Saturday, July 21, 2007

From the ITForum archive

As VoIP becomes more available and video becomes easier to create and share, both teachers and learners are taking on the new role of multimedia producer.

There have been some great discussions on the ITForum this month about audio and video -- both in terms of the role of digital media in the online and blended classroom and the nuts and bolts of audio and video production. Regustered users can access these discussions from the list's online archives (registration is free).

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Educational Technology sample issue

The May-June issue of Educational Technology - a special issue on Highly Mobile Computing - is available at the site as a sample issue (free, no password required.)

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

What makes a successful distance learner?

Roy Clariana and Les Mohler's "Distance Learning Profile" instrument is used to predict on-line course achievement based on personality and other factors.

Link via ITFORUM list

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Friday, June 22, 2007

Road warriors beware...

Here's a good reason to allow extra time to get through security at Heathrow...

Link thanks to Bill L.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Minimal instruction

Great discussion in tonight's class about viability of a minimal instruction approach in a technology training with real-world limitations.

A couple of resources of interest on this topic:
  • End-user training. Study comparing three kinds of hands-on practice in training users of a software package: exercises, guided-exploration, and a combination of exercises and guided- exploration.
  • Minimal instruction manual. Study examining the effectiveness of four self-instruction manuals: a skeletal version, an inferential version, a rehearsal version, and a lengthy version.


New crop of bloggers!

Welcome to the new group of bloggers from this summer's Teaching Online class at NYU:

Hope to get back into the blogging game again with you all this semester!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Introduction to AIDS Vaccines

From the AIDS Vaccine Advocacy Coalition (AVAC), a nice audio-visual presentation providing an Introduction to AIDS Vaccines. While not interactive -- and it's a bit maddening that the resources at the end of the presentation aren't clickable--this is a pretty nice overview of the topic.

More comprehensive information and resources for participating in vaccine advocacy are available at the AIDS Vaccine Clearinghouse site.

Friday, December 01, 2006

12 STIs of Xmas

OK, it might be in questionable taste, but continuing on the theme of World AIDS Day there's this little ditty on the 12 STIs of Xmas

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Help raise a dollar on World AIDS Day...

It only takes a second to raise a dollar.... Bristol Myers is donating $1 to AIDS research every time someone goes to their website and lights a candle using their animation.

Help spread the word.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Interactive Teaching AIDS

Interactive Teaching AIDS is an animation-based curriculum developed to teach HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention strategies developed through the School of Education at Stanford. This site has some great information on how the courses were developed, including images of different stages of the development process.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Games for Health competition

Here's a chance to apply those game-design, storyboarding and prototyping skills...

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is sponsoring a Games for Health Competition with prizes for entrants who develop game concepts or prototypes aimed at improving aspects of health and health care.

There are three specific competitions in the contest - two for storyboards & game treatments ($5,000 prizes), and a grand prize ($20,000) for best working prototype/game. The contest runs through April 1, 2007 (hope it's not an April fool's joke) and winners will be announced by June 1.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

My life as a digital migrant worker...

It occurs to me that a casual visitor to my blog might notice that I haven't posted anything here since my sad little post about losing Rufus. While I still miss the little guy, I didn't decide to end it all, however -- I've just been remarkably busy the past two months.

I'm hoping to get back to regular blogging, but it's particularly hard right now, especially since I'm working within so many different online systems and discussion tools with different schools and clients -- 3 different LMSs in 3 different colleges, 2 proprietary client LMSs, 3 different discussion boards and 2 different wikis. Unfortunately, when I'm this busy and something's gotta give, it's almost always my postings to my own blog.

Particularly when I'm teaching classes, I find it so frustrating to have so much of what I have to say trapped in all these different systems, almost none of which is open to public access.

In most cases, class discussion boards and other posting areas are inaccessible to both the students and the teacher once the semester has ended and the course has been archived. While some systems automatically pick up basic course elements and incorporate them into the course shell for the next semester so the teacher doesn't have to spend all that time reposting course outlines and reading lists, there's invariably something significant that needs to be changed or added to accommodate the next course offering or schedule, and its rare for all of the key elements of the course to be ported to the next semester's shell.

