Monday, September 26, 2011

Back To Blogging... and Slogging!!

I'm baaack!! With a little push from my friend bitdepth (check out his blog it's very cool!). Seems like forever since I have posted anything and turns out it has - no real excuse, I haven't run out of things to say or thoughts that make me go hmmm..., just never seemed to get around to it. Plus there were those whole Twitter and Facebook distractions - but I'm back - really, I am!...

So tonight thought I'd post about something I've been up to - as I sit here dripping on to the keyboard - I'm just in from what I affectionately call (well, not so affectionately when I'm actually doing it...) slogging - think of it as periods of walking interrupted by periods of very slow jogging (slow + jog = slog- elementary!! :-)). The good news is that I slog now more than I walk and I'm out about 45-60 minutes a slog - my city is a good one for slogging - pretty, with lots of hills and flat bits (I'm really good at finding the flat bits and downhills). I feel great and I know I'm fitter, so I'll keep it up until the snow flies and then I'll head to the gym for the winter...

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A new feature here is that I plan on ending with a link or site that I find useful or interesting or one that just makes me go Hmmm.... Today's site is Ron Berks's - Ron is Professor Emeritus of Biostatistics and Measurement at The John Hopkins University and a master of the use of humour in the classroom and of all things PowerPoint - check him out at LinkedIn too. Ron is amazing and very generous with amazing stuff (stuff is a technical term) and lots of wisdom for educators and presenters. Hmmm...

Friday, April 01, 2011

No More Anonymity...

Hi folks - I love your feedback, but I've turned off Anonymous comments because of all of the spam - getting tired of people and sites posting unrelated, irrelevant, and frankly unsavoury feedback on a blog that is supposed to be about things that make me go Hmmm..., not Yuck!......

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Sugata Mitra - the Child Driven Education

This is from TED.com and is an amazing presentation from Sugata Mitra, on experiments and studies he has done on children in remote areas teaching themselves to use computers with NO assistance - amazing stuff and proof that children will learn what children want to learn - something as educators we can all keep in mind...



Hmmm...

Monday, June 07, 2010

Back Up Out Of The Twitter Rabbit Hole And Other Musings...

Hard to believe that it has been almost six months since my last blog post - I truly did fall down the Twitter rabbit hole - was (and is) to type out that quick and witty (well I think they are witty) 140 charcter stream of consciousness than it was to sit down and think of something almost sensible to say...

Another advantage of Twitter is that with TweetDeck, I could kill two birds with one stone - tweet and post to Facebook (in fact other than Birthday greetings, I have not used the Facebook interface since I installed TweetDeck almost a year ago...).

While I find Twitter a good way to stay in touch and to get info - depending on who you follow it's almost a "headline" RSS feed - there is still very much room in my life for a blog and for other folk's blogs too (although I must confess I have not looked at Netvibes in months either - something I must get back too.

We're nearing the end of another full and busy academic year here at the College - convocation is next week and we are already in next year mode - seeing prospective students, looking at enrollment numbers (ours are great!), and all in all getting sorted out for another academic year - there is no longer any "down" time...

The two big pieces of tech news for me over the last few months are all Apple related - the release of the iPad and today's announcement of the new iPhone 4 - there is definiteky an iPhone 4 in my relatively immediate future, as for the iPad we have oredered some to try as teaching and learning platforms and to become more informed about their capabilities as we know students will strat showing up with them this fall.

I see the iPad as primarily a consumption machine, not a creation machine - Ira David Socol on his SpeEd Change blog has an interesting post on the iPad - check it out. I think the jury is still out on if the iPad can be successfully used as a learning tool in PSE - I suspect that in some programs it can and in some it cannot. I plan on using one this summer and fall as my " go to meetings" machine - note taking, file retrieval etc. I'll post on how it goes.

My cross Canada virtual trek continues - I think I'm somewhere in Saskatchewan I'll be updating those posts shortly - I did the Bluenose Marathon 5 KM walk/run this year for the third time - my goal was sub 50 minutes and I finished in a chip tine of 50:07.9 (shouldn't have tweetd at the 1 Km mark :-)). You can see my hard-earned medal above...

Well it is so good to be back up from deep in the Twitterverse - I've really missed that 141st character and all the ones that follow. Time to think and muse on what will be here next. Hmmm...

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Looking Back 2009 - Looking Forward 2010...

