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  • mcquaid 9:01 pm on November 27, 2011
    6 votes

    Tags: , , , ,   

    Watch the rePhrase Elevator Pitch. Read the rePhrase Venture Pitch. Leave some constructive feedback. Thanks!            

    Continue reading rePhrase – A3 Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 13: Venture Forum
    • Jim 5:28 pm on November 28, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen!

      Very cool elevator pitch and I was struck by the similarity between your product and my product in terms of the underlying rationale. Both of our products assist students who have difficulty making meaning from text. Yours rephrases to a different reading level. Mine automatically adds relevant images.

      Anyway, constructive criticism: Your video could be six seconds longer 🙂 That gives you time to do a 6-second mock-up of what the rephrasing application might look like. That is about the only thing I thought was missing. I thought the part where you spoke was well written, concise, and communicated all you needed to communicate in a very short time. And, VERY cool logo. Makes my logo look like a hack job!

      (BTW – Your venture proposal will be one of the three I will be reviewing in more detail tomorrow. Right now, I am looking at all 10 and making an initial post re: the elevator pitch.)

      • mcquaid 6:42 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Jim, you can probably appreciate how long it took me to make that logo! From start to finish, it was in the “hours” category. I looked for a site that made free logos & had free / stock images. Since a finished logo had to be paid for, I ended up copying my designed logo, complete with grid lines into a photo-editing program, and erasing the grid lines / colouring in pixels by hand! I like what I ended up with, but would also like it to be a bit sharper.

        You’re absolutely right about those lost six seconds… that’s 10% more time I could have used! The final take of me you saw, though, was self-shot-take number 27. I was happy with what I ended up with by then!

    • bcourey 5:22 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,

      I was really impressed with the logo as well for your venture. You are definitely addressing a problem teachers face – finding reading materials that are leveled to the ability of the reader. As a former literacy coach for our schools, I feel your pain. As schools and students purchase more and more e-books, I can see this becoming very useful – but in the meantime, scanning and uploading paper books will be a very time consuming tasks for teachers and parents and I am wondering if they would be willing to do that. Also, you might consider offering some literacy strategies for teachers to help them help students progress in their reading abilities – otherwise they could stay “stuck” at a particular level with little incentive or assistance in improvement. You have a great idea though and you show a lot of insight in your self-reflection!


      • mcquaid 6:44 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Brenda. Being “stuck” is a worry of mine, too. I think rePhrase, if it ever really worked, would be but one tool in an LA / resource teacher’s tool box. Starting out, I think it would just work best on newer texts that schools already have in electronic form. If desired enough, scanned copies would also work (and would hopefully be less glitchy than Kurzweil when it comes to fonts, indents, and the like). Thanks for the comments!

    • Allie 5:32 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,
      Your confidence really shines though – giving me confidence in rePhrase – and the name perfectly encapsulates what rePhrase does. I admit that for something as compelling as literacy, I do find your delivery a little… dispassionate? It feels very get-the-job-done-right, but I’m maybe wanting a bit more heart. I think i’ll be giving your VP a good close read, but from the EP, I’m thinking that in an American context the costs of students failing reading levels goes beyond just the costs of their having to re-take a year. Under No Child Left Behind, schools can lose funding if the target % of students don’t pass their levels. I should say, they *are* losing funding, they are being threatened with closure, they are having programs cut, and entire schools have been closed due to underperformance. Unsurprisingly, the schools suffering the effects of NCLB are in poorer areas. This question may be answered in your VP, but i’m wondering about access to this service… In an American context, my understanding is that schools are funded through property taxes, and so that the schools that will best be able to afford rePhrase are richer school districts; will the poorer districts be able to get this service that they need?

