Tag Archives: application

Second Screen Learning?

A phenomenon that can be classified as anything from multitasking to plain distraction is getting more popular as smartphones get smarter and tablet computers more ubiquitous: the use of the “second screen“.

It is common now to have at least one person (if not everyone) in the living room watching as movie on TV while, at the same time, checking what their friends are saying on Facebook, Twitter, or simply researching the lead role’s biography on Wikipedia. Whatever they are doing on the little screen, it seems that nowadays the big screen is not enough. People crave more. People want to connect with others and with information outside what they see on the big screen. Often, at least in my family, it is an interaction around the content of the TV, tagging it in Into_Now, and telling their friends on Facebook that they’re watching it and following up on comments about the same post.

ReadWriteWeb reports that 86% of people using their mobile device do so while watching TV. Of those, 33% use mobile apps, 37% browse non-related content, 40% are social networking, while 60% are texting with friends and family. It’s the rise of social TV which so far comprises mostly of static content (TV) coupled with dynamic, social activities (social networking, Web browsing, mobile apps, check-ins into shows and movies).

Disney offers an iPad / PC application called Second Screen which live syncs with the Blu-Ray movie on the TV and provides different content that supplements the movie: games, flipbooks, photo galleries with sketches, trivia about the movie, etc.

How would this second screen experience affect Education? What if, instead of banning smartphones and tablets, teachers in K12 encouraged synchronous exploration of concepts “synced” with what the teacher is discussing?What if in corporate Education, we saw complimentary interactions and information that gave students a better understanding of what the instructor is explaining or even interact with other students in a backchannel discussion around the topics in class?

Many already use in conferences, for instance, Twitter streams as a means to have a backchannel discussions in different sessions. Can we to go beyond that, explore other forms of “second screen experiences” at events, in the classroom, outside the classroom?

How can we combat some of the potential negative aspects of the second screen in the classroom, like distraction, lack of concentration? Can we produce second screen experiences that are channeled. guided and enhances attention rather than distract the learners? How can we employ this concept in online learning environments (being them synchronous live virtual classrooms or self-paces asynchronous experiences)?

Many questions, exciting exploration.

Food for thought: here’s a blogger’s take on how second screen experiences could be used not only in entertainment but also in politics, for instance.


Perhaps second screen experiences in Education will be a trend in 2012, with more an more mobile devices in consumers’ hands.

TwitterCamp – visualizing tweets

I was impressed by how the DevLearn 08 organizers were using the TwitterCamp application to gather tweets (Twitter messages and updates posted by the conference attendees) in one appealing visual interface.

Here is a link to the application which was created by Daniel Dura for ApolloCamp 07 and is being open sourced. The visual interface of the application can be customized to your needs, which is what DevLearn organizers did.

This is a great way of getting an audience to interact, for instance, in a real-time manner, where all their impressions are registered in s central and visual location.

The application can also be easily installed on any local machine that has the (free) Adobe Air plugin installed. 

I see this being used also as a simple audience response system or interactive story telling…

Matt – Building a Web Application in 32 Hours

I have to admit that,typos aside, TechCrunch remains one of my favorite sources of information on technology, especially Web technologies. I suppose that unmerciful deadlines and the increasing speed of publication everyone ends up committing some spelling mistakes (I have noticed this especially in academic press). Well, let’s not get into that. TechCrunch and other tech blogs are still a good source of information if you want to stay informed on the latest technologies that can impact you somehow.

All of us that are involved with Instructional Design somehow (instructional designers, teachers, programmer, learners) can benefit from adopting or developing emerging technologies. At least playing with it…

Personal conversations with Thiagi, an expert in training and instructional design, reinforced even more my belief in quick but “quality” development.

Here is the most recent post from Ryan Carson, when invited to post on TechCrunch.com. In this post he discusses the process he and his colleagues from Carsonified Design underwent to design, develop and implement a simple Web application called Matt (a multi-account Twitter Tweeter) in 32 hours. The original post has valuable tips for quick application development such as:

  1. The best boost you can give you or your team is to provide the time to be creative. Turning off your phones and email and just focusing on something new and exciting will do wonders for your energy level.
  2. It could generate some amazing buzz around you and your company or products.
  3. You’ll come back to your current projects with a new perspective and renewed energy.
  4. It will push your team to learn new skills. For example, Will, our head of sponsor relationships, spent the whole week doing PR – something new for him.

