Archive for Web 2.0

Mobile learning – my doubts and thoughts before experiencing the kindle book

In this post, I will explain my doubts about mobile learning and introduce my kindle book 🙂

On Dec 1st, we had a guest speaker in our Web 2.0 class, Sharon Boller, President, Bottom-Line Performance. I really enjoyed her presentation and some of the information was very helpful for me to understand companies point of views regarding using Web 2.0.

For instance, what is using a social networking site like in a company? Sharon explained Sun Microsystem built their own internal social networking site and worked well. Trust employees (users of the site) and build relationships.

The most important message in the presentation for me, is about MOBILE LEARNING! I agreed her comments completely: Not sure if mobile learning devices are ready. Not sure if people are ready for mobile learning! In fact, I was kind of feel relieved after knowing the fact that someone as a president of an instructional consulting company also has doubts about mobile learning, not only me.

Issue #1 Devices and browsers: If you’re going to use cellphones for mobile learning, you have to have same type of devices at least same brand for your employees because different cellphones use different type of browsers.

Issue #2: A small screen makes the content hard to read.  Sometimes people just want to use their cellphone for having conversations with friends, families, and business. It is like function fixedness in psychology.

Issue #3: Support or learning???  It is helpful when you have support from your mobile devices such as a GPS  system or a translation feature. But can you say you are learning when use these features or they just play a role to support your needs?

Issue #4: The controversial issue about whether people want to learn at anytime and anyplace. I think this is a very important issue. I remember Dr. Bonk presented one research on mobile learning: an international comparison one time. In the study, each Taiwanese owns 2+ cellphones but they have lowest rate of using mobile devices for learning. I think it doesn’t mean that Taiwanese don’t learn or don’t know how to use mobile devices. Maybe we just don’t want to learn anytime anyplace! Cellphones for social networking, talking, and communication are perfect. Why use it for learning?

P.S. My idea  about using cellphones for communicating among a group of people, videoconferencing calls. Now we have the smallest projectors for sell in U.K. already.

img_03742Okay. I have talked enough about my doubts of mobile learning – I don’t really think mobile learning can have an impact soon. However, I bought a kindle book recently (because on my way to Orlando AECT 2008, the person sitting next to me, owns a kindle and he demonstrated it to me. He also said he bought about 6 kindles for his families and they all love it! On my way home, he said hi to me again, on the same flight!! So I took it as a sign…. ) I really love this device (except the unfriendly price – I had to sell my wii)! I am not a big fan of doing everything electronically but this is awesome! It doesn’t look like a laptop monitor (doesn’t have a backlight – it just like paper) and you can change font sizes. It has a built-in dictionary. Easy to read! You can highlight things, and edit notes. Plus you don’t have to carry the heavy documents or books everywhere. Just wonderful! So I am definitely looking forward to the time when mobile learning is ready and becomes popular!


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Google is making us stupid?

Nicholas Carr (2008, July/August). Is Google Making Us Stupid? Atlantic Monthly. Retrieved August 18, 2008, from

In our Web 2.0 class, we had an interesting discussion about this article. I was surprised when Dr. Alexander mentioned this article in our motivation class as well. So THIS GOOGLE thing is not a problem only for instructional technology itself! 🙂

The company has declared that its mission is “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” It seeks to develop “the perfect search engine,” which it defines as something that “understands exactly what you mean and gives you back exactly what you want.”

“The ultimate search engine is something as smart as people—or smarter,” Page said in a speech a few years back. “For us, working on search is a way to work on artificial intelligence.” In a 2004 interview with Newsweek, Brin said, “Certainly if you had all the world’s information directly attached to your brain, or an artificial brain that was smarter than your brain, you’d be better off.” Last year, Page told a convention of scientists that Google is “really trying to build artificial intelligence and to do it on a large scale.”

The author has a really interesting point speaking from Google (artificial intelligence)’s point of view and users (human being)’s point of view.

