Oh wow, this might actually be a real game-changer. Clippick is a cross-platform (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) tool / app that does one thing only: you copy something on one device, and then the next time you hit Paste on any of your other devices, whatever you copied on the first device ends up there. In my very limited testing so far, text and URLs are available to paste almost instantly. Haven't tried yet with images.
I distinctly remember sitting next to a student while helping him work through a search back in, probably 1995 or 1996 - it was when I was working at Nova Southeastern University. We were running the same search on computers next to each other, and I had found something with a long URL that I wanted to share. I thought, "self, wouldn't it be cool if there was some way I could just copy this URL and have it appear on his screen?". THIS is that tool!
As it's currently configured, you couldn't just install this on all the machines in your reference area 'cause people would be pasting other people's peanut butter all over their chocolate. But if this could be configured with multiple accounts, or some sort of trigger that support staff could flip when desired, this tool could come in play as necessary.
Check out the intro video - There's no specific iPad app, but you can install the iPhone app there and it works just fine.
Back in November I posted about my desire for some way to reliably monitor and report available study seats within the library. I recently heard about Pinoccio, an Indiegogo project, and suspect it might do the trick! It's a very small Arduino board with an optional WiFi board. If one plugged a motion sensor, or used the included temperature sensor, it'd probably be able to report whether there was a body sitting at a given location. Small enough to work, WiFi and a long-life(?) battery. Ooh, even better, you don't need the WiFi bridge for each unit, only one for a given area, so that brings down the cost and complexity.
Pricing in bulk seems reasonable - they have a $999 package that would get you 20 monitors and a WiFi shield. Unfortunately we still have a couple hundred seats I'd like to be able to monitor, so realistically we probably still have to get the cost down. That's the primary reason I haven't given more thought to a more finished product like Twine... I think I'll drop the founders a note asking if they think this whole thing would work, and if so, go ahead and pick up a starter kit for testing.
Following a link from Lifehacker, I went ahead and signed up for the Advanced Power Searching course taught by Google. Guess I should go ahead and work my way through the archive of the Power Searching course that's still available online...
The Advanced course begins Jan 23, 2013 and includes the following challenges:
According to my confirmation email,
Course materials will be released in two batches:
In order to pass the course and earn your certificate, you must submit and evaluate two assignments and complete a final search challenge by the deadline of 11:59 p.m. PT on Friday, February 8, 2013.
Nice to finally see our new library here at the U of Calgary hosting non-traditional events, just as this year's edition of Global Game Jam. If you're in the Calgary area, why not participate?
The Nov 2012 issue of EDUCAUSE Review has a couple of nice articles looking at screencasting, specifically how they can be used to enhance the "flipped classroom". Both are by Michael F. Ruffini, an Associate Professor of Educational Technology at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.
Screencasting to Engage Learning is the one that ties the concept into the flipped classroom, and Creating a PowerPoint Screencast Using Camtasia Studio provides a nice walkthrough for the novice screencaster. While this one would work well as a printout to follow along, I found it slightly ironic there wasn't a screencast of his process. Maybe I just missed it though...
Finally, as a library-related bonus, Chad Boeninger had a brief piece in the Nov 2012 issue of Elsevier's Library Connect, Tips for creating and sharing instructional videos.
We've got the whole workstation availability thing licked, but I want to be able to show our users which study seats are available here in the TFDL. That's one of the top two most common complaints here; that students spend too much time wandering around looking for a place to sit/study.
Here's my stream of consciousness on the issue. The solution can't be built in to the chairs, because those can move from table to cubicle etc. I think the most accurate bet is going to be a small proximity or motion detection device at every single table top, either above (subject to being blocked by study materials) or below (subject to confusion by a pushed-in chair?). The problem with that solution is cost and infrastructure. Unless very efficient, each unit would require electricity and a wifi transmitter. Building or buying and maintaining several hundred small Arduino-like devices seems too cumbersome and expensive.
Some other ideas I've come up with, or that have been suggested by colleagues, include cameras that can monitor a large space and tell which spots have bodies sitting at them. Possibly IR cameras? Tracking the number of active wifi connections on a floor, or around a particular antenna, and then guestimating that there must be a certain number of available seats, though not able to pinpoint them on a map.
Are you aware of any solutions out there already?
So you may have noticed I haven't been blogging much over the past year or so. In part, this presentation explains why. At the University of Calgary we (not so) recently opened a new building, the Taylor Family Digital Library (aka TFDL). I was heavily involved not so much in choosing, but in implementing a fair amount of the technology we put in place in the building, which we wanted to be one of the most technologically advanced in North America, if not the entire world. Last week, my colleague Dr. John Brosz and I presented on the new building at Internet Librarian 2012 in Monterey. You can read Info Today's writeup of the presentation (with correct URL to virtual tour), and you can watch the presentation via slideshare below, or follow the link and download the presentation to enjoy offline.