So here we are - the end of one year and the beginning of another - time to look back and look forward - the adventures and opportunities of the year past and the adventures and opportunities of the year ahead...

2009 was a full and busy year - I began a regular gym routine which has morphed into a six-day a week routine - I'm in much better shape now than I was a year ago and fully expect to be in even better shape by the end of 2010. My virtual cross Canada trek from Halifax to Vancouver has me somewhere around Winnipeg right now (more posts to follow on that) - I hope to be in Vancouver by October or November 2010. The gym and fitness has become part of my life - a big lifestyle change for me. In 2010 I plan on running (well slogging - slow jogging) the Bluenose 5K - I've walked it the last two years. Also plan on playing more golf in 2010 than I did in 2009, but that will be u to the Golf Gods...

On the technology front 2009 was the year where Twitter became my most used Web 2.0 tool and Facebook declined in use - in fact if it were not for the ability of TweetDeck to simultaneously post to Twitter and Facebook, I might never use Facebook - although it is still my preferred tool for tracking Birthdays etc. As it is I use Greasemonkey scripts to customize facebook and get rid of a lot of the superfluous stuff that seems to spring up all over Facebook these days.

I also blogged less in 2009 but plan on doing more in 2010 - Twitter took a lot of what I wanted to say, but some days I just need more than 140 characters. Twitter changed the way we look at and get news - look at the uprisings in Iran and the Haiti earthquake - Twitter got the news out to the world...

I'm still looking for that killer Web 2.0 app that will tie all these social media sites together - if you create it, you will make a fortune. I thnk in 2010 the desktop and operating sytems will become less relevant and the move to the cloud will continue. I wonder what impact that Google's Chrome OS will have? Google's influence will continue t0 grow - it will be a noun, verb, adjective, and who knows maybe even a preposition bythe end of 2010.

Devices will continue to shrink - more and more folks will use smartphones an netbooks to connect - I can't wait to see what Apple does with their tablet (iSlate, iTablet or who knows the Newton II?).

All in all 2009 was a great year and I'm looking forward to what 2010 brings. Hmmm...

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Decade!!...

Well here we are the beginning of a new year and a new decade - It will be interesting to see what adventures and opportunities await in the year (and decade) ahead.

My plan is to spend more time blogging this year than last - life got away a bit - ended up havong a very bust Fall and got absorbed into Twitter a lot too - while I've gotten good at expressing myself 140 characters at a time, I'm not yet ready to abandon this long form of getting my thoughts out about things that make me go Hmmm... My inner "wordie" just can't stand the limitations of microblogging - it's maxi-blogging for me!

Hope everyone has a wonderful 2010 full of fun, adventures, challenges and opportunities - enjoy!! Hmmm...

Looking Back - Looking Forward - The Decades...

Well, here we are the end of one decade and the start of a new decade... Time to look back at where we were and look forward to where we are going.
  • In 2000 I was working as a facilitator at ITI - the Information Technology Institute, one of two private IT companies that were to go bust early in the decade while I was working for them...
  • In 2010 I'm now in my eighth year at NSCC and have found the best place to work for me. NSCC was just named one of the 50 best places to work in Canada - the only educational institution on the list...
  • In 2000 I loved my Handspring Visor gray-scale PDA, but still depended on my paper DayTimer to keep me organized...
  • In 2010 I use Outlook, my iPhone, Google Calendar, and text messages automatically sent to my cell phone to stay on track. Oh yeah and my DayTimer (some things never change...)...
  • In 2000 I was using "high speed" wired Internet access on desktop computers to look at mostly static information push sites - Altavista was my favourite search engine...
  • In 2010 I'm using much faster high speed, mostly wireless Internet access on my laptop, cell phone, iPhone, and iTouch using all sorts of Web 2.0 pull technologies delivering to me automatically the information I'm interested in (RSS, blogs, wikis....) and Google is my favourite search engine and so, so, so much more...
  • In 2000 Web sites were predominantly static, presenting information the way the developer put it on the site - tables were cool and there wasn't a lot of downloading of information...
  • In 2010 web sites are dynamic, customizable and present a user-centric experience allowing users to create an online experience that works for them. Downloading information is the norm...
  • In 2000 buying something online was not a regular occurrence for a lot of folks...
  • In 2010 many companies make more money from online transactions than they do from "brick" stores and in fact many are solely online - who hasn't heard of Amazon?...
  • In 2000 I watched my favourite TV shows when they were scheduled, or I recorded them on my VCR...
  • In 2010 I can choose to watch my favourite TV shows in high-definition, when they are scheduled or recorded on my DVR, time shifted, or not even on TV at all - watch them online or download them and watch at my leisure - even but them from the Apple Store to watch on an Apple TV or download them and show them on a Western Digital TV Live...
  • In 2000 my main sources of information were still the "old media" tools - newspapers, magazines, radio, TV - remember book? :-)...
  • In 2010 my primary source of information is the Internet and I'm giving my library away...
So over the last ten years things have gotten faster, user-centric and dynamic - I've moved from bulky and comparatively slow desktop computer systems to laptops and handheld devices - I can do things with my iPhone that I could not do with a year 2000 desktop computer. The sea of information available on line has now become a tsunami of information and the decisions we make now are to be skimmers or divers, but probably not both - as an educator I notice students who know a little about a lot of things, but probably have less depth of knowledge that they did 10 years ago. That may not be a bad thing, providing we teach them the information literacy skills they need to find that depth of information when they need it...

