Posts filed under ‘trending’

transmedia, multimedia, transmodal, multimodal, what defines true interactive digital edutech?

Inspired by an entry by Kelli McGraw, Defining ‘multimodal’ on her blog, the folks over at Inanimate Alice’s educational blog decided to highlight the semantic morass in which Ms. McGraw and her fellow educators in Australia find them selves.

Australia and New Zealand’s official educational bodies and institutions have been early adapters and adopters of digital media in education- both teaching it, as well as making it a tool.  As these types of resources evolve, engaging existing and new curricula, and well as the platforms, hardware, connectivity and interactivity expand, the terms to describe these phenomena have become even more diverse than the subject itself.

We follow these subjects on twitter, Buzz, WordPress, LinkedIn, Google, Educational and ICT sites, but how do we know what we’re missing?  Is it #edtech #edutech #e-books #ICTeducation #transmedia #multimedia #transmodal #multimodal #newmediaed #education2.0…. the list is very, very long.

The environment, the culture, the technology and global adoption of this revolution is happening so quickly and in as many ways as the imagination of the students it is intended to engage.  The question is: do we need common terms?  Is that limiting or part of the ‘content curation’ movement?  Who makes that decision and what do each of these terms mean to all the different people involved- from grade 5 language students in Melbourne to Ministers of Education in the European Union?

Inanimate Alice is a fantastic springboard to solicit input and begin dialogue by its very existence and unique morphology.  So, we ask you to look at Kelli’s post about Australian curriculum, titles and the confusion created, the article by the Inanimate Alice teachers and supporters highlighting the semantic aspect of Kelli’s article.

Then, please, weight in.  What, exactly, are we talking about?  In an increasingly small world and stronger global community- how do we speak the same language?

Kelli McGraw: sharing resources, inviting conversations

iTeach: Inanimate Alice blog

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2010/05/13 at 01:30 Leave a comment

Augmented (Demented?) Reality: Fictional B&B gives tripadvisor.com a huge boost

Quite possibly my favorite media cross-over story of, well, ever.  Proving most Americans do have a sense of humor, and likely, too much free time.  A throw-away joke from NBC’s The Office sitcom boosts tripadvisor.com’s mindshare among the pop-culture obsessed.

As a constant female traveler who prefers to go solo, trips can be made or broken by a lodge/ hotel/ pension; wherever I choose to stay in any given place.  The safety, help, food, security, cleanliness and especially the advice from the proprietors is the most indispensable tool a traveler can have in a far-away, unfamiliar place.  Yet, few people I know (including myself) do more than rate a place by clicking on one to four stars, if they do anything at all.

We’ll spend days obsessing over the possible meaning of a specific article of clothing on LOST, or the many bad days of Jack Bauer on 24, the injustices (and fashion disasters) of the Academy Awards, churning out blog after tweet after Facebook status about any number of things- as long as they’re not real.  Music and books and iPads and bubble tea inspire furious commenting and speculation, but the truly useful information regarding experiences for families, business folk and leisure travelers alike-in numbers or alone inspire less effort, for reasons I don’t quite understand.

I’m not blameless, I do and don’t do the same things.  Though I realize how important accurate, descriptive and diverse-perspective travel advice can be, I rarely take the time post-trip to warn or recommend, to describe or lament missing an event or destination or critical interaction with hotel staff, restaurant owners, local guides, you name it.

But a fictional, thoroughly improbable establishment run by a non-existent ridiculous character (and beet farmer) from what isn’t exactly a hot-spot destination in Pennsylvania?  Well, that warrants a post and a piece in The New York Times, now doesn’t it?

For a B&B That Doesn’t Exist, the Online Reviews Keep Coming

By STUART MILLER
Published: March 28, 2010

One recent TripAdvisor review of the agrotourism destination Schrute Farms awarded four stars, lavishly praising the food, while another yielded just one star, casting aspersions on the owners’ sanity. This wild disparity is especially odd because Schrute Farms doesn’t even exist.

The farm “belongs” to Dwight Schrute of the NBC series “The Office” (and his eccentric cousin Mose). In September 2007, the show asked to use TripAdvisor, a travel Web site, in an episode in which Dwight turns his beet farm into a bed and breakfast. Christine Petersen, the chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor, was thrilled. “We don’t have a big marketing budget and don’t do TV ads,” she said. “This was the big time.”

TripAdvisor set up a review page, thinking it would be good for a quick laugh or two. Paul Lieberstein, who wrote the episode, called “Money,” never even went back to the site afterward. “We thought it would be fun, but then we didn’t think about it anymore,” he said in an interview.

But Schrute Farms is still doing big business — for TripAdvisor. Reruns and DVDs keep inspiring new visits to the site and there are now over 600 reviews (more than for many major Manhattan hotels, Ms. Petersen said).

