technology


Over at Free Technology for Teachers I stumbled upon the InfoGraphic below illustrating which generations (GenY, GenX, Baby Boomers, Silents) use social media most.

(Click on the image to enlarge or go to this link).

What I found interesting is the last comment made in the post:

This infographic confirms what many of us already know, kids are creating and consuming content online at a higher rate than their teachers and parents.

I found it interesting because at Tuesday’s conference Arthur Goldstuck, CEO of WorldWideWorx research, talked about what his company is calling the Digital Participation Curve.

The Digital Participation Curve argues that it takes people (on average) 5 years to get comfortable enough with internet technologies to start contributing content – whether it be on blogs, fb, social media sites etc.

So by this logic, the younger generation should be the ones to contribute more as they’ve had more constant experience with these technologies.

The folks over at EduCause has published another publication in their 7 Things You Should Know … series. This time it is about mobile apps used for learning and like all the other publications in the series the go through :

  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for teaching and
    learning?
The Library Journal published an article on Audio Books where they give an overview of the three major audio downloaders – OverDrive, Ingram Digital and NetLibrary.
The overview is available to download in pdf format and compares costs, system requirements, services fees etc. Below is a little snippet:
name the next MAKE tool by pt, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License by  pt

Over at the Speak Quietly blogs there is a really useful post called Online Tools Your Library Needs Now & Why.

It talks about different technologies that libraries can use to connect better to their users and gives helpful stats and implementation examples. Some of the technologies may be “old” but they can still be useful and fun to try!

  1. Text a librarian
  2. Facebook
  3. YouTube
  4. iPhone App
  5. Meebo
  6. Blogger
  7. Flickr
  8. Twitter

It’s a really useful and practical post.

The iLibrarian posted a list of 10 mobile technologies that we should all keep an eye on this year and the next taken from a report by Gartner Inc.

Some I’ve heard of, but others not and I think it would be a good idea to try to read up on each one, don’t you?

  1. Bluetooth (3 and 4)
  2. The Mobile Web
  3. Mobile Widgets
  4. Platform-Independent Mobile AD Tools
  5. App Stores
  6. Enhanced Location Awareness
  7. Cellular Broadband
  8. Touchscreens
  9. M2M
  10. Device-Independent Security
the eLearning Coach posted a very useful list (with a small review) of free downloadable software that will aid you with:
AUDIO RECORDING AND EDITING
Audacity

Audacity is an audio recording and editing application with a lot of the features you find in commercial products. It works on all platforms and is probably the most popular free audio program around.BURNING CDs and DVDs
ImgBurn

This is supposed to work more smoothly than the software that comes with Windows for burning CDs and DVDs. It creates data backups, video DVDs and music CDs. The publisher provides a list of sites where you can download the application. They’d like a donation, so oblige if you can.

DOCUMENT CREATION
Open Office

I keep hearing good things about Open Office. It’s the free alternative to the Microsoft Office Suite. You can create text documents, spreadsheets, presentations and databases. And it comes in many languages.

PrimoPDF
Primo PDF has a free and paid version. The free version is all you need to quickly convert most file types to the .pdf format. To create a .pdf, just use the print command from the source program that the file was created in.

EMAIL
Thunderbird

Some say this email program from Mozilla is better than Outlook Express. It’s supposed to have great features and is easy to use. I’m thinking of using it on my Mac.

FILE TRANSFER
FileZilla

I like this for uploading and downloading files to and from FTP sites. It’s open source software, yet actually has some Help documentation. It’s plain and simple and does the job through a drag-and-drop interface. Works on all platforms.

GRAPHICS
GIMP

GIMP is one of the better, if not the best, downloadable image editing and manipulation applications around. It can do some of your Photoshop tasks and works on all platforms. For more on free editing tools, see Image and Optimization Editors in the Resources section.

Picasa
Picasa is the other popular image editor and its from Google. You can import photos from a digital camera, edit them, and make and share Picasa Web Albums online.

ONLINE CHAT
AIM
Most everyone has their favorite online chatting tool. Just in case you haven’t found yours, check out AOL’s Instant Messenger, as it has lots of capabilities. In addition to text chats, I’ll often use it as the tool of choice for video chatting. You can download AIM for all platforms. By the way, their Lifestream product looks interesting too. It’s a way to broadcast and get updates with AIM buddies from all your social media.

