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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas

Happy Holidays to all, I'm taking a few days off this holiday season and will be blogging again in the new year!


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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Learning about 3D Worlds with Tony O' Driscoll

Tony O'Driscoll explaining his "Seven Sensibilities of 3D Worlds" in Second Life class on MSIT Island.

If one of your New Year's Resolutions is to learn more about 3D worlds, check out the workshop being done by Tony O'Driscoll who recently joint the ranks of academia.

You can learn more about Tony's workshop on his blog at Save the Date: Feb 2 and 3 Workshop at Training. If you are planning on being there, I suggest you take the time to attend his workshop, it will be excellent and informative and give you an entirely new perspective on 3D learning.

Here is a brief description of his workshop.

And as a Christmas Present: Use VIP Code TTZE6 to receive $150 off Registration!

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Conspiracy Theory: Teaching Ethics

How do you teach ethics? Sometimes a lawyer comes to a company and speaks on the topic, sometimes it is part of a new employee orientation program and sometimes it is an e-learning module where you answer true/false or multiple choice questions....seriously does anyone think that type of training is going to impact ethical decisions?

Instead, I think you should make everyone read three books, all about actual ethical breaches and then dissect and discuss the main characters and then talk about what each person would do in a similar situation.

Most ethics breaches are not because of a "lack of knowledge" which is what training addresses, it is because of a failure to see conflicts of interest or of choosing not to see conflicts of interest because you are somehow small indiscretion leads to others.

But what ethics violators fail to see is the damage they are causing themselves and others...they often think they are justified when they aren't.

So, three good books on the topics of ethics are really good cautionary tales about what not to do. So for future ethics training, I suggest you require your class to read the following (yes, read, I know its sooo low tech.)

Unfortunately, there are lots of books about ethical breaches in companies so if these three don't inspire you...then choose others. I have to say that Conspiracy of Fools about Enron was a page is long but I couldn't put it down...even when I knew what was coming, I marveled at the arrogance and foolishness of the key players but they never saw their downfall coming. It was riviting.

So, I suggest that if you or someone you know this Christmas season is into conspiracies then this is a collection for them. Or, more importantly, if you have to teach an ethics course in 2008, I suggest a reading list like this is a much better way to begin a discussion of ethics than with some type of training or e-learning course.

*Disclosure: In the spirit of true disclosure and to avoid any ethical breaches, I do receive a 6% fee whenever anyone purchases a book through the Amazon links on my blog. It averages out to about $18 a quarter. I really just use the Amazon Associates feature so I don't have to hunt around for pictures of books, video games, etc. Amazon always has the visual I need.


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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Finch Who Stole E-Learning

The folks over at Enspire have created a wonderful holiday greeting. You really need to check out the animated story How the Finch Stole E-Learning. It will bring a smile to your face.

Thanks to Cammy Bean for pointing this out. And thanks to Bjorn Billhardt, Stephen Robinson and the whole gang at Enspire for a little holiday cheer and laughter!


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GeekBrief TV

I am sure you've tuned into GeekBrief.TV before. But...if you haven' should.

GeekBrief.TV provides viewers with quick, easy-to-understand videos with just the right amount of information about the latest and greatest gadgets and gizmos. I've been into videos lately (see Shooting Educational/Instructional Videos) so the show's format, style and approach has really caught my attention.

The host is Cali Lewis and she provides an energetic look at all the latest gadgets and gizmos in quick, easy-to-understand videos in many different formats so they are easily compatible with almost any video device.

The site, the format and the delivery can all serve as a great model for providing educational videos to your learners. Imagine providing your sales force with product information or insights in a short video format or providing compliance videos as short vignettes or accounting tips to employees that do accounting for a living.

Just enough information to allow the sales force, accountants or shop floor personnel to gain a little bit of knowledge but not so much that they are overwhelmed with facts and figures. Over time they will retain and understand the information better if it is provided in digestible pieces that are...dare I

As GeekBrief.TV states:
Geek Brief TV is a 3-5 minute video podcast, released 4-5 times a week. We cover news about technology, consumer electronics, and Web 2.0 projects. We’ve gotten a lot of requests to make the Briefs longer than five minutes. So why don’t we? Our goal with Geek Brief is to keep people up to date on what’s happening in technology without investing a lot of time to do it. We don’t think technology should be boring, and we have a lot of fun producing Geek Brief.
Watch a few episodes to become enlightened about technology and then watch a few episodes to figure out how to adapt this model to your own internal training. It might be a lot better than creating sporadic 12 minute or 20 minute videos which people tune out after a short time anyway. And a little learning, administered a couple times a week might go a lot further than dumping information onto an employee all at once.

