Can i learn to conduct online?

Whilst on holidays I wondered if anybody offered a diploma or certificate course focusing on conducting music ensembles, since I’ve been doing a lot of that lately, and I’m mostly self taught. I did find a few options – including a Masters level program at the Sydney Conservatorium (that the University of Sydney these days), and also a few overseas. I also found a place that offers Certificate level courses, fully online, in a huge range of music topics including arranging, orchestration, composition. And then i began to wonder, could i learn music online? I think of it as a pretty ‘hand’s on’ activity.

Today, as i read Prof. Steven Schwarz’s blog (VC of Macquarie University) posting regarding the disruptive powers of open education – i discovered Udacity – a new online university that has just started offering free courses, with many more planned. They are currently offering a course called “CS373: Programming a Robotic car” On the webpage, you can see a YouTube clip of the teacher riding in his fully robotic car – the thing was driving by itself!!! And he reckons he can teach me how to do the same in 7 weeks. Yes please! I mean, this really got my inner-nerd very excited.

But seriously, if i can learn to program a robotic car online, then i reckon i probably can learn to conduct online. And arrange compositions for orchestras.
Which one should i try first? Has anybody learnt anything fully online lately?

“Xbox is My Generation’s Golf” – The future of Gaming?

Latitude 42 conducted some research into the future of gamers and gaming. There was definitely some interesting findings, including the move away from ‘computer-centric games to games in which the users environment becomes the game board and this notion of ‘life games’. 75% of respondents would like to see games applied to Learning and Education.

The Future of Gaming: a Portrait of the New Gamers from latddotcom on Vimeo.

For more information on this study check out Latitude’s brief report or website.

iPads for in-lecture polling

Uni of Adelaide iPads for in-lecture polling. Whist “clickers” faltered due to the need for students to all have one, this simple but clever solutions means the students just put their hand up, and only the lecturer needs the iPad.

See page 13 for the article

Oui oui! Le Skype is working!

After months of planning and testing, the Skype pilot kicked off today. With slick new high definition web cams, and the help of the “how to” login sheet, the french language students connected with other students in Noumea. And the French conversations began to flow.

While many staff members have had Skype installed and working fine in their offices on their individual managed desktop machines (ie supported centrally by ITS), up until know it has been impossible to intall and use them “en masse” for use by students in an ITS managed teaching computer lab. But, thanks to the hard work of everybody involved (especially Krstan Risteski, ITS Labs Manager and Liz Burns, ITS System team) a special ‘software package’ was developed, tested, tweaked, and re-tested. Now Skype can be remotely installed in labs by ITS Support staff, with the correct network and software settings so that it actually works within the confines of a teaching lab. The only last minute hitch was that each new web-cam purchased by Arts (they are for use in the new Bld 19 Language labs) needed to have the software drivers manually installed, but thanks to Krstan, this was achieved in time also.

OpenSource software in labs: pilot progress

This pilot project over in the new Digital Media Centre labs at iC is going very well. Ably supported by lab support technician Glenn Alexander, research into tweaking the lab setup is underway to ensure that when students logoff in the labs their software is re-set to an appropriate “clean-slate settings” state on the shared lab machines, and their data is saved on their USB or portable hard-drives.
I visited the class yesterday in person, and saw the colour animated graphics that the students were creating in the Ubuntu/Linux operating system using the Scala programming language. Look forward to seeing how the student projects develop.

ETC and Randy Pausch (The Masters Degree I want to do!)

I was watching a TED Talk Talk by Randy Pausch. He based his talk on his childhood dreams, but by about 40mins it in turns into a discussion about ETC. A great University course he helped develop after being a Disney Imagineer. It is so great and he speaks so enthusiastically about it. The course brings together Design, arts and engineering students initially, then opens up to a broader audience.

This guys has had some amazing opportunities, but I really like that someone else has picked up the ball for the ‘Masters Degree’. I really wish we could have something similar to offer students here at UOW.
There is more information about ETC here.

Engaging and Smart whiteboards in Engineering

Saw the full potential of the NoteBook software that authors and presents lessons on the SmartBoards. Thankyou Hannah Russell for taking the time to show me how it works. I particularly liked the split screen display of 2 sources, the URL link, the on-screen touch keyboard (like iPad) and the screen capture and paste functions.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes with using Bridgit software to share those lessons in real time with remote students.