The new site is up for the 2011 Mesa Old West Days Festival to be held on November 11th and 12th 2011. Please stop on by if you are local to the valley! It should be a lot of fun. This year, I worked with the festival committee on completely revamping the site and adding some touches. I coded it in XHTML and CSS. Here is a screenshot that will lead you to the site:
All posts in Technology
I started really looking at my website and trying to get an idea of good useability. It turns out that I need to up the ante in regards to the contrast on my links and improve their visibility. I found this site that makes a easy checklist of things to look for in regards to being user centered:
I will be going through that list to improve my site. Do you see some things on there that could improve yours?
We have a Polycom at work that I created the following basic simulation for. This was created with Captivate CS5.
Check it out:
In the types of learning objective situations that students encounter, technical training, especially of those that involve hardware and software are generally more complex than other objectives. This is due to the fact that there are many possibilities for things that can go wrong. Depending on the scenario, technical objectives are testing problem solving skills. In this criterion referenced objective assessment, we are attempting to insure that learners can power on a computer and Crestron conferencing unit so as to conduct a live presentation. Since the target audience of our students is that of a non technical nature, the goal of our training is to assess whether or not they can complete simplified tasks. We want to form a baseline so that intended learners can use the system adequately.
I decided to use assessment types that would gauge whether or not the leaner had come away with the central ideas of the learners module. The best types of assessment types for this are short answer and fill in the blanks. The short answer questions are drafted to insure mastery of the subject matter as there is only one correct answer. Fill in the blank questions also are a good way to measure that the leaner understands the material.
In regards to the mastery level, Our goals were to have the learners power on the computer, power on the Creston conferencing unit , adjust the volume of the presentations and understand how to do basic troubleshooting on how to resolve simple problems. Is is not the intention of this learning module to train the learner with more complex troubleshooting or technical knowledge, rather the focus is to insure that they can complete basic steps on using the system and an emphasis on resolving simple issues that generally occur on a frequent basis.
My friend Jim Bunetta and I are working on a possible redesign for his website, Mesa Old West Days. It is an annual western festival celebrating Mesa Arizona. I designed a flash animation of the horse and rider that was created by El Vaquero Muerto, whose site is http://elvaqueromuerto.com/
Here is the link:
*Art provided by El Vaquero Muerto. http://elvaqueromuerto.com/
I recently found a great article about the top 5 elearning skills for 2011 at http://elearningweekly.wordpress.com/2011/02/. Eric Matas writes about what he thinks will be the 5 most important skills to have, since groups of people will need to be able to focus on doing more with less.
One thing that I found most interesting though is the idea of mobile development. As we know, the conversion of flash into code that can be easily exported for use on hardware like the ipad and iphone and even the internet is rather limited currently. Adobe has seen the importance of being able to convert flash into HTML5, and as result, they have a new tool released called Wallaby that will make this transition easier. The utilization of Dreamweaver and Wallaby are making it easier to convert assets from Flash into HTML5 for easy redeployment. I think we will see much more of this in the future.
See the link here:
I recently was stumbling along (and if you don’t have the great StumbleUpon Toolbar installed, it’s a must install! Visit here for more information: http://www.stumbleupon.com/home/) and came upon a site called Eleqtriq. Dirk Weber, an interface designer, built the site. He offers some great web development tools, in particular one called CSSWARP, which is a tool that automatically generates text into irregular paths and scripts it out for addition to your website with HTML5 code. Visit Dirk’s site at http://www.eleqtriq.com/ and you can find his CSS Warptext tool at http://csswarp.eleqtriq.com/.
The recent article outlined by Chris Lehmann entitled Perspective – The autodidact and Khan Academy found on his website http://practicaltheory.org/serendipity/index.php?/archives/1282-Perspective-The-Autodidact-and-Khan-Academy.html presents his accounting of the use of video for educating the general population. http://www.khanacademy.org/ is the nonprofit organization that posts videos for learning. There are many offerings, and they are free, which is an inherently noble cause. However as Chris explains, Bill Gates has thrown his considerable money behind Khan Academy and is very enthusiastic about what it has to offer children of limited income.
As we know, learning is very different from one child to the next, and although Khan has great use in certain applications, such as learning math and science problems, there will be a large segment of the populace who would not benefit from said learning. It is just another reminder of the importance of analysis in designing learning to encompass different learning methods.
