Time saving online tips (you may have forgotten you know)!

quick tips

This week I gave a colleague a quick tip on how to use the Snipping Tool available on your PC or laptop. She found this very useful so I thought I would share it in a blog post and some other quick tips that I have found useful myself.

The Snipping Tool

Snipping Tool icon

This simple tool allows you to drag a frame around something you want to copy and paste into a document or presentation. You may be familiar with the print screen function using the PrtSc button (others shortcuts here if you don’t have this button), however this grabs the whole screen.The Snipping Tool app allows you to also take a snapshot to copy words or images from a specific part of your PC/laptop screen.

The Snipping Tool can capture any of the following types of snips:

  • Free-form snip: Draw a free-form shape around an object.
  • Rectangular snip: Drag the cursor around an object to form a rectangle.
  • Window snip: Select a window, such as a dialogue box, that you want to capture.
  • Full-screen snip: Capture the entire screen.

To access the Snipping Tool from Windows, use the search field at the bottom of your screen as below.

Snipping Tool

For easy access to this tool, you can choose to pin the Snipping Tool to your taskbar. You will then see the icon and simply need to click on this to open the tool.

If you have Windows 10 there is another version of this called the Snip and Sketch tool. To access press Windows logo key  Shift S to open or enter Snip & Sketch in the search field. This works in the same way. Once you snip an area of your screen — the snipped image is added to your clipboard and you can paste it immediately in another app. A screen prompt will also allow you to annotate, save or share it. Snip & Sketch also provides a few tools for annotating images, namely pen, pencil and highlighter. Once you click a tool to select ityou can click it again to change its color or thickness.  

The Notepad tool

Notepad icon

Again this can be found by searching for Notepad in the search field and you can pin to your taskbar. What I like about this tool is that you can use the Notepad to take notes whilst you are looking at whatever you have open, for example a Word Doc, PDF, PowerPoint or a web page and take notes. The notepad stays open as you scroll down the page.

Notepad example

For some reason, Notepad has word wrap turned off. This means everything you type ends up on one long line until you press enter, which starts another long line. If you would like to see what you are typing without having to scroll all the way to the right, turn Word Wrap on by going to Format. If you hover at the edge of an open note you can adjust the size of your notepad.

You can save text documents in Notepad in the same way as in Word. Files are saved with a .txt extension and in plain text. Alternatively select Ctrl and A to grab all the text and then paste where you want it to go.

Formatted text can be temporarily pasted into Notepad, and then immediately copied again in stripped format to paste into another programme.

The Find function

This function can search an open web page or programme to find a specific word or phrase. The Find tool is accessed by simply using Ctrl and F together. A box will then open in which you can enter the word or phrase you wish to find. It will then show how many occurrences there are and highlight these in the text.

Ctrl and F

The book above is called Social Media in Higher Education: Case Studies, Reflections and Analysis edited by Chris Rowell.

I hope you find these quick tips useful!

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How to create comic versions of photos using your phone and why you might want to!

I was reading up on the updates that came with iOS12 on the iPhone and I discovered you can access some new photo filters: Comic Book, Comic Mono, Ink, Watercolour and Watercolour Mono. The downside is you can only use these filters within Messages, but you can save to your photos for reuse later.

Above is an example of a photo of me taken using the Comic Mono filter. I’ve captured how to do this below. This is partially for my own benefit so I can come back to it but also to demonstrate that it is actually easy to do if you follow the steps.

How to access the comic book filter on an iPhone

  • Open the Messages app and start or reply to a conversation.
  • Tap the camera button to open the camera and then tap the spirograph-star button in the lower-left corner.
  • Next, tap the red-green-blue Filters button and scroll to the right to find the five new photo filters
  • Then tap the X button to close the Filters drawer.
  • The Messages app chooses the front-facing selfie camera by default, but you can select the rear-facing camera instead and keep the filter effect in place.
  • Tap the shutter button to take a photo with your chosen filter
  • Then tap the blue-arrow button to send it or Done button to add it to your text message and return to the Messages app. Either way, the photo is saved to your iPhone’s camera roll.

The filter works using both the front-facing selfie camera and the rear camera which you use to take photos. Now whilst you may not necessarily want to create a comic selfie, and given the emphasis on my hamster cheeks maybe I won’t be using this as my next profile picture; however it did get me thinking it could be a fun way to engage in digital storytelling. This could be done by creating a storyboard using images taken with an iPhone camera and one of the filters to produce a comic style strip as a digital story.

