Posts tagged: (Ubiquitous) Computing

My 2011 Predictions

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By , December 28, 2010 9:03 pm

Well 2010 was certainly an eye opening ride for me, moving between institutions not of my own will and looking to a future that may or may not include academia. But for all that, it has provided me with yet another way of looking at technology and the way that it is used to educate us and help us tell our stories. So without too much extra reflection, here are my points from last year:

  • Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
  • Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
  • Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
  • Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
  • Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
  • Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.

So how did I do?

  • Augmented reality – we are certainly seeing what the increase in GPS capable devices has provided. The boom of location based services, while not really “augmented”, is certainly an enhancement.
  • Increased power of mobile – well mobile payment is increasing and the sudden rise of the iPad shows that mobile is certainly something people were waiting for, even if they didn’t know it or know where/how it would fit in their digital life
  • Privacy erosion – Facebook anyone? Check this Google News link.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – well TV and terrestrial radio didn’t die out, but YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Boxee and many more certainly went main stream.
  • Casual gaming – Hear about Zynga? I doubt Google would have bought in if it wasn’t going somewhere.
  • Chrome – well I missed on that one, ChromeOS test platforms only now started shipping.
  • Short URLs – bit.ly and bit.ly Pro anyone – I think I got this one on the mark.

So what are my thoughts for 2011?

  • More mobile – who really cares what the latest computer is? Everyone is buzzing about phones. Between the fast revisions, portability and dropping price, the promise of capable computing in your pocket (as opposed to the office/den) is appealing to everyone
  • Social everything – we’ve seen how powerful Facebook has become, and it’s not going to weaken anytime in the future. There might be some ripples with Diaspora or other new services, but if they don’t use existing services as a rooting point, they are not going anywhere. To make change, you’ll have to convince a planet wide mob.
  • Bandwidth battles – net neutrality will come to a head again and there is going to be more available, but the providers are going to find more ways to charge for it
  • Text will still rule – even though video and audio will be easier to capture and transmit, people will still post and communicate using letters.
  • Education might actually get the hint that social and mobile compute is something that should be given consideration – well I can hope

So not as many this year as in previous years, but things are moving through a bit of a bottleneck right now and maybe in 2011 something will blow things open, or we see things crystallize in the nxt 8-13 months and then some real changes arrive in 2012.

My 2010 Predictions

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By , December 21, 2009 12:17 pm

Well 2009 was certainly a transitional year for the type of tech that I follow. We seem to have moved from a world with clear definitions of media type to one where those types are starting to blur. This blurring seems to be due to one factor, the shift toward ubiquitous, real time data. This shift has made an impact on commerce and journalism, avoiding the one place where many would hope it would/could make a difference – education. Perhaps the reason for this is because at it’s root, education is geared to provide a foundation, but this foundation, once built should be using the tools that the “rest of the world” uses, right? Well, that is the conversation that will take forever and will likely never be resolved and in my experience seems to now be related to the fact that in order to exist in the educational sphere, there must be some measure of assessment and there is as of yet, no way to get the assessment tools developed fast enough to match the technologies that are being used. So with that in mind, how might we reconcile this relentless advance of technology with the lead foot dragging of education? Well I’m proposing that we forget about assessment when we are dealing with technology in education in 2010. Rather we look at technology as a way of enabling the communication needed to learn about various parts of the world and deal with the assessments as they are. Perhaps they are antiquated, perhaps they are progressive, but in the end, they are discipline specific and technology is largely discipline agnostic. The assessment of technology use will not actually be done in the classroom, but rather in the halls as students will be the masters of one communication form and instructors of another. Hopefully, there will be enough of an overlap that the two can still communicate.

This does not mean that I’m giving up on integrating technology in education, but rather looking more at what I’ve been saying is the new direction of this blog is – looking at technologies that help advance the story. The story is the learning, the assessment is something else all together.

