Thursday, July 22, 2010

Final Reflections on the Campus Technology 2010 Conference

Today was only a half of a day, so, first of all no free lunch was served. Drats! As a result, as I start to write this I’m sitting in Boston’s South Station mezzanine eating Cajun fast food (go figure, I travel to Boston, the heart of Yankee sensibility – although I challenge you to tell a diehard Sox fan that) and I’m eating a quintessential southern meal of chicken, jambalaya rice, and corn.

On the other hand, the half day was packed with wonderful information, anecdotes, and demonstrations of how technology is changing the face of education that it was a perfect capstone for the whole four day event.

Most of this new technology resides in the cloud, which is what I think both awes and scares the corporate world. It requires a great deal of courage to expose yourself in this way and to play in the clouds requires forfeiture of a great deal of privacy. Of course there is also a great deal of courage needed to bet on any cloud application. I spoke with Jeff Riman, an instructional designer from FIT-SUNY after he and his teammates finished presenting how their school implements the use of social and collaborative media. I was curious about what the time it took for their faculty and students to get use to Videothread, their collaborative cloud app that allows audio and video multimedia to be seamlessly meshed with forum discussions.

Anyone familiar with forums knows that they are text heavy and requires a bit of scrolling to read long threads and intuitively figure out where branches occur. Adding audio and video makes it a great deal more interactive. He acknowledged that there is a level of risk in buying into cloud apps.

You don’t know if it is being run by one lone guy from his basement with his lone server sitting next to his furnace.

And that vision is what will inhibit the corporate world from proceeding down this avenue…at least for a short while longer. I suspect the corporate world will want to continue to figuratively whistle while walking by the graveyard until the voices force them to stop and listen. The voices will not only be that of learners passed who they failed in their adherence to the LMS universe, but also those of the learners present and future who have been exposed to the new collaborative learning world and will not be happy with stale classroom events measured in hours of seat time and page-turning elearning with its mandatory final assessment filled with multiple choice and true/false questions.

As I write this I see a young man sitting in front of me eating his lunch while checking his Facebook account using his Smartphone while down below me, standing next to a row of pay telephones is a young lady who is chatting away on her cell phone. Sitting at a table is a 30something professional lady studying her Smartphone, I can’t tell if she is reading email or texting. In fact as I scan the floor of South Station I see a host of mp3 players, Smartphones, laptop computers, and netbooks in use. These devices have become ubiquitous and to deny their applicability as learning devices is a mistake. And the people who are using them will most likely need to be exposed to our training, or more likely not.

But does this mean that every teacher, training facilitator and instructional designer needs to acquire a Facebook or Twitter presence and then send out friend requests or follow invitations to every learner they may interact with? No, in fact this is one message that rang throughout the conference; students do not want that form of engagement. Just as we want a wall between our work lives and our family lives, so students want a wall between their social lives and their academic lives. So to move forward educators of all stripes will want to become the learners once again and learn to use these new collaborative tools in a way that they can reach and engage their students.

It can be as simple as learning the details of how to manage these tools themselves. We actually got into a somewhat heated discussion about this in the middle session of the day when we discussed how educational professionals can use social media to develop themselves. In that session, the debate was about the ratio of noise to sound on Twitter feeds. One participant argued that a lot of what is posted on Twitter is narcissistic. “Why should I care where Clay Shirky is eating dinner?” the participant said. And he has a point a person can quickly get overrun trying to follow all of the twitter feeds they have, but as others pointed out there are means to filter out the noise either by limiting who you are following or using specific codes within messages so that the feeds are more direct.

The other method is to employ technology to bridge the divide just as Dr Grant Warner of Howard University demonstrated with the use of ConnectYard. This tool, and I’m sure others like it soon to come will serve as a courier to carry simple email or text messages from the faculty member and deliver it to the students’ Facebook or Twitter accounts or straight to their text messenger service.

Note that earlier I used the words “want to” and “can” instead of  “have to” or “need” or “must.” I almost used both of these words, but I fortunately caught myself. I nor anyone else that argues for the use of social and collaborative media should insist that others adopt their views and this is for two main reasons.

  1. To insist on adaptation of your concept of learning crosses the line from educating and sponsoring new tools and applications for teaching to preaching and the creation of new dogma. Once a topic moves from education to holy writ it too become rigid and unwilling to change. As technology grows and improves the Facebooks and Twitters of today will become as archaic as the list servs and forums of the 1990s.
  2. To continue to insist that the educators and the administration that pays their salaries while they continue to resist means you have adapted their approach of lecturing, which, ironically, is the system you wish to displace and your resistors are trying to preserve.

Of course privacy is also an issue. I am now writing onboard an Amtrak train hurtling south toward my home. The seat behind me is inhabited by a businessman, apparently a hedge fund salesperson. I got this information from overhearing him conducting business over his cell phone while we travel. I now know from listening to him (I couldn’t help it, he has a loud voice) that he is staying in a hotel on Commonwealth Avenue in Boston and I know his cell phone number which I will not give out here. All of this I gathered while listening to him call and leave messages with clients and prospects over his cell phone. Could I use this information to my advantage, I don’t know, but I bet a more unscrupulous, but tech savvy person could.

As we move into this brave new world we need to be mindful that we are giving out a lot of information we think should be private when we use these devices. If we are to integrate cloud apps with training we must be equally careful. The closing keynote speaker, Josh Baron of Marist College spoke of this and he thinks that in the near future there will be the capability to mash up collaborative apps with LMSs’ so that student personal and private information will be safe behind a firewall while the collaborative elements will reside in the clouds.

In the end I keep going back to day 1 and John Kuglin’s demonstration of how interactivity can be built into even a two-hour presentation. It’s not rocket science, but it does involve a certain familiarity with the technology. And that’s my goal to learn more about these social tools so that I can speak with greater authority regarding them.

Campus Technology – Day 4 – Part 3

The final act of the conference in which the closing keynote address in which Josh Baron, the director of academic technology and elearning at Marist College talks about The Ed Tech Journey and a Future Driven by Disruptive Change.

He began by defining what disruptive change is. He also encouraged people to tweet any comments and questions that he will respond to the next date.

He asked what was important about the dates of 4/28/03 and 4/3/08? – on 4/28/08 – Apple launched itTunes and on 4/3/08 it has become the largest music retailer in the US with 50 million customers.

So how will education look like in the future due to this change. He quickly looked at the past impact of digital revolution, which has been minimal. Data transfer speeds have expanded exponentially from the telegraph operator transmitted at 28 bits per second while the internet transfers at 48 billion bits per second.

Processing speeds and storage capacity  for computers have grown rapidly from the 1970s to the present.

In the classroom, he shows a picture of what he calls  the high-tech hall of the 1960s had two televisions.

In the 1996 high-tech lecture hall has an overhead projection system with a computer, a camcorder, VCR and television, but the teacher is still lecturing like in the 1960s.