It should be noted that there are also many free online tools to create comic style stories (see some examples in the list at the end of this post).

Digital storytelling is way of using digital artefacts such as images, film or audio that can be shared digitally. It could also include taking photos of sketchnotes or creations using Lego, playdough or anything else you might choose to use! Digital stories might be shared for example via a blog or website, through social media or in an online discussion forum. Original photos or those with a Creative Commons licence can be used equally as well in a digital story and in a previous post I shared how Lumen 5 can curate these into a video. Chris Thomson’s blog is an excellent resource for all things ‘Storytelling’.

Photo elicitation is a technique where a single or collection of photos (or other images such as paintings, cartoons, graffiti) can be used as a stimulus for conversation. This method can be used in research to ‘elicit comments’ from participants – photos can be chosen by the interviewer or by individuals. It can also be used as a form of open discussion. Usually undertaken face to face but there are no doubt multiple ways this could be replicated online. Liz Austen has written about how we can meaningfully listen to students’ voices using images.


Educational uses for digital storytelling or photo elicitation

Below are some examples of how these two approaches might be applied.

  • Create personal narratives – aspirations, achievements, significant events, inspirations, reflective learning journeys
  • Produce narratives to convey student support focused information
  • A way to portray synthesised research visually
  • As a focus for discussion
  • An opportunity to develop digital skills and creative ways of communicating


Other comic strip tools

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Serendipity and social learning is POWERFUL!

This post is a personal example of social learning and serendipity which led to learning about how acrostics can be used and the creation of three animated videos.

Last week I was following the conference hashtag #AHEConference2019  for the international Assessment in Higher Education conference and wishing I was there in person. However thanks to the many colleagues tweeting I was able to pick up some interesting points being shared. Two tweets in particular shared photos of slides for two of Professor Sally Brown’s presentations in which she had created acrostics to explore principles for feedback in one and learning outcomes in another.

What is an acrostic you might ask?

Wikipedia defines an acrostic as a poem (or other form of writing) in which the first letter (or syllable, or word) of each line (or paragraph, or other recurring feature in the text) spells out a word, message or the alphabet.

The word comes from the French acrostiche from post-classical Latin acrostichis, from Koine Greek ἀκροστιχίς, from Ancient Greek ἄκρος “highest, topmost” and στίχος “verse”.

As a form of constrained writing, an acrostic can be used as a mnemonic device to aid memory retrieval. (Wikipedia)

These two slides from Sally’s presentations were tweeted by Emma Flint and Anke Buttner and visually demonstrate the use of an acrostic:


My social learning

So as a result of me learning about Sally’s acrostics, I thought there was an opportunity to create an animated video for each of them using a tool called Lumen 5. This allows you to use text and select from a searchable library images, video clips and GIFs to create an animated video. You can also add music if you wish too.

The first is the FEEDBACK acrostic

The second is the VASCULAR learning outcomes

The process of doing this helped me to think more deeply about the each of the principles. I am now considering how I can use this approach with my students to help them explore concepts and principles. As already mentioned it may also have the potential to be used as a mnemonic for revision and recall. Getting the students to create their own will I think be the most beneficial.

What happened next?

Sally Brown was really pleased with the videos and offered to write an acrostic for me! Given my interest in social media for learning and social learning I asked if she would like to explore this. I was delighted with her response as she came back with Social Learning is POWERFUL and used ‘powerful’ to develop the following acrostic.


Sally expanded on these with this acrostic:

Social Learning is POWERFUL

People-centred: learning happens through often Playful interactions;
Opportunistic: learners can join groups serendipitously;
Worldwide: there are no global barriers;
Exhilarating: it’s Exciting interacting with friends and Excellent soon-to-Be friends through social learning;
Reflection-inducing: it can foster thoughtful and developmental approaches to productive Rumination;
Friendly: typically there is much warmth in social learning;
Unstructured or more formally organised making it Uplifting;
Levelling: it can be inclusive of diverse students

This has already got me thinking deeper and will provide inspiration for a further post so that I can expand deeper on each of these. Needless to say I was inspired to create another animation. I hope you like it.

Posted in Social Learning | 3 Comments

Coffee shops, pubs and social media spaces: considering the similarities of group chat in social places

A recent post in the Intelligencer titled Group Chats Are Making the Internet Fun Again shared by my colleague Scott Turner has sparked a flurry of conversation on Twitter this Sunday morning. What started as a conversation about the article on group chat, went off on a variety of different tangents. I’ll come back to that another day, as what I wanted to share here was my initial reflections after reading this post and the connections I made to pubs and coffee shops.