So with that in the back of your mind, let’s see how I did over 2009. My points from last year:

  • Rise of mobile data/3G in Canada
  • A change in form factor preference
  • Mobile UIs
  • Technology abandonment
  • Photo/Video convergence
  • Rise of mLearning and mobile linked services
  • Net neutrality and Copyright
  • Microblogging going more mainstream and perhaps becoming the search jump point
  • “This is me”
  • The depression/recession/retrenchment

And here is how I think I scored:

  • On the rise of mobile data, well that seems to have happened as data has got much cheaper over the last year and newcomers to the market like Wind Mobile are really helping this. The use of “data sticks” to provide ubiquitous connectivity certainly helps this point get made. There are also more plans out there with unlimited text, which suggests that the telcos are admitting in their own way that it costs less than nothing to handle SMS.
  • The form factor has indeed got smaller and it seems now that Intel has put it’s hammer down and defined what a “netbook” really is, the format is indeed taking off. The use of Android on non phone style devices also points to a change in form factor. The iPhone didn’t really get the accessories to make it that much cooler, but Apple seemed to have other issues with the App store, so perhaps that played into things where developers where not willing/wanting to get involved into big development for the platform. That being said, there were some interesting remote programs as well as the development of hypervisors for the platform that make it more into a controller than a traditional hub. The same holds true with the other mobile platforms.
  • Mobile UIs seem to have had a mixed year. There are more content pages that are delivered in a mobile friendly format, but platform specific UIs (iPhone sites) seem to be dropping off.
  • Technology abandonment, well I should have called this niche gadget abandonment. There are many gadgets out there doing “one offs” other there and none of them seemed to get any traction this year (like the Twitter only Peek), Apps and widgets on the ubergadget seem to be the way that things are getting done.
  • Photo and Video did indeed converge with just about every new SLR body having HD video as a feature.
  • mLearning/Mobile linked and microblogging as the jump search point – well I think I hit that nail on the head pretty good. To the point where the big search engines have integrated Facebook and Twitter into their results. Of course there are many other real time services out there, but now that we see real time data in search, that field is only going to expand and have an impact on the static Web 1.0/1.5 and early Web2.0 content that is out there. New services, if they were to have any real popular geek traction seemed to have at least some type of mobile interface.
  • Copyright continued to grow as did net neutrality. These dry, geeky topics started to come up more often on the news and the public is at least understanding that there is something going on there that they might want to at least be aware of.
  • “This is me” seemed to have a blip this year as Facebook had a “land grab” when it enabled /user account referencing. That didn’t really seem to matter much to anyone as they were already ignoring what it said in the addressbar. People already seem to think of their account in their various SNS to be them, and it seems they don’t need a URL to help that out.
  • Finally the recession, be it over or not, seems to have done one thing – not the scraping for parts that I thought would happen, but rather a bigger move toward virtualization.

So it seems to me that I hit, or at least ticked each item on my list for 2009. So what am I thinking about 2010? Well in a word… cloud. But here is the list:

  • Augmented Reality – phones and other GPS enabled devices will add value to the world by being able to overlay data that incorporates real time updates, static content and, of course, social data.
  • Increased power of mobile – From payments (PayPal has apps out there now), to creation and management, increasingly you’ll have to be able to do it all mobile.
  • Privacy erosion – we’ll see just how fleeting privacy is, anything that gets transmitted is public, period. We should see much more this coming year, how and why this is the case. But at the same time, the value of the crowd being able to take a peek at what you do will gain value.
  • Decline of traditional transmission – I think (and hope) that cablecos will realize that PVR is the first step in enabling people to get content the way that they want – and that way is file based. I don’t know if the cablecos are going to make this move or if the content creators are, but it’s certainly coming. Fast pipes, big drives and cheap streamers make it very easy to set up one’s home to be able to download last night’s episode of whatever and watch it at a more reasonable time. Apple has some of this going through iTunes, but the system is overly restrictive and I don’t think people like the idea of paying for things twice.
  • Casual Gaming will explode – games on Facebook, Twitter, phones are going to grow and traditional games are going to stagnate… unless they have some social element.
  • Chrome – a non phone web based OS is going to make ripples, especially for those many billions out there who only really surf and turf on their machines. For those who need to handle media files, traditional machines will still be there, but the appeal of the “global roaming profile” will certainly appeal to many.
  • Short URLs – There is a reason why Google and Facebook have got into the game. I think brands are going to go to these to show approval or ownership.

So how does this all work with the “Cloud”? Well the cloud is something that is going to be delivered by only a small group of companies. Google, Amazon are Microsoft are the usual suspects to be able to deliver these predictions. I don’t think they will all come to fruition in 2010, but I’m certain that these will all have a solid start and I’m looking forward to see how the way that we learn from the storied that are enabled by these tools come to pass.