So he asks why there is no disruption? He answers that we ae trying to just automate instruction, i.e. switch from transparencies to PowerPoint. There was some disruption from distance education and entry of for-profits. Currently 1 in 4 students take at least one online course per semester.


Emerging technologies are in two buckets. The first is Open eduction trends:

  1. Open course content – high quality university-level course materials are free to access, share, and remix without cost. Example MIT’s OpenCourseWare (OCW) project – 2000 courses online.
  2. Open Access Journals – to make scholarly journals free to the public. Jorunals can be found at Directory of Open Access Journals. The material goes through the typical vetting process.
  3. Open Textbooks – similar to open access journals – a leader is Connexions based at Rice University. Another example is a commercial ecosystem in Flat World Knowledge. Flat World Knowledge allows her to customize books for her needs (Ed Note: does this create a problem in which two students with two different teachers use the same Flat World Knowledge textbook, but have modified them. Can they have a fair debate over a topic if they have two different sources of information.
  4. Open Instructional Software. Carnegie Mellon is spearheading. It focuses on cognitive learning and the software has embedded cognitive tutor to assist.


His predictions for the future disruptions in education are:

  • The cost of educational content dramatically reduced that will lead in the collapse of the traditional publishing industry.
  • Also see trends toward “best of breed” content, materials will be constantly improved. This will allow faculty to focus on teaching, not content creation.
  • It will empower “self-directed learners” and they will ask questions about the cost of their education.

Many people think we are heading into a post-LMS era with a focus instead on personal learning environment which is highly personal. But LMS will not go away because of privacy issues around grades and other personal data found on LMS. He thinks their will be a mashup of LMS and PLE.

Next he focused on electronic portfolios. They have been around almost as long as LMS, but it was not until 2003 that their use has started to take over. Growth drivers is the value of “reflection” in student-centered learning. Other drivers are Accountability (Spellings Commission), and a means to capture all facets of learning such as curricular, cocurricular, and extracurricular. Unfortunately there is no credentialing module to give credit or extracurricular work.

Final disruption is the Semantic Web in which the machine can interpret the data in your system. Wolfram Alpha is an early attempt to address this issue. This will allow learners to ask computers deeper questions and learn from their answers.

The disruptions are:

  • Empowering of self-directed and informal learning
  • Enable documenting and credentialing of outcomes from self-directed and informal learning
  • Self-directed competes with higher education
  • The internet becomes  a powerful learning tool for knowledge generation

He finished by envisioning what the future holds for education.

Learning will not be held hostage by large, professional educational organizations in which you pay for the right to education.

Campus Technology – Day 4 – Part 2

The final breakout session for the conference that I am attending is Educational Social Networking for Professional Development presented by Steve Hargadon, a Social Learning Consultant for Elluminate.

Mr. Hargadon is saying we are telling new stories in new ways. He works largely in the k-12 grade level. He was told to start a blog, but he didn’t see a goal for it, but he did start and created a community called Classroom 2.0 and has a wiki called Educational Networking.

We have become much more visually literate as he shows an image of a girl with fairies dancing in front of her. But we don’t feel digitally literate. He asked about use of Twitter, he said he goes back and forth between it being a useful tool and a complete waste of time. He said that as he refined his use of Twitter he is coming to feel it is useful, but it required learning to use it.

He then noted that Facebook membership makes its population larger than the population of all countries except India and China.

The impact of the internet is going to be greater than the impact of the invention of the printing press. All institutions are losing power not that the individuals gain this kind of voice. For instance, United Airlines broke a passenger’s guitar and he made a You Tube video of it that garnered a greater audience then some major movies.

The internet is a conversation. We’re used to a world of printed material that was vetted, but the internet allows a more free flow of ideas.

Educational networking will become the framework structure of the educational experience, he says.

Educators are currently in a non-conversational culture. He asks them questions and asks them to rate from Strongly Agree, Agree, Neutral, Disagree and Strongly Disagree.

  • We have a hard time balancing assessment testing and true learning
  • Schools will change radically in the next 5 to 10 years.
  • Health care is a civil right and should be guaranteed by the government.

He then moves them to the appropriate areas of the room based on their response and discuss the point. They are always nervous to discuss the last question.

We put ourselves in a box when it comes to discuss social media. He showed pictures of a casino and a school. He said the problem with social media is it always seen as a casino, but now we are rethinking what social networking is.

He defines social networking as the aggregation of a set of participative web tools that facilitate creation, conversation, and sharing. Wikis and blogs are difficult to see any conversation occurs, but on Facebook there is instant success as people see you and want to be “friends.”

What are the building blocks of social networks:

  • The profile page in an educational perspective can find likeminded educational perspective. You can find resourses
  • Friending can form colleague relationships
  • Forums, you can find discussions on topics such as using the ipod touch in schools.
  • Photo/Video/Audio uploading – they are content repositories
  • Groups: allow individual members to become creator of a topic of interest. They represent Learning teams or self-created communities

So social networking + LMS + Live Collaboration will be the new learning platform. To implement student-related social networking systems you must approach in this order:

  1. Start with educators and administrators first. An audience member notes that many people think that students will drive this effort, but the educators and administrators must be the guiding light providing assistance to students in learning how to blog and they must learn how to do this first. Steve agrees and says you can’t make people blog, we have to culturally negotiate this.
  2. Fill  the user’s needs not yours. Flickr did not start out as a photo sharing site it morphed to that – so its no longer a top down direction. In this new world you are not dictating you are generating and experimenting with all participants.
  3. Facilitate the process, not the outcome (build a park, not a cafeteria)
  4. Support and promote the early adopters (more important than you)
  5. Seek Change – you need to look for ways to change to help a learner
  6. Build a culture (tenor)
  7. Recognize the importance of interpersonal skills to facilitate and mediate

Sustained participation depends on the tenor of the network and listening, trust, helping, authenticity, transparency, change, genuineness, being “”human,” having fun, being involved apologies, explanations, patience, communication.

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 4 – Part 1

The final day of the conference and I’m kicking it off with Student Voices + Technilogical Innovation: Rethinking Online Pedagogies. Certainly a mouthful, and worthy of four individual presenters:

  • Elaine Maldonado, Director, Faculty Development and Center for Excel, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Jeff Riman, Instructional Designer and Coordinator, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Dympna Bowles, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY
  • Tamara Cupples, Executive Director of Online Learning and Academic Technology, Fashion Institute of Technolgy- SUNY

Their presentation is about how FIT used web-based tools and other technologies to created blended learning opportunities.

Dympna Bowles led off with a general overview of FIT. FIT is located in Manhatten, NY with about 10,500 students and 1,000 faculty along with some other international locations. It is a public college within the SUNY system. They offer a total of 47 degree programs in 28 different areas of study.

