October 31, 2006
Tablet PCs: Exciting Discussions
Over the past couple of weeks there was an interesting discussion on the cutting edge of Tablet PC deployment in higher education in North America. These were some of the take home points which I found useful for my own decision-making purposes. Caveat! Its only a couple weeks of discussions not a real litt review!
Tablet PC Models
Lenovo X41s are slow to bootup, but great performance reviews. Regular defragmentation will keep problems at bay.
Motion Tablet PCs available through Dell have a superior mic array.
Toshiba Protégé The Purdue deployment was riddled with hardware issues like deadzones etc.
HP TC4200/4400 Work well. Intel Core Duo expected to be a better performer than Centrino.
Performance Related Configuration Tips
HDD Speeds 7200rpm is recommended over 4200rpm
Processor Duo Core better than Centrino
Wireless Access Have Professional Grade Access, With Access Points in Every Classroom, as against shared access.
WEP used in most places without non-broadcasting SSIDs.
Collaboration DyKnow deployed or being piloted at most places
Mind Manager Concept Mapping Application
Primo PDF Like Cute PDF Printer
DiskKeeper Pro Degragmentation for Performance
Websites i found, other than this blog, which are a part of my TabletPC Custom Search Engine:
Mark Payton’s Blog http://vermontslate.blogspot.com/
UV Tablet PC Implementation http://www.uvm.edu/~tabletpc/
Rose-Hulman Tablet Project http://rose-hulman.edu/irpa/tablet
Jim Vanades of HP Philanthropy Program
http://hp.com/go/hied-blog [Jim’s Blog]
[Webconferenced Discussions World Tablet PC Experts: Archives]
Academic and corporate contributors to the wipte-purdue mailing list.
Stumble on great sites? Create a personalised search engine, or two
Search Engines: The Threat
Good information on the internet is useful, only if not sandwitched between hoards of commercial websites who "spam" the engines by using keywords that have NOTHING to do with their content. Believe me, I've been an search engine optimization expert of sorts for hobby projects and I've seen all the dirty tricks. Search engines try and create algorithms to filter out spamming websites. These search engine spammers use false keywords, redirects, white-text and all sorts of dirty tricks.
Search Engines: The First Principles
The basic principle of operation of a majority of search engines is all-inclusiveness. Unless a website is found guilty of hard-spamming, it is not banned from a search engine.
Quickest Solution: Personalized Search Engines
If you are an avid reader, even of print media, you will come across genuinely resourceful websites, which might contain 80% of the answers you seek. These include websites with trusted content, blogs of reknowned authorities in a field etc. The best idea in this case is to create your own personalized search engine.
What I've tried:
Google Co-op: Seems impressive. Just started using it. I have created a general-knowlege lookup engine and now working on specialised knowledge search engines, the first one being a TabletPC knowledge search engine.
Apart from fine controls it offers a novice meta-search engine designer like me, I like the ability to custom skin it. It is also possible to collaborate and create a search engine with your colleagues or team-mates. One of the best uses I see is faculy & researchers rolling out their custom search engines, which would be help-ful for students to form basic solutions. However, if it is not used exclusively, only then the envelope of knowledge will expand for the person in question, but atleast, there will be no junk search results from an innacurate source ("a psycho blogger behind a fancy template situation").
But the best feature I like about Google Coop is Google Marker, a brower toolbar tool to quickly add a website you are browsing to any of your search engine. Very much like the delicious toolbar tools. I love it already.
Other Similar Service:
Rollyo - Somehow, I stopped using it. It did not index my chosen sites properly.
I see personalized search engines as a step up from social bookmarking. The effort is pretty much the same: discover a resource, tag it. However the resulting output is much sweeter: not a bunch of links to go back to, but ability to search what they lead up to. I will accept CSEs over Social Bookmars. (Google's code calls the Personalized Search Engine a CSE - Custom Search Engine).
Give my search engines a spin: continue to read the extended entry:
My General Knowledge Search Engine
My Tablet PC & Digital Ink Tech Search Engine
October 29, 2006
Current Issues in Distance Education: todo list
To be revieved and updated...
Online journal of distance learning administration
Current Issues in Distance Education: International Review
The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning
Vol 7, No 2 (2006), ISSN: 1492-3831
Good Stuff: Articles are available as MP3!!! Lets take dat on da bus!
