Monthly Archives: August 2009

This Week’s Twitter Updates

Open Books and TextBooks Online, Free

Taking after the movement of open source (free – as in freedom) software development, knowledge and information has also been “open sourced” (and crowdsourced) as new Web technologies allow for flexibility and ease of online collaboration in generating content.

Textbooks are now on the same route and here are a few interesting resources for those who are tired of paying absurd prices for academia content out there. Let’s t get all of our mind and expertise together and share knowledge more wisely than the good ol’ authoritative knowledge consumption models allow us to…

Question: Why don’t more experts and professors join the trend of open books?


WikiBooks – From the same company that maintains WikiPedia, this is an incredible collection of open books in any subject imaginable. Worthwhile.

Flat World Knowledge - This website’s goal is to share quality, peer-reviewed books in many areas of expertise. The idea is that faculty will publish the books under the Creative Commons license and allow students to access tailored, good quality content without having to pay the (sometimes) outrageous prices for textbooks. They already have some interesting content up. From their site, we have their definition of an open book: “It is a great book by a great author, peer-reviewed, professionally edited & developed, and published under a Creative Commons license. Faculty may tailor the book to their needs. Students may access the book free online or buy an affordable print, audio, or handheld format. Students get choice; faculty get control; authors earn rapid market share, greater royalties over time, and do some good!”

Open Book Project - They still don’t have much in their collection of books. But here is what they aim to accomplish and I hope they succeed: “The Open Book Project is aimed at the educational community and seeks to encourage and coordinate collaboration among students and teachers for the development of high quality, freely distributable textbooks and educational materials on a wide range of topics.”

TextBook Revolution – This site’s mission on their frontpage says it all: “Our approach is to bring all of the free textbooks we can find together in one place, review them, and let the best rise to the top and find their way into the hands of students in classrooms around the world.”

Augmented Reality and Learning

The dawn of augmented reality on a consumer level presents many possibilities for marketing, tourism and virtually any area of expertise. But what would be its impact in Education and learning in general?
Would the possibility of adding a layer of information and rich media atop an individual’s view of the world via his/her mobile device’s camera mean we are taking the next step toward “push” mobile learning (information automatically being displayed as available at the learners’ location)?

This could mean 2 things, at least:

1. Information readily available about places, people, objects anywhere, anytime.
2. Not just information devouring but also real, contextual learning opportunities via an immediate 4-dimensional, layered view of the world.

With easy access, people can start gathering information on just about anything and any place on Earth and make that readily available for others walking the path that has been covered with digital breadcrumbs.

With augmented reality on mobile devices, the world becomes one more layer  with overlapped layers of information just-in-time and in real time.

SCVNGR – Build Scavenger Hunts and Augmented Reality Games

SCVSCVNGR_logoNGR is a fantastic online scavenger hunt suite for those who like to play AND build them. Its SCVNGR Hunt Builder offers all you need to create and manage your scavenger hunts (public or private), including a very easy to use “Clue Creator” that uses a Google Maps mashup to let you pin point the exact spot a clue will lead your players next.

Their XPLR community lets you find “location-based mobile games (meaning you will use your cell phone to play) and join other players in your area, you can also build and share your games. Imagine the possibilities here for community events, exploring museums, zoos, learning about your small town (or big city, but “small town just sounds more “romantic”), conferences, church, a specific subject or freshmen orientatio at school, or simply a new way to get to know what’s around the city you’re visiting for a few days… or as just an opportunity to get everyone at your school or company to explore the campus/facilities…

As this type of game/platform become more popular on mobile devices, we can see the rise of augmented reality type of games such as high-tech scavenger hunts and geocaching…

They are still in private beta phase, but Seth (the founder) was kind enough to give us a beta code that you can use to sign up. Please use the code XPLR532 when Signing up for SCVNGR using this link and “play around” with it…

SCVNGR

Helen Keller and a Vintage Video Lesson on a Special Case of Language Acquisition

Well, this is also a lesson on perseverance, phonetics, Special Education (that is really special), pronunciation, passion for teaching, passion for learning and thinking outside the box… oh and many more things…

Most of us in Education have heard of Anne Sullivan and Helen Keller.

This is a rare opportunity to see for yourself some of the work Anne Sullivan did with Helen Keller, taking her from complete absence of words into the world of communication, learning and teaching.

“I am not dumb now!”

eLearning Project Management – a Quick Video Overview

This is a well done short video overview of elements of project management geared toward eLearning projects.

Simple and straight to the point…

(by Facilitador eLearning Solutions)

This Week’s Twitter Updates

Entire Novels on Twitter – Starting with Moby-Dick

Dan Coulter created a robotic feed that tweeted automatically 140 characters from Herman Melville’s novel Moby-Dick every hour. This is an interesting concept that remind me of when novels used to popularly come in “episodes” on newspapers with cliffhangers making the readers “stay tuned for scenes of the next episode”…

More detail on the story can be found on Sea-Fever’s blog post and other places around the Web, of course.

An interesting idea would also be, instead of spilling out the entire novel, to actually ADAPT them to the Twitter/SMS dialog format. But I guess that is yet to come.

Social Media Revolution – Evolution

Let’s think about the impact these emerging technologies can have on Education, on learning, on other fields (not just marketing)… not sure “revolution” is the term, but definitely an “evolution” of the way people communicate. Technology is more than ever shortening distances, including the distance between learners and content, subject matter experts AND, maybe more importantly: other learners, creating best practice communities in a matter of clicks…

Essential iPhone Apps for Students and Educators

MacWorld published the “Ten Essential Back to School iPhone Apps”. While they chose very good apps, they might have left out a few other interesting apps as well. A possible improvement on the “top X apps for students” post idea would be to have different school levels (Pre-school, Middle School, High School, Higher Ed., etc.)  AND different subjects in subcategories (General Apps, History, Math, Politics, Books, etc.) as well and list the apps that pertain to those categories only. This process would probably make it even more useful for students’ specific needs.

I still think that Education iPhone apps have to do a lot of catching-up to do in order to achieve the same level of excellence of other apps such as the games we now see on the iPhone.

However, there are some other good apps out there for Education such as the “100 Words Series” to help you sound smart in that test or paper. The iPhone seems to be a good platform for word lists and dictionaries, thesaurus-like lists, etc. (even Dictionary.com has their own apps).

For Educators, check out this list of “Top 50 Apps for Educators” from the Online Education Database.

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