The post talks about the author’s choice to take conversations with those he chooses to engage with online, away from social media to group chats (namely Apple iChat). He reminisces about the”the halcyon era of AOL Instant Messenger, once the most widespread method of messing around with your friends on the internet”.

In many of the popular social media spaces, there is the facility to have threaded conversations. This is where someone shares something or raises a question, and then one or more people reply. Further replies are connected so that you can follow the ongoing conversation. In addition readers of any post can simply interact with a like. One of the (many) critisisms of Facebook is that the complex algorthims and ‘multi-metric ranking system’ has meant that we don’t get to see all of the posts made by people we are connected to. Posts do not appear in your feed in a chronological order.

One definition of group chats is “a group of people who regularly exchange messages on the Internet, especially people who share an interest.” The group chat provides an opportunity to limit the conversation to a specific group and access is just for those individuals. Posting on Twitter (unless you have protected Tweets) is open to all to see. On Facebook anyone you have chosen to friend has the potential to see the group conversations. That said both spaces do also offer private group chat. In Twitter you can give a group private direct message a title, useful when you have a specific themed chat. Facebook also offer groups (which can be private or open), which can be named as you wish. LinkedIn too offers the affordances to create open or closed groups. Then there is WhatsApp, Snapchat, Slack and paid tools like Microsoft teams and Yammer.

There are of course pros and cons to any form of group chat. The subject can be focussed but can also go off on tangents. Any chat is open to different opinions, but you have the choice to leave the conversation should you choose to. The number of messages can accumulate if you don’t keep up, but then again you don’t miss out if you can take the time to scroll back. Conversations can be synchronous (in real time) or asynchronus (respond at a later time). Larks and nightowls (those up early or late) can post when they want to and members of the the group chat can choose when to respond. Turning off notifications during the time period you want to sleep is a good idea!

With all this considered it got me thinking about the way we communicate as humans and where we choose to have these conversations in physical social spaces such as coffee shops and pubs. These places can be very popular, and yet like online spaces, they can also fall out of favour. Aside from selling good quality beverages, people often visit these places for the social aspect. Let’s face it, it’s much cheaper to make your own coffee or buy your drink from the supermarket. People enjoy both talking and listening (in) to others, and socialialising is very popular in pubs and coffee shops (along with many other places!).

In these public social spaces conversations can take place:

  • as private conversations in pairs or small groups (assuming you haven’t a loud voice that carries) with those you arrange to meet there
  • with those you may know and ‘bump into’ because that’s your local or
  • with those you have never met as you choose to strike up a conversation with them.

The popularity of the venue can be linked to where you feel most comfortable. A city centre bar may be the hub for many a conversation, but a quiet local pub may be preferable for a private conversation. A high street coffee shop chain can provide a convenient place to meet, but a small independent coffee houses might offer a more unique and cosy atmosphere. A quiz night in a pub or drinks after a football match will bring people together with a shared purpose and anticaption of shared interests and conversation.

I’d suggest that online social media spaces are similar. There are different ways we can choose to interact and an ever growing choice of places to do this online. Social media sites might seem to lose favour for some and if people choose to migrate their conversations to other social spaces of their choice than that’s great. If you wanted somewhere to go for a quiet conversaton over a drink, but choose to go to a busy place, then don’t be surprised if it’s loud and heaving with people. The key thing to remember is that where you choose to have conversations is just that – a choice and the right choice is something we all need to learn to judge for ourselves. As an educator I see value in encouraging my students to experience different social spaces and to have conversations about protocols and privacy.

With the rise of smart phones and free WiFi in public spaces like pubs and coffee shops, access to social media is easily available and you might think you can get the best of both worlds of face to face and online conversations. In the main this might be true, but online you have the option of when to engage in a conversation. However when someone starts a face to face conversation, (unless you make it clear you do not want to engage with them) it is important to be fully present. Be mindful of multicommunicating –  the practice of engaging in more than one conversation at a time. Just as it would seem rude to be part way through one conversation and start interacting with another person near to you; joining an online conversation via your phone whilst talking to someone you are with can also be considered rude if the other person feels they are being ignored.

