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Carnival captures design conference concepts

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Posted on 27th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists and Mobile Learning

Debuting host Abgail Adams of CatalystCode rounds up the best mobilist blogging of the week on Carnival #171, with a full range of topics in the hot and getting hotter mobile arena. She included the post I made on SmartMobs.com about Toddler Techniques for iPhones, which features my grand-nephew demoing his smartphone tyke-swiping technique.

Abby also include the start page for the web slides I prepared for my talk on The Long Tail of Mobile Learning last week at the Design for Mobile conference in Lawrence, Kansas. The image with this post shows me (right) during Q&A by D4M’s hosts Steven Hoober and Barbara Ballard.

The Design for Mobile conference is a project of Little Springs Design, which was founded in Lawrence by Barbara Ballard to be a key focus of mobile user research and design and the center of a [I think "the"] mobile design community. Certainly the people who attended and the concepts that were networked set the 2-day D4M apart as a creative think tank for our hot and getting hotter mobile design challenges.

Little Springs Design in Lawrence, Kansas is proof of the potential in our increasingly virtual, connected, global times for vision and innovation to be geography agnostic and tethered to talent and niche.

Ways mobilist designers can enable mobile learning

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Posted on 20th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

In my talk tomorrow at the Design for Mobile conference, I will make these seven suggestions for how attendees can grab the mobile learning long tail in their projects:

1. Make the browser awesome for its main job in education: browsing the internet.

2. Don’t make long haul commitments inside of walled gardens. An app is a potted plant. Realize the app will either one day move into the internet or it will eventually be euthanized like Encarta.

3. Keep knowledge for study subjects (sciences, math, arts, humanities, etc.) separate from the pedagogy that presents it to students. The former is growing organically online, and you just need to deliver it through a mobile browser. The latter is usually proprietary and can be profitable. When you mix them the knowledge gets bundled in the pedagogy and its connectivity gets restricted.

4. Mobile will be the joy stick and screen for games that boost learning.

5. Add school bells and whistles to devices: safety, gps, flashcard app, writing tools, more.

6. Offer some bigger displays: being able to project the screen from a mobile on a wall will be huge for education.

7. Do not underestimate the money to be made from mobile learning. (SOON!)

Bottom lines for mobile learning:
ONE WEB: mobile browsing of same Web as desktops do.
FINDABILITY: Replacing search through optimization of educational resources.

Watch learning long tail emerge

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Posted on 14th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression, Emerging Online Knowledge, Mobile Learning and Networks

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This animation gives you a place to play with the long tail of study subject webpages. There are four subjects in the Emerger, with clickable samples of how they are connected into ideas that you can click to bring together to teach or learn.

One of the examples here, of comparisons of how Rembrandt depicted hands, seems like a small subject and simple detail. That is true, yet the comparison connects the greatest museums on the planet. Even young children can learn from the pattern that emerges of similarities and differences in the depictions, and for painting scholars the lessons are sophisticated.

Next week I will be using this Emerger animation that I created a couple of years ago in my talk at Design4Mobile. If you are attending, you might want to check out the Emerger here for a look at what I will be discussing. For mobilists, a crucial criteria of creating handschooling is to deliver the long tail you can play with in the Emerger.

Network platform integration for the new education

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Posted on 13th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning, Networks and Schools We Have Now

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The brain of your child whom you entrust to standardized schools is the most complicated thing in the universe, with 100 billion brain cells none of which seem to be in charge. So explains Steven Strogatz (about the human brain) in the above video. He and Duncan Watts are introduced in this first of a five-part explanation of network theory. Strogatz and Watts discovered small world networks and are top tier scientists of their generation. The other videos are available on YouTube: two, three, four, and five.

What we are learning about networks make standardized schooling obsolete. The platform for the new education will be the interaction of four networks — each of which we are beginning to understand from the new network science introduced in the videos. The four networks are: the internet, the brain, what is known by humankind, and the network in which humankind is interconnect by six degrees or so of separation.

Although networks and education have yet to be heard much above the education din, GoldenSwamp will focus increasingly on this fundamental subject. For example: It is downright silly to impose watered down stand alone standards upon an eager brain that is a network of 100 billion cells from which thought seeks to emerge by connecting patterns.

Fitting education into the smarter world

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Posted on 10th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning, Mobile Learning and Networks

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This new IBM ad tells us: “When systems connect the world gets smarter.”

There is a principle here that should be central to how we reconfigure education. Throwing a lot of money at education that is disconnected from the changing world is throwing a lot of money down a dark hole. When students connect to the smarter world network the world gets smarter. The mobile internet will connect kids so they can connect with ideas and systems of ideas. Doing education any other way in the 21st century is not smart.

This map depicts the future of education resources

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Posted on 5th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge, Findability, Networks and Schools We Have Now

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Ten years ago, I was leading a project called HomeworkCentral.com, with a  graduate student team captained by two Ph.D’s, for sciences and the humanities. We built an open online network of 35,000 study subjects comprised of about 150,000 links to webpages picked by our scholars for sciences, humanities, arts, technologies and more. HomeworkCentral.com was very popular, receiving 4 million monthly visitors in the year 2000.

Those of us who connected the webpages of subjects imagined what the resulting network might look like, but had no way of representing it visually. This month the Los Alamos Laboratory has released what they call a Map of Science, which is a first look at what we realized was happening a decade ago. The Los Alamos research and map appear in PLoS ONE (the Public Library of Science).

Although Johan Bollen, who headed the project team was “surprised” by the networking of subjects that he saw, I was not:

Bollen and colleagues were surprised by the map’s scope and detail. Whereas maps based on citations favor the natural sciences, the team’s maps of science showed a prominent and central position for the humanities and social sciences, which, in many places, acted like interdisciplinary bridges connecting various other scientific domains. Sections of the maps were shaped by the activities of practitioners who read the scientific literature but do not frequently publish in its journals.

HomeworkCentral.com was taken offline in 2003, and made proprietary. The practice for online “education” materials in the years since has not been to use the open internet as a network. Education is packaged in standards, curricula, courses and other formats repositioned from the analog 20th century. These formats do not allow the subject (cognitive), granular (unbundled) connectivity you see on the Map of Science.

Even back in the late 90s, as I watched the graduate students find and judge links in their fields, and then link what they found in cognitive patterns, I was sure that this method would be the future of learning resources. The Map of Science proves me right!

In the Golden Swamp that is the internet, the network whose depiction is glimpsed in the Map of Science has evolved to mirror the subjects education is meant to teach. This network delivers the freshest, most authoritative manifestation of these subjects. We should be using — and optimizing — this network for teaching and learning.

Online Educational Resources Are the SEO Sleeping Giant

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Posted on 4th April 2009 by Judy Breck in Findability and SEO

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An article I wrote about SEO for online educational resources appeared this month in SES Magazine. The publication with the article was distributed to those attending the Search Engines Strategies SES conference held at the New York City Hilton March 24-27. My theme is how education—now the sleeping SEO giant—will be a major player in search engine optimization over the next months and years. My piece from SES Magazine is archived in the “Articles” section of the sidebar on the right side of the GoldenSwamp blog.

If you have placed learning material online, have you optimized it so teachers and students can find it? If not, you need to SEO your content — optimize it for search engines.