Finally, with another thousand posts over 2009, I have one more prediction. There will be much less traditional blogging. I don’t think I’ll have more than 500 posts next year as the emerging world of the web increasingly values the content that is shared in real time. So what does that mean? Well, in the past, when things happened, people blogged it and you’d use feed readers to keep up with what’s happening. Now ephemeral information and information that may not fit 100% with the theme of a blog will be tweeted or delivered over another such tool. What this means is that the tools that we choose to deliver/share content will be determined not by what we like, but by how long we’d like it to stay around (I’m talking best practice here). So I don’t think I’ll post about updating WordPress, because that is something that I’ll put into the twittersphere because it will only be relevant for a short time. But if something happens during that update that I think might have more lasting value, that will end up in the blog and if there are a number of those events that happen, they can be put into a more traditional site.

With that I’ll wrap up for the year, and effectively into the middle of January. You’ll likely see two more PoWs, but I don’t think there is going to be something earth shattering to blog about, but the tweets will likely come as they have.

All the best over the holidays.

Help! The Interwebs are Broken!

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By , August 6, 2009 10:25 am

I remember way back in the days when search engine home pages were not reliable, when Yahoo! or MSN was down, people thought the entire net was down because they didn’t know how to input URLs. Now I don’t think much has changed in the last 5-10 years in terms of how many people use the ‘net, except for instead of search engines being the home page/tab, people have Facebook or Twitter as their starting point. Many people don’t even go further than Facebook anymore as the only reason they go online is to catch up with friends. So today’s meltdown (C|Net, Mashable) of Twitter and Facebook was certainly an annoyance for folks (and a reminder of how dependant we are getting) who had their ‘net break this morning. But outside of the traditional web, I think where this might have had a bigger impact was in mobile computing – I wonder how many people who have phones hooked into the two services all of the sudden felt the sensation of being disconnected? In my experience, the biggest drivers for mobile data, at least in my circles, have been related to social networking. People want to be able to go out and meet their friends and share those experiences with those who are not there and store them for those who are.

One of my colleagues in the office suggested that the attack on Twitter might have been some State clamping down so hard that it knocked Twitter down for everyone. I also don’t see that being that far out of the realm of possibility. But if a State did attack a company, who is there to defend them? The “cyber forces” of their home country, or some other body (the UN?). I don’t know but as services become international in use and importance, the defense of these services becomes the interest of the world as well, once again throwing fuel on the fire that is the role of borders on the ‘net.

PS. Be sure to check the update.

4 years, 1774 posts… and it keeps going

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By , May 29, 2009 9:06 am

Today my blogging effort – in any serious form turns 4. Four years has certainly seen quite a bit of change for me personally and professionally and it has seen all manner of change for technology and well some of it has made it’s way to the classroom in either k-12 or higher ed.

So with this in mind, I thought it might be interesting to see what I was posting about on my previous blogversaries.

May 2005 was when I moved off the SpyMac (yeah, remember when they were relevant and a real site, not some sort of frankensite with the old forums in the back?) and onto Blogger. My motivation for this was an AMTEC conference in Calgary and a presentation from Rob Wall. I was talking about the need for techs and admins to also know about the learning process – especially since so many of them are being tasked with supporting ed-tech in k-20. I would also argue that it is very useful for EdTechers to know about the tech and admin side, enough so that they are able to ask for what they want or need. I also posted “Back Light” as my very first “POW”. Other things going on were the advent of perpendicular recording (which I finally got on on my systems in December) and the increasing uptake of RSS.

Fast forward a year and I was talking about how podcasts can increase meaningful contact time, how I was planning to run a half marathon in 2008 (that didn’t come to pass due to injury, so I went to Vegas for a baby-moon instead) after clocking an amazing 45min time for 10km – my new goal is to do this by 2011 (babies have a funny way of re-ordering life). Other news had the Oilers in the playoffs and Boot Camp being tested on the Mac. Those were indeed heady days. As 2007 came, social networks were items of interest as were “just enough” uses of technology (nee Hole in the Wall) and alternative interfaces. Last year ePortfolios, cyberbullying and txting had their portions of my interest.

