The Third and The Seventh

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, General) by elearning4bradford on 15-01-2010

An interesting piece of film art with a bookish theme that made me smile

The Third & The Seventh from Alex Roman on Vimeo.

The Tower and The Cloud

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, General, OpenSource) by elearning4bradford on 21-04-2009

The link to “Readings” at the top of this blog page takes you to stuff I’m reading – however, so enthused am I by this recent publication, I decided it merited a post of its own. Cloud computing is the biggest new thing that will happen to IT departments in learning institutions for a long while. To get an overview and clear perspective of the issues I recommend The Tower and the Cloud.

The blurb reads:
“The emergence of the networked information economy is unleashing two powerful forces. On one hand, easy access to high-speed networks is empowering individuals. People can now discover and consume information resources and services globally from their homes. Further, new social computing approaches are inviting people to share in the creation and edification of information on the Internet. Empowerment of the individual—or consumerization—is reducing the individual’s reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar institutions in favor of new and emerging virtual ones. Second, ubiquitous access to high-speed networks along with network standards, open standards and content, and techniques for virtualizing hardware, software, and services is making it possible to leverage scale economies in unprecedented ways. What appears to be emerging is industrial-scale computing—a standardized infrastructure for delivering computing power, network bandwidth, data storage and protection, and services. Consumerization and industrialization beg the question “Is this the end of the middle?”; that is, what will be the role of “enterprise” IT in the future? Indeed, the bigger question is what will become of all of our intermediating institutions? This volume examines the impact of IT on higher education and on the IT organization in higher education.”

Read a pdf version of the book HERE

Using the WorldCat citation service the full bibliographic details are:
KATZ, R. N. (2008). The tower and the cloud: higher education in the age of cloud computing. [Boulder, CO], EDUCAUSE.

Harlow Carr – New green library

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments, General) by elearning4bradford on 16-04-2009

A few days ago I visited Harlow Carr the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) gardens near Harrogate. I was impressed with the library; there were about 4,000 volumes and an excellent range of magazines catering for the general hobbyist and the more specialist interests. The classification scheme used for the print stock was interesting a kind of supplemented Dewey integrated with plant classification schemes. The library, which is open daily, is run by a team of volunteers under the guidance of librarians based at the headquarters of the Lindley Library, in London. The library is currently housed in the Study Centre within the gardens.

However work has already started on a new building to facilitate the library collections and to extend the learning activity. The new building sounds incredibly exciting, having a zero carbon footprint it will be the greenest library in the UK. At a cost of £3m the facility will have a massive impact on learning; providing opportunities to schoolchildren and adults to understand the link between themselves and the natural world through horticulture.

From the Harlow Carr website “The learning centre will increase our capacity for free school visits more than threefold, enabling the garden to welcome more than 10,000 schoolchildren a year. It will also provide a base to expand our outreach programmes locally and in the wider region, to engage with hard-to-reach communities and schools. The project will also allow for a broader programme of educational workshops for all gardeners and visitors to Harlow Carr.”

I shall be following with interest the development of this new building. I picked up some seeds for my allotment from the very well-stocked shop – which, incidentally has an excellent book section particularly strong on botanical art books which included the recently published The Wild & Garden Plants of Ireland illustrated with 99 watercolour prints by the brilliant E Charles Nelson and Wendy F Walsh (2009 Thames & Hudson £25) which I regret not having purchased – but which would have certainly led to dreams of walks in Connemara and the Wicklow mountains – maybe next time!

Bradford Cathedral Webcam

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments) by elearning4bradford on 14-11-2008

This link below to the view of Forster Square, Bradford taken from the superb vantage point of Bradford Cathedral and shows the foundation work that is being carried out in Forster Sq as part of the regenration effort for the city centre. Recently this work seems to have slowed down raising questions about the future of the site in this difficult economic climate . To monitor the site visit the Bradford Cathedral web-cam . The use of webcams can be a  very effective technology in learning

Thin Client technology preferred option for new LRC

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments) by elearning4bradford on 15-01-2008

As the new building on Trinity Rd. progresses well, plans for the delivery of our open-access library/learning resource centre become more firm. We have chosen the thin client or virtual pc solution. Reasons for this are primarily to do with environmental (heat generation) issues, which are of paramount importance for the overall comfort of the building. The maintenance and administrative overheads associated with running banks of fat client pcs are significantly reduced by thin-client. Expected disadvantages seen recently in a pilot exercise, for example include constrainst on the ability of the thin-client to handle video streaming. Such limitations are expeted to be overcome in the foreseeable future. Additional to the provision of thin-client machines will be the facility to loan laptops to learners. This, again at pilot phase has yielded some interesting results and demand has been consistently high.

Visit to Queen Margaret University – Edinburgh

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments) by elearning4bradford on 23-11-2007

QMU New Building

On Wednesday I visited the new campus at Queen Margaret University.
The whole site carries a real learning buzz about it. Although not 100% finished it is functioning well and the sense of learning and creativity overwhelms. I would suggest that this environment-friendly building sets new standards in the academic sector with features such as its bio-mass heating systems and its sustainable urban drainage system. The innovative LRC uses RFID technology, provides 1000 learning spaces and is open for many hours.

Visit to Saltire Centre – Glasgow

Filed Under (Built Learning Environments) by elearning4bradford on 22-11-2007

On Tuesday I visited the Saltire Centre – Glasgow Caledonian University – to see the much talked about library and learning resource centre facility. It has received much attention in the professional library press for its innovative design features. Despite there being wide knowledge of it in far-flung places – two students standing close to its entrance looked bewildered when I asked them for directions – they had never heard of it.

I was impressed by the scale of the building and its dimensions. The ground level was very busy and a real hub of activity with high noise levels and a lot of student activity. As one moves up the building a calmness descends. The upper floors are used for more serious study. It was refreshing to see many different groups collaborating and engaging; using technology and print-based resources.

The guiding and signage was not great and, as a space, it was not intuitive to use. In terms of moving thinking along, the innovative approach to a learning space coupled with the use of wood, glass and concrete presents a challenge to others to create an engaging learning environment. The recognition that the learning resource centre and the library should be at the core or hub of the accomodation is to be commended.

Saltire Centre - Glasgow
Saltire Centre - Glasgow