Category Archives: Web 2.0 tools

Hashtag for higher education in Ireland #heie

Twitter has been the most effective, efficient, and cheapest professional development I have ever come across. However I am not going to use this post to introduce Twitter for professional development or its other potential uses in higher education – there are numerous other websites that have got there before me. However I do want to concentrate on the area of hashtags in twitter. For those not totally comfortable on the concept of hashtags please refer to the video below

As I mention in the video there are numerous education based hashtags that are well worth following. One of the tags top of my list would be #edchatie. This tag is used by educators throughout Ireland from primary right through to third level. Another good one along the same lines, but not used as extensively in my opinion would be #ictedu. Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of such  popular tags with a widespread target audience is potentially a large amount of tweets may be not relevant to you. For example tweets with the #edchatie talking about parents involvements with schools is not relevant to third level educators, in  a similar fashion #edhcatie tweets about CAO is not relevant to educators from primary level.

That said I still gain an awful lot from #edchatie tweets and I will continue to recommend them at every opportunity. Nevertheless as a “call to action” from this post I would like to suggest the creation of a specific hashtag for higher education in Ireland.


If you are involved in Irish higher education please use the hashtag #heie where appropriate


What is Diigo?

Image representing Diigo as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

This posts introduces Diigo and outlines how the social bookmarking tool, Diigo can be used in the classroom

Whiteway, A. (2009). An evaluation of using diigo.Com with students. Retrieved from

Related articles

Accessing Youtube videos as a teacher

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Several teachers have asked me numerous times how can I take advantage of Youtube. Here are some examples

As a teacher I would recommend having your safety search activated on your browser to reduce the chance of any objectionable videos appearing on your screen. Although not 100% guaranteed “ever little bit helps” as the saying goes. The video below illustrates how to activate this safety setting

If you are still a little nervous about using YouTube in the classroom (as you are never guaranteed what other videos will appear in the sidebar).  you can remove all other videos from your screen by cleaning up your screen using a third party service outside youtube

If you school has blocked YouTube in your classroom you can download videos in advance by using websites like just remember to be vigilant with regards to copyright – not everybody puts their videos up on YouTube under a creative commons licence.

Another site I found useful for youtube was Splicd. This site allows you to just show a certain segment of a Youtube video. For example the video may be 15 minutes long but you only want to show your students a video from 2 minutes until 4 minutes.

The best use that I got from youtube was when I asked the students to do the work – this post explain how I set surfing YouTube as an assignment for my students

This post just deals with videos that already exist on YouTube. If you want to post some videos of your on YouTube  – have a look at my post on screencasting

Getting your students to find Youtube videos for their assignment

Coming up with different assignments that will motivate students and enhance their learning experience can be a big challenge. Here is an idea that may help you though.

As a chemistry lecturer I asked the students to find a chemistry related YouTube video and upload it to Moodle, the college learning management system, using the “glossary” function. (If you don’t have a learning management system you can set up an educators account on the free social bookmarking tool – Diigo.)

The one stipulation was that the students had to check that their chosen video was not already uploaded onto Moodle by a colleague. The students then rated each video, in accordance with specified criteria, with the average rating used as the grade for the student for that assignment. With over 80 students in that particular class each student watched over 80 chemistry related videos.  Despite the standard of video chosen varying dramatically, the enthusiasm for this chemistry assignment expressed by the student was immense. The only impact personally was to quickly check that each video chosen was appropriate i.e. contained no explicit material. At the end of semester as a lecturer I was then able to keep decent videos that the students had found for future years.


Cleaning up Youtube for your classroom

Youtube can be a fabulous classroom resource but can some schools are cautious about using it in the classroom because they are concerned about the videos and adverts that appear in the sidebars. “” offers a potential solution for teachers. This site cleans out all the clutter and gives you just a video.  Furthermore there is a quick button that you can add to your browser so that you can go to a video, click on “Purify” in your bookmark bar and instantly have a clean video

Screencasting and assessment

Prezi Logo

Prezi Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Screencasts have multi applications when it comes to assessment.

Students can record a particular task captured on their computer and present it as their assignment. They may also prepare a presentation (e.g. through Prezi or MS powerpoint) or a poster / mindmap and use the the screencasting tool to provide narration supporting the presentation or poster.

Lecturers can provide assessment tips or guidance through a screencast in advance of the assessment. Furtermore lecturers can also provide feedback to thier students


Guide to screencasting tools

Please click on the logo of the screencasting tool to get more information


           link post of camtasia to follow shortly

Samples of various screencasts using different screencasting tools

This post in use as part of the support materials for the screencasting workshop in EdTech 2012. The following videos are examples of screencasts created by a selection of different tools available

A second demo on Livescribe that also used Jing Pro and Camtasia

converting Powerpoint to youtube video


A brief guide to screencast-o-matic – a free screencasting tool

Another free screencast tool. Like its counterparts of ScreenR and Jing there are premium versions also available at a specific price, providing additional functionality.

Good points

  • Its free
  • it allows 15 minutes video as opposed to the 5 minutes on offer through Jing and ScreenR

Bad points

  • It is not as intuitive to use at first but once you get used to it, you will have no problems
  • There is a watermark in your video with the free account

There are a series of tutorials on the use of screen-o-matic on their YouTube channel

What is Screencasting?

This post contains support mateiral for the Screencasting workshop at the Edtech 2012 conference in NUI Maynooth. Thank you so much to my co-presenter of the workshop Damien Raftery from IT Carlow (@damienraftery)

A screencast is a digital movie in which the setting is partly or wholly a computer screen, and in which audionarration describes the on-screen action. It’s not a new idea. The screencaster’s tools—for video capture, editing, and production of compressed files—have long been used to market software products, and to train people in the use of those products. The term screencast compares with the related term screenshot; whereas screenshot is a picture of a computer screen, a screencast is essentially a movie of the changes over time that a user sees on a computer screen, enhanced with audio narration.

There is an excellent chart available on wikipedia comparing the various software tools available for screencasting

Relevant links

examples of screencasts

Useful weblinks on screencasting

Guide to screencasting tools

Screencasting and assessment

Academic papers on screencasting