Tell Your Story In 30 Slides

Passing along this from Slideshare. It sounds like an interesting class assignment even if you don't care about the contest aspect. Since storytelling is already pretty popular at SlideShare, it seems a good fit.

Tell Us A Story in 30 Slides - The weather is heating up, schools are letting out and it's time for a sizzling summer contest. Presentations are a great medium for storytelling, allowing you to mashup words and pictures, and storytelling is pretty popular at SlideShare, so we are proud to be co-hosting this summer contest with our friends at Fuze Meeting. They have a great new online meeting service that allows you to present your content online in beautiful HD quality.
Your entry to the contest can be about anything. A story about you, your travels, or something you love. Just tell it with words and pictures and in 30 slides. Everyone who enters the contest gets a free Fuze Meeting account ($270 value). More on how to enter contest here. Also check out this article about how to build community using Slideshare.
Fuze Meeting & SlideShare "Tell A Story" Contest

Invasion of the Androids

According to a New York Times tech blog,Google Android is making a bid to take over the smartphone market by the end of this year with probably 18+ devices that use their open-source operating system scheduled for 2009 release.

These Android units will be made by perhaps nine separate manufacturers. Right now, it is just HTC (T-Mobile G1 and HTC Magic for Europe), but add Garmin, Samsung, Sony Ericsson to the invasion force.

This invasion won't be an easy one though. Google expects the tougher competition for U.S. carriers to slow the adoption rate here compared to Europe. (The second half of the year and especially the end-of-year holidays are their big sales time.)

Android phones won't just roll over the competition. BlackBerry (Research In Motion), the new Palm Pre, and talk of a new Apple iPhone model that might be announced in early June will all offer a strong defense.

Android software is also up against Microsoft's latest version of their Windows Mobile software, Apple's iPhone 3.0 OS, whatever might be new in the BlackBerry line and Palm's new webOS. To further fill the crowded skies of mobile signals, Nokia has a Symbian platform and there are also some Linux-based handsets that will appear by year end.

Open Textbooks (and more) From OER

I have written a few times about the open textbook movement, but there are other significant efforts  beyond the sites I have discussed.

Open textbooks address problems of access, high cost, and in avoiding outdated static content. Students may be most interested in significantly reduced costs. (K-12 school districts
would also be interested in reduced budgets.) I would hope that faculty would be interested in providing more dynamic texts.

I wanted to post something today about Open Educational Resources (OER) which offers teaching and learning materials that you may freely use and reuse, without charge. The resources often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.

The kinds of materials you will find in OER includes:
- Full university courses, complete with readings, videos of lectures, homework assignments, and lecture notes.
- Interactive mini-lessons and simulations about a specific topic, such as math or physics.
- Adaptations of existing open work.
- Electronic textbooks that are peer-reviewed and frequently updated.
- Elementary school and high school (K-12) lesson plans, worksheets, and activities that are aligned with state standards.

You can do a search and generate a list of Open Textbooks curated on OER Commons on subjects ranging from calculus to Chinese and from eMarketing to physics.

Generally, an open textbook has a license allowing it to be used, shared, modified, and printed without charge to the user. They can be available to download and print in various file formats from the
content provider or an OER repository. Open textbooks include public domain books, existing textbooks with alternative licensing, and new textbooks created specifically as OER. Offered for free online, they can also include easy ways to print low-cost and customizable sections or entire copies of the book.

What Kind of Tech User Are You?

Is Facebook your window to your social world? Is your mobile device the last thing you put aside before shutting the light out at night? Or does the deluge of digital information leave you flat and the ring of your cell phone leave you cranky?

The Pew Internet and American Life Project has a survey online that will place you in one of their Typology of Information and Communication Technology Users. (The group had previously done a similar typology of tech users incorporating
attitudes towards the mobile web and released the report (The Mobile Difference.)

You can take the 14 question online quiz and find out which of their 10 types is closest to your behaviors.

According to them, I am a "Digital Collaborator."

You use information technology to work with and share your creations with others. You are enthusiastic about how ICTs help you connect with others and confident in your ability to manage digital devices and information. For you, the digital commons can be a camp, a lab, or a theater group -- places to gather with others to develop something new.
You can also answer their survey on What Are You Doing Online and explore their data. For example, an April 2009 survey found that the number of online adults who have used online classified ads has more than doubled in the past four years. Almost half (49%) of internet users say they have ever used online classified sites, compared with 22% of online adults who had done so in 2005. On any given day about a tenth of internet users (9%) visit online classified sites, up from 4% in 2005. The study points to the growing importance of such sites to internet users and reflect the changes in the audience for classified ads  --both those who place them and those who make purchases-- that have devastated a key revenue source for traditional newspapers.

Commencement Speakers

It is the season of commencement speeches. I have sat through a few myself this past week. Despite a few decades in academia, I can't really recall ever hearing one that had any lasting impact on me.

It is a tough gig - one I would not want for myself.

At the University of Pennsylvania, Eric Schmidt, Google's chairman and chief executive, told students that rewards will come to those who go out and make mistakes because they take new chances. He also suggested that they will need to turn off their computers and phones "and discover all that is human around us." He recommends they use the live search of the real world and that "Nothing beats holding
the hand of your grandchild as he walks his first steps."

You didn't have to sit through the speech at UPenn, but if you want to check it out on Google's YouTube, the speech is available. With a running time of only 12 minutes (and no hot sun to endure), it is doable. The video doesn't give us a view of the students, but I doubt that they were very different from others I have seen lately - which means a good number of them were using their cell phones while he spoke.