Jan 31, 2010

Interactive website links: Featuring Moodstream, Getty Images' site is great for whiteboards or touch-screen PC

I'm always on the look-out for high-quality interactive content on the web.  I can share this with the teachers I work with at one of my schools. This particular school now has an interactive whiteboard in every classroom, as a number of SMARTBoards, were recently installed.  Good interactive websites that are are great for interactive whiteboards are also great for use on touch-screen PCs and displays.

The interactive website I'm featuring today is called MoodStream.  I came across it a while ago, and thought it would provide creative way to provide a stressed-out student a productive way to "chill". Moodstream was created by the Barbarian Group for Getty Images in 2008.

Moving the sliders will change the music and pictures to match your choices.  As you listen to music, you'll see videos and picture montages from Getty Images. As you view the images, you can select your favorites, and they are ported into a "Moodboard", shown below, along with the corresponding music.  To save your creation, you have to register for the free service.  You can play back your board and create additional boards.

What I like about Moodstream is that it gives students the opportunity to identify their feelings, choose different feeling experiences, and create something related to their experiences.  They can later share their creations with others if they wish.   I think that this activity might work well with pairs or small groups of students as well.

Below are screenshots of Moodstream. The first shot is of the screen with the controls hidden from view. The second shot shows the slider control to the left, and the Moodboard chart where the selections are stored. The selections can also be viewed in a text format.

"Moodstream is a powerful brainstorming tool designed to help take you in inspiring, unexpected directions. Whether you want images, footage, or audio, or just need a stream of fresh ideas, tweak the Moodstream sliders to bring a whole new creative palette straight to you."


Here are a few:

SMARTBoard Goodies Blog, by Mrs. Coggin (A wealth of great activities.)

Teachers Love SMARTBoards

Scholastic's Interactive Whiteboard Resources and Activities (Lots of information for integrating interactive whiteboard activities into lesson plans.)

SMART Board Bubble Wrap (You can save this to your computer and pop the bubble wrap without being connected to the web.)

Flexible Interfaces & Useful Wearables for All - Combining Good Concepts: Slap Bracelet, flexible ePaper, Morph, Asus Waveface, the Porcupine, Sixth Sense, and the iPhone/iPad. (How about an iCuff?!)

One of the projects I toyed with for a Ubiquitous Computing class three years ago was an application that would work nicely on a PDA that I could somehow strap to my wrist. I wanted to something that would allow me to keep my hands free and support some of my work functions as a school psychologist, such as observing and assessing students, counseling young people, and consulting with teachers and parents. The application would also be useful to my colleagues.

The second part of this application would support teens and young adults with more severe disabilities who participate in a community-based vocational training program. The application would provide a means of giving the students feedback during on-site work activities as well as in work adjustment simulation activities at school.

I abandoned the idea early on, due to frustrating BlueTooth issues and the lack of a suitable way to secure the PDA to various types of wrists.

It is 2010 and now we have the iPhone, iPad, touch-screen netbook/slates, e-readers, 3GS, consumer-ready RFID, low-cost portable GPS devices, and in some places, ubiquitous free Wi-Fi, low-cost digital cameras, and a range of devices that have the potential to play together in some way. Below are a few examples of how far things have come.   


True Wearable, by Propeller (This was a prototype introduced in 2007, I think.)
Marware SportShell Convertible Arm Band for iPhone 3G, 3G S (Black)
(Belkin Sports Armband for iPhone;  Trueband, by Grantwood Technology; MarewareSportShell)

The water-resistant Ridgeline has many of the features I'd like, such as the touch screen interface, a blacklit keypad, an adjustable strap, and range of I/Os. I kind of liked the wearable scanner and imager feature. The scanner/imager can be rotated.  If the imager also included a video camera, it would be a plus, since I use video quite a bit to develop video social stories for some of the students I work with who have autism spectrum disorders.  

The Ridgeline W200 is too ugly and clunky for me to consider wearing!   I'm sure price of the Ridgeline would be out of the question for public school employees and community mental health workers who work with young people with special needs.  

