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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.

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I love everything about design. I love the design of buildings. I love the design of photographs. I love the design of a good meal. I just like how things are put together. Maybe that’s why I love being an instructional designer. But it’s hard sometimes to explain to other people exactly what I do & more importantly what I can do for you if you want to teach online.

What do I do? Well, I help make things simple. I help make things visual. I help structure things so that the path for learners is clear and meaningful and engaging. I help people move to a style of teaching that works when they can see people to one that works better when they can’t see people, from a style that works well when you all learn at the same time to one that works well when everyone chooses when they want to learn (which, if you look at our server stats, is usually somewhere between 4 pm to midnight). As I was wondering around the web this beautiful Sunday morning, I came across a wonderful quote from George Nelson. While Nelson is an architect, I like his definition: a designer is someone who “gives form to the essense of something”.

What’s the essence of what you do as a teacher? And what form will that take online? As an instructional designer, everything I do boils down to helping you answer those two questions.

Hmmm …. I wonder if that’s any clearer.  🙂  Let me know what you think.

what do we want to work on

(Photo, What do we want to work on? by Nancy White)

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Odds & ends

From my feed pile, a couple of things worth sharing …

Cole Camplese asks, is it time to ditch the committee and fire up the community?  Count me in!

Want to avoid presentationitis, that uncontrollable urge that many of us have to lecture at folks online?  The idea is to show, not tell, to get your message across.  Look at how Alvin Trusty does it by weaving two topics together: copyright & how to make a great PowerPoint.

Textbooks as social objects?  Neat idea.

Chuckle.

Seriously, what is up with this seating arrangement?

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I dream of …

I dream of Barack.

I dream of Hillary.

Coming soon: I dream of McCain.

All this from a Canadian?

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Make Art

Glen Hansard’s acceptance speech for Best Song was one of my favourite moments from last night’s Oscars.  “Make art!” he said.  Good advice for anyone, no matter who you are or what you do.  We’re all artists.

Here’s Hansard & his partner Marketa Irglova singing the Oscar-winning song.  It’s so beautiful it makes me weep.

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Remix Barack

I’m a total political junkie. I have to admit that one of the reasons I’ve been such a poor blogger lately is because I’ve been sucked in by the American primary season (even though I’m Canadian).

I noticed tonight that Barack Obama’s web site offers high-resolution video footage that you can download and remix. Some have used the footage to create their own ads, and they’re uploading them to YouTube. Obama’s site even offers instructions on how to do it. Between videos like this and will.i.am’s “Yes We Can” video, viewed over 8 million times since it first aired a few weeks ago, the Obama campaign is getting some masterful publicity and it’s not costing them a dime (especially since YouTube and people like me are the distribution channel).

Does anyone know of an educational institution that offers remixable media as a promotion?

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Just dance

just dance

(Photo, Just Dance, by Jason Carlin)

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