Thursday, March 26, 2009

I'm Tweeting Now

So, I've decided to try out Twitter. For those of you who aren't familiar with it- it is micro-blogging, which basically means that I post 1-2 sentences throughout the day describing what I am doing.

I know what many of you are thinking, "why?!?!". I'll tell you why, because everybody else is. I know that sounds like a terrible reason- but I am very curious to see why it has become such a big thing. I know it is really big in the tech community- so it is time I started to participate.

I can't imagine that anybody out there really wants to follow my daily thoughts and activities beyond what this blog does, but if you are so inclined to do this with me, sign up at or just follow me at:

On Friday March 27th, I'll be attending "PodCampSLC" and I'll try to "tweet" my activities and anything interesting that I come across.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Top Ten Education Technology Innovations

I thought it would be interesting to give my list of the innovations that I believe have changed education the most in the last few years. In other words- these are being used by almost everybody and have had a direct relation to engaged learning.

10. Wireless Networking
9. Blogs
8. Classroom control systems/Smart Boards/Star Boards
7. Online Discussions and Chat Rooms
6. E-Portfolios
5. Web Conferencing and Lecture Capture
4. Podcasting
3. Email
2. Wikis
1. Learning Management Systems (LMS)

Honorable Mention: Online Exams and Surveys, Clickers (polling devices), Virtual Learning Environments (second life).

Here is my list of the top 5 innovations that will change education in the near future. In other words, if your school is not utilizing these technologies in the next two years you will be behind!

5. Cloud Computing
4. Personal Learning Environments
3. Social Networks
2. E-Book Readers
1. Mobile Devices

Honorable mentions: Netbooks, Mashups, Faculty Robots, Hover desks, and gym socks that don't get dirty.

If you think I've missed something, or disagree with something, leave a comment and in a week or two I'll give an updated version of my list.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Wiki Wiki Wiki

The topic of wikis has been on my mind a lot lately. For those of you who are not familiar with the term wiki- here is my simple definition: A website that allows the typical viewer to become a contributer and editor of the site. At the bottom of this post I've embedded a video that explains wikis really well.

There are many different wiki companies. A year ago I did quite a bit of research and determined that the best wiki for my needs was done by a company called MindTouch Deki. The wiki they create is called DekiWiki. I've used their services for probably 5 different wikis. The thing that is so great about it is that anybody can create content. Here is a link to my family wiki:

While my family wiki is cute and nice for my family stuff, there is much greater application that I see. Wikis have changed my perception of teaching and learning. In the Bachelor of Business Administration program at Westminster College we have developed a wiki to host the entire curriculum. I'm amazed at the amount of information that has been composed for this wiki by a relative small group of people. My hope is that it will grow and grow over the next couple of years to the point where faculty don't have to do all the contributions- the community behind it will.

One last thought. Most people think of wikis are Wikipedia- wikis are not necessarily wikipedia. However, wikipedia is awesome, there is so much knowledge stored there it is mind boggling. However, there are many other wikis out there. The problem I see is that these wikis don't work together. I'd like to see somebody write a search engine that searches all wikis. Maybe it already exists? Maybe that should be my million dollar idea? Look out Google, here I come!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cool new technology: Google Doc Forms

This week I've learned about a cool tool called Google Doc Forms. Google Docs are a really cool tool that comes with a gmail account. It is basically online storage for your documents. The cool thing about it is you can create, edit, share these documents with other people and even see edits happen live. Google docs supports spreadsheets, text documents, and presentations. I've been using these for a while. For example, at church I'm suppose to help collect information about visits made each month along with 3 other guys who help collect this information. We have a Google doc spreadsheet that we all have access to and just go into every month and update. It is so simple and easy to use.

So I recently tried out some new features of Google Docs- called "forms". A Google Doc Form will allow you to create an online form and then have the data that is put into the form populate a spreadsheet. This has all kind of implications and uses. Below is an example of a form I created. The thing that is great is it took me almost no time to create this (seriously- like less than 3 minutes).

If you want to know the basics of Google Docs, here is a great video:

Here is a quick video I made on using google forms:

Starting my blog up again

I've decided to start up my blog again. I'm not sure that anybody besides me will find it useful, but I've just got too many things in my mind that I want to share with the world. I'm hoping it will be therapeutic to pause once in a while and reflect on some of the things going on in my life.

I've wondered what I should blog about. I kind of thought this blog should have a theme- probably something work related since Terrie does a great job blogging about family stuff. However, I'm going to leave this wide open. I might blog about the latest cool technology thing I've learned about lately and the next maybe something about the latest movie I've watched in my theater room. So . . . here goes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Conference Wrap-Up

Well, the last day of the conference was the least productive. During the last session of the day (about e-portfolios)the presenter actually stood up and said, "I wasn't expecting this many people. Who are are the IT folks? This presentation is for faculty explaining the very basics of e-portfolios." She then paused as if asking some of us to leave. It was pretty bad.

Other then a couple bad presentations it was a great conference. In this last post I thought I'd share a list of interesting and useful websites that I discovered while at this conference: You have to see this to believe it! Upload a photo and audio and then you can have your picture's "mouth" move to your audio. It is hilarious. Using templates and flash objects, easily great online comic-strip like objects. Here is an example A nice looking photo sharing website. Free (for up to 10 people at a time) virtual classroom. Why spend thousands of dollars for Connect, Echo360, Illuminate, etc. when this tool is free!) Free web meeting where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via webcam with absolutely no download required for attendees. Create 3D virtual page turning flash brochures and catalogues instantly, online - FREE! A browser for people who like to social network. Create personalized maps that you can share with friends, or collaborate with others. A fantastic way to manage your to-do lists online. It works with google, twitter, outlook, iPhone/iPod Touch, etc. -Great explanation videos about many different web 2.0 technologies Application that will read the text of a web page, see an example of it here: Collaborate online with a contributing to a discussion using almost any media (cell phone, text, video, mic, etc.) This site keeps track of all of your bookmarks / favorites on the web so you can get to them on any computer at any time. It gives you a way to organize your favorite web sites into easy to use categories such as shopping, travel, or email. This way you can group the sites together that you use most often. Vote with your phone or web, great for live classroom polls. No need to buy clickers anymore! Another free polling site.

Video: (a vision of students today)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EduComm Conference day 2

Today was another good day at the conference, but there weren't as many interesting sessions today. The one that I was really excited for ended up being a bit of a bore. I did discover a whole bunch of great web 2.0 sites and got some great ideas about how to use them. I'm on my way to a comedy club tonight so I don't think I'll have time to write as detailed a post for today.

For my wife (and anybody who wants to be jealous of my accommodations) here is a short video I made of my hotel room I'm staying at. I thought it was a mistake when I walked in the room. I don't think I paid for this nice of a room, but hey I'll take it.