W200 Fingerscan
(Ridgeline W200 Wearable Touch-Screen Computer)

"Everybody had them or at least seen ‘em. Slap bracelets were usually made of thin piece of aluminum wrapped in fabric. Using the same form, Chocolate Agency came up with a mini multimedia device that snaps on with a slap. The entire surface is E-Paper and possesses all its thin, high contrast, power efficient qualities. The length can be adjusted by adding magnetic snaps to the ends. Best part is there’s no recharging needed. It gets all the power it needs via kinetic energy so go ahead, go slap happy."  -Yanko Design

Nokia Morph (Concept)
The Nokia Morph is a concept project that integrates nanotechnology into mobile devices. I posted about the Morph last year:  Last Night I Dreamt About Haptic Touch-Screen Overlays

Asus Waveface Smartphone (Video from CES 2010)

The Porcupine
This morning I devoted about 45 minutes skimming over the Proceedings for the Fourth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, TEI '10, held January 25-27 in Cambridge, MA.  A paper related to the Porcupine, a wearable sensing device, caught my eye:  

Coming to Grips with the Objects We Grasp: Detecting Interactions with Efficient Wrist-Worn Sensors (Eugin Berlin, Jun Liu, Kristof van Laerhoven, Bernt Schield, TEI 2010) 

From what I can tell, the features of the Porcupine, if embedded in a wearable iPhone-type device, would be extremely useful in a variety of fields, including special education, rehabilitation/habilitation, health care, mental health, vocational training for people with more complex disabilities, and so on.


Porcupine Project Documents
(The code for Porcupine is available on Sourceforge.net.)

Sixth Sense

I posted about Sixth Sense earlier in 2009:
Pattie Maes TED Talk: Sixth Sense - Mobile Wearable Interface and Gesture Interaction (for the price of a cell phone?!)  Sixth sense allows you to use ANY surface for interaction, and can provide you relevant information about whatever is in front of you.   This would be a great feature for people with disabilities and in the future might also function as a cognitive prosthesis. 

Below is a TED Talk video of Pranav Mistry, the Ph.D student who invented Sixth Sense, discussing open-source Sixth Sense and related applications:

So now what?
After the iPad was unveiled, several people who blog about assistive technology and augmentative communication were curious to see if the new device had the potential for use with people who have disabilities.  

It does.
Here are a few links:
iPad for Our Rooms (Kate Ahern, Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs)

From what I understand, the iPad will work with Proloquo2Go, an alternative/ augmentative communication program for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch. Proloquo2Go is priced at a level much lower than other PDA-based systems, and can be purchased at the iTunes App Store. It can be downloaded for use on the iPad once the iPad is available to consumers. 

This is great news.

Now someone just needs to get on the convergence train and develop a flexible, mobile device that incorporates the best features of the devices and applications that currently exist!

Jan 30, 2010

iPad Alternatives, Anyone?


Taking a break from report-writing, I had the urge to find out more about iPad alternatives. Many reviewers aren't happy that the iPad has fewer features than expected. So what are the alternatives?

Here is a video about Lenovo's hybrid tablet/laptop. It's a little fancier than the iPad, has more features, and most likely will be more expensive:

IdeaPad U1 Hybrid Notebook

The IdeaPad gives you a tablet and a PC/laptop, it is 3G and Wi-Fi enabled, and is basically two systems in one.  When the tablet is connected to the laptop base, it provides the full power of a PC. The touch screen is resistive touch, not capacitive touch, but apparently it acts as if it is a capacitive touch system, if the reviewers are correct.

Brief Intro


Pixel Qi might function like an e-reader, but is rumored to be touch-enabled in future versions.

-Thomas Ricker, Engadget 12/7/09

Pixel Qi:  The LCD Screen That Could Finally Kill Paper for Good
-Lauren Anderson, Popular Science, 1/12/10

How Pixel QI works:

-Popular Science, Graham Murdoch

Previous post:
Mary Lou Jepsen, Inventor of Pixel Qi Technology, Discusses Screen Technologies & Multi-touch Tablets

Know HTML & JavaScript? Open source PhoneGap lets you easily create apps for the iPhone and other platforms. (Update: Including the iPad.)

