Friday, April 22, 2011

Learned Something New about Tracking

I was reading an ePortfolio of a midwife and teacher in New Zealand, Sarah Stewart, which I ran across through a discussion on LinkedIn. I'm interested in how people are creating ePortfolios, both for professionals like adult educators, and for adult learners. Sarah has a page of "citations," which links the viewer to the pages that Delicious users have bookmarked and tagged with her name.

I never thought of looking for myself on Delicious! Come to find out, this blog has been saved 56 times (including the first time by me), and only 4 of those people are in my network. I can explore who these people are, and get a sense of who is interested in my blog. OK, it's not hordes of people, but still. Up to this point I haven't known much about who is reading this, since very few people leave comments, and most of the comments turn out to be spam. So - another nice feature from Delicious.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Language Instruction via Mobile Device

A lot of interesting discussion going on now about mobile learning. What's the difference between c-learning, e-learning, and m-learning? One quote I read from John Eyles described classroom learning as a well-balanced meal, e-learning or online learning as a sumptuous buffet, and m-learning via cell phone or other mobile device as a power snack. And there are a lot of times when you could really use a power snack!

My interest was piqued by a presentation at the CATESOL Conference by Voxy, a start-up delivering language instruction to Spanish speakers using shortened news stories. You can choose from three different story sets - headline news, pop culture or sports. (Personally, I could skip sports, but that's just me.) You download the iPhone app (Droid app coming soon), and then select the headline of the story you want to read (headlines in Spanish), read the story, select vocabulary to see definitions and add to your list to study later, and answer some comprehension questions. There isn't much instruction here, and there doesn't seem to be any organization in terms of grammar, language functions, or vocabulary. But the exciting thing is the experimentation they are doing with the mobile space.

There are several features that I think aren't functioning yet, but they're working on them. One is location-based content. Walk by a bank, and banking phrases in English become available if you click on the icon of the bank. Same for a restaurant or movie theater. This could be a fun homework assignment for students with iPhones.

Another one was item recognition through the camera. The presenter (and CEO), Paul Gollash, took a picture of my shoe. The app identified it as "black leather shoe." How did it do that?? This could be such a useful language app. Although the company wants the app to be an instructional tool, not a utility, the ability to identify items in another language instantly is pretty intriguing.

Searching for Video

Jeff Thomas raises a good point - there is so much video online, but it's not always easy to find the video you want. Just searching on YouTube or Vimeo might not be the most effective strategy. He recommends 10 video search engines, and an iPad app for watching video on the iPad. Video search engines include the usual suspects - Google Video, Yahoo Video, Bing Video, but also some I haven't heard of, like Fooooo, Blinkx, and VideoSurf.

Oh, and if you're looking for those specialized videos about technology in adult education, try OTAN's Video Gallery, which now includes the Captured Wisdom videos about adult education technology-based projects, or the Media Library of Teaching Skills (MLoTS).

Friday, April 01, 2011

Dynamic Views for this Blog

I see that Google has been busy creating new features for Blogger, which is good because I've been frustrated with the layout of my blog. For example, I haven't been able to get the videos from YouTube to size correctly.

Now they have 5 different "dynamic views" that you can use to view any blog that has them enabled. You can see them by adding /view and then/NameOfView to the URL.

For example, to see this blog in FlipCard view, go to

For the Mosaic view:




Which one do you like best? Right now you have to type in the URL to see them, but the plan is that eventually I will be able to choose one and set it as the default. My favorite is flipcard, which you can sort by recent, data, label, or author.

Snapshot looks the best, but it's only pulling graphics so the posts with videos or with no graphics don't show up. This view would be really good for an art blog, or a cooking blog that has a photo of every dish.