I've added a new search field that I want to test out for a couple of weeks here at the site. It is powered by Google Co-op ... no sense in going through the commentary of how Google seems to be running everything on the web ... at any rate the Co-op is nice as I can add what sites I want to be searched. Gives me the ability to cast my search results here just a little wider. I write in several places online and this search pulls results from all of them -- right from here. I'm not thrilled with the ads it also returns, but features come at a cost. I wonder if they are tied to my ad sense account (I don't run ads on this site) ... Try it out and let me know what you think.
I have really been trying to stay true to the one podcast per week ideal ... the last time I did this was for the original From the Basement podcast (that turns two years old in a few days). For two weeks in a row we've done an ETS Talk Podcast show ... that isn't all that impressive, two weeks in a row but it feels good. Creating time and opportunity has been the difference maker. I have noticed that in the last few weeks more and more of my colleagues have been interested in creating content ... that shows me we are on the right track. At any rate, the latest ETS Talk Podcast is available.
I have gone way too long without any comments and it is starting to make me feel pathetic ... any thoughts on staying regular with a podcast schedule, on how higher education can tap the space, or anything of interest ... don't make me beg.
Chris Millet is managing the Podcast at Penn State project for us and is doing a great job! Last week he decided that he would create a new podcast show that would highlight new and interesting content going on in the Penn State on iTunes U space. So with that in mind he took a little time and cranked out the first of the weekly series. Now into its second week it seems Chris is getting the model down. If you are interested, go on and click the link. You will be taken into the open part of Penn State on iTunes U. Let me know what you think.
Another Hot Team result from the ETS team ... this one is focused on Studiocode. SC is a software tool that enables an amazing set of video tagging and analysis features. No need for me to describe it all here when you can jump over to the ETS Blog and read about it for yourself. As always with a Hot Team, there is a white paper to download and enjoy.
Everyone on the web is talking about the iPod's 5th birthday ... it has been five years since Apple introduced that little music player (and future computing platform) but since the web has done a great job documenting it all I have no need to repeat all that stuff. In addition to changing the music landscape forever, this little device did quite a bit for educational technology as well. If I wasn't typing in between new baby duty I would point to dozens of posts I have made that documented it all. When it appeared I wasn't convinced that it was going to be a hit -- it was platform dependent and seemed very limited. I even sat in Cupertino and told them I wasn't sure -- not surprisingly they all looked at me like I was crazy. Steve was right, it was and still is a revolutionary device. I have to admit I still have the first generation iPod my Mother-in-Law got me for Christmas the same year my first baby was born -- like my first child, the thing has changed the rules.
Five years ago very few of us thought about music like we do now -- digital first. All I can say is "thank you" to Apple for creating a new eco-system that now contains the iPod, the iTunes Store, iTunes U, and all the interest that goes along with it. All of those things have added up to new opportunities to engage faculty and students alike. DRM aside, it is a good thing. When was the last time that has happened? Tell me.
Not too long ago AOL (remember them) came out with something they called OpenIM ... it was essentially an API that allowed you to write desktop apps that could take advantage of the AIM system. It was nice and all, but the lionshare of apps that matter to me are web-based. Now I guess directly integrating IM into some sort of office suite would be nice, but at the end of the day I (and so many others) live in the browser.
Now AOL is opening the doors for developers to integrate AIM into web apps. In higher education, many students use AIM as a primary mode of communication -- I am guessing it is right up there with writing on someone's FaceBook Wall and texting on a phone. I can also tell you that from experience having students sign into AIM in class to pass files to me quickly can be quite a pain. If it works from within the learning spaces we can score another one for getting students interested in spending a little of their time in there.
I ran into all this over at GigaOm ... their take is that this is how AOL keeps AIM relevent in the face of Jabber. While I agree that is where the future is, most students I deal with don't know Jabber from AIM -- they just know they use the AOL client. At any rate, as I am typing my mind is spinning with the ways AIM could be brought into custom web apps to support all sorts of things in learning designs. Has anyone started on any of this? Anyone have ideas? I bet my students would!
I am getting really excited about the potential for our PSU Blog Project ... just last week we made some significant progress that I am hoping will lead us to the potential of a pilot for the Spring -- maybe a specialized call for a series of Engagement Projects. What is great about that is the fact that I am teaching and could use our environment to support my efforts. I'm working on a post that will highlight parts of the PSU Blog solution ... for now I have a question.
If I give all my students blogs in the new PSU space I will want to aggregate all their posts into one META Blog for the class. I know it can be done, but what is the easiest way to pull it off? Anyone have advice for me?
I started asking faculty to present interesting things they are doing to integrate technology into their teaching after last April's TLT Symposium. Yesterday the second presentation from the TLT Innovators Speaker Series took place on the University Park campus. The talk featured Brian Smith, Associate Professor of Information Sciences and Technology and Instructional Systems entitled “Live and Learn: Supporting Everyday Cognition with Computation.” Brian spends a great deal of time envisioning ways to effectively use the things we do when we are outside of formal learning spaces to create learning opportunities. Brian's talk focused heavily on those informal learning spaces and ways he has found to tap into them.
Brian and I are good friends, although he may not talk with me after I made him bring his GameBike into the talk ... actually he brought it on stage and we couldn't get the PlayStation hooked to the screen in the Auditorium, but ... at any rate the talk was great and the demo was very cool. You see Brian has done a bunch of research into how you can take the mundane of playing video games and turn it into a healthy activity ... we showed that off by asking a member of the audience to play a game sitting in a comfy chair eating chips and then on the GameBike doing the same (without the chips). Very effective.
Brian followed Kyle Peck's talk by doing something a little different -- he focused a lot of energy on technology and how it is used to transform everyday opportunities for learning. I thought it was really well done. He even held court at Whiskers afterwards (picking up the bill) talking to us all about some really cool things. Engaging the community in these ways has been both very stressful and very worth while! I can't thank Brian enough! Some pictures from the event. Here is the direct link to the podcast as an MP3.
Things have heated up so quickly in the SecondLife space in the last year ... it just sort of blows my mind given how hard we tried to make something go with them several years ago. I guess the problem was that when I say "trying to get something going," we were playing the higher education handshake game. You know palm extended, facing up? But through it all Bart Pursel, my Lead for Learning Solutions when I was at the Solutions Institute kept saying there is something here. Most of us looked at him funny.
Well good old SL went over a Million users and they seem to be in the middle of so much interesting stuff. At ETS we have a team exploring it all ... the New Media Center has a campus, other Universities are there, and I keep hearing about others building there as well. So, did we miss the boat or is it still at the port? Should we push to get something going that could be viewedd as interesting? Is it worth the effort and would it pay educational dividends? Thoughts?