Category: video


Earlier today, Professor Dame Wendy Hall gave a presentation at the Mixed Reality Lab here at Nottingham as part of the MRL’s distinguished lecture series.  Her lecture ‘What is Web Science and why is it important?’ scoped the Web Science Research Initiative as an emergent discipline, discussed the semantic web, and, by way of introduction, described her own route into Multimedia.  If you want to hear more on this from Wendy herself, Nodalities are hosting a podcast interview with Professor Hall covering just these topics.

Amongst other sources of inspiration, Prof. Hall cited Hyperland (1990) a BBC2 ‘fantasy documentary’ by Douglas Adams. This 50 minute film examines (then) contemporary cutting edge research through dream encounters with a software agent (played by Tom Baker) and hypermedia visionaries such as Vannevar Bush and Ted Nelson, to propose how interactive multi-media might constitute the future of TV.

As Douglas Adams’ website notes, whilst Adams was creating Hyperland – a student at CERN in Switzerland was working on a little hypertext project he called the World Wide Web…  To discover this vision of futures past, watch Hyperland below.


BSL Video Resources Online 2

Last week I blogged about Art Signs – an excellent video resource produced by Wolverhampton University, specialising in BSL vocabulary relevant to those in the arts, (higher) education or (in my case) digital media.  Yesterday I spoke to some colleagues looking for wider vocabulary, so here are some links to other extensive glossary sites developed by Wolverhampton for those building skills in BSL in Further and Higher Education…

  • Science Signs
    Including glossaries for anatomy, biology, chemistry, genetics, physics, environmental science, geography and geology.  If you want to know what the sign for deoxyribonucleic acid is, you’ve come to the right place.
  • Engineering Signs
    Including glossaries for architecture, construction, housing, surveying, computer aided design, civil engineering, electronic and electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.
  • Secondary Curriculum Signs
    If the above university websites are over whelming, a reduced dictionary is available via the Scottish Sensory Centre. They also deliver the ‘crowded cottage‘ which features some household and day-to-day signs alongside some fun colloquialisms.

BSL Video Resources Online

I’ve been taking a CACDP British Sign Language (BSL) Level 1 course this year to develop my communication skills. My final exam is in a few weeks, with a topic focused specifically on work.  Early in the course our course tutor John Smith, put the group in the way of newly developed BSL Online Learning Support resources for students studying our CACDP Level 1 course and as our vocabulary has developed, the value of such online video resources have become more and more appreciated.

The CACDP site is great for very basic vocabulary, but due to my academic background I’ve been searching for other online resources to use in tandem with the course to help revise specific vocabulary around higher education and learning sciences.  During this search I’ve discovered the excellent Art Signs.

Art Signs is a glossary site from the University of Wolverhampton featuring  hundreds of signs for the Arts categorised by discipline, alongside those relating to research, learning and teaching.  Signs are listed alphabetically and thematically. Clips are short and speedy – but this is a comprehensive database.  Everything from file types and internet terms, through methodology, to teaching and learning vocabulary is on there. Art Signs rewards careful searching and will be of great benefit to those working in Education, Research, Media, Technology and the Arts.

National Digital Inclusion Conference

A 'select-all' key. A suitable metaphor for digital inclusion?

Earlier this week  (the 27th-28th of this month), the UK’s National Digital Inclusion Conference ’empowerment through technology;’ took place in Westminster, London.  Following on from their live feeds, 16 presentations including the keynote speakers are now available online. Speakers are largely governmental,  including Paul Murphy MP, Minister for Digital Inclusion, Sion Simon MP, Minister for Further Education and Lord Carter, Minister for Communications, Technology and Broadcasting, alongside representatives from the BBC, Wired and elsewhere.  I’m hoping to comb the video materials and cross reference them with AbilityNet‘s thoughts on Twitter for some steer on where to look.  I hope to post a digested read here reflecting any comment on Disability, Digital Divides and Higher Education in the next week or so.

BSL Online Learning Support launched

At the start of the month I signed on to a CACDP course for a level one certificate in British Sign Language (BSL) at South Nottingham College. As anyone learning a sign language will know, paper notes can be difficult to revise from, so I anticipated hitting video materials online safe in the knowledge that we are all living in the future, I would find everything necessary to my personal advancement with the aid of the mighty YouTube. A bit naive?! Frankly, yes.

