PebblePad team to demonstrate online Personal Learning System in New Zealand

PebblePad team to demonstrate online Personal Learning System in New Zealand

Ascilite conference 2009

 Pebble Learning is to demonstrate the latest release of the PebblePad online Personal Learning System at ascilite’s 2009 conference in Auckland City, New Zealand as a bronze sponsor. This is the first time that Pebble Learning has exhibited in New Zealand and follows the success of the team’s attendance at ascilite 2008 in Melbourne.  Ascilite is the Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education.

 Ascilite 2009 takes place from December 6 – 9.   Visit the team at their stand or email to make an appointment for a specific time.

 Pebble Learning recently released PebblePad 2.4 which featured enhancements such as the introduction of a Moodle ‘block’ which allows users to save records of their learning, and the development of an interface ‘theme builder’ so that institutions with an enterprise licence can customise the look and feel of PebblePad to complement their own institutional branding

 For more information visit, call +44 (0)1952 288300 or visit


Google Wave – first steps

You may have been hearing about this thing called Google Wave; Google’s latest, and very effectively hyped, development.

Google Wave is online communication re-imagined. Google has described it as ‘what email would be like if invented today’. It approaches online communication as a collaborative and ongoing conversation rather than the asynchronous exchange of static messages. One aspect of email that Google Wave rejects is the compose-send-receive workflow that we’ve all become accustomed to.

But rather than think of it as a new version of email, it is perhaps more helpful to approach Google Wave as a collaboration tool, one that draws heavily from instant messaging, document sharing and even RSS feeds – all happening in real time.

What this actually means for web communication will not become clear anytime soon. Access is still by invite only and it is very much a work in progress. Even in these early days, there is clear potential for libraries to use Waves to better facilitate communication with library users.

There is some new terminology to get used to. A ‘wave’ is the conversation channel. These can be public or private. And the name? Well, it’s not a throwback to the 90s internet metaphor of ‘surfing’ but rather a slightly more up-to-date pop culture reference. Characters in Sci-Fi television show Firefly communicated in ‘waves’ and this is reportedly behind the name. Google Wave is also responsible for one of my least-favourite new linguistic inventions; ‘blips’, used to refer to individual contributions or messages.

If you have managed to score an invite, the first steps can be confusing and a touch lonely as many on your contact list may not have access. Public waves are the simplest way of finding your feet. To get started there is one key command you need to know (with:public). From there, you can search, find and follow public waves of interest. There is a handy cheat sheet available. It is also well worth working your way through The Complete Guide to Google Wave.

There are already various waves for librarians in the UK and internationally. But, if it gets too much, you can always take a break by exploring things that are Easier to Understand than Wave.

Brands need to be more human on Twitter

Brands need to be ‘more human’ on Twitter according to research from InSites Consulting

The typical Twitter user seems to be a male in his late twenties/early thirties, who is quite tech savvy and active in IT, media/advertising or the consulting business. These Twitter users address questions to brands, hoping they are listening and will answer. Google, Apple and Amazon are the most discussed brands on Twitter. These are some of the results of the Ultimate Twitter Study, conducted by InSites Consulting.

In May 2009 InSites Consulting launched the Ultimate Twitter Study. Members of the online TalkToChange research community, who use Twitter, were invited to take part in this Twitter study and promote it to their followers and friends. In total 620 ‘real’ (=average of 17 tweets/day for 14 months) tweeters from all over the world took part in the study. Over 50.000 tweets were analyzed in qualitative, quantitative and observational research methods.

Twitter user is a professional male

The typical Twitter user seems to be a male in his late twenties/early thirties, who is quite tech savvy and professionally active in IT, media/advertising or the consulting business. This profile is strikingly comparable to the one of the early internet users. People on Twitter seem to be quite influential in the offline world in one way or another. They tend to be industry experts, journalists, bloggers etcetera.


Users define Twitter as a social network of friends and/or business contacts enabling them to share and discover interesting, exciting, inspiring or funny news or hyperlinks in a very fast way.

Brands need to be more human on Twitter

Brands on Twitter should observe tweets very carefully and talk back to brand followers in a very personal way instead of merely spamming followers with advertisements. Twitter users really address questions to brands, hoping they are listening and will answer.


Google, Apple and Amazon are the most discussed brands on Twitter, followed by a mix of tech companies and other strong global brands like Starbucks, Disney and HP.


Tom De Ruyck, Senior Research Consultant at InSites Consulting: “Twitter is a conversation hive, and it is very valuable for brands to tap into it and learn from what consumers are saying about them. People often send tweets in the heat of the moment: when they experience something positive or negative with a product. This immediacy is never seen before. Although this might sound like a threat for marketers because negative comments about their brands are ‘in the open’, it is at the same time an opportunity for client services teams to take immediate actions and make customers happy again. This company responsiveness will certainly spread the word on Twitter too.”

Why do people use Twitter?

