February 25, 2009
Good Game Design: Google Tech Talk
February 23, 2009
Accelerated Learning: A Personal Experiment
For long I have yearned the need to become familiar and stay current with a few news domains which are information heavy. Being a fan of late night talk shows, stand-up comedy and fake news (The Onion, Stewart/Colbert) I decided to have some fun permeating these new realms.
About a year ago I had heard an npr story on how the new generation prefers to get it's news from "fake" news: Parody, Satire and Sarcasm have fed generations with laughter and skepticism, but now there is an additional nutrient in this junk food for thought - useful information. Information which can be used by the listener to inform oneself of current affairs. The listener had become a learner.
My previous attempts at staying current using social bookmarking were not satisfactory, although I still like to keep my delicious.com and Google Notes well fed with tagged items from the web.
In my attempt to regain touch with (a) State of Technology in General & Online Learning in Particular (b) Current Affairs in USA and (c) Current Affairs in India, I subscribed to some RSS feeds. When something useful would strike me, I would ask the stand-up comedian in myself, to write a one line joke for me, based on Dave Barry's highly original microblogging style.
After about a week of poking fun at the news, the information started to retain in my conscious brain and I was able to apply it - in my conversations with peers, friends and families. (Sometimes I even became the alpha-bore of the party: geeky opinionated know-all. That's an indication to cut-back on your RSS feed-greed.)
Adjusting the RSS feeds to remove redundancies and optimize focus of learning, I started realizing that the stylings of the inner comedian were now an inefficiency - so the one liners simply became comments and notes. The crutch of comedy and satire was no longer necessary to engage the mind in the target domains - the barrier to entry - spontaneous interest, had been breached. A sustainable-enough connection now existed between the mind and the knowledge domain to synthesize new information into fruitful conversation and writing.
I only hope that the trend of getting news and information from clowns does not raise a generation of skeptic jokers. These fake news outlets arise from a basic need of learners: barrier of boredom. When mainstream news started looking like sermons, propoganda or classroom lectures, the generation turned to fake news to stay current. Of course that is no justification for teachers to become clowns, however keeping learning active with or without humor is highly warrented.
Cheating in Online Exams
King et al. write in the Journal of Educators Online:
...respondents felt quite liberal in their views of potentially cheating behaviors when there was no test-taking policy set by the course instructor. In addition, 73.6% of the students in the sample held the perception that it is easier to cheat in an online versus traditional course.
Towards the end of the paper, the authors suggest research based remedies for inhibiting cheating: open discussion in a classroom setting (which is done by some departments/schools), posting of honor code in print and online (which is supported by UM's testing tools) and keeping updated on strategies from Duke University's “Academic Integrity Assessment Guide’
Google Apps Academic to Include Moodle
This is a synergy that I would look forward to. This will remove barriers to using moodle. I hope moodle can leverage security and code maintenance from Google's team and become a high quality, yet simple to use product:
Through the integration, users loaded into Moodle will be automatically loaded into Google Apps Education Edition, "providing users with Web-based e-mail, document authoring, spreadsheets, presentations and sites, all integrated with their online learning platform," explained Moodlerooms' West Coast Managing Director Michael Penney
Design Principles Database
This is an excellent tool for instructional designers, where case studies are posted by ID/eLearning practitioners.
Whether you are an educational technology researcher, a learning scientist, a designer of web-based learning materials, or a teacher using technology, the DPD is a place for you to learn from the wisdom gained by dozens of researchers who have designed, enacted with students, and studied the use of technology for learning. This wisdom is translated in the DPD into pedagogical Design Principles
February 22, 2009
14-year-old girl was charged for repeatedly text-messaging during class... ... a body search revealed that the defiant teen had stuffed her handset — said to be a Samsung Cricket — down the back of her pants.
India's Higher Education Ambitions
The Indian government intends to increase its higher-education budget by 21 percent, to $2.79-billion from $2.22-billion.
India Plans Big Budget Increase …..Funds fillip for varsity dream
Thumbs down for Distance/Online Leaning?
Faculty are split 30:70 against online courses in a survey: Preliminary results of the surveys by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges
Survey of Faculty:
10,000 faculty members at 67 public campuses in the survey.
+a majority of faculty members acknowledge that distance instruction offers students increased accessibility and flexibility,
- developing and teaching online courses can be burdensome.
Survey of administrators:
Need for institutions to incorporate online learning into their mission statements.
Centralize Oversight of Online Programs (Won't Work at UM, IMO)
Have Cross Campus Teams Look at Online Learning (Is Being done)
February 20, 2009
RoR IDE - Browser/Web Based Coding IDEs! Holy Crap!!
Motion Graphics Learning Done Right: Jonathan Jarvis' "Credit Crisis"
Notable elements in Design: Minimalist design, Subtle Background Music, Balanced Use of Sound Effects
February 05, 2009
Windows 7 will come in 6 flavors: Imp Information
Windows 7 Starter Edition
Consists of a single full screen video showing that system is running and your keyboard/mouse are dysfunctional. Upgrade everything.
Windows 7 Home Basic
Security vulnerabilities will expose all passwords, home finances to hackers.
Windows 7 Home Premium
Security vulnerabilities will expose all passwords, home finances to hackers. AND sell your home to a Nigerian business man
Windows 7 UnProfessional
This one will expand the viruses to your TV, toaster and fridge
Windows 7 Ultimate
Will require a new computer purchase every month.
Windows 7 Enterprise
You’ll have to work in Redmond to operate this on test beds only. Will not work on any known computer sold in the market.
Note – all versions will render your PC unusable if you try to go back to XP (yeah, who has Vista anyways)?
Technology Fail: MS SongSmith
Need we mention the M-word? YES!
"When we first came across Microsoft Songsmith, it was the promo video that made us cringe. But the song-making software is inspiring a whole new genre on YouTube where people alter famous music videos and concert footage by stripping out the original instruments and replace them with tinny keyboards or folk banjos, and keep the vocals. The results are a twisted breed of classic hits that are fascinating in the same way that terrible automobile accidents are. Once you start watching, it is hard to look away."
Listen to these and vote to rename the product "Microsoft SongAssassin"