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Cardinator - free flashcard maker

PebbleRoad Labs launches Cardinator app - The easy way to create double-sided flashcards for your site. You can use it to create quizzes, show procedures and guidelines and much more. Check out the demo.

Learn Or Die: A Primer

Craig Malloy has argues that LMS, CMS, Social Business Software, etc., are silo-ed attempts at the primary goal of the organisation: knowledge sharing.

As frustrated as we may ever be, productivity is still one of the greatest levers any executive has at her disposal. Job satisfaction and employee retention is ultimately all about getting things done, and accomplishing great things as a team. Otherwise, why are we working so damn hard? Everyone wants better knowledge sharing.

Study: Dumb Robots Cause Students To Learn More Quickly

Interesting study reported by Techcrunch

In the study, simple humanoid robots teach English by drawing shapes and translating their meaning. The experimental study found that 19 children, between the ages of 4 and 8, learned best when the Nao toy robot didn’t always make the correct translation, and could learn from students’ corrections.


Pandora For Ed Apps

eSpark is hoping to be the cure that parents need to get into the education game.

“Primary schools (and parents) are adopting iPads at a breakneck pace, but many struggle to find the best learning experiences from the some-100,000 educational apps and eBooks on the iOS platform. So, eSpark is working with more than 3,000 apps and learning experiences (i.e. eBooks, iOS apps, web apps usable on iOS, instructional videos and songs), curating those apps into custom learning profiles and playlists for students based on their individual needs.”

Daphne Koller: What we’re learning from online education

Graduating with Technology

An interesting infographic on the changes in the classroom because of technology.

“The proliferation and sheer breadth of accessibility that the Internet offers has in many ways redefined the process of “growing up” — this graphic explores this redefinition and provides insight into not just how we learn stuff, but also what we learn from a young age now that we have computers.”

Organizing digital information for others

My new book on Organizing Digital Information for Others is out.

When we interact with web and intranet teams, we find many struggling to move beyond conceptual-level discussions on information organization. Hours on end are spent on discussing the meaning of “metadata”, “controlled vocabulary” and “taxonomy” without any strategic understanding of how everything fits together. Being so bogged down at this level they fail to look beyond to the main reason for their pursuit—organizing information for others (the end users) so that they can find the information easily.

Web and intranet teams are not the only ones facing this challenge. Staff in companies are finding themselves tasked with organizing, say, hundreds of project documents on their collaboration space. And they usually end up organizing it in the only way they know—for themselves. Team members then often struggle to locate the information that they thought should be in “this folder”!

In this short book, we explore how lists, categories, trees and facets can be better used to organize information for others. We also learn how metadata and taxonomies can connect different collections and increase the findability of information across the website or intranet.

Hands-On With iBooks Author

Check out what it is like to author textbooks using iBooks Author.

Everything feels very fluid and it’s obvious that the same team that worked on iWork was also responsible for this product. This isn’t iPhoto for books, by any means, though. While it’s not Adobe InDesign or a complex design tool like either, it’s clearly meant for users who are willing to put in a bit of time to create the best possible product…

Wolfram Education Portal

From the Wolfram Education Portal:

Wolfram has long been a trusted name in education—as the makers of Mathematica, Wolfram|Alpha, and the Wolfram Demonstrations Project, we’ve created some of the most dynamic teaching and learning tools available. We are pleased to offer the best of all of our technologies to you here in the Wolfram Education Portal, organized by course. In the portal you’ll find a dynamic textbook, lesson plans, widgets, interactive Demonstrations, and more built by Wolfram education experts.

Can Technology Transform Education Before It’s Too Late?

Another TechCrunch article on Education:

We are in a time of convergence: teachers are incorporating technology from their everyday lives to increase student engagement, while visionary administrators are using the momentum of grassroots digital learning movements to move our institutions forward. Hopefully education will catch up before the Singularity arrives.

Vinod Khosla on Education

Vinod Khosla on Will we need teachers or algorithms?

We have focused so much of our education system on children attending primary school, then middle school, then high school, all with the objective of attending university. This is a progression that still remains unchanged and largely unchallenged. Yet, this system is completely linear and, most tragically, unwaveringly standardized not only through instruction methods, but also through testing. Worse, it is mostly what I call “fixed time, variable learning” (the four-year high school) instead of “fixed learning, variable time” to account for individual students’ capabilities and status.

Vinod goes on to discuss decentralization and gamification as two trends to watch out for.

Richard Feynman - No Ordinary Genius (full version)

Full documentary on this amazing person.

Recoding the Classroom

Nice article from ThinkGoogle on what is going to bring about change in the classroom.  “Though our world is changing, the spaces in which we teach are stuck in a time warp. According to some forward-thinking experts, only by embracing new technology and ideas can twenty-first-century schooling stay up to speed with the kids.”

Steve Jobs on Higher Education

Interesting to see what Steve had in mind for higher education when making plans for NeXT Computer. Simulations and the learning experience were high on his agenda.