      • mcquaid 6:46 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Allie. I get the “dispassionate” thing. Maybe a little too Jedi, I was. I think I was trying to project confidence and capability / trustworthiness (so I’m glad that came through), but (as in real life, too), I could probably have used a bit more “oomph” as well.
        To address the “who can use it” comments, I wonder if it could be worked into rePhrase’s pricing /availability plan that schools ID’d as needier / poorer would qualify for discounts or even free licenses…

        Thanks for the thoughts!

    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 7:00 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I am intrigued with your venture. As I went through you venture pitch I can see where it would be useful in my school since it could help students with reading problems. I like the fact that it actually make words simpler so that students can understand because many times students do not understand what they read and therefore may get “turned off” from reading. Although the idea encourages reading, I would add more options for rephrasing in an attempt to cater to the different multiple intelligences of learners. For example, probably I would include sounds and animation to hold readers attention to. Great concept!

      • mcquaid 6:49 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Keisha… maybe sounds and animations could be downloadable add-ons for the app, creating another source of revenue. Good thinking!

        You’re also right about the “turned off reading” point. I have students of mine in mind when I think of this program. I want them to feel capable, be able to read what everyone else in the class is reading, join in the conversation, and grow in their skills.

    • Juliana 9:29 pm on November 29, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,

      You have an interesting idea here. I especially liked how you brought in all of the other educational research into your proposal. I think many times the reason why a venture falls flat is because they forget the basics.

      It also looks like you have done extensive market research on how this program can eventually grow. The fact that you took the time to do that would definitely sway an investor. I have not taught in the K-12 environment, but I can see where your product could be useful. I think I have always taken for granted my level of reading and comprehension and never really thought about the students who are struggling. As a result, I think your venture could provide a little bit of help to students who struggle.

      As with many of these ventures, it could be hard to gauge what people are willing to shell out their hard earned cash for. I do wonder if people would be willing to renew their license on a yearly basis, but that could be just my personal bias. I don’t like software or apps that do ask me to shell out money like that, but I think I am in the minority.


      • mcquaid 6:52 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Juliana.
        My reasoning for the yearly license was for a few reasons, I think:

        – a program like Kurzweil is quite expensive (four figures around here). I wanted to price myself WAY below that, and make my product look quite enticing.
        – some classes / schools will need this program more or less over the years as students come and go. This would allow them to get it when they need it and not renew when they don’t.
        – the affordable yearly license would ensure I have a continuing source of revenue instead of a one-time purchase.
        – the program may get tweaked from year to year, so a new download / license would be as up-to-date as possible

        Thanks for the thoughts!

    • jenaca 3:10 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Stephen,
      I was really impressed with your pitch and the idea you created! You are definitely targeting a current problem that many schools are faced with today- Implementing and finding reading materials that are leveled accordingly to the meet the needs of students. I also think the name rephrase is perfect for your venture.
      Although I think you have a great idea and pitch here, I am a little unsure about the idea of having the teachers scan and upload the paper books. Maybe this is something you could add to your pitch?
      Otherwise, I think you have a great idea!!

      • mcquaid 4:25 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        The scanning is something that crossed my mind about my idea as a drawback, as well – I figured I wouldn’t be the only person to think of it (as I see a couple have now). I think, where I saw the progression (whether I said it in my venture pitch exactly or not) was for the use with e-books first (no scanning needed), the use of scanned texts for those who really want them (it’s what we do with Kurzweil), and then… I imagined it as ultimately being something that would work best on a mobile. The user would use their mobile’s camera to see / capture text, and rePhrase would rephrase it for them. Google Goggles can translate… why can’t rePhrase reword?
        Hopefully that alleviates your concerns, my dear investor. 😉

    • jenaca 6:49 am on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      My concerns are alleviated!! 🙂
      I will be

      The Venture:
      rePhrase is the world’s first ever automatic text leveler and enabler of adaptive text. What rePhrase does is take text from a chosen reading level and adapt it (without changing meaning as much as possible) to make it readable for almost any reader. Taking existing school texts and eliminating the need for many differentiated materials makes things easier on teachers, students, and school budgets.

