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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Definition: Metacognition

The short definition of Metacognition is "Thinking about Thinking." Here are some more definitions from a variety of sources.

What people know about how (their own) cognitive processes operate is termed metacognition (cognition about cognitive processes). Acquiring knowledge about how to think might well affect how one thinks which will affect how one performs on cognitive tasks (Brown & DeLoache, 1978) as written in the book Cognitive Processes by Bourne, Dominowski, Loftus and Healy, 1979)

Metacognition is the state of being aware of one’s own thinking (Marzano et. Al (1988) and is a fundamental tool that enables learners to control their thinking and has been revealed as an important skill in the fields of Engineering (Case, Gunstone, &Lewis, 2001) and technology (Phelps, Ellis, &Hase, 2002) as well as instructional design and training (Clark, 1988, 202; Reingold, Rimor, & Kalay, 2008) Rarely do students become self-aware of metacognition, instead an instructor needs to point it out to the students as an important element in problem-solving. (information as cited by Lawanto, 2010)

It has also been defined as a process by which the brain organizes and monitors cognitive resources. (Cuasay, 1992).

The ISPI's latest journal "Performance Improvement Quarterly" had an article titled "Students' Metacognition During an Engineering Design Project" which was a very interesting read and had a nice section on metacognition.

Here is the Wikipedia definition of metacognition.


Bourne,L. E., Dominowski,R. L., Loftus, E. F., and Healy, A. F. (1979) Cognitive Processes. Second Edition. Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Prentice Hall.

Brown, A. L., & DeLoache, J. S. (1978) Skills, plans, and self-regulation. In R.S. Siegler (Ed.), Childrens' thinking: What develops? Hillsdale, N.J. Erlbaum.

Case, J., Gunstone, R., & Lewis, R. (2001) Students’ metacognitive development in an innovative second year chemical engineering course. Research in Science Education, 31(3), 313-335.

Clark, R. C. (1998) Metacognition and human performance improvement. Performnce Improvement Quarterly, 1, 33-45.

Clark, R.C. (2002) Aplying cognitive strategies to instructional design. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 41(7), 8-14.

Cuasay, P. (1992) Cognitive factors in academic achievement. Higher Education Exension Service, 3(3), 1-8.

Lawanto, O. (2010). Student’s Metacongition During an Engineering Design Project. Performance Improvement Quarterly, 23(2), 117-136

Marzano, R. J., Brandt, R. S., Hughes, C.S., Jones, B. F., Presseisen, B.Z., Rankin, S.C., et al. (1988). Dimensions of thinking: A framework for curriculum and instruction. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Phelps, R., Ellis, A., & Hase, S. (2002, December). The role of metacongintive and reflective learning processes in developing capable computer users. Paper presented at the 18th Annual Conference of the Australasian Society of Comptuers in Learning in Tertiary Education, Melborne.

Reingold, R., Rimor, R., & Kalay, A. (2008) Instructor's scaffolding in support of student's metacognition through a teacher education online course: A case study. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 7(2), 139-151.

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Monday, August 30, 2010

We Teach as We are Taught

As schools adapt to new technologies and hardware and software, curriculum changes need to reflect more than just the inclusion of technology; changes needs to impact methodology, approach and instructional activities. Yet, even today, instructional methodologies are heavily influenced by the instructional models and cultural influences of teachers and administrators, not the students. Much of the culture surrounding schools is based on the ideas, culture and influences of teachers and administrators during their formative years. As Knowles (1992) indicates, formative experiences of pre-service and beginning teachers influence the ways in which they think about teaching and, subsequently their actions in the classroom. This means we we need to change how we conduct pre-service teacher training.

Teachers and professors (who often don't have formal instruction on how to teach) teach in ways similar to how they experienced teaching during their own schooling and hold beliefs based on those experiences (Borko & Putnam, 1996; Thompson, 1992). Today’s educators grew up in a technological culture considerably different than the culture of their students and they often have trouble leveraging the tools of the current culture. It can be difficult for educators to adapt to technological influences which they have not, themselves, experienced during their formative years.

Instructors tend to teach in the same style and format in which they have been taught. For the current generation of educators, this included a linear step-by-step approach with little technology in the classroom. In terms of pedagogy, much of the efforts during the current generation of teacher’s formative years were focused on the students as empty vessels to be filled with the wisdom of the instructor. Students were placed into rows of seats and the teacher in the front of the room held all of the knowledge and presented to students who were assigned to memorize and repeat the information provided to them by their teachers.

