Monday, July 27, 2009

Twitter Enhances Realtime Learning at Conferences

A European study on "How People are using Twitter during Conferences" has demonstrated that participants use Twitter to enhance realtime learning. Although the sample size was small, and covered only 5 conferences, the researchers found that the majority of conference attendees already had a Twitter account (95.1%) and many of those who did actively used it to tweet during the conference (67.5%).

The most interesting insight was that nearly half the tweets were simple plain text messages while tweets with links to web sites only accounted for 10% of the messages. In other words, the Twitterers were using the medium to share the information they were learning at the present moment as opposed to posting links to information already available on the web.

The study report has been published in draft form. Thanks to Shel Israel for making me aware of this study.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Walter Cronkite - Our Most Trusted Voice is Silent

Walter Cronkite narrated for me and my generation the Kennedy assasination, the Civil Rights marches, the Vietnam War and the Watergate Hearings. But I especially remember his inspired commentary throughout the many 'space shots' of the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programmes. He narrated the historic moon landing coverage on 20 July 1969 (nearly 40 years ago today), which was followed by audiences around the world.

Walter Cronkite has passed away at 92 years of age. He has been called the 'most trusted voice in America' and was remembered today by the folks at NASA Mission Control, as follows:

NASA mission control - click to enlarge

"It is with great sadness that the NASA family learned of Walter Cronkite's passing. He led the transition from print and radio reporting to the juggernaut that became television journalism. His insight and integrity were unparalleled, and his compassion helped America make it through some of the most tragic and trying times of the 20th century."

"From the earliest days of the space program, Walter brought the excitement, the drama and the achievements of space flight directly into our homes. But it was the conquest of the moon in the late 1960s that energized Walter most about exploration. He called it the most important feat of all time and said that the success of Apollo 11 would be remembered 500 years from now as humanity's greatest achievement."
You can hear and see Walter describe the moon landing in this short clip from the series Walter Cronkite Remembers the 20th Century. It brings me goosebumps even now.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Google Wave is set to Transform Communications

Google Wave screenshotI've often complained about the poor communications support in Facebook. All your friends are there, but you can't really have a conversation except sending messages via email and having a teeny tiny little chat.

Enter Google Wave (, a next generation web communications tool that is a mashup of email, instant messaging, forums and wikis. Probably until you see the demo, you won't get it - but once you see it - you'll understand how this platform is going to transform communications. It's a long demo, but after you see about 10 minutes, you'll be convinced.

I first learned about Wave from the ACOR Cancer support group ( which is participating in a trial of the software. I happen to be a list moderator there. Anyway, ACOR uses an ancient email exchange protocol known as LISTSERV, so it's easy to grasp how their members could benefit from Wave. But imagine if this platform was released into an academic setting!

I feel very confident that email will be relegated to backward-compatible communications, much like fax was once email came along. And the editors at TechCrunch agree with me. The future is Wave.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Educational Technology Resources

David Sibbet's illustration of Educational Technology resources

Someone asked me to list some of my favorite online educational technology resources. Here they are:

Elliot Masie's Learning Trends (focus is corporate training)
Elliott Masie is an internationally recognized futurist, analyst, researcher and organizer on the critical topics of workforce learning, business collaboration and emerging technologies. He is the editor of Learning TRENDS by Elliott Masie, an Internet newsletter read by over 52,000 business executives worldwide, and a regular columnist in professional publications. He is the author of a dozen books, and is the convener of Learning 2009.

EdTech Talk (focus is educational technology)
EdTechTalk is a community of educators interested in discussing and learning about the uses of educational technology. The team webcasts several live shows each week.

Opencast Project (focus is video in education)
The Opencast community is a collaboration of higher education institutions working together to explore, define, and document podcasting best practices and technologies.

Future of Education (focus is academic teaching methods)
This community is devoted to providing an opportunity for those who care about education to share their voices and ideas with others.

There is a lot of sharing happening in these communities about what technologies do and don't work in education, whether corporate or academic, and it's free to you and me.