Many reviewers add their own funny flourishes, enhancing the show’s mythology: Mandy Pyszka from Milwaukee, who stumbled upon the TripAdvisor site while searching Google for Dwight Schrute quotes, raved about the beet pudding.

by Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, beet farmer and agrotourism hotelier.

Carla Harrington of Fredricksburg, Va., was surprised to find 82 percent of reviews recommended Schrute Farms. “I thought about what it would feel like not to know them as TV characters but to really go to this B & B,” she said in an interview. Her one-star slam called Dwight “an overbearing survivalist who appears to have escaped from the local mental asylum.”

Mr. Lieberstein, who also plays Toby Flenderson, a human resources staff member, on the show, said that “The Office” might someday revisit the farm. TripAdvisor executives said they would love that. “We’ve started many a meeting with Dwight’s quote that TripAdvisor is ‘the lifeblood of agrotourism,’ ” Ms. Petersen said. She has contemplated adding the Bates Motel and “The Shining’s” Overlook Hotel.

But not everyone gets the joke. Recently, TripAdvisor added a caveat explaining that Schrute Farms was fictional, Ms. Petersen said. “We had a complaint from someone who had wanted to go there.”

A version of this article appeared in print on March 29, 2010, on page B4 of the New York edition.

2010/03/31 at 22:35 1 comment

The technology is great, but the content is the key: are there publishers out there determined to use i-education as a base for maximum distribution?

Content is universal, or can be- there are price or border or language barriers for a good story and what we can learn from it.  The increasing use of technology in teaching both current and future educators, as well as students themselves, is obviously inevitable as Technology (all of it) evolves.  It is engaging and allows for more personal, adaptable and variable than traditional static media.

It seems the next challenge is how to level the playing field- all of these apps require devices and devices cost money, which the majority of the world’s schools are unable to afford.  Then there are the splintering and stratifying of content with exclusives and format preclusion for certain devices.

Dennis Duffy may have been onto something when he said “technology is cyclical….”  I think the more accurate statement would be “the advent of new technology inspires and pushes the evolution of existing technologies.”  Into this last category, I would most certainly include the good “old-fashioned” paper-based book.  The framework and methodology that eLearning brings to the world can guide the (r)evolution of existing educational models.

Some insight into mobile education via Fast Company follows.

The $64 million dollar question is: who are the educational publishers progressive and daring enough to look back and forward to make the absolute best and most accessible, successful eLearning titles?

A Is for App: How Smartphones, Handheld Computers Sparked an Educational Revolution

By: Anya KamenetzApril 1, 2010

Kids, education, applications, technologyFrom Left: Angel Taylor, 6, Jose Becerra, 7, and Julissa Munoz, 6. | Photograph by Danielle Levitt

As smartphones and handheld computers move into classrooms worldwide, we may be witnessing the start of an educational revolution. How technology could unleash childhood creativity — and transform the role of the teacher.

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Gemma and Eliana Singer are big iPhone fans. They love to explore the latest games, flip through photos, and watch YouTube videos while waiting at a restaurant, having their hair done, or between ballet and French lessons. But the Manhattan twins don’t yet have their own phones, which is good, since they probably wouldn’t be able to manage the monthly data plan: In November, they turned 3.

When the Singer sisters were just 6 months old, they already preferred cell phones to almost any other toy, recalls their mom, Fiona Aboud Singer: “They loved to push the buttons and see it light up.” The girls knew most of the alphabet by 18 months and are now starting to read, partly thanks to an iPhone app called First Words, which lets them move tiles along the screen to spell c-o-w and d-o-g. They sing along with the Old MacDonald app too, where they can move a bug-eyed cartoon sheep or rooster inside a corral, and they borrow Mom’s tablet computer and photo-editing software for a 21st-century version of finger painting. “They just don’t have that barrier that technology is hard or that they can’t figure it out,” Singer says.

Gemma and Eliana belong to a generation that has never known a world without ubiquitous handheld and networked technology. American children now spend 7.5 hours a day absorbing and creating media — as much time as they spend in school. Even more remarkably, they multitask across screens to cram 11 hours of content into those 7.5 hours. More and more of these activities are happening on smartphones equipped with audio, video, SMS, and hundreds of thousands of apps.

The new connectedness isn’t just for the rich. Mobile adoption is happening faster worldwide than that of color TV a half-century ago. Mobile-phone subscribers are expected to hit 5 billion during 2010; more than 2 billion of those live in developing countries, with the fastest growth in Africa. Mobile broadband is forecast to top access from desktop computers within five years.

