Reinventing Mobile Media for Distance Education

image of cell phone on desktop of a computerAudrey presented at the Tennessee Alliance for Continuing Higher Education on November 10, 2011. Here are notes to support that talk.

Modern Mixtape: QR Code created by Kaywa linking to playlist in Spotify


Voice (beyond just phone to phone calling)


Video as Communication

Video as Content: Universal Design and Accessibility

Providing players with HTML 5 and Flash fall back (which YouTube and Vimeo provide)


  • dotSUB (for translations and subtitles – crowdsourced option)
  • 3Play (pay service for transcriptions and subtitle files)


Interactive and Location-based Media


Layer Demo Video:


Image: ‘Technology – “Future Vision”
Technology - "Future Vision"

QR + AR = ??

See that code to the right of this post? Yes, that funny black and white image. It’s called a QR code (QR = quick response)

If you have a mobile phone with a camera and a QR code reader (like Barcode Reader on an Android phone or QR Reader for iPhone or the Kaywa Reader for just about every other phone), then you take a picture of the code and the reader decodes the information that is embedded in the code.

Most QR codes take you to web sites that have additional information. However, some can also embed information like photos, documents and other media. We mentioned QR codes way back in 2007 as something to watch but they have been slow to pick up in the US. However, I am starting to see more and more codes in magazines and other media.

There is also AR (augmented reality). Augmented Reality also uses a camera on a phone or iPad 2 to view the world around you and then place additional information over the image so the reality is “augmented” with data. Some examples include:

The Layar Browser that can show you locations of stores, rental property, restrooms and more.

The Rayban Virtual Mirror let’s you see yourself in Ray-Ban sunglasses. Although, ahem, they need a Mac version of this as everybody cool wears Ray-Ban AND uses a Mac 🙂 You use Java and your webcam to “try on” various styles of Rayban sunglasses – and of course you can buy them right there as well!

Daqri is a new player on the market that mixes the QR code with Augmented Reality so you can have the interactive experience of AR with the ease of a QR code. Check out their demo reel:

I am in the beta for Daqri and will let you know how it goes during our experimentation. In fact, Brandon and I are thinking of using Daqri for our poster session at the upcoming FUSION 2011 D2L Users Conference. Could be a whole different take on handouts.

Do you think you can find ways to implement QR or AR in your teaching? Your everyday life? Have you? Let us know in the comments.

Need a wiki? Want it to be ad-free?

You are in luck. Wikispaces, which is an easy to use, full-featured wiki provider has extended their offer of advertising-free wikis to colleges and universities. They have been offering them to K-12 for some time now and have opened LOTS of them to educators.

Wikis can be very useful for collaborative writing, planning and editing of documents. Think group projects, student generated content/presentations, papers, etc.

Wikispaces allows for public and private wikis so you can make them as open as you want (or don’t). You can also create student accounts, embed media and customize the look with templates.

For other ideas about using wikis in education, check out these sites:

Wikis in Higher Ed and same site as a wiki

Johns Hopkins wiki Article (PDF)

Instructional Technology Council – eLearning 2011 Pre-Conference Workshop

I am delighted to join Barry Dahl of Excellence in e-Education for an afternoon pre-conference session entitled “Tweet This”.

We will be covering Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking sites and how they can be used in higher education.

Barry has the session description and more up on his site at Tweet This! | Excellence in e-Education and the mindmap we will be using for the session is also available.

Thoughts on Web 2.0 and Human 1.5

This is for an assignment in the Digital Storytelling course, but I’m happy to share it here, for whatever it’s worth. I was thinking about how differently writers approached things “in my day” with copyright, etc., and today with things like Creative Commons licenses. I don’t know how informative it is, but it reflects my personal process somehow.

Site Seeing 6: Browser Based Photo Editing


Don’t own Photoshop? At a computer that doesn’t have a photo editor? Need to knock out a quick graphic for a web site or a presentation, here are some free and easy to use (but still very powerful) photo editors for fun and work. In this episode, we visit:

TiltShift Generator: (you can run it from here or download the Adobe AIR application)

And, give a quick mention to:
Aviary: (another episode will cover this site in more detail)
Photoshop Express:


Image Credit: ‘Gadgets

New viewer brings new tools for educators

This post is now three weeks old, which is ancient in the blogosphere, but it points out some useful info for educators who use Second Life, and it’s still valid, even though the “beta” has now been officially released.

While the article talks about five new tools for educators, I think the most significant one is the arrival of the long-talked-about “HTML on a prim.” The official name is “Shared Media,” and it’s simple to set up. The Second Life wiki has a good resource on the “how to,” which will eventually wind up in the Knowledgebase.

The gist of it, though, is that the “old way” involved setting the URL via something on the Land tab. In other words, the URL was tied to the parcel. Shared Media, on the other hand, is set in the object itself via the + symbol at the bottom of the Texture tab in the Build menu.

The upside: it’s easy.

The downside: unless you are using the new SL 2.0 viewer, you are completely unable to view the Web page. It would have been nice if somehow they could have enabled people with older viewers to at least see the page, but I understand why they couldn’t. (If it hasn’t clicked for you, look up a couple of paragraphs: the old way tied the URL to the parcel; the new way ties the URL to the object. Therefore, the older viewer has no way to understand an object with a URL tied to it.) Users of the older viewer will simply see the texture you choose for the tie-in.

So I’m going to make a texture that says “If you would like to see this Web page, please make sure you’re using Viewer 2.0 and then play your streaming media.”

Someone who does so will see not just a picture of a Web page (which is what the old style, in essence, did), but a fully interactive Web page, subject to the security restrictions the builder puts on it.

I think this will open up a whole new dimension for using SL as a tool of education.

NPR features SL educator

NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday featured Michael Demers, a geography professor at New Mexico State University, talking about how he uses Second Life to help his students learn more effectively. You can listen to the segment online.

Of course, so far I haven’t been able to get it to play myself. [sigh] Your luck may be better.

Update: I managed to get it to play. Worth listening to!