The Ubiquitous Learning Conference investigates the uses of technologies in learning, including devices with sophisticated computing and networking capacities which are now pervasively part of our everyday lives – from laptops to mobile phones, games, digital music players, personal digital assistants and cameras. The Conference explores the possibilities of new forms of learning using these devices not only in the classroom, but in a wider range places and times than was conventionally the case for education. Ubiquitous Learning is made possible in part by the affordances of the new, digital media. What’s new about it? What’s not-so-new? What are the main challenges of access to these new learning opportunities? These are the key themes and concerns of the Conference.
The UL Conference will be held at the University of Illinois’ Illini Centre, 17-19 November 2008, in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Visit its website (see the link below) for more information.
The Online Student Survival Guide, a program that kicked off in May 2008, is meant to give online students tips on adjusting to online learning and staying motivated throughout the courses, while balancing life and school.
WebAnywhere is a web-based screen reader for the web. It requires no special software to be installed on the client machine and, therefore, enables blind people to access the web from any computer they happen to have access to that has a sound card. WebAnywhere was developed by UW computer science graduate student Jeffrey Bigham, and more information, including a video illustrating its use, is available online.
Twitter is an online application that is part blog, part social networking site, and part cell phone/IM tool. It is designed to let users describe what they are doing or thinking at a given moment in 140 characters or less. As a tool for students and faculty to compare thoughts on a topic, Twitter could be used academically to foster interaction and support metacognition.
You can also check out John Unger’s blog post, titled “Twitter Tools, Tweaks and Theories,” for more information on complimentary applications, websites, and usage of Twitter.
A.nnotate lets users attach notes to precise places in the text of PDF, Word documents and web pages online. It is easy to use and operates in a web browser: the user simply highlights text and writes a note. All notes, documents and tags are added to their personal searchable index making it simple to get back to the right place. Uploaded documents are initially private, but can be shared by emailing a link. This lets several users comment on the same online copy of the document and add replies to each others notes. It acts like a shared online version of Word or PDF comments but avoids the usual problems of emailing documents back and forth and having to merge comments from different people.
Applications include peer review of research papers, indexing documents and web pages, web research and collaboration on writing new documents. It is also being used for content curation and populating scientific databases. Curators tag words or phrases in articles which are then used to create database and index entries. The advantage is that claims in the database are then backed up by references to the precise source and context in the literature.