Archive for the ‘Web 2.0’ Category

Many of us have been monitoring the trends documented in the New Media Consortium’s (NMC) Horizon Project , which has been charting the landscape of emerging technologies for teaching, learning, research, creative inquiry, and information management since 2002. NMC has been working on an updated edition of its 2012 Higher Education Edition and recently released an interim report: the NMC Horizon Project Short List: 2013 Higher Education Edition shortlisting emerging technologies identified across three adoption horizons over the next one to five years, as well as key trends and challenges expected to continue over the same period. The results of the shortlisting process  are available via the  NMC wiki  www.horizon.wiki.nmc.org.

In summary the following 12 educational technologies have been short listed as emerging over the next five years:

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: One Year or Less
Flipped Classroom
Massively Open Online Courses
Mobile Apps
Tablet Computing

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Two to Three Years
Augmented Reality
Game-Based Learning
The Internet of Things
Learning Analytics

Time-to-Adoption Horizon: Four to Five Years
3D Printing
Flexible Displays
Next Generation Batteries
Wearable Technology

You can download the short list report and interim report from the following links.

Download the Short List PDF

Download the Preview PDF

The final version of the 10th edition is expected to be published in February 2013.

You can also keep up to date with NMC Project publications via the NMC iPhone/iPad EdTech Weekly App, which delivers “curated, relevant, and timely edtech projects and news to your iPad or iPhone every weekend” (NMC description from iTunes Store). The app also includes the Horizon Report series on emerging technology for all of the educational sectors in a searchable format.The cost is $2.99 via iTunes.

New Media Consortium's EdTech App displayed on an iPhone and iPad

New Media Consortium’s EdTech App for iPhone and iPad

Check it out via iTunes store: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/nmc-horizon-edtech-weekly/id499356877?mt=8

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I came across an interesting article in the Australian Higher Education supplement this week, which is written by Carolyn Thompson, “Webtools whitewash students online“. Carolyn reports on a growing trend among US universities including Syracuse, Rochester and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, which are offering their students tools to help them manage their online identity. The article describes the growth in these brand identity services as a response to research that shows that of the 2000 hiring managers from CareerBuilder completing a recent survey, nearly two in five companies reported that they use social networking sites to research job candidates, with another 11 per cent indicating their intention to begin this practice.

The article describes in some detail BrandYourself.com, which is the brand identity service Syracuse University is making available to their students. This sounds like a valuable tool for academics who are coordinating capstone courses in which career building skills are embedded, particularly given the growing importance for us to prepare our graduates to make effective use of information services and social media.

I created my own profile to test out the service and I will be interested to monitor how the system helps me to manage my various social media profiles. You can check out my own BrandYourself profile here: http://denisewood.brandyourself.com/

Brandyourself profile page

Creating a profile page via the BrandYourself.com website

You can create your own profile for free from the main website: http://brandyourself.com/

Another interesting website that aggregates information from your social media sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook to create an online profile is Vizify.com

Vizify profile page

Vizify aggregates information from social media sites to build a visual online profile

Some great online tools for educators to use with their students to help them learn about identity management using social media. Unfortunately, both sites have W3C Level A web accessibility compliant problems – especially vizify given its very rich visual display. Now here’s an opportunity for an entrepreneurial type to develop a similar tool that is W3C compliant!



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Is Twitter Educational?

Educators from the Medical University of Notre Dame in Sydney are using Twitter to provide additional articles and resources to their students. This is being done in the hope of turning passive listeners into active listeners which will enable collaboration and community building.

But is this likely? Can social media platforms be used by students for education, rather than lurking crushes and uploading LOL-worthy photos?

Bryanna Griffin caught up with UniSA lecturer and social media researcher Denise Wood to find out if Twitter is the new informal educator.

Listen to the interview on Radio Adelaide MediaRites 2012 (May 22, 2012): http://bmediaradioadelaide.com/mediarites-2012/program-11-may-22-2012/

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I have recently returned from the CSUN International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference in San Diego where we presented on our accessible 3D Virtual Learning Project.  The conference was held from the 14th-19th March at the Manchester Grand Hyatt, and hosted by California Statue University, Northridge. The image below of the San Diego Harbour was taken from one of the twin towers of the conference venue.

