Monthly Archives: May 2009

Handheld Learning 2009 Conference

I’ve just got back my registration confirmation for the Handheld Learning 2009 conference.  I’ve been wanting to attend one of these conferences since I met Graham Brown-Martin at the Edinburgh Interactive Festival last year, but I missed last year’s conference because of financial constraints.   Sometimes, living in northern England makes things difficult.

The three-day conference will explore how mobile technologies such as phones, entertainment devices, GPS locators, and netbooks can be used for learning – not just in schools, but also colleges, universities, and even business training.

As an example, at EIF08 Graham talked about how some primary schools in Scotland gave each child a Nintendo DS, and incorporated games such as Nintendogs into different parts of the curriculum.  The schools taking part in the trial found that the children’s test scores improved, and they reported feeling more confident about their ability to solve math problems after playing games such as Brain Age.

This year’s theme is Creativity, Innovation, Inclusion and Transformation – in recognition of the fact that that 2009 is the European year of creativity and innovation.  The conference will look at the value that these elements have to learning, and identify some of the barriers to this kind of learning transformation, and the importants of universal access to such technologies.

I’m very much looking forward to this year’s conference.  I was recently invited to work on a book about VLEs (Virtual Learning Environments), and I’m hopeful that the conference will offer some useful tips for promoting the accessibility of VLEs across the kind of devices that learners prefer to work from.

Testing Citadel server

I’ve had a VPS for a couple of months now, and I hate to admit it, but I’ve only moved over three of my domains.  My main business domain is still on a shared hosting account, because I want to make sure that the VPS is running smoothly, and can cope with the bandwidth and load demands that the business domain will create.

One of the last things I wanted to set up was a good groupware server.  After a little research, I decided to try out Citadel.

The VPS was originally running Ubuntu 6.06, which is LTS, so is still getting security updates, but is otherwise pretty out of date, and I ended up in dependency hell trying to install Citadel.  I upgraded to Intrepid.   To Ubuntu’s credit, the upgrade was fast and easy.  Citadel installed, but wouldn’t start as a service.

After a few support requests on the Citadel and Ubuntu community boards – which recieved some helpful suggestions, but in the end didn’t resolve the problem, I ended up trying Citadel in a CentOS VM.  It proved to be exactly what I was looking for.  So, I asked my host to re-image the VPS to CentOS.  That’s not a reflection on Ubuntu as a sever, just that there was something about the VPS’s configuration that Citadel didn’t like, and at such an early stage, with a deadline looming, it was easier to start from scratch with something that was known to work.

So far, CentOS is running well.  It’s taking a while to get used to where it puts all the config files, but Apache and PHP are up and running, as is an FTP server.  I still need to sort out phpMyAdmin though.

Citadel is up and running, accepting mail for two domains.  I’m liking the Jabber feature, and looking in to setting up Funambol for push email.  The only thing I need now is to find a good email client for Windows that can understand GroupDAV.

Help WordPress Devs With Usability Testing

The WordPress developers are looking for people to help them with usability testing.  At present, they are looking for moderators to run tests, and are ideally looking for people experienced in the area – e.g. those who do it professionally.

If you fit the bill, and have some time to give to help improve WordPress, check out this post for more information.

If you don’t have the experience they’re looking for, it’s still worth keeping an eye on the developer blog for calls for testers in the future.