I found what I plan to use to develop my first iPhone app, and since I know HTML and JavaScript, it won't be a chore to get up and running. I'm not sure if it plays well with Apple's iPad.

Update:  PhoneGap CAN be used to develop for the iPad, if the information in the following article from O'Reilly Radar is true!  
Web developers can rule the iPad

PhoneGap. Overview:

 Information from the PhoneGap website:

"PhoneGap is an open source development tool for building fast, easy mobile apps with JavaScript. If you’re a web developer who wants to build mobile applications in HTML and JavaScript while still taking advantage of the core features in the iPhone, Android, Palm, Symbian and Blackberry SDKs, PhoneGap is for you."

"As simple as HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Software development is hard work. Device integration should be simple so you can focus on the application you are building instead of authoring complex compatibility layers. PhoneGap aims to solve device integration by web enabling devices native functionality with open standards."

Comment: Why does the video give me the impression that development is still a boy's club?  It looks like no women were involved in the PhoneGap code camp.  This is 2010, not 1985, and I'd expect to see more young women involved in this sort of development.

The Importance of Storytelling and Multimedia Content (UPDATED)

Storytelling has been an important part of human culture for centuries and remains important, even thought it has been transformed by advances in technology.

It is transforming how young children think, communicate, and learn.

The following video from the University of Southern California's Institute for Multimedia Literacy (IML). In October of 2009, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting released a report that said that four and five year old children who had access to media tools had increased literacy levels as they entered kindergarten. A group of four-year-old preschool students were provided the opportunity to participate in the IML's workshop, Digital Storytelling and Recombinant Narrative, a workshop that is usually geared for adults.  Of course, the workshop was revised to meet the needs of a much younger group.

Here is the clip:

Digital Storytelling With 4-year-olds from IML @ USC on Vimeo.

Summative Evaluation of the Ready to Learn Initiative 
"The study, which was conducted by researchers at the Education Development Center, Inc. and SRI International, evaluated educational video content and associated interactive games from Super Why!, Between the Lions and Sesame Street, which are produced as part of the Ready To Learn (RTL) initiative. RTL aims to increase literacy skills for children aged 2-8 living in high poverty communities, by utilizing multiplatform content"

"The researchers examined the impact of the curriculum which included public media content in a randomized controlled trial with 398 low-income four and five-year olds from 80 preschool classes in New York City and San Francisco. The children who had public media content in their classes developed significantly more early literacy skills -- the ability to name letters, know the sounds associated with those letters and understand the basic concepts about stories and printed words -- than children who did not have public media content in the classroom."

Below is a collection of articles and links about issues related to storytelling in our digital age, from various perspectives.  The game is changing for everyone, especially for traditional teachers and journalists.

Better User Experience With Storytelling, Part One
Francisco Inchauste, Smashing Magazine, 1/29/10    (also read the comments to the article)

The Art of Storytelling
Christian Saylor, O'Reilly InsideRIA 3/23/09

Transmedia Storytelling and Entertainment - A Syllabus
Henry Jenkins, 8/11/09 
 Henry Jenkins is the Provost's Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California. He arrived at USC in Fall 2009 after spending the past decade as the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities. 

Henry Jenkin's syllabus includes the reading list for his class at USC of the same name, aong with great links to on-line publications related to the course. If you are pressed for time, take a look at Transmedia Storytelling 101.

Here is a link to a post I wrote in 2008 that provides a few good links related to storytelling:
Digital Storytelling, Multimodal Writing, Multiliteracies 


Video from USC's Institute for Multimedia Literacy:

IML: Background and Philosophy from IML @ USC on Vimeo.

