Monthly Archives: August 2008

Tips for Teaching and Learning in Second Life

CollegeDegree.com posted a list of resources, link,s tips and tutorials for those who want to teach or provide learning experiences in Second Life. This list compiled by Heather Johnson is definitely worthwhile.

Amazom Kindle, a Student Version

Update: According to Stephen Downes (comment below), the rumors about the Amazon Kindle student version might be that, just rumors… 

 

As seen on TechCrunch, Amazon is considering the release of their eBook reader, Kindle, in a version made speciffically having college students in mind. The student version of the Kindle will probably include a bigger screen that offer a better reading experience for textbooks.

Since the device itself won’t be that small, I wonder if at least the somewhat steep price will be lowered to suit students’ pockets…

Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich Mindset

Many educators in the United States have heard of or “gone through” the incredibly creative Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich Activity (capitalized due to the degree of importance of the activity) — alternative link here. This “enigmatic” activity’s goal is to illustrate the fact that, as Instructional Designers, we can’t assume the learner knows something because WE know it, we need to try to see instruction with the learner’s eyes and develop instruction FOR THEM, not for us. As so many people that have done this activity are asked to write clear directions on how to make a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich forget the basic steps like “open the peanut butter jar” or “spread the jelly with a spoon on the inside of both slices of bread”, etc. and the instructor pretends s/he doesn’t understand they have to open the jelly jar to THEN spread the jelly on the bread (pantomimically putting the whole unopened jar between the slices of bread), everyone has a “blast” and the activity proves that what is clear to the instructor isn’t clear to the learner many times.  

Well, being from another country (even though a language teacher that studied the culture of the US as well as the language as a whole), that activity gets me thinking: it fails in a diverse classroom. what if I my background knowledge has nothing related to peanut butter sandwich? What if I had NEVER made one or had no idea if I had to mix the peanut butter and the jelly? What if I didn’t know what type of bread to use with that sandwich? So many possibilities that point to the failure of considering a diverse audience when introducing this activity. It fails in what its very own intentions, which include considering your learner’s uniqueness. 

This is how many design instruction, they assume that knowing a certain audience they know all of them. The ubiquitous peanut butter sandwich activity is just a silly example of how we fail to accommodate or even be sensitive to diversity when we are preaching that very same topic…

A NetGener Workforce – Understanding How They Learn and What They Expect

I recently had the joy of participating of the Learning Innovation Network conference initiated by the Human Capital Institute which had its first gathering hosted by Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara, CA.

A few week ago, Jeanne Meister invited me to speak again, this time during a Webcast the HCI was promoting. It was, again, an amazing experience and in this dynamic world it has immediately generated networking opportunities with some new contacts. If you knew me personally you’d know I’m all about people, networking, socializing. Typical netgener. One of my points with the whole information dump was that I believe that the research around netgeners might be true as far as habits, ways of thinking, wys of receiving/processing/sharing information being different now than a few decades ago, and people born around the 1980′s have had better chance for exposure to this mass media technology and an ever-growing amount of information, it is more of a matter of ATTITUDE and opportunity to be around all the information (technlogy) and having a positive mindset about it than it is a matter of age.

Here is a link to Joy Kosta’s (our host) blog summarizing the webcast.

Here is Jeanne Meister’s blog.

Instructional Designer

There is the basic difference between a language teacher and an instructional designer: being an instructional designer, one doesn’t always teach that which one knows…

Facebook is the Fastest-Growing Social Network

Very interesting post on TechCrunch based on Comscore data that show the growth rate of Facebook and other social networks. Facebook being the winner in this race.

What about Learning? If we want to reach learners where they are we need to, of course, know where they are and also start developing to these platforms.  Real learning in social media goes beyond delivering learning content on Facebook, it is about promoting user-generated content and sharing. Interaction amongst learners is a key factor in how learning takes place and these social networks offer great tools to mediate this interaction and make it easy. Netgeners or “Millenials” grow used to this type of technology (although I think the research on Millenials is debatable because I think the characteristics attributed have to do more with attitude and opportunity of exposure to technology than a matter of age and the year an individual is born) I do think we need to consider a shift in eLearning based on the new expectations people have regarding receiving, processing, creating and sharing content. Social networks offer a great insight into how people expect to interact with one another, providing a great approach to Constructivist learning…

 

Obama and His Social Media Presence

I keep on repeating this: what better way to get people engaged in something (being it learning or not) than just reaching them where they are and trying to “speak their language”? That’s what Barrack Obama‘s campaign team decided to do. Besides their very interesting website that offers social networking features and a section that focuses on the mobile Web and offers ringtones and wallpapers, now they have decided to announce his running mate via Text Message (to those that send a TM with the message “hope” to the number 62262).

Interesting blog post on ViAspire from February 08 about Obama’s Web 2.0 presence.

Apart from my political beliefs, I believe this is a very smart move on engaging the younger generation and those who are always on the go… 

Apple and the iPhone – When the Customer doesn’t Matter…

“…because we’re too good for you…”

That is the vibe I get from Apple with this whole iPhone 3G shortage fiasco, or circus…

Everyone that reads my blog posts here knows that I have been quite disappointed with the customer care at Apple and their attitude towards the shortage and their customers. Well, today I got the “icing on the cake” on “great” policies from Apple.

I had “backordered”, that is, stupidly let AT&T charge my credit card for an iPhone that was going to be shipped to the store for me in 10-20 days — which was shipped in a week’s time (today). I got an email alert and went there to grab the iPhone, of course, not so excited to have it anymore. Not after waiting in line once at the Palo Alto store when I was in CA for an hour to find out “my corporate” discount wasn’t going to transfer, left the line and canceled the discount… got back in line the next day (it was too late that same day) and found out that my wife is the primary account holder and they couldn’t sell it to me even though I had proof of our relationship and her documents… mmm… leaving that alone (I already blogged about it)…

Back to the AT&T store: I got there, did everything and left with my iPhone. As soon as I called my wife (should have been me… seriously) I noticed there was a little “ringing” in the voice and all… I went back to the store: defective! So, I learned Apple doesn’t even ship enough iPhones to AT&T stores in case of a defective device like mine. Two options: get a refund and go back to the “backordering” process after re-chargin my credit card OR going to the Apple Store to replace the unit. I asked the AT&T guy to call Apple to find out if they had at least enough replacement units. THEY TOLD HIM THEY ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SAY WHETHER THEY HAVE iPHONES OR NOT, if that is the case!!!! Now, what kind of stupid store can’t even say whether they have more units or not (once they find out a costumer has a defective unit)???? Apple is STUPID, “geniuses”!!! Seriously: they wanted me to drive to the store to then FIND OUT THE SAME WAY I WOULD OVER THE PHONE if they have or not iPhones to replace mine!!! What kind of crappy policy is that?! Costumers in the first place! Apple got it all “right”! If it wasn’t an excellent device (with it’s flaws and all), I wouldn’t have gotten back to the “backorder”… but it is a good phone… so… I hope other companies soon catch up on the technology quality Apple has (HP seems to be getting close for Windows-based machines), because in the costumer care side Apple is stupid…

%d bloggers like this: