Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bits of Honey

The trip to Colorado couldn't have been any smoother. Everything worked like a well-oiled machine, including the airlines. Surprisingly enough, the return flights were ahead of schedule. While I was away, several interesting tech stories hit the virtual presses.

The Printed Blog: Print is dead they say, long live print! More on this experiment can be found here.

The latest addition to the Twitter family - Bank of America.

A virtual college debate match - St. Johns versus the University of Vermont: February 4 at 8 p.m. ET in Second Life! Go here if you'd like to attend this event.

Interested in elearning? This site includes a bibliography of 2007-2008 articles, and some are available online.

Are young people as tech-savvy as they are portrayed in much of the literature? Some Australian scholars say "No." Go here and here for the details.

The 2009 Horizon Report claims that the latest hot technologies are mobile technology, cloud computing, "geo-everything," and the personal web. In the coming years, watch for semantic applications and smart objects. What about video games and virtual worlds? No info on video games, but virtual worlds are mentioned in the geo-everything and smart objects sections.

A new critical case study also came out this week on social networking sites and electronic surveillance.

Enabling video game players to create games as well as play them. A fad or a new game genre that's here to stay?

No online learning option for individuals taking advantage of the GI Bill.

The mobile computing trend is on the rise, but "the era of the desktop PC is quickly coming to an end."

It's not just for entertainment anymore! YouTube is now a reference search tool.

A few little nuggets from the publishing world:
John McMurtrie - editor of the San Francisco Chronicle book reviews - has plans to save it from the "deteriorating" pub. world. "The days of a 'newsmagazine of record'...are long gone." http://

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bits of Honey

Just returned from Chicago and head out to Colorado later in the week. While I've been jet setting, here's what's been happening in the world of elearning, the Web 2.0, and the publishing industry...just to name a few.

Education and eLearning
Serendipitously stumbled across two more new pieces on mobile learning....
Publishing, Reading, and Writing
Research & Academia
  • When you use your kids as your research subject, you get to sign your own informed consent forms. Hmm....
  • "The academic fast track has a bad rep...unrelenting wk hrs that allow little/no room for a satisfy. family life.”
  • "Cellular telephones are perhaps the biggest threat to survey data that epidemiologists have confronted in years."
Social Networking
The Web 2.0
Video Games and Virtual Worlds
  • View digital reproductions of some of the Prado's "best loved masterpieces" through Google Earth.
  • "The lines between the cell phone market’s 'mobile gaming' and true portable gaming are starting to blur."
  • “WARNING: Excessive exposure to violent video games & other violent media has been linked to aggressive behavior”

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Bits of Honey

While the weather this week in the physical world made me want to hibernate, a counter feeling was felt in the online world. There was a blizzard of activity going on during the first full week of the new year. Here's what people were all atwitter about this week.