They offer 100 fully online courses and 1 online degree program using the Angel LMS. They use a lot of specialized proprietary programs as well as off-the-shelf. One specialized program is Web PDM – data management program that allows students to track the life of a product including costs, marketing issues.

We asked employers what they were looking for in new hires in the softer skills area was collaboration skills.

Elaine Maldonado spoke about student response about the use of collaborative technology. They held roundtables between students and faculty to discuss this area. About 70 students participated in these sessions with an additional 30 students brought in later. The campus was abuzz afterward because the answers were not what the faculty expected.

In preparation for this session they handed out clickers to random participants. They showed us questions and asked people to use the clickers to respond and then compared the results to what students responded.

Audience asked

  • how often students expected faculty to respond to email by the end of the day, while students were more lenient saying 24 hours.
  • how often students should check their school email, the audience responded daily, which is what the students said.
  • How students feel about PowerPoint presentation, the audience responded, they are boring when faculty read the material to the class, which is what the students said.
  • How students felt about online learning, the audience responded that it all depends upon the teacher. The students responded that they don’t like online classes that have mostly written materials. This indicates that the faculty drives the online experience
  • Do students like their professor using social networking sites like Facebook in their class, and the audience responded that they answered “It’s Ok..sometimes.” But the audience responded “No…it’s an invasion of our privacy.”

    It is a two-sided coin here, they don’t want faculty friending them in the Facebook arena, but they were OK if the faculty set up a Facebook page dedicated to the class. So maybe this means that faculty need to be educated about how Facebook works. Another concern is the fact that Facebook does not delete any information you post when you delete the page.

Student feedback on blended learning was more positive, feeling that it was more meaningful and helped learning the subject and improving on their time-management skills.

Jeff Riman took over to discuss the multi-discipline technologies that were applied to the blended learning. Faculty have reported that teaching a blended, technology enhanced course improves on their teaching skills.

First sample, History of Art class lends itself well to vodcasts in which the narrators speak while examples of the artwork is displayed. Learners have to take notes so there is still student interaction.

Second sample of a vodcast is taken from the Introduction to Sewing class – the vodcast demonstrates how to thread a bobbin on a sewing machine.

Business of Photography example shows how to use business-specific software. The instructor is using Voicethread which is not typically used for this process, but it helped students become familiar.

Screencast is used to introduce Autocad, done in Camtasia.

The last example shown is VoiceThread. We like it because people don’t like the text based forum. VoiceThread is more multimedia and it allows students to post using their voice and show images.

Voicethread seems fascinating but it seems on first blush a bit complicated to follow. I will need to follow up and explore it some more. If it is not as complicated as it seems then it is a fascinating alternative to reading extensive pieces of text. Accessibility was raised by another participant, but in regard to vodcasts, but I wonder how accessible Voicethread is. Again, I will have to research.

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 3 – Wrap up

Day 3 started with Stephen Lester, the CIO from Harvard’s Business School stating that New Normal is a world where IT departments are going to have to be nimbler and consultative with their customers to succeed in a world where they have to do more with less. This is quickly becoming true across the board for all learning organizations, and this attitude was exemplified by JoAnn Gonzalez-Major from the University of Alaska-Anchorage as she explained she and her cohort Amanda Albright, senior instructional designers for that school.

Ms Gonzalez-Major and Ms Albright had to support 6 campuses, 6 extension, 1,278 faculty, 1,211 staff and other 20,000 students. Their presentation focused on the instructional design resource center they created to serve the faculty in not only becoming proficient in the tactical use of technology to serve their far flung student base, but also assisting them in determining the best strategic use of the technology to present their courses. They built the entire service on the open-source Moodle learning management system (LMS). They devised a Wiki with short how-to guides and multimedia links to demonstrate the operations.

They also ran virtual book discussions on instructional design books. The faculty would each be assigned a chapter in a book about instructional design to read. They would then present a report at a virtual meeting that would be recorded. These sessions would then be posted to the resource center for later review. Thus learning was not the traditional sage speaking to the crowds, but the crowds speaking to one another. Of course this requires participant buy-in on the topic.

There was also an infrequent need by the faculty – as they developed digital media for their courses – for the specific software (such as Camtasia, Captivate, and Snagit) they required. The school could not afford to provide licenses for this software to all of the professors, but they did buy blocks of licenses and they provided for faculty to check out a license as they needed it.

ransom_note_269[1] The other memorable session, was the final session of the day by Mike Rustici helped reinforce in my mind the current status and use of SCORM. The original concept of SCORM was to create online learning content as blocks that could be used and reused as needed by the learner. It has not, on a broad scale, met that goal just yet because of what Mr. Rustici called the Ransom Note Effect. This effect is the result of different content developers imbuing their content with their own personal vision. If you cobble together customized learning material for a learner the result would look like a ransom note.

So basically SCORM is used today solely at the course level to track learners’ completion rates. He advised that SCORM should only be applied if you want to:

  • Track learner success
  • Buying content and an LMS from different vendors
  • Create a library of reusable objects

Then there was the open period from noon until the 3:00 pm final session when their was lunch, vendor visits and presentations and poster presentations. The vendors of TechSmith did a fascinating short presentation about their tools: Camtasia Studio, Camtasia Relay, and Jing. Jing is a free online application that allows you to capture computer screen content, add narration, and then post it to personal servers or sites such as You Tube or Flickr. It limits presentations to 5 minutes and original content gets posted to TechSmith’s servers.

Also fascinating was their Camtasia Relay which records on screen content and the presenters’ audio, uploads it to TechSmith’s servers where it is converted into streamable video. But the real killer element of this tool is that TechSmith’s servers also scans the audio and turns it into searchable text. Viewers can then search for a specific word or phrase and the video will bounce ahead to that particular term. The idea came from watching college students in a classroom where the professor records and posts his lectures. These students did not bother taking copious notes, rather than recorded “time stamps” of elements of the presentation they wanted to review after the presentation was posted.

The other interesting vendor presentation was more a testimonial from Dr. Grant Warner of Howard University for ConnectYard. ConnectYard provides a centralized social media platform that simplifies and unifies communications across a variety of social technologies including Facebook and YouTube. Dr. Warner, a professor of mechanical engineering at Howard University explained how his school used ConnectYard to ensure that at-risk students could be supported to continue their study within the science fields.

These students were identified and encouraged to sign up for a program that Howard University created called Calculus, Physics, Chemistry Program (CP2). This teamed at-risk students with senior undergraduates to have weekly cohort meetings to tutor them in the various subjects. But the school recognized that this was not enough that to ensure these students stayed in the program they needed to be able to reach them beyond the time they saw them on campus.

The key he explained was to reach into these young peoples’ community without the faculty actually becoming a member of that community. By community he was referring to their presence on Facebook and staying connected to their friends through text messaging. Students do not necessarily want to “friend” their professor on Facebook and the faculty did not need to engage in media they did not want to become involved with.

