Archive for October, 2012

Interactive Table

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

At the ECOO conference in Toronto last week, I got to see the new Promethean ActivTable in action. The ActivTable is aimed towards primary school and special needs learners. At 46 inches, the screen provides one of the largest interactive surface areas on the market and allows up to six students to use it at any one time, with ample room for them to work together. In fact, there are 60 active touch points. The interactive nature of the ActivTable encourages inclusion and collaborative skills such as problem solving, group work, critical thinking and consensus decision making. I created a one minute video of one in action at the vendor hall.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCYzWwvYQxM

Spheres of Influence

Friday, October 26th, 2012

On Thursday at the ECOO Conference in Toronto, I enjoyed a keynote address by John Seeley Brown. He spoke about certain technologies as “curiosity amplifiers” and noted how kids have been building their own personal learning networks using new tools. He also reflected on Mizuko Ito’s work on play and technology (see if you can find Engineering Play) and reminded us how much kids learn just by messing around with things. Brown has long advocated for safe places where kids can embrace their inner hacker and geek.

John Seeley Brown (left) sitting with Michael Fullan

In addition to the spheres dominated by homo sapiens, human as knower, he introduced homo faber, human as maker and homo ludens, the playing human, and made a great case for how well their spheres should be intersecting. Dutch philosopher Johan Huizinga, by the way, introduced homo ludens in 1938.

Not yet a blended epistemology

Brown made his case for a blended epistemology soundly and with great examples. If any of you have a chance to attend future ECOO Conferences, I would encourage you to do so. A small but energetic and enthusiastic band of volunteers organizes the conference and it and usually boasts a remarkable range of workshop topics.

UPDATE: The talk was recorded and is available at http://ecoo.org/conference2012/ecoo12-john-seely-brown-recorded/

Tagging Documents

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

If you have used Google Docs (now Google Drive) then you are familiar with collaborative documents. If you have scanned a QR Code then you know the power of connecting to a web site through a printed image.

I was delighted to encounter TagMyDoc today. By including a QR code in a document, a collaborator can quickly scan it and be linked to a working version of your document which can then be edited collaboratively.

The potential for the classroom is great. Team writing projects, conference collaboration, crowd sourced scholarship, and more. You can sign up for the beta version now at www.tagmydoc.com

Capture your Life

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

A few years ago, as memory storage was beginning to reduce in cost and size (think early jump drives), I suggested at a conference that we could conceivably wear a camera that recorded and stored the images and audio of our lives. The idea at the time was that we wear a clumsy pendant of sorts. The cry at the time (and likely still is) was, “Why would we need such a thing?”

Swedish start-up, Memoto, is introducing just such a thing. The 1.4 square-inch device, available in orange, gray or white, uses a 5-megapixel camera, a GPS receiver and a battery the company claims lasts two days on a charge. Every 30 seconds the camera wakes up and takes a picture. You can then upload images with a micro USB cable connection to your computer.

Courtesy The Wall Street Journal

So it is missing the audio but it is hands-free and has some potential other uses.  This is an age of dashboard cameras on cars, webcams in public areas, and mini-cameras attached to waterfowl. Perhaps this is just the limitations of your imagination you are feeling. Perhaps.

ECOO Conference

Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Since Dr. McVey moved to Michigan, he has been taking advantage of our proximity to Toronto to attend the annual Educational Computing Organization of Ontario (ECOO) Conference. In addition to networking and meeting with Canadian colleagues, he is also looking forward to hearing John Seely Brown (A New Culture of Learning) and Michael Fullan (The Six Secrets of Change).  The conference takes place October 25-26.