Monday, March 10, 2008

Getting your Wii on the net

I thought I'd collate some useful links on how to get your Wii on the net for any colleagues in colleges who have just purchased them to use with learners. (This is applicable for some Learning for Living and Work projects in the Yorkshire and Humber region. May not apply to the MoLeNET projects but maybe another project in future? )

(For those who are just unpacking their recently purchased Wiis, don't throw away any bits of card! There should be a postcard size white card with a code on it and if you set up an account on and register your products, you get points that can go towards the purchase of any downloads for your Wii.)

Connecting your wii to your wireless network. The wii already has wireless built in so you shouldn't have to attach anything else to it. Not sure how it would work in a super tight network environment but this just proves the point that we may need to relax the rules a little or risk strangling progress.

On your PC, create an account on and register your products for some stars.

On your Wii, link your account to your Wii shop channel. In theory, this should allow you to convert your stars into points to purchase Opera with, but if this step doesn't work, then use a Mastercard ;-)

On your Wii, buy some points, then click on Wii software and buy the Internet Channel. This will download Opera browser on to your Wii and away you go.

I wish I'd written this while I was in the process of doing it, but hopefully the links will help you through the steps.

Here's a video of the Wii on the internet, in wmv format.

Learning on the Wii

I've finally got round to buying some points and downloading Opera on my Wii. I'm excited by quite a few possibilities in its use for education, especially since some colleges I know have bought them to support learners in their Entry Level courses for the Learning for Living and Work projects.
First off, I had to work out how to scroll as there was no scroll bar down the right side of the screen. You simply press the direction buttons on the handset or press the B button (that's like the trigger button on the handset) and drag it to whever you want. Simple!
Entering information and web addresses were a little time consuming with the onscreen keyboard. Learners who are good at texting on their phones may find the alpha-numeric keypad more familiar and quicker than the qwerty keyboard. Luckily, you can save favourites to save you time.
I was able to read my web pages that were based on RSS feeds, but was not able to playback music or watch any videos. :-(
However, there's a brilliant website where you can play more Wii games online. There are word games, puzzle games, sports games as well as the usual shooters etc. There's Deal or No Deal, Paint blocks, a simple Paint programme and lots of others to explore. I've also been on and tried out the drag and drop puzzles and other games on there. Good for engaging construction students perhaps?
Moodle looks ok on the Wii, plus you can zoom in and out of the web site using the plus and minus buttons on the handset. You can't open any Microsoft documents or pdfs, but you can read the forums and view any web links.
Anyway, I've already missed lunch from being too much of a geek with the Wii. I'm sure the electrician in the house thinks I'm just playing. He doesn't realise that this is all hard work! Now I'm off to play that Plumber game I spotted on wiiplayable...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Jaiku as an RSS aggregator

This is a really neat idea. When I was in Hitchin with Jill and Beth, we were looking at ways for learners to access feeds easily within college. I suggested that Jaiku could be used in this way. So Jill added a couple of feeds, one from the BBC (an Asian soap) and one from her Gabcast and voila! The learners have a one-stop shop for accessing the latest episodes of podcasts. Love it. James Clay, Dave Sugden, Lisa Valentine and all in our Jaiku online village use this method for pulling in photos, blogs etc but to see it being used so purposefully in a curriculum setting makes me want to weep with joy.

Monday, March 3, 2008

My foray into podcasting on the PC

It's not been easy. I've explored it before, but now I've come back to try to show colleagues how easy it is, and it's not.

Let me explain: every free site that I've been to has been plagued with issues.
  1. won't display my site, although it has a nice little free application that you can download on your PC to record mp3 files. ( REMEMBER TO PRESS SAVE AFTER RECORDING. I lost an interview because I clicked the little x on the top right too quickly instead of clicking SAVE first.
  2. seems to be as complicated as Facebook in terms of knowing where to go and what to do. If I can't work it out in one minute, then it's no good for converting reticent tutors into using it.
  3. Never mind, I thought I'd just post my mp3 on my blog to illustrate how easy that was to do. Another error uploading the file. Blogger refuses to play ball. I finally got it to work (see link below). However, Blogger doesn't host audio files so tutors would need to upload them to a public web space first.

I suspect your average tutor doesn't have web spaces, wouldn't normally use ftp and may not already have a blog site to start with., introduced by Di Dawson on the m-champions MoLeNET Moodle, by contrast, was so easy you could blink and miss it. Fantastic and easy. Only problem is with the sound quality. Not sure if learners would enjoy listening to what sounds like a phone conversation week after week.

What really excites me about Gabcast, though, is that unlike the other podcasting solutions, it is truly mobile and allows learners to join in the creation of episodes quite easily. You simply let them have the phone number to dial, the channel number and password, and your class can be recording podcasts just like that!

I'm big on solutions that allow two-way communication, and Gabcast ticks all the right boxes for me so far. I know James is going to run a session on podcasting without Macs. By the end of the night, I may have something useful to add to his repertoire, or I may not! Let's see!

Here's the file I managed to link to this blog: