Monday, January 25, 2010

Coping with the Firehose of Information

Steve Rubel has posted a video and slides from his presentation Communicating in the Age of Streams - take the time to watch - it's worth it.
A quick summary ...

All of us - whether you're a stay at home mom or an executive - are going to have to cope with the firehose. There's more information coming at us than we can handle. Information will scale. Human attention is finite. This presents a major challenges to those of us who are in the attention business. It's like 25 lanes of traffic trying to squeeze into the Lincoln Tunnel all it once. Your marketing campaign is just one bus.

To mitigate this ongoing trend of streams, communicators will need to: 1) be as ubiquitous as possible, 2) adopt multiple messages, stories and formats and 3) make sure you allow your employees to get out there - in other words, use the force, don't fight it.

More in the embedded media ...
[emphasis added - MQ]

What Will Your College Look Like in 2020?

Some slides for a presentation I gave to a working group from our Educational Services Master Plan (ESMP) team. Our team is working on identifying demographic trends for 2020 and making recommendations for the college. My focus has been on the unique topic of technology demographics.

The three primary themes I discussed were:
  • The Internet and the Mobile Web
  • Gaming in Education
  • The 2010 Horizon Report
In the Horizon Report, one of the technologies to watch is augmented reality, so I included three videos at the end showing examples of augmented reality.

The State of Electronics Technology Education

Periodically, Lou Frenzel - Technology Editor for Electronic Design Magazine and an Adjunct Professor at Austin Community College - conducts an unofficial survey on the state of Electronics Technology education. I've reproduced the results of the survey (conducted on the Engineering Technology Dean's (ETD) listserv) below, along with some of Frenzel's thoughts on the survey.

It's good to see that a significant percentage (62.5%) have enrollments that are up - which respondents seem to credit to the poor economy. A troubling stat is that the majority have not made changes to their programs within the past two years and that when asked what new majors or specialties they have implemented, most indicated "other" and most often mentioned "none". With the trend toward green and renewable energy it's not surprising to see nearly 21% have developed programs/specialties in electrical power and energy. Given this, it would be interesting to see how many of these programs are cutting edge renewable/green programs, and how many are partnerships with local utilities to train their workforce.

While some programs may have turned the corner, most still point to low enrollments and poor retention as critical issues. While lab costs, budget limitations, and funding were all cited, one particular nugget that caught my attention was:

  1. bad management and uncooperative/under productive faculty

This to me is probably the most troubling issue in all of technology education. The myriad activities that faculty are undertaking to renew their programs - adopting a systems approach, developing new curriculum, attending workshops and webinars, etc - get us nowhere without the support and participation of our academic leader and our faculty peers.

  1. Your school is

    a. 2-year 61 %
    b. 4-year 43%

    Note: Total more than 100% since some institutions offer both AAS and BS.

  2. Are your enrollments in electronics technology classes up or down?

    a. Up 62.5%
    b. Down 20.8%
    c. Flat 16.7%

  3. When was the last time you made significant changes to your courses or curriculum?

    a. This year. 34.7%
    b. 1 to 2 years ago. 26.4%
    c. More than 2 years ago. 37.5%

    Note: Total not 100% as some did not respond.

  4. What new electronic majors or specialties have you implemented within the past 2 to 3 years?

    a. Electric power/energy 20.8%
    b. Wireless/communications 18%
    c. Robotics 16.7%
    d. Industrial/manufacturing 11.1%
    e. Biomedical 16.7%
    f. Other 33.3%

    Note: Total is more than 100% since several indicated multiple additions. In the Other category here are those listed:

    · None (Most often mentioned)
    · Embedded controllers (Many mentions)
    · Semi/Microelectronics
    · Automotive electronics
    · Networking
    · Photonics
    · Info tech/Computer science/programming

  5. Are you familiar with the trend toward teaching a systems approach (rather than component/circuits approach) to electronics technology?

    a. Yes 84.7%
    b. No 9.7%

    Note: Total not 100% as some did not respond.

  6. Which of the following is the one most critical issue facing your college?

    a. Low enrollments 38.9%
    b. Retention 27.8%
    c. Dated curriculum and courses 9.7%
    d. Lab costs 11.1%
    e. Other 18%

    Note: Total is more than 100% as multiple items were selected. In the Other category the item most mentioned was budget limitations and lack of funding. Other items included bad management and uncooperative/under productive faculty.

  7. What is your feeling about online electronic technology education?

    a. A potential direction for the future. 52.8%
    b. Looking forward to it 22.2%
    c. Not in favor of it 25%

    Note: Several indicated that they were already doing this in a hybrid program, lecture online and on-campus lab.

  8. What is your opinion of current textbooks?

    a. OK as is 25%
    b. Dated but OK on the fundamentals 44.4%
    c. Not relevant to current jobs 20.9%
    d. Covers recent and advanced topics well 9.7%

    Note: Lots of extra comments on this one.

    · Too expensive.
    · Lack of relevance to real world. (Multiple mentions)
    · Can get along fine without text books.
    · Need to go to e-books.
    · Use/adapt engineering/scientific texts.

Frenzel's thoughts:
I have been tracking the status of Electronic Technology for almost ten years now and have written about it extensively in my blog. My impression is that the current status is relatively positive compared to 3 to 5 years ago when enrollments were down and many colleges closed their Electronic Technology departments.

  • Enrollments are definitely up. Several mentioned that the down economy was the main cause with many going back to school to improve their employability. Still, one third of enrollment are down to flat.

  • Those of you who made changes in the program especially adding new majors or specialties survived the downturn of the past years and have turned their enrollment situation around.