This is what makes me feel like a digital migrant worker -- teachers who use online media so often have to find parallel systems for carrying around all the discussion topics, lecture notes, links, shared files, syllabi, announcements, etc., from one offering to the next -- and for those of us who teach similar courses in more than one institution, we even to keep copies of everything in multiple formats to accommodate all the quirks of the different LMSs. (Not to mention the nightmare of dealing with all of the different systems for posting official and unofficial grades - some of which are online and others of which require obtaining, filing out, and snail mailing paper documents.) ... It's almost always a matter of the teacher having to reorganize her/his own personal organization systems to accommodate the LMS -- not the other way around.

With all this accommodating going on, it's no wonder that most teachers balk whenever administrators or techs try to introduce a new piece of technology that promises to make their lives easier.

So what's the solution? I've found that Furl,, and similar tools are certainly a step in the right direction for helping teachers easily build portable personal knowledge management systems that are easily maintained and accessible from multiple locations - and it helps that they contain the ability to export information in multiple formats... then again, this doesn't quite solve the whole problem.

Oh, well, more on this later, I hope.... I've got a new class starting next week, so I better stop now and update my shell -- revise the syllabus, repost the FAQ and initial announcements, send out the initial messages, change the assignment due dates, upload the reading files, create the forum areas and topics, post the shared files, set up the synchronous meeting times, etc. ... a good two-three hours worth of donkey work...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Goodbye, old friend

May 1993 - August 2006

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Onion and The Elephant

It seems like Wikipedia has been mentioned everywhere lately... being bashed, being defended, and, most recently being parodied.

First, there was last week's issue of The Onion, which ran a headline story titled "Wikipedia Celebrates 750 Years Of American Independence: Founding Fathers, Patriots, Mr. T. Honored."

The article references a "commemorative page" for the anniversary which, among other things, "features detailed maps of the original colonies—including Narnia, the central ice deserts, and Westeros" and "links to video clips of the First Thanksgiving, hosted by YouTube."

Then, Stephen Colbert, on last night's Colbert Report, did a bit on Wikipedia during which he invited the audience to help rewrite "Wikiality" by editing the site's page on elephants to say that the number of elephants has tripled in the last six months. He then told viewers to log in to Wikipedia in about 15 minutes to see the change.

As a note about the segment on Wikipedia's Colbert page reads:
Colbert mentioned Wikipedia less than one minute ago on his show, planning for it to appear on Wikipedia in 15 minutes or so. Mr. Colbert vastly underestimated the speed of the average Wiki user. (At least the page read that way 5 minutes ago)
According to Wikipedia, the changes began to occur on the elephant page almost instantly, causing most of the site's elephant-related pages to be locked "because of recent vandalism or other disruption." It's interesting to look through the relevant page histories and discussions that have occurred in the short time since this incident ... and ironically, all of this highlights the site's strengths as an open and living resource. The incident prompted a particularly interesting comment on the site's Colbert Report page:
Although the specific example of edits against the elephants article may be considered vandalism (and reverted), it illustrates how people can easily create a modern spin on the aphorism "might makes right", or put in other terms "history is written by the victors". This distortion of reality may blend well on websites such as wikipedia, as evidenced by the wikipedia article on "Reality" itself disputing what is real by containing unverified or non-neutral claims.
Doesn't that just about say it all?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Colr Pickr for Flickr

Colr pickr is a very cool mashup from KrazyDad that lets you select a color from a wheel and then instantly finds and links to a bunch of Flickr photos where that that color is dominant.

(link via eelearning)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Reading Room: JOHO

The new issue of David Weinberger's JOHO (Journal of the Hyperlinked Organization) is available. Of particular note:
  • Why believe Wikipedia?: Simply by appearing in the Britannica, an article has credibility. But that's not true for Wikipedia because you might hit an article a moment after a loon has altered it. Yet, Wikipedia has (and deserves) credibility, in part because of its willingness to acknowledge its fallibility.
  • The end of the story (Or: The tyranny of rectangles): Journalism can't get stories right because the world doesn't fit into rectangles. Be sure to follow the link to info on Jay Rosen's and the link to Jeff Jarvis's piece on "networked journalism."
  • Bogus contest: Challenge to come up with appropriate warning stickers for traditional knowledge authorities

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Artcasting: Museum-a-go-go

In addition to posting virtual museum tours and interactive art educational materials, museums are increasingly making their in-house audio tours - and special audio programming - available as free podcasts. Visitors can use the podcasts to listen on site or off, and subscribers can automatically receive feeds for new shows.