These articles look interesting & relevant from the current issue:
Distance education is generally seen as a very isolating experience for students, but one often forgets that it can be an equally isolating experience for teaching staff, who sometimes must work in isolation from colleagues. This study examines the experiences of nine tutors at one of the 10 biggest universities in the world...
This is an article seems like more of a big-picture article, something quotable in the first paragraphs of papers.
This article examines the relationship between the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) and learning and teaching, particularly in distance education contexts. We argue that environmental changes (societal, educational and technological) make it necessary for Higher Education in general, and distance education in particular....
This Article below applies to the situation when faculty, as against students are geographically diverse. The author is trying to address the lack of research in this area. We have a faculty member who teaches geo-diverse students enrolled at SPH UM Ann Arbor, while working in Penn State and living with his family in the state's capital. This makes this reading relevant to me:
Academics Telecommuting in Open and Distance Education Universities: Issues, challenges and opportunities
Cheuk Fan Ng
Another relevant reading. Targeting faculty in Western Canada, an attempt made to create a culture of Faculty Development as Community Building in the context of distance learning:
Faculty Development as Community Building
B.J. Eib and Pam Miller
The following would be an interesting reading: watching the field for possible common apps for their portable versions, especially Camtasia Recorder so that settings are saved and there is no complication of dealing with settings as a user moves from computer to computer.
September – 2006
Technical Evaluation Reports
57. Portable Applications in Mobile Education
October 28, 2006
Current Issues in Distance Education: Distance education, Distance education report
May 2006; Vol.27, Iss.1
Li-Fen Liao examines something called the Flow Theory framework of online learning by constructing two "flows" and testing them on 253 distance learning students. It turns out that the ways in which a learner interacts with the instructor and the way he/she interacts with the learning interface is more significant than learner-learner interactions. This kind of information is useful in deciding between distance learning systems, when there is a feature-money trade off.
DISTANCE EDUCATION REPORT
WilsonSelectPlus was down - will try again.
Current Issues in Distance Education: AmJDisted
Hoping to do these readings soon:
A. The American journal of distance education: 2006, Vol. 20, No. 3.
-- Editor Moore writes about Dialog in Adult Education
-- In the abstract for The Effectiveness of Distance Education in Allied Health Science Programs: A Meta-Analysis of Outcomes by Stacy L. Williams the interesting thing to note was: working professional students significantly outperformed graduate and undergraduate students.
THE ONE THING I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO FOCUS IN OUR CURRENT ENDEAVORS IS TO TRY TO focus on the strength of our cohort and not the weaknesses. I guess I might have found the scholastic reasons of the first such strength.
Moisey et al. explore the issue of developing learning objects, identify three facilitating factors and nine barriers to success in their paper Factors Affecting the Development and Use of Learning Objects
Aah! Cristina and Yili Liu's paper using our distance learning materials gets published! notable quote: study showed no difference in information recall between the different module lengths and formats; however, as module length increased, participants were more likely to not complete the modules. Christina's paper: Web-Based Distance Learning Technology: The Impacts of Web Module Length and Format
Stella Porto reviews a new book: An Administrator’s Guide to Online Education.
Kaye Shelton and George
Saltsman. Greenwich, CT: Information
Age, 2005, 192 pp., $69.95 (softcover).
-- This should be put on the library's ordering list. Review Here.
October 24, 2006
Firefox Extensions & Add-ons
Inspired by a Searcher: The Magazine for Database Professionals article, I went to the Firefox extensions website to make my internet experience a little better:
CLICK! by snapshot.jkn.com - This is useful when many snotty publishers do not make archives available (I have dealt with small time newspapers which do not sell old article, not give permalinks!) This tool takes a snapshot of a webpage.
Gmail Space: allows you to use your Gmail Space (2 GB) for file storage. It acts as a remote machine. You can transfer files between your hard drive and gmail.
Performancing a full featured blog editor that sits right in your Firefox browser and lets you post to your blog easily.
Session Saver: Session Manager saves and restores the state of all windows - either when you want it or automatically at startup and after crashes. Additionally it offers you to reopen (accidentally) closed windows and tabs. If you're afraid of losing data while browsing - this extension allows you to relax...
Nuke Anything Enhanced 0.54 Allow hiding of almost anything -for example before printing - via context menu "Remove Object".
AI Roboform Password Manager and Web Form Filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.