Saturday, December 20, 2008

Innovation with the "Every-day"

An Industrial Designer that I know sent me these links, and they show great examples of innovation for design in learning and healthcare. We need more examples that inspire one to think of ways that Industrial Design might overlap (or, become a part of) Instructional Design.

If you work with education and technology, then you've probably heard of TED before (I have to admit that I *love* the TED videos!):

Design is in the Details (great example of how little design changes can make a difference, with examples from a healthcare context):

Creating Tech Marvels out of Wii Remotes (great example of how we can be innovative with seemingly every-day objects)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tag Cloud of Clinical Uncertainty

TRIPanswers is a repository of clinical questions and answers drawn from a wide number of sources world-wide. I like how they use tag clouds to show patterns of clinical uncertainty. However, in an area like medicine where subject matter experts often have a certain (sub)specialty focus, I wonder: how can common language and specialty terminology can be conflated to represent information in a meaningful way?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Twitter for Education

In considering recent social networking trends and the newest/best learning technologies that have emerged in 2008, I'll admit that I'm still a bit mystified by Twitter. Despite my slight reluctance to sign up for yet another social networking site (me and some of my friends are, at times, experiencing social networking fatigue), several months ago I signed up for my own Twitter account.

Yes, I find Twitter addictive, and sometimes I like having instant gratification when seeing immediate updates on what my friends and colleagues are thinking and doing. So far, one of the best descriptions of Twitter was in a post by Donald Clark. He points to many divergent views on Twitter (indeed, his post is a great collection of some of the views on the topic), and I like his reference to Jay Cross's analysis in "the points of tweets." Cross makes analogies between info patterns in Twitter and pointillist art. He explains that "[u]p close it can be meaningless. Back away and a pattern emerges" -- individual twitterers and "tweets" may not seem significant, the overall pattern of information becomes valuable (e.g., twitter patterns about the US election, etc.). People "pipe" into this information through Yahoo!, and I can see how this would have information mapping possibilities galore.

Even the Wall Street Journal has an overview of the technology in article on "Twitter 101." Tim O'Reilly lists his favourites things about Twitter, and others are thinking about how Twitter applies to areas like Healthcare. I feel some relief that I'm not the only one struggling with the true educational value of Twitter (see Tony Karrer's post on the subject, and his articulation of similar ambivilance to Twitter). I like Twitter, but can anyone tell me how this really an educational tool, any moreso than a email or facebook?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Online Collaboration Tools

I've been thinking about the Learning Circuits' question of the month, "what did you learn about learning in 2008?" I'm not sure I have the answer to that question just yet, but Dr. Tony Karrer's map of online collaboration tools has sparked a few ideas. To be continued...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Agile Development Projects

Knowing that I've been talking about how to find a happy medium between a waterfall design method and an agile development method, a colleague of mine passed along a great blog post by Jakob Neilsen this morning. It great to see usability experts discussing agile development processes that can be implemented for a variety of development styles and teams (especially small teams). I agree with Jakob's recognition that changing mindsets is probably the biggest design/development challenge.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Cree School & Flexible Learning

This article was published in the Edmonton Sun; it’s good to see this topic being discussed in a wider venue.

Cree school a lesson: Flexible learning helps keep students in high school

It just reinforces for me the fact that sharing strategies for alternative and flexible learning at many different levels of education could be of particular benefit to rural and aboriginal communities in the future.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Visualization for Communication and (Learning) Design

I'm increasingly seeing value in visualization and design for learning technology. I've had great results in the past with storyboarding and wireframing, and the more I work with educational technology, the more I see the value of visualization and design.

See examples of different visual communication and design with the links, below (note: these are reflecting an *advanced* stage of a project; I'm interested in how to also communicate a preliminary picture of such characteristics):

nForm's Yvonne discusses the use of Swimlanes (example is actually an education technology project)
• Dennis, also from nForm, discusses upcoming CanUX 2008 sessions and this interesting visualization of the financial crisis by Xplaned's Dave Gray (Xplaned is a company that does stuff for many organizations, including Apple, and the example is similar to the “demo” on Wetpaint…I like the way they break down difficult concepts and show a timeline of events)

Alberta has a province-wide distributed learning forum to discuss DL strategies. They have some visualization on their website to help communicate their message/audience in an Interactive Map. This just hits home for me the importance of communicating design and mapping concepts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

UBC's Medical School Implements Advanced Video-Conferencing System for Distributed Learning

A colleague of mine passed along this link. There is some good information here on lessons learned -- I like the example of the touch-screen that was difficult to use given the need for gloves. It's nice to see that they've listed some of the costs and other factors to consider for technology and infrastructure pieces, particularly for the video-conferencing (a $30,000 camera, for example...some advanced HD cameras actually go up into the $50,000 range...and, of course, that doesn't include any editing or distribution capabilities, it's just the capture).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wikitecture - 3D Wiki Using Second Life

It's interesting to see how 3D immersive representations of design, discussion and collaboration are evolving in Second Life (SL). In this case, Wikitecture seems to focus more on emulating physical architecture components, but the people at Studio Wikitecture also tout their product as a way to do project management online. Joshua-Michele Ross has some things to say about the benefit of Wikitecture for bringing local knowledge into the design process, and he points out that Studio Wikitecture just received the Architecture for Humanity's Founders Award for their work on a health facility in Nepal. Others, like the people at Immersive Workspaces, see potential in collaborative online workspaces in SL, but for now I think most businesses and post-secondary institutions will find the ease and simplicity of WebEX and Elluminate more appealing for their day-to-day lives.

I still wonder if the learning curve for aclimatizing to these virtual workspaces will, in the end, outweigh the benefits of 3D collaborative spaces. It's great to see this work being applied to things like healthcare and NGO-work, and I hope that we can see more of this kind of real-world application of SL development.

This Wiki Tree is also kind of cool...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Canadian Conference on Medical Education 2009

According to CCME website, the deadline for submissions for this year's CCME, which will be held in Edmonton, is Saturday Oct 25, 2008. On their website, the CCME is described as the following:

The Canadian Conference on Medical Education (CCME) is the premier medical education conference in Canada. It hosts the largest annual gathering of medical educators in the country. Each year a different Canadian faculty hosts the conference (in 2009 it is the University of Alberta) in partnership with five of Canada's leading health organizations - The Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada (AFMC), the Canadian Association for Medical Education (CAME), The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), the Medical Council of Canada (MCC), and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). The AFMC is conference secretariat and provides administrative support for the conference.


Moodle Moot - Edmonton, 2009

Moodlemoot 2009, in cooperation with Athabasca University, will be held in Edmonton from April 1-4, 2009. See:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New MacBooks

The new MacBooks are here...I like the idea of having the aluminum casing and the glass touchpad.


Happy Open Access Day

The UofA is one of the institutions participating in the world's first celebration of the international Open Access (OA) Day, in support of the free and open sharing of publicly funded research.

Open Access Day

Oct. 14th, 2008 is the world’s first OA day (that’s today!).

PS - Thanks to Richard for sending this my way.


Hi everyone,

I created this blog to examine issues related to research, education and technology. My interests are in the following areas:

  • Instructional Design
  • Humanities Computing
  • Multimedia
  • Education (post-secondary and K-12)
  • Copyright
  • Digital Culture
  • Usability (User Experience)
  • Literature
  • Medicine and Healthcare
  • Distributed Learning
  • Distributed Computing

The most interesting part will be getting some feedback on the things posted. I look forward to hearing from you!