Late to the QuickSilver Party

I had tried several times to work with the unified interface app, QuickSilver. I was never quite able to make it work for me … about a year ago, it was just completely unstable on my PowerBook and I gave up. I went back at it today on my MacBook Pro and am finally seeing what all the excitement is really about. A little flick of the fingers and you can do just about anything right from the keyboard without touching the mouse, track pad, dock, or whatever.

Since I am a newbie with this stuff, it is probably best to point you around the web for the ins and outs related to QuickSilver. Just a fantastic application that is already saving me time and from taking my hands off the keyboard. I am starting to collect resources at under the tag, quicksilver. Might be worth a look for all the Mac users who are as late to the party as I am.

A quick keyboard combo makes a small interface appear that gives you access to applications, actions, and literally everything on you Mac. Amazing.

Rip, Mix, Burn Classroom Podcasting …

I had posted last week about the idea of students taking ownership of the podcasting process in the classroom based on an article I came across.  I had mentioned it was an intersting twist of fate that they would be the ones not only recording, but editing, posting, and distributing the lectures that way.  This morning I awoke to find a very interesting comment from James pushing the notion that it may be the natural evolution of the whole concept.  His comments really got me thinking differently about how to provide the right types of lecture based podcasts in my class (and beyond).

I think what James said pushes us to look at the classroom experience in a new light … most of us talk about creating a “student-centric” opportunity, but in most cases it ends up being a lot of push to them … with a significant amount of pull thrown in, but not a true two way street.  James wewnt on to say, “I actually think the idea of students editing portions of a lecture may be something that is ultimately encouraged especially if the student does this appropriately (audio citation?) as a way to further develop the ideas that are brought to life in the class.”  So I think I may have come across a wonderful new approach to try out in class … encourage students to produce versions of my lectures as they see fit.  What would be so wrong with them taking the basic lecture recording, editing out the nonsense, maybe adding in supplemental material, and cutting in their reactions?  If I can figurre out how to do it right, it would be an amazing learning opportunity.

Simple Twist of Fate

Not the Dylan rendition of the song of by that title, but a pointer to an interesting read over at the Edupodder blog, “Revolution from the edge: students posting class recordings“. Going into the whole Podcasting for Penn State, we never really thought the content would be posted by students. It only makes sense as they become more and more savvy with today’s web publishing tools that they will engage in this type of behavior. I wonder how it will feel when the tables are turned? I post my class lectures as podcasts because I think they belong to me … but if you listen carefully you’ll hear students talking. Doesn’t that make them ours?

Going forward I am curious as to how this will play out. Will faculty be ok with this notion? A lecture recorded, maybe even edited, by the students for the students. Should I get to sign a release form? How does this change the notion of the commercial “note trade” that goes on at major Universities? Is there a new business model in here? Podcast Notes … hmm.

More FaceBook … My New Stump?

I feel like my attention my be swaying a bit towards social networking and the FaceBook in general … In my morning readings I stumbled across a wonderful post, “How University Administrators Should Approach the Facebook: Ten Rules.” Fred Stutzman, a graduate student at UNC Chapel Hill provides some great insight into the FB surge and why students do what they do there. This is less of a FB survival guide to higher education administration, but more of an eye opener. If you haven’t had the chance to stand in front of a class of students who are working at fever pitch on their FB profiles you have no idea what is happening.

One particular quote resonates so true to me as an administrator in a University-wide information technology organization and as an instructor:

7. Your campus IT department doesn’t offer anything like the Facebook. What’s more, the Facebook may be doing all sorts of stuff on your campus better than you do. The students message, create study groups, post to bulletin boards, and generally keep in touch inside this Facebook. The students don’t use the webspace you provide them (who wants to design a webpage in the era of push-button blogging), and it annoys them that they have to check school email to hear from their professors (when they have Gmail and Facebook messages). Numerous people have told me that Facebook announcements bring better results than flyering ever has. There are all sorts of examples like these.

We ask students about this stuff and they are using the FB for all these reasons — and several of them are why we spend lots of time, money, and energy on course management systems. There are other reasons for our CMS investments, but the FB just sort of captures their attention and gets the job done well.

In Washington D.C.

I got down to DC last evening to prepare for today’s “Expert Panel on Technology-Based Learning” that I was invited to be a part of. Let me first say that this is the first time I have taken part in anything remotely connected to the Government. This all day panel is hosted by the U.S. Department of Labor and its intent is to inform them on policy decisions related to technology in education. I am one of maybe a half dozen people here to join the conversation.

I talk at 1:00 PM (right after lunch) on the panel titled, “Emerging Technologies Now and in the Future.” My piece of the hour and a half panel is on what we are calling disruptive technologies — blogs, wikis, podcasting, RSS, and social bookmarking. I get 20 minutes to talk and then we are on the spot for 30 minutes of questions. Should be a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to hearing what goes on today. There are some good people here that will be making remarks in the morning so it should keep my attention. I will post a follow-up after I get home tonight.

BootCamp … Winderz on a Mac, for Real

I was just pointed to BootCamp (code name) for a new technology Apple will release with 10.5 … this little utility/app/technology will allow you to install Windows XP on your Mac without running all over the Internets looking for stuff. Sort of makes me giggle that people worked so hard to do this the last several weeks. At any rate, think of how this can impact market share … the people who say they can’t get a Mac because of a handful apps, shouldn’t have any real excuse anymore. I wonder how it works … I guess we’ll just have to download it and see. From Apple’s BootCamp page:

Boot Camp lets you install Windows XP without moving your Mac data, though you will need to bring your own copy to the table, as Apple Computer does not sell or support Microsoft Windows.(1) Boot Camp will burn a CD of all the required drivers for Windows so you don’t have to scrounge around the Internet looking for them.

The times they are a changin’ … I would tag this with interestingness. Now, will I run this? Nope, it goes on to say that you need to beware of the typical issues on Windows — you know viruses, trojans, and all the other ugly stuff my Windows using friends deal with. I have lived the last 22 years of my life with a Mac and I’ll stick to that for now. But, if in the future this becomes important, I now have an option that won’t make me feel all dirty. XP on a Mac … unreal.