asked the students to email pictures from their mobiles to a PGDE(S) Flickr account and from there it was automatically forwarded to the a PGDE(S) blog. It worked. It was fun! I wanted to do something else with mobiles, but wasn't sure what.
Technology -
Technology - "Future Vision",
originally uploaded by $ydney
I thought of getting students to send in questions by texting them to me... then I wondered if the texts could be forwarded to an email address instead of me having to read them off my phone... then I thought if they can be emailed, they can be sent to Blogger... the final bit of the jigsaw for me was wondering if we could have a separate screen to display an updated list of submitted questions while we presented on another screen. However I dismissed that idea as a step too far.

...But then when I told Ewan what I was planning, he emailed back to say, "Wouldn't it be cool if we had a separate screen for the questions...". So I asked the technicians (at ridiculously short notice) and they said, "Yes!". :-)

The attendance at the lecture was ridiculously poor. (I suppose Friday afternoon isn't the best time slot.) However, I enjoyed myself. Ewan enjoyed himself (I think - see his post from before and during the session). Also, I think that most of the students enjoyed themselves. I hope that they were inspired. (They know where my blog is now, so perhaps some will tell me here.) Why not watch the video and let me know what you think. :-)

Coming up with the idea of texting questions was easy but I thought doing it might be trickier. However, Google came to the rescue. A quick search threw up a step-by-step guide on the iX Conference Wiki about how to use a free service from intelliSoftware. The wiki even suggested making the blog auto-refresh every thirty seconds to keep the content displayed up-to-date. Brilliant! The only problem is that the sender's phone number is displayed as the subject of the post. (I've edited the numbers out now, but they were there for a good while until I had time to go in and fix it.) For that reason, I wouldn't use this technique in a school. However, I'm going to contact the techie types at the University and intelliSoftware to see if there is any way to hide the numbers.

I think the texted questions added something to the presentation. Some of the comments were silly, some were fun, some were interesting, some were useful... all of them added something to the session. I would definitely do it again.

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Christine McIntosh said...

What application do I watch the video with? (mac)

Peter said...

Chris, - VLC is a great free open source video player that should work for WVX.

Otherwise try Windows Media Player mac edition (get it from


Duncan__ said...

What was the rude message, David? I think we should be told!

Ewan McIntosh said...

I enjoyed the texts, though 2 hours is a *long* time listen (and speak) about social media. I still think the best way to learn these things is in small groups and often. You've got to use it in your work to 'get it.'

I hope even just a few of those students pick up one of the tools on offer and do something with it.

Mr Harrington said...

I would like to thank the Ant and Dec of the blogosphere ( you can guess which is which!!!)for a very informative video ( 2 whole hours well 1.46 ). You are certainly giving new teachers in Scotland a great start in the new technology - can I (or should I ) hope that this is going on in other parts of the country? ( yes Ewan it's the teacher from Wales again!!!)
Keep up the good work - is there going to be another Teachmeet??? (no not for the free booze honestly) as it would be great for me to meet up with like minded 'strange' people.

David said...

Hello Chris

You can also watch Windoze video files in QuickTime if you download and install Flip4Mac. It should allow you to play the video in a browser window too.

Hello Peter

Thanks for the link. I've never tried VLC, but it looks interesting.

David said...


You can read the messages (unedited apart from the phone numbers) 0n the blog. The rude message is very obvious to me - clearly you have been desensitized by too much time spent working with teenagers. :-)

David said...

Hello Ewan

Glad you enjoyed it. I was glad you were there to stop me getting too carried away (for example, when you interrupted me as I was getting carried away about being able to get messages shaved into people's hairy backs!).

Sorry that you had to go off at the end without even a cup of coffee to sustain you.

Hello Blog-man

Ant and Dec? Clearly I'm the good-looking one. :-)

Nova said...

Hi David

I hear you met my friend Claire after this lecture - she really enjoyed it. I have been on call with all her tech problems up until now but I here you are stepping in to give her a helping hand.
On another subject we just launched our new teachers website today - thought you'd like a look around - we would certainly apprciate your feedback

I asked Ewan to forward you an email about it too because I don't have your email address (hint, hint)

Victoria said...

hi david and ewan. Just wanted to let you know that i really enjoyed the lecture on friday (although it was at really rubbish time of day) and have been inspired to start blogging. Hopefully it will give me the chance to rant and rave about the good and bad bits of teaching and maybe i'll even get some advice along the way.
thanks very much.


Tess Watson said...

Hi John. I am just re-writing an earlier comment. But it came to my attention, is a suitable platform for teachers to use to blog? I have found out that my site could be the referring URL to any page on (the next blog button at the top of the page) and some not the most appropriate. I am thinking that I will switch to wordpress or type pad. I know this is distantly related to your post, but I would welcome your view.

Tess Watson said...

Hi David, my sincere apologies. I have just called you John :( I love blogging now, but it is very easy to make a mistake when net-working with people you haven't actually spoke to (putting a name to the face). Not the best excuse, but I hope you will forgive me!

David said...

Hello Nova

I'll have a look and share the address with my students. I'll send feedback as soon as I get my head together.

Hello Victoria

Welcome to the world of Blogging.

Hello Bess Watson

No problem about the name mix up Jess. We all make mistakes. :-)

It is possible to turn off the next blog link at the top of Blogger and I've left instructions on your blog about how to do it. Hope it helps.

Joe Dale said...

Hi David,

I really enjoyed watching this video clip all one hour and forty five minutes of it. I was wondering if you videoed the last section with Mark Pentleton designed specifically for MFL teachers?

Best wishes


Anonymous said...

Interesting stuff. Have you thought about parsing the text messages for voting? i.e. students text 'pgdes2blog Q1B' to answer B in MCQ for question 1 etc?

Anonymous said...

To hide the mobile numbers you could change the style sheet and set the 'h2' tag to the same colour as the background

David said...

Hello Joe

Thanks for the comment but no, Mark's bit wasn't videoed - in fact I was cut off mid sentance just as I was introducing him. :-(

Hello Anonymous (es - not sure if you are one or two people!)

I did wonder about the possibility of using text messages as a poor man's personal response system but the hassle is in parsing the many emails that would come in and displaying the results in a reasonable time-frame. It might however have more milage as an idea for submitting homework for marking.

The idea of hiding the phone number is genius! Low tech but effective - I like it. :-) Would the real Anonymous please stand up so that he/she can be awarded a chocolate based prize!

Kenneth... said...

I'm not sure you're the Ant & Dec, more like the Sam Fox & Mick Fleetwood- presenting the Brit Awards - of the blogosphere. LOL Only kidding!

Anonymous said...

Hi David,

I pretty sure I wasn’t one of the two people you had in mind. Loved the ‘text a question’ example, it certainly got quite a few of us here thinking about things. I’m now off to ‘persuade’ other people to give it a go.


REAP Project

David said...

Ant and Dec, Sam and Mick... thank goodness nobody has suggested Fran and Anna. :-)

Martin... I'll be in touch.

Mr Harrington said...

Kenneth - I thought Sam and Mick did quite well !!!!!!( ha ha ) Seriously though this was the sort of input on new technology that more newly qualifying teachers need to see!!!

Martin Hawksey said...

It may have taken me 4 years but I've worked out how to use your SMS to blog solution as a free SMS voting tool

Anonymous (aka Martin Hawksey)