Thanks to Dr. Tim Phillips for reminding me of this great site.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

If MacGyver was stuck in a conference room....

Have you ever wondered...

"What would MacGyver do if he were stuck in a conference room with a pen, a projector, a tripod, an LED light, and a Wiimote."

Here is the answer

Two things:
  • Of, course...who doesn't mount a projector onto a tripod???? (generally useful)
  • The hardware, software and concepts of video games are coming to mainstream is only a matter of time.
Special thanks to Andy Shean for this great video.

For other great MacGyver-type ideas, see Johnny Chung Lee's web site.

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Gifting Corporate Clients or Associates? Try 3G4L

It is always so hard to determine what type of corporate gift is appropriate for clients, co-workers or your boss? What do you get them that is not too expensive but not too cheap, that is business-focused but not too business-focused.

Well, I think the perfect answer is Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning., it is fun but serious, informative but easy-to-read, insightful but not overly academic. Check it out as a gift for yourself or others. But don't take my word for it...

It was mentioned by Cammy Bean as inspirational as she was developing e-learning. Learning Visions: Instructional Design Inspiration

It was mentioned by Aaron in his Stuff I'm Doing post.

Here is what ASTD's Magazine, T&D had to say about Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.
[This book, like others, talks about] the impending retirement of baby boomers and how companies are dealing with the critical knowledge transfer that needs to take place.

But what makes this book different is its unique approach to the knowledge-transfer issue...This book is a valuable resource for any business looking to find practical solutions to the boomer-gamer knowledge-transfer gap. It reveals new methods and tools that are being used successfully in a variety of settings, including Flash mobs and cheat codes, video iPods, instant messaging and blogging.

Several of people I know from the field have sent copies to clients and co-workers as gifts. So if you need a last minute gift...


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Friday, December 14, 2007

Shooting Educational/Instructional Videos

Currently, I am involved in creating an educational corporate video. I've worked on a script, helped to develop the treatment and vision for the shoot, coordinated dates and talent with the client and helped with the talent while on location...corporate executives.

So here are some resources that can help you think about creating videos for educational uses. Even though the technology is gotten simpler and simpler to use, you still need someone with the knowledge and expertise of video shooting to make the difference, you need creativity and experience...we hired a pro who has done a number of on television documentaries to provide assistance (he's also an alum of our program.)

Here are some resources:If you have any good sites or tips, please feel free to add.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gamer 1.0, 2.0, 3.0 or 4.0?

A while back I had a discussion with Cammy Bean of Learning Visions about what level of "gamer" she was and even if she was a gamer at all. No resolution was ever reached but her post Are You a Gamer? generated many comments.

Well the controversy may be over. Several excellent students (Nicole Clark, Heather Gee, Aaron Kennelly and David Robbins) created a fun little assessment tool called Gamer Rater that helps you determine what level of gamer you are according to Games, Gadgets and Gizmos for Learning. You progress through a series of choices you make throughout a typical day and at the end you are given a summary and a brief description of the type of gamer you are.

So take a few moments and take the assessment and please let me and the students know if you have any ideas for improvement or modifications via comments on this blog entry, the semester is over but they'll be willing to make some post-semester changes.

So, if you have some time, take the assessment: Game Rater and let us know what you think.

if you enjoy the little assessment, please pass it along to your friends and co-workers.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Yale's Online Course Initiative

Last night in a "blogger only" press conference (love the idea), a team from Yale University announce the launching of seven online introductory courses. Complete courses with audio and video from each class session within the course.

For an excellent summary of the session, see Christy Tucker's summary in Open Yale Courses, New Media Traditional Pedagogy.

As the press release stated:
The project, called “Open Yale Courses,” presents unique access to the full content of a selection of college-level courses and makes them available in various formats, including downloadable and streaming video, audio only and searchable transcripts of each lecture. Syllabi, reading assignments, problem sets and other materials accompany the courses.

Diana E. E. Kleiner, Dunham Professor of the History of Art and Classics and the director of the project, noted that the full content of all the courses is now readily available online and may be accessed at the users’ convenience.

