Frankenstein photo by rafapanadero used under CC license
Friday, June 24, 2011
Frankenstein photo by rafapanadero used under CC license
Thursday, April 21, 2011
- I'd heard the iPad was light, but it really is ultra-light. I was amazed at the difference between carrying a laptop and the iPad, and I'll admit to double-checking a few times to make sure it was in my bag.
- The iPad's display is also really impressive. The picture is crisp and easy on the eyes. This is the way to read any content online.
- The combination of the above coupled with the adequate volume and audio quality make the iPad an excellent device for media as well.
- iTunes - Ugh- In my experience there are few programs that slow down computer performance like iTunes. I know I'm using a PC and the Mac-heads would look disapprovingly and suggest that is my problem. But I'm not the only person running iTunes on a PC, and it be nice if getting an iPad didn't mean subjecting myself to the iTunes ecosystem (more on this in a minute). I looked at some alternatives to iTunes (like Songbird), but for the updates and apps I bit the bullet and installed the bloated iTunes on my laptop. Oh, look another update for quicktime....(shaking my head).
- Flash - Yeah, I know this one has been covered so I won't go on about it. I'm just saying it would still be nice.
- Lastly, and most importantly I'm not sure I like being here in the iStore with my iApps on my iPad. This is a closed environment. Apple will tell me what is available in this world and will control their environment. This is a little troubling because as a fan of opensource software - somehow this seems like the opposite of that model.
With most of my other devices I am allowed to choose (with some limits) what programs I want to install and what OS I'd like. This is a great time for finding free opensource applications or even webapps. I am reminded of a Lawrence Lessig talk called "Open" where he speaks to these points about the closed environment of Apple and whether that is a good thing. It's worth watching and considering.
Monday, April 4, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
One of the best feelings as a blogger is when someone takes the time to comment on a post. If they agree, it's affirming; if they disagree, but do so respectfully, it's a chance to grow and see ideas in a new light while rethinking your own position. I almost always enjoy the conversation.
One of the blog posts I wrote last summer that received some comments and feedback was on foursquare and its role in twitter. I posted here on this blog and on my former district's blog .
My point was that I thought foursquare and apps like it dilute the value of twitter and made it harder to explain the networked learning that occurs on twitter to those who are not in it. I suggested Foursquare made twitter more easy to dismiss. People who I'd talk to about twitter and learning looked at updates from grocery stores and fast food restaurants and decided this "twittering" was just not for them.
I was pleased to receive all comments, one by Vicki Davis (whose work I've followed for sometime) gave me some food for thought. And while I did not agree with all the comments - one comment closed with "I am not an educator robot," which I thought was ironic because the foursquare updates have a very robotic feel. I can almost here HAL900's voice state, "I just became the mayor of Starbucks on foursquare." I appreciate that folks took the time to post comments, and I did spend some time reflecting and wondering if this foursquare disgust was a little of my "old codger" flaring up and whether I had missed something.
Well, I'm at it again. And while I stand by my earlier thoughts about the twitter "noise" created by services like foursquare, I've changed my focus to some potential pitfalls to using foursquare or any other geolocation reporting apps.
Before making my case, there are at least a few items I want to make clear:
- I believe geolocation based apps that might enhance a learning experience have real potential. I'm watching some of the augmented reality projects for education with great interest (see also The Civil War Augmented Reality Project )
- I've advocated teaching students to use technology and social media responsibly at workshops and PTA events. So I am not for the blocking of socialmedia or most websites for our students and schools. I don't believe in scaring people off the Internet (more on this soon).
- I am not a "conspiracy theory kinda guy." I am not blogging in my basement with a tinfoil hat on to prevent the government from spying on me. I do think we landed on the moon. I don't think the US government blew up the Twin Towers...
- Finally, I am not arguing teachers or anyone else doesn't have the right to use services like foursquare or should be treated any differently than any other person.
While it may be a sign I'm not that social to start with, the idea of self-reporting locations throughout my day seems on some level pointless, a little narcissistic and maybe even foolish to me when it first came out. Now I'm wondering if services like foursquare, gowalla and facebook locations might be . . . dangerous.
I know, I know I can hear myself saying that and thinking I sound just like some of the fearful internet safety presentations I've sat through and later tried to dispute. I'm not a cyber fear factor kind of guy. What would danah boyd say?
I'll start with a movie. I am a sci-fi movie fan and remember a scene from 2002's Minority Report , where protagonist John Anderton lives in a future where retina scans reveal locations, recent purchases made at the GAP and caters the ads to fit the person. The movie explores some important big themes regarding freedoms, surveillance and freewill. But I remember being a little creeped out by a future where every movement and purchase is potentially recorded and monitored. And I thought I wouldn't want anyone tracking all of my movements and behaviors like that. And we live in America - we'd never let that kind of surveillance happen.
