Jan 31, 2008

Gigapan: Good for interactive whitebooards and large touch screen displays

Gigapan, a web based panorama sharing website, offers a range of visual resources that are ideal for interactive whiteboards and touch screen displays.

I'll update this post with video, pics, and a review soon!

Jan 28, 2008


If you are interested in how people use multimedia to think, learn, and communicate, it is good to know about the concept of visual literacy.

Visual Literacy.Org provides two on-line tutorials about visualization. You can log-on to the tutorials as a guest:

Visualization for Business and Communication

Visualization for Engineering and Communication

Information from the website:

"This e-learning site focuses on a critical, but often neglected skill for business, communication, and engineering students, namely visual literacy, or the ability to evaluate, apply, or create conceptual visual representations. After this tutorial, students should be able to evaluate advantages and disadvantages of visual representations, to improve their shortcomings, to use them to create and communicate knowledge, or to devise new ways of representing insights."

For further reading, Visual Literacy.Org provides an interactive map of books on the topic:
Interactive map of books on Visual Literacy

Jan 25, 2008

Cross- Post: Visualizations: Telling a Story with Data -Making an Impact

More information about this topic can be found on the TechPsych blog: Visualizations: Telling a Story with Data-Making an Impact.

I posted a video of Hans Rosling's TED 2006 presentation using data visualizations, and Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod's "Do You Know: Shift Happens" revision of a presentation originally designed for a high school faculty that "went viral" after it was uploaded to the Internet.

If you have not yet seen these two videos, you'll need to set aside about 30 minutes to view them, and more, if you want to stop the video and reflect for a moment or two.



Jan 19, 2008

Chill in an on-line 3d tropical paradise from Unity3d

Unity Technologies (Unity3d) is the company behind multi-platform game development company that offers an on-line demo of a 3d tropical paradise environment. This large virtual world is complete with palm trees and grasses that move with the virtual breezes, birds who chirp as they fly over tree-tops, and an interesting terrain that includes mountains, walking paths, a river, brush, and the seashore. Access to Tropical Paradise is free, but the Unity Web Player is required, which can be downloaded from the Unity3d website.

As I explored Tropical Paradise, I noticed that it had a soothing, calming effect on me as a wandered about. It might be a good tool to use for children and teens who get anxious or stressed. It might also be soothing for young people who have autism spectrum disorders. If you work with young people with special needs or have problems with stress and anxiety, consider adding this resource to your toolbox. Try using it on an interactive whiteboard or display if you have the chance, and let me know what you think!

Unity Web Player download

The second demo might be good for students who are angry and need to let off some steam. In the Shadow and Light Interactive Room, you can drag and throw the furniture around, turn the lights on and off, and explore the rooms.

If you are thinking about creating virtual worlds or interactive 3D games, Unity3D is an option. Unity is a multi-platform game development tool that provides an easy-to-use interface that provides a less complicated way to make 3D multi-user environments and interactive games that can be deployed, explored, or played on the web. It allows for streaming audio and video, terrain generation, realistic shadows and light, a shader system, a physics engine, and scripting/programming in .NET C# and JavaScript.

Stanford University's Humanities Lab; Metaverse U,

On-line interactive virtual worlds such as Second Life, as well as online 3D games have become increasingly popular among adults and teens. It isn't too surprising that virtual worlds and videogames are now topics of formal study at the graduate level!

Researchers from the Stanford Humanities Lab have been involved in some interesting work. For several years, they have been studying virtual worlds, participating in Second Life, documenting the of the history of video games, working towards archiving digital virtual worlds, and participating in variety of other trans-disciplinary projects.

The Stanford Humanities Lab will be hosting a two-day conference in February 2008 that focuses on the topic of virtual worlds:

"The proliferation of virtual worlds has garnered tremendous interest, both in the media and in academia. To explore the cultural, technological, legal, and economic issues surrounding virtual worlds, the Stanford Humanities Lab is excited to announce Metaverse U, a conference to be held on Saturday, February 16th and Sunday, February 17th, 2008. We invite you to participate in this unique event.

