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Welcome back, Stacey November 18, 2009

Posted by stacey27 in Uncategorized.
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In the last few months, my focus has not been solely on my work – educating myself on the recent findings and conversations going on in the world of instructional technology – as it has been oh such a short time ago. You see, in February I gave birth to my son. It has been a great experience, but it has filled up my day with thoughts and activities that are not related to work.

I have made some personal advances in my use of social media, however, it has not been for professional reasons. I have signed up for a twitter account. And while I dont log in every day, I do jump on some days to interact and share tidbits (on the days when it is a bit slower and i have some time to do such things). But I share personal tidbits – and not usually thoughts or interesting findings in the world of instructional technology. Regardless though, I believe I am still doing a great thing by throwing myself into this technology and getting an understanding of it. Sometimes I really feel that with social media, in order to “get” it, you just have to do it. I really think that that is many times the road block for many professionals who fight against social media. They personally dont use the technologies, so they dont understand the uses and benefits of it.

So I guess in a way I have jumped in – or stayed somewhat floating this whole time – but I have been having urges to submerge myself even more back into my professional world of instructional technology. I always crave new information. And while I have also kept progressing in my technical knowledge (AS3 & Captivate), I have not stayed on top of the intellectual side and new advances in theory of instructional technology.

So today, I begin by doing a few things. I am visiting some blogs. I have actually already found a very interesting exchange of thoughts around social media, engagement, and ownership at The Other Lobe of the Brain. In addition I am going to be attending some of the presentations virtually at the Bloomsburg University CAC conference.

So I am welcoming myself back. I hope to stick around for a while :)

Oh how far we’ve come! February 2, 2009

Posted by stacey27 in technology.
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In my daily internet travels, I came across this great video from 1981 about the rise of news reporting on the internet. We have come so far!

Students Today November 4, 2008

Posted by stacey27 in high school, students, technology.
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Great post by

Example of a great yet simple game August 6, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in educational games.
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I came across a game that tests your knowledge of the presidents of the United States today. It is a great example of a game that is challenging, engaging, yet is just a simple design.

I really feel that it is not always the 3D graphics that make a game engaging but the design of the game. I will not argue that 3D graphics are not engaging. I think they are. But if a game does not have a good design, no matter how great the graphics are, it will not engage.

I must admit that my knowledge of the presidents of the United States is not at the level it needs to be to win this game. However, I will still try to play it. And maybe I just might learn something along the way!

Play the game!

Rules for Course Design August 6, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in development, visual design.
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I have been tasked at work recently with updating some courses. They were built a few years ago, and while the content is still relevant, the design may not be as current. (or designed as well as it could be)

Right now I am working on my second course and I am noticing a bit of a trend on the changes I am making to update these courses. Here is a list of the things I have been doing to make sure that the courses are well developed and and have a good visual design.

  1. No unnecessary animations. They distract the learner. Unless if it is an animation that is pertinent to the delivery of the content, I say they must be removed.
  2. No bright blocks of color behind text. These bright colors behind text or as the text color, perhaps, are again distracting. When the learner focuses on the bright colors or has trouble reading the content, you begin to lose him or her. If I use a dark color in the background, I make sure that the color is in fact dark, and I’ll use a very light color for the text, such as white. Most times though, I stick to a light background – maybe a slightly tinted white – and use dark text. This is the easiest for the user to read.
  3. Use clean easy to read buttons. I cannot stand when I roll over a button and it moves away from me, or shifts. I tend to use the buttons built into Flash many times because they are clean and well built. If I dont use one of those buttons, I focus on making my buttons simple, clean and easy to read.
  4. Make sure images are not distorted. To ensure the images maintain the appropriate proportions, hold the shift key when re-sizing using the transform tool (in Flash). Or always constrain proportions. You dont want want an image to look stretched out.

This is only a short list right now. More to come in time.

addicted to RSS August 2, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in Uncategorized.
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I am addicted to my RSS reader and blogs.

Normal Day: wake up, get ready for work, drive to work, get to work, READ BLOGS on my RSS READER, work, READ BLOGS, eat lunch, READ BLOGS…etc. It keeps going and going.

Maybe its the fact that I am used to multitasking. Maybe I am just a procrastinator. Maybe I dont like to feel left out. Whatever the reason, I am constantly compelled to read the blogs, look for new blogs, and stay caught up. It’s fun and it’s a challenge. And I am constantly learning new stuff. [YET, I must say that I am still productive in my life - work and personal. It is not an addiction that consumes my life (only jumps into my "on-the-computer" time). In case if you were wondering.]