      Additional Information On How it Works:
      • rePhrase determines the reading level of a body of electronic text that someone wants to read
      • Next the reader will alter the difficulty with a sliding scale at the top of the interface
      • Once a new reading level has been established, the program will use the abilities of a thesaurus and grammar check to change the words of a text without changing its overall meaning or hurting its sentence flow
      • As students grow in ability, they can adapt or change the difficulty of the text to suit themselves

      My Thoughts:
      rePhrase is a well thought and developed idea. The elevator pitch includes the essential information to help me further my decision of investing deeper into this idea. The pitch included statistics, facts, was very precise about the idea and showed confidence. rePhrase definitely has a place in the educational market and have the potential to help schools improve their current reading scores. I believe for the future, this service could create their own reading line, which would enhance the status of this product and essentially create more revenue.
      Great Pitch!

      • mcquaid 6:54 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Thanks, Jenaca. I’m glad you’ve been convinced! 😉
        I also like your reading line idea… what a great source of dynamic products and constant revenue!

    • Jim 6:39 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi again Stephen,
      I wanted to delve deeper into your Venture Pitch and provide some feedback in the form of a brief EVA analysis. As a potential investor, I am looking in your venture pitch for a variety of information:

      Entrepreneur confidence:
      You exude confidence and calmness in your on camera appearance. Did that confidence continue into your longer Venture Pitch? I think it did continue because I saw arguments made for this product that are reasonable and interesting. You educational background is an asset but I would want to know who you have heading up the business aspects of the company.

      Good product that will be in demand:
      I think rePhrase is a great idea but the road to develop an app that can accurately and quickly rephrase text AND retain the original meaning will be a challenge. I think a successful app in this case would almost need to border on a kind of artificial intelligence (AI) that hasn’t quite been developed. Synonymous word replacement is straightforward but meaning variability, meaning context, word use variability, word connotation variability, and so on might change the meaning of rephrased text so drastically that the original message would be lost. (See honest about challenges below)

      How big is the potential client base:
      I like your market description and you are absolutely right about its potential. You mentioned several ways that the user base could be increased such as bundling with new tablets or other devices. That is a very good idea if a deal could indeed could be struck!

      Can the product compete successfully on the market:
      You rightfully mention that there is no competition although if I was going to invest in your venture, I might look at some of the AI work being done. There are algorithmic summarizers that do an excellent job with text and the more sophisticated ones might apply some AI algorithms that go beyond mathematical models most often used.

      Are you honest about challenges:
      Your pros and cons section speaks well of this. I think you are enthusiastic and excited but also in tune enough with reality to know the limitations. Obviously, if you were to go further, you would need to look into other patents and any other products that even comes close to your idea, including summarizers. You would also need to look at feasibility. Can an app really rephrase text in the way you describe? That is, an app that can written now (not ten years from now…).

      Investment risk?
      I think there is risk in the investment of this venture because, while the idea is very clear and the demand would be great and the problems solved would be significant, the road to the development of a successful product is not clear by any standard. I think your product, in order to be successful, would depend on yet to be developed AI components because your algorithms would have to somehow get a handle on the meaning of the text. Replacing synonymous simple words for more complex words will not work. My own knowledge of the AI research and history of AI failures over the last 60 years does not make me feel very confident.

      P.S. The point I make in the Investment Risk section above is one I would aim at my own Venture, too. BreakOut Illustrator has no clear path to development because I am not sure the technology exists yet to actually do what I want the programming to do.

      • mcquaid 7:01 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Jim.
        I’d like to know more about who would (like to) be in on this venture as well, to steer it into fruition. Anyone? Bueller?
        You’re absolutely right about the technological challenges. One of the strengths of my product is also one of its biggest challenges – its novelty / ground-breaking nature. These technological / AI challenges will definitely be a large hurdle. It’s a risk… but I really do wonder if it would be worth it. If someone (or group) out there thought it was possible (I think it must be, at least partially so, as I envision it), I’d gladly partner up to see it realized. Maybe I should talk to two of my Godparents’ sons… they recently had success on Dragons’ Den with their Honibe products.
        Thanks for your honest comments, Jim. It’s been great working with you and chatting with you throughout this course!

