Monthly Archives: February 2009

Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Blogger Mistakes

Jakob Nielsen is well-known in the field of usability. All his articles are actually very current in nature and very useful for those designing interactions, UIs, Websites and any type of media that interacts with users. Here is his take on the 10 most common mistakes commited by bloggers as far as usability and design are concerned

Weblogs Usability: Top 10 Design Mistakes

Stigmergy in Virtual Worlds

Many researchers have been talking about stigmergy in Web-based environments. Sarah Intellagirl Robbins has been doing research in facets of Virtual Worlds and their potential for education. Stigmergy is one of the affordances she identified (or put the name to the face) in working with Virtual Worlds.

From Wikipedia we have:

Stigmergy is a mechanism of spontaneous, indirect coordination between agents or actions, where the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a subsequent action, by the same or a different agent. Stigmergy is a form of self-organization.

For stigmergy in other contexts visit: 

Web Stigmergy

Definitions of Stigmergy

Stigmergic Collaboration

Microsoft Supports Games + Learning Research

The Games For Learning Institute

Microsoft Investing in "The Games For Learning Institute"

“Serious games” is a term that I am not very fond of since it could imply that the games we discuss are just that: serious. More than that, “serious games” does not seem to be powerful and open enough to let in games that are NOT created with Education in mind. Well, not being the main focus of this post I will leave the “serious games” issue for another post. 

Here is an extract from the NewsObserver on Microsoft’s support for research around games and learning via the creation of The Games for Learning Institute:

 

Microsoft has put up $1.5 million to start The Games for Learning Institute, a joint venture with New York University and other colleges. The goal of the research is to see whether video games — and not just software specifically designed to be educational — can draw students into math, science and technology-based programs. The institute has begun lining up middle school students to study.

 

Here is from Microsoft itself:

The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI) is a first-of-its-kind, multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional gaming research alliance that will provide the fundamental scientific evidence to support games as learning tools for math and science subjects among middle school students. It is great example of how technology can play a role in changing how students learn and give teachers new tools to create dynamic and effective curriculum. 

Free Live Streaming Services

Many experts (or expert wannabes of all field, especially technology-related topics) have daily or weekly “shows:” they host live on the internet via streaming services that are out there and even integrate chat capabilities.

I always stumble upon a video or two of Chris Pirillo’s show either recorded on Youtube or live on his blog. He actually uses UStream.tv’s services to host his show and interact with the audience via chat.

 

Here are are few services that are free for you to take the bull by the horns and host your own show about whatever it is you’re interested in. If you have a technology show related to Education and leearning (not always mean the same thing, huh?) please post a link here.

UStream.tv

CoverItLive

NowLive

Mogulus

Talkshoe – not exactly a video hosting service, it is a voice-enabled social talk show. You can create your own channel and host shows that have chat rooms for the guests to interact, if someone can’t be in front of the computer right there and then they can just call the show’s phone number (provided) and they will be able to listen/interact as well.

SeeToo - not exactly to host a show, but a curious little website that allows you to watch a video with someone far away at the same time. Works for me and my mom who lives in Brazil. ;)

Ma.gnolia and The Backup Lesson

Social bookmarking site and community Ma.gnolia‘s recent backup crisis serves as a sour reminder of the importance of backing up data being it one’s local computer’s documents or website databases.
Backup resources are now cheaper than ever (it is possible to get terabytes of storage on external hat drives for less than $200) and more mobile (with the recent wave of online backup services like iBackup,  iDrive, Mozy, CarboniteDropbox, and these are just a few) …

Having lost my hard drives in the past (not a pleasant experience) I now see no excuse not to have a backup plan and maybe a backup pan B for your precious data…

Ma.Gnolia’s situation got so bad that they even started to recommend other social bookmarking services (Diigo):

If you’re looking for a place to start a new collection, I think Diigo is a good option to check out for its groups, cross-service posting features and attentive staff.

 

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