Gaming and Virtual Worlds
  • "Barbie reps. a confident and independent woman with an amazing ability to have fun while remaining glamorous."
  • Women = ~ 1/2 of new physicians, but there is new concern about a "leaking pipeline." Will pt work/flextime help?
EdTech, Education, and Online Learning
  • Wired proposes 5 options to Google that might bailout newspaper. But should Google do anything?
  • Newspapers are dying. Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, wants to save them...he just doesn't want to buy them. The answer?
Predictions and Trends
  • EDUCAUSE's top 5 educational challenges for 2009.
  • "No one can guarantee that these [5] emerging technologies will become widely accepted but the trends are clear."
Social Networking
  • "By becoming entangled in ever more social networks online, people are building up their own piles of revealing data." A copy of the full report, written by Google researchers, is available here.
  • YAs may have time for Facebook but "35% of males & 42% of females reported lacking time to sit down & eat a meal."
  • "Facebook announced that 150 million people across the globe are actively using Facebook—half of them every day."
  • A negative review posted to a social networking site like Yelp could lead to a lawsuit.
  • SNS LiveJournal has laid off (no severance) 12 of its 28 US employees. So far, no layoffs at Facebook & MySpace.
  • Get to know your kids thru MySpace & Facebook, and learn about the risky behaviors they discuss. The full report is available in the January 2009 issue of The Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. [NOTE: Check your local library for free online access.]
  • Celebrities who twitter "are being forced to pick a spot on the Gulbis-O’Neal scale of openness."
  • Google cut some of its famously free cafeterias & canceled a big company ski trip. Oh, and there were layoff too.
  • Due to the tough economic times, the One Laptop Per Child project is restructuring and cutting staff.
  • The Pre - it's a "killer Palm product" not an iPhone killer. But will it get Palm back in the smart phone game?
  • Are desktop computers headed for the junkyard? Some analysts speculate that laptops are today's alpha computer.
  • Best Buy is now selling refurbished iPhones for $149 and $249 (deps. on memory). Original price $199 and $299.
  • Hulu: "It was hazed as just another slick effort to upstage the fun, do-it-yourself YouTube" but not anymore.
  • On Jan. 15, 2009, 15,000 Microsoft employees (~17% of its total work force) may be without a job.
Writing and Publishing
  • Of the 312 stories in the New Yorker from 2003-2008, 119 or 38.1% were penned by women--up from 37.4% last year.
  • Secondhand books - "Away with 'Best Novels of 2009', farewell to 'the new faces of the new year':
  • "There are only ten writers that you can be compared to in blurbs or publicity materials."
  • Reflecting on fiction that appeared in the New Yorker in 2008:
  • "It is not just publishing’s flashy customs that are getting a tough look. Other sacred cows..are being examined."
  • "It brings the literature...back into a form that the students of the 21st century will be able to find it.”
  • After 73 years, Librairie de France in NY's Rockefeller Center will close its doors in Sept. 2009.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bits of Honey

This was another quiet week, but there appeared to be a flurry of activity around the start of the new year. Much of the discussion surrounded year-end summaries as well as predictions for 2009. Here are just a handful of topics that made it to the cyberwaves...

Education, Elearning & Virtual Worlds
STEM & Geeks
Technology - Computers, Companies & Products
Writing & Publishing
  • The value of author websites: "An author is no longer a disembodied face on the back of a book jacket."
  • Recent publishing troubles got ya down? Try self-publishing. Here's a list of 25 tips to get you started:
And finally, this article in Friday's Telegraph (Jan. 2) borders on the ridiculous. A new primary school in the UK dropped the term "school" from its name. Why? Administrators believe that this term has negative connotations and prefers that the new structure to be known as a "place of learning." No matter what administrators call it, the name isn't what is important; rather, the key to making a school a positive place for learning revolves around the pedagogies that take place there. If the same, tired approaches are used, then calling it a place of learning does not make the lecture more exciting or unique.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Video Games - Are They the Solution?

In the current (January 1, 2009) issue of Scientific American, Larry Greenemeire ponders whether video games may be the solution to today's educational problems. According to Greenemeire, video games are popular with young people, and it is likely that the attraction to this form of entertainment will continue to grow. The author points to examples of successful educational game-like environments such as Chris Dede's River City project. Many educators, like Dede, contend that these multi-user virtual environments (MUVEs) support critical thinking skills and foster interest in science and math. Further, technology proponents suggest that students have different learning styles, and this diversity is not always taken into account in the physical classroom setting. Thus, Greenemeire highlights the claims that MUVEs present students with multiple ways of learning. While educators do not believe that video games will replace traditional education, Greenemeire does conclude that "research into the effectiveness of video games as learning tools indicates that classrooms of the future will certainly include a virtual component." However, a common theme presented throughout the literature on video games, virtual worlds, and education is that more empirical research is needed. Currently, there are more questions than answers when it comes to determining the learning outcomes associated with virtual environments.

It is worth mentioning that the ideas presented by Greenemeire are based on work that appears in a special online collection of Science - one that focuses on education and technology. [NOTE: Science is one of those access via subscription only publications. Many libraries pay for an online subscription to this publication, and patrons can access the full-text articles for free.]