It seems that my thoughts have migrated from looking only at those technologies that can be or are being used in the classroom, to those that can make things more convenient for an information workflow in one’s personal life and then, by osmosis, find their way into the classroom or lecture theater. I’ve also toned down the Mac fan-boy element in favour of system that get things done (which is still 99.999% of the time Mac ;)) and those things that are just cool and no longer teathered to the desktop – nee phones. Over the last year, with over 4000 posts to Twitter, I’ve also noticed myself blogging less, but I think the value of the posts has increased for me. Many times I’d put up a short post because the act of writing helped me remember. Now I do the same thing with Twitter.

I would not even want to try to guess where things are going to be in another 4 years, but hopefully this blog will still be around. Next year I’m looking forward to seeing how Google’s Wave is going to change things for social networks – powerful real time messaging and collaboration makes me think that it will be able to one up Facebook in terms of being able to share images, exchange documents and send messages. It will also be flexibile enough to pull in much of what might come out over the next while as well. It should be interesting.

Data increases on 3G phones

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By , September 10, 2008 8:38 am

Since I got my new phone, I’ve been trying my best to make use of as much data as possible (within reason) every day. In part to make use of the massive 6GB that I have, but also to see what a “student” use of data might be. So, with my last bill, I saw that I used 40MB of data, up from the 20MB max that I used on the Pearl. So, it certainly seems that the old 25MB plans likely would not have worked on this phone, but it also suggest that with even heavier use of GPS and web on a BB device, a user would be likely pressed to get up beyond 500MB – without doing some serious uploading/downloading of files or tethering.

Here is a sample of my usage:

Pearl Typical – 1,550.00KB
Pearl High – 3,664.00KB

Bold Typical – 4,256.00KB
Bold High – 11,263.00KB

I’m hoping to break 100MB next month, but we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Ideas – Thoughts on online identity

By , October 1, 2007 11:29 am

If you are at all interested in any of the elements of Web2.0 and how they interact with identity, this week’s Ideas is a great one to listen to. Things are certainly going to change over the next few years as the people we are teaching, the people who are making important choices have had much of their life openly documented by themselves and by others with focused messages being sent out by one of the many identities of these people.

So while we are struggling with using ppt properly and not know about social networking and dissing discussions and being frightened by eportfolios, the generation that we are trying to train is so far disconnected from “us” that it’s no wonder why contemporary ideas of education are having so many issues.

If the education powers that be don’t see that this is a tide that is coming, we are going to have even more issues than we have now. Granted, not every kid is as wired, but I doubt that the number is so small that it can be ignored.

Ready for mobile? If you want to have lifetime (24/7) learners, you need lifetime (24/7) teachers

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By , September 18, 2007 10:04 am

EduCause has an interesting article available – it’s long, so here are some carefully stolen points:

To keep up with this changing phenomenon and to effectively facilitate mobile learning, argued Sharma and Kitchens, it is imperative that instructors learn about and adapt to the changing environments, when and where appropriate. Naismith et al. (S. K. Sharma and F. L. Kitchens, “Web Services Architecture for M-Learning,” Electronic Journal on e-Learning, Vol. 2, No. 1, 2004, pp. 203–216.). hypothesized that mobile technologies will have a huge impact on learning; they made the following predictions based on emerging trends:

  • Learning will center on the individual learner’s environment rather than the classroom.
  • Learning will involve learners making meaningful connections to resources and other people.
  • The ability to instantly publish their observations and reflections as digital media will empower learners to become investigators of their own environments.
  • The ability to easily capture and record life events will assist learners in recall and collaborative reflection.
  • Distributed collaboration and mobile team opportunities will be greatly enhanced.

These predictions, if accurate, have significant pedagogical implications that are both a consequence of, and an opportunity for, mobile learning. Educators will have to shift from being transmitters of knowledge to facilitators of learning in order to create new learning pathways that are more situated, personal, collaborative, and long term. To help educators make the transition, Naismith et al.11 offered the following suggestions for adapting mobile learning to the six major types of learning:

  • Behaviorism: Quick feedback or reinforcement can be facilitated through mobile devices.
  • Constructivism: Mobile devices enable immersive experiences such as those provided by simulations or games.
  • Situated learning: Learners can take mobile devices into authentic learning environments or “context-aware” environments, such as specially equipped museums.
  • Collaborative learning: Mobile devices provide a handy additional means of communication and a portable means of electronic information gathering and sharing.
  • Informal/lifelong learning: Mobile devices accompany users in their everyday experiences and become a convenient source of information or means of communication that assists with learning.
  • Support/coordination: Mobile devices provide just-in-time access to learning resources, news, information, planners, address books, calculators, and so forth.