The Center for Digital Storytelling  


Interactive Narratives

Innovative Interactivity's Top 50 Multimedia Sites of 2009

USC Institute for Multimedia Literacy

Knight Digital Media Center Presentations  Example: Old Journalists in New Media:  Collaborating with Writers

O'Reilly Digital Media Blogs

Jan 29, 2010

iPad multi-touch gestures for iWork, page navigator tool, fast data entry & infographs, on-touch form creation, iPad wall.(Updated 1/30/10.)

Update 1/30/10
Know HTML & JavaScript?  Open source PhoneGap lets you create apps for the iPhone and other platforms. (Update: Including the iPad.)
Update 1/30/10
According to Brian Chen's Gadget Lab post, Apple recently made a change to enable the iPhone and iPad function as web phone:
"ICall, a voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP) calling company, said the latest revisions in Apple’s iPhone developer agreement and software development kit enable the iPhone to make phone calls over 3G data networks. ICall promptly released an update to its app today, adding the 3G support...Because the iPad includes a microphone and will run iPhone apps, that means the tablet will gain internet telephony, too." Read More http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2010/01/iphone-voip/#ixzz0e5aErE6q

Interactions in Apple's iWork Applications for iPad

Interesting iPad Interactions  -Craig Villamor
New Multi-touch Interactions on the Apple iPad - Craig Villamore & Luke Wroblewski
The iPad's Actually New UI and Gestures -Matt Buchanan, Gizmodo
-Multi-finger multi-touch
-Media Navigator
-"Long" touch and drag
-Layered UI elements
iPad.org Forum

ClarkeHopkinsClarke iPad Wall Concept for a Library

Pictionaire Multi-touch Collaborative Design Table from Microsoft Research (CSCW 2010) Found on Andy Wilson's Site

Pictionaire Table
(This looks like it is in the testing stage)

Link to video and information on Andy Wilson's website

Link to paper:
Pictionaire: Supporting Collaborative Design Work by Integrating Physical and Digital Artifacts (pdf)

Gamers, game designers, and parents: "Mortal Combat", a documentary by Spencer Halpin about the game violence debate is worth watching -posted here.

Spencer Halpin's documentary, Mortal Kombat, discusses the debate surrounding about the content of video games, as well as issues such as the video game industry's drive for profit, artistic freedom, "pushing the envelope", and the impact of video games on society. The video is about 85 minutes, but worth watching if you are a gamer, parent, teacher, game designer/ developer, or academician.

One of the reasons I think the discussion in the video is important is that in 2010, more people are playing games on large high-definition displays, providing an enhanced sense of immersion. I'm not sure what the consequences of this trend might be.

Caution:  There are some scenes in this video that might be offensive/violent, and others that would not be appropriate for children.

Here is the description of this video from the Babelgum website:

"Moral Kombat takes a look into the controversial subject of violence in video games. Director Spencer Halpin shows the constant conflict between the game creators' first amendment right to make a violent game and the eminent threat that violence poses on the next generation. In addition, the film is full of the latest green screen and high-definition technology that allow watchers to actually envision the world of gaming. Filled with interviews from lead game designers, politicians, parents, and psychologists, this film provides a candid take on the influence games have on youth today."

Thanks to Henry Jenkins for providing this link.

Jan 28, 2010

Interactive Multimedia at ABBAWORLD: High-Definition Holographic Performance!?

What is ABBA World? It is an exhibit in the UK, an audio-guided tour through 25 rooms which will provide a "mind-blowing journey through the music, memories, and magic of ABBA!"  (I came across this info on Strombergs' blog.)

The exhibit will include an interactive experience where people can get on stage with 3D holographic versions of the members of ABBA. You can see the cartoony-ABBA's on the SquareZero website. Square zero is the content provider of the the 3D experience.  Musion Systems, the creator of the Musion Eyeliner high definition holographic video projection system, was another partner in this project.

Details about the holographic system can be found on the  ABBAWorld website, along with the history of ABBA.

Temple Grandin - A gifted visual thinker, who also has autism, featured in HBO movie starring Claire Danes. UPDATE: Video of Claire Danes' acceptance of a Golden Globe for her performance!