    • schiong 8:57 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I like your rePhrase product.
      As I was going through your Venture Pitch, I was also thinking … “How can this be implemented? ”

      Few things came to my mind … database, theory of automata, and AI.
      I think the application / program is doable. I am tempted to write the code. But, that’s not my role today 🙂

      Now, what I am not certain is how much memory would the program require because it needs to look at how the words are put together … and look for a viable rePhrase without loosing its original meaning. But, this is minor.


      • mcquaid 7:03 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Steve.
        I like your can-do / can-be-done attitude! Maybe you should contact me later with your programming hat on instead of your EVA one!
        It’s uplifting to hear that, maybe, the hurdles are surmountable.


    • verenanz 11:20 pm on November 30, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I really love your idea. I am in China right now selling online ESL courses to students…and I can obvioulsy see the potential in your product…but I couldn’t “see” your video – I apologize.

      Your marketing and licensing agreement system seems to follow I would look to them for some ideas…
      Something that I felt that you were missing was how you would sell your product. Marketing overseas is cultually different than western countries – as I am sure you are well aware. Getting local schools to even “consider” different ideas – is extremely difficult. How will you get to that “billion”dollar market?

      That said, I think that you have a great idea and I really hope that it comes to fuition- because we would be interested in working with you…


      • mcquaid 7:06 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Verena. I have looked at busuu before – earlier in this course, I think. Perhaps I should delve deeper into the site for some ideas. Thanks for the direction and positive comments. If something ever comes of this, I’ll look you up!

    • carmen 10:54 am on December 2, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great idea venture indeed, Stephen, and there’s definitely a need for this product. I know that for high schools in Vancouver, there are ESL social and ESL science classes, in which students simply can’t join the regular class because of their limited English comprehension skills. It is not easy to find reading materials with simpler language, and yet, teaches concept at the same level of difficulty that suits these students’ needs. The result is that sometimes students who move into the regular science class might find it difficult to adapt when other students of the same grade have learned the foundations in the previous grades. An app like rePhrase will help these teachers provide reading materials that is closer to the regular class (ex. Science 10) and better prepare these ESL students when they join the regular classes.

      One concern I have is how the program might deal with long sentences with complicated sentence structures. I often work with students who understand all the words, but couldn’t decode the meaning of the sentence when the words are put together.

      Another concern is about learning how to read… sometimes translation programs give us something that’s understandable, but not quite grammatically correct. It might take a while to perfect rePhrase.

      Since I don’t have the technical knowledge, I’m not quite sure if these problems can be solved with existing technology. However, I am convinced that this is a great idea and has a lot of potential!

      • mcquaid 8:00 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Carmen.
        Thanks for your encouraging remarks!
        I too, aside from my low-level readers, thought of immigrant students as a great target market – students at grade level mentally, but behind the pack in English. Allowing them to more easily access the content in classes they attend would be a great help to them.

        Long, complex sentences, phrasing (just think of the punctuation issues and possible shifts in meaning), and overall grammar are definitely big concerns of mine, too. I have no idea how to technically attack them… just how I’d like them to work!

        Thanks again for your e-props!

    • themusicwoman 9:20 pm on December 3, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Wow, Stephen. What a great concept. i especially like the logo. 🙂
      Agree with many of the sentiments already expressed but I have to say I really appreciate your research into this project. As well, I think I spent a lot of time going over your list of pros and cons at the end of your document. Kudos to you for putting it out there. Again. Wow. I appreciate the fact that it is a new product so much of your information is difficult to acquire.