As with television, many people are wondering about the new technology’s effect on children. “The TV set was pretty much a damned medium back in the ’60s,” says Gary Knell, CEO of Sesame Workshop. But where others railed against the “vast wasteland,” Sesame Street founders Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett saw a new kind of teacher. “They said, Why don’t we use it to teach kids letters and numbers and get them ready for school?” Sesame Street, from its 1969 debut, changed the prevailing mind-set about a new technology’s potential. With its diverse cast and stoop-side urban setting, the show was aimed especially at giving poor kids a head start on education.

Today, handheld and networked devices are at the same turning point, with an important difference: They are tools for expression and connection, not just passive absorption. “You put a kid in front of a TV, they veg out,” says Andrew Shalit, creator of the First Words app and father of a toddler son. “With an iPhone app, the opposite is true. They’re figuring out puzzles, moving things around using fine motor skills. What we try to do with the game is create a very simple universe with simple rules that kids can explore.”

For children born in the past decade, the transformative potential of these new universes is just beginning to be felt. New studies and pilot projects show smartphones can actually make kids smarter. And as the search intensifies for technological solutions to the nation’s and the world’s education woes — “Breakthrough Learning in a Digital Age,” as the title of a summit at Google HQ last fall had it — growing sums of money are flowing into the sector. The U.S. Department of Education has earmarked $5 billion in competitive school-reform grants to scale up pilot programs and evaluate best practices of all kinds. Major foundations are specifically zeroing in on handhelds for preschool and the primary grades. “Young kids and multisensor-touch computing are a huge area of innovation,” says Phoenix Wang, the head of a startup philanthropic venture fund called Startl — funded by the Gates, MacArthur, and Hewlett foundations — that’s entirely focused on educational investing. Google, Nokia, Palm, and Sony have all supplied handheld devices for teaching. Thousands of new mobiles — not just smartphones but also ever-shrinking computers — have come into use at schools in the United States and around the world just in the past year.

Angel Taylor, Jose Becerra, Julissa Muñoz
Photograph by Danielle Levitt
Angel Taylor, Jose Becerra, Julissa Muñoz (Click for slideshow)

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2010/03/26 at 22:04 Leave a comment

Listen up, retailers: brands DO matter.

The resurgence of Trademarks and brand names as drivers (rather than set price points): another sign recession receding.

From The Street.com

Retailers Get Push-Back as Brands Disappear

by Jason Notte
Saturday, March 20, 2010
provided byTheStreet.com

As evidenced by Wal-Mart’s (WMT) attempt to streamline its shelf space, even garbage inspires brand loyalty among American consumers.

Earlier this month, Wal-Mart returned Clorox’s (CLX) Glad bags and Pactiv’s (PTV) Hefty bags to its shelves after cutting them in February and carrying only S.C. Johnson and Sons’ Ziploc bags and its Great Value in-house brand. Wal-Mart says the Hefty and Glad bags and hundreds of other items were taken out of the mix as part of a remodeling effort, but the retailer replaced them when it became clear it wasn’t losing only a $4.99 single-item sale, but entire shopping excursions by people seeking specific brands.

“What we found is that you can discontinue items that don’t sell but get you a trip,” said Bill Simon, Wal-Mart’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer Conference last week. “So, we’ve been through the business and put 300 or so of those items back into the stores that were removed. We believe that that’s going to solve some of those issues.”

Other retailers including the SuperValu chain and CVS Caremark (CVS) are pushing ahead and slimming their selection of stock-keeping units. Wal-Mart’s recent retreat may not be enough to mollify manufacturers from Pepsi (PEP) to Kimberly-Clark (KMB), who have the most to lose when stores slash SKUs.

“They would have to be nervous about it,” says Susan Reda, editor of STORES Magazine, which is published by the National Retail Federation. “It’s the manufacturer that has more to lose, and if you’re not a tier 1 or tier 2 company, you’re in a dicey state.”

One of the ripple effects of the economic recession was an almost industry-wide reduction of retail inventory. Wal-Mart, for example, trimmed its U.S. inventory by more than 7.5% last year, in part, to prevent the overstock and price plunges that punished the sector in late 2008. The result for manufacturers varied as widely as their products.

For instance, Colgate-Palmolive’s (CL) sales grew 12% last quarter, including a 5% jump in North America behind the launch of new Colgate products. Procter & Gamble (PG) and its Bounty paper towels, Duracell batteries, Crest toothpaste and Ivory soap, meanwhile, reported a better-than-expected 6% sales increase last quarter as its gross margins and outlook for the fiscal year improved.

“The whole idea of efficient assortment and giving more shelf space to the brands shoppers are looking for the most tends to improve visibility of existing and new items,” says Jennifer Chelune, a Procter & Gamble spokeswoman. “It favors companies that innovate.”

