Learning has gone to the Birds

eagleSince I was a kid I have been into birds. When I was about 12 my family lived on a small farm in central Washington. A friend of the family gave me some Pigeons. It was a great experiance for me taking care of them and learning about them. I could put them in a crate and take them anywhere to release them and they would be at home waiting when I got back. These birds where amazing creatures. I dreamed of learning how to raise falcons or hawks. I really developed a love for all birds. These days I love shooting photos of them and look for opportunities to do so. I love that I can mix two of my passions together photography and birds.

As a family we regularly vacation in Central Oregon. One of our favorite activities is going to the Nature Center. The have some amazing birds there, some of which they are rehabilitating. On one visit staff Naturalist Cody Osborn used an iPad to assist in his presentation and nature walk outside the center. He used a really cool app called iBird. The app is fantastic for identifying birds. It is a rich multimedia app. IMG_3740-150x150One of my favorite features is the ability to upload photos I have taken into the app. I can then play a slideshow and the app will cycle through the photo I have taken and play the corresponding bird songs with my photo. I think that is pretty awesome! The app has a tremendous amount of information about birds. I can see the value of this as not only a tool for in the field as they used it at the Sunriver Nature Center but also as a great tool for the classroom. Even better if the students can use the app as a foundational tool inside then move outside and further explore in the field.

Ijay spent this past Memorial Day weekend at my in-laws cabin as we normally do. One of the   simple little fun traditions in putting peanuts out for the Jays. We put them just outside on the deck so we can sit watch them swoop down and grab them. It is fun to watch. My dog Toby can do this all day!This time I happen to have my Canon XA10 with my so I strategically set in out with the peanuts just in front of it. I hope you enjoy the footage as much as I do.



More on BYOD for K-12

I just found this video on BYOD for K-12 by Cisco. This supports my sons post earlier today. No I did not nudge him to write that blog. It surprised me when his post popped up on my Google+ timeline

When he got home I asked him about it. He said he had been thinking about it for awhile and just wrote the blog. BTW he also told me he wrote and published it from his smartphone in his Advisory class. Nice!

Katy ISD Transforms Education with Mobile Learning

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Why schools should have tablets

Effective Technology Infusion Promotes Lifelong Productivity

My goal as an educator is a classroom engaged in challenging, authentic, and intellectual work, using technology in ways that powerfully advance learning.  My students are learning how technology works, what purposes it serves, and how it can be used to achieve goals.  While basic academics are vital, today’s student must also be able to use a range of media. In this age, all people are faced with a barrage of information available technologically that they must be able to locate, synthesize, and use.  Browsing, searching, navigating, and creating products online are essential skills.  Because it is so easily accessible, every child should be reaching out to the world beyond their own neighborhood/school.  Teachers should support today’s students’ needs and curiosity using current technological advances, establishing connections with the real-world to facilitate life-long learning/growth.  Because of technological advances, we can gather perspectives from innumerable sources.  Outdated textbooks and single-minded teaching fail to address learners’ needs in today’s wired, networked society.

Effective technology infusion promotes lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity.  By using technology effectively, ours has become a classroom with 29 experts; compared to the model of one teacher: 28 learners. In our class, we use technology to gather, organize, and share information that supports our standards far better than one teacher/book!  No question is taboo and everyone is responsible for finding answers using the technology we have available.  We research, write, and produce real world projects that make these 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds proud to present their knowledge – a feeling that reaches beyond the standardized tests I have used in the past to measure their progress.

Some great thought leader interviews to come from DevLearn 2012

My conversation with Shay Howe of Groupon

My conversation with Shay Howe of Groupon

These are exciting times in the learning and development space. We are in a huge technology growth period right now. Technologies like mobile, cloud and the adaptation of social & informal learning for the enterprise are at the core of the opportunities in front of us. I think most of us would agree that these technologies are disruptive or at least they should be. It is true that not all organizations adapt new technologies at the same time. My friend Dr. Gary Woodill owner of i5 Research and the author of The Mobile Learning Edge illustrates this in his technology life-cycle curve. DevLearn has always been a great place to learn and have conversations about the edge of learning. It is also a great event to learn how early adopters are actually leveraging these new technologies and learn from them. I have identified several thought leaders who are talking about what is really happening in learning today to interview.

I am looking forward to sitting down at talking with these experts and sharing them with you as I always do. One of these really smart people is Brent Schlenker an expert in learning technology. Here is a Guild video by Brent on Designing For All Technologies.

Here is a partial list of the interviews I am conducting this year at DevLearn.

Keep an eye out for these great conversations and blog posts from DevLearn 2012

Related Articles:

mLearning: Making Learning Mobile

I am looking forward to speaking at this Online Forum on December 6th & 7th hosted by the eLearning Guild. It is a topic that I really enjoy talking about and that is technology based learning. In this case its mobile technology. Mobile technology offers new ways to reach our learners. I have been involved in many conversations with thought leaders on subject of how mobile is transforming how we reach the learner. Mobile opens up possibilities that we have never had before. It is up to us to decide how we are going to embrace these opportunities and leverage them to create better learning.