Claire Danes won a Golden Globe award for her performance as Temple Grandin in the HBO movie. Here is the video from HuLu of her acceptance speech. Temple Grandin was in the audience.

Original Post

I've worked with young people with autism spectrum disorders for many years as a school psychologist, and the knowledge and experience that Temple has shared through her writings and presentations has enlightened me a great deal.

On February 6th (2010), HBO will present a movie featuring Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, a gifted visual thinker who also has autism. Here is the trailer:

SYNOPSIS from the HBO Movies website:
"Starring Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara and David Strathairn. Temple Grandin paints a picture of a young woman's perseverance and determination while struggling with the isolating challenges of autism at a time when it was still quite unknown. The film chronicles Temple's early diagnosis; her turbulent growth and development during her school years; the enduring support she received from her mother (Ormond), aunt (O'Hara) and her science teacher (Strathairn); and her emergence as a woman with an innate sensitivity and understanding of animal behavior."

"Undaunted by education, social and professional roadblocks, Grandin turned her unique talent into a behavioral tool taht revolutionized the cattle industry and laid the groundwork for her successful career as an author, lecturer and pioneering advocate for autism and autism spectrum disorder education."

"This visually inventive film offers insights into Grandin's world, taking the audience inside her mind with a series of snapshot image that trace her self-perceptions and journey from childhood through young adulthood to the beginning of her career, and beyond."

"Directed by Mick Jackson, with a screenplay by Christopher Monder and William Merritt Johnson, Temple Grandin is based on the books "Emergence" by Temble Grandin and Margaret Scariano and "Thinking in Pictures", by Temple Grandin. The HBO Films presentation is executive produced by Emily Gerson Sains, Gil Bellows, Anthony Edwards and Dante Di Loreto, Paul Lister, Alison Owen; Scott Ferguson produces."

Clare Danes (l); Temple Grandin (r)
2010 Edition of Thinking in Pictures - My Life with Autism (Temple Grandin)
Emergence: Labeled Autistic (Temple Grandin, Margaret M. Scariano)
My Life in Pictures: A coloring book for children about autism

My Temple Grandin Story:
I met Temple Grandin once. She was a speaker at a conference about Autism Spectrum Disorders that was held in Charlotte, N.C.  There was a mix-up, and her transportation to the airport did not arrive. I was standing nearby and offered to drive her to the airport.  What an amazing woman!

During the drive to the airport, Temple noticed that I was wearing a lanyard with my flash drive attached.  She commented that what I had on my flash drive must have been very dear to my heart.  It was almost as if she could read my mind.

She was right.  On that flash drive was a paper I was writing entitled,"Thinking, Learning, and Communicating with Multimedia: Views from a School Psychologist" for a conference I presented that year (2004).    In my paper, I discussed the importance of visual thinking and referenced Temple Grandin's book, Thinking in Pictures. 

Note:  Original cross-posted on the Tech Psych blog.

TEI '10 Info and Links: Fourth Annual International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction

In my dreams, I am a full-time tech student. Fortunately, I can follow my inner geek and share what I find on this blog. The information below was inspired by links from a Facebook status update by Laurence Muller, author of the Multi-Gesture blog

The video below is a montage of TEI'10 hands-on studio:

TEI Studios from jay silver on Vimeo.

"From TEI 2010. These are the hands-on studios (like workshops) where 200 people participated in building and making all day long elbow to elbow, getting into the details and taking perspectives."

About TEI:

TEI '10:  Fourth International Conference on Tangible, Embedded, and Embodied Interaction, January 25-27, Cambridge, MA.
"TEI, the conference on tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction, is about HCI, design, interactive art, user experience, tools and technologies, with a strong focus on how computing can bridge atoms and bits into cohesive interactive systems."

