Liberal Education Today
Twitter tends to send users on to other Web 2.0 sites, but not very often to business sites, according to a new Hitwise report. Twitter differs from email and Web search in these respects.
a higher share of downstream clicks from Twitter.com go to blogs and personal websites than from search sites, social networks, or email services. A larger number of Twitter users are also being sent to news and media sites, which points towards Twitter's growing role as a medium for sharing and breaking news stories.
Google has launched a voice communication platform, called, unsurprisingly, Google Voice. This set of services has been built upon a third-party application, GrandCentral, which Google purchased two years ago.
According to reports, Google Voice includes the following features:
- One central phone number, which can connect with up to six others. "Phone routing" lets the user associate incoming numbers with specific devices.
- Voicemail transcriptions, generated automatically, sent to difference devices, and searchable.
- SMS integration. Text messages can be send from different devices, and in response to voicemail.
- Free conference calls.
- Integration with Gmail. Voice's interface resembles Gmail's.
Onen overall attraction: many of these features are available from separate firms and services. Google Voice integrates them.
Users have to get over a big initial hurdle - getting all their friends to start using a new phone number instead of the old ones. Business cards are to be thrown out, new ones printed. Contact cards updated. Etc. There’s nothing Google can do to fix this problem.
The CIA and NSA have been using Web 2.0 tools for a while, and are going to explore new social media platforms in the near future, according to Information Week. United States intelligence agencies have been using wikis, among others, for a couple of years.
Interesting examples from their current work:
This year, the community is working on a number of new initiatives, such as ramping up search capabilities. For example, the agencies are now working with a vendor -- Kennedy wouldn't say who -- that provides it with the ability to draw a picture and then search for similar images. Semantic search capabilities to analyze sentiment and summarize documents are coming soon, too, but for now Kennedy and his colleagues aren't yet confident in the ability of commercial tools on which it will rely.
Another key focus for the intelligence community's social and information-sharing initiatives this year is a common one: SharePoint. "It's one of those products we can't get by without anymore," Kennedy said, adding that SharePoint is used for everything from unclassified to highly classified intelligence.
First Liberal Education Today post on this subject: here.
(via Prediction Markets group)
Michael Wesch describes using the Smartpen device in class:
In short, it records audio as you write and links what you are writing to the audio (by recording what you write through a small infrared camera near the tip of the pen). When you are done recording you can actually tap the pen anywhere on your page and the pen will play the audio that was recorded at the time you were making that specific pen stroke. Students are already sharing lecture notes in the community section of livescribe.com.
Another attempt to win the Web search crown is on its way, this time from a major digital developer. Wolfram|Alpha is a Stephen Wolfram project, he of the Mathematica math tool. His new project attempts natural language search, and appears with no small ambition:
Mathematica has been a great success in very broadly handling all kinds of formal technical systems and knowledge.
But what about everything else? What about all other systematic knowledge? All the methods and models, and data, that exists?
Release is scheduled for May.
This article offers a good introduction on how to use Twitter's search function. That's not a simple thing, as the piece goes on beyond basic search to show other useful features. "Near", "Since", and "Until" offer an unusual approach to queries, for example.
Social networking sites and blogs are now more widely used worldwide than email, according to Nielson Online. A new report (pdf) finds that such Web 2.0 platforms have outpaced email in a ranking of "most popular online category". Only search and portals exceed social networks and blogs in popularity.
Other useful findings:
- The social network and blogging audience is becoming more diverse in terms of age: the biggest increase in visitors during 2008 to “Member Community” Web sites globally came from the 35-49 year old age group (+11.3 million).
- Mobile is playing an increasingly important role in social networking. Nielsen found UK mobile Web users have the greatest propensity to visit a social network through their handset, with 23 percent (2 million people) doing so, compared to 19 percent in the US (10.6 million people). These numbers are a big increase over last year – up 249 percent in the UK and 156 percent in the US.
An Oxford University project gets users to discuss and better understand reason. The Less Wrong community blog combines posts, comments, a karma reputation rating system, and some (light) moderation to build a distributed conversation.
You might as well say Diigo bought a rival as it is readying the launch of the upcoming Diigo 4.0 platform, which is said to be taking social bookmarking and annotation ‘to new heights’.
...Although [Furl] was one of the first startups to focus on leveraging new technologies to add a social layer to site bookmarking, it never really quite took off the way Delicious did and according to the press release attracted only 1 million users for its service since its inception 6 years ago.
Another campus has published a mobile device application for accessing academic content. Duke University launched DukeMobile for iPhone and Touches, with Blackberry support coming in a few weeks, according to Wired Campus.
According to one mobile apps shop, the service offers:
· Map — Search for Duke buildings by name, pinpoint them on the map and see your relative location, and zoom or pan across the map using the multi-touch interface
· Directory — Look up Duke faculty, staff and students, store contacts with a few taps, and use the e-mail or phone capabilities of your device to connect
· Events — Check out listings from Events@Duke and the student calendar, Buzz, and event locations
· Athletics — Pick up Duke sports news, schedules and up-to-the-minute scores
· Courses — Access the Duke course catalog — including descriptions, times and locations — and tap to map the location or contact the professor
· DukeView — Get Duke iTunes U and YouTube content
Three new iPhone application stores are about to launch, and none of them are authorized by Apple, according to the Wall Street Journal. Cydia Store, Rock Your Phone, and "an online store that specializes in selling adult games" are set to appear. These represent a challenge to Apple's App Store's one-stop shopping. They all depend on "jailbroken" iPhones, devices unlocked to allow more user intervention.