Come join in the discussions!

eLearning Guilds Online Forums


Related Articles:

An adventure with Geaff Stead and John Polaschek at mLearnCon 2012 – we partied like geeks!

Geoff Stead and I hanging with the Qualcomm gang. Great night we took the limo to several tech companies and snapped photos in front of them. I think most of them would agree the highlight was riding around on the Google bikes.

John Polaschek

Here is my interview with Geoff Stead at mLearnCon 2012

Check out the blog and video on the Float Mobile Learning’s Blog and for more of my interviews other great content!

Getting the most out of attending a conference

I remember the first few conferences I attended, I was not sure what to expect and how to get the most out of it. Since then I have attended and spoke a lot of conferences, I believe I now know how to get what I need out of them. I thought I would put a short list of ways to get the most out of attending any conference.

  • Before you leave review the conference schedule closely and read about the presenters.
  • Establish an objective. What do you want to learn about? Decide what sessions you are interested in attending.
  • Know who you want to network with or get to know when you are there?
  • If you have contacts that may be there it may be good to reach out before the conference gets going if you want to meet up. The conference will go by a lot faster than you think and you may not get the chance.
  • Download the conference app to your mobile device before you leave and spend some time getting to know it.
  • If you are not on Twitter sign up. Even if you don’t plan on continuing after the conference it is still worth it. If you actively participate in the Twitter stream you may just see the value in it and can apply what you learn for future Twitter use after the conference.
  • Follow the back-channel on social media. There are a lot of people blogging about most conferences on personal blogs, official blogs, linkedin groups, Google +. Watch for the conference hash tag on these sites.
  • Get there early first day, don’t be late, sleep in or be rushed. Get up early and have a good breakfast and coffee up if that is what gets you going in the morning.
  • Attend all the keynotes. The keynote speakers are usually great and there are defiantly some ones this year.
  • Don’t sleep…ok just kidding but don’t hide in your hotel room. I know the rooms at the hotel rooms are fantastic and the fuzzy robes are comfy or so I hear, but you need to get out in the evenings. Meet people, go to dinner (there will be dinner group postings at the event), strike up conversations in the bar. Set a goal to meet new people, share, converse, engage and network.
  • Take notes, exchange cards, scan QR codes. If you don’t have a QR code reader and you have a smartphone then download one from the market place.
  • Go to the Expo. See what companies are doing. See how new technologies are emerging to make your job easier.
  • Most of all have fun. Fun is infectious. It makes you interesting and people will want to talk to you.

Looking forward to seeing you at the next conference and please feel free to come up and say hi.


Float Mobile Learning Symposium

I was recently asked to speak at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois for a mobile learning conference hosted by Float Mobile Learning and Bradley University. It was an honor to have Chad Udell contact me to speak. I had met Chad and John Feser several years ago at the Adobe Learning Summit in San Jose. I was instantly impressed with their knowledge and passion for learning and technology. Since San Jose, I have connected with the Float team at several conferences and have always enjoyed sharing conversations with them. At Devlearn 09 I had an opportunity to sit down with Jim Ferolo of Float and interview him on video and he showed me a demo of some of the impressive stuff they had been working on for the Ipad.

I was impressed by yet another innovative idea from the Float team when Chad explained the details of the upcoming conference in Peoria to me. It was a micro conference for local business in partnership with Bradley University. What a great community partnership idea!

Now on to the conference. Peoria is a short 30 minute flight from Chicago O’Hare…that is once you get a flight in the air but that is another story. Flying into Peoria, I was taken back by the beautiful green rolling farmland surrounding the small city. Chad was kind enough to pick me up at the airport in the Float “limo” and we drove straight to the speaker dinner hosted by Float at Two25 in the Mark Twain Hotel. Great food and ambience at Two25. Float was really taking care of us. They even had prepared gift bags for each of the speakers, nice touch.

The Symposium took place on Friday and again the Float “limo” service picked me up bright and early and drove me to Bradley. I have to admit I was a bit worn out from the full day of adventurous travel the day before, not to mention the time difference. The thing is once we entered the conference there was such a great energy that I forgot all about being tired… so off with my first conference tweet #float2011.

As the other speakers and I settled into the green room, various Float staff filed through introducing themselves and we all started getting to know each other. One of the biggest values I get from speaking at conferences is the conversations I am privileged to have with the other speakers and attendees. These amazingly brilliant authors, industry veterans, and thought leaders are so much fun to talk to. As a consummate student I have learned from every one of them. Back to the green room, in walks Adam Bockler the newest member of the Float staff and introduces himself revealing it was his first official day with Float. “ I am here to interview you for the twitter stream and our blog”, he says. I think it was my first twinterview…cool. We tried to answer his questions but it kept turning into an open conversation between the speakers. I believe he got what he needed and then some. Again these conversations are one of the things that I enjoy about conferences.