Pidgin
This chat program gets rave reviews. It lets you connect to most of the other chat services, like AIM, Google Talk, IRS, MSN and Yahoo, so you don’t need to install different programs to chat with different people. It doesn’t have video or audio chat, though. But it does runs on all platforms.

SCREENCASTS
Jing
Jing works on both Mac and PC, to capture single pictures or to record video of screen activity. You can also paste the video into an IM chat, email or Twitter. Now that could save time.

CamStudio
CamStudio can record all the screen actions on your computer, as well as an audio narrative, and create AVI files which can converted to a streaming Flash (SWF) format. This app only works on PCs.

SECURITY
AVG Anti-Virus

This is a well-known and loved anti-virus software for home use only. The software is free, but registration is required.

SYNCRONIZING FILES
Dropbox

Dropbox seems to be the file synchronization software of choice. It will automatically synchronize files between all of your computers, regardless of whether they run the Mac, Windows or Linux OS. You get 2Gb for free, after that you have to pay.

VIDEO PLAYERS AND CONVERTERS
FLV Player
If your a multimedia maven, then you need to play FLV files. I like this better than the one that comes with Articulate for the PC. You can download the free FLV player at CNET. It’s got a simple install and works well. I had it downloaded, installed and running very quickly. Then I fainted.

Handbrake
Have you ever been stuck trying to get DVD video into another format? Well, Handbrake can save the day. It’s a cross-platform media converter that can pull DVD video and convert it to MPEG-4. It may not give you ultimate control over all settings, but it has a nice interface and gets the job done.

VLC Media Player
VLC might be the media player you’re looking for. It’s cross-platform, open source and plays most video and audio formats as well as converts files from one format to another.

VOICE OVER INTERNET (VOIP)
Skype
Skype is the software of choice for talking to people over the Internet, using a headset and mic. It installs easily and the sound quality is good. I have some clients that prefer Skype rather than the phone, so I use it regularly and can vouch for its quality.

ZIP FILES
7-Zip
This is an archiving application with a very high compression rate. Free, open source and all that good stuff.

Some of these I use, some I planned on using (thanks for remind me again!) and some I’ve never tried – but it’s a very useful list to keep and refer back to!

Need to know more about Mobile IT? Then read this EduCause report on the 7 Things You Should Know About Mobile IT.

Here are the important bits:

1. What is it?

Mobile IT both reflects and drives the convergence of applications and functionality on smaller and smaller devices. The notion of mobile IT is also tied to issues such as cloud computing and federated identity, which help enable secure access to IT tools and resources from remote locations and multiple devices.

2. How does it work?

Mobile devices use cellular networks, Wi-Fi, or both, and many have touch-screen interfaces. Operating systems vary, and support for software such as Java and Flash is mixed. Just as there isn’t a one-size-fits-all device, so too do current and emerging examples of mobile applications span a wide range.

Mobile applications can be built using device-specific toolkits, often resulting in more functionality, but applications that use browser software work on a wider range of mobile devices.

3. Who is doing it?

College and universities offer many types of information and services online, and many are good candidates for mobile IT. Aside from numerous academic uses, institutions have undertaken initiatives in areas of administration, library services, and campus life. Having a single point of convergence for these several channels of communication presents an opportunity for institutions to integrate messaging services, including emergency  notifications.

4. Why is it significant?

Ownership of cell phones is approaching ubiquity, with growing numbers of smartphones and sophisticated mobile devices. Because mobile IT is fast becoming a part of some professional practices, an institutional choice not to pursue mobility is increasingly untenable. Student expectations for mobility are rising, and mobile IT efforts are an important part of keeping an institution’s online services competitive.

5. What are the downsides?

Converting to mobile IT is
not simply a process of miniaturization, and many institutional IT staffs lack expertise in redesigning websites or applications for a mobile context. As a result, although many institutions are dipping their toes into the waters of mobile IT, best practices don’t exist to serve as a guide.

6. Where is it going?

Colleges and universities will continue to convert applications and services to mobile formats, generally at a cautious pace. Vendors will increasingly offer their products and services in mobile formats. Institutions will seek to understand how to integrate mobile IT effectively into campus culture, and development is likely to accelerate around location-based mobile IT services and the capabilities of touch interfaces.

7. What are the implications for Higher Education?

Given that mobile IT is working its way into many professional activities, colleges and universities have a responsibility to develop learning environments that model those kinds of practices. Mobile IT can develop into a specialized field of study, and some institutions already offer courses on development of mobile applications.

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