Bill S-4 causes unwarranted data sharing but privacy laws stifle businesses

Hello Everyone,
I shared an article about Ann Cavoukian’s viewpoint on data privacy and analytics. I found another interesting one that states that “greater digital privacy laws will stifle business competition”. I found this interesting cause in the age of technology when our privacy and ethical concerns surrounding our data is so important, many advocate for reduced restrictions on these laws. The article addresses Bill s-4 in relation to our Canadian rights and privacies. The Bill has not been passed by the Harper government as yet. Bill S-4 is aimed at overhauling the rules for online privacy, giving new power to the Privacy Commissioner and introducing new penalties for privacy breaches. A huge part of the Bill already has extensive support. It is