Their solution is ConnectYard. Students were requested to log into ConnectYard and set up a profile with information about their social networking connection points. ConnectYard  channels emails and text messages from the university’s faculty out to their students’ preferred social networking site. Their responses were channeled back to ConnectYard which created a threaded conversation that all students could follow.

This seems to me like a valuable tool to bridge the gap between instructor and students without having to have the faculty learn multiple different networking tools to stay in touch with their students.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 3 – Part 4

In which, I your humble author being extremely punchy from lack of sleep and the wear and tear of traveling by rail (always an iffy occupation) attempts to record his impressions of the presentation I Always Wondered What that Was: SCORM in Non-technical, Simple and Plain English, presented by Mike Rustici, the owner of Rustici Software.

1. What is SCORM?
It is a collection of standards: stands for Standard Collection Object Reference Model. It started with the military who wanted to be able to reuse content across different military systems. SCORM sets standards for how to create online content and LMS so that they can function together.

Standards are everywhere, how dvds play and electricity is delivered to your appliance. Problem is SCORM, like all standards, have room for interpretation. In the perfect world SCORM blends into the background.

2. What does SCORM do?
SCORM does not say anything about content whether it is good or not.

What SCORM does provide is interoperability on LMS. As a user it keeps you from being “locked in” by a vendor; you can move your content to another hosting site.

There are several versions of SCORM. First version 1.1, the main version is SCORM 1.2, a newer version is SCORM 2004

Another thing SCORM does is provide great data tracking. You can track what users are doing and how well they are doing it. This is big in the corporate world and SCORM helps to track compliance training.

3. Reusable Pieces
The idea is that all content is tagged with metadata so that you could develop customized SCOs for individuals based upon what each learner needs. As an industry we are not there yet. Within a SCORM course it can be broken into individual parts or clusters. These parts or clusters are the smallest part, a SCO (Single Content Object) and each part can be reused.

It has not been overwhelmingly taken off because it is not for the faint of heart. Reasons:

  • Ransom Note Effect – all these objects pulled from different sources and developed by different units will look like a ransom note not looking the same.
  • Maintaining the licenses on all elements can be problematic.

4. Why do we care about SCORM
Well, not everyone may care about SCORM. Not all data needs SCORM compliancy and it has become a standard and so people not knowing better demand that it be in an RFP.

You don’t need SCORM if you are

  • creating something for use in your LMS
  • Presenting material and you don’t want to track it, then its not needed just post it on a webpage or a blog.
  • only to be used once

You DO want to use SCORM if you want to:

  • Track learner success
  • Buying content and an LMS from different vendors
  • Create a library of reusable objects

Campus Technology – Day 3 – Part 3

For the third session of the day, it is Building a Foundation for Integrating Rich Media on a Web 2.0 Campus presented by a panel of Adam Smeets, John Drevs, and Bruce Monte.

This is a great plus, they have added a work site that we can view as the presentation proceeds. The three gentlemen represent Loyola University in Chicago, a private Catholic university. This is the 2nd Catholic private school I have seen presenting. What is it with Catholic schools being innovative?

The goal of the session is to present an overview of how they integrated digital content onto the site. The problems they were seeking to resolve was the need to

  • communicate effectively and efficiently
  • support a community that already embraces Web 2.0 technologies

Web 2.o helps Loyala through marketing by providing a means to tell an authentic story. Showed a picture of a student attending an alternate break immersion to help the poor – she kept a blog to highlight what she did. This blog was distributed so we can show the public what Loyala means by championing Social Justice.

In a teaching environment professors incorporated rich media into the classroom. This allows the teacher to engage students in a medium where they are comfortable.

From an administrative perspective it provides a means of opening dialog

Tools they used meet their needs include:

  • Video
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts
  • Wikis
  • and integrated currently available resources
    • iTunesU
    • Blackboard
    • PeopleSoft
    • Serena collage
    • Facebook
    • Proprietary Resources

Loyala already had Twitter and Facebook sites, blogs and wanted to bring them all together. The result is igNation an aggregator of all these data sources.


This is an interesting approach in that they are attempting to meet three distinct goals. They pulled together various administrative functions to ensure that they have obtained buy in and that they have all issues, such as copyright and privacy, covered.

From a technical perspective they performed a needs assessments they asked:

  • What hardware and software constraints need to be considered
  • What restrictions need to be made against file content?
  • What is the current architecture/landscape?
  • What financial resources are needed to extend over lifetime?

Campus Technology – Day 3 – Part 2

In which I attend a session titled Use of Video Objects as Exemplars for Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy presented by Jerald Cole, the chair of the Education Department at the University of Bridgeport…Oops…

Strike that, that session was cancelled. So instead I am sitting in a rather nippy amphitheater about to attend Virtual Support Center for Geographically Dispersed Faculty & Students. It is being presented by JoAnn Gonzalez-Major and Amanda Albright of the University of Alaska Anchorage. At the risk of sounding a bit prejudicial I have to wonder if the climate was not acclimated for the presenters. My bad!

Second oops, Only Ms. Gonzalez-Major is presenting. The University of Alaska has three campuses: Fairbanks, Anchorage, and Southeast. She starts by providing an idea of their size. Alaska is twice as large as Texas, but they also have the slowest bandwidth. Their campuses are so spread out and remote that they require staff to fly in.

The campus IT department support 6 campuses, 6 extension, 1,278 faculty, 1,211 staff and other 20,000 students. Issues that had to be considered when designing campuses:

  • 4 native cultures and multitude of other cultures
  • Transient population due to military and oil industry
  • Students not always available either due to subsistence culture (fishing season, hunting season, etc) and tourist season

Needs for IT support

  • One-on-one distance support
  • Multiple campus offerings
  • Learning diversity and needs of populations
  • How to provide a consistent message across campuses – because of diverse campus each had diverse culture so movement between campus had to be seamless
  • Adjunct faculty support
  • Student resources and support
  • 24/7 access to support


For faculty support we select 12 faculty members and bring them in for one-week intensive training program to learn how to develop a course and they must share back with their other faculty. It must occur when they are off contract.

eLearning book group – choose one book published ahead of time – group pulled from all campuses – If they can reach Anchorage campus they appear in person. Those who can’t attend virtually – Each professor reviews an element of the book and share it with the others.

Subject Matter Experts brought in to help faculty with areas of expertise

Site visits in which IT visits the campus and they meet with faculty to assist them in using technology in their classes.

Meet with departments to focus on their particular needs

Multi-week workshops – asynchronous workshops: two areas of interest to faculty

  1. Second Life – 8 week course to assist in setting up a 2nd life classroom
  2. Developing online course – they work with colleagues using a peer review system for comment and input. – must develop 1st 3 lessons.