Although we may be living in the future (robot companions notwithstanding, DISCUSS), it quickly became clear that YouTube is not the place to rehearse your BSL. American Sign Language is, perhaps unsurprisingly, king, and even then using the search tool to hunt through the video archive for relevant vocabulary is increasingly like dowsing with a meat hammer. I was therefore delighted today to discover that CACDP has very recently launched an Online Learner Support Pack for BSL 101.

The Online Learner Support Pack is a free resource for everyone starting to do BSL101, and is a great way to help learners get off to a good start in learning British Sign Language.The Support Pack allows access to hundreds of videos of individual signs and sentences to help practising between classes, so if you have trouble remembering a sign, you can now go online to find and practise it instantly. Topics from BSL101 covered include the manual alphabet, numbers, transport, meeting people, weather, and directions.  As the internet becomes more mobile, I wonder if this can and will become the BSL pocket dictionary?

CACDP stress that this resource cannot be used to learn the complex language of BSL alone, as it is intended to only to compliment the methods of BSL teachers.  However, for those learning, or wishing to ‘Brush Up’ their British Sign Language skills, the online support materials are currently available to all, gratis.  To register visit:

Easy YouTube, Flickr and Slideshare

Following on from their wonderful ‘Accessibility 2.0: a million
flowers bloom’ conference, Abilitynet have made podcasts, transcripts and summaries of all the presentations available.  If you weren’t able to attend (or even if you were) I highly recommend checking out these resources. Click to visit the downloads and podcasts pages:
Podcasts, transcripts and summaries of Accessibility
2.0 presentations!

You can also subscribe direct
to the podcasts with this link –

Perhaps even more interesting are some of the developments since the conference, which I think will have implications for major areas of teaching and learning. AbilityNet summarised these factors as follows:

"Bringing together passionate
experts in a field where there are few cut and dry rules can lead to heated
discussion. Since the conference has led to several interesting

  • A heated
    exchange between Jeremy Keith and Mike Isofarro Davies has resulted in ongoing debate about the
    accessibility of Microformats, hopefully it will lead to an accessible solution
  • What are the
    accessibility concerns with microformats? the BBC’s Jonathan
    Hassel explains
  • Christian Heilmann developed EasyYouTube, a YouTube player for people with learning
    disabilities as a direct response to Antonia Hyde’s presentation on Rich Media
    for people with learning disabilities
  • Christian
    gets fantastic feedback – EasyYouTube also works with screen readers and
    schoolkids use it to access YouTube
  • Following on
    from this success Chris developed EasySlideShare and EasyFlickr
  • Christian
    has taken the idea further by organising Scripting Enabled – an accessibility hack day"

In particular EasyYouTube, EasyFlickr and EasySlideShare look to me like great tools, and the fact the day conference has already led to such positive outcomes (in its first year!) is fantastic.  Congratulations AbilityNet and all involved!

AbilityNet plan to
host Accessibility 2.0 again in Spring 2009. If you would like to receive updates, contact

Wim Wenders: A Notebook on Cities and Clothes

Image of a city car journey, with a playback of a second journey shown on a handheld camera in the passenger seatYesterday
I watched Wim Wenders’ film ‘Notebook on Clothes and Cities’ (1987) a 79 minute essayist documentary reflecting on the creative process, cities, identity and the digital age through conversations with Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto. 

I found Wenders’ opening monologue of particular interest in relation to the self and digital domains.  It distills some very difficult ideas very simply.  The opening sequence is available to watch at the internet movie database. I have also transcribed the ‘chapter’ in full below.

"You live wherever you live,
you do whatever work you do,
you talk however you talk,
you eat whatever you eat,
you wear whatever clothes you wear,
you look at whatever images you see…


“Identity” …
of a person,
of a thing,
of a place.

The word itself gives me shivers.
It rings of calm, comfort, contentedness.
What is it, identity?
To know where you belong?
To know your self worth?
To know who you are?
How do you recognise identity?
We are creating an image of ourselves,
We are attempting to resemble this image…
Is that what we call identity?
The accord
between the image we have created of ourselves
and … ourselves?
Just who is that, “ourselves”?

