Monthly Archives: September 2008

Twitter Tags

I have just found out how useful Twitter tags can be. I have for a while been a skeptic of the use of microblogging for Education and in general, for that matter, Although I am a believer in many aspects of social media (Web 2.0) and that it can in fact provide tools for the creation of authentic and collaborative learning environments and opportunities, the use of Twitter for irrelevant content such as “I am going shopping now” or “I need a new haircut” never impressed me. 

Many might already know that there has been a gas outage in the Atlanta area for a couple of weeks now. With my car’s tank almost empty I decided to Google “find gas Atlanta” (without quotation marks) and was surprised to find this link with search results to the #atlgas Twitter tag. It impressed me that people are using Twitter for effective sharing of useful information besides trivial status updates, forming a network of like interests. I simply added the name of my city after the tag and found a few local gas stations that had just gotten a fresh supply of gas. I immediately used Twitteriffic on my iPhone to send people an update with the Google map of the location that had gas.

I would like to ask my colleagues that read my blog to help me catalog tags that are being used on Twitter for topics such as Instructional Technology, Instructional Design, Instructional Design and Technology (IDT), learning 2.0, social media and learning, virtual worlds in education, virtual worlds in general, etc.

Please reply to this thread as we might find some interesting information like I did today. :)

Microsoft Doesn’t Believe in Open Source Virtual Worlds

As seen in this article from PC Magazine reported by ITExaminer, Microsoft (via Craig Mundie) doesn’t seem to believe in Open Source virtual worlds such as Second Life.

While I agree that (open) virtual worlds are still very limited, I believe in the potential of such environments on a long term basis and I don’t think that users should be discouraged to go in and experiment with them. If the first attempts at playing with DOS had been discouraged, Microsoft wouldn’t be making billions with Windows and their other products  ;)

When we discuss Education it gets even more serious since, in general, the education sector can’t afford expensive closed technologies and have to experiment with open source and free (of charge) ones. Open virtual worlds also offer the opportunity of easy creation of custom worlds and enforce the sense of community and collaboration which most avant-guarde educators believe in now.

So, Microsoft, let’s not discard Virtual Worlds just yet, no one said they were perfect. ;)

List of Buzzwords in the Classroom

I always rant on and on about buzzwords in Education and how many people just use meaningless words brought to them by a fad or they try to create it themselves.

I came across this interesting, funny list of those true definitions of some buzzwords specifically for those educators that work in the classroom setting:

Create Timelines Online

It is easy to create interactive and attractive timelines. Sharing them is extremely easy, in Web 2.0 style with tools such as:




I understand and am totally fascinated with the idea of sharing content online (quality user-generated content) and the big shift this brings to learning. However, I see college students using this for assignments and they might need a hard copy of their work as well. 

So, I would like to suggest either a PDF convert functionality or a “print this timeline” option (printer friendly version). In case I’d like to publish the timeline both online and share but also needed for a project and so on.

Alternate Second Life Viewers

Many people complain about Second Life’s drain on processor performance. 

Linden Labs created this wiki page with alternative Second Life viewers that might be of interest to those trying to experiment with Second Life. Some of them claim offer a cleaner, easier to navigate user interface. 

I am experimenting with some right now and will let you know (Mac users) my opinion about them. Other Mac users and also Windows users are more than welcome to post their favorites and opinions here as well.

Grokit, Social Learning Game

Grockit is definitely mixing traditional social networking with the power of Massively Multiplayer Online gaming (MMO). 

Learners study for tests such as GMAT in a live, competitive and collaborative environment as they earn and give points for good performance that are collected as they move to different levels of “expertise” in the community.

Players can invite friends and play synchronously. They can discuss questions and answers as they play live in a chat window as they eliminate wrong answers. They can also see why right answers are right and why the wrong answers were wrong. 

The website was covered on TechCrunch50 this week.

iPhone Educational Apps

A while back I thought of creating a blog to review only educational apps for the iPhone.
Suddenly I noticed that not only did just a few developers try to create educational apps but also the quality of those that are there isn’t what you’d expect…

So, I’m still considering reviewing a few iPhone apps for learning, but if educational developers don’t learn to create good apps it will be a tough job…

The state of the so-called “Education” apps on the iPhone is hazy. So many applications for the iPhone utilize the revolutionary technologies available for that platform (such as the Shazam app that recognizes which music is playing at an environment and populates the app’s screen with metadata on that song, or the Aurora Feint series that utilizes the accelerometer to control the blocks on the screen), etc.

The educational apps are still on the “flash card” side of things… let’s see what INNOVATIVE ed apps will appear in the upcoming months, years, decades… ;)

Google Launching Chrome, a Smarter Web Browser

What really interests me here is the alternative approach to explaining Google’s new technologically-advanced Web browser that has multiple process running at the same time.

They ingeniously used a well-written comic to explain the somewhat complex advances of the new browser.

Very interesting piece of a more informal learning approach.

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