Good iPad apps can make the iPad feel not like a device running an app, but like an object that is the app. GarageBand isn’t a musical app running on an iPad. It turns an iPad into a musical instrument.
This is John Gruber talking about GarageBand from the iPad 2 reveal earlier this week. This thought, that the best apps turn the iPad into a whole new device is something we discussed when it first arrived last year. Scott McDonlad and I took our iPads into our Disruptive Technology class a day after it shipped to share with our students ... that single point was what many of the students marveled at -- that a device like the iPad becomes something new each time you launch a new app, at least when you launch a good app.
I like that notion a lot. It is still what separates the iPad from my laptop -- it is the app I am running.
The other day I got an email from my my friend and colleague, Brad Kozlek about something that has happened to the usage data in the last month within the Blogs at Penn State platofrm ... In the last 4 weeks, there have been 10,000 new entries posted to blogs at PSU, including over 8,000 files uploaded and 2,000 more active users. Here is where is gets weird ... during the same time last year there was same increase in users, but only half as many entries and less than half as many files uploaded.
Michael Wesch was the keynote at our TLT Symposium and he was truly a wonderful participant. Humble and quietly brilliant, his talk resonated with the entire audience in ways I hadn't seen previously. His new video above doesn't share the same pace as his previous work, but it demands attention none the less. What is interesting to me is that he didn't push the video's message as an agenda item last year, but it was clear it was in him. What I wonder is how long has he been thinking about creating this new narrative?
I wrote about my experience seeing Gardner Campbell's talk, "No more digital facelifts" at OpenEd in Vancouver right after the event. It was really a true stand out to me at the time and continues to resonate. Clearly the truly interesting work happening in and around Jim Groom's ds106 course at Mary Washington reinforces the importance of the talk ... especially in light of how the open course and #ds106radio is playing out across the Internet. I tweeted not too long ago that the only disappointing thing about my new job is not having the cycles to participate in what is an amazing demonstration in the notion of the aggregate learning experience of the future -- and then I see the video above and a little part of me dies as I am faced with a troubling thought ...
Am I now the one not understanding the true value of exploring what the bag of gold has to offer and dismissing the opportunity?
I sure hope that isn't a sign of my new life and I seriously doubt it is. My life is about exploring and in the last couple of months I have had far less time for that. I am not trying to be overly reactive in this reflection so I will just leave it well enough alone. I do, however, want to find time to continue to explore and learn about how to take advantage of and support the explosive nature that teaching and learning with technology affords. I am in total agreement with Gardner, "it is what makes me do what I do."
BTW, one of the magical things happening in the ds106 course is the intense amount of talent working in a single direction in a very distributed network of intelligence and creativity. Tom Woodward's remix of Gardner's talk is a perfect example of that.
Discovered via Jim Groom as I follow his exceptionally ambitious ds106 open/resident course at the University of Mary Washington. I knew as soon as I saw it I wanted to participate, but I also knew there was no way I could give it the attention it will demand. Next time.
The thing that really prompted this post has been watching the Bava's animated gif interest grow. It blows my mind that the animated gif is making such a huge comeback. Honestly I love the complexity and simplicity of the animated gif. Once the purveyor of website construction status is now becoming one of the more powerful ways to express feeling online -- simply.
I remember actually learning how to do this as a Masters degree student back in 1995. Of course our animated gifs were really, really lame. But in hindsight they were actually really exceptional given the times. Makes me realize just how young the web really is ... that makes me smile.
I am preparing my closing plenary for the upcoming Educause Mid-Atlantic conference to be held in Baltimore, MD and thought I'd share something I've been diving into related to the Blogs at Penn State. My colleague, Brad Kozlek oversees much of what happens with that service and one of the things I ask him to do is to maintain data on the use of the service. He updated our shared google spreadsheet for me today so I could share some of it all at the event later this week.
There are a couple of things I am noticing and am very proud of ... one is that the service is really being used and it is being used in so many novel and interesting ways. I'll try to share some of those during my talk. The other thing we are discovering is that over time it appears that people are becoming more active users ... that means they don't just make a blog and bail. That has important implications -- more on that in a future post and at a talk Bart Pursel and I will give at ELI -- and those implications include rising GPAs for those who are sticking with writing. Amazing stuff. For now I just thought I'd share the numbers ...