Whether communicating face to face or online it is important to develop listening skills, interpersonal skils and understand the protocols which may vary depending on with who and where the conversation is taking place. I’d like to think people don’t frequently go out of their way to be deliberately rude, but sadly it does happen. It is (in my view) important that whenever we communicate (face to face or online) that we are courteous, aim to be clear,  and give consideration to others to ensure they have an equal opportunity to interact.

Image sources: Pixabay (public domain)




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Tips on how to give your LinkedIn profile a Spring clean

When was the last time you read through your LinkedIn profile? For many of us I suspect some time! Often neglected, a profile can quickly be out of date and not reflect recent accomplishments. When not actively looking for another job it is not always at the forefront of our minds. However it is important to remember that through a google search, anyone could happen upon a link to your LinkedIn profile. First impressions count and it is therefore imporant that you present yourself in the best possible light.

Over recent years I have received invitations to speak internationally, collaborate in projects and write publications through LinkedIn connections and people visiting my profile as it appeared in a google search. It is well worth the investment in time to give your profile a sproing clean and some tender loving care. Below are some points to consider.


Is your photo professional (no selfies)? Ideally this should be a headshot with your face looking taking up approx 70%-80% of the space available and looking straight forward. If you don’t have a professional photo, ask someone to take a photo of you against a plain backdrop (white or pale coloured wall).


Does your headline include the things you want to be known for? For example your job title, company, specialisms/expertise, or as a student or recent graduate the name of your degree, looking for placements in… or graduate looking for work in…


Have you changed your vanity URL to be LinkedIn/in/yourname? If your name has been taken, be creative and add a dash or relevant keyword.

Along with your contact information (email address and optional telephone number) have you included links to your blog, website and Twitter handle (if you have one)?


Think of this as your elevator pitch. Do the first two sentences entice you to want to read on? Is the tone authentic (consistent with who you really are) and aspirational (positioning you for what’s next)?

Consider including some personal information to convey your interests, values, and life experiences.

Decide on a writing style (first or third person).  Ask someone to proofread your whole profile to check spellings and that it is grammtically correct. Use white space to break up the paragraphs so the text is not bunched together.


Do you have an entry for each experience element of your career – including a description with relevant keywords in each entry? Think of the search terms others would use if they were looking for someone with your experience and skills, and add these throughout your profile.


Add all relevant qualifications. For your degree, select your university from the LinkedIn list so the logo appears in your profile.


Add skills to your profile. Are the top three skills in your skill/endorsements section the ones for which you want to be known?


Do you belong to relevant groups in these areas: specialist interests relevant to your career, thought-leadership, alumni, charities?

Publications and projects

Have you included your publications (journal articles, books, whitepapers) and/or projects you have (c0)worked on?


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Student guest post: 8 ways students and staff can engage in remote collaboration

remote collaboration

A guest blog post from Sheffield Hallam University Business and Technology students working within the SMASH team. A student partnership group researching Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam.

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As we enter into the second semester of university (or the last semester for final year students), with the cold weather upon us and deadlines looming – it is often difficult for students participating in group work to all be in the same place at the same time for meetings.

The SMASH team (Social Media for Academic Studies at Hallam) last year wrote a blog post following their struggles of meeting up as a group after the #BeastFromTheEast disrupted travel across the UK. This year, the team have decided to build upon this post, and create more ideas and suggestions into tools for remote collaboration. Not only does this list build upon some of the tools mentioned in the previous post, and demonstrating how these have been implemented within the students’ own courses; but also introduces new tools, which have been researched and used first-hand to ensure they are useful and sufficient for use by both staff and students.

8 Apps for Remote Collaboration

  1. .Trello
  2. Google Apps
  3. Google Hangout
  4. Messenger
  5. Github
  6. Zoom
  7. Blackboard Collaborate
  8. Padlet

1. Trello

How it can be used

Trello can be used to create Kanban style boards for group work. Users are able to create bespoke categories and add and move notes added to these. ‘Power-ups’ can also be downloaded, adding additional features to the Trello boards, including Google Calendars (mentioned below), and imagery such as ‘gifs’ and popular survey sites such as ‘SurveyMonkey’.

How to get started

Create a Trello account & add users to the board, setting privacy settings where necessary. Start building categories and notes within these, adding additional features where you see fit. Adjust the Trello board as you continue through a project.