and

Podcasting enables faculty to incorporate on-demand audio recordings into their curriculum. While it is relatively easy to produce a podcast, instructors will have to rethink their approach to packaging instructional content so that students are eager to listen to it. “The droning voice of a professor reading from yellowed lecture notes will not be so affecting,” according to Gardner Campbell, “…but a voice that creates a theater of the mind…can connect with the listener on a profound level.”13 The Division of Information Technology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison offers the following guidelines for creating podcasts14:

  • Avoid overly complex material that includes lots of facts and figures. Complex subject matter is often more effectively conveyed through handouts and readings than through a podcast. This is because most students will listen to podcasts as they perform other tasks (i.e., riding a bus, driving, exercising, walking to class, etc.). In most cases they won’t be taking notes as they listen. Always keep in mind the learner’s context when selecting content for a podcast.
  • Recordings of classroom lectures may not be the best use of podcasting. Podcasts of entire lectures often come across as overly formal and boring. Important visuals are excluded. Only use lectures as podcasts when you have a strong pedagogical rationale for doing so.
  • Narrow the focus of a podcast. Limit the scope of the content to only a few main themes. Don’t try to communicate too much material in a single podcast. Instead, identify important concepts or issues students tend to struggle with and develop a podcast that addresses each one.

By convention, most of the just-in-time podcasts (such as CNN news and NPR news) last about three to five minutes. Perhaps instructors can make better use of the limited time and only provide the information that provokes students’ thoughts. Instructors are also advised to focus on one theme, topic, or issue in each podcast so that learners have options to download the needed ones. Also, information about each podcast event’s file size or time duration should be provided.

With the challenge of new mobile technologies for podcasting comes a great opportunity for providing new types of services for traditional and distant learners. Meng believes “the greatest opportunities for these technologies are in the ways they will be used that have not yet been imagined.”15 The potential offered by podcasting makes it worth the effort of learning and using.

So the take home message that I get out of this – if the means of accessing information becomes ubiquitous, so does the accessing… so this means that teaching will have to become more of a lifestyle, so will teaching – instructors will certainly have to start to practice what they preach.

iPhone is now free to everyone – Internationally on any GSM system

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By , August 24, 2007 10:31 am

Of course, this is a hack by these folks and it means that you’ve technically been a bad boy or girl by hacking the phone, but it also means that you will be able to use the basic phone features on any network anywhere… forget about Orange, O2 and T-Mobile being the only international carriers now.

One thing that you will have to deal with having a cool data-centric device and likely not being able to get the data services that you want (you have to do some hacks for you-tube and you have to use regular voicemail). But this might be a non issue in the end. I’m thinking that there are going to be many more iPhones on ebay soon.

I wonder is Apple and AT&T is going to do anything to change the software to lock things up again…

Minority Report Commeth

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By , May 30, 2007 4:23 pm

A few months ago, I wrote about Bumptop and Han’s work and now (via D’Arcy) comes Microsoft Surface. If these two interfaces get together, things could really change for how computers are used and could fast track even greater penetration of ubiquitous computing.

Ideas of surveillance

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By , May 19, 2007 7:06 am

+++This post started out on my phone and has been trapped in the back end of my database for the weekend – I’ll come back to it when I have time+++

Friday, I took in this really interesting lecture by Meyrowitz, as well as a small panel afterward, who talked about how reality and it’s perception can change greatly by how it’s archived (I would also think that it would change according to why as well). This got me thinking, what do we really want to go back to?

Should the machine now help us forget as well? The second question was only briefly touched on, and the first was explored in many ways by looking at communications theory and the like. But asking these questions from the point of an educator, that is something a little different.

Our students are actively archiving themselves and many don’t even think twice about privacy (likely because identity protection wasn’t well covered at school), especially online. These kids are like the people of the sixteenth century, before the private home and the people of the old Soviet block (or so we would be lead to believe). Not only do the accept the surveys of others, but the actively record their own lives (often online via the social network of the day) as well. Knowing this, how or why are we having such a hard time with technology integration and with the establishment of eportfolios?

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