  • New majors seemed to help enrollments especially anything to do with power/energy, robotics, industrial and biomed.

  • Despite a positive enrollment status, most indicated that low enrollments were the most critical issue. Retention was the second largest concern.

  • The movement toward a systems approach to teaching electronics (the real world today) is clearly very well known but what I should have asked is who is doing it.

  • I was surprised to see such a positive outlook for online programs. One quarter are clearly against this but anyone denying the online movement risks getting left behind. The Web/Internet is all powerful today and a key driver of our youth. It is the future.

  • Two thirds indicated some dissatisfaction with the textbooks. They are dated and less relevant than in years past. Hope some publishers read this and give us some good updates or new texts.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Is This What the Tablet Looks Like?

According to AppleInsider the impending Apple tablet device is "largely redolent of a first-generation iPhone that's met its match with a rolling pin."

In fact, they claim this rendering from Flickr user is the nearest anyone has come to the actual device.

Some additional interesting tidbits ...
Nestled in an aluminum shell that leverages the Apple's expertise in unibody construction but thinner proportionality than the original iPhone, the tablet reportedly sports all of the same buttons found on the handset, right down to its iconic home button -- which, like the volume toggle, is missing from the rendering.

Similarly, the tablet is said to sport all the same in/out connectivity as the current iPhone 3GS, including a 3.5-mm stereo headphone jack, built-in speaker grills, a microphone, GPS, 3G connectivity and a 30-pin dock connector. Like the rendering, its 10-inch display is framed by a black border that bleeds into its wrap-around aluminum enclosure.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009

Great list from Jane Hart.
Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009: The Final List:
Here is the final list of the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009, compiled from the contributions of 278 learning professionals - from education and workplace learning - worldwide.  Thanks to all who contributed their Top 10 Tools for learning.

Below is the presentation I have shared on Slideshare.  You will also be able to find the full list at my main C4LPT site: Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

FarmVille’s Parent Company Valued at $1 Billion?

I have students and colleagues (yes, colleagues) that are literally addicted to these Facebook-based games. I don't understand the attraction of Mafia Wars, Farmville or Fishville, but clearly there's money to be made. Great parody video after the jump.

FarmVille’s Parent Company Valued at $1 Billion?
While some of us might be willing to pay to make Facebook games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars go away, it appears that Wall Street has other ideas.

Specifically, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities tells Bloomberg that ‘If the IPO [for Zynga] were timed to price around mid-2010 or later, our expectation would be for a billion dollar or greater valuation.
[emphasis added - MQ]

That number is based on the recent deal that Electronic Arts made to acquire Playfish for up to $400 million, a multiple of 3-4x its revenue according to another analyst cited in the report.

Insanity? Perhaps, but Zynga has shown no signs of slowing down and seems to be able to replicate the same concept over and over again successfully. The company recently introduced ‘FishVille,’ an underwater version of the FarmVille game, and today, launched, a destination site for the game that utilizes Facebook Connect.

Overall, the company says it now has a whopping 200 million monthly active users across all games and platforms.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

What Would it Take to Fix iPhone Call Quality?

Apparently a lot of cash ... Analyst: AT&T needs to spend $5 billion to catch Verizon's coverage
AT&T would need to spend about $5 billion on its wireless network to catch up with the coverage offered by Verizon Wireless, a financial research firm said Tuesday.

Top 10 Skills in Demand in 2010

Are your students graduation with the skills they'll need to be competitive this year? Here's a list from Global Knowledge/TechRepublic's 2010 Salary Survey. Interestingly, 3 of the top 6 skills are business-related. Top technical skills - Security, Network Admin, and Virtualization. If Virtualization is new to you, EMC, which owns VMware, offers academia the free VMware IT Academy Program. Surprises on the list - Desktop Support.
  1. Project Management
  2. Security
  3. Network Administration
  4. Virtualization - Cloud
  5. Business Analysis
  6. Business Process Improvement
  7. Web Development
  8. Database Management
  9. Windows Administration
  10. Desktop Support
Read more at: Top 10 Skills in Demand in 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Educational Gaming

This image is a real eye-opener when you think about gaming in education - especially console gaming. Consider for example the following data garnered from this info-graphic:
  • 65% of US households play video games
  • the average gamer is 32 years old
  • the age distribution:
    • 25% under 18
    • 49% between 18-49
    • 26% over 50
  • gamers spend an average of 18 hours per week playing video games
  • 2 out of 5 gamers are female
  • annual software sales for consoles are 154 million units versus 36.4 million for PCs
Gaming is a huge market, has wide-spread adoption, hits all of our target demographics, and is integral to a gamers daily life. As an educator, why am I developing learning content for Angel, Blackboard, and Moodle, when instead I could be developing content for the Wii, the XBox 360, the PS3, and even the Zune, iPhone, and Blackberry. Are we missing out on a huge opportunity? Don't even get me started on educational content for Facebook...

Videogame Statistics
Source: Online Education

Friday, January 15, 2010

Flash on the iPhone…with One Big But

JavaScript Hack Brings Flash to the iPhone…Sort of
If you want to see Flash in action on your iPhone now, you can. Simply get Safari open and head on over to Paul Irish’s site to give various demos of Gordon a spin. But be warned Adobe’s Flash is one resource-intensive extension which will eat at your iPhone’s battery power in no time.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Lenovo Tablet at CES

This is pretty cool - runs Linux and Windows 7; converts from tablet to laptop. I think Apple will top it, but good to see some innovation and competition. A new "slate" device from HP/Microsoft coming later this week and of course Apple's iSlate - maybe - last week of January.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...