      • mcquaid 8:02 am on December 4, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi, Michelle. Thanks for the compliment on the logo – I truly thought having a good one would lend some credibility to my venture. I remember looking at the Evernote pitch and thinking what the logo did for it – it makes it seem more real and memorable.
        Thanks for the rest of the comments, too… hopefully David reads them all before grading me! 😉

  • mcquaid 4:09 pm on November 23, 2011
    0 votes

    Now that I’ve sobered up a bit from the e-creeping data snatching revealed to me by Ghostery, I am ready to look at some other sites / applications. First of all, I found the sites somewhat Big Brother-ish… this watching of live, raw, unsorted data… it almost felt like I shouldn’t be watching the information […]

    Continue reading Activity 2 – Post-Ghostery Site Visits Posted in: Week 12: Social Analytics
    • Allie 3:55 pm on November 24, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Something your post really made me think about is that not all data is equal – there is good and reliable data, and poor data. It’s interesting that what we sometimes find in social analytics is lots of emphasis on the analysis of data – and not so much on the *collection.* I’m reminded of my scientist partner who worries much more about the reliability of the data being collected than on the analysis (as analyses can be done and re-done). And so, I find the visualizations in Many Eyes to be quite compelling, but I don’t find the viewing of the sets so compelling.

    • hall 1:26 am on November 25, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi mcquaid ,

      You have concisely evaluated each site you had visited. It certainly can give a reader a synopsis of each site without visiting them. Your account on how you would use Manyeye in class is quite good I did not think of it that way. But after I read your post and revisited the Manyeye site I realized that it can certainly be used to carry out students votes which could useful in Statistics class on data collection and representations.

  • mcquaid 11:53 am on November 20, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: , , , Interesting venture-related article on a couple of Canadians hoping to get $60 tablets (running on $2/month limitless Internet plans that run on cellular networks) in the hands of the entire world. In a somewhat-related story, I was talking about augmented reality with a couple of musician friends of mine before a show yesterday (they […]

    Continue reading Tablets for several billion people… Posted in: Blog Café, Week 06: eBooks, Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 7:21 pm on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Read up on what happened with the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Project. It’s considered by some as a pretty massive failure because they didn’t budget for training people how to use the machines, or maintaining the machines, or providing necessary infrastructure for machines.

    • mcquaid 2:59 am on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’m familiar with the project – even used one of the devices once. I haven’t read much about its downfall, though – maybe when I’m done of this program and have some extra time!

      • kstooshnov 2:16 pm on November 21, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Stephen,

        There was quite a lot of reading on the OLPC for ETEC 510, one of the core courses in the MET program. You could even develop an Augmented Reality entry for the UBC Design Wiki, if you are interested in taking this course sometime soon.


  • mcquaid 12:21 pm on November 18, 2011
    0 votes

    For me to adopt m-learning for my own teaching and learning, the major hurdle is our server situation as well as our Internet. We would need to be able to have widespread WiFi, and we should have our own dedicated computer / server system. Right now, we are tied in with Health, which can cause […]

    Continue reading Day 4 – What Would It Take… Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 1:15 pm on November 18, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Creating a centrally-controlled system does bring up a lot of issues with IT.

      What about leveraging the affordances student-owned mobiles already have instead?

    • mcquaid 11:42 am on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I think it’s a good idea to some extent. It brings some issues into the fold (especially with privacy and things like photos / videos), but I can see it helping some students in some situations. One major downside is that they wouldn’t be able to access their files on the school system. Everything would have to shift to the cloud. They would all have to have their own data plans, then, too (and many of the families in our school wouldn’t be wealthy enough to provide students with devices let alone good plans).

  • mcquaid 12:16 pm on November 18, 2011
    0 votes

    – One problem in performance could be spelling. – Students could, with their device, both look up proper spellings as well as do exercises to help them with their spelling – ones geared towards the patterns / specific things they’re having trouble with. – The mobility of the device allows students to check their spelling […]

    Continue reading Day 3 – A Wee m-Venture Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 1:14 pm on November 18, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Interesting venture idea.