In terms of technology, computers and even calculators were not available for some of the educational life of a few current teachers. Some current teachers even remember using slide rules instead of calculators. Affordable hand held calculators didn’t become widely available until the late 1970’s and in many cultures and countries not until much later than the 1970’s. While educational reforms since those formative years have had some impact, the overall effective has not been as widespread as hoped.

As a result the instructional paradigms employed for education across the globe have not fully embraced technologies of video games, Internet, social media or mobile devices or the associated teaching methodologies that must accompany the technology tools. Many educators are still not familiar with the opportunities afforded by technology mediated methodologies and many curriculums do not leverage the digital connectedness of students. The result is that technology tools do not get fully employed into the educational curriculum and an exploratory, constructivist approach is not widely adopted.

The basic instructional paradigm for teaching students has not adapted to the explosive use of technology among the culture of today's students. That is not to say that technology tools haven’t been introduced to schools, they have. But simply adding computers to a traditional classroom without a corresponding change in instructional delivery or strategy doesn’t work. It highlights the disconnection between how today's students leverage technology for their day-to-day communications and interactions with the limited use of the technology within academic environments. And adding technology hardware is not enough, the next wave in education is to leverage the connectivity of the third millennials and their aptitude for creating content to share with others via web-based networking tools.

Borko, H., & Putnam, R. (1996). Learning to teach. In R. Calfee & D. Berliner (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 673-725). New York: Macmillan.

Knowles, G. J. (1992). Models for understanding pre-service and beginning teachers' biographies: Illustrations from case studies. In I. F. Goodson (Ed.). Studying teachers’ lives (pp. 99-152). New York: Teachers College Press.

Thompson, A. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and conceptions: A synthesis of the research. In D. Grouws (Ed.), Handbook of research in mathematics teaching and learning. (p. 127 - 146). New York: MacMillan.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

Rapid Prototyping Advice for Simulation Software Courtesy Thinking World

Here is some rapid prototyping advice courtesy of simulation developer, Thinking Worlds.

Use a stock environment with the same general characteristics that the final environment will have. For example, select one of the stock offices in Thinking Worlds if your final game will be in an office.

For characters, use several stock characters that have the same general look-and-feel that the final characters will probably have. This is helpful, although not necessary, because any character will do as long as it is accompanied by an explanation.

Create some short interactions that will be similar to some of the interactions in the final game to illustrate the interactivity. Thinking Worlds makes creating these interractions very easy and very quickly.

Aim to create a total of five minutes of game play with one “Wow!” moment – A “wow” moment could be a camera movement, a particle effect, a sound or an interraction. Make your “wow” moment exciting to show the audience how easy it is to become immersed in your games.

Finally, when you show the prototype, explain to the audience that it is a rough skeletal version of what you have in mind for the final version. Explain how the stock environment can easily be changed, the characters will change to the appropriate ones and any sounds or atmospheric, immersive aspects will also be changed to the appropriate ones for the final simulation.

Read the entire article here.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Want to Teach Math, Science and Engineering to Kids? Think Guitars

Check out

If you think math, science and engineering are boring subjects, you need to re-think the topic and pronto. Check out this cool curriculum designed by The National Center for Manufacturing Education.

In the curriculum, students build an actual guitar learning all about CAD, electronics, acoustics, general guitar terminology, scale lengths, wave lengths, wiring, grounding, jacks and other valuable information. In other words, Math, Science and Engineering. All cleverly disguised as a cool building project. And what is cooler for kids to build than a guitar.

Information about scale lengths, notice the "hidden" math.

Take a look at this innovative curriculum and start teaching how to build a guitar and the students will learn math, science and engineering almost as if by accident (but trust me, its planned very carefully in this curriculum).

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Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Some Interesting Business Simulations/Games

Here are some interesting Business Education Simulations from Realityworks.

The Business Education Simulations apply key business concepts taught in a traditional instructor-led class to a series of three online games that test students’ knowledge of successful business strategies. Students create their own company and product, and participate in simulations, including The Business Game, The Entrepreneurship Game and The Finance Game.