Shorter half-hour workshops – offered in various modalities – many are hands-on in lab, but also use eLive for remote campus faculty who meet in their labs and they work through topic. Typically focuses on one topic only that is worked through. We talk about a tool and how to implement in their classrooms.

EDITORS NOTE: Interrupted by a call, so I need to scramble to pick up where I left off. Minor snafu with my son and his car.

They developed a Resource Center within the school’s Moodle site to assist the faculty in use of technology which brought together various elements:

Faculty tutorials – series of tutorials to help faculty. She exhibits How to use a wiki in the course. They involve mashups of video and other media. Tutorials are no more than 3 pages long.

Blocks of software licenses are purchased for items such as Camtasia, Captivate, and Snagit and then the software is loaned out on an as-needed basis through a secure server.

The ebook sessions are recorded and posted to the school’s Moodle site so that they can be reviewed at any time.

Searchable FAQ built on call center queries, and if the center cannot handle the call it is referred to her and her associate, but they keep call center individuals on the call as well so that they can learn and answer the query the next time.


They were able to:

  • Increase access to development materials
  • Enhanced call center skill sets
  • Support Call Center interactions
  • Reduced tier II calls

Increased faculty technical independence – they took to it and used it to learn during off hours. While the site was designed for faculty, students found it and began using the Moodle site and started setting up blogs and forums, which look and function like Facebook, and were using it to socialize.

Faculty also started sending students to the site to work through the tutorials. In response the IT department set up a Start Here site to download the plug-ins (Adobe Reader, Flash Viewer, etc.) that will be needed for the courses and provide an opportunity to test out using these plug-ins before the course begins.

Next Steps

  • Increase multimedia units – to change courses from mostly text-based to multimedia
  • Additional synchronous and asynchronous programs
  • Increased marketing
  • Continues to build new resources
  • Incorporate Sloodle tools.

UPDATE: All in all this was an enlightening piece on how great things can be done with limited resources. The University of Alaska folks demonstrated that support for the end user can be conducted over a great expanse at low cost. The key I thought was that they did not try to fix everything themselves, but instead worked to provide the tools and the training to use them for the faculty and staff they supported. This freed them to innovate. It was a great capstone to the keynote address about how an IT department should be run.

Campus Technology – Day 3 – Part 1

Amtrak got me into Boston on time today and I am sitting in the Seaport Hotel’s Plaza Ballroom waiting for the day’s keynote speech to begin. The address today is by Stephen Laster, chief information officer of Harvard Business School. He will be speaking on The Road Ahead: Driving Innovation in the “New Normal”. Once again I am running on battery power; I will need to remember to use time between sessions to find an outlet and charge up. It makes me realize that one benefit the conference organizers could offer, but don’t currently, is a secure recharge area. It would be a place where you could leave your laptop or smart device to recharge while you do something like eat lunch.

The new normal is the same as the old normal; tight budgets and large demands. Plus, we have new demands. Higher education is ripe for criticism and due for consolidation. How can colleges demand higher tuition while there are high drop out rates.

Innovation is not about creating new technologies, but it is for using technologies smartly that produce results. How do we form an environment to address all of these issues?

He is dyslexic, so his mind worked differently, he could take things apart in his mind and remember lectures. Wasn’t until high school that he was introduced to an Apple computer which he could identify with its screen layout. The physics teacher who introduced him to the computer convinced his father to buy one. His grades grew greatly.

There are 8 factors of success.

#1  Hire and mentor a great team: technology is a people business –

  • Hire nice, smart, adaptable and skilled skilled is last because if you are nice, smart and adaptable you will learn to become skilled.
  • Manage the whole person – know their hopes and what they want to do
  • Make the work rewarding

#2 Run the Shop as a business

  • What is my competitive advantage?
  • Where do we add value? What businesses are you good at.
  • What business can I get out of?
  • What can I offer to remain stickey?

#3 Leverage Planning and Governance – the key is transparency in operations and governance – don’t take on tasks that can’t be handled efficiently – communicate issues such as querying how they want IT to expend the hours budgeted for IT support.

  • What is my capacity – operational, maintenance, project, support -
  • Prioritize backlogs with customer
  • Plan for the semester and the year
  • Involve campus leaders in governance

#4 Take Smart Risks – during difficult times IT can become risk averse and then you are doomed.

  • Look beyond core services
  • Preserve time for innovation
  • Deliver on the art of the possible

#5 Actively Measure – compare similar products and defects – provides a way to steer operation

  • Track deliverables
  • Live by your scorecard
  • Include “soft” data
    • Customer perceptions
    • IT employee engagement and satisfaction

#6 Capture the Customer – we try to adopt 10 administrators to hear what frustrates them about us, does our message get out, if you have a friend in IT you will not shoot the organization and IT will help you.

  • Walk in their shoes
  • Leverage relationships
  • Speak their language
  • Understand business needs

#7 Communicate, Communicate, Communicate – need to talk to your customer in their language.

  • CIO as CTE (Chief Technology Evangelist)
  • Demonstrate IT’s value
  • Share vision with IT team
  • Invite feedback
  • Make 10 friends

#8 Leverage Trusted Advisors – network can be former bosses, mentors, and advisors – ask them to review what we’re doing wrong and how we can improve and then I share that information with my boss – takes courage because you are opening a window.

  • Build an external advisory board
  • Be proactive
  • Periodically review business to address potential weaknesses.

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 2 – Wrap up

EDITOR’S NOTE: I meant to post this last night, but I was so tired by the time I got home, ate, and finished my chores I was too tired to remember to do this.

Today was the first main day of the Campus Technology 2010 Conference; yesterday was a preconference workshop day. Today you had all of the session attendees, the trade show opened its doors and the breakout sessions were the full monty of the conference experience. Of course the day did not get off to a great start, but I thought I showed an amazing amount of patience waiting for Amtrak to arrive almost an hour late. And arrive they did and arrive I did in Boston…only an hour late, but again it didn’t bother me…then.

All I missed was the opening keynote address, titled Technology as the Architect of Self: Implications for Higher Learning presented by Sherry Turkle, the Abby Rockefeller Mause Professor of the Social Studies of Science and Technology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I’m writing this on the train home without Internet access (I know, what a noobie traveling without internet access) so I can’t just throw a link in to describe the focus of her talk and I can’t guarantee I will remember to do so when I get home, although I will try. But in recognition of my situation I will type in the relevant portion of it from the conference program.

Tuckle will consider how contemporary digital connectivity is changing the nature of the “self",” including our “selves” in academia. What are the deeper implications of changes in our students, especially those whose generation has grown up “tethered” to connectivity devices and in a new regime of privacy.

