Tag Archive | Misc.

Wicked, Cool Example of Augmented Reality

It is not every day I use “wicked” as an adjective, but this calls for its use. While attending the  Enterprise Learning Conference & Expo today, I saw an example of the use of augmented reality as created by BMW. The video clip shown during the “Next Generation of Learning Systems” session is the same clip as the one found on YouTube and embedded below. I promise it will wow you and even if you are not a New Englander, like me, you will still say is “wicked cool.”

Be Prepared for Hurricane Irene

Hurricane

With Hurricane Irene on its way towards the east coast (U.S.) I thought I would share the following online learning courses that may be of assistance to those in its path.

Are You Prepared? – 72hours.org

Be Red Cross Ready – American Red Cross

Hurricane Preparedness – Propane Exceptional Energy

To all those potentially affected by the hurricane, please be careful, prepare as well as you can, and be safe.

Jeff

Reflecting on My 2010 Blog Posts and Happy New Year

Over at the Learning Circuits’ Big Question it is time once again to reflect on the past year. So, I took a look at my most popular posts during 2010. FYI: I used eLearningLearning to identify my “Best of” posts according to social indicators.

Here are the top 10 posts written in 2010:

  1. My e-Learning Don’ts
  2. A Few Practical Tips on Storyboarding
  3. Development Tools I Would Learn If I Were You – June’s Big Question
  4. Looking for THE SCORM Resource?
  5. e-Learning and Games in Healthcare
  6. Keeping Up – April’s Big Question
  7. What is HTML 5?
  8. Voice Over in e-Learning, Sometimes
  9. e-Learning via the BBC
  10. Flash Tutorials on Screenr

While it is nice to see I still have posts from 2009 that make it in the top 10, I only included those written in 2010. The first thing that jumps out is that quite a few relate to development. Although on reflection I probably wrote a great deal this year on development. Any skew towards development is probably due to starting a new job last February and dealing with learning a new LMS, some new software, and getting reacquainted with some old software. All of which I was able to do and the blog helped by being a tool of self-reflection and a great source of helpful comments and shared resources from my very generous readers.

I was very pleased to see the “My e-Learning Don’ts” post at number one. I wrote it as a bit of a rant against “ineffective” e-learning, but it was tweeted quite a bit and was referenced in several other blogs. That was very flattering and on reflection I think I hit on many of the things that also irk others and sinks many e-learning projects. Hopefully it provided a dose of prevention… I know for me I will revisit it, and the comments generated, as reminders of what not to do.

Thank you everyone who visited my blog in 2010 and here’s to a great 2011. Happy New Year everyone!

Jeff

My New Social Bookmarking Tool

I have been a big fan of social bookmarking and my preferred tool for social bookmarking has been Delicious. With the initial rumor that Yahoo will be discontinuing it and now the news they may be selling it,  I imported my bookmarks to Diigo. It was a very easy process and retained all of my tags. This is great because I often share these tags on my blog, Twitter, e-mail and even in the classroom, so seeing them preserved was very important to me. Here are some of the tags I share the most, which are now available in Diigo:

I also added a Diigo widget to this bog. So, if you are a Diigo user you can bookmark my posts using the icon in the right column. I have also inserted a working example below.

Add to Diigo

Music for Games and e-Learning

treble clef

If you are looking for music for your e-learning or educational games, I have a resource for you – mOsno. The right music can add great depth and emotion to e-learning and especially games. Just as any good instructional designer uses or creates graphics that support the learning, use of music and audio should do the same. However, it is not always easy to find the right music, or musician to create music, that will support the learning and design. Well meet mOsno. He creates some fantastic stuff including the music you are hearing now created for an educational environmental game, My Own Biome. FYI: He is not only a very talented musician, but has a game development background in addition to experience producing music for games.

If you are looking to connect with mOsno, here is his site – www.mosno.net. There are also more fantastic examples of his work on the site.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F5918426&show_comments=false&auto_play=true&color=004de6 Desert level by mOsno

Adobe Museum of Digital Media (AMDM)

Adobe now has a preview of its Adobe Museum of Digital Media. This is a virtual museum dedicated to digital media. As Adobe describes it,

The Adobe Museum of Digital Media (AMDM) is a unique virtual space designed to showcase and preserve groundbreaking digital work and to present expert commentary on how digital media influences culture and society. (see full description)

It will be online and always open. I always enjoy seeing great examples of digital media, especially when it is very creative and pushes the envelope. I hope to see some very innovative exhibits and hopefully be inspired too.

The museum opens October 6th, but you can see a preview now at at www.adobemuseum.com.

adobe pin (AMDM)

Why Do We Have an LMS?

That's me

Warning, this is a bit of a rant written mostly for my own need in sorting through how I really feel about learning management systems (LMSs). If you work with the average LMS you probably understand.

I have worked numerous different LMSs, some good and some not so good. I don’t think I have used any considered “user-friendly” on either the admin or the user end. Currently, I am getting to know another LMS and trying to be patient with its quirks and illogical design. To give it some credit it is not much quirkier, or designed much worse, than most other LMSs (most are drek). As in the past, once I get used to the peculiarities of the system I am sure I will begin to tolerate it and even be able to do what is needed. However, learning to get it to do what you want it to does take quite a bit of hair pulling and shouting many nasty phrases at it. I also have received great deal of help from my coworkers who also work with the system, in which I am extremely grateful. If you are reading this, thank you.