My favorite Twitter conversation in days was a result of sharing this ...
In an old school move, I started to leave a comment on D'Arcy Norman's post and it turned into much more than I expected ... that hasn't happened to me in years. D, I know you'll forgive me for leaving it here, in my own space ;-)
If people are to manage their own content, forming their digital identities, they need a way to host software and content that doesn’t require obscure and detailed technical knowledge. Us early adopters are not normal. We’ve been so close to technologies, for so long, that we forget what it’s like to be new to the stuff. Or not to live and breathe tech every day. Most people are not like us. They don’t know what HTTP is. It’s just some silly letters before the address of a website. They don’t know what DNS is. They don’t know what FTP is. They don’t know what SSH is. Or MySQL. Or PHP. Or Perl. etc. And they shouldn’t have to know these things in order to be full and meaningful participants in online discourse.
D'Arcy's post is great on so many levels and really shines with the comments, especially the ones from his parents. I have been thinking about all of the things he brings up again so much recently. I have arrived at the place where I can't worry about where to host my stuff anymore -- none of it really seems to matter in the grand scheme of things. If I host my own WordPress at Dreamhost I am paying them over a hundred bucks a year ... if I host it at TypePad I am paying them over a hundred bucks a year ... if I host it all at WP.com I am paying them over a hundred bucks a year. I've been publishing content online for close to a decade and that amount of "stuff" carries a cost.
What I am arriving at is this simple and disgusting fact -- it doesn't matter. With that said I need places to publish and manage my stuff. I pay Flickr and am happy to do so because if I didn't pay for it Yahoo would revoke it like they are talking about doing with delicious. I pay TypePad because I trust them to let me write and export stuff. I pay DreamHost because my ego demands I own colecamplese.com and not because I really need to host my own blog. My online life is getting expensive.
I have moved my content from blogger to my own host to wp.com to typepad.com over the last ten years only to come to realize that at the end of the day I rally just want a place to write, share, and connect with others. My audience is me and those who care to show up. I need a space to reflect and collect ... I am not a business.
Is it really important to have a domain of one's own in this day and age? Is facebook evil? Is twitter stealing my identity?
I don't have answers and my opinion has become lost in the noise of the Internet. My advice is to follow the people you trust in your community and write where it feels right to you. And don't be sad when your name isn't on the A-list ... because at the end of the day if the notion of keeping track of your thoughts is important then it doesn't matter where you deposit them. As long as you can record your thoughts, get them out, and move to the next thing you are in good shape.
Ever notice how when you are reading a NYT article on the web as you approach a certain part of the scroll a little slide out panel presents itself with a recommendation on what to read next? I'd seen it but never really jumped on it in any way. I was thinking about it this morning and find the functionality very interesting and could see it put into place in eLearning design, web-based game design, and even on service pages to prompt you to get started.
I think more than anything I am just trying to get my mind working again after Holiday break.
I was doing some morning reading and came across this post illustrating just how much things can change over a period of ten years. I can only imagine what the next ten years will bring for us a global society.
In my own life there has also been huge change in the last ten years. If I take a few minutes to reflect on it I am a bit astonished by it all. Both of my children were born during the past decade ... That in an of itself has been beyond transformative. My personal life has been enriched by new friends and colleagues. My wife and I have had a wild ride trying to come to terms with parenthood and we are stronger today then we were ten years ago.
I've worked at Penn State for all ten of those years, and have tried to make the most of the environment by building my own research agenda, learning how to manage organizations, and teaching both undergraduates and graduate courses. I've had several jobs over that time, moving to the College of IST right before 2000 where I eventually became the director of the IST Solutions Institute. In 2005 I left IST to become the director of Education Technology Services where I learned how complex, demanding, and humbling it is to try to run a large group at a big University. And just this past November I became Senior Director of Teaching and Learning with Technology for Penn State. I count myself as truly blessed for the opportunities I have had here at the University.
I'm not much for resolutions, but I will try to resolve to write more, spend more time with my amazing family, and keep pushing myself to be better at what I do and who I want to be. That includes getting back on the treadmill -- as soon as vacation is over.