But I find it funny. I’ll go to a website, and if it only even slightly resembles a blog, i try to subscribe (well, that is, if i like the site).

So what I am wondering, is — is the use of RSS readers growing? I know for a while I had read that they were not catching on as some had thought.

Also I am wondering, is anyone else doing this? Or to some degree? Are you excited to see what’s newly posted and to learn more? And to have all of that at your fingertips?

Just wondering. I have noticed the growing trend in myself. Sometimes I go with the curve and other times, against.

another iPhone review? July 29, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in technology.
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So in skimming through my google reader, I came across an article on Last100, a blog about the digital lifestyle. Often the articles and posts that surprise me will catch my attention. When an author takes a stance that is not the majority, or is unique, I am fascinated.

Well, this post was centered around the iPhone – but not the typical article you find on the iPhone, either dissing or praising the iPhone. This article focused on the features offered on the iPhone. The author, Daniel Langendorf, notes that Apple took the lesser road when designing the iPhone, only integrating features that the average consumer would use.

It’s as if Apple “dumbed down” the iPhone on purpose, choosing to do things a certain (less complicated) way even though the technology exists to do these things in a more complete (albeit complicated) fashion. One cannot edit a Word document or spreadsheet on the iPhone like they can on a smart phone. Or cut and paste between email and notes. Or hyper-organize oneself with calendar, email, or contact programs.

Yet, he notes that this is refreshing to him because they are not including features just because they can. Instead the iPhone serves as an accompaniment to a computer, not acting as a mini computer itself.

While Daniel admits that the iPhone is definitely lacking in some areas, his new outlook on the device made me open my eyes to the iPhone. I may not be buying one anytime soon, but it taught me to look at the iPhone in a new light. To see it as doing what it is made to do very well, despite the fact that it does not do it all. It’s not supposed to. It wasn’t designed that way.

gaming. everyone’s doing it. July 22, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in educational games.
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So in a discussion with my fiancé, Kevin, (who also happens to be an instructional technologist), the issue of recreational gaming came up. As both of us create games for elearning at our jobs, we are always emphasizing the value of games and echoing that the majority of the population is used to games and the gaming environment. The younger generations have grown up with video games and computer games and many of older generations have taken part in these gaming worlds. But basically, we are always pointing out how education is more effective when it is fun, interactive, and challenging.

Well Kevin then made a good point. For all that we advocate gaming and say that “everyone’s doing it,” we don’t play video games. We don’t even own any of the gaming consoles. So then are we hypocrites? Kevin suggested that we aren’t really gamers ourselves and that we should buy some of the popular games that people are playing and immerse ourselves in them “for learning reasons.” I do not disagree with this.

I know I could learn a great deal from this. But I argued back that “just because we don’t own or play video console games means that we are not gamers?” Because I know that every so often when I have a free 15 minutes of time, I jump on Yahoo! games and play a little Bejeweled, or JT’s Blocks. So does that make me a gamer? I believe so. Just maybe a different kind.

I think that the underlying principal of these computer and video games is the same, but the environment that these gamers are used to differs. In the computer games that I play, I am interacting, motivated to win, and challenged. The immersive games that others play also interact, motivate and challenge their players. But the more immersive gamers are accustomed to a more immersive environment. They want the advanced 3D graphics. They have and want more control and options.

So my unknown here is — do graphics and the technology of the game undermine the experience for the learner? Or is the challenge, the game enough?

Long overdue. July 19, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in other.
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So I know that I haven’t posted in a LONG while. Not to throw around excuses, but I have recently started a new job and along with my new house, contract work, personal time, and whatever else summer has brought along – it has left little time for following the industry and blogging. I hate that I have fallen out of the habit, but I know I will be back soon. I can see light at the end of the tunnel, but I’m just not there yet.

In a few weeks, I will be moving to work at home and that will free up more time for me. (no more commuting to the office, and I’ll be able to access my personal computer at times to follow up on the little tasks I used to do – work pc is so locked down!)

Anyway, that’s where I’ve been. Oh and to follow up on the Joost thing – the same problem I’ve had with Second Life has happened with Joost. My computer cannot handle either. So that’s why threes no review. I haven’t been able to use it. :( Also why I never speak of Second Life. I would love to upgrade the comp, but situations are not so favorable for that just yet. Christmas?? :)

I got joost May 11, 2007

Posted by stacey27 in other.
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Yay! I got an invite for joost. Post to follow on it.

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