Further support

2. Google Apps

How it can be used

Google applications contain a wide variety of collaboration tools, spanning from Google Drive, where shared folders, documents and presentation slides can be added; to Google Calendar where group meetings and Google Hangouts can be organised, for when students are not able to meet up at the same time or for staff to plan Academic Adviser meetings.

How to get started

More examples of Google Apps can be found below, including Google Trips maybe for a student organised trip and Google Duo which could be used for one-to-one meetings between students and staff.

More Google Apps

3. Google Hangout

How it can be used

Google Hangout is a free Google application, which can be used for messaging and video-chatting amongst staff and students. As an alternative to Whatsapp (which requires a mobile number to add contacts and create groups), this application only requires an email address to begin contact. You can also add Google Hangout as a Google Chrome extension, and allow notifications for constant communication between groups and individuals.

How to get started

You can either download the Google Hangout app on your phone or alternatively download the extension quickly from the Google Play store. Alternatively for Sheffield Hallam users you can search for the tool on Blackboard, and login automatically with your SHU credentials (and access the SHU student and staff directory).

Further support

4. Messenger

How it can be used

Facebook Messenger is a free messaging app which is used for instant messaging, setting plans, sharing photos and videos and many other additions Messenger provides for group communication. Messenger also has a video and call option which allows for group calls and meetings in real time. This tool is used widely by students as it’s part of Facebook so your contacts are instantly linked with the account or you can choose to message new contacts.

How to get started

To get started simply download the Messenger app from the website and it will redirect you to the right system you need to download for your device.

Further support

5. Github

How it can be used

Github is a tool for developers which allows you to work on code, to host and review projects you are working on and build software alongside other developers who are working on parts of the code and creating a final software solution that works. GitHub brings teams together to work through problems, move ideas forward, and learn from each other along the way. The GitHub tool allows you to write better code, manage your chaos & finds the right tools to help you.

Further support on how to signup your team

How to get started

GitHub can be joined for free, all you need to do is sign up with the link above, which gives you unlimited public repositories, unlimited private repositories, 3 collaborators for private repositories, issues and bug tracking as well as project management which is more than enough for a beginning non-business team.

Further support and info about more features within GitHub and what you can do with it

6. Zoom

How it can be used

Zoom is an audio and video collaboration tool, wherein students & staff can organise virtual meetings – if they’re based at home or in another location, rather than having to meet face-to-face at the same time. Online video meetings, video webinars (for student or tutor presentations or marketing events for open days) & zoom rooms (collaboration-enabled conference rooms) can all be used within this tool.

How to get started

For meetings which have already been set up, use this link to join:
https://zoom.us/join (entering a meeting ID)
Or to host a meeting, sign up to Zoom https://zoom.us/signup, and follow the ‘Host a Meeting’ link to choose which service you would like to use. There are unlimited free 1 to 1 meetings and up to 40 free mins for group meetings.

Further support

7. Blackboard Collaborate

How it can be used

The primary use for this tool is to maintain remote relationships where physical participation is not possible. Used by lecturers, remote sessions can be set up that enable screen recordings to be shared alongside voice calls to give the look and feel of an ordinary lecture/seminar. This is also more than a live tool, as it allows sessions to be saved as recordings, allowing students to revisit the content.

An example of its use is during our Business and Technology Professional Practice module where students who are on placement can receive content delivery and ask questions whilst away from university about their final year assessments.

How to get started

When accessing your module sites on MyHallam (the name of our Blackboard VLE), at the bottom of the subheadings on the left you will see a “Blackboard Collaborate” option. Clicking this link will take you to the Blackboard collaborate main page, where live and scheduled sessions can be found. Clicking these sessions will allow you to view the content. During these sessions, a live chat will be present where questions can be asked from anyone present.

To access previous Blackboard Collaborate sessions, expanding the hamburger menu on the top left, going to recordings and changing the date range from the drop-down menu on the right, allows you to view all previous recordings in the date range. Selecting a recording allows you to watch back the recording.

Further Support

8. Padlet

How it can be used

At a high level, Padlet is an online tool based around ‘Bulletin Boards’, where creators can invite others to modify or view their boards. Among some of the uses for this tool are; Idea Creation, To-Do Lists, Blogging, Mood Boards and storing ideas in a central location through adding photos, videos, links and attachments. The social feel of this tool is supported by functionality that enables you to create networks with other members, liking people’s posts and create folders.

An example of where this has been used is during our module Developing Strategies for Change where every student contributed to compiling examples of mergers and acquisitions.