“We wanted everyone to be able to see and hear each lecture as if they were sitting in the classroom,” Kleiner said. “It’s exciting to make these thought-provoking courses available so broadly for free. While education is best built upon direct interactions between teachers and students, Yale believes that leading universities have much to contribute to making educational resources accessible to a wider audience. We hope this ongoing project will benefit countless people around the world

I encourage you to check out the courses for your self at Open Yale Courses. It really is neat that you can "attend" different courses at one of the major universities in the world and see some of what makes Yale...Yale.

The concept is great and the use of many different media to provide content is going to be effective, you can listen to a lecture, watch the video or read a transcript. Content how you want it when you want it. I like the idea and if you don't want to hear an entire semester's worth of a course, you can just find the one or two lectures that you find of particular interest and watch/listen/read those.

So, in your spare time:) take a course from Yale and then consider your own design of courses...are they accessible in various formats or do you have everything "trapped" in a course creation system that is only accessible through a heavily guarded LMS?

Getting your Bachelor degree through some kind of online degree program is one way that some people choose to get their degree for various reasons. For some people online universities are a viable answer to schedule issues that can be overcome by getting an online MBA rather than attending classes in person.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Using A Game to Teach History

Check out this TeacherTube Video about how a teacher is using Civilization III to teach history. Good stuff. It sure beats a memorization and repetition of facts. I especially like the viewpoint of the kids playing the game and learning history. Also, having a sceptic who eventually converts is a nice touch for the piece.

I've written about similar uses of this game and other commercial games for classroom use in Commercial Games with Educational Value

Here are three more games that can be used in the classroom:


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Friday, December 07, 2007

Roll the Tape!

The tape of my television appearance on CBS affiliate WYOU is now available, courtesy of WYOU with editing assistance from Matt Monahan. You can view a large screen or small screen version. The tape starts with some "man on the street" interviews, some info about e-learning, an exchange between the anchor and weather man and then goes into the interview.


I have to say I thought that the anchor Eric Scheiner was well prepared and had actually read the entire first chapter of the book. Plus the entire story and slant made e-learning much more main stream...imagine a newscast talking about e-learning...who'd a thunk?

I provided a bunch of information and even some sample questions but Eric had his own questions prepared and even had the first chapter highlighted with questions he wanted to ask.

I made a couple of mistakes during the interview. At one point, I meant to say "Albert Einstein didn't memorize anything he could look up." If you listen, you'll notice I butchered that quote and the discussion of placing seafood directly or indirectly on ice was not as smooth as it could have been. I did get some really interesting questions from the callers. The first gentleman, Tom was entertaining. And my wife said, "I hope none of your son's teachers are listening to the broadcast." If you wait until near the end, you'll hear why.

I brought all the games and controllers set up in the background and several copies of Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning which they did a great job of showing and promoting in a subtle way. I gave the copies to the producer a production assistant and to Eric. The B-Roll footage was all from the station, it didn't always pertain to what I was speaking about but I guess it worked.

Overall, I really enjoyed the experience and look forward to more in the future.

Besides interesting videos and online music there are lots of ways to have fun with stuff online, especially if you can find some sort of online game that you really like and can play from anywhere. Then when it's time to get down to business and turn off the game you can place orders to save money on textbooks online as well.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

ASTD's Big Question for December: New Learning

The ASTD Big question this month is What did you learn about learning in 2007?

I learn so much all the time from students, clients and colleagues, it is hard to narrow it down to just one or two things, but I'll try.

Here are a few of the lessons I have learned. Mostly about the power of the network and Web 2.0 tools.

First, I learned how far a digital asset can travel if people find it has value.One of my student's YouTube videos Educational Uses of Second Life has over 5,500 hits and has been favorited 67 times. And a piece I created called Avoiding Death by PowerPoint has taken on a life of its own. I still get emails about the piece and when we switched servers, got a lot of emails asking me to re-instate the link or provide a new one.

The lesson: Good instruction doesn't need to be long and it stands on its own. If you create a learning nugget that people need...they will find it. Learners hunt for relevant information.As learning professionals we need to find out what nuggets interest learners...not what courses to design.

Second, I learned first hand the exponential power of the social network of the web. My blog book tour was a huge success for me both emotionally and from a sales perspective. See Recap of Blog Book Tour for Gadgets, Games and Gizmos. What really amazed me was how far the blog book tour travelled. We had a number of people join the tour, write about the tour and generally created great discussions about the book...about the boomer/gamer knowledge gap.