Each game encourages students to think critically about their next steps as they draw upon market research, corporate performance reports and other report data to maintain a lucrative business. In addition, students are required to build relationships with simulated mentors and co-workers through daily e-mails and video phone calls to form decisions.

Check them out here.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

World Texting Message Smashed!! (I guess this is good news)

A 27-year-old British woman has smashed the world record for typing the fastest text message. Apparently, she was able to text a message in 25.94 seconds.

But not just any message. The official message for the world record is: "the razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human".

The wonderful achievement was done using Samsung's new Galaxy S's "SWYPE" key pad, which enables users to input text without their fingertip leaving the screen.

Here is an article about the achievement

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Advice to Teachers in Florida: Don't use Facebook with Students

So rather than teach teachers or students how to intelligently use social media tools to communicate(like people do in corporations or in everyday social interactions), a school in Florida decided to advise against such silly and dangerous Web 2.0 behavior without supervision.

According to the article Teachers asked to 'unfriend' students on Facebook

"Everyone knows that there are teachers nationwide that may have inappropriately communicated with students through email, text message or Facebook —and even some cases, those teacher-student relationships have been taken to an even further level of inappropriate behavior," Donzelli said. "We are advising teachers to make good decisions online so they don’t get themselves into trouble later."
It seems to me that Facebook just made the inappropriate actions public, those teachers doing inappropriate things aren't going to stop doing those things just because they aren't on Facebook. This is going after the symptom and not the root cause.
( Joseph Donzelli, referred to in the article, is the director of communications and printing services at Lee County Public Schools. Is that an academic position?)

Far be it for the school district to train teachers on the use of this media, on its benefits and advantages as well as possible dangers. Instead, they are asking teachers not to use it with students. Stay way...danger. Thank goodness, the cavemen did not adopt the same philosophy with fire or we'd still all be really cold.

Teachers are being asked not to use Facebook, even though more than 500 million active users are on the site and 50% of the active users log on to Facebook in any given day and the average user has has 130 friends and people spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook. Facebook Statistics

"Educators just need to unfriend students immediately to prevent incidents like this from occurring," Donzelli warned. "There’s no reason why an employee should be friends with a current student, especially when there are other ways to communicate with them through school-based websites or e-mail."

As social networks continue to grow, many teachers are utilizing these sites to get news out to students and organize activities. Although the Lee County school district recognizes this growing trend, it’s asking teachers to refrain or notify supervisors when they use social media sites for education-related reasons.

"There are other ways to reach out to students that doesn’t involve social networking," Donzelli said. "Teachers should work with their school’s Webmaster to set up Web pages where people can interact and discuss projects and events."
Right, let's take a giant step backwards and use 1980's technology to communicate with students of the 21st century...really?

So, as school starts today for my two sons, I look at academic institutions and still think, we have such a long way to go until the technology of the youth is integrated into their instructional curriculum. I was reminded this weekend by a brother-in-law that the academic calendar with three months off was created for an agrarian culture of the 1800th century and not for our information rich culture existing today. Advising teachers not to use Facebook to communicate at all with students is a reinforcement of that 1800th century paradigm.

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Friday, August 20, 2010

The super small "Mactini"

Here is a fun video for a Friday afternoon. In fact, it's so funny, its a little scary in terms of what it says about technology.

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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Upgrading to a New LMS: Have some Fun with It

Here are a couple of parody videos designed to introduce a campus to a new version of the Blackboard LMS. They borrow from the Old Spice meme which has taken the web and TV by storm.

To me, the clever idea of making an updgrade to a new version of a software an exciting venture worthy of some humor is a good thing. Most software upgrades are painful and nightmarish for all involved so I thought this was a clever approach. Check out the two short videos.

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Monday, August 16, 2010

Five Software Products for Adding an Avatar to Your eLearning

Here are 4 software products that allow you to add an avatar to your elearning courses. Avatars can be an important and meaningful addition to your elearning. Aiding in such things as increasing positive learner attitudes and providing a social role model for interactions.

NOAH--Provides animated characters to focus attention, point out and explain critical information, and make even the dullest material interesting. The company can create the instruction for you or you can build NOAH products yourself. Check out some examples of NOAH in action.