Scenic picture taken of the San Diego Harbour from one of the twin towers of the Grand Manchester Hyatt, at the 2011 CSUN conference

View of the San Diego Harbour taken from one of the rooms in the Grand Manchester Hyatt hotel at the CSUN 2011 conference venue

Pre-Conference workshops were held on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th March. These workshops included sessions on accessible approaches to social networking (Larry Lewis) and creating accessible documents for students and the workplace (Victoria Essner) on the Monday, and three parallel streams focusing on the accessibility of  HTML5 and Rich Internet Applications (Steve Faulkner, Hans Hillen, Jared Smith and Jonathan Whiting); an overview of assistive technology (Kelly Fonner and Scott Marfilius) and the use of the iPad and iPod Touch in the special needs classroom (Mark Coppin and Luis Perez). You can access the slides from the session on HTML5 and Rich Internet Applications from the following URL: http://webaim.org/presentations/2011/csun/html5aria/

The keynote address and welcome reception was held on Tuesday evening, 15th March. The host for the evening was Dr Arthur Karshmer and the key note panelists included Axel Leblois (Founder and Executive Director of G3ict Global Initiative for Inclusive Technologies), Mohammed Al-Tarawneh (Chief Advisor to the UN Special Rapporteur on Disabilities in Doha-Qatar) and Paul Shafer (IT specialist and Assistant Section 508 Coordinator at the US Dept of State). The featured speaker at the conference was Kareem A Dale, who is the Special Assistant to President Obama for Disability Policy. Mr Dale presented on the administration’s work on Technology and Disability during the keynote session from 12:45-1:30 pm on Thursday 17th March.

Several awards were presented at the conference including the Strache Award presented to Alan Muir, acknowledging his leadership in the field of disability and technology with an emphasis on continuing education. The 2011 Trace Centre’s Harry J Murphy Catalyst Award was presented by Dr Gregg Vanderheiden to Dr Klaus Miesenberger who has inspired action, fostered the achievements of others and contributed to the field of disability and technology. The Deque lifetime achievement award was presented to Jim Thatcher, who has been hailed as one of the founders of Web accessibility.

There were more than 250 parallel presentations conducted from Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th March. Sessions covered a broad range of disability and technology related topics; the sessions focusing on html5 and rich media applications, as well as those demonstrating new and emerging accessible iPad applications proved to be very popular.

I finally managed to meet Norm Coombs from EASI. I have been communicating with Norm via email and Skype for well over a decade, so our face to face meeting at CSUN was long overdue. EASI played an active role in presentations at the conference with sessions on IT and disabilities in Brazil and Mexico,  Bookshare for university students and supporting research, a  demonstration of the tool, LecShare, which turns PowerPoint into accessible Web content and a session on the  the accessibility of Moodle, as well as a session on Android phone accessible applications. EASI has made the slides from these presentations available online via:  http://easi.cc/conferences/

A feature of every CSUN conference is the expo on technology and disabilities, and this year was no exception. Approximately 150 exhibitors showcased their products and services across the Douglas Pavilion and Manchester Ballroom. The expo ran until Saturday 19th March and attracted a steady stream of both conference delegates and general public.

There were interesting products on show for people with vision impairments including Braille Note Takers and Voice Note Takers, as well as refreshable Braille displays and desktop video magnifiers produced by HIMS Inc (http://www.hims-inc.com), touch memo devices such as one produced by Vision Cue (http://www.visioncue.com) designed to enable individuals to label household objects with associated recorded voice descriptions for easy access when trying to locate objects, and a range of screen magnification and reader applications such as Zoom Text (http://www.aisquared.com) and iZoom produced by ISSIST (http://www.issist.com). Many of the well known distributors of assistive technologies were represented at the Expo including AbleNet, Words+, LSS Products and EnhanceVision.

I also stumbled upon an interesting graphite cane produced by Revolution Enterprises in California (http://www.advantagecanes.com). These canes have been designed to achieve optimum balance for use and comfort and are only 8.5 ounces in weight. Prices range from US $40.00 (support cane), $28 (folding) and $20.70 for rigid canes (for bulk purchases) and children’s canes are also available.

Another interesting technology on show as the Emfuse Color Braille Station, which prints hard copy handouts in colour, Braille and with tactile graphic representations of images on the page.

