Educational Technology and the Social Web

February 10, 2010

Students’ View of Technology in the Classroom

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 2:12 pm

Although much progress has been made with the effective use of technology in the classroom, a disparity still exists between student expectations and faculty capabilities. There are many things to chew on in this video (it’s a parody, I know) but three things jump out for me: 1) faculty need the right kind of support to use technology in the classroom; 2) the use of technology should always serve a specific purpose; 3) today’s students need to play an active role in their learning and one way to engage them in that role is to allow them to facilitate their learning through technology.


January 28, 2010

National Center for Research in Advanced Information and Digital Technologies

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 5:20 pm

NYT Article announces federal funding for educational technologies…finally.

January 26, 2010

Microsoft: A New Source of Funding for Online Learning?

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 2:42 pm

Is Microsoft  positioning itself for a move into online learning?

Bill Gates and Online Learning.

September 27, 2009

Hans Rosling and data visualization

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 2:19 pm

This video from TED 2006 features Hans Rosling talking about changes in birth rates in the developing and developed world.  He uses data visualization tools to really bring the data to life and in the process shows how these tools can make statistical data engaging for the rest of us.

September 25, 2009

Do schools kill creativity?

Filed under: Education and Technology,Social Software — Ken @ 6:49 pm

I found this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson fascinating. As you reflect on your own education, was creativity encouraged or even allowed to flourish?  I know my schooling was much more about conformity than it was about individual expression or creative thought.

February 20, 2009


Filed under: Social Software — Ken @ 9:03 pm
Tags: , ,

Twitter is all the rage as evidenced by the $35 million in VC money they secured last week in this not-so-stellar economy. Pretty cool considering they haven’t generated any revenue as a company. But with about 5 million users to date (and growing–count myself among the newly minted tweeters) the question as to how Twitter fits into an organization’s social media / Web strategy is starting to take shape.  The answer depends largely on what the organization is trying to acheive with this medium. Jeremiah Owyang has a nice write up on the evolution of brands on Twitter. I try to stay informed about how these products and services came about.  Check out the LA Times interview with Jack Dorsey, one of Twitter’s creators, for a history of how Twitter came to be Twitter.

October 16, 2008

Web 2.0

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 6:58 pm


Vijay Kumar has recently co-edited a book called Opening Up Education which discusses the need for shifting from a teacher centered methodology to a active learning, student centered one. This is not a new argument but Kumar incorporates the impact of Web 2.0 and how these technologies make a compelling argument for changing education now to utilize these ubiquitous technologies.  Trent Bateson from MIT who wrote a chapter in this book that talks about evidence based learning argues for this shift now.

A central component of the technology that can drive this shift are ePortfolios. There are several options in this space. A few worth mentioning are Open Source Portfolio, Digication, Ning, and Elgg.  Tuft’s University has licensed VUE which is a visual environment for structuring, presenting, and sharing digital information. Tuft’s University has also devloped SPARK which is an amalgamation of tools such as wikis, blogs, podcast publisher, forums, maps, and a media annotator.

Mark Frydenberg teaches IT concepts at Bentley College. He uses mashups in his Web 2.0 class focusing on three areas: technology, strategy, and community. His students concentrate on six actions: appreciate, participate, investigate, communicate, colaborate, create as they delve into Web 2.0 technologies.  Mark uses Microsft Popfly to teach his students IT programming concepts.

September 3, 2008

Educational Wikis

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 1:22 pm

An interview with Stephan Mader, wiki evangelist, provides a good summary for using wikis in higher education. Stephan’s blog is a rich resource for exploring the use of wikis in depth.

June 25, 2008

Collaboration Tools

Filed under: Collaborative Technology — Ken @ 1:26 am

Collablab logo

I am attending an afternoon session/meeting of the New England EdTech Group at Boston College. Today’s topic, moderated by Peter Hess from MIT, is collaboration software or more specifically software that enables screen sharing, slide annotation, white boarding, VOIP, polling, chat, file sharing, session recoding, and shared controls amongst participants. Meeting notes are kept at:

The session is off to somewhat of a rocky start. The Yugma application that was to lead of the demonstration is preventing us from launching a session. Although disappointing this illustrates an important aspect to using this type of technology. It is not always reliable and stable so test, test, test before you use it for real.

We’re now looking at ooVoo and its slick interface for video conferencing. This application can support up to three participants at no cost.  ooVoo represents each participant in small window and offers additonal features for managing contacts. Jay Collier from MIT is joining us from across the river at MIT and is describing a joint project he’s working on to develop a more robust online presence, the IKE Project, Internet Knowledge Exploration. 

We’re now looking at Vidyo, conferencing with Jeff Dill in New Jersey. The video throughput is very nice although we currently don’t have audio.  Disappointing but I think par for the course. 

All of these services look intriguing but I am not sure they are ready for prime time.  Some of the schools represented in the room are sharing their experiences with some of the different applications that are out there. My very informal synopsis is that these tools have yet to secure a major role although they have small toeholds in several schools across several disciplines.   

Phil Knutell from Bentley is discussing his school’s collaborative spaces recently added to the Bentley Library as a part of a $24 million renovation. They built 24 collaborative study rooms outfitted with large LCDs, PCs, and DVD players. Room availability is visible to students as they enter the library and allows students to self-manage room scheduling through PeopleCube.

Phil brought Centra to Bentley from University of Michigan in 1999.  They started using Centra with faculty teaching to their laptop but then branched to a hybrid classroom model. Bentley currently has 13 hybrid classrooms which are used for synchronous teaching and communication.

Phil uses Google docs to teach his course in some very creative ways. He uses it for presentations, polling, syllabus and as a central tool for student projects. On the classroom management side he manages class logistics, TA assignments and duties, and version control when creating syllabi and class assignments. 

June 21, 2008

RSS & Widgets: How to put your law school on iGoogle, My Yahoo, Facebook, and MySpace

Filed under: Education and Technology — Ken @ 3:15 pm

Live blogging from CALI 2008: Len Davidson from the DuFour Law Library at Catholic University of America has created several widgets for students to access library resources.  DuFour has not made it’s widgets publicly available yet so it’s impossible to provide usage statistics but stats from UPenn’s library say .4% of UPenn students use their widgets (from widget box) to access their library resources.  The take away here is widgets are easy to build but it’s difficult to get target audience to use them. Business Week has published a couple of articles on widgets and their effectiveness. There are many resources out there that talk about widgets or widget tools. Magtoo is a cool widget that stitches pictures together into a one panorama picture. Len has a nice review on his blog.

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