NOAH animated character (avatar) in action.
Codebaby--Provides avatars to engage learners, prospects and others in engaging dialog. You can see some examples of Codebaby in action for elearning here.

Here is a video of Codebaby in action.

Reallusion--Creates D cinematic animation tools for consumers, students and professionals. The company provides consumers with easy-to-use avatar animation, facial morphing and voice lip-sync solutions for real-time 3D filmmaking and previsualization for professional post-production. One of their products is Crazy Talk which is used for creating sophisticated, zany or dramatic talking characters for unique digital content. You simply import an image and CrazyTalk guides you through the process to bring it to life.Check out some Crazy Talk demos here. Crazy Talk can be good for animating characters you want to add to your elearning. Check out this video explaining how it works.

Media Semantics--This software installs on your desktop and lets you build royalty-free Flash and video materials using animated talking characters. The Builder works with your existing text, images, and Powerpoint slides to let you rapidly create effective and engaging materials. Check out some demos of Media Semantics here.

Avatar helping out with a multiple choice question.

Vcom3D--This company has a product suite including Studio and Gesture Builder. The suite of products allows for the creation of 3D animated characters that communicate through body language (including gesture or sign language), facial expression and lip-synched speech. Check out demos of Vcom3D here.

Here is a video of Vcom3D in action.

Customer service training incorporating an avatar to help the learner through the course.
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Friday, August 13, 2010

MATEC Webinar Notes and Slides: Social Media and Student Success

I am giving a presentation today at 1:00 EDT. Called Social Media and Student Success:Leveraging Social Learning Tools. It will last for 90 minutes. It is free and if you want to attend click here to register.

Here is a short description.
Extend student learning beyond the traditional classroom by leveraging the creative power of social media tools to foster student success, learning, and engagement. Discover ways to integrate these tools into your teaching process to engage, excite, and connect with students.

And here you will find the slides for the presentation and a few links to some interesting entries to support the presentation.

Create a Vibrant Learning Community--A social networking and learning really starts and stops with the concept of Community.

Using Social Media to Track the Nation's Mood--what Tweets have to say about our mood.

Will Social Media Blend--Ok, this is a parody but it's funny:)

Selling Social Media for Learning--Corporate focus but good advice for educational organizations as well.

Blog or Wiki--A discussion on when to use a blog vs. a wiki.

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Four Obvious Things Organizations Can Do in Virtual Immersive Environments

Here are four things organizations can do in 3D virtual immersive environments.


Meeting at the site of a virtual accident in Second Life.
Meetings are one of the ways in which organizations share knowledge and are where co-workers learn about organizational functions and projects from each other. The problem with most organizations is that with a geographically dispersed workforce, many meetings have to be held via conference calls or 2D virtual meeting software. Both the conference call format and the 2D virtual meeting format allow for multi-tasking and tend not to fully engage participants in the meetings. Virtual immersive environments provide a space in which a meeting can occur that is engaging and provides opportunities to interact with others. They also provide the opportunity to have a meeting in any place that would be appropriate. Meetings can occur on virtual factory floors, in hospitals, or any other venue that is appropriate. Most organizations begin their use of virtual immersive environments by conducting meetings within these spaces.

Virtual Events

Attending a virtual event in the world of Virtualu
Planning a large scale event within an organization can be costly and thus limit the number of participants or the frequency with which these events can occur. One way to deal with these obstacles is to conduct large scale events within a virtual immersive environment. Several organizations and professional societies have sponsored events conducted entirely within virtual worlds with thousands of participants. Other organizations have combined physical world events with virtual events. The American Cancer Society's annual Relay for Life is one example where people walk in the physical worlds while others created groups of walkers within a virtual world to support the event. It is also a great way to demonstrate new products to large groups of people without incurring travel costs and with minimal lose of productivity time.


As a medic in America's Army, you approach a wounded teammate.
Virtual immersive environments provide the opportunity to create simulations of hospitals, disease states and medical devices. An advantage of a 3D virtual immersive environment is that a simulation can be created and interacted with by a team of individuals. In most traditional simulations, it is just the learner and the software with no other people involved. In a VIE, learners can work together within the simulation. This provides the experience of learning about the content as well as learning to work within a team. One interesting area of simulation within virtual worlds is to allow a person to experience a role they many not otherwise have an opportunity to experience. In America's Army, you can assume a variety of roles including that of a medic.