Can we apply these principles (and others which Ryan’s team experimented with) when developing learning technologies and applications? Have you had a similar experience Let’s share it here.

Matt Carsonified

PS.: you can find a video tour of “Matt” on their main page. If you look for “Matt Carsonified” on Youtube, you will find some videos they created throughout their “Matt 1 week”.

The 3G iPhone as a More Versatile Mobile Platform

The new iPhone 3G is bound to take an incredible new step toward more freedom for the user. While the first versions of the mobile device (I’m hesitant to call it a phone) were pre-loaded with applications and wouldn’t let the users add more unless were willing to risk their device’s “health” to jail-break it and install third party apps, the only official but “crippled” option was to download a link to a Web App (Web Apps are self-explanatory: applications that run on the Web and not on your local machine/phone).

Besides the 3G Wi-Fi speed, the new iPhone will offer the ability to actually download and install new applications. Apple already has a website up explaining that and they have some examples of applications on their website. The release of their Software Development Kit (SDK) is promising to the educational world also for the freedom it gives developers to create learning applications that work natively on the iPhone.

Some examples of applications they highlight on the Apps Store website include Microsoft Exchange capabilities (push mail)

Loops, an application that lets you find your friends on a Google map mash-up.

And the innovative Super Monkey Ball, which responds to your movements by means of the Accelerometer (movement detector on the iPhone) to create a more “interactive” experience. This has a lot of potential for serious games…Super Monkey Ball

Zembly – Facebook App Creator

[still a draft]

As time goes by, things always become easier to create and use, especially in social media things happen fast.

No coding, WYSISWYG is the future of things, making it easier for user-generated content to be, yes, generated.

We see a vast array of WYSIWYG applications out there and many of them are migrating to the Webtop side of things. 

We can now easily build applications for Facebook with Zembly, for example. What impact does this have in learning? This means we are able to deliver learning just-in-time, where the learners are: social media websites. Zembly is a great example of that.

iPhone official downloadable apps?

So many rumors around the new iPhone and the new iPhone software that are coming up soon.
One of those interests me the most: the feature of downloading official applications to run natively on the iPhone. I am not talking about Web Apps which are basically web-based applications to which you link from your home screen. I am not talking about jail-breaking the iPhone and installing applications.
I am talking about the possibility for every iPhone user to be able to install applications on their iPhone with the approval of Apple, running less risks of losing AppleCare coverage for installing apps illegally.

This means mobile learning in general can go even further with official development of iPhone applications that will be used for learning or sharing content.

If not now, this will happen anytime anyway. Apple can’t go on with this closed approach to application development/installation they have right now.

Gliffy – an Online Alternative to Microsoft Visio for Flowcharting

Well, everyone is talking about Gliffy and I don;t want to be redundant, but I have to give my opinion about it as well. The program lets users collaborate on flowcharts and diagrams online. This is a very good and free (for public documents) alternative to desktop diagramming tools such as Microsoft Visio, OmniGraffle, FreeMind and many others, but with an advantage: besides being online with no extra plugin required, it also allows users to collaborate and co-author flowcharts and diagrams, which comes in handy when participating in some sort of creative process while geographically distant.

Even though the web application is an innovative technology that can not only compare but also outdo desktop applications and is definitely is ahead of everyone else in the online diagramming arena as far as professional look and feel is concerned, Gliffy is still a little glitchy (no pun intended) if not missing features. (I’m sure they will work on this soon.

One of the major flaws in it is the lack of immediate update without attaching a “version number to the file”. There are to bad outcomes of this:

1- If you and a colleague are collaborating AT THE SAME TIME on the same document you won’t immediately see the changes they’ve made to a document. I haven’t tested this on complex flowcharts but I wonder if there will be any conflicts between versions if both save their version simultaneously.

2- If you make any minor change to the document and decide to hit the “save” button, a new version number is attached to the document… So, a freak about saving stuff like me will have a v178 of a document after 20 minutes of editing and saving. ;)

Another catchy thing about Gliffy (and it is part of their business plan) is how they only allow free accounts to create public documents and require users to purchase their premium account for unlimitted documents and the option of making them private.

Competitors can be:

  • Bubbl.us
  • MindMeister – more focused on “mind mapping”.
  • Mindomo – same as above.
  • Mind42 – Another collaborative mind mapping tool that stands out for the array of features ranging from keywords to speed up the process of creation to assigning icons to process and creating image nodes that import images from URLs.
  • Comapping – not free but cost-effective and feature-rich collaborative diagramming solution.

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