Monthly Archives: June 2006

Soccer World Cup 2006: A Ubiquitous Computing Experience, Part II

Here is a great CNN article about blogging about the World Cup. It was especially good to see that many of the World Cup blogs are done by true fans and not by the media. Here is a link to one of the blogs mentioned in the article. Also, a quick search on technorati found 417 blogs about the World Cup. Nice….

BTW, I’m writing this while following the Live Matchcast of Germany-Argentina on

Technorati tags: worldcup, ubicomp, blogging

Teaching = Designing

I finished reading In the Bubble last night (see also this earlier post). A couple of additional thoughts here about how his writing about designing applies to teaching and learning.

Thackara talks about the notion of design mindfulness (pp. 6-7), which means:

  • thinking about the consequences of design actions before we take them and pay close attention to the natural, industrial, and cultural systems that are the context of our design actions;
  • consider material and energy flows in all the systems we design;
  • give priority over human agency and not treat humans as a “factor” in some bigger picture;
  • deliver value to people – not deliver people to systems;
  • treat “content” as something we do, not something we are sold;
  • treat place, time, and cultural difference as positive values, not as obstacles;
  • focus on services, not on things, and refrain from flooding the world with pointless devices.

I think the analogy between design mindfulness and teaching are pretty obvious. As teachers, we are designers of learning, and “system” could be analogous to schools or education. Keep that in mind and you’ll get the picture….

technorati tags: ubicomp, teaching, learning, education

Threats to Ubiquitous Computing

As I was perusing blogs this morning, I ran across this post from Will Richardson regarding competing bills dealing with “Net Neutrality”.  An excerpt from what Will says about the bill that would regulate Internet access pricing:

While this bill does not in any way regulate what Internet users can access, it does begin to set up a system where the haves get more in terms of faster and better connectivity for video distribution, multimedia sharing and more. To me, at least, it feels like a dangerous precedent, and another way potentially for some of our more fortunate kids to get a leg up on those who may not be able to pay.

I strongly agree with Will that if this bill passes, we could have some real issues on our hands with regards to Internet access. If this bill passes, a lot of work that has been done in recent years to provide Internet access to those who have the most difficult time getting it could be undone with one pen stroke (and not even a digital pen!!). Imagine what it could potentially do to Internet access to schools and public libraries, which are important points of access to information for our children, but also places that don’t tend to have a lot of money. Imagine what it can do to Web 2.0 and the plethora of free social sharing tools. They work because they are freely accessible (for the most part).

Despite all of its issues, the beauty of the Internet is that it does not discriminate against its users. Let’s try to keep it that way.

Here are some links to check out:

technorati tags: net_neutrality, ubicomp

Moodle Tools (Now with Blogging)

I’ve known for a couple of days now that the new version of Moodle comes with a blogging tool. I’m very interested in trying it out with the teachers and students who will be coming into our research lab, the AT&T Classroom, in the fall.

We started using Moodle for a while as a sharing component of our Ubiquitous Computing in Education project. So far, participation has been less than I’d like it to be, and am trying to figure out how to make the site more visible and attractive to visitors, so that they will make the effort to participate. Many people should know the site exists, as we have mailed out and given away about 2,000 DVDs, the main component of our Ubicomp project.

Anyway, we then started using Moodle with the teachers that will bring classes to our lab in the fall, and they were very excited about using it with kids (and they just saw the discussion boards and wikis).

What I like about Moodle is that I can set up blogging for kids in a safe way, because the blogs can be password protected, that is, only the teacher and kids in the classroom (and parents) can access the individual blogs for a particular class). This should take care of a lot of the concerns regarding bullying, predators, etc.).

We’ll see how this works out in the fall and how many teachers and kids will actually use the tools (in combination with this portfolio tool). I’ll keep you posted.

Afterthought: I was kind of in a hurry when I wrote this last night, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’m falling in the same trap here as many schools. Setting up a blogging site that’s password protected kind of defeats the purpose of having a blog, i.e. a wide audience. Granted, a group of blogs set up within the same site will most likely get more readers than, let’s say, an essay or report written on paper, but it doesn’t get the potential larger audience that’s out there on the Internet. So … the answer wasn’t as easy as I thought initially.

technorati tags: moodle, blogging, wiki, teaching, learning, education

NECC 2006

One more week until NECC. I’m looking forward to seeing some of my colleagues in the handheld computing field. Even though my stay will be short, I’m sure I’ll be attending as many sessions as I can. Here are the sessions I will be involved in as a presenter:

Thursday July 6, 2006:

12:30-1:30 pm: Ubiquitous Computing: Making the Most of Handhelds in the Classroom
SDCC 30D/E (presentation)

3:30-4:30 pm: Student Reporters: Using Video Cell Phones as an Educational Tool
SDCC 27A/B (Tom McNeal’s presentation. We’ll be co-presenting albeit that Tom will be hooking up via video conferencing).

4:45-6:00 pm: SIGHC (Handheld Computing) Annual Business Meeting
SDCC 7B (I’ll be chairing this meeting)

Hope to see many of you at these sessions!


I haven’t seen an English version of this yet, but I found this site interesting: WikiKids

It’s sort of a Wikipedia for and by kids. The project is still in the beginning stages, so there isn’t much content on the pages yet. What I like about this site is that there are good instructions for kids and adults (teachers etc.), and that the site is very kid-friendly. It also seems that there will be some level of moderation (just like Wikipedia). I really think this site has some potential for education. The real trick is going to be to keep it as open as possible for kids to use, but at the same time not too open so that the site becomes unusable.

technorati tags:

When Ubiquitous Computing May Not Be So Ubiquitous After All, Part III

This article about global cell phone use speaks for itself

With the proliferation of cell phones and services, and increasing globalization, you would think that cell phone providers (or somebody else) will come up with a solution to this problem….

technorati tags:, , ,

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