This was also a nice discussion topic with my undergraduate students since they’ve never thought about this issue before. For their generation, learning something they don’t know is just getting knowledge from their fingertips. They don’t have to check out books from the library and look for information. For me too. The way we find information is physically different from before. Maybe cognitively different as well. Not sure.

We have to evaluate the sourses of information. For me, evaluating something sometimes seem easier online because you can easily find information or find links to anther source. For instance, shopping on Amazon, you can read information about the product as well as read other people’s comments. Even though sometimes comments can be biased especially when you have this direct linked to the profits. Some companies may keep posting positive comments (on E-bay) but eventually the mass force can’t be ignored or fooled. 🙂

For evaluating knowledge – search results of google – I think human brains (especially in collective efforts) can be really powerful! Just like “Stumble upon” users with similar interests suggest useful resources and used by everyone else. Google recently allow users to individualize the search results. by deleting or prioritizing results. what impact is it going to make? I am not sure.

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Podcasting, webcasting

The podcast discussion of the Web 2.0 class was very short. But the readings and short discussion were interesting. From the survey result from the slides below, most podcasters are male, just like Wikipedia or Wikibooks.

#5 Mocigemba, Dennis, & Riechmann, Gerald (2007, July). International Podcastersurvey: Podcasters – who they are. How and why they do it. Retrieved July 30, 2007, from

I think to some extent, podcasts have greater barriers to entry for most people. And males tend to have higher self-efficacy in technology/ computers. It may not be complicated to record podcasts, but the editing and sharing parts can overwhelm people who have lower sense of efficacy in technology (compared with blogs)!

The other interesting thing is that even podcasts allow users to download the episodes to their iPod or mp3 players, most people use laptops or desktops to listen to podcasts!! – The reason may be – most people don’t sychronous their iPod with their computers or don’t do this open enough to get daily episodes.

For the undergradute class I teach, students have options to create blogs, wikis, podcast, or videos. Most people choose to create videos with others, some people choose to do blogs with one project partner or alone, about 1 out of 6 groups choosing to create a podcast. (Most of them did a great job!!)

What kind of podcasts people would love to listen to? I think it depends on people’s needs and their motivations to listen to a podcast. For some language learners, podcasts are really wonderful tools, which allow them to practice listening. There are some good programs for language learners.

For me personally, I would appreciate one short and precise/ interesting fact, story, application every day. This is the podcast I shared in class:

Here is the weekly podcast “60-second psych“. You can subscribe it through RSS or iTunes.
Example: sep – 29 – 2008 Business, Lies and Email
New research finds that business students lie more often in e-mail than when communicating using pen and paper. Christie Nicholson reports

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The most Web 2.0 tools this year !?

It’s close to xmas, the end of the year. It’s time to review and think about the most “web 2.0” tools of this year! I learned something new and some of the web 2.0 changed my habits!

In the past 3 years (after I came here, studying at IU), ….

(1) I have been using wikipedia when I look for some basic information or look for extended reading from their lists of sources.

(2) I have been using blogs and reading my families and friends blogs! It almost seems that… you should update your blogs and your trip photos as one of your personal obligations.

This year, I start using Delicious and Stumble Upon. I did learn a lot of applications, but I can’t live without these two! Especially delicious.

(1) Delicious. What is delicious (social bookmarking site)?

picture-3For most of the time, I can easily search what I need and what I’ve seen before. I can share with friends. It is most for my personal uses so far. But I had experience of browsing others’ tags/ websites. Very interesting! Now, I have 529 bookmarks!

This is an image of my bookmarks…

(2) Stumble upon: Dr. Bonk mentioned this tool in his presentation in class. Bob shared with me his experience of using stumble upon after that class. It IS a wonderful tool for surfing the web.

Stumble upon: never surf alone…

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week seven: open source and open courseware

This post is about open source and open course-ware.

Questions discussed in class

– evaluating online resources

– wrap(repackage) classes

– wikipedia education

What do universities do then? How do they make money?

