Tuesday, January 27, 2015

More About Code

An after school program recently shared there is a request for an enrichment learning class on coding. I’m not a coder, but you’ll remember I bought the toys Dash and Dot for the sake of understanding how these toys can forward knowledge and coding practice.

 The Hour of Code effort offers all kinds of curriculum for this purpose. Code.org and the Khan Academy are two such sites:



This is the second year of Hour of Code events. This video highlight a couple things: President Obama’s visit with students during an Hour of Code Event at the White House, and the mention of Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, one of the early experts to convert binary computer code to language resembling code we use today:

  PS. Note

The programmable toy on the table in the video—yes, I’m working on a code routine for mine! So more to come. But in leaving today, I want to share this video by Common Craft which nicely elaborates on coding principles:


Friday, December 19, 2014

The Programmable Toys Have Arrived: Meet Cowboy and Mustang (aka Bo and Yana, Dot and Bo)

About a year ago, a group named Playi proposed a Kickstarter project to fund toys that would teach programming concepts through play. Their marketing efforts were brilliant. One of their promotions included having Bo play a song on a xylophone. The public was invited to suggest a song that Bo would play. Playi then surveyed the masses as to which suggestion should be programmed.

Another of their promos was to invite the public to play with Bo and Yana at an Hour of Code Event.

2014 dragged on, and I waited for the delivery of the product. Well, it came during this year's Hour of Hour of Code--smart strategy!

So here they are--can't wait to carve out a piece of time to use the Blockly app on my Ipad to program Cowboy's/Bo's Dance Party number.

Just Barely Home--Getting Charged and Blinking

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

More and Less QR

I’m always on the lookout to see how tech is used in various countries. These were my observations on recent trip to Australia and China. There was plenty of evidence that QR was used in several places in Darwin and Cairns for both tourist venues and other.

This one from the Charles Darwin University provides downloads of library subject guides:

On one of our tourist outings, I had the good luck to meet a social media professional from Germany. Her take was that QR has not really taken off in Germany and this is probably due to the fact of a more limited ownership of smart phones.

In contrast, QR’s were in abundance in China. From the Jilin University e-book kiosk
to connection to retail sites and codes for cash rebates in shops through an app known as WeChat.

The QR’s on the library kiosk allow users to download the e-books to readers from the kiosk.

The wide-spread use of QR’s with marketing and retail purposes is driven by the use of WeChat, a combination chat, picture, and live video app available on phones. Because the app operates from the phone, it is a natural driver for scanning the QRs. 

WeChat is an app available internationally. As for use within China, it makes social media interaction available while other social media such as Facebook and Twitter are blocked. What I did find upon return to the US, is that I was blocked from Chinese WeChat sites, meaning that WeChat if for national, rather than international access in that country.

What is your experience with QR where you live or where you have travelled? Would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Pop Pop Pop: All Kinds of 3D Printing Developments

Have You Been 3D Scanned?

What a terrific TED talk on how 3D printing (additive manufacturing) is “personalizing” and “localizing” the creation of new items.

And since viewing that TED talk, earlier today, the #3Dprinting world seems to be exploding. A 3D camera that attaches to an Ipad to capture 3D images came forward, then a bunch of other stories, including the printing of bone substitute, and a solar-powered 3D printer. (Yes, when I’m on the beach, I could print some running shoes, or maybe a boogie board LOL).


 How the 3D Ipad Scanner works:

More stories here: http://b3dge-log.com/3dpnews

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fall Catchup: #'glassatwork, Udacity and Workplace Learning Partnerships, Coding, #3dprinting

I’ve just not been up to speed with blogging – lots to do, absorb, and see in the world (including TSA waiting lines). Ha.

These practices have been on my  tech and learning radar: the continuing developments and use Google Glass by workplace sectors, an increased in workplace learning opportunities, the increased development of wearables, the need for coders, and 3D  printing.

From an application that provides opera librettos, to live patient evaluation from the ambulance, to use of Goolge Glass for workplace support when hands should be free for dangerous work tasks are some examples of these developments.

View these articles tagged in Twitter with #glassatwork:

Udacity learning partnerships
The breaking news is that Udacity just raised a bundle on Kickstarter.
IMHO, higher ed has a window of opportunity to create models for workplace learning that can easily be articulated for credit at their institutions.

