Sunday, October 31, 2010

Google Demo Slam

Here are a few cool videos. Google has set up the 'Demo Slam' to try to encourage people to share what their technology is capable of. Take something interesting your phone or browser can do, make an interesting video and try to beat others.
Fooling Google Goggles into thinking your head is Mt Rushmore:

..and playing Chubby Bunny with Google Voice search and marshmallows:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Sintel: a tale of dragons and freedom

I've just downloaded and watched a copy of the animated short film Sintel. It's a cool little story with an even cooler back-story: it was made by the Durian Open Movie Project using open source 3D modelling application Blender 3D. There's a YouTube copy below, but if you can, download an HD version (legally) using BitTorrent; put it through a good stereo (or plug in your headphones) and enjoy. It's 3D animation like you have never seen before. Best of all, it's released under a Creative Commons licence, so feel free to share it with your friends.
BitTorrent downloads here:

Sintel - Third Open Movie by Blender Foundation

Friday, October 29, 2010

Great interview with the creator of Moodle

The original designer of Moodle. He's a genius.

"When designing Moodle, I wanted a set of values that could act as a compass:

  • everyone should be a teacher as well as a learner
  • if you understand the context of a person, you are able to teach them better.
  • a learning environment should be flexible; as you learn more about the people in it, you're able to change it
  • learn by doing and constructing and learn by engagement"

It's so refreshing to hear such solid learning theory from a software developer.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Starting over

I'm in Christchurch for the ULearn10 conference, and if you haven't heard about it, this region of New Zealand suffered a serious earthquake a month ago. The damage was severe, with a large number of buildings being demolished. It was really heartening to hear that one response to this catastrophic event has been the convening of a group of architects getting together to make the most of the new opportunities
It got me thinking about the Global Financial Crisis and what we as educators are doing in response to this catastrophic event. The budget cuts are pretty severe across the board and one thing is clear: we couldn't afford our e-learning spending before the GFC, and we can certainly afford it less now. Here's the problem we have: we want our students to have better, faster, more powerful software and systems, and there's less and less money to buy them. So what will we do about it? We either give up on the dream or we do things differently. What are you doing differently?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

ULearn 2010 kicks off

I'm in Christchurch for Ulearn10, catching up with a lot of people and having my brain stretched in new and interesting ways. Here's a pic from the opening keynote showing how wonderfully diverse the audience is. Can you see the three screens in this shot? There's Ubuntu Linux, Windows XP and iOS on an iPad. (Size is relative to level of coolness ;-)