Blog Archives

Turning a flat LMS such as Moodle into a virtual 3D classroom

I was having aI discussion with a colleague earlier day about Learning Management Systems (LMS), and we started talking about the disadvantages and advantages of each system that CQUniversity has adopted over the years. Whilst talking about moodle, and how the current implementation is slowly being improved, we started talking about virtual classrooms and 3D environments. Then he showed me a paper about using second life in conjunction with moodle, which just blew my mind away with the possibilities. Especially in situations where remote or flexible learning is the only viable option, as this makes it so the student can access the classroom anywhere in the world, at any time of the day.

White paper
Video introduction [11:28]
SLOODLE Project

Australian educational technology research and development

Just to back up what the Horizon 2010 report said about technologies and practices that would impact the education sector over the next five years, here is a list of six e-learning trials that received a total of $100,000 to develop guidelines and standards for… wait for it… ipods/iphones (mobile) and virtual worlds (augmented reality).

Technology trials set to advance mobile learning

Using technology to aid learning

Like Jonathan, I also find learning that extends on prior knowledge, or works at the fringes of what I already know, most beneficial. I found his comments on learning needs very interesting, and also those of the original author, Conrad Gottfredson. They point out very rightly that tools such as computers and mobiles phones are the tools that you most likely to have around when you need to extend your knowledge (and providing just-in-time information). And when things go wrong, you can always fall back to your mobile phone or the internet to find out stuff!

Learning at the moment of need

Kids say bye to books, hello to IPad

Not sure this is such a good idea. Don’t get me wrong, I love technology, and the new iPad even more, but I can’t really see this being practical in schools yet. There is the high cost of these units, the replacement cost if dropped or damaged, the fact that schools are going to have to put quite a lot of money aside if they want to adopt them, and many teachers don’t know what to do with them, and when they do use them, they probably don’t fully utilise their potential or use them in the most effect way for learning to occur.
However, time will tell. And I suppose this is one step towards the flexible paper mentioned in the Horizon 2010 report.

Kids say bye to books

Technologies to be ready fore in education

The latest K-12 Horizon Report was released back in April, road-mapping technological changes in the education landscape between now (2010) and 2015. The Horizon Report is the result of the New Media Consortium’s Horizon Project, which is a research effort started in 2002 to identify and describe emerging technologies likely to have a large impact on teaching, learning, research or creating expression within teaching around the world.
The report identifies six emerging technologies or practices that are likely to enter mainstream use within the next one to five years. Each topic is introduced with an overview of what the technology or practice is, its relevance to teaching or creative expression, examples of its use and suggested readings and additional examples are provided. In addition, it presents critical trends and challenges that will affect teaching and learning over the same time frame.
The five key trends towards adopting technology identified were that technology is:
  • increasingly a means for empowering, a method for communication and an integral part of students lives
  • continuing to profoundly impact the way we work, collaborate, socialise and succeed
  • increasing the perceived value of innovation and creativity
  • there is increasing interest in just-in-time, alternate, or non-formal avenues of education, such as online learning, mentoring, and independent study
  • changing the way we think of learning environments

The Critical Challenges that the report identified are that:

  • digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession
  • students are different, but educational practice and the materials that support it are changing only slowly
  • many policy makers and educators believe that deep reform is needed, but at the same time, there is little agreement as to what a new model of education might look like
  • a key challenge is the fundamental structure of the K-12 education establishment itself
  • many activities related to learning and education take place outside the walls of the classroom — but these experiences are often undervalued or unacknowledged

The six technologies or practices presented in the report include:

  • On the near term horizon (next 12 months): cloud computing and collaborative environments
  • On the second adoption horizon (2 to 3 years out): game based learning and mobiles
  • On the far horizon {4 to 5 years away): augmented reality and flexible displays
It is interesting to note that the critical challenges are relevant even here in Queensland, Australia. One of the core values of the Productive Pedagogies teaching framework is to create real-world contexts for students, which is one of the challenges presented in this report, as well the fact the the education institution itself is sometimes the cause of problems that are encountered. It is also interesting to note that I am very interested or entrenched in technologies that will effect education in the near to medium term, and as such are in a perfect position to ensure that I and my students are ready for these technologies and practices.

60% new laptops vulnerable to new form of rootkit!

In a scary research paper from Core Security Technologies, it was discovered that 60% of new laptops – specifically those that use the CompuTrace ‘lowjack’ in order to phone home and check if your laptop has been stolen – are vulnerable to a rootkit (a piece of software that runs in the background of the computer, has complete control of your computer – even to the point which it can cloak itself from being detected). Because the CompuTrace rootkit is a legitimate piece of software, most it is on the white-list for most anti-virus products, meaning that anti-virus software ignores any changes it makes to your computer.

For the more technical minded, the CompuTrace lowjack is much more serious than the average rootkits (which are bad enough as it is), due to the fact that it operates at the BIOS level). This results in viruses that target vulnerabilities in this rootkit having ABSOLUTE control over anything that your computer does. In addition, where most rootkits can be removed by reinstalling your computer or reformatting your hard drive, because this virus can hide in the BIOS, it can just keep coming back, and can even survive attempts to reboot or reflash the computers BIOS.

Affected laptops include HP, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, Gateway, Asus, Panasonic, plus many more. Article first heard on SDRNews 2009-08-03

TREK ’09 is over!

Well, I think that TREK for 2009 has been a success, and look forward to being involved in it next year. I had two people helping me with the documentary event, and it was very enjoyable. I had time to also go and see what some of the other events were doing, which was good. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and although there was some confusion at times, there were no major problems that couldn’t be fixed at tie time. There was a small hiccup at the end, with the mayor arriving late, but we dealt with it.

Now we just need a ‘debrief’ meeting to discuss improvements and changes for next year, as well as the theme for next year, and starting to work out who will be running it.

TREK ’09

I’ll be busy today… running the Documentary event for the CQUniversity’s first annual Robotics Competition – TREK ’09. The students are expected to create a robotic animal, insect, arachnid, crustacean, or the like and then create a documentary about it. At the present time, this is all I know about this event, so it shall be interesting… especially considering the fact that it starts in just over an hour!