Data Visualization

Looking at "socialized data" in ProtoSphere
It is now possible to connect the 3D graphic capabilities with data bases of information to display data graphically. The primary idea of data visualization is to provide a three-dimensional rendering of data typically presented in a 2D format. Items such as spreadsheets, graphs, pie charts and other visualizations are typically done in flat representations. Even if they are shown in 3D, it is difficult, if not impossible, to interact with that 3D data. Usually a person is not able to walk around the data or inspect it in anyway. However, within a virtual immersive environment, the opportunity exists for an avatar to walk around; through and even fly above data that is being presented. Within a VIE, the rendering of a set of data as a graphical image allows for the “socialization” of the data. This means that learners can gather around data and view it graphically, seeing the same data and same shape as their colleagues and discuss the data from a visual perspective.

To learn more about others things organizations are doing in virtual immersive environments, check out this book:

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Three Things You Should Really Know about Avatars (and their relationship to you)

An Avatar in a Virtual Immersive Environment is a rendering of a computer user as an interface technique. Instead of moving around a computer interface as a mouse, one moves around as an anthropomorphic figure.

Recently, there has been some research released which indicates that moving through a computer generated interface as an avatar provides powerful learning stimulus. Here are some points from an article titled Promoting motivation with virtual agents and avatars: role of visual presence and appearance by Amy Baylor.

1) An experience as an avatar can change a person's real life perceptions. In a study conducted by Yee and Bailenson (2006) It was found that negative stereotyping of the elderly was significantly reduced when participants were placed in avatars of old people compared with those participants placed in avatars of young people.

2) Watching an avatar that looks like you performing an activity influences you to perform a similar or same activity in the future. In a study, users watched an avatar that looked like them exercising and loosing weight in a virtual environment, the result was that those that watched the avatar of themselves subsequently exercised more and eat more healthy in the real world as compared to a control group. This as reported by Fox and Bailenson (2009).

In similar study, discussed by Baylor (2010), "participants were exposed to an avatar representing themselves running on a treadmill, another avatar running or an avatar representing themselves loitering. Within 24 hours, after the experiment, participants who were exposed to the avatar running that represented themselves exercised significantly more than those in the other conditions."

As study by Ersner-Hershfield et al. (2008) found that when college-aged students observed their avatar ageing in a virtual mirror, they formed a psychological connection to their "future selves" and decided to invest more money in a retirement account as opposed to a control group.

3) People tend to conform to how their avatar appears regardless of how it is perceived by others. In one study by Yee and Bailenson (2007), participants with taller avatars behaved more confidently in a negotiation task than participants with shorter avatars; specifically, they were more willing to make unfair splits in negotiation tasks. In contrast, participants with shorter avatars were more willing to accept unfair offers than those who had taller avatars.

Additionally, in subsequent research, Yee et. al. (2009) found that behavioral changes originating within a virtual environment can transfer to subsequent face-to-face interactions. In the study, participants were placed in an immersive virtual environment and were given either shorter or taller avatars. They then interacted with a human confederate for about 15 min. In addition to causing a behavioral difference within the virtual environment, the authors found that participants given taller avatars negotiated more aggressively in the subsequent face-to-face interactions with the confederate than participants given shorter avatars.

A growing body of evidence is finding that strong behavioral and attitudinal changes occur as the result of being an avatar in a virtual immersive environment. The concept of the "Sense of Self" is a very powerful influencer in the learning environment around virtual worlds.

To learn more about virtual immersive environments for learning, check out this book:

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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Exploring the Concept of Learning Archetypes as tools of Cybergogy with Light Sequent

A few weeks ago Light Sequent (SL) (aka Lesley Scopes RL)) gave a wonderful presentation on the concept of Cybergogy and how it relates to learning archetypes for 3D learning.

I took some screen captures of the event. What I like about Lesley's presentations about Cybergogy are that they are informative from the perspective of thinking about teaching in a 3D environment but that they also incorporate aspects not possible in the 2D world. For example, as she discusses her the model, she rezz's items right before the audience in 3D.

By the end of the presentation, you can see the model in 3D. You can walk around it, experience it and fly around to check out all aspects of the model. Much more vivid and interactive than a 2D version of the model. It shows all the nuances of the relationships.