Smart money would have institutions talking to Udacity. For instance,
Ed2Go is now widely supplementing continuous education offerings with colleges. Ed2Go markets the course, provides the instructior, and fills the seats for a cut of the fees. Because these courses are not for credit, an institution’s incorporation of the courses into their offerings is quite easy, in comparison to the rigours of developing or adopting new for-credit courses.

I’m still waiting for the delivery of Bo and Yana, my programmable toys from Iplay.
They are just part of the call to have kids develop coding skills. Hour of Code is a campaign to engage learners of all ages in coding: Two such offerings are http://code.org/educate/curriculum.

Additionally the Khan Academy joined activities:

Back in December 2013, I visited the NY’s Museum of Art and Design  3D exhibit and even got scanned for a miniature of myself: http://constantlearningorg.blogspot.com/2014/01/have-you-been-scanned-for-3d.html

As these tweets indicate, the use of 3D printing is more and more prevalent: https://twitter.com/search?q=%233dprinting&src=tyah.

To view how students are engaged in 3D events, follow  TJ McCue’s 8 month tour of 3D events in the US: https://twitter.com/hashtag/3DRV?src=hash

Having had some exchanges over his tour, I tried some searches in hopes of surfacing standards, competencies, and potential higher ed or training curriculum—the results are vague and spotty.

As in the case of the coding initiative, two pertinent questions for 3D printing are, What Skills are needed for the various processes of 3D printing? And, what curriculum already exists?

This site names 8 steps for the process in the language of competencies:

This site markets competencies (at a price) for different roles in 3D printing or “additive manufacturing” though you have to purchase to view: http://skills.salary.com/Job/Engineering-Program-Manager-3D-printing

If you have some specific higher ed listings I’d love to hear from you:

Monday, July 28, 2014

On Reading the Brain Rules by John Medina

I recently completed reading the 2009 edition of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School: http://www.brainrules.net/about-brain-rules. I’d read a bit of the book prior to our shared reading, and I’m glad to have had the opportunity to do so. John

Medina provides great examples to illustrate brain research that supports principles affecting memory and learning. I would say I was familiar with some of the concepts, but most appreciative of the elaboration provided by Dr. Medina.

As I read, I kept thinking about wanting to understand the actual makeup of the brain better at a knowledge level, like I should be making a drawing of the brain and drawing pointers from the various parts to functions Medina was discussing in various chapters. And this reaction ironically came to a peak in Chapter 10 “Vision Trumps everything.” It was then that I also realized the digital version of the book had no visuals whatsoever! I admit, had I been more pro-active, I’d have sought out this helpful site earlier, printed it out and kept it handy: http://www.brainwaves.com/brain_diagram.html

I also now realize I overlooked a message at the end of each chapter: “To find out more, visit the Brain Rules website. Duh moment. However, having to go outside the text is still distracting from the context.

However, in addition to a lecture by Dr. Medina, you’ll also find an illustrated guide to the the 12 principles:


In the recent past, I had the rewarding experience of hearing a couple presentations from Patricia Rand, teaching and learning professionl and paramedic faculty. She has developed some terrific materials for faculty and students that draw from the rules and the best of media design practices that Medina credits to Richard Mayer’s research in the Brain Rules discussions. Tricia (Patricia) Rand: http://toolsfortherules.weebly.com/application.html.

View her examples demonstrating the use of multimedia elements and how they support attention (Medina’ Rule 4):


What did I value most from the reading? 1) Retrieval and Repetition are key to building memory but procedural memory and memory used for problem solving do not operate the same way. 2) Timing and using more than one sensory input affect memory 3)Media’s offers potentials worth considering relative to the impact of stress on learning and the role of curiosity (such as teaching parents how to create non-toxic home environments at the time they are expecting a child, about the nurturance of “life-long curiosity.” I am still motivated to increase my ready knowledge of brain functions relative to creating and evaluating instructional experiences (“amygdala,” “hippocampus, “”thalamus,” “cortex,” “sensory integration.”). Nonetheless, the rules are immediately useful guides.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Glass for the Education Sector Shows Possibiities for Others

Kathy Shrock included this great infographic on her education page, but without a doubt, all workpaces need to engage in continuous learning, so some of these strategies certainly apply elseware. Sectors like medicine, journalism, aviation, and the food-service industry have already documented their use for hands-free performance support and rapid exchanges of information.