Here is a link to the keynote:

Here is a link to one of the papers presented at TEI:
Electronic Popables:  Exploring Paper-Based Computing through an Interactive Pop-Up Book (pdf)- Jie Qi and Leah Buechley, MIT Media Lab, High-Low Tech Group

More about Laurence Muller:
Laurence Muller (M.Sc.) Dutch flag, is a Fellow at the Harvard University (USA) at the School of Engineering and Applied Science (SEAS) / The Initiative in Innovative Computing (IIC) in the Scientists' Discovery Room Lab (SDR Lab). Currently he is working on innovative scientific software for multi-touch devices and display wall systems. (I took Laurence's information from his blog.)

More to come!

iTablet, iSlate? No! It's called the iPad. (Updated)

Update:  Wired's coverage of the iPad event.

I would have to take a week off from my regular day job to follow up on the iPad chatter, which is not possible. In the meantime, here are a few links for those of you who want to be on top of the iPad brouhaha:

Editorial:  Engadget on the Apple iPad -Nilay Patel
Would You Buy and iPad?  Wired Readers Weigh In -Priya Ganapati, Wired Gadget Lab
The iPad and publishers: a survey of early reaction -Mat Slocum, O'Reilly Radar
iPad Technical Specifications -Apple
iPad Design -Apple (you can access the iPad video from the iPad Design page)
The iPad and publishers: a survey of early reaction -Mat Slocum, O'Reilly Radar
15 reasons why the iPad is no game-changer -Davey Winder, DaniWeb
Apple iPad First Hands On -Gizmodo
Update 1/28/10 5:50 PM:
Checkmate: Apple's iPad and Google's Next Move -Mark Sigal, O'Reilly Radar

Apple Info
iPad Technical Specifications -Apple
iPad Design -Apple (you can access the iPad video from the iPad Design page)
iPad Features -Apple
Steve Wonsiak Talks iPad (Video) via TechCrunch
"I don't see it having a role in video editing or music production"- Steve Wonsiak

Hopefully the iPad would support basic video editing and music production, since I use digital video storytelling/social stories and music in my work with students who have autism or other complex special needs. Some of my students help to create content, and despite their limitations, can understand and use storyboarding in this process.

Comment:  There are quite a few jokes circulating around the web about the name of this new product.  For the males (I'm assuming) who named the iPad, I'll give you a hint.  Half of the population knows that "pad" is what we call an important feminine hygiene product.

Jan 27, 2010

How a multi-touch table is made: NUI Group members Aaron Bitler and Brady Simpson on HAK.5

If you want to know more about the inner workings of DYI multi-touch, you'll be interested in the video below.

Aaron Bitler and Brady Simpson learned how to build a multi-touch table through their participation in the NUI Group, and recently formed a company, 3M8 to distribute multi-touch solutions.  The 1/2 hour video provides an in-depth tour of multi-touch technology, in an an on-line broadcast on the HAK.5 website.

"Brady Simpson explains the different multi-touch methods. Aaron Bitler gives us a tour of the x19 multitouch tables construction. Brady explains the software used to power the x19 lcdmultitouch table, including the nuigroup CCV application. Aaron wraps up by explaining to us how he got involved in multitouch. He shares with us some sites where others can get started in their own homebrew projects, as well as his own multitouch company 3M8s at LCDMultiTouch.com."

UPDATE:  New website for Brady Simpson's company: http://www.lcdmt.com/

Jan 26, 2010

There is a need for multi-touch/gesture designers/developers!

If you are a talented interactive web designer/developer, game designer/developer, traditional programmer with a creative bent, or someone who who is thinking about working with technology in the future as a programmer or designer,  I urge you to consider thinking about designing/developing multi-touch applications in the near future.

In my opinion, there will be a need for multi-touch web applications as well as for multi-touch education and collaboration applications for the SMART Table, Microsoft's Surface,  multi-touch tablets like the rumored iTablet from Apple, and the multi-touch laptops and all-in-ones (Dell, HP, etc.).

Below are direct links to some of my blog posts related to multi-touch applications and screens. If you are fairly new to multi-touch, I'm sure that looking through some of my blog posts will be helpful.  All of the posts have links to resources, and most have photos and video clips of multi-touch in action.