– my thoughts: knowledge is open and free but education is not (requires a lot of resources and provides services – especially individualized services of education. Also we do research!)

– need to rethink what we should teach in college

Open resources

– use of it; evaluate the sites

– do people really learn?

The sites I would like to share …


4. opencourseware

#1 ~ # 3 are kind of a grass-root movement for me 🙂 There are many interesting small web applications or mash-ups on the web. Some of them can be really good teaching resources such as google earth, and tags/ search feature of flickr. And educators form communities to share their ideas or lesson plans online!

#4 is a open courseware website, where the university share knowledge with the public. They feel it’s their obligation to share the knowledge regarding public health to anyone in the world regardless of paying tuition or not.

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Recent findings and reflections on Wikibookians

I finished my paper on Wikibookians, finally. I know I’ve spent too much time on this study. I really love it! I appreciate each participant giving me great insights to understand their world!

Why did I spend so much time on this study? #1 Inexperience in data analysis #2 the result was a little bit different from the original proposal (so I had to shift the focus of it) #3 many things were going on at the same time. This is quite interesting experience. And I appreciate Dr Bonk’s feedback and always giving me opportunities to share. I really enjoyed presenting the study this semester. I got very smart questions. Then I used those questions to guide my plan of AECT presentations. It worked really well!

Close to the end of the semester, I happily finished the paper and hope to submit for a journal publication. Surprisingly, I found one of my participants shared his experiences of writing a Wikibook for his students! And published in 2007 in an electronic journal of his field! I really should be that productive! He has very a good analysis of textbooks in higher edu and a good discussion about pros and cons of Wikibooks. I finished reading it yesterday and I enjoyed it.
Extended reading- The future of textbooks(pdf file)?

Another interesting article (I just recently received the electronic file): Wikibooks in higher education: Empowerment through online distributed collaboration (link)

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Alternate Reality Learning- educational gaming!

I am not a game person. The only game I really enjoy is probably Wii because it is not about violation and some kind of weird adventure. 🙂  I tried different relatively new online games in college. I hung out with friends there when they requested me to do so. We just sat around the camp fire, and talked about what happened at school. The server/ other hardware issue was always a problem. It took time. But it also created some sort of fresh feeling. Sometimes, because I know some friends’ avetar in the game, I feel knowing them more at school. We also created a group (by using our class name.. haha) and accomplished certain goals in the game.

That is such a wonderful memory! They helped me a lot in the game. I didn’t know how to do A LOT of things. Surprisingly, they were very very patient. 🙂 In short, that was a very unusual experience. After we graduated from the teacher education program, I know some friends keep playing online games as student teachers. And I know one or two of them meet their students (elementary school kids) on the game after class. That was very strange for me and for most of my classmates. It might be very inappropriate in our professor’s viewpoint (he didn’t know).

However, it would be a perfect cool example of integrating technology in teaching to motivate kids today on SECOND LIFE! I wonder what would happen if teachers/ professors in Taiwan started to use it or something similar because a very large number of male high school/ undergraduate students play online games.

I’ve seen my classmates in Informatics at IU demonstrate their avetars on Second Life. It was amazing. I was surprised to know how much connection they can build between this “third place” and the “reality” For instance, friends can hang out on Second Life and watch TV together. They can build their office and place an latest iMac on the desk. They can hold office hours on Second Life, and so on. It was even amazing when I know some teachers teach on Second life.

I think it is very cool. In the future, if I have a chance to try, I will do it ! My questions/concerns so far – (1) how do you get one university to install software on campus computers; (2) for the cognitive psychology point, would information overload when students try to “read” lectures, and textual chat at the same time.

google_livelyP.S. I just played Google Lively. This is like second life but easier to install and walk around. The space seems not connected. So far it only supports Windows PCs not Macs. (I was surprised to know Google is going to close this project (link to the google blog). And I wondered why. On the news, they only said they’re going to concentrate on users searching experiences.)

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