Saturday, March 26, 2011

Second screens in Life and Learning

I have not thought of it before, but Elliot Masie's description of "second screens" defines what I find myself and my family doeing already, albiet I don't have access to an Ipad or a tablet PC, but his description does meet the bill.

I have a Second Screen in my life.  Well, actually I have several of them:

* My iPad is often on my lap as I watch TV at home. I’ll look up a reference in the news, locate an actor in a movie or read something different during the boring bits.
* My SmartPhone comes out during a webinar, serving as a back channel - either by text or IM - to someone across the world.  And, once or twice, I have used it when leading a webinar to get some background on the person asking a question in a session.
* My Tablet computer, with a 3G connection, gets me to places where a firewalled connection would not let me go, connecting on my own personal network rather than within the gated community of the host network.

And I have seen this in my workplace especially with our production folks. And I have to concur that it definitely has a place in the learning environment especially within corporate entities that lock down their computers to ensure that their networks are not compromised due to the use of third-party unapproved software.

To a certain extent this concept of second screens began before the advent of tablets, especially in the academic world where students bring laptop computers to the classroom to aid in taking notes.

He notes that there are great possibility for leveraging the use of these elements in the learning environment, but they are countered by the issues of bandwidth and firewall issues. I think another issue that still needs addressing is functionality and usability across all major brands of portable devices.

The one advantage paper-based books have over ebooks is that except for the language used to publish the book, they are pretty much universally functional for the bulk of society. The same cannot be said just yet for electronic formats.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

No one uses the phone anymore

I have to wonder if this is a result of enforced socialization in our school systems…

They text, they email, they IM, but increasingly the phone call is too intrusive of a communication option for many.

"I literally never use the phone," Jonathan Adler, the interior designer, told me. (Alas, by phone, but it had to be.) "Sometimes I call my mother on the way to work because she'll be happy to chitty chat. But I just can't think of anyone else who'd want to talk to me." Then again, he doesn't want to be called, either. "I've learned not to press 'ignore' on my cellphone because then people know that you're there."

"I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, 'Don't call anyone after 10 p.m.,'" Mr. Adler said. "Now the rule is, 'Don't call anyone. Ever.'"

As a long-time hater of the phone call, this is good news.

Kids who want to be left alone are considered outsiders and suspected of being potential Columbine kids. What worries me is the increased risk of miscommunication due to the lack of personal contact. As a society we don’t seem to understand the desire for alone time.

Face-to-face communication transmits both verbal and non-verbal clues as to an individual’s message. A facial expression and body language can convey more information about the speaker’s mood and intent.

Voice communication over a telephone fails to transmit the non-verbal clues, but the tone of voice may still provide additional information.

Impersonal text messages and emails carry none of the non-verbal clues unless the writer is one of those people who use all upper case letters to SHOUT THEIR MESSAGE!!!!

One final thought is the move to ignore phone calls a growing response to the expectation that we be available 24-7. In a period of about 135 years we have developed a unspoken social response to a ringing telephone that it must be answered. This social response is now more than ever exploited by for-profit and non-profit organizations seeking to sell or collect money by the former and raise funds by the latter.

We are placed in a position of fighting an ingrained social response to answer the ringing telephone and are now rebelling and saying “No more, this is my time and you will not invade it.”

No one uses the phone anymore

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beware Social Media's Surprising Dark Side, Scholars Warn CEO's - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

This article is intriguing for two reasons.

  • The presenters seemed to be trying to bait arguments by presenting blatantly broad-brush assumptions  based on scant details.
  • Commentators to the article saw through this misdirection to recognize the presenters positions for what they were.

Beware Social Media's Surprising Dark Side, Scholars Warn CEO's - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Reading in the Dark Ages -- Campus Technology

Fascinating essay, but as commenters note it may not be the professor’s fault. There is something about paper-based reading that ebooks still cannot touch.

Plus there is still the issue of standardizing ebook file types. My local library offers ebook loans, but they don’t support my Amazon Kindle. It will support my Windows phone with Mobipocket reader.

Of course it is also disconcerting to see concerns over copyright and intellectual property spring up. It seems profits still trump pursuit of knowledge.

Reading in the Dark Ages -- Campus Technology

Friday, March 18, 2011

In the “info” age, everything gets a little shorter | Mercatus

No truer words are spoken.

That doesn’t mean that we’re all growing stupid, or losing our ability to think, or losing our appreciation of books, albums or other types of “long-form” content.  It just means we just don’t spend as much time with them as we used to.

What does this say about our current overall educational approach. Should we reconsider the one size fits all approach for learning. In academia, do all subjects warrant semester-long treatments? Should we break up content in shorter, one-week or two-week elements?

In the government and commercial world where training sessions equate to one- to five-day classroom sessions or one- to three-hour elearning page turners, should we look at more discreet methods of training sessions?

I could foresee one hour virtual presentations or brown-bag lunch roundtables if person-to-person training is required. And for elearning I would not venture beyond a half-hour and shoot for more like a maximum of 15 minutes. If elearning is running longer than that it has to be broken up. And maybe that is too long.

The big fear is the loss of continuity, if the broader picture is drawn out over a long period and presented in discreet elements. This is where educators would be forced out of their comfort zones and learn a new way of presenting their materials.

In the “info” age, everything gets a little shorter | Mercatus