This weekend a group of us went to Burridge to talk with new faculty at our college about how we can use emerging technologies to engage learners.  It was a great weekend, not just for the wonderful conversations we had but also for the time we spent together.  What an amazing group!

Check out the pictures that Chris took of the trip.


A great quote from Karl Kapp: “If the only thing moving is somebody’s lips, then you don’t need video.”

I’d say that applies to web cams during live sessions, too.  Would you?

One trillion

Google says that they have just indexed their one trillionth unique URL.

It’s hard to imagine a trillion.  At FlickrCC, there are only 20 pictures tagged “trillion”.  It’s a mystery how they earned that tag.  I visited photographer Chris Jordan’s site.  Chris takes pictures that give a sense of the scale of numbers — how many people have been arrested and held in the “war on terror” (83,000) or how many plastic bottles are used in the US every five minutes (2 million), for example.  Chris doesn’t have any pictures that give you a sense of what a trillion might look like.

And of course, the number doesn’t say anything about the content of all those places we visit online.  For example, Wikipedia is there, the encyclopedia that nuclear physicists and my fifth-grader can contribute to.  There’s the Periodic Table of Videos and the Puzzle Farter.  There are millions of pictures (one of my favourites) and videos of lofty paper airplanes.  How many LOL cats are there?  Google itself is there.

One trillion.  Hard to imagine.  One trillion and growing.

There are two things I’ve been trying to wrap my head around lately.  The first is gaming.  (That’ll have to wait for another post.)  The second is mobile learning.

Today, I came across a video demonstration of QR codes.  This is a QR code for this site.

If you take a picture of it with a cell phone that has the right software installed, it will generate a link to this site (or phone someone or send a text message depending on the link you’re creating).  You can generate your own QR code in a few seconds.

I was listening to a podcast the other day (sorry, can’t find the link but it came from a conference in Australia).  It was done by a teacher who tags plants with these codes and then sends learners out to study them in their natural habitat.

Or how about embedding QR codes in PowerPoints to give a convenient link to the handouts for a particular presentation?

The mind boggles.  Do you have experience using QR codes?  I’d love to hear about it.

UPDATE: Roger Smolski sent me a link to his site, 2d code.  Roger has a fantastic collection of news, art, marketing and discussion related to QR codes.  If you find QR codes, send them along to Roger.  If you have something to say, 2d code is the place to share it.  Thanks, Roger!

One World

I love the videos that Matt does.   The latest was posted a few weeks ago.  Doesn’t that look like the best fun you’ve ever had?

Matt, come to Nova Scotia so we can dance at Peggy’s Cove!

Beautiful words

A wordle tag cloud of my del.icio.us links.

wordle tag cloud

Make one for yourself.

Cafe Web 2.0

This past week, my good friend Alan & I gave a presentation about Web 2.0 to some colleagues in Truro.  Here are the slides and links to the sites we talked about:


  • Twitter (I’m randommind on Twitter — feel free to add me as a contact)
  • Here’s a video showing you how to use tabbed browsing.  Tabbed browsing lets you open more than one web page in a single browser window. 
  • Gtalk is what Alan & I use to chat.  If you’d like to give it a try, give one of us a shout by phone or email.
  • Digg is a news site where anyone can contribute or rank stories.  The popular ones rise to the top.  If something goes viral online, chances are it’s shown up on Digg. 
  • Bloglines is an aggregator.  Aggregators bring things together … things like web sites.  Instead of visiting the sites you like every day, they come to you.  Sweet.  In addition to Bloglines, Netvibes and Pageflakes are two other popular aggregators.  Think about how you might use an aggregator to create a “living textbook” or portal for your course.  Think about how you might bring together career information for students.  Perhaps you could make a living subject guide for a program.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.
  • StumbleUpon is pure evil for web junkies.  It’s a way you can serendipitously find sites you might like.
  • Facebook
  • You can set up a blog on WordPress.  Check out my post on how blogs are used in education.  There’s a list of NSCC bloggers at the end.
  • You can set up your own wiki at PB Wiki.  Here’s the Web Superhero wiki we used for a workshop for new faculty at Burridge last fall.
  • Flickr is a photosharing site.  My husband Chris uses it with his photography students.
  • Second Life is a virtual environment.  NSCC has a vibrant learning community in Second Life.  There are faculty, professional support, managers and students all exploring and using Second Life to support their own learning.  We hold an informal drop in on NSCC Island every Thursday night.  Email me if you’re interested & I can help get you started.
  • Google Docs is a web-based version of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and more.  We’ve used it for collaboration, and one of my children uses it to track their allowance.
  • Slideshare lets you share PowerPoint slides.  (That’s what I used above.)  It’s a great way to collect and share the PPTs you use in a course.  I notice that some conference presenters are using it to bring together all the presentation materials from a conference.  Much better than the traditional password-protected conference site!
  • 43 Things is about setting and accomplishing goals together.
  • Ustream lets anyone stream video from anywhere.  Have a guest speaker you want to share with the world?  Stream them (with permission, of course).  Be patient, however.  Ustream can sometimes be slow.
  • YouTube
  • Ning and LearnHub
  • Del.icio.us is for sharing bookmarks … there’s a nice NSCC community here.  I’m randommind.

How does this all fit together?  It could make up the learning environment of the future

How would you use any of this in your own job?  Only you will know.  My great idea might not work for you.  However, your great idea might work for a colleague.  So share!  Play and share what you learn.  That’s what our new google group is for.