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February 12, 2008


Lately, I've spent a lot of time telling people about xTimeline. xTimeline is a kind of multimedia wiki timeline-building tool. Let's take a closer look at this.

What do timelines do? They track a process through time. You see them most often used in history and literature venues, but they have major potential for applications in health. There are a few examples of health or medical timelines already available in xTimeline, so far of the traditional sort of timeline.

xTimeline: Baby Development Timeline:

xTimeline: History of AIDS Epidemic:

xTimeline: Modern Medical Discoveries post 1800:

xTimeline: Pregnancy Timeline:

Web 2.0: xTimeline

Now, think about all the other kinds of process-based information in health -- growth & development, embryogenesis, disease progression, disease transmission, treatment planning, all kinds of things in public health and epidemiology, I could go on and on. I bet you could, too!

Imagine this.

You have a class, and the assignment is for the small group to report back on what they learned about how a particular condition is transmitted to a host and what is the normal progression of the untreated condition. The small group divides up tasks, and goes out hunting information and examples. One person creates timepoints in the timeline, another person adds a sound file of a cough to one timepoint, another person adds a video to a different timepoint showing the gait. The chief editor drafts some text to add to the timepoints, and the team members edit and refine the text, adding citations. They mark the timeline private, and notify the teacher it is shared with him/her. The teacher reviews the general timeline for coherence, then clicks on the timepoints, which break out the richer text and media files. The prof makes some suggestions, and after those are implemented, the timeline is changed from private to public and is now available to be used as a reference by other students in the class.

Sound interesting? Here's another example.

The adult child caregiver of a long term care patient is trying to track trends in their parent's condition. They go back through their notebook of doctor's calls, and plot the last two years over time. They notice a general increase in frequency and severity. The caregiver marks the timeline private, but shares it with the rest of the family and the primary care clinician for their parent.

Or perhaps a newly-wed couple find themselves pregnant with their first child, and creates a timeline to track the progress of their pregnancy. They enrich the timepoints with pics and brief anecdotes.

I hope this whets your interest in exploring the potential of this tool for

Posted by pfa at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

Recent Presentation on Second Life, Wikis, and Health

Last Saturday I gave my first professional presentation in Second Life, which was also my first professional presentation in my new position as Emerging Technologies Librarian. It was a stressful and rewarding experience in what turned out to be an utterly amazing event! More information will be forthcoming about that. For now, here is my presentation.

Slide presentation with script available at the SLHealthy wiki:

Posted by pfa at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

The "Big 6" - Educational ETech Trends for 2008 from the Horizon Report

I love the Horizon Report. Since 2004, it has come out once a year from the New Media Consortium (NMC) and the EDUCAUSE Learning Intiative. The focus is on emerging technologies for education, but it also touches on relevant trends in research, corporate, and other environments.

The report provides a tight quick overview appropriate for dialog with administrators and managers, as well as other folk who might not have their finger right on the pulse of tech trends but who might need to know more. They have well-written brief introductions to the tech trends they identify as significant, as well as richer explanations, examples of use in education, and referrals to more resources and links.

So what did they say was up and coming in educational technology this year? The buzz words are:

* grassroots video;
* collaboration webs;
* mobile broadband;
* data mashups;
* collective intelligence (a.k.a. crowdsourcing);
* social operating systems.

Want to know more? Read the report. Want a real person explanation or simply to brainstorm ways in which these might inform your own teaching, learning and research? Contact your nearest librarian or educationa technologies consultant. For faculty, staff, and students of the University of Michigan health programs, contact yours truly -- Patricia Anderson.

Posted by pfa at 09:43 AM | Comments (0)