Most people started using Twitter out of curiosity and the urge to stay connected with people and trends within their industry. They follow people who are able to make them curious, smile or wonder. Twitter is also the new sharing platform: 20% of tweets contain a link to a blog, website or movie.

“A couple of years ago everyone suddenly had a blog to share their personal thoughts with friends, family and the rest of the world”, says Tom De Ruyck, Senior Research Consultant at InSites Consulting. “Today we see that these kinds of blogs are disappearing one by one. It takes several hours a day to update them for only a handful of readers. The big blogs with thousands of readers will continue to exist and are updated by a professional team of online journalists. Twitter is a new phenomenon: sharing highly personal thoughts in 140 characters from anywhere you want and without too much effort. In other words, micro-blogging is the new, more efficient version of the amateur blog.”


Tom De Ruyck
Senior ForwaR&D Lab Consultant

InSites Consulting

T +32 9 269 14 07 | M +32 497 885 882


InSites Consulting

InSites Consulting is a leading marketing research company in the field of online market research with a strong international position. It was established as a spin-off of the Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School. Via an online panel comprising more than 2,000,000 panel members spread over 25 European countries, both quantitative and qualitative online marketing research is carried out. The head office in Ghent has 75 highly-skilled and experienced employees. InSites Consulting stands for: expertise and consulting, driven by innovation, excellent customer service and quality-oriented. More information on and our blog


Hairdressing institution Cheynes Training is ensuring it is a cut above, thanks to a new interactive education website.

The Cheynes Training website at: allows trainees to watch clips of stylists cutting hair and gives access to thousands of pages of information in a user-friendly way.

 Website now features interactive learning modules

 The training centre, which is part of the internationally renowned Cheynes group, works with 200 top salons across the UK to help them equip their staff with NVQ qualifications in hairdressing.

The Group’s owner and founder, Jennifer Cheyne, won the hearts of people in Aberfan, Wales this year when she helped out charities while part in Channel 4 hit TV show Secret Millionaire

And to ensure her salons provide a service second to none in their salons, Cheynes Training have teamed up with leading UK multimedia development company Channel 6 to revamp its website.

Part of the restructure includes the introduction of interactive learning modules, which will save the salons using the Cheynes Training service both time and money.

 Cheynes Training programme director William Howarth said: “Our training website in crucial in terms of providing up-to-the minute information to the salons we work with across the UK.

 “We work with 200 top end salons, many of which are based in the south of England. So it was crucial for Cheynes Training to put in place an effective and efficient method of communicating information on a daily basis.

 “Prior to working with Channel 6 Multimedia we had three individual websites for Cheynes. One was for the training centre and the other two were for the seven Cheynes hairdressing salons and the Cheynes education centre.

 “Originally the websites were very image oriented, which is obviously important to a hairdressing business. But where we fell down was the fact they were difficult to update, so we were rarely uploading any new information.

 “We decided to contact Channel 6 and describe our brief – a specific website for Cheynes Training that had the same level of imagery but one that we could control and update on a daily basis.

 “Channel 6 came back to us with the exact product we were looking for and now we have a website that we use to impart literally thousands of pages of training information to the salons we work with.

 “It has also enabled us to provide an interactive learning programme – the first part of which should be up and running by the end of this month.

 “This means educators within the salons can work with pupils to complete modules online. We anticipate that this will dramatically speed up the time it takes for pupils to complete the modules, which will save the salons time and money and will allow the trainee hairdressers to progress at a faster rate.  

 “The feedback has been incredible and we hope that after introducing the first module we will continue to work with Channel 6 and add more online modules to the interactive learning programme.

 “This level of service has also given us the cutting edge over our competitors and allowed us to retain our position as the top high-end independent salon training company in the UK.”

 Channel 6 Multimedia are a leading UK e-commerce website design and Internet marketing company based in Edinburgh. They employ a team of highly skilled individuals carry out a wide range of design, development and Internet marketing projects for a diverse spectrum of clients, large and small.

 Channel 6 Client Services Director Kate Little said: “For many companies, it still boils down to lack of planning. They think having a website is the be all and end all, but it’s not.

 “Cheynes Training needed a website that could better serve the 200 plus salons using their service.

 “We created a website that allowed them to provide an interactive training service and update their site with daily news bulletins, whilst retaining its aesthetic appeal.

 “For Cheynes Training and others, we feel that it is largely due to the Channel 6 technology and design of their websites that they are such a success. Channel 6 has 10 years experience in e-commerce and in this time has developed software that has been tweaked to maximise online services.”

News update- 2nd September

RIN e-News is now available online at Highlights include an update on the Keeping Research Data Safe 2 Project,  the HEFCE National Student Survey,and a JISC-funded Repositories InfoKit to pull together guidance for current and future repository managers.

The Infomed Librarian Online for September 2009 is at
This month there are 13 premium content articles, including coverage of creativity in education, digital content creation and copyright issues and digital preservation and hybrid libraries.

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