The folks I ate lunch with were all digital immigrants and the thought of loss of privacy seemed to scare them. I know in a pique of anger (or fear) I deleted my Facebook and Twitter accounts, only to find that when I calmed down and learned to accept the risks inherent in what I call the wild, wild internet I returned to re-engage with these programs. Facebook greeted me back like a long, lost friend who held on to all my digital possessions until I returned. Once back it graciously turned them back over to me without expecting any payment on return.

Twitter on the other hand was willing to take me back, but not under my old user name it said it was still in use despite no one apparently using it. I’m not sure which I am more chagrined about.

The privacy issue came up again (probably spurred on by the keynote address) in the second session I sat in on. This involved the presentation by Amy Stewart of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts who was speaking about her institution’s efforts in developing an ePortfolio service for their students. She indicated that they used the privacy issue, specifically around Facebook to encourage students to focus chronicling their college experience within the school’s ePortfolio system. She said they remind their students that employers now regularly research potential new employees on Facebook so they should not be posting materials that could be considered as unacceptable by those employers.

As much as a cold shower the thoughts of privacy are, the final session, which I posted about earlier (Campus Technology 2010 – Day 2 – Part 3) left me with a genuine feeling of elation of how learning centers can be created and run in order to make learning comfortable. Libraries have always had a warm place in my heart. I don’t feel a visit to a place is complete without experiencing the local library. Largely this is because I am an unbelievable bibliophile (I think I am using the term correctly), but the integration of technology into Santa Clara University’s library and the willingness to allow the students to arrange their study spaces (wheeled tables and chairs, fully equipped study centers, etc.) left me feeling exhilarated. I would love to be able to visit that facility and see it in use. It would put to lie the claim that with the internet the library is dead.

In between those sessions was lunch and what I call the dog-and-pony shows. Between the hours of 12:15 and 3:45 participants were basically set free to roam as they might with the hope they will visit the various vendors who have set up shop in the main convention hall. To perform this trick lunch was served at the rear of the hall, so you had to walk pass the vendors to get to lunch and then, after you finished eating you feel so fat and sassy you can’t help but wander about the hall and chat up the vendors. I did my share, while scoffing up free pens, brochures and, from Pearson Learning Solutions (whose parent company I was employed by for a whole two months before they sold my section off to another firm) a computer cleaning brush.

One recurring theme I heard over and over again was “we have apps for the iPhone and Droid.” Those last two words were music to my ear. I’ve always been appalled by Apple’s insistence on being the only source for software for their mobile devices and insisting on putting all proposed apps through their morality filter. So, the fact that Google’s Android system is now competing evenly with the iPhone gives me hope for a continued open system.

The other trend I noted revolves around the Learning Management System wars. As Blackboard continues to buy up competitors, it seems that open-source Moodle is beginning to take a meaningful bite out of BlackBoard’s market. As the competing firms (because Blackboard and Moodle are not the only players, just the two that are still in my sleep-deprived memory) duke it out there are a number of niche players offering their wares as applications that can seemlessly blend into the various LMSs.

Well, that’s about it. It has been a long day, but a hopeful day, a day in which I heard educators of all stripes talk of how they are struggling to make learning meaningful. I hope I contributed to the discussions with my questions and observations during these sessions.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 2 – Part 3

Back to sessions after about 3 hours of eating, meeting with vendors and presenters, and sitting through mini presentations. More about that later.

The final session of the day involves a pinch hitter who is fitting in a presentation that was for some reason cancelled. The presentation is titled Creating Flexible, Technology-Enhanced Collaboration and Learning Spaces presented by Ronald Danielson, the vice provost for information services and Chief Information Officer for Santa Clara University.

This presentation is on a two-year process in developing an effective learning space. Santa Clara University is a private university located in Silicon Valley.

Three buildings involved in his story: the library, aka learning commons; business school building; and a renovated building.

Students want flexibility and comfort in their library this includes modifying the space to meet their needs. They also want technology and tools as well as staff to assist in using the resources that are available to them in the facility.

Design goals

  • Light, airy, welcoming, flexible spaces
  • A variety of spaces to satisfy different learning styles and needs
  • Many choices in seating
  • Technologies students don’t have themselves
  • Adaptable for future changes in learning/teaching approaches and technologies
  • Support collaboration and student-created content
  • Unique features, not just more of what we already have
  • Help generate new ideas

These goals were established based on ALA  studies on what people want in their library systems.

The information center area (computer centered) has more chairs than computers so people can pull together and collaborate. The library also provides video cameras that students can check out and make videos, they also offer rooms with video cameras where students can practice their presentation.

Damn, I wish I was in college now. Stuff like this is so cool I would love to have a video room where I can record and review presentations that I have to deliver.

This is the real future for libraries to serve as a learning center where learners can come together and have all of the technology necessary to facilitate learning.

The biggest problem has been providing power. In viewing other libraries the problem was that power supplies are broken. The problem has occurred at Santa Clara University’s library as well.

A lesser success was the training and instruction rooms where they could train the use of software that the university supports. The room was built with the flexible collaborative spaces, but the collaborative alignment was only used twice because the power and data connections make reconfiguring slow and difficult. So requests had to be made in advance for the reconfiguration.

Overall it has been a success; in only 27 months that have had over 2 million visits on a campus that hosts 8,500 students on average. Overall lessons learned:

  • Technology is a facilitator, not an end in itself
  • Collaboration in many forms is here to stay – design for it, but not to the exclusion of solitary, quiet space. Students are developing their own culture around noise in the center.
  • Design for variety and flexibility of spaces and furnishings in all buildings. Remember “forgotten spaces” like hallway – it is hard on people who like order.
  • If allowed, students will create spaces to meet particular needs.
  • This can be hard on furnishings
  • This can be hard on staff.

Campus Technology – Day 2 – Part 2

The second session I am attending today is ePortfolios For Studen Life and Academics, presented by Amy Stevens, Web Communications Manager of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

The focus of her presentation is the development of authentic assessments with a focus on ePortfolios. It is not a cheap thing to role out and she expected that the school she works at would pull the plug, but they didn’t.

Could ePortfolios be fitted into the corporate world as part of the employees individual personnel file in Human Resources.

First Year Middle Years Senior Year
Encounter 1:
College and Academic Life
Encounter II:
The World Outside the Classroom
Encounter III:
Application of a discipline to the real world
Freshman expereience
Service Learning (internship)
Undergraduate research
Service learning in major capstone

The table above defined her schools intent to capture the high impact learning experiences they want their students to record.

They measured based on topics including:

  • Student proficiency
  • Could they relate it to a learning element
  • Awareness of intended outcome

Within the ePortfolio system students were asked to present evidence of their working to meet the school’s diversity experience and explain what they learned from the experience. This was rolled out in 2007 and it failed because no student uploaded anything to their eportfolio. She blamed it on a failure to communication expectations.