How to get started

Signing up to create a Padlet is easy via Google, Facebook and Microsoft accounts (as well as traditional means) and once you’re in, you can begin making boards via the “+ Make a Padlet” button. A wide variety of boards are shown, from templates to blank ones, depending on what the intended use is. The background styles are completely customisable and once this is selected, double click anywhere on the board and begin adding to the board. There is also an option to allow users to rate or comment on posts.

Sharing Padlets can be done from inside the board via the share button, and to see shared padlets return to the home screen and go to the shared sidebar option.

Further support

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We hope you have found this post useful, and encourage you to add in the comments any other tools you have found helpful for remote collaboration.


Students from the SMASH team at Sheffield Hallam University

Jess Paddon – IT with Business Studies – @JessPaddonSHU

Joe Gilbert – BSc IT with Business Studies – @JoeGiIbert

Ola Mazur – BSc IT with Business Studies – @SheffAleksandra

Matthew Trueman – BSc IT with Business Studies – @Matty_Trueman

Image credit: Harry Whitaker  – BSc Graphic Design (image used with permission)

Posted in Collaboration tools, Communication tools | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Google+ is now closing in April 2019 – How to download what you have curated


Image: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

Google announced that it will be closing down Google+. For many this social media platform was a bit like marmite. You either liked it or hated it. Those who didn’t engage with Google+ can stop reading now. Those who did and in particular I’m thinking of educators who have developed vibrant Google communities, then you may want to consider downloading your data.

This useful guide from Google explains how you can download your Google+ data. You can export and download your Google+ data, including your Google+ circles, communities, streams and +1s.

Note: Downloading your Google+ data will not delete your Google+ profile. Learn how to delete your Google+ profile.

Download all your Google+ data

You can download an archive of all your Google+ data at once, including your Google+ circles, communities, streams and +1s.

Note: If you want to download Google+ Pages content, sign in as the Google+ Page.

  1. Go to the Download your data page. You might have to sign in.
  2. Unselect the Google+ information that you don’t want to include in your download
  3. Click Next.
  4. Choose a file type.
  5. Choose how you want your data delivered.
  6. Click Create archive.

Note: If you want to download Google+ Pages content, sign in as the Google+ Page.

Download specific Google+ data

Instead of downloading all of your data, you can download specific Google+ data, such as your photos, events or posts.

  1. Go to the Download your data page. You might have to sign in.
  2. Next to the type of content that you want to download, such as Google+ Stream, click the down arrow.
  3. Click Select specific data.
  4. Select the specific data that you’d like to download.
  5. Click OK.
  6. Click Next.
  7. Choose a file type.
  8. Choose how you want your data delivered.
  9. Click Create archive.

Note: If you want to download Google+ Pages content, sign in as the Google+ Page.

Learn about the types of Google+ content that you can download

Google+ Stream

To download content that you’ve created in Google+, such as photos, events and posts, select Google+ Stream. You will get:

  • Posts that you’ve created, including comments, +1s and other activity
  • Collections that you’ve created
  • Events that you’ve created or were invited to
  • Photos that you’ve shared in your posts and comments

Google+ circles

To download data about your circles, select Google+ circles. You will get:

  • First names
  • Surnames
  • Nicknames
  • Display names
  • Google+ profile URLs

Google+ Communities

To download data for communities where you’re an owner or moderator, select Google+ Communities. You will get:

  • Names and links to Google+ profiles of community owners, moderators, members, applicants, banned members and invitees
  • Links to posts shared with the community
  • Community metadata, including community pictures, community settings, content control settings, your role and community categories

Google+ +1

To download content that you’ve +1’d on external sites, select +1s. You will get:

  • Links to articles, blog posts and other content that you’ve +1’d
Posted in Google Plus + | Leave a comment

State of social media 2018

social-media-universe 2018.jpg

Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2018

Posted in Social Media | Leave a comment

Digital time saving tips: how to auto-open the start up web pages you regularly visit

quick tips

When you turn on your computer or laptop, chances are that you will want to access a website you regularly use, your chosen search engine (typically Google for myself) or perhaps a collection of social networking sites. If you use Chrome as your web browser (instead of Internet Explorer) within settings you can easily save your regular ‘go to places’ and these will open automaticaly when you click on the Chrome icon.

To set your start up pages go to chrome://settings/ and scroll down to ‘On startup’. Here you can check ‘open a specific page or set of pages’. You will need to ‘add a new page’ and then paste in the URL. Alternatively if you have your chosen pages already open you can click ‘use current pages’.