      How might you use mobiles to make learning and assessing spelling collaborative and contextual?

      In China, one study shared a mobile amongst youngsters to teach Kanji. They played games that required handing the mobile around, drawing, interpreting, giving clues, etc. How might you use similar concepts for your venture?

      What about spelling in authentic contexts? Collecting examples of spelling errors with pictures/video. What about looking at root causes behind spelling errors (differences between dialects such as text-speak such as RUOK? IM GR8, ad-speak and sign-speak such as drive-thru and donut) in order to draw distinctions between different types of culture. What about using audio or video capabilities to capture lingo or even the way people pronounce words (the Canadian OO in about for instance). If we spell phonetically… that spelling can change radically based on local dialect or pronunciation.

    • mcquaid 11:44 am on November 20, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Collaborative and contextual? I could see students sharing responses / ideas on a text to check for spelling, or using messages I sent them which were purposefully botched. I would see it happening in short, punchy chunks of text or individual families of words / sounds (“shun” sounds, suffixes, etc.).

  • mcquaid 12:11 pm on November 17, 2011
    0 votes

    The questions to apply are: what problem does the app solve? what affordances of mobile does the app rely on? what are the non-mlearning (competing) methods of teaching the subject? how is the app’s mlearning approach more or less compelling than the competing methods? (consider cost, accessibility, learning outcomes) what changes are needed to make […]

    Continue reading Day 2 – #2. Layar & Carleton Mobile Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 12:35 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your post.

      Augmented reality certainly has a high cool factor, and perhaps what it really needs to take off is to turn it more into a Google search/wiki-driven experience with voting. For any one organization to provide all of the content required within the real world seems pretty overwhelming.

      Prensky has his critics… it’s worth checking them out. Wealthy and middle aged people are sometimes doing a lot more with tech than the youngsters.

    • mcquaid 2:47 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Prensky does inspire a bit of debate. For example, when I went to his site to find the article / pdf that I wanted, it was listed in a section called “The Classics”. I see how someone could take that the wrong way. Someone at our local university does not care for him at all, either. When Prensky spoke to a group of us last month, I half expected him to show up. But I digress.

      I don’t necessarily put full stock into the natives / immigrants idea, but it does make some sense to me… and I like thinking in analogies / putting ideas / situations into different views. I would consider wealthy / middle-aged immigrants that do a lot with technology as still immigrants – just really adaptable ones that have changed with their dynamic surroundings in order to succeed / compete. Similarly, someone being a native doesn’t necessarily make them an expert on where they live / what they do.

      The search / wiki / vote abilities do seem very prominent / dominant, don’t they? Voting could be used for everything from the choice of specials at a restaurant to m. choice questions / preferred learning directions in a classroom. “Wiki-information” can be used for the historical info of an historical site. The search function could be for just about anything!

      • David William Price 3:01 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I have a fundamental problem with his claims and the claimed implications, but it all goes back to my root prioritization of pedagogy over media. I read recently the notion of “pancake learners” or people who allow distraction, multitasking or whatever you want to call it, to cause them to spend their time being very broad, superficial learners. In my own experiences, I see this in learning, professional practice, and even in relationships. It’s not something I accept as a necessary or desirable consequence of technology use. We all have our ways of handling anxiety… it’s just that the proliferation of gadgets provides a lot of easy ways of distracting ourselves with avoidance than we ever had in the past. To some extent, having fewer options can provide more focus.

        • mcquaid 3:38 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          I agree. I think that was one of the strengths of the original iPad as a learning device was that it didn’t multi-task.

