QR Code with Logo

I played around with adding a semi-transparent layer to the QR code for my business, Excellence in e-Education. It works for me, but I’m curious whether it the logo messes up the ability of some scanners to read the code. I use both the Barcode Scanner and QuickMark apps on the Droid to scan QR codes. Works with both of them. If you make the logo too dark, it won’t work. If you make the logo too light, you won’t see it. Sort of trial-and-error to get it just right.

 

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Faster Adoption? Yes. Better? Not Yet.

Here’s a chart that compares the speed of adoption of the new big 3: Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus (G+).

There are things to like about G+, but it’s way too early to predict is will be a Twitter-killer, or a Facebook-killer. For me, it’s currently getting populated by the same people who are in my Twitter and Facebook networks, with a few new additions in the mix. The last thing I need is for a third network to splinter the professional conversations that are already splintered between Twitter and Facebook. I might have a different opinion a month or two from now if it truly does become easier to filter messages to and from different groups of people (via G+ Circles), and still communicate with all the right people. Right now it feels like there are 9.9 million experimenters with G+, and .1 million true adopters. (Chart from Gadgetsteria)

Zoho Apps Interface in Zoho Mail

While preparing for an upcoming presentation, I stumbled onto something in Zoho that I didn’t know existed. I’ve been a Zoho fanboy for several years, but never really felt the need to use their mail program – mainly because I already have 4 or 5 different email accounts for different purposes. Not using the mail program means that I missed this feature when they rolled it out in the business version of their Mail client.

I find this to be incredibly convenient. Zoho continues to beat Google Apps (by a long shot) when it comes to innovation, performance, and functionality.

FERPA and Social Media in Education

Was really wishing that I could have been in attendance at this session at #ELI2011 in Washington D .C. today. Titled: “Bag It and Tag It”: Implementing a Course-Level Learning Portfolio Using CMS-Based Tools to Document Student Learning When Teaching in Wild, Open Spaces with Cloud-Based Tools,” by Kelvin Thompson of UCF.

A couple of tweets drew my attention to the session:

bwatwoodFERPA = dark cloud over using blogs w students #eli2011

tedcurran: why NOT teach in the free cloud? 1) can’t preserve the work! 2) FERPA3) Socialmediaphobia #cmsfolio #eli2011

Based on the session description, it appears that Thompson was providing ways of using Web 2.0 and social media tools in a “FERPA-friendly” way. Hallelujah for that. There’s been way too much FUD surrounding how these things impact upon FERPA.

The single best piece of writing that I’ve seen on this topic comes from John Orlando in a Faculty Focus article titled: “FERPA and Social Media.” I highly recommend that you check it out. Here’s an excerpt.

“FERPA is one of the most misunderstood regulations in education. It is commonly assumed that FERPA requires all student coursework to be kept private at all times, and thus prevents the use of social media in the classroom, but this is wrong. FERPA does not prevent instructors from assigning students to create public content as part of their course requirements.”

My Top 10 Tools for 2010

I have contributed to Jane Hart’s Lists of Top Tools for Learning for several years now. Her 2010 list was finalizedJane Hart on October 17 with contributions from me and 544 other people.  Listed below is my newest Top 10 list of tools, with short descriptions of why they made the list.

  1. Twitter. Simply the most valuable online tool I’ve ever used. But it’s not about the tool, it’s about the network of educators that I was able to build with the tool. Connect that same network into a different tool, then that tool will be #1 on my list.
  2. Flickr. I get so much value out of storing and sharing my photos here. 4,131, items as of Oct. 2010. This is one of the few tools that I pay for the pro version ($25 a year) because it is so valuable to me.
  3. WordPress. I use WordPress.com for my main blog at http://barrydahl.com and we also run the open source WPMU at my campus for all students and employees to use.
  4. YouTube. Not only do I post more and more of my own videos here, but I continue to find an amazingly rich resource for all kinds of content, including educational videos.  I also use a few other video tools, but YouTube stays on the list.
  5. Zoho Notebook. There still is no rival for this tool when it comes to easily mashing together all kinds of multimedia content into a website of pages, all custom designed by you.
  6. DimDim. After using the free version for a couple of years, we licensed the Enterprise version for use at the college. It works very well and allows for starting webcasts on the fly without downloads or installs.
  7. Toondoo. I make comic strips fairly often and encourage educators to include more of them in their teaching and learning. Jaws usually drop when people see the creation interface for the first time, and Toonbooks are very cool.
  8. Facebook. My main value here is reconnecting with old friends and college buddies. Find the events tools and similar apps to be very useful. Right now it’s less of a tool for learning than the others, but it still has potential to become more of a learning tool if I was to decide to use it in that manner.
  9. Picnik. I keep coming back to this super easy-to-use photo editor that integrates so nicely with my Flickr account. Another one of the few tools that I pay to get the premium service.
  10. Android OS & Apps. This could have been higher on my list. I love my Droid, but mainly for all the things that Android and the plethora of useful (& mostly free) apps can do for me. First time I’ve felt like I have a computer in my pocket.

    Without giving the descriptions, here’s the rest of the top 25:
  11. TweetDeck
  12. SlideShare
  13. Mindomo
  14. Delicious
  15. Google Reader
  16. Zoho Creator
  17. Skype
  18. Poll Everywhere
  19. Meebo instant messenger
  20. Google Voice
  21. Zoho Writer
  22. Netvibes
  23. PBworks
  24. Prezi
  25. Livestream

Check out my PLE page for more of the tools that I have used often enough to at least have formed an opinion about them. To finish this off for another year, below is Jane’s SlideShare embed of the Top 100 tools.

In analyzing how the Top 100 has changed over the past four years, Jane came up with this summary of four key trends:

  1. The increasing consumerization of IT
  2. Learning, working and personal tools are merging
  3. Social tools predominate
  4. Personal (informal) learning is under the control of the learner

She describes these trends in a recent post. Read that post here.

Who the hell is Brian Lamb?

This video helps answer two burning questions:

  1. Who the hell is Brian Lamb?
  2. Why is he saying all these terrible things about Learning Objects?

Brian is one of my favorite EdTech speakers and thought leaders. He was the closing keynote speaker at the recently concluded WCET conference in Denver. My flight was scheduled to leave at about the same time that Brian’s address was scheduled to begin. I even tried to pay extra to get a seat on a later flight, but alas, none were available so I was destined to miss this event.

As luck (and good planning) would have it, Brian agreed to spend an hour with the Catalyst CAMP attendees on the day prior to his keynote. I was one of the CAMP Rangers (my cabin group was known as the Tweetarondaks) and so was able to be part of the group that spent an hour with Brian in a more informal session. He agreed to let me shoot some video during the chat and this is the first one that I’d like to share.

In this 10 minute video you’ll learn about how Brian got started working in education, and how his first job at UBC was essentially to help them build a closed-system Learning Object Repository with all the SCORM and IMS guidelines and requirements, and all that jazz. Not surprisingly, Brian tells the tale of how open-ness and simple technologies can be used much more effectively for those who truly want to share.

BTW, Brian started this session by asking the question in the title of this post, and wondered why we should care what he had to say. We cared.

(Post edited 3/20/13)

Happy Holidays from all the Dahls

Here’s a quick little Animoto slideshow to wish you a Merry Christmas, or any other happy holiday that you choose to celebrate.

Click image and video will play in new window.