The other option is to check ‘continue where you left off’ and those pages will automaticaly re-open. Quite useful if you are working on a project and have multiple pages open!

Chrome settings

You may also wish to choose your preferred search engine. Simply choose from Google, Yahoo, Bing or Ask Jeeves. These settings can then be saved and re-visited at any time.


Further tips from Google Chrome Help

1. Sign in to Google Chrome

When you sign in to the Chrome browser, you can save and sync things like your bookmarks, history, passwords and other settings to your Google account. Then, you can get to them on any device.

Find out how to sign in to Chrome.

2. Make your own profile

You can have multiple people use Chrome on the same device, each with their own settings, bookmarks and themes.

If you have different accounts, like work and personal, you can use Chrome profiles to keep your bookmarks, extensions and settings separate.

Find out how to add a Chrome profile.

3. Make Chrome yours with apps, extensions and themes

Download and use apps and extensions or personalise Chrome on your computer with a fun theme. You can find new apps, extensions and themes on the Chrome Web Store.

  • Apps are programs that can be used within Chrome.
  • Extensions are extra features that you can add to Chrome.
  • Themes appear around the border of the browser and show a background when you open a new tab.

Find out how to use Chrome apps and extensions and customise Chrome with themes.

4. Open a specific page or continue where you left off

Set up Chrome to load your favourite page when you first open Chrome on your computer. Or, you can continue where you left off on the pages that you had open the last time you used Chrome.

Find out how to set your start-up pages.

5. Browse in private or delete your history

If you don’t want Google Chrome to save a record of what you visit and download, you can browse the web privately in incognito mode. You can also delete your history, cookies and other information: remove all of it or just some from a specific period of time.

Find out how to use Incognito mode and delete your information.

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Finding your voice on social media


The language used when talking about social media in business can often seem unrelated to the way we relate to using it in a social context, however there are some useful pointers to gain from.  Lilach Bullock is an online business expert and created the infographic below to highlight the steps business owners can take to gain social influence and become a go-to source in their particular niche. There are a number of points that can be applied as educators using social media to develop personal learning networks; to signpost useful information created by ourselves and also by other educators; and to signal that we are open to providing help to others. Portrayed as wanted to grow influence may make you feel uncomfortable, however if you are using social media, for example a blog to share information as an educator and wish to engage in meaningful dialogues, then there is little point being a ‘shrinking violet’. It is important therefore to find and develop your voice on social media.

If you want to develop a personal learning network, using social media is an excellent way to connect to educators beyond your immediate network. Utilising other social media like Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ can help to amplify your blog posts so that others do actually have the opportunity to read them. As an introvert I have found that a key advantage of using social media to connect with others is that you have space to think. Whether composing a tweet, blog post or a comment, you choose when to do this. You don’t need to feel you have to respond immediately. For me that option of thinking time has helped me to become more confident.

So taking Lilach’s checklist, let me share how I think these apply to educators using social media for learning.

  • Choose a niche – If you are considering writing a blog that you want others to read, don’t worry about being an expert, but do choose a topic you will enjoy writing about and others will enjoy reading.
  • Online presence – Make sure you populate your personal bio as this information will help others with mutual interests connect with you. Add links to connect your social media spaces, for example your Twitter name on your blog and vice-versa.
  • Social media – Develop useful connections with others and engage in conversations, add comments and like posts that are of interest to you. Over time you will develop followers and build a valued network.
  • Become a go-to source – Take the opportunity to help others by answering questions and when writing a blog post consider adding a question to encourage comments from readers.
  • Share content – This can be information you have created but equally important is sharing what others have posted. For example interesting blog posts, articles, videos or podcasts. Always acknowledge the work of others and where possible tag them using their username to let them know you appreciate their content.
  • Blogging – Add visual interest to your posts by adding images or a video. Consider pulling together useful ‘how to guides’ or a bulleted checklist. Blog posts can be short and punchy, and still be of value.
  • Be up to date –  Share the tips you learn with others in your network. Chances are they will appreciate this, just as you do learning from others.
  • Networking – Reach out to individuals from time to time and take an interest in what they are doing. This can be done publicly or through the use of private messages.

Above all remember that finding your voice on social media is more than just broadcasting. Your experience will be far more fulfilling if you socialise with others by engaging in dialogues with others in your chosen networks.

social influence infographic

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