  • mcquaid 12:37 pm on November 16, 2011
    0 votes

    Do I have a good m-learning device? No! My laptop is OK, but it’s not mobile in the sense we’re talking about this week. I would not use my cellphone for m-learning. Why? – It’s about ten years old. – There’s not much a screen, or interface. Mostly just the regular buttons of a phone […]

    Continue reading Day 2 – #1. Is my device any good? Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • bcourey 2:46 pm on November 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Isn’t it amazing that our cellphone technology has evolved so quickly that you compare yours to the rotary phone! Don’t blink – you might miss the next great shift!

    • jarvise 7:04 am on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Don’t be so depressed. You have a laptop. I think part of the issue here is discovering how to combine our devices to get the functionality we want without buying everything! When our laptop got smashed on the floor (on our way out the door on summer vacation – Yay!) we ended up getting our ipad2 instead of getting another laptop. We already had a desktop, so the combo of the ipad2 and the desktop has almost everything we want. My husband and I both have little, old ipods as well that get thrown to the kids for quick entertainment during long car-ride ‘incidents’.

      Instead of being depressed about a crappy cell phone (I’m with you), focus on the positive. Does the combined activity of your gadgets approach the functionality you’re looking for? If so, you’re laughing (all the way to the bank).

      Unless, that is, you’re running an online business and you’re always on the move…


    • David William Price 10:10 am on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your post.

      We didn’t mean to inspire gadget envy. As I’ve mentioned, I have a terrible little candy-bar feature phone with a tiny screen and an annoying interface. I use it only for voice calls which, in my case, consist 100% of check-ins with my partner. I’ve never sent a text in my life.

      However, even this phone offers considerable affordances: I carry it everywhere, I can take pictures and record video and audio, I can make and receive text messages.

      The question is, how do we leverage the affordances of even limited mobiles for learning purposes? How do untether ourselves from “traditional learning contexts” and go out into the world and use our mobiles for performance support (quick bite-sized pills of guidance), data collection (photos, video, audio), collaboration (texts, sharing media, voice calls) to learn in authentic contexts… and share that learning back with our friends, colleagues, classmates, and students?

    • Everton Walker 9:40 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I know it will only be a matter of time before you change that mobile. I guess the now sophisticated mobiles will be very ordinary in the next ten years. It is so hard to keep up with technology. It’s costly and can be very frustrating.


  • mcquaid 5:13 pm on November 14, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: ,   

    What, when, where and how am I doing m-learning now? I’m not. If we are talking – as outlined in the intro – about cellphones, at least. I still have and use the only mobile device I’ve ever had – a circa-2001 Nokia. I have never felt that I needed or wanted a newer phone […]

    Continue reading Day 1 – Sedentary Learning Posted in: Week 11: Mobiles
    • David William Price 7:49 pm on November 14, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      When you say “It’s my work that’s mobile”… what kind of work is that? Do you commute at all? Or have unproductive time?

      If someone else was paying for your mobile, would you use it as a performance support for your work? Have you ever found yourself away from your computer and needing a quick answer? What do you usually do?

      How do you feel about being “a sedentary learner”?

      Like you, I have a simple feature phone and I’ve never sent a text in my life. I spend far too much time in my home office despite having a MacBook Air. In a recent conversation with a multinational professional firm, though, I’ve been told they don’t even have offices and they’re expected to spend all their time with clients. Similarly, another major professional firm I spoke with last year said the same thing even about their legal team… if they want to use an office, they have to schedule it.

      What do you think about a mobile future?

    • mcquaid 12:51 pm on November 16, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi, David. To answer your queries:
      – I teach in a K-8 school. I drive myself about 20km each way every day. That’s my only forced unproductive time.
      – If someone else paid for me to have a mobile at work, I would try to use it – at work only, perhaps. I like not being tied to a phone in some ways.
      – If I find myself away from a computer and need a quick answer, I wait until I get to one, and hope that I remember what I needed to do / look for. If I don’t, it probably wasn’t very important anyway.
      – I don’t mind being a “sedentary learner”. It’s how I was brought up / taught. I wouldn’t mind being dragged into the current decade… I’d like to have a smallish tablet, but mostly for reading online and email. I don’t think I’d ever want to learn much more than bite-sized things on a phone.
      – As for a mobile future… I think there will always be a mix of smaller and larger devices… perhaps they will just get more specific in terms of what people use them for – more specialized (I think they already are in many ways). I believe we will continue to get more and more mobile, though (at least up to a point), as devices get smaller, less obvious, and more built in to what we already may have / use / wear.