If you want to see a video of a presentation where Lesley rezz's items, check out this presentation called Learning Archetypes as tools of Cybergogy: A structure for eTeaching in Second Life which she presented at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference in 2010. You can read what I thought of the conference here (hint, it was awesome.)

Light Sequence beginning her presentation.

Audience listening closely to the presentation.

Concepts building right before the eye of the audience in 3D.

Columns and information appearing in 3D before the audience members.

Model being built in three dimensions right before the audience.


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Monday, August 09, 2010

In Good Company: Thanks Zaid Learn and Everyone Create a Personnel Learning Network

This weekend I got a nice little piece of news when Zaid Ali Alsagoff sent me an email letting me know I had been named on his list of his "TOP 10 LEARNING SITES FOR PERSONAL LEARNING" now this is an honor because Zaid does some amazing work on this blog, especially in terms of visuals.

I am flattered to be included as the list includes the TED Talks(see an inspiring one below), Tony Karrer's eLearningLearning, Jane Hart and Stephen Downes among others.

But the point Zaid is making is that there are thousands of learning opportunities available for free on the web and many educators don't take advantage of those opportunities. He is encouraging everyone to create their own Top Ten List that helps them become better at their subject matter, with web skills or any area in which they desire. I could not agree more.

The web is a wonderful educational tool and, to be honest, the list of 10 is just the tip of the iceberg, there are wonderful, wonderful resource available all over the web that educators, trainers and developers need leverage.

In fact, Christy Tucker in a posting Instructional Design and E-Learning Blogs has listed over a dozen but the point is not to merely copy or mimic what others are doing, instead, create your own Personal Learning List and actively use it to learn!

Of course, I always have my younger son to keep my feet on the ground, he told me the other day, "you are not funny and your jokes are lame." Nothing can top that:)

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Friday, August 06, 2010

Google Goes Gaming?

There have been a number of interesting development in term of Google and social game purchases and game related initiatives. Here are some recent highlights;

Google purchased a company called Slide, an app developer that works with popular social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace to create community-driven entertainment applications. The deal is worth a reported $182 million. Google Buys Slide for $182 Million, Getting More Serious about Social Games*

Google has invested between $100 million and $200 million in social gaming company Zynga. Zynga is a network of gaming applications built off of classic games like Poker, Battleship, and Attack!Google Secretly Invested $100+ Million In Zynga, Preparing To Launch Google Games

In May, Google was looking to hire an employee to develop Google’s games commerce product strategy and help “build and manage the business with a cross-functional team." Is Google Getting Back Into The Gaming Business?

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Thursday, August 05, 2010

Calling all Educational Entrepreneurs

Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation Seeks Education Founders

Here is some news for anyone thinking of starting an education company. A New Kauffman Foundation program has been launched that is searching for passionate, aspiring founders of high-growth, scalable education enterprises

The Department of Education’s Race to the Top competition isn’t the only program focused on dramatically improving education. Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation, an initiative of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, announced today a competitive search for up to 20 aspiring founders to launch high-growth, transformative companies in the education market.

Note: Due date for application is September 20, 2010 - Application deadline. Note: letter(s) of recommendation also are due on this date.

Those selected for the Kauffman Education Ventures Program will be immersed in an intensive, hands-on program designed to catalyze the creation of companies with the potential to generate thousands of jobs and dramatic economic benefits.

“This program is the opportunity of a lifetime for high-potential entrepreneurs who don’t have the resources to quit their day jobs and take the leap of faith to start their businesses—businesses that they think will grow fast and transform education in a powerful way,” said Bo Fishback, vice president for Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation. “Education is a $1 trillion market where innovations can produce massive benefits to the world and also create huge change in the lives of individuals.”

The Education Ventures Program will equip founders with the time, resources and skills to take their ideas from thought to implementation.

Selected founders will receive six months of training and education on every aspect of running a business, personal coaching to bring their ideas to market and competitive compensation to focus full-time on their ventures. The program will include helping founders establish a brand, develop negotiation and presentation skills, go to scale, build financial models, validate the market, perform customer diligence, find funding, build a management team and develop a board of directors.