Metaverse U aims to challenge traditional conference models with more collaborative and inclusive opportunities for participants, both virtual and physical. To ensure that its impact extends well beyond the actual conference, video from Metaverse U will be streamed live to the web, free of charge. After the conference, these videos will be archived and become part of a global conversation on virtual worlds."

If you are interested in learning more about interactive multimedia, 3D virtual worlds, on-line communication and collaboration, and the broader issues surrounding this area, don't miss the opportunity to attend - in person or on the web.


Metaverse U People

Stanford Humanities Lab's History of Computer Games Collection

Jan 17, 2008

Post about CITEd's multimedia instruction of social skills and related links.

The Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd ) is a website with a wealth of information about technology and education. I particularly like the section that focuses on the use of multimedia for social skills instruction. Take a look at my post on the TechPsych blog for more information and links.

Jan 16, 2008

Information Visualization: Revisiting Hans Rosling's TED presentation

This semester I'm taking "Visualization and Visual Communication", which is a course I've wanted to take for a while now. Today, we looked at a variety of websites that provide interactive information data visualization applications, which I'll share on this blog in the near future.

After class, I came home and revisited Hans Rosling's TED presentation about information visualization, and thought I'd share it on this blog. This video is about 20 minutes, and provides a good overview how simple interactive information visualization applications can help to convey concepts and correct misconceptions in an engaging, effective manner.

For those of you who work in K-12 settings, imagine how powerful this method of visual communication would be for students, if presented on an interactive whiteboard or display.

Jan 13, 2008

Link to TechPsych blog with links to edubloggers, information about Classroom 2.0, and more!

Take a look at my recent post on the TechPsych blog about edubloggers, Classroom 2.0, and more. You'll find some links to interesting blogs.

If you know of related blog you'd like me to add, please let me know.

Jan 12, 2008

Johnny Lee's Wii Hacks: Can the Wii be configured to provide immersive learning experiences?

Thousands of people have been following Johnny Lee's progress as he hacks Nintendo's Wii system. Johnny Lee is a graduate student in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie-Mellon, and he has come up with the most amazing, creative uses for the various components of the Wi.

Take a look at Johnny's recent video of his work creating desk-top VR using a large-screen display:

"Head Tracking for Desktop Virtual Reality"

Although the Wii is a game system, the possibilities for the Wii as a platform for immersive educational experiences in the classroom - as well as in the family room - are endless, provided that a few people in educational technology are willing to contribute to this effort at the same level demonstrated by Johnny!

Since more classrooms are getting large-screen displays in the form of interactive whiteboards, there might just be a chance for teachers to use a few more tools to invigorate and engage their "digital native" students!

I think that learning activities utilizing the power of the Wii and Johnny's present (and future) hacks might also be very effective in reaching the needs of students who have disabilities. Visual and kinesthetic learners would also benefit, as well as kids and teens who are considered to have hyperactivity.

Johnny provides the code and instruction for all of his hacks on his website at http://johnnylee.net

You can subscribe to project updates at http://procrastineering.com

Johnny Lee's work is creative interactive multimedia technology at its best!

Jan 8, 2008

Scratch: A new programming language for kids that supports stories, animations, games, music, art, and web-sharing, from MIT.

"Scratch is designed to help young people (ages 8 and up) develop 21st century learning skills. As they create Scratch projects, young people learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also gaining a deeper understanding of the process of design." (Scratch website)

Scratch can be downloaded, free of charge, from the website. It can run on Windows as well on Macs. There are over 12,000 contributors to this project, with over 60,000 registered members. The website provides plenty of support for teachers and students.

The Scratch project is run by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab, along with the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation.

I'm looking forward to playing with Scratch on a touch-screen or interactive whiteboard.

Leave a comment if you use Scratch with kids- or for yourself.