Monthly Archives: April 2009

The Psychology of Facebook

Dr. BJ Fogg & Daniel Berdichevsky at Stanford University are gathering articles from various authors into a nice book around the psychology of Facebook.

You can read more about it on their blog.

ARGs in Learning – Learning in ARGs

In response to Koreen Olbrish’s post about learning that takes place in ARGs:

Here is a good place to find out what ARGs are being played currently. One of the best examples of ARGs I think was the one that warmed players up for the release of The Dark Knight. Just explore the puzzles there, incredible. If I am not mistaken, that ARG was developed by 42Entertainment (the same agency that created the Nine Inch Nails one. Also check out ARGnet for current ARGs.

ARGs are a very interesting resource for instruction, since you can mix the content with the storyline. Deliver puzzles that reveal messages that involve content, for instance…

They can be fairly cheap to do since all technologies needed for the game are right here, for free with Web 2.0:

  • Facebook, Ning, for discussions;
  • blogs for characters’ updates and direct contact with players,
  • wikis for players to interact and exchange clues, etc.
  • Youtube for video feeds and trailers.

Even the planning can be done collaboratively (e.g. flowcharting the gameplay via Gliffy with other designers, if geographically disperse)…

Also, VW can be used in the plot or even as the main meet up hub… These are just examples of social media resources that can be utilized in making a cheap and entertaining ARG.

ARGs are very engaging since they mix reality (clues and puzzles with characters that feel real, and player-player interaction)…

A problem on educational ARGs: ARGs tend to rely on having a VERY broad potential audience, say the whole world, and a portion of that population will enter the rabbit hole… well, how can you get 30 players (say you’re creating an ARG for a group of people at a conference) to “buy” the first clue and engage in the game? Maybe 2 of the 70 will actually find the first clue and engage… well, you can manipulate them, sending other clues, clarification, direct messages from game characters until they buy in.. but, the players must have a certain interest to stay in game… and not everyone is a “gamer”…

Just a few thoughts…

I love ARGs and think they have potential… we just need a few more publications with success stories, failures, things to avoid, etc. in EDUCATIONAL situations…, I think…

Take a look at the concept of mARGs (mini ARGs), shorter, with a specific, small audience. People at LAMP have been doing a great job on that .

More references on ARGs:
Alternate reality games, “Experience IT” track, at the ELI 2006 conference

Using Alternate Reality Games to Teach Data Security (a case study)

Alternate Reality Games SIG

Video Games and ARGs: What Can They Learn from Each Other?

Alternate Reality at the Smithsonian

Uses of Second Life in Education

Excellent list on the SLEducation wiki on the use of Second Life for immersive learning. Some very interesting islands are highlighted like the ISTE island.

Explore the list here.

How to Let Users Share Your Content?

With the Semantic Web it becomes easier to share content, data is portable, easily linkable…

Here are two services that makes it easy to allow your viewers share your content in popular sites like Facebook, StumbleUpon and Digg. They auto-generate a widget that contains buttons that link to those services and trigger them once your viewers click them:




Open eLearning Collections

Here is a list from that might interest many people. It includes many websites and organizations (such as MERLOT) that offer open eLearning content on the Web.

(Free) Online Storage and Drives

For those who need to save their files and share them on the cloud. Here is a list of free websites that offer online storage (some can sync our files across multiple computer without the need for individual downloads and uploads):

Box - Free 1GB storage, 5 collaborators and a limit of 25MB per file upload.

DropBox - Free 2GB storage, offers sync’ing.

ADrive – Free 50GB storage, simple storage and sharing capabilities, ability to edit documents online.

ZumoDrive – 1GB free storage, sync’ing, iPhone application.

MediaFire - Free and unlimited file storage, limit of 100MB per upload, upload different files to different folders and share them.

eSnips – Share files with people of the same interests, Youtube and Delicious meet files storage.


There are many more services to explore, but these are just a few that stand out to me. You can find more by simply going to a website like Go2Web20 and looking for the tag “storage”.


Have your own suggestions, please share them here. 


I am also interested in the use of file storage services like these in learning contexts (at school, at work, when designing instruction, etc.), besides the obvious: there is no excuse for forgetting a document anymore and the ease to share any type of file with colleagues, classmates and instructors…

Online File Storage is Evolving – Store, Use, Share Your Media Everywhere

I am a huge fan of having access to my files anywhere, anytime. On a friend’s computer, at home, on my mobile device (the iPhone), etc. Securely, of course…

I have written about file storage and sync’ing before, a lot of them are freemium (you need to pay for extra storage, more features, etc.). A few I’ve found have unlimited storage, like MediaFire.

Sometimes file storage is not enough, we need file editing capabilities on the go. Well, there is Google Docs. Zoho suite, Adobe Buzzword and many other collaborative editing tools out there.

Also, having a neat little Webtop (desktop on the cloud) can be an interesting concept as well and it is evolving little by little.

EyeOS and Cloudo seem to be the most evolved of those competing in this space.

Watch out for Tonido as well, especially for those scared of putting their files out there on a server controlled by other people, well, Tonido lets you easily share files from your computer with not need for uploads… basically unlimited storage (for as long as there is space on your hard drive)… not WebOS, but pretty close and might actually work better than “desktops on the cloud” for now.

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