The lesson: People/learners will voluntarily join a discussion or dialague when they feel they can add value and when they feel part of a larger group. As learning professionals we can create the framework for the dialogue to occur and let learners know their contributions are valuable.

Third, I learned about the power of the blogosphere and Web 2.0 tools to transform traditional learning when I taught a class this summer using blogs, wikis, YouTube and other tools that required the students to create and distribute their own original content. I summed up my initial impression in my blog entry Tear Down The Walls: Web 2.0 Extends Class and then in a follow up Web 2.0 Lessons Learned.

The lesson: Opening up a class to the blogosphere and leveraging Web 2.0 tools provides learners an opportunity to learn from each other and learn from the larger professional community. Opening classes, rather than closing them behind an LMS, is the future of learning and a great way to spread knowledge throughout an organization, community and profession. As learning professionals we need to create and distribute content that is open and accessible to as many learners as possible.

Look forward to next month's question.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Newspaper Article--Great Comment

Last week, I was interviewed by our local newspaper, The Danville News about my book, Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning and yesterday, the article appeared on the front page of the paper (remember, its a local newspaper.)

I think the reporter for the newspaper did a fantastic job with a balanced, fair story and an accurate description and recording of the interview. (So a shout Out to Jamie for great work.)

If you like, you can check out the article Author: Games help children learn: New titles can be used to train adults for workforce and decide for yourself.

But what really had an impact on me was an email sent to me by a local teacher in response to the article.

The teacher writes:
I read your article in the Daily Item today and I thought it was great. I am a teacher at [a local school] and I am a big supporter of bringing technology into the classroom. I hope that your article will speak to those teachers that are reluctant to see technology, especially video games, as a hindrance to education. I think that games and many other forms of technology could enhance education and make school much more enjoyable, especially for students who would rather not be here. While I did not write a book on the subject I did do a paper on it this fall and used some of the same examples and sources that you used. Thank you again for all you are doing by helping people understand the benefits of technology

No...thank you. You are on the front lines using technology to make a difference every day in the lives of kids. You deserve the thanks and I hope the parents and administrators understand and appreciate what you are doing for these kids. Keep up the great work blending education and technology!

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Get People Moving...have them play a Video Game

One of the main complaints about video games are that they encourage obesity and inactivity...that's not always the case. With the sometimes-sedentary senior citizens,video games are actually getting them moving.

The Nintendo Wii is being used by many senior citizens for exercises and recreation at senior centers across the country...See Hoover senior citizens get a Wii bit of exercise where the article states 87 year old residents are enjoying the Wii.

One resident is quoted as saying "I have enjoyed the challenge of playing it [bowling] It's good exercise for your body but also good exercise for your eyes and mind." Also see the blog posting Senior Citizens Going Nuts for Nintendo Wii

Be careful though, all this extra exercise might lead to some aches and pains and sports injuries.

As the Wall Street Journal article, A Wii Workout: When Videogames Hurt indicates
All those flailing arms can sometimes inadvertently smack into lamps, furniture and even competing players.
So keep away from others.

To get seniors (and other couch potatos) moving even more, Nintendo is soon to be releasing the Wii Fit which involves coordination, balance, aerobic exercise, agility, strength and body focus. Check it out in the short video below:

However, don't forget that years ago, Sony's EyeToy pioneered the exercise/video game genre which was a lot of fun and gave you your own personal workout.

Here is a short description from the playstation page.
EyeToy: Kinetic™ is an innovative fitness product that provides players with an authentic personalized exercise program all in the comfort of their own home Utilizing the revolutionary EyeToy® USB Camera technology and developed in association with Nike Motionworks (experts in fitness, motion and body movement) players will experience a more effective workout inspired by activities such as Tai Chi, Kick Boxing, Aerobics, Yoga, Modern Dance and more.

Two unique personal trainers provide direction, real-time performance evaluations and encouragement as players of all fitness levels engage in a comprehensive 12-week training routine or select individual routines to shape and tone specific areas.

Wrapped in modern styling and supplemented with an energetic soundtrack, EyeToy: Kinetic is a fun and immersive fitness product like no other

Check out the Nike Kinetic web page.

So when you think video games, don't always think Couch Potato...think movement

And see My Wife..Guitar Hero for a post describing another game that gets people moving.