We live in the cities.
The cities live in us …
time passes.
We move from one city to another,
from on country to another.
We change languages,
we change habits,
we change opinions,
we change clothes,
we change everything.
Everything changes, And fast.
Images above all…

change faster and faster and they have been multiplying at a hellish rate ever since the explosion that unleashed the electronic images. They are the images that are now replacing photography.

We have learned to trust the photographic image. Can we trust the electronic image? With painting everything was simple. The original was the original, and each copy was a copy – a forgery. With photography and then film that began to get complicated. The original was a negative. Without a print, it did not exist, just the opposite, each copy was the original. But now with the electronic, and soon the digital, there is no more negative and no more positive. The very notion of the original is obsolete. Everything is a copy. All distinctions have become arbitrary. No wonder the idea of identity finds itself in such a feeble state. Identity is out, out of fashion. Exactly.  Then what is in vogue, if not fashion itself? By definition, fashion is always in. Identity and fashion, are the two contradictory?

Kit form Problem Based Learning

Over the last 12 months or so, I’ve been dedicating a few days to collating some video materials for the University of Nottingham’s Promoting Excellence in Student Learning (PESL) project.  The resources collected and created by PESL are publically available to all on the University website to "encourage and disseminate good and innovative practice in supporting high quality learning and teaching".  Some 9 short films I’ve compiled from interview footage are now available (live as of the 10th of March 2008!), focussing on different aspects of Problem Based Learning identified by staff and students at the Derby Medical School.  To visit the PESL pages and view more of their materials visit:  I’ve linked to the PBL films below – but recommend browsing the PESL site for anyone seeking to develop their teaching practice at any level.

Talking point video: Developing professional communication skills through problem-based learning.

Developing professional communication skills through problem-based learning.

3 min 47s talking point video by Pete Jennings et al. (March 2008).

Technique video: Facilitating small groups in problem-based learning.

Facilitating small groups in problem-based learning.

6 min 18s technique video by Paul Garrud et al. (March 2008).

Talking point video: How does problem-based learning fit with lectures and seminars.

How does problem-based learning fit with lectures and seminars?

4 min 52s talking point video by Paul Garrud et al. (March 2008).

Talking point video: How groups get started in problem-based learning.

How groups get started in problem-based learning.

4 min 3s talking point video by Pete Jennings et al. (March 2008).

Case study video: The problem-based learning cycle.

The problem-based learning cycle.

9 min 19s case study video by Pete Jennings et al. (March 2008).

Talking point video: Using problem-based learning in your teaching - advice for colleagues.

Using problem-based learning in your teaching – advice for colleagues.

5 min 22s talking point video by Maggi Savin-Baden et al. (March 2008).

Talking point video: Using problem-based learning to develop critical thinking skills.

Using problem-based learning to develop critical thinking skills.

2 min 11s talking point video by Paul Garrud et al. (March 2008).

Case study video: Using questions to guide learning in problem-based learning.

Using questions to guide learning in problem-based learning.

2 min 49s case study video by Pete Jennings et al. (March 2008).

Case study video: What do you need in a problem-based learning room.

What do you need in a problem-based learning room.

2 min 41s case study video by Jonathan Ball et al. (March 2008).

Web 2.0 vs Web 3.0

Small but interesting vignette on where this is all going (sponsored by Google!).

A Whole New Quertyuiop

I’ve been invited to deliver a guest lecture on disability and accessibility as part of a course on Human Factors in Interface Design for undergraduates in Computer Science and Engineering.  I’m considering starting with the Quertyuiop keyboard.  Due to the mechanical nature of early typewriters, the Qwerty keyboard was designed in the 1870s to spread the vowels and other high-use keys over a wider area.  This anti-ergonomic design slowed typists (particularly right-handers), meaning the mechanics of the typewriter jammed less frequently.  Now the mechanics have been replaced, but the Qwerty interface remains, frequently causing discomfort and repetative strain injury.  It’s a high-profile incidence of an interface actively disabling a user, particularly relevant to Computer Scientists – and I’m hoping will act as a springboard into discussing the relevance of the social model of disability. 

Whilst looking up archival footage of early typewriters I stumbled upon this. This 30 second film comes from a Bollywood film and shows people dancing across a giant typewriter keyboard to catchy music! Make of it what you will!