Category Archives: Life Online

How the iPad saved the day

Part 2 of The Power of Technology

 

 

 

Previously I set the scene for my repressed paranoia about keeping hard copies of everything and filing them away just in case. I admit I’m a horder and take after my father who, no matter what you might need in a crisis, seems to be able to lay his hands on it. Well, here I carry on with the tale of how the iPad saved the day in a (mini) crisis.

Where we live, we get the occasional power blip. They’re never usually more than a blip and if the power goes off it is usually only for 30 minutes at the most. We this time it’s been over two hours and could be longer. This has brought home to me how reliant we have all become on electricity in our everyday lives. So much so that I’ve made a plan to go through all my contacts on my mobile phone and write them up in a little black book. [actually its a very large book with a dog on it.]

What use is backing up these contacts to iTunes when there’s no power? Not only had the power cut prevented me searching for images to add to slides for an online session I’m currently planning but I had no cellular connection neither. No-one could contact me and I could contact no-one. I felt terribly isolated. Can you imagine it. Me – someone who looks for caravan sites with wifi and gets the jitters if she’s left her mobile phone in the house while she pops to the shops. This was truely a nightmare of huge proportions. The panic was short-lived.

I soon found the isolation quite liberating. It meant that no one interrupted me with e-mails, I was able to concentrate on the main points of my new session without becoming side-tracked by searching for that ‘perfect’ image and the ‘that looks interesting too, I’ll have a quick look’ seduction of the WWW.

I had no telephone or skype interruptions or little e-mail alerts popping up. I really did more work in that two hours than usual just purely without the usual interruptions. I felt strangely able to breathe instead of drowining in a sea of information and connectivity.

So how did the iPad save the day?

Well, as I mentioned before, it’s my husband who has the iPad and whereas I have a supersized battery for my laptop, his laptop battery isn’t too hot these days. Not only that, the work he does means that the processor takes quite a hit and the battery is sucked dry in no time so it wasn’t long before it became impossible to work.

Enter the iPad.

With a longer battery life and a good selection of apps to allow him to work on spreadsheets, create outlines and write notes it meant Dean could continue to work without resorting to pen and paper only to have to type it up again later. It is unusual that the cell coverage crashed at the same time on this occasion but with our trusty smart phones and tablets it would have been feasible to carry on communicating too.

I was never in the girl guides but my inner administrator’s ‘be prepared’ strategies kicked into action. Here are some tips from me should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

1. Try and make sure you laptop has extra long battery life
2. Always work with laptop plugged into mains
3. Back your files up everyday
4. Keep your mobile phones regularly charged and synchronised with your contacts
5. Keep a basic telephone handy so you can at least make emergency calls
6. Keep a traditional telephone book up to date
7. Keep your iPad or Android tablet charged
8. Invest in some office applications for your mobile device (they only need to be basic)
9. If you work over a VPN to access files on a remote server, work locally and regularly synchronise
10.Take the opportunity to work the old-fashioned way – with pen, paper and good old peace and quiet.

Replying to Online courses must die!

I just love Twitter even though it’s sucking the life-blood out of that work/life balance of mine (what work/life balance my husband says). Anyway, last night I was catching up on the stream peering through my blurry eyes when I came across this super blog post by the e-Learning Provocateur (@ryantracey). The title is alone ‘Online courses must die‘ warrants a read. It’s an old post (in social media terms anyway – going back to July last year) but no less topical for that. It certainly lives up to the title of the blog – provocative.

It’s full of very thought provoking stuff and matches my own ideals one of which is using authoring tools for the right job. So often they’re the proverbial hammers cracking nuts with equal devastation.

I’ve popped a reply on Ryan’s post but it has piqued my interest that I may well explore some of those points further.

Read and enjoy!

Scan this….

I’m all excited. I’ve discovered QR codes.

Well, I haven’t just discovered QR codes. I have been aware of them for some time and have ‘played’ with them using an App on my iPhone. What I meant to say was I’ve just discovered how to use them for something tangible and very useful.

It’s been a very busy couple of days planning for Learning Technologies next week where the training company I work for has a stand and we were tasked with designing brand new posters for the event advertising our eLearning courses. Well, needless to say, I was in my element. My creative ideas were going wild and my two worlds started to collide. Technology and art.

I also have more than a little interest in marketing. It’s not a professional interest you understand but I am fascinated by it. Bearing in mind that I love simplicity in my designs, I was trying to think of an effective way of providing extra information without covering the posters in text – a big mistake a lot of people make, confusing the reader. Then I had a brainwave. What about using QR codes to link to contextually specific information from our website. And what a perfect venue for the trial. A conference where technology is the heart of everything.

I couldn’t wait to try it out and the first idea was to create a label with a QR code to stick to the back of my business cards. When scanned, this code will take my networking connections straight to my LinkedIn profile.

So now we have four posters, each with a barcode unobtrusively on the bottom corner and high-tech (well nearly) business cards.

I used Kaywa to create my QR codes as recommended by Phil Vincent from Sheffield University (thanks Phil). Phil also uses Goo.gl but I’ve not tried this yet.

The Apps I have are Bakodo and QR Code Reader from ShopSavvy

I will be very interested to hear other creative uses for QR codes you have. I can already think of some for learning but I will share these another time.