Now, why the heck do we even use these things? Here are the crazy reasons we keep hearing in the corporate training world.

  1. “Auditors are going to ask for reports showing everyone took the compliance courses.”
  2. “We need to give assessments and see that learning occurred.”
  3. “We need a way for staff to enroll in classroom training.”
  4. “So staff can access their transcripts.”
  5. “We have to track EVERYTHING!”

Some of these reasons are valid to a point, but do we really need a cumbersome LMS for all this? First off, we do not need to track everything. We should be more concerned that staff are learning and applying what they learned than if they have the word “completed” next to their name. In the case of assessments it may demonstrate learning, but not the application of what was learned or the results of its application. It is very important that learning occurred, but please do not assume they did anything with it. As far as classroom enrollment and transcripts, I am confident there are cheaper, easier alternatives for those tasks.

Yes, there is some practicality in the fore-mentioned list and I am not naive enough to think we can simply write off the LMS so quickly. And yeah, I know the auditors want to see a report that has the word “completed” next to each person’s name. However, in my perfect world we can offer courses that are accessible outside the LMS and our audience take courses because of their thirst to learn not to get the word “completed” placed next to their name.

For the record, I see the value in having an LMS, but I also see  its limitations, hindrances, and how it can be when overused. I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with it.

What value do you see in an LMS or what do you see as reasons we do not need one?

Thank you for allowing me to vent on this subject. I have to get back to completing a bulk enrollment and then run a couple of reports.

That's me working on the LMS

What I Would Like to Say About HTML5 and Flash

There has been plenty of buzz about HTML5 and it being a “Flash killer.” I think HTML5 has great potential and will be a welcomed improvement to the web, but it is still in its infancy and does not show any signs of being able to compete with Flash anytime time soon. I think some of the confusion comes from the fact that it currently has the ability of embedding video and audio, which makes it a viable alternative regarding those commonly used features. However, if you have looked at animation and interactivity in HTML5 it does not compete with Flash at all. Here are some examples and another, which support my argument. FYI: My intent is not to demean these examples. They are good considering what the creators had to work with, a working DRAFT of HTML5 and are a sign of better things in the years to come. So, will HTML5 compete with Flash in the future, maybe but keep in mind it has a very steep climb and Flash will not be standing still waiting. I do think HTML5’s edge will be that Flash is not on all mobile devices including the iPhone and its larger version, the iPad. I also think the appearance of the iPad has greatly increased the buzz on HTML5 and may boost its demand.

Something that has also been confusing is its availability. Yes, a working draft is available today and browsers are starting to support it. However, the W3C candidate recommendation stage is expected in 2012 and will reach W3C recommendation in 2022, possibly later. No, that is not a typo, it does say 2022. See more on the estimated timeline here and also here. We will see advances and improvements over the next few years, but they will still be working drafts.

It will be very interesting in how e-learning authoring tools adopt and adapt to HTML5. I am sure many are  exploring that now. As far as web development, Dreamweaver is already offering an extension so you can start exploring it now. The video below provides information on Dreamweaver and HTML5 along with an opinion on the “HTML5 and Flash” issue.

Bottom line, don’t put all your hopes in something that has yet delivered. Learn about it, keep an eye on it, even play around with the working drafts if you have the time and patience. Right now Flash is the best and most powerful tool in an e-learning developer’s toolbox and HTML5’s current draft can’t touch it. Will that change? Maybe, maybe not, but if it does it will be quite a while before HTML5 is a true competitor for Flash. Until HTML5 offers the same level of quality as Flash I will stick with Flash and still recommend it for any e-learning developer’s toolbox.

Again, here is the link to Dreamweaver’s HTML5 pack. And if you have any examples of HTML5 that prove me wrong or an opinion, please add it to the comments section.


Yours truly,


A Flash user open to using HTML5 when and if it becomes a viable alternative.

Baltimore's Bid for Google Fiber

Baltimore Bid for Google FiberBaltimore has put in a bid for Google Fiber, which is Google’s experiment to select one or more trial locations for a ultra high speed fiber network.

Here is brief description from Google of what they are planning to build:

Google is planning to build and test ultra-high speed broadband networks in one or more trial locations across the country. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today over 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We’ll offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.

Of course I am biased as a resident of the Baltimore area, but I truly believe Baltimore is a fantastic location for this special opportunity. It is the location of superb higher educational institutions, research facilities, science and technology industry, and highly creative and innovative residents. Baltimore has a website that supports Baltimore’s bid and it includes community support via videos and Google Maps.

You can also provide support for Baltimore’s bid, if interested. The deadline for submitting your support for Baltimore or any of the other towns’ bids is March 26, 2010.

Interactive Surfaces (Multitouch) at the Museum

This weekend I visited the Maryland Science Center and was very impressed with an interactive table that had a computer screen projected onto it. Navigation was controlled by tilting the table and you could zoom in on objects by twisting the table. See the video below to see the interactive table screen in action. Forgive the quality of the video, lighting was not in my favor.

Here are some more interactive surfaces being used at museums around the world.

Emakhosini Museum, South Africa

The Adventure Science Center in Nashville, Tennessee

Australian Museum

Coimbra’s Science Museum, Portugal

Here is also an interesting video by Adobe on the future of multitouch.