So where will be be in 2020? Here are some of my predictions for the next decade:
  • The desktop computer as we currently know it will be gone - replaced by a multitude of highly customizable devices in a variety of sizes from pocket-sized handhelds, to information "walls" that will combine all forms of media - wires will be a thing of the past too - everything delivered wirelessly at speeds way beyond where we are today with Wireless-n or even Wimax...
  • Many of the current media and information sources will be gone or significantly altered to allow for user customization - it will all be about the user and what they want
  • Search technology will be real-time - this will have huge implications for education and the way we educate...
  • Most students will learn through online or blended deliveries using personal learning environments, PLEs, that work for them - many of the best educational institutions will have an online presence only
  • Technology will be less obvious and more immersive - whether that's holography, 3D (although I can't see running around with goggles all day), or a technology not yet considered, information will be all around us - simply just "there"
  • The sheer volume of information will reuire search algorithms and technologies that have yet to be created, creating significant paradigm changes in how information is delivered, searched and made sense of - information literacy will be the single most important set of skills a person can have...
  • The multitude of Web 2.0 tools that we are using today - RSS, blogs, wikis, Twitter, social media, Flickr and on and on and on will be consolidated into one-stop tools taht will do it all based on what you want it to do
  • Operating systems - Windows, OSX, and all the flavours of Unix/Linux will be consigned to history, replaced by instant on access to the cloud - guess that would be Web 3.0 or even Web 4.0...
  • Data storage will not be on the hard drives we use today - that technology will get exhausted sometime in the next decade - devices will be fast with some local storage, but most data will be in the cloud where it can be collaboratively accessed and used...
I have no idea if any of these things will come true - just my random musings. Will be interesting to see where we go over the next ten years - all I know is that it'll be an adventure. Hmmm...


(Photo - Janus Coin by Marco Prins)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Joys Of Modern Air Travel...

As I write this, I am sitting in the Maple Leaf Lounge at the Ottawa airport awaiting my flight to Halifax which departs in about 90 minutes (I was in Ottawa fro Christmas). I've already been here for 60 minutes, taking heed of the Transport Canada and Air Canada warnings to arrive three hours before my flight due to the new travels rules in place as a result of the aborted terrorist bombing in Detroit.

I have absolutely no issues at all with the new regulations (except for the one saying nobody could get out of their seat in the last hour of a US bound flight - luckily cooler heads prevailed - that one could have gotten messy...). I just find it somewhat ironic that it was a failed attack and yet seems to have had the desired result of increased delays and inconveniences.

I must compliment the security staff here at the Ottawa airport - they were friendly, courteous and professional - I can only imagine how hard that must have been to do with all of the reported delays of the last few days - it's the front line folks who take the abuse. Today there were few delays getting through security even though I was randomly selected to be patted down, so here I am spending 2.5 hours waiting for my plane (old military habits die hard - I spent a lot of years at military air terminals two hours ahead of departure and that was for flying on Yukons and Hercs!!...). All I can say is if you travel regularly by air these days and you do not have lounge privileges, GET THEM!, it's the only way to travel these days.

So wherever you may be off to, safe travels and get to the airport early. I'm off to have a free cup of tea. Hmmm...