“The rapid pace of change in the education field in terms of technology, the growth of charter schools, new demands for post-secondary education and shifting priorities provide opportunities for entrepreneurs to catalyze their ideas,” said Sandy Miller, director of Advancing Innovation at the Foundation. “We are looking for the bold, visionary founders of entrepreneurial ventures that are poised to grow, show promise to be truly scalable and are able to adapt to the changes in the field.”

Through an open application process available to anyone over the age of 18 with a transformative idea, Kauffman Labs will identify up to 20 entrepreneurial concepts for the education market and work with the aspiring founders to establish their organizations. Candidates may be individual entrepreneurs or teams of up to three people. Businesses from concept through young startup that offer a product or service to help people learn, directly or indirectly, and could change the face of education are eligible. Successful candidates will need to travel to Kansas City for extended periods of time to attend training and education workshops but can otherwise live and work anywhere in the United States.

Kauffman Labs will offer two teleconferences for interested applicants to learn more and ask questions: Aug. 9 from noon to 1:30 p.m. ET and Aug. 18 from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. ET. Call-in details will be announced.

Individuals interested in learning more or applying should visit Completed applications are due September 20, 2010.

About Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation
Part school and part business accelerator, Kauffman Labs for Enterprise Creation is a new approach to developing the next generation of high-growth firms. Tapping the Kauffman Foundation’s vast entrepreneurship knowledge and networks, the program seeks to accelerate the number and success of new firms by offering a new method for teaching and training entrepreneurs of dynamic, fast-growth, scalable businesses in a lab setting, while studying the “science of startups” in the process. For more information, visit

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private nonpartisan foundation that works to harness the power of entrepreneurship and innovation to grow economies and improve human welfare. Through its research and other initiatives, the Kauffman Foundation aims to open young people's eyes to the possibility of entrepreneurship, promote entrepreneurship education, raise awareness of entrepreneurship-friendly policies, and find alternative pathways for the commercialization of new knowledge and technologies. It also works to prepare students to be innovators, entrepreneurs and skilled workers in the 21st century economy through initiatives designed to improve learning in math, engineering, science and technology. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit, and follow the Foundation on and

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Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Machinima Tips from the Learning in 3D Class

Last week we had a class with special guest Ariella Furman, who is a Machinimatographer at FramedIn3D.

Here are some tips she provided:

1) Plan your storyboards. Just like a "real" video shot, you need to plan ahead to get the best results.

2) Practice. Set up some shots and do some run throughs to ensure you know what you are doing before you start "shooting"

3) Use the ability to change lighting in the environment to create some great effects.

4) Try to use natural movements

5) Use the right equipment. They even have a mouse that acts like a camera "dolly" a great investment.

6) Use your imagination to free yourself from the limits of traditional filming.

Here is a sample of some of the results from Ariella.

Youniverse World from Ariella Furman on Vimeo.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Learning in 3D Class Visits ProtoSphere

Last night the learning in 3D class visited the demo version of ProtoSphere to check out some of it's features.

We first gathered at the Welcome Center and got our navigation in order in terms of walking and running through the environment.

Next we practiced different first-person and third-person views so we could acclimate to the 3D virtual immersive environment. Here I am looking at the class through a first-person perspective. I prefer third-person (over-the-shoulder-view) was the best for me.

We had some fun in a number of different classrooms and boardrooms. Here we are checking out the Telepresence room. Interesting to consider the merging of video, 3D spaces and 2D-computer applications.

One fascinating aspect of ProtoSphere is the ability to "visualize" data. Information saved in various data bases can be "socialized" in a 3D graphical rendering which allows learners to all view the same data and experience the data in 3D instead of on a 2D spreadsheet or computer screen.

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Monday, August 02, 2010

Avatars, Video and Simulations

Here is some information as pre-reading for webinar attendees and for students in the Learning in 3D summer class.

Avatar Information

Learning about avatars:What is an Avatar?

Encourage Avatar Customization

Promoting motivation with virtual agents and avatars: role of visual presence and appearance.

You are your avatar, your avatar is you.

Avatars for Learning

Accidental Learning and the Power of Stories (information about 3rd person and 1st person learning opportunities)

Here are some videos about creating a good educational video. Remember, even in an educational video, you are telling a story. The story of how to accomplish a task or achieve a desired outcome. Educational does not mean, no story. It means an instructional story.


Do they die in real life?

Advantages of immersive learning

Creating questions for compliance training.

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