Moving Forward {W12:Mar22-28}

Time goes fast. This will be the last official weekly post for EDCI339. Within the past 12 weeks, I have involved in series of lectures around distributed and mobile learning. The projects I have done and the projects that my classmates have done are totally strange objects to me 12 weeks ago; but now I got it. From my perspective, distributed and mobile learning is all about moving forward in education. The Internet has changed everything and everyone has been pushed or pulled into an universal place and connected by a modern wire named Technology. When modern met tradition, we usually think about conflict or disaster. However, when it comes to Education, we are not treating Technology as an enemy in Education, just because Education is such a traditional word and concept; Instead, Education obtains Technology and treats it as a weapon to empower itself. To me, this course let me understand the importance of moving forward with development of technology. It is never too late to improve and it is never to soon to learn new technology. I think I will keep going with this idea and explore the new distributed and mobile learning tech as I already get used to using them everyday.

Here is a very meaningful video for the 21st century education and learning…

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Games as model for grading?{W11:Mar15-21}

I saw an interesting topic today from George Siemens‘ blog. He had an idea about “why not use a game model as a replacement for grading?” (click the link to see his original post). Basically, he has a thought on a fare model about grading. What would be a perfect grading system in the real world? Since the experience levels are making perfect sense in the game world, then why not adopt it into our real world? Actually, I had thought about this before. Personally, I love playing online games and World of Warcraft would be the top one. When I seek a game to play, beside the pictures, operations and effects from the game need to be high level; the more important thing would be the balance within different career path in the game. In another word, the design for experience levels has to be fare and balance to survive in the world. Each character from each career needs to have some advantages and disadvantages compared to others in some level.

However, it works in the game, not necessary in the real life. Why? Because there are more variables here – human. If we adopted the grading system which is ranking everyone based on their experience and gold levels; Then what if someone with special talent but in a younger age which means he/she has zero experience. Follow the rule, he/she will never be promoted over someone with 20 years of experience and social relationships. On the other hand, someone does have 20 years of experience, he/she would not need to worry about for a while because he/she is unbeatable at that level. This might discourage people to improve. My though is only one side of the story for sure. I actually like this idea as it is more standardized and transparency.

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Converter {W10:Mar8-14}

As the development of devices, we are enjoying the flexibility of format for each device and at the mean time, we are also suffering from converting formats between each device. You probably don’t know what I am talking about; Me neither until I try to download/upload video for this major project.

It all started with the outline of my project, which means I need a tool to record a PowerPoint training manual. After couple days, I decided to give Camtasia Studio 6 a try. Don’t get me wrong, it is a nice recording tool for this project. As I mentioned in last week’s post, it is pretty easy to follow and manipulate. The problem is there are limited video types that could be added as media into Camtasia to edit and the same with PowerPoint. For example, “.flv” format of video is unable to insert into either PowerPoint nor Camtasia Studio. And somehow most of video on Youtube or other video websites are in this format. That is why I started to find a way to convert flv format of video into commonly adopt format for PowerPoint and Camtasia, such as “.asf”, “.avi”, “.mpeg”, or “.wmv”.

To solve my problem, I have tried lots of ways by Google converter for video in flv format. “vixy.net” is the first thing I tried which is a free online converter by pasting the flv video URL into this site and it will convert it into your requested format for you. Worked the first time and then when I convert, they are all out of time. I figure it is only work if the video is within the limited amount of BM. I also tried couple online converter after this one but none of them worked. Therefore, I download a converter named Emicsoft FLV Converter; It works for my video but only when the video is within 5 min.

Regardless the limitation, it is working for all my video; so now I am able to find a YouTube video, convert it into WMV format and insert into my PowerPoint or edit by Camtasia. My new problem is once I insert any video into PowerPoint and recorded with Camtasia, the video will not show up on the product video that edit by Camtasia. They are all blocked with only the audio of video left in the recording. I am no pro but I am looking for one that could fix this or give me any suggestion about this issue so that I could record talking while the video is showing at the PowerPoint. Right now, I am working on this and try to figure out a way to avoid this situation which might cause extra works.