Meanwhile, Kimberly-Clark (KMB) and its Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers and Scott and Viva paper towels saw sales rise 8.5% in the quarter, but the company reduced its 2010 earnings forecast as sales of core paper products fell 6% when consumers sought cheaper alternatives. Its stock price followed that downward trend. If that’s the pressure being felt by the maker of the tissue that the NRF’s 2009-2010 BIGResearch Consumer Intentions and Actions Surveys say is their favorite brand by an 18% margin, the burden on manufacturers that are lower on the food chain is even heavier.

“Unless you have come up with a product that’s such a standout and so different from the market, you’re not going to make it if you’re just another iteration of ketchup,” STORES Magazine’s Reda says. “If you’re number three or number four in that space, what’s going to set you apart from those other two?”

That fight gets tougher when store brands join in. According to the NPD Group, sales of private-label items increased 8.8% from 2008 to 2009 and nearly 18% during the past decade. Nielsen found that store brands brought in $86 billion in U.S. sales last year, up $14 billion since 2007. With Consumer Reports finding that store brands, on average, cost 27% less than their big-brand counterparts, such a surge can eat away at sales volume for companies like Del Monte (DLM) and Unilever (UN), with the NRF survey reporting that the No. 2 brands of vegetables and ice cream are store/generic products.

However, many retailers still depend on manufacturers to pay for displays at the end of aisles and other prime shelf space, making private-label products a limited option for retailers not named Trader Joe’s. While manufacturers tend to use this knowledge to their advantage and flood the floor with billboard-sized displays of their merchandise, a slimmed-down store selection can be easily expanded through E-commerce. Procter & Gamble, for instance, is using its eStore commerce site as an “online learning lab” to test consumers’ habits and relay that information to online retailers like Wal-Mart and Amazon (AMZN).

“We are a house of brands,” Wal-Mart’s Simon said at the conference. “We prefer to sell national brands because that’s how we can differentiate ourselves in price better.”

Copyrighted, TheStreet.Com. All rights reserved.

2010/03/20 at 17:51 Leave a comment

Augmented Reality Advertising Is Here

Augmented Reality Advertising Is Here

Augmented reality and geo-location really started to gain steam in 2009, and we expect to see even more developments in 2010. Geo-location in particular has really compelling opportunities when it comes to advertising. Already businesses are discovering the benefits they can gain by engaging and promoting services via Foursquare — it was really only a matter of time before bigger companies would start to take notice.

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2009/12/21 at 18:22 1 comment

Is true democracy happening now, on the web, and succeeding (no, Wikipedia does not count)

Firefox 3.5: The World’s Most Popular Browser

Firefox 3.5 is now the most popular browser worldwide, edging past Internet Explorer 7, according to analytics site StatCounter.

The timing has favored FF3.5, however: IE7 usage has died off as people upgrade to IE8, meaning that Internet Explorer’smarket share is currently spread equally across IE7 and IE8. Add together all versions of IE versus all versions of Firefox, and Microsoft’s browser is still leading the pack by a long way.

Nonetheless, the trend lines favor Firefox in the long run: IE’s market share continues its slow decline while Firefox has sustained steady growth.

One very interesting angle to this development is that Firefox, a product of the Mozilla open source group, is truly a people’s product- developed by, and with, input from various programmers who wanted to seize their browsing destiny from the mega conglomerates with the EURO billion R&D budgets and built it collaboratively and over time.
Wikipedia is a similar collaboration, but is not as pure- the content is often self-serving, and is only as good as the sources who post information- the reliability and knowledge of whom is always in doubt.  By definition, Wikipedia is a cross- cultural “democratic” project.  One we all heavily rely on, but its formula for success is also its achilles heel, especially as content curation (big buzz word for 2010) becomes more the norm and web content is held more and more to the standards of print media that it intends to replace.
Firefox is a gateway- its creators and contributors have their own agendas, but its function largely frees it from the bias and agendas that may bring down or “taint” other web phenomena.
Without budgets or campaigns, through word of mouth only, Firefox has passed Safari (which is backed by one of the worlds best branding and marketing machines) and if current trends continue, it will pass IE as the browser of choice.  The thing about grass roots marketing is that its success is the purest and most accurate to measure against ROI (or any other metric).  If it didn’t work, people wouldn’t use it, rave about it, and influence their friends and colleagues to do the same.

The understatement of the millenia would be to say that the web has changed everything, and leveled so many playing fields.  The success of Mozilla and Firefox, more than anything else out there right now, might indicate how and in what ways going forward.

Will traditional media (read: Apple and Microsoft, ha! what an indication of that massive change) be able to respond?  Will they throw money and campaigns and marketing gurus at the challenge, or will they change their models- working more closely with the net’s “everyman” programmers and creators?

2009/12/21 at 16:48 Leave a comment

10 Rules for Increasing Community Engagement

10 Rules for Increasing Community Engagement

Courtesy Mashable,

10 crucial things you need to do to keep your audience engaged with you and with your business/community.

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2009/12/16 at 18:26 Leave a comment


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