But it doesn't have to stop there, of course.... art educators and students can make their own artcasts to syndicate or use during their own museum visits. (Though some museum sites invite users to create and send in their own artcasts, I'm not quite sure what becomes of most of these.)

Museum podcasts has a nice directory of feeds you can subscribe to individually or all at once.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Now this explains everything...

Ever think that your teachers or colleages were behaving a bit... um... mechanically?

In an article in Wired News this week, we learn about Japanese roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro's mechanical double, "Geminoid HI-1," which sometimes takes Ishiguro's place in meetings and classes.

Powered by pressurized air and small actuators, it blinks, fidgets, and copies the voice, posture and lip movements of Ishiguro, who broadcasts sound through a speaker inside the robot and wears a motion-capture system to control its movements.

Howard Reingold Interview

In this zdnet interview, he talks briefly about technological change over the past four years, open access, power, and control. There are links to much much more, of course on his web site. (Incidentally, if you're not already familiar with CooperationCommons, you'll probably want to check it out.)

(via Slashdot)

Insider Art

Pelican Bay State Prisoner Donny Johnson, a lifer, makes his abstract paintings on the back of postcards using paints made from M&Ms and a paintbrush made from strands of his own hair, according to this NY Times article.

(link via BoingBoing)

No-So-Fun Facts

Source: Kaiser Family Foundation -

  • World Population - 6,446,131,400
  • People with HIV/AIDS - 40,300,000
  • People with Tuberculosis - 15,430,000
  • Malaria Cases - 408,388,001

(via the Communication Initiative)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Other Places

A few items from around the blogosphere:

And...If you're in Brooklyn on Thursday between 8-11, stop by Perch for a rare chance to catch the Au Pair minimalist chick jazz duo Christiana Drapkin (vocals) and Stephanie Greig (bass) joined by Michael Kanan on piano in an intimate space. (no cover)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Virtual K-8 Charter School

If approved by the state board of education, the Chicago Virtual Charter School, allowing students to complete about 20% of their work online, will be available to Chicago students this fall. According to this article, the Chicago Teachers Union is not impressed.

(via slashdot)

Digital Generation Data

Some fun facts from survey results reported in this BBC article:
  • One-third of children in the UK use blogs and social network websites; two-thirds of parents do not even know what they are
  • Of the 1,003 children aged 11-16 surveyed, almost half said they could disable parent controls
  • A tenth of the 11-year-olds who took part in the survey said their parents did not know about the people with whom they communicated online
  • 13% revealed they were never supervised while using computers at home
  • 69% of parents thought they knew less than their children about mobile phones
  • A Mori survey of 2,300 11 to 16-year-olds in England and Wales has found that three fifths liked the idea of using computer games in the classroom. Half of those aged 15 and 16 did not

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Categorization Revisited

It's amazing how much my thinking has changed since I characterized tagging as "chaotic and counterintuitive" in a post last October ... now I'm closer to thinking along these lines, which David Weinberger elegantly begins with:
The narrative that tells of the first man and woman encountering the tree of knowledge focuses on its tempting fruit. But after we took the bite, we apparently looked up and got the idea that knowledge is shaped like the tree's branching structure: Big concepts contain smaller ones that contain smaller ones yet. Over the millennia, we have fashioned the structures of knowledge in just such tree-like ways, from the departmental organization of universities (liberal arts contains history and history contains ancient Chinese history) to the hierarchy of species. The idea that knowledge is shaped like a tree is perhaps our oldest knowledge about knowledge.

Now autumn has come to the forest of knowledge, thanks to the digital revolution. The leaves are falling and the trees are looking bare. We are discovering that traditional knowledge hierarchies that have served us so well are unnecessarily restricted when it comes to organizing information in the digital world.