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Saturday, December 01, 2007

CAC: Fall 2007 Corporate Advisory Council Event ReCap

Twice a year corporate professionals from the fields of instructional technology, e-learning, and instructional design arrive in tiny Bloomsburg Pennsylvania to evaluate students in a our instructional technology graduate program. This year we had over 35 corporate professionals and at the end of the week, we have 11 companies interviewing 16 students for jobs. It was fantastic.

The three day event works as follows. On the first day, the students observe presentations done by the members of our Corporate Advisory Council. Representatives from different companies present what they are doing in the field to the students and to fellow professionals. This year we also had a panel discussion which focused on contractors and what they need to consider when going solo. You can read about each presentation below.
On the second day, students presented. Their presentations are part of a class I teach called Managing Multimedia Projects in Bloomsburg University's Instructional Technology Program.

In the class, I form students into teams and have them each team create a Proposal based on a Request for Proposal I design specifically for the class. The students must write a 40 page response to the RFP, create a working prototype and then deliver a 20 minute sales presentation. Once the exercise is complete, one team is awarded the "contract" but they are all winners because it prepares students to write and respond to RFPs and gives them insight into the business aspects of the e-learning field.

This year, the RFP was focused on the topic of creating a certification program for sales representatives. The idea behind the RFP was that the company issuing the RFP already had a training program in place and wanted to have the "vendor" recommend a certification process that would ensure that the sales representatives knew their stuff before going into the field to sell. The students did a great job researching the topic and determining the best solution.

The first student team to present was Think Fast. Their solution had the benefits of high interactivity between the user and a virtual doctor, instant proof of certification of new employees to sell products, the assessments were self-paced and the solution was provided by experienced experts in the field. The team members were Matthew Monahan, Sunita Adhikari, Steven Davis, Ruth Houck and Garrett Metz.

The second team was Sparta Learning, Inc. The solution they proposed was based on a system they had developed called PACES-Personal Assessment and Certification E-Learning System. Their solution consisted of a series of quizzes leading to both the knowledge and behavioral assessments. The team consisted of Stan Yann, Jennifer Cerreta, Nicolas Hanhan, Aman Tyagi and Lance Collier.

The third student team to present was eJewel International. eJewel's solution consisted of two parts. The first was subdivided into three multiple choice knowledge assessments in teh areas of physiology, human anatomy and various mechanism of action for pain relief. The second was an interactive role playing activity that assessed employee selling skills such as building credibility and other assessment items. eJewel was the overall winner of the exercise. The team consisted of Chase Winters, Danny Collins, Kate Krasnokutska, Mach Meas, and Melanie Campbell.

Over 35 e-learning professionals attended the event and evaluated the students. The students present for 20 minutes and then answer questions about their solution for 20minutes and then receive feedback on how they did. They don't always enjoy the feedback at the time but, in the long term, the feedback and insight provided to them by the professionals helps make them stronger professionals in the field.It really helps in the search for talent to see the students perform in a pressure situation.

That evening the CAC members and the students have dinner together and enjoy discussions in a more informal setting.

On the third day, the Corporate Advisory Council members have a chance to interview the students for jobs and internships. And hear about the initiatives that we are doing at the university and give feedback and input into our curriculum to keep us current and on track. As mentioned earlier, we had 11 different companies interviewing and speaking with the students.

We do the entire event all over again in April, it is a great experience for the students, faculty and CAC members. The connection between what they are learning in class and their future profession is made very clear in this event.

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CAC-Greg Sapnar and Steven Just

Greg and Steven present general industry information about assessment and certification to students and CAC members. The talk provided a good overview of certification programs for training and the various elements that an organization would need to consider prior to undertaking a certification process.

Steven is owner and president of the well-known on-line testing provider Pedagogue Solutions. He holds a Master’s degree in computer science and a Doctorate in educational psychology, and has been active in the field of learning and measurement for over 20 years. He is the co-author of a college textbook and the author of more than one dozen articles on applications of technology to learning.

And Greg Sapnar of BMS was named outstanding SPBT Member of the year for 2007. This award is for SPBT members who go above and beyond, who give amazing amounts of time and energy, and who inspire others with their selfless commitment to helping SPBT to thrive.

As said on the SPBT award page, "Both members and vendors consider him a real pro," says SPBT President John Constantine. "But his willingness to share this expertise is what makes him an award winner."

We thank both Greg and Steven for the time they dedicated this semester to the CAC and thank them for their willingness to share this semester with our students. It greatly enhanced the students educational experience.

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