Reflection

As I come to the end of the University of Edinburgh’s 23 things, I’ve been reflecting on the course and my experiences.

Overall it was an enjoyable and useful course to go through, I enjoyed the learning games in Thing 21, found Altmetrics interesting in Thing 19, and was pleasantly surprised by how useful Just a line can be in Thing 22!

As I work within ICT, I found the later Things more interesting than the earlier Things in the course. This was primarily due to already having previous knowledge or used the apps / services in the past. However, regardless of your digital skill level, its useful to go through all 23 things as you will end up finding at least one new and interesting Thing you didn’t know about before!

Fun, Play, and Create

I played around with a couple of the apps, Snapchat – which I already have used, which my friends use alot to microblog about their day with images and video – they love a filter.

I also took a look at Just a line, which I hadn’t used before and this was interesting by drawing onto the physical world using augmented reality. I can actually see this being useful in a more professional environment (even though its nor necessarily designed for that). For example, on building sites pointing out faults for QA purposes, or proposed changes within offices or at events of where things should be setup or changed, etc.

Even within my work, where I want to highlight or mark ICT equipment within a Comms Cabinet or Server Room.

Online Games and Learning

I played MicroParasites2D on the National Museum of Scotland website, the games takes the player through the evolution and spread of the malaria parasite within the body. You play as the drug which is set to come to the rescue!

Playing the game was interesting as you tackle bigger and more experiences foes – as the parasite evolves over the course of time, the player gets to see each stages as they defeat the parasites and their journal is updated explaining the growth and multiplication of the cells.

Games are a massive learning tool as the hands on interaction keeps the player engaged, games, or even simulations are used in many professions where it is cheaper, safer and effective to train individuals via simulation than it is the real thing (flight, driving, medical, etc). The advancement of games and simulations are only getting better over time and enable individuals to train and learn in an area which, financially may be out of their reach.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a fine place to host your online CV and previous work experience. However, the platform could do better to implement features which legitimize the claims made by the individuals. This could be in the form of organisations signing up and providing an approved “tick” which confirms the individual has worked within the organisation at the role and level they have on their profile. Although, asking organisations to sign up and audit existing or previous employees without some kind of reward is another matter!

The existing endorsements don’t really mean much – a like for a like – so a more formal feature might makes things have more meaning.

Altmetrics

Altmetrics tracks where published research is mentioned online, and provides tools and services to institutions, publishers, researchers, funders and other organisations to monitor this activity.

I added Altmetrics to Firefox and browsed a few journals and the metrics gathered were quite interesting, it doesn’t judge the quality of the journal but does give an indication of how “viral” it has become with mentions in social media, blogs and news outlets.

A lot of mentions tend to be associated with more shock value articles with an outraged negative slant in the blog / news post. Bad news sells!

Virtual Reality

I have played around a couple virtual reality headsets:

Sony’s Playstation VR headset – requires connection to a Playstation 4, the resolution of the image is quite low and it becomes hard to read text. After a awhile, depending on the experience / game it can bring on motion sickness after 20 – 30 minutes or so of constant use in a non-grounded environment. e.g In space jumping from planet to planet, where your horizon isn’t leveled how it would normally be.

However the immersion level is a step up from viewing on a 2d screen.

Oculus Quest – A standalone VR headset which doesn’t require a connection to any device. This is a newer VR headset and has a better screen resolution comapred with Sony’s Playstation VR headset. The self contained unit is handy and mobile, and relatively easy to draw out your play area, the games feel more responsive and immersive. The graphics are s not on the same level as a latest gen console or PC but I felt the motion sickness less which the better head tracking and enhanced display could be responsible for.

Overall VR headsets need “killer apps” to drive adoption, with Valve’s up and coming Half Life Aylx game coming out soon, we will see if this will help drive this User adoption.

OneNote

OneNote is an extremely useful application, I use it for taking notes at meetings as well as storing information for quick referencing and also collaboration with others on Projects using Shared OneNotes.

Using Office 365 services, my OneNote books can synch across all my devices, e.g laptop and smartphone.