I'll cry fowl when I feel like technology is invading our privacy, but this is another issue - this is incentivized self-reporting of location, habits and probable purchases using technology. I wonder if these are dangerous habits?
So when Please Rob Me came out, I thought it was a brilliant way to address the issue of "over-sharing." The site no longer reveals updates stating "We are satisfied with the attention we've gotten for an issue that we deeply care about." Apparently ICanStalkU feels it still has a point to make as they've continued to "raise awareness about inadvertent information sharing." But I'm not sure if some of us understand "over sharing" anymore. Or think about the caches of data it can create.
I'm not afraid of the "social web," and I know that is the direction the 'net is headed. But I'm not sure if this is the same as getting advice on a restaurant or film to see, and I wonder if this kind of self-reported surveillance has any unforeseen consequences for those "checking in."
Again am I wrong? Paranoid?
"And while new media bring with them new possibilities for openness, transparency, engagement, and participation, they also bring new possibilities for surveillance, manipulations, distraction, and control" - M. Wesch
A Few Related Links:
- EFF.org "Location Privacy"
- How I became a Foursquare Cyberstalker Guardian (July 2010)
- New Facebook Location Feature Sparks Privacy Concerns NYTimes (August 2010)
- Foursquare Infographic (2011)
Photo under CC license http://www.flickr.com/photos/wiredwitch/5295175015/
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I had two "musts" for this project:
- All the software used must all be free and relatively easy to use. Bonus points for using software already on my machine.
- The process must yield a DVD that can be played in a standard DVD player.
- I recorded my video with an older model Flip video camera. The raw video is in avi format, and I imported those files into Windows Moviemaker which is included on my machine running XP. My version of the Flip uses avi as the video format, but it should be noted newer versions of the Flip camera do not use avi. Windows MovieMaker needs to be in a format like avi that can be imported in the program.
- After editing I saved the file in MovieMaker. I learned the key step is to save as "DV-AVI (NTSC)". My first attempts failed because I didn't select this format.
- Next I downloaded and installed DVDstyler(for free). It is simple and may lack frills, but the I found it very easy to use and create a menu with buttons that point to the imported video files. When done select the "Burn" option and check to make sure the file ends in .iso (for example "Save to C:\dvd.iso")
- It will take a few minutes depending on the size of your project to generate a DVD image. When you are done you'll need to be able to locate the iso file.
- Last step is to burn the iso file as an image. It is important to create an image to burn to a DVD which will allow you to play it on most DVD players. I use Infrarecorder , which is another very useful free app, but any software that allows you to "burn image" ( in infrarecorder it is under actions). Now navigate to the iso file , make sure you have a blank DVD and select burn.
- When the burn is complete you should have a finalized DVD capable of being played in any standard DVD player.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
- Files - File Management in Moodle2 will be a big change. The ability to easily access files over different courses and the adding of repositories from external sites like Flickr and GoogleDocs will be game changers. The "file picker" is easy to use, but this will be a significant change from the current system and the way files operate.
- Hubs- I love the idea of a moodle hub as a repository sharing courses. I hope this will not only create some opportunities for openness and collaboration but also might encourage more discussions about the elements of a good online course. Sharing quality course materials across institutions, colleges and departments seems like an idea whose time has come.
- Conditional Activities & Completion Tracking- Completion Tracking might be the perfect tool for allowing students and instructors to track their progress in a course. Activities could be set for automatic marking or allow students to check when complete. Conditional Release is one of the additions Moodlers have anticipated most. The ability to allow an activity only when a condition has been met might change the ways many courses are currently setup. I did hear at least a few calls for caution in using this lest your course become a series of conditional releases creating a maze for your students to navigate.
- Backups - This is also a big deal. The file extension for Moodle2 backups is different and given some of the significant differences between the two versions, I wonder when (don't want to think "if") there will be a way to restore a Moodle 1.9 course backup into a Moodle 2 course.
- Blogs and Wikis -I have never liked the blogs or wikis in 1.9. Maybe its because there have always been better tools provided outside the walls of Moodle. So I am interested to see more of how these will look in Moodle2. The new blog in Moodle2 allows comments, and they may be linked to create a “blog about it” scenario. For Bloggers already using an outside/external blogsite, content can be easily pulled down into the improved Moodle blog. The new wiki tool has supposedly been rebuilt, but I haven't yet explored or seen the differences.
- Mobile Moodle - Although it is not a part of the new release of Moodle, Mobile Moodle was mentioned by Martin Dougiamas as a part of his conference keynote. I'll continue to be interested in the development of the official Mobile Moodle App and how it might create more anytime environments for learning in Moodle.