If you are new to this blog, I have a great deal of information, links, photos, and video clips of various multi-touch screens and applications. The best way to find the stuff is to enter in a keyword in the search box for this blog:  multitouch, touch screen, gesture, multi-touch, etc. on  this blog.

Also do a search on my other blog: The World Is My Interface http://tshwi.blogspot.com

Here are some links:
Do you have an HP TouchSmart, Dell Studio One or NextWindow touch-screen? NUITech's Snowflake Suite upgrade provides a multi-touch plug-in

The following blog post has a video clip that shows someone from Adobe painting with a multi-touch application in development:
More Multi-Touch!: Rumor of the mobile apple iTablet; AdobeXD & Multitouch; 10-finger Mobile Multitouch: http://bit.ly/4S9Upm

Ideum's GestureWorks: http://bit.ly/4C1p7M

Interactive Walls, Interactive Projection Systems, GestureTek's Motion-Based Games: http://bit.ly/6GRGtW

Intuilab's Interfaces: Multi-touch applications/solutions for presentations, collaboration, GIS, and commercehttp://bit.ly/7RK7qN

For software developers:
How to do Multitouch with WPF 4 in Visual Studio 2010: http://bit.ly/7c4YqC

Jan 25, 2010

A Few Interesting Links Related to "21st Century" Thinking, Learning, and Education.

Thomas West is an author of the In the Mind's Eye, Dyslexic Renaissance blog. He is also the author of several books.  One of his recent post highlights a recent roundtable held on 1/16/10 at the International Academy for Research in Learning Disabilities:  Talents Among Dyslexics, Roundtable Discussion 

"Most professionals in the field agree that talents are important, but eventually they almost always come to focus almost exclusively on reading and academic remediation alone. We need to change this, especially as major technological and computer information trends tend to favor the visual strengths that many dyslexics have as their traditional academic weaknesses become less and less important."
Thomas West is a visual thinker who thinks in pictures, and has a deep understanding of what life is like in educational settings that continue to be word-dominant.  Below is a link to an on-line recorded   interview that sheds some light on what the world is like for bright people with dyslexia.  More people are visual thinkers than you might expect. The interview is worth a listen:

Cathy Davidson
Cathy Davidson is the co-founder of HASTAC, the Humanities, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory, and also the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies and Ruth F. Devarney Professor of English at Duke University.  
Cathy blogs on the HASTAC website, and her blogs are worth taking the time to read. I especially liked one of her most recent posts: Why is the Information Age Without the Humanities Like the Industrial Revolution Without the Steam Engine?

The post is a small piece of a book that Cathy is currently writing, "Now You See It: The Science of Attention in the Classroom, at Work, and Everywhere Else."
Cathy's  recently co-authored a book that I plan on reading soon:
CN Davidson and David Theo Goldberg.  The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age. (pdf) 2010.
"....What happens to traditional educational institutions when learning also takes place on a vast range of Internet sites, from Pokemon Web pages to Wikipedia? This report investigates how traditional learning institutions can become as innovative, flexible, robust, and collaborative as the best social networking sites. The authors propose an alternative definition of "institution" as a "mobilizing network"—emphasizing its flexibility, the permeability of its boundaries, its interactive productivity, and its potential as a catalyst for change—and explore the implications for higher education."
This book can be downloaded for free from the MIT Press website.