Instead, they decided to seek out clubs to have them perform the ePortfolios. The school rolled out the ePortfolio software and required each club, as it came up to have its constitution renewed, to take on the role. They still also require individual students to establish ePortfolios. They are required to:

  • Post a resume
  • Set goals
  • First days
  • Submit a document from their first year experience course

There is a template for them to use to set up these goals. Students are advised to maintain the portfolio by alerting them that the portfolio can be accessed by employers who are using the Internet to research their potential hires. If nothing like this is available they will look for individuals on Facebook.

They are assessed based on:

  • Community Reading
  • First Days, Goals, and Bio
  • FYE Writing

These are reviewed by academic counselors and professors and graded.

First year rubric is:

  In Progress Satisfactory Exemplary
Careful Reading      
Critical Thinking      
Reflective Writing      
Content Area      

Instructors will be allowed to customize. In conclusion she shared her own portfolio.

Someone asked about using Google portfolios. Found this site about how to use Google Sites for this purpose.

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 2 – Part 1

Due to further delays with Amtrak (I’m seriously having my doubts that an electrified rail service in the Northeast is ever going to work) I have made it to the 2nd day of the conference. Unfortunately due to the delay I missed the keynote session: Technology As The Architect of Self: Implications for Higher Education. So instead I am picking up with the first breakout session I am attending: Teaching with Web 2.0: Case Study and Analysis.

The speaker, Mihaela Vorvoreanu,  says “Love Technology, but don’t trust it.” those are definitely words I can live by.


Why do we have computers in the classroom?

  • Because they are shiny new technology.
  • Because the school purchased them and they were used for chat even though there are only 19 people in the classroom.

Her presentation is to show a

  • Case study: for using social media in the classroom
  • Analysis of the impact of social media use
  • Argument: Purposeful integration in the classroom.

Case Study

Group 1: PR Group 2: CT
  • Public relations course
  • Purposeful quilt of web 2.0 tools
  • Communications Theory course
  • Twitter used for the novelty of it.

Twitter use in Group 1 felt they were more integrated. They reported higher in motivation, teacher relationship, career impact, and learning. The caveat is that across the board males reported lower responses and the communications theory group had more males than the PR group. As a result not sure of the reason for this.

She then focused on how social media made an impact on the focus group. Tools used:



Twitter Connect with PR professionals, socialize into the profession; maintain relationship with teacher
Writing individual blog Create professional online identity
Reading blogs Independent learning; Relationship building
Skype Virtual guests; provide real-world relevance; increase motivation.

To determine if it worked we used the self-determination theory (learning, motivation (autonomy, competence, relatedness are relevant to success), and teacher relationship) We also added career success.

They used an online survey to gather the data asking learners measure various points about scale.

The students were aged 20-23 with 90% white Black 2%. Group 1 was 26 students in Group 1 and Group 2 had 13 students.

Both groups learned how to use the social media used through activities in the course. Generally, the students’ success was predicated on learning to use Twitter and Skype. Key relationships in success were:



Teacher Relationship

Career Success

Read Blogs Skype (hearing professionals speak) Twitter Twitter
Twitter Twitter
Reading blogs
Writing blogs

UPDATE: She was asked about how she addressed privacy with Skype and Twitter, she said it was not considered but it must be considered because at one point we had to lock down the accounts after a troll came after her and her students.

She also expressed a concern about getting her students addicted to the internet and dumbing them down by having them read from the Internet constantly.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Campus Technology 2010 – Day 1 Summary

So I’m sitting now on the only Amtrak train currently north of Providence, RI. I’m typing this entry up while waiting to pull out. An extremely vicious storm passed through Connecticut and Rhode Island knocking down the electric wires that power Amtrak’s trains in the North east corridor, but at least I have access to an electrical outlet even if I don’t have wireless access. Also, it is a lot more comfortable sitting in this train car rather than in warm and humid South Station.

I’m also thanking my lucky stars I upgraded to business class. Lots of room. The conductor has repeatedly stated that we are fortunate that this train had made it to Providence at 11 am because its the only Amtrak train north of there. Without it we would be still waiting in the station for about 3 hours for the next train.

The reason I am thankful for an electrical outlet is because I had maxed out my battery life at the conference today where I did not have access to an electrical outlet. So much for relying on a single battery and hope for an electrical outlet. So, while I was waiting for this train at the station I had time to record my thoughts of the day, the old fashioned way: pen and paper. The following is what I wrote.

The first day of the Campus Technology session went well, but for one flaw; not enough battery power for my aptop and for the last session I had no access to a battery outlet. As a result I am now composing my thoughts using late 20th century technology: a ball point pen and a composition notebook. I may not have been a Boy Scout but I do know to come prepared. This experience is a useful reminder of how fragile our electronic technology is.

Of course Amtrak is starting to worry me. Their 4:30 Acela to Washington DC has been cancelled and trains arriving from Washington DC are anywhere from 75 minutes to 4 hours late

[ED NOTE: As I typed this the train that was 4 hours late passed my train as we were pulling out of Back Bay Station].

In addition, there is an announcement that Amtrak police with bomb  sniffing dogs are in the station; it could be a coincidence, but without any other announcement from Amtrak to explain the delays your mind can’t help thinking the worst.

[ED NOTE: As I explained earlier the delay was not due to any nefarious action by nar-do-wells, but the lack of any announcement by Amtrak about the actual cause of the delay is a severe customer relations snafu. An announcement for the reason for the delay did not come until about 5:10 pm, two hours after I originally entered the station and saw the delays.]

But back to my thoughts about the conference. The morning and afternoon sessions were, to steal from the theme song of the old Patty Duke show, was as different as night and day. The morning presenter was a true practitioner of the use of technology in the classroom while the afternoon presenter reminded me of the 1990s approach to technology in educational settings.

The morning presenter had a fully formed website for his presentation with links to a wiki where learners could connect to a form that they could use to post their thoughts about each segment of his presentation; a form he created using Google Docs and which recorded the results in a Google Docs spreadsheet. Their was also a link to a class chatroom where all people in his presentation could post questions and comments as the session progressed.

So I now see the value of real-time chat in the classroom. We humans are naturally sociable and always want to throw our two-cents into a conversation. Using chat, we can talk between ourselves without worrying about disrupting other people.

As organized and interactive was the first presenter the 2nd presenter, while apparently knowledgeable about his subject matter (integrating open content into course curriculum) his presentation was almost strictly death by PowerPoint with side trips to web sites that he did not provide links to. Only when asked by a participant whether his materials would be made available to conference goers did he say that he could email it to everyone who attended.

Campus Technology 2010 – Monday – Part 2

Mashups of Educational Tools and Open Content

Afternoon session – back from a delicious lunch and an OK presentation further dampened by tablemates who chose to talk to one another instead of listening to the presentation. Oh well, it is what it is.