Observations on use of mobile devices at airports and train stations

We just published a new post titled “Observations on use of mobile devices at airports and train stations”. We visited airports and train stations and sketched out how people interact with their phones and tablets. We learnt a few things in the process.

Manager’s guidebook on intranet redesign projects

When consulting on intranet projects we often found ourselves having long discussions with intranet managers on the many things that would unfold in such projects and how they could be better prepared for the long journey. These discussions would give them the confidence and the time needed to get things in order inside their organisations.

Today, we release the Manager’s guidebook on intranet redesign projects— the result of those discussions with intranet managers. This 64-page guidebook (free download) takes the manager through eight stages of a typical intranet design project. Each stage has many activities that go under it. We’ve described the activities and included the insights we’ve gathered over the years. Enjoy!

Using tag bundles in intranets

Our new article on tag bundles is up. Here’s the summary:

It’s common for enterprises to have a document library in their intranets that houses all types of administrative and operational content. Such a document library usually has a taxonomy to improve the discoverability and findability of content. However, there is one problem: documents need to get into the library first! Submitting a document to the library involves filing or tagging the document with the right taxonomic terms, a procedure that can make people see red if not done properly. Tag bundles can help simplify this procedure and also improve the use of such document libraries.

Learning Styles: The Cognitive Side of Content

Nice post by Tyler Tate on how to approach content from the perspective of “learning styles”.

We learn through our verbal, visual, and kinesthetic senses, and our memories are encoded in these different formats. Each of us likely favors one style of learning over the others, but pithy, concrete text coupled with informative images is a potent content cocktail for people of all learning styles.

Developing a UX Practice of Practicing

A very nice piece by Jared Spool on the art of practicing.

Practice is different. Good practice focuses on the process, while work focuses on the outcome. When doctors, musicians, and pilots are practicing, they are not doing the entire job. They are looking at the process of the work, often repeating the same step multiple times.

For example, when a surgeon practices their suture techniques, they'll use butcher shop animal scraps to practice sewing up incisions. They don't perform the rest of the surgical procedure, because they aren't interested in the outcomes. They just quickly and cleanly close the incision and do it again.

How the Internet is Revolutionizing Education

Brilliant post listing down the things that are changing education. A great read and a whole lot of links to follow.

Innovation Always Starts With Empathy

Wonderful article by Ziba rebutting the recent skepticism on the UCD process:

When Ziba investigates a specific user as part of a design project, the end result isn’t a set of new products, it’s an internal understanding of what that user is like: The challenges she faces each day, the things that excite and concern her, and her motivations and values. If you don’t come out of a research effort feeling like a different person, you’re doing it wrong.

The new culture of learning

Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown take on a new challenge - to tell people that it’s time to embrace a new culture of learning.

I am reading this book now and I am already excited by the possibilities—possibilities that we can achieve together if only we realize soon enough that “[t]he world is changing faster than ever and our skill sets have a shorter and shorter life”.

One beautiful aspect that the authors highlight is the importance of learning “how to learn from others”. ‘Others’ here refers to peers and the community at large. The reason I find this beautiful is because I’ve come across people who think that teaching is the only way to learn and teachers are the only people who can teach. They seem to gloss over opportunities that lay in normal everyday conversations they have with peers—they don’t pay attention to or build on these interactions.

This book should be a must read for managers and leaders—this is where both the challenges and the opportunities lie.

Introducing Insightico!

We launched a new webapp called Insightico. This online application helps you use and reuse your research data.

How many times have you gone back to those interview recordings that you so carefully planned at the start of the project? Or those snapshots you took when surveying how people work? I’ve spoken to many people in the business and they usually say “never”. In fact, some of the interviews we did for past projects are still in the audio recorder!

We want to go back to research, but the problem is that it is a painful process trying to locate that 15 second clip where you saw something interesting.

Insightico addresses this gap by enabling you to add your insights to specific parts of images, documents, audio or video files.

Say you are viewing a 30 min audio interview. You hear something interesting, now instead of noting what you heard and the timestamp on a sticky note, you can just select the part of the audio file and directly add your insights to it. Yes, you can tag your insights as well. Repeat the process with all your research data and now you have an inventory of insights but all connected to the relevant bits in the sources. This inventory along with the tags gives a good picture of the research findings.

The most important feature of Insightico—you can do all of this collaboratively with your team.

Check Insightico out by signing up for the beta.

Guide to Website Navigation Design Patterns

From Six Revisions:

This guide covers popular site navigation design patterns. For each site navigation design pattern, we will discuss its common characteristics, its drawbacks, and when best to use it.

Nice summary of patterns, but I like O’Reilly’s book on Website Navigation better.

Changing IT Mindsets From Deployment To Adoption

Mike Gotta makes a nice point about the need to really unpack user adoption when it comes to collaborative apps.

When it comes to collaboration, knowledge management, and E2.0 efforts, “culture” is often cited as the reason results fail to meet expectations set when the project is approved. While some projects might acknowledge the need to support post-deployment activities early in the planning stages, strategists and project leaders have consistently told me that they were surprised (and not in a good way) at how they underestimated the effort necessary to gain “adoption” of their solution.

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