    • hall 12:44 pm on November 17, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi mcquaid ,

      I understand reason that someone would use of a circa-2001 Nokia instead of a more expensive and updated model. I got myself a Blackberry because of a promotion that one of telecommunication companies in Jamaica had last year October for tertiary institutions. If this was not the case I would not have gotten a phone of this quality.

  • mcquaid 4:53 pm on November 13, 2011
    0 votes

    In my teaching, I have used several PBA’s, even in just the last couple of years: Blogger and WordPress VoiceThread Webquests Glogster Museum Box ToonDoo, BitStrips, and Pixton All academic benefits aside, I enjoy using them with my students, as I like the variety of products I get to see and (in more cases than […]

    Continue reading Final Post: To PBA-ity… and Beyond! Posted in: Week 10: Product-Based Assessments
  • mcquaid 12:18 pm on November 8, 2011
    0 votes

    I’m always forced to stop and think (a good thing, perhaps) about the similarities and differences between the ideas of project, product, and problem-based learning. For my own understanding, I always seem to think of them as fairly similar – the main differences being that in problem-based, there may be no final answer or product, […]

    Continue reading P, P, or PBL – My Thoughts Posted in: Week 10: Product-Based Assessments
    • Doug Smith 7:50 pm on November 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the link!
      In my mind, sometimes we are a bit too succeptible to reductionism, where we try to make too many subdivisions in something that doesn’t need it. I can continue along these lines with some of my own music analogies. I used to dj house music and sometimes myself (or others) would be a bit bothered by too much segregation of house genres. It created divisions and lines where they didn’t really exist. For the most part this wouldn’t matter, but sometimes it leaves use with false restrictions.

      When working through this project, I think we also felt the pressures of division between problem, project, product etc. A lot of this is a bit nebulous and not strongly defined, either by academia or, more importantly in our context, by EVM. From my perspective, I think it is better to do something that makes sense and fits right. Kind of what it looks like you are doing when find something for attaching meaning.


    • Kristopher 5:58 am on November 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I think you touched on the essence of PBA– that the assessment is meaningful and authentic. It is much more a focus on assessment for learning than it is an assessment of learning.

      I would add Performance to you P’s as well, but like Doug says, we’re really creating divisions where divisions aren’t all that necessary. If we can find a way to focus instead on the outcomes (authentic learning, etc.) instead of how to get there, we don’t need these definitions. Now the question becomes this week, how can one sell this type of assessment?

      • kstooshnov 9:46 pm on November 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        hi Kristopher,

        It is interesting to hear the analogy between the many different P’s to be found in assessing students’ learning, and agree with Doug’s comparison to the many different (yet essentially the same) brands of house music. Different ways to assess learning eventually lead to the same place: is someone able to do something or not? As much as educators are responsible for finding effective ways to get students on the able side of the equation, I find myself confused between one brand of PBA and another, as if I can’t hear the melody for all the musical variations.


        • mcquaid 3:57 pm on November 13, 2011 | Log in to Reply

          It’s fitting, too, Kyle, that different people may have issues with understanding different “songs” or products. Since different cultures have different musical scales, some things just don’t seem as tuneful to others. I think of skilled immigrants who come here and are unable to get work in their field because their skills / degrees aren’t valued the same way here as they are somewhere else. I wonder if there are (or could be) standard products for certain jobs that would put a person on equal, qualified footing almost anywhere in the world.

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