The Wall Street Journal argues that the arrival of such competition would represent a threat to Apple's sale (the company gets a cut from every downloaded app's charge). Apple recently filed a claim that jailbreaking an iPhone constitutes copyright infringement, suggesting they could bring IP suits to bear.
The popular social networking site Facebook is piloting a new format, one which reflects the "real-time Web" concept.
First, users can arrange their front page (or "profile"; introduction here) so as to receive updates from friends as they appear. This is done synchronously, but the most recent content first, and republished as it appears: "Now your friends' posts are streamed in real-time".
Second, users can also aggregate feeds from other, non-"friend" sources, such as news site. To support this, the cap on 5,000 friends is being lifted.
The combination resembles RSS reading, in its timeline structure and aggregator function. It also reminds many observers of microblogging services like Twitter, Friendfeed, or Jaiku, which also publish microcontent as it appears, aggregated by users.
This is the "live Web" or "realtime Web" concept, which sees microblogs and other platforms as advancing the speed of Web conversations beyond Web 2.0 velocities. While "live Web" projects proliferate, no major corporation or platform has managed to get a handle on them so far. The idea has grown in recent months with the rapid rise of microblogging, including high-profile events like the Mumbai attack Twitterstream or the first appearance of the Hudson River plane landing through Tweetpic.
Facebook's move represents a serious challenge to far smaller Twitter, in the eyes of some observers (Facebook just passed 175 million users). Others see the smaller but more complex Friendfeed as the competitor/imitator. In fact, the new "Publisher" feature seems to update the Facebook "Status Window" to an even more directly Twitter-like identity. For example,
Undoubtedly, Facebook does not want organizations, especially those with large ad dollars, to move over to Twitter to build their audiences.
At a larger level, this move can be seen as representing even higher ambitions. "Will Facebook become the world's home page?" asks one commentator, who goes on to add: "[b]ecause that is the direction that Facebook clearly wants to go." This is supported by Facebook's CEO's blog post language - listen to the global terms Zuckerberg uses:
We think that as it becomes easier to connect and share across the social graph, people—as well as companies, governments and other organizations—will share more information about what is happening with them. As this happens, the world will become more open and people will have a better understanding of everything that is going on around them.
The transition to the new feed+profile structure is reportedly due to finish by March 11.
An iPhone application connected to Amazon's Kindle appeared this week. The free app offers a limited version of the Amazon e-book reader functionality. Users do not need to own a Kindle to buy ebooks, but cannot shop directly from their iPhones.
Today NITLE is offering the first instance in an ongoing series, MIV Special Topics videoconference sessions, "Update on Emerging Technologies." NITLE's director of research, Bryan Alexander, will take a group on an interactive, discussion-friendly tour of some of the latest developments, including:
- the Horizon Report
- the latest from the NITLE prediction markets
- mobile devices
- semantic web, going forward in 2009
- browser developments
- glimpses of NITLE's social media study
- some Web 2.0 tidbits: Facebook vs. Twitter, podcasting growth, new Blackboard
- some campus-based projects from participating institutions
For those who miss this session, two more are scheduled: April 8 and May 6.
A request for colleagues to work on a gaming and teaching project in the liberal arts:
Christian Spielvogel, an Associate Professor of Communication at Hope College, is applying for a FIPSE (Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education) dissemination grant to develop and implement up to ten Web-based, collaborative role-playing simulations and games for introductory and general education courses in higher education.
Christian is looking for a few authors who might be interested in joining the grant team to develop simulation content for subjects in which learning is well-suited to role-playing narratives rooted in complex systems, processes, or contexts, and can serve as an effective complement or alternative to traditional “top-down” resources and lectures.
Each simulation will be supported by the Serious Sims open-source software platform that Spielvogel and collaborators at Hope College created with financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.
Modeled after social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace, Serious Sims integrates networked collaboration with multi-modal content and anonymous online role-playing to enable students to generate knowledge as readers, authors, actors, and audience members.
Content management tools enable authors to easily upload their content, so no programming or design skills are required.
The FIPSE proposal will be bolstered by two successfully tested prototypes, A Marriage of Cultures and the Valley Sim.
Laurie Ginsberg’s (Western Michigan University) A Marriage of Cultures is a simulation intended for anthropology and women’s studies students developed around the narrative framework of a cross-cultural wedding between an American man and a Japanese woman.
Players learn about conflicting views of family responsibility, courtship, kinship, religious identity, and ideals of love as members of the Takahashi and Mancini families in the weeks leading up to Tom Mancini and Aya Takahashi’s wedding.
Christian Spielvogel’s Valley Sim is an online simulation of the American Civil War based on primary documents featured in the award-winning Valley of the Shadow digital archive.
Players experience and debate the war’s epochal events as avatars based on the lives of residents from two wartime communities whose original diaries and letters have been digitized in the Valley archive.
If you’re interested in more information about this grant opportunity, please feel free to view a trailer based on a recent pilot of the Valley Sim prototype at Penn State University, .And feel free to contact project director Christian Spielvogel at spielvogel at hope dot edu.
A National Public Radio (NPR) show explores clickers in the classroom. The report begins by describing personal response systems in a Cleveland State University class, then interviews Austin technology columnist Omar Gallaga to look at benefits and limitations.
When McLennan asks the class a question, the students stare at the question on the screen, on which a countdown appears. When the time is up, they punch in their answers.
Laptops or netbooks - which device will lead on campuses? A new NITLE prediction market proposition:
Campuses will support as many laptops as netbooksby 15 May 2009. ‘Netbook’ means any sub-laptop sized keyboard-equipped computer, such as the Asus Eee PC or the Apple Air.
New to the prediction markets? Start here.
Verification method: a Twitter query, a survey of publications during the final week, and pinging several complementary networks, including NITLE peer communities and others.