We’re doing the traditional go around the room and introduce ourselves. I’m pretty much the only non college person in the room. As I listened to my cohorts introduce themselves and explain how they are trying to reposition themselves to compete for the new millennial students, I recalled once again my thought I had this morning that as the cost of college education spirals upward, when will we see businesses, who have long depended on the colleges to provide them with new employees actually start sponsoring promising students for their education in return for a commitment to work for a certain term.

This would be a lot like how baseball manages its minor leaguers and younger major leaguers in which they are committed to the parent team for a certain time or until the parent severs the relationship.


Stuart Sim is the presenter and he will be talking about open content. what is being used are two drivers:

  • What students are using in their personal life – students are using cutting edge tools and when they reach school the school is still using old systems.
  • Faculties need to be able to use the tools in their classrooms – some faculty don’t want to use it

Integration of these different elements can be awkward.

Personal Learning Environment – that shows everything that the campus wants the learner to access.

Other challenges

  • Single managed systems do not work anymore
    • Service Oriented Architectures (SOA) are growing
    • IT staff expect to be able to mashup services
  • Demanding and sophisticated user base
    • Personalized learning environments
    • Social collaboration is everywhere
    • Expectations have never been higher
    • The web is a platform, not a destination

Just a side point, I feel spoiled from this morning with the presenter who made the materials available to all both during and after the presentation. This presentation feels so 1990s with everyone staring at a screen and being asked every once and a while if we have any questions.

Now talking about Open ID which is one ID that allows you into all participating web 2.0 tools. Or should I call it web 2.0 or is Open content the proper term. Talking about Ning as a social aggregator site, in which you can add your type of contents provided by them such as a photo page and other sites. Each of these tools are separate open content sites and Ning will use your open ID to pass you transparently to each.


At issue is that this open content does not interface with your LMS (sounds very familiar). Ways to resolve:

Develop elements of your LMS as open content that can be plugged into your open source social site.

Someone asked about the risk of betting the house on an open content site that could disappear. The presenter sez that you need to look around and see if their is open technology that will continue to support.

Of course another issue is that if any of these services crash you have little you can do…you especially don’t want them to take everything down with it.


He points us first to the OpenLearn learning space and is showing how schools in Great Britain have not only placed content on the site, but allows elements to be downloaded in various formats including Common Cartridge that allows you to download the whole curriculum and use it on your own site.

There seems to be a great deal of difficulty around licensing. Which raises an interesting conundrum…as open content tools are becoming more relevant so licensing is becoming even more difficult. Users need to be very well-versed in licensing requirements even in the so-called creative commons license, because there seems to be more flavors than ice cream at Basken-Robbins.

I’m about to post this and then I will need to shut down until I can get to an electric outlet. Unfortunately this room did not have any electric outlets to plug into…rather strange for a technology symposium. As a result I have run my battery down to about 12% power.

Campus Technology 2010 – Monday, part 2


  • in 1863, Abraham Lincoln recognized that for the U.S. to grow the 2 coasts needed to be connected by railroad reducing travel from 6 months to 6 days
  • in 1954, Dwight Eisenhower recognized that a interstate highway system was needed to reduce travel from 62 days to 4 days.

Trends for cloud computing:

  1. Widespread wireless access
  2. Affordable mobile devices such as Ipads, smart phones, netbooks, they do have limitations – strapped to all students hips – need to find apps that talk to all of these appliances. ITunes has ITunes University – also building a K-12 initiative
  3. ASP or Cloud Computing

What is cloud computing?

convergence of 3 trends

  • virtualization
  • utility computing across a grid
  • software is a service

Bottom line it is a powerful, affordable, and scaleable like the electricity grid. Showing us the Spoon site:


He demonstrated how this site that runs applications through a server. First he demonstrated how Spoon runs apps such as Google Earth without loading a site.

Spoon’s business model offers to take campus apps and host them rather than requiring individuals to install software on individual devices.

Side note: Presenter asked if it bothers him that people are not looking at him. He said, no, in fact modern day presenters need to get over that…you have to assume they are paying attention.


Talking about 21st century learning tools

  • Google Docs – Use forms to gather information that is reported in an Excel spreadsheets.
  • Google Earth
  • Schoolfusion – Content management system – handling
  • Collaborative Mind Mapping
  • Sliderocket
  • ZamZar for converting to .flv.
  • Mindmeister – two or three maps for free then subscribe.
  • Jing – free version of Camtasia.

As he talks about using the cloud apps and how to integrate them for learning. He mentions that IT departments can’t provide this, but I’m wondering how long all of these apps will remain free. But I can’t help but be excited about these free tools.


Final hour – we’re starting to talk about DropBox, which is online storage that syncs itself across multiple devices. This is better for the educational community than the corporate world where security and intellectual property protection is paramount.

Next we talk about Jing, the online video creation tool. Like mentioned earlier it is Camtasia Lite from TechSmith. The demonstration for Jing – points out that it can be used to help people with computing issues. Microsoft’s Communicator takes it one better by providing desktop sharing during a chat.

Campus Technology 2010 - Monday

Monday is always a tough day and I found out they moved the conference away from the main convention center and it is instead at the seafront. That said…

First, up is a workshop titled Next Generation Computing: Using the Cloud to Build Learning Communities. Presented by John Kuglin.

For this session, we are starting by going to John Kuglin’s website. For this interactive session he has set up a number of tools that are launched from that website for interaction including:

  • A wiki where you can post thoughts either thru
    • a reflections page or
    • a twitter like application.
  • SlideRocket presentations


Starting to discuss “What’s Important & What’s Not?” – because there is so much information how will you know you are focusing on the right stuff.

He’s showing a video clip from TED Kirk Citron about what’s important and what’s not in the news world.

His point thatFor educators’ the ultimate goal is to move a young kindergartener to a successful college graduate.


When considering cloud computing need to consider

  • hardware
  • software
  • network infrastructure
  • policies and procedures
  • professinal development
  • culture
  • staff proficiencies
  • student proficiencies


What are student expectations: because they are expected to drive their own learning they expect to be provided the opportunities to learn.

The target for technology professionals is to address this target:


The red area is the firewall that can be found in all schools. As technology specialists you need to be aware of what the Horizon Report is stating.


Question was asked about SlideRocket and its usability within Apple Ipad and Iphone. It was noted that Cloud Browser will allow you to view Flash movies on the Iphone and Ipad.

Interesting point that Bloom’s Taxonomy was updated in 2001 to reflect technology. the New version uses verbs versus nouns.


Intel provides a site to assist teachers to build HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills) into the curriculum

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

I want to: ScreenToaster closing: alternatives

So is this just a growing pain for the Internet or something users need to accept as a fact of life?

The online screen recorder, which I really liked, is closing down. This is a great shame, and what's worse is that your videos will no longer be available on the web after July 31st. This is a real pain, since I'll have to re-do a few of mine that I've put up. What are the alternatives?

I want to: ScreenToaster closing: alternatives