Perhaps not surprisingly, iPad applications were also popular and some of the accessible applications I found on show include:

  • Predictable (produced by tboxapps.com), which is software for the iPad that supports same word and next word prediction, auto scanning and user scanning, direct access and switch access, provides auditory feedback and voice output (choice of 9 voices) together with a  customisable user phrase bank (image shown below).
  • Proloquo3Go (also supports word and next word prediction as well as voice output) by AssistiveWare.
  • Pictello- as simple application that enables users to create talking photo albums and books. Also produced by AssistiveWare.
  • ArtikPix (an articulation application with flashcard and matching activities for children with speech delays) produced by Jason Rinn and Eric Sailers.
Screen shot of predictable iPad and iPhone communication application

Predictable iPad and iPhone communication application

All of these applications are available through the iTunes store. Also announced at the expo are new applications including Scene and Heard from Tboxapps  (http://www.tboxapps.com/), which will support communication for augmentative and alternative communication users through contextual scenes, recorded spoken messages and videos. Another soon to be released iPad application is  ZoomReader developed by the same company that markets ZoomText (http://mobile.aisquared.com/

We are hoping to trial some of these applications with AAC users and I will post reviews of the products at a later date.

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I have recently returned from presenting an invited paper on e-learning and students with special needs at the International Conference on e-Learning and Distance Learning (eLi 2011) held at the AlFaisaliah Hotel, Riyad, Saudi Arabia from the 21st-23rd February 2011.

The key topics  covered at the conference included e-learning between theory and practice – international views, design and development issues, new software and technologies, management and delivery of e-learning, quality assurance in e-learning and distance education and evaluation and assessment issues.

There was also an exhibition  running in parallel with the conference, which provided an opportunity for participants to get acquainted with latest products and services in the filed.

Visit the conference website: http://eli.elc.edu.sa/2011/en/content/conference

Imagethink.net undertook visualisation art of each presentation. Their two visualisations of my presentation and that of Professor Lorenzo Cantoni appear below:

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Visualisation of presentations by Dr Wood and Professor Cantoni at eLi conference February 2011, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


I also spoke about the conference, as well as our recent trip to South Africa (see previous post) with Peter Greco, host of Leisure Links on Radio 5RPH on my return from Riyadh. The following url links to the audio file from that radio segment: Interview with Peter Greco recorded on Radio 5RPH on the 26th February, 2011


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The State Volunteers Congress was held at the National Wine Centre of Australia on the 6th December, 2010 focusing on the theme of marketing volunteering through social media.  More than 450 attended the congress, which was opened by the Honourable Grace Portelosi, the Minister for Volunteers. The Master of Ceremonies for the day was Nikki Marcel from Radio Adelaide with presentations by Jim Robinson, Principal & Creative Director JAM Adelaide and Michelle Prak, Hughes Public Relations, as well as panel discussions, and presentations by Alison Wotherspoon (Flinders University) and Dr Denise Wood (UniSA), as well as UniSA students, Joyce, Patrick and Joel, who did a wonderful job showcasing work they completed through the Sustainable Online Community Engagement program in front of more than 450 congress delegates.

UniSA staff, Carolyn Bilsborow and Mike Carroll, provided a live demonstration of social media  throughout the day and you can check out photos and video clips from the event via our FaceBook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/State-Volunteer-Congress-2010/146030428780826?v=wall) and for those who are not “Twitter Challenged” via our SA Volunteers twitter stream @SAVolunteers.

Photo taken of particpants attending the State Volunteers Congress at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide

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I had the privilege of attending an event which paid tribute to the late Dr Christopher Newell at the offices of the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman on the 19th May.

The Honourable Bill Shorten, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services presented the inaugural Telstra-TJA Christopher Newell prize for Telecommunications and Disability at the event. This award, which is sponsored by Telstra,   recognises and commemorates the ground-breaking work that the late Revd Canon Dr Christopher Newell AM undertook within the telecommunications industry from 1990 to 2008 in representing the needs of people with disability.

The award was presented for the best paper demonstrating the tangible benefits that an innovative use of telecommunications technology can deliver in assisting individuals with disabilities published in the May edition of the  Telecommunications Journal of Australia.

Read more about the award via the following news releases. A podcast of a radio 5RPH interview conducted on the 21st May is available for download.

ALTC–funded research wins prestigious new award (ALTC media release)

Researcher receives award for using social media to support the education of people with disabilities (Media Access Australia article)

Telstra prize highlights the benefits of modern communications for people with disability (Telstra media release).

When user needs drive real innovation (Telstra Exchange)

The award, which is generously sponsored by Telstra,  will be offered again in 2011 and we look forward to more developments in the accessibility of telecommunications in the coming year.

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