Daniel S. Christian
Daniel S. Christian's blog, Learning Ecosystems, focuses on a variety of topics related to technology and education, with a focus on multimedia, technology integration, and discovering and implementing new and useful technologies:
"The purpose of this blog is to continue the dialog about how we can take advantage of the rapid technological changes that we are experiencing today (and in the future) in order to significantly enhance what we can achieve within our educational systems. It's not just about selecting and using the right CMS or implementing a small handful of tools anymore -- we need a thriving, growing, always-changing learning ecosystem in order to navigate today's various/relevant environments."
I came across the Emantras website today and was surprised that I had not previously heard of this company.  I'd like to learn more about them. The company has a variety of presentations and additional information about the company's services on the website. Emantras' most recent press release is an announcement of the launch of Mobl21, a mobile learning platform.
"Emantras was founded in 2000 and our vision since then has been to harness the unmatched power of digital and mobile technology to make education more relevant to changing times.We are a leading global digital education solutions company with its focus firmly fixed on providing top notch services. We train, educate and design work flow solutions for academic institutions, publishers, Fortune 500 companies and everyone in between.
Emantras aspires to be known as the industry gold standard in digital education. Our aim is to be an 'innovation' partner to enterprises and institutions by creating knowledge, enabling delivery, and empowering access and usability with effective technology. Our goal is to champion new advancements and innovations in eLearning and make it accessible to a wider teaching and learning audience."

Emantras is headquartered in Freemont, California, with offices in L.A., Atlanta, Philadelphia, Midland Park, N.J., India, France, and Netherlands. The website is visually appealing- almost cute-and gives the visitor a feeling that learning might even be.. fun!  

Microvision's SHOWWX Laser Pico Projector: I want one!

Microvision's SHOWWX laser pico projector is not yet available in the U.S. This mobile projector connects to a variety of devices and looks like it would be quite useful in a variety of situations. The picture below is from the Microvision SHOWWX website, where you can find additional information, a photo/video gallery, and a place to sign up for further information.

Acording to ubergizmo, the Microvision Show laser pico projector "connects directly to laptops, mobile phones portable media players, digital cameras, and other devices to project large, high -resolutions onto any surface"

Jan 24, 2010

IEEE One Voice: Sharing the accomplishments and potential of people involved in technology and engineering. Great for sharing with students to encourage STEM studies!

John R. Vig, IEEE President and CEO, recently wrote a column about the need to share with the world the importance of the accomplishments of people who work in technological fields. In his column, he refers to the IEEE One Voice video, which I think is something all young people should view as they gather information for making important decisions for the future.

IEEE is a professional organization that is not limited to the stereotype of an "engineer". If you are a parent, teacher, school counselor, or mentor to a young person, take the time to learn more about the range of careers related to engineering and technology.

If you know a seventh or eighth grade student, take a look at IEEE's Future City Competition, designed to provide young people an opportunity to learn more about STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields while teaming with engineers who are volunteer mentors to create computer models, then three dimensional models, of a future city. The Future City program is part of the National Engineers Week foundation.


Engineering Your Life ( This is a great site for encouraging girls to consider engineering and related fields, great for career exploration activities, as it covers a variety of engineering disciplines.)

Below is a list of the various IEEE societies, taken from the IEEE website.  If we want to encourage our young people to consider STEM fields, it is important that we know we're talking about!

IEEE Aerospace & Electronic Systems Society
IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society
IEEE Broadcast Technology Society
IEEE Circuits and Systems Society
IEEE Communications Society
IEEE Components Packaging and Manufacturing Technology Society
IEEE Computational Intelligence Society
IEEE Computer Society
IEEE Consumer Electronics Society
IEEE Control Systems Society
IEEE Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society
IEEE Education Society
IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society
IEEE Electron Devices Society
IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society
IEEE Industrial Electronics Society
IEEE Industry Applications Society
IEEE Information Theory Society
IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society
IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems Society
IEEE Magnetics Society
IEEE Microwave Theory and Techniques Society
IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society
IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society
IEEE Photonics Society
IEEE Power and Energy Society
IEEE Power Electronics Society
IEEE Product Safety Engineering Society
IEEE Professional Communication Society
IEEE Reliability Society
IEEE Robotics & Automation Society
IEEE Signal Processing Society
IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology
IEEE Solid-State Circuits Society
IEEE Standards Association
IEEE Systems Man and Cybernetics Society
IEEE Technology Management Council
IEEE Ultrasonics Ferroelectrics and Frequency Control Society
IEEE Vehicular Technology Society
IEEE Women in Engineering