There is an excellent newsletter for those of us interested in online education and trends. I have learned a lot of great ideas and Stephen’s site is thought provoking. The OLDaily is the newsletter part of his web offerings. Check them out at http://www.downes.ca/
The purpose of this writing is to view how, with actual hard data, the concept of how Moore’s Law is still viable today. An interesting trend found within the computing world that, as evidenced in our charts, the cost of each computer part generally decreases while its performance increases. According to Moore’s Law – a description of a trend that shows that the number of transisitors placed on chips, and thus computing power, has doubled every two years – we can see significant correlations.
I have conducted research via the internet through four different websites: www.pricewatch.com, www.newegg.com www.crucial.com. The fourth website that came in very handy allowed me to view realistic prices for each components in 2005. It is www.waybackmachine.org. I determined that I could have taken the average of a multiple of different hard drive brands and manuafacturers, but decided to select one general brand version of RAM, Processor and Hard Drive. In comparing pricing and offerings through various web vendors, I found that aggregator services such as www.pricewatch.com had a bounty of options that the others did not, but pricing seemed to be roughly similar within a certain range for each component at the three vendors.
In reviewing pricing for the Central Processing Unit (CPU), I selected an Intel i5 750. The Intel i5 750 is a 2.66 GHz processor with an 8 megabyte L3 cache. This CPU represents today’s new line of Quad Core offerings, and offers much more power than the single core offerings available in 2005. Compared in price, the cost of $549 for the 2005 Central Processing Unit versus the average price of $200 today is a great value. The actual performance of this on most 32 bit non multi threaded application however will not make a huge difference in the actual speed of calculations. Where it will shine is when we move to applications built to take advantage of 4 cores. The actual speed on the chart seems to actually be lower than the speeds from 2005; however that is not the case. It is misleading due to the quad cores.
For the RAM component, I selected DDR3 RAM which fits into todays motherboards that house an 1156 socket cpu like an Intel i5 series. Crucial.com offered a 4 gigabyte DDR3 DIMM for $180. Newegg.com sold 6 gigabytes of RAM for a average price of $140.
The pricing on RAM in 2005 was $149 for 2 gigabytes. Today’s price of $140 doesn’t seem to be that much more inexpensive, possibly due to material and manufacturing costs. Howver the performance is greatly increased due to the size and speed of the RAM. Most memory seems to be rated at DDR400 in 2005, which has transfer speeds of 3200 megs per second. In contrast, the DDR3 SDRAM 1600 transfers data at 12800 megabytes. That is a very considerable jump in power! (Ahmed, 2008)
The comparisons for the hard drive show that capacity sizes have jumped up to 1 terabyte, or 1024 gigabytes. Pricing on these components have a rough average of $100 depending on the manufacturer. The capacity sizes have increased from 320 gigabyte sized drives in 2005 to 1024 gigabyte drives for roughly the same cost.
In review, we see that the price of hardware has generally gone down, while performance has increased greatly. In terms of the CPU, the addition of a greater amount of cores generates more computing power.
See charts below:
Ahmed, Faraz. (2010) “Difference between SD, DDR, DDR2 and DDR3 RAM Explained” Artipot.com. Retrieved from http://www.artipot.com/articles/210869/difference-between-sd-ddr-ddr2-and-ddr3-ram-explained.htm
The field of instructional design changes very quickly and technology will likely only gain more influence as the desire for instruction is accessible on web based/online and mobile devices for easy retrieval and sharing.
According to Patricia Smith and Tillman Ragan in their text Instructional Design, we can break up these technologies into four different groups - Microelectronic technologies, tools and models, new contexts, and new assumptions (Smith & Ragan 2005). Of all these, I believe that Interactive Technologies hold the most potential as a way to make learning insightful and participatory for a new generation of learners. The younger generations such as Gen Y and the Millennial are used to a certain way of interacting with technologies to learn, and as such, I think that interactive methods of instructional delivery will be a very powerful and effective way to teach.
For another great example, the use of Flash and other programming languages have produced an online interactive tool to understand man’s comparative size in the universe. It can be found here: http://htwins.net/scale/index.html (Huang, M. & Huang, C. 2010). All these technologies have had and will continue to have a large impact since interactivity has shaken up the instructional landscape.
Adobe Air, 2011. Retrieved from http://www.adobe.com/products/air/
Aleven, V., Stahl, E., Schworm, S., Fischer, F. & Wallace, R. (2003). Help Seeking and Help Design in Interactive Learning Environments. Review of Educational Research, Fall 2003, Vol. 73, No. 3, pp. 277-320.
Lowther, D. L., & Morrison, G. L. (2003). Integrating computers into the problem-solving process. New Directions for Teaching and Learning, 95, 33–38. Retrieved from http://ezp.waldenulibrary.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=11063300&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Smith, P. L., & Ragan, T. J. (2005). Instructional design (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. p. 364-369