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Camtasia Studio 6{W9:Mar1-7}

I think everyone is working on the major project lately. I have spent lots of time on this project is not only because of the content of my topic which is to deliver training materials of Microsoft Live Meeting; but also because of learning new software including this Camatasia Studio 6 which I have to say that it is an awesome tool to record video and audio, achieve PowerPoint integration, picture in picture producing, and powerful edit function.  After watched the learner tutorial, I could basically function the software and record what I need; however, I found it is difficult for me to manage the time and record pace while I am recording the video. At the beginning, I had redone several times for the first 4 min video, just to get the right narrative with the right screen prints rolling. I realize that recording video really need experience to edit regardless the potential of the software.

I recommend Camtasia Studio to all of you. On their promotion website, they said this software is “the smartest screen recording tools on the planet”. I have not tried other product yet but so far from my experience, this tool is easy to follow and reduce product’s size with maintaining High Definition quality. I can see that this product trying really hard to put all the edit function into one spot and it makes true. But for a beginner like me, it might take a while to get used to them and master them well. If any of you need a record software for your project, you could try this one with it 30 days free trail just like what I did.

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Google Reader {W8:Feb22-28}

There was a research around “what is your email’s domain name?” and about more than 50% of users are using hotmail/live. I cannot say I was surprised. Microsoft really took its first mover advantage and enhanced its position in the email field. I used to be a hotmail user and had tasted the other related products including MSN messager, MySpace, Live, and many more; however, I am barely use them anymore as they are not as environmental clean as they were before.

Recently I start to realize that Google might become a second Microsoft. It all starts with Google Search. More and more web browsers surf depending on Google’s search engine. And now Google complete its full package deal for Google account users including Gmail, Calendar, Document, Reader, Web and more. I knew Google Reader from Valerie’s project brainstorm a month ago. Now I am going there everyday having so much fun.

Google Reader is a web-based feed to keep up with blogs and news. With the goal to make news aggregation for the general public to enjoy, Reader allows users to subscribe to their favorite websites so new content comes to them when it’s posted. This unique feature lets each user designs a magazine just for her/him as Reader keeps track of which things they’ve read so that when they only see unread items when they come back. One of the great things about Google Reader is the way it allows to share a person’s reading with other users. Moreover, it allows news to be organized with labels, as well as being able to create “Starred Items” for users’ easy access. I am sure there are still lots of features to explore and I hope to see more creative idea coming out from Google.

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Reading Break {W7:Feb15-21}

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E-memory {W6:Feb8-14}

Recently, George Siemens mentioned a concept about tracking self’s activities online including thoughts, dairies, travels, emotion, purchasing, families, business activities, so on and so fourth.  Eventually, human will be able to store everything about their life digitally, just like having an e-memory for yourself. This idea started with a group of people which called The Quantified Self, they noticed a trend in people seeking greater self-knowledge, and using numbers on this quest to understand themselves. They tracked wild range of activities and collected tons of juicy data, such as things you eat, health patten, function of taking fish oil, should trust online suggestions and many more weird topics. They believe that “Unless something can be measured, it cannot be improved. (Kevin Kelly)”

Apparently, when we care about whether or not to post personal life on the Internet, researchers notice that this recording your life activity is actually truly valuable to develop learning technologies. Human are changing in terms of the way of thinking and learning. It happens too fast to capture and too many variables to analyze. When people start to tracking their life, this provides inside data from primary resources for researchers to connect and evaluate meaningful pattens. From non-researcher point of view, these data also provide wild database to support online social communities. Here is another article, “change what it means to be human.“, shows us where this tracking activity goes. I believe this will become one of the biggest technologies innovation if we could really do information risk free; The concern around information risk is when people post private information online, it tends to get back to the person who post it, such as the imaging of one period time would not be matching his/her future imaging, fault financial information, identity lost and so on. It is not a perfect world out there, we have to take our own activity’s responsibilities so when we want to sharing experiences and tracking life, we have to consider twice to protect self first which might delay the development of more advance discovery around learning technology trends.

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