Now onto the Keynote. Jim Ferolo, Chair of the Department of Interactive Media at Bradley University and part of the Float core team, kicked off the conference with his usual enthusiastic and inspiring style. The President of Bradley University, Joanne K. Glasser, also gave a brief warm welcome and gave us a bit of introduction to what Bradley is all about. Bradley sounds like a fantastic school that gives their students a rich learning experience. Chad kicked off the event with a great keynote presentation titled “Your Faster Horse Moment”. I have heard Chad speak at several conferences and he has a way of talking tech and keeping even the non-techie engaged. Chads presentation really set the tone for the conference as he broke down the mobile landscape and elevated the attendees to the right place for the rest of the speakers.

The next session I attended was on Multi Screen Design presented by Josh Campbell of Magic + Might, formerly Design Manager at Motorola. Josh did a fantastic job of explaining some of the different interfaces for various devices. I thought his choice of showing the Twitter apps working on specific platforms was a great way to illustrate the way each handled multi-screen display. Josh is a practitioner; it was obvious by his content and examples. One of the take-a-ways from Josh’s presentation was that you need to consider the platform you are building for to create the best user experience. After the conference I had the opportunity to sit and talk mobile with Josh for a few hours. It was really a great conversation. Josh’s knowledge of the mobile space is very impressive and I really enjoyed our conversation.

Josh Campbell

Adobe evangelist Kevin Hoyt was here to help us get our inner geek on and showcase how the new Adobe Creative suite 5.5 was built for mobile development. He really knew his stuff and gave us some fantastic live demos of how quickly you can build a mobile app in Dreamweaver 5.5. I have been waiting for the tools for mobile development to come together. It looks to me like Adobe is doing it again with this version CS 5.5. I am an Adobe product user so this session has motivated me to get the latest version and get to work. He demoed a fun little app that is available on his blog that showed how multiple users can interact on the same screen. My imagination kicked in with all the ways I could implement this concept for learning in a collaborative setting. After his session we talked about him doing a presentation for the Adobe learning user group that I co-lead with Mark Chrisman and Heath Jacobs in Seattle. Mark Chrisman is the founder of the group and asked Heath and I to help him out so we could offer more to the group. Kevin sounded excited to put something together for us.

Kevin Hoyt

Next it was off to hear Gary Woodill, Owner of i5 Research and author of the book The Mobile Learning Edge, one of two important books on mobile learning that are out there right now. The other was written by my friend, Clark Quinn, titled Designing mLearning. I could not imagine taking on writing a book on Mobile and keeping it relevant and current in such rapidly changing space as mobile. I just spent four years working for a major wireless company and things change by the minute. Did you realize that the iPad has only been around since April 3, 2010. Gary was speaking on the future of Mobile Learning. He really illustrated some great points about where we are now and where we are going. I think he was spot on by pointing out that one company’s future may be where another is now. Not all companies are in the same place at the same time as far as technology goes. There is nothing wrong with that it is just the way it is. In my opinion this is natural and sometimes should not be bucked. For example there are many touch points in an organization and it is not always easy to take everyone along with you. It should be a strategy in every learning department to develop partnerships with other parts of your organization and get everyone on the same page.

Gary Woodill

Ok I am up. My session was on organizations and Mobile. I gave some simple ways to start to pilot mobile learning and build trust within an organization. I feel there is still a perception out there that in order to dive into mobile learning you must invest a ton of money and start building a mobile accessible website or build apps for everything. But, that isn’t necessarily true. I also definitely think you need to streamline your content for mobile and maybe consider carefully what you deliver via mobile. In my presentation I point out that there are many types of mobile learning such as podcast, training videos, text message based, etc. Some companies should even consider leveraging user generated content. Mobile also provides access to the more learning 2.0 strategies such as communities or social media. I believe that a good mobile learning strategy will not look the same in every organization. Each company will need to explore, pilot and discover what works best for them.

Hoober was up. Steven Hoober is an interface designer with a degree in Art. He is also in the final editing stages of a book to be published by O’Reilly Publishing titled Designing Mobile Interfaces. According to Steve, his book will be the one with the Love Bird on the cover. He says he did not pick it and he has no idea why…sure Steven. Ok respectively Steven is one of the more geeky designers I have spoken with and I consider myself a geeky designer. Steven has spent the last several years studying patterns. By that I mean the ways users interact with devices, how things are laid out such as menu placement or how you gesture each different mobile platform. I have never seen anyone break things down to this level of detail. I can’t wait to study his book. Steve has a good grasp on the way an interface should be designed to match the device it will be delivered on, an important aspect of mobile. At one point during his presentation Steve pulled out a box and plopped it on the podium. The box was overflowing with old devices…antiques I tell you, well this is wireless so perhaps not that old. This validated Steve’s status as a device geek he would have just ousted someone as mayor of “Geeksville” if he was checking in on Foursquare. I am looking forward to following Steve’s blog and learning more about what his studies have shown.

Steven Hoober

Because some of the sessions where concurrent I did not get to attend any of the sessions from Float crew, however Float recorded all the sessions so I will have to check them out on their web site. I will past a link when they are available.

Here are is a partial list of the Float tweeps to follow
Daniel Pfeiffer @mediabounds
Chad Udell @visualrinse
Scott McCormick @scottfloat

Here is Floats recap with some of the videos

I really enjoyed this conference and I am hoping they have me be a part of their next one.