I took the kids down to the East Village today for the inaugural Calgary Mini Maker Faire, and we all had a blast! I've been wanting to get involved somehow in the maker movement for quite some time, but never made the effort to get down to our local hacker lab, Protospace. That'll probably change if the kids have anything to say about it.
I was very impressed by the organization of the event. I was a little worried about running in to some anti-social nerds, but every single one of the tables we visited had a friendly, articulate, passionate person behind it. Nobody talked down to me or the kids, and they were all, without exception, eager to talk about their projects and answer as many questions as we had.
The thing that surprised me most was how much time my daughter spent with the "old-school" makers, learning to comb wool and spin it into yarn. I think I learned more from those ladies than I did from any of the more "traditional" robotics, 3D printing and electronics booths as well! At one table we were looking at silkworm cocoons and learning how silk is made from them. We had just been working with the wool, and I hadn't yet touched the silk, which from a few feet away kinda looked like the wool we'd just left. It wasn't until about 5 minutes in that it dawned on me that we weren't talking about some sort of silkworm wool, but frickin' silk! I know, I'm slow, but I'd never seen the stuff coming off a cocoon. Truly amazing.
Not to say we didn't learn a lot about 3D printers and robotics as well. My son picked up a Cybug Scarab (ooh, there's a website redesign contract I can suggest!), and I finally got an Arduino beginner's kit that I've long thought would be a good way to get started. My son and I sucessfully built the first blinky light experiment this evening :-) There were quite a few 3D printers going; I think another year or so and they'll be well under $1,000. I'd hoped to see an egg-bot in action, but no such luck.
Here are a couple more random pix:
Apparently this series of videos has been around for quite some time (the first released on YouTube in Feb 2011), but I hadn't seen them before a colleague forwarded a link yesterday. Some really interesting glimpses into the future of displays as envisioned by Corning Glass. The second and third videos simply expand upon the first, with the third giving some hints as to what's actually possible now, and what some of the speed bumps are for the technologies that aren't yet ready for prime time.
Educause has just released a new ebook called Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies, which you can download for free. I just ran a quick search through the 388-page PDF version and see that libraries are mentioned in a significant way about a half-dozen times, so you might find it worth your while to take a peek at least. Follow the link above to get to the table of contents as well; it's far too long to repost here! Here's the blurb from the site:
How can we reach more learners, more effectively, and with greater impact?
Education changes lives and societies, but can we sustain the current model? New models and new technologies allow us to rethink many of the premises of education—location and time, credits and credentials, knowledge creation and sharing.
Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies is a collection of chapters and case studies contributed by college and university presidents, provosts, faculty, and other stakeholders. Institutions are finding new ways of achieving higher education’s mission without being crippled by constraints or overpowered by greater expectations.
Find out who is changing the game and what we can learn from their different approaches in Game Changers.
Two big announcements from Techsmith last week. First Jing Pro is being retired. Looks like the free version will stick around, but in order to use the more advanced features offered by Pro you'll have to switch over to the latest version of Snagit, which now records video. The folks who've taken the time to comment don't seem pleased with the decision to retire Jing Pro, so we'll see what the next year brings; maybe Techsmith will reconsider.
The second piece of news was alluded to above: there's a new version of Snagit out for both Windows and Mac, and it sports a host of new features, including greatly-enhanced video recording. From the Techsmith blog post:
What's new in Snagit?
I use Snagit every day on my Windows machine, but almost never on my MacBook, opting instead for Skitch. I'll certainly give Snagit another go on the Mac though...
Well wouldn't you know it - just days after my last post lamenting the lack of options for capturing screencasts, a new tool called Reflector has been released that allows the iPad2 and iPhone4S to stream to any Mac running OSX Lion (pretty much just like airplay on AppleTV). It's $15 for a single-user license.
Over on Digital Inspiration, Amit does a nice job of wrapping up all your options to date, including examples of content produced via each method.
Stay tuned for some library-related iOS screencasts!
The OpenCourseWare Consortium announces the first annual Open Education Week from March 5-10, 2012. Open Education Week is a global event that seeks to raise awareness about the benefits of free and open sharing in education, especially Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are high-quality, free and open educational materials that offer opportunities for people anywhere in the world to share, use and reuse.
Open Education Week is being coordinated by the OpenCourseWare Consortium. The event will take place online and in different locations around the world, with opportunities to participate in webinars, discussions and live events. Projects and events will be featured from institutions and organizations from around the world, including: University of Cape Town, University of Michigan, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, University of California, Irvine, Delft University of Technology, and Creative Commons. Participation is free and open to all. Visit www.openeducationweek.org for more information.
About The OpencCourseWare Consortium: The OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCWC) is a community of more than 250 universities and associated organizations worldwide. The mission of the OCWC and its member institutions is to advance formal and informal learning for educators and self-learners around the world through the sharing and use of free, open, high-quality education materials packaged as courses readily accessible on a digital platform. The Consortium showcases its members to a global audience and provides information and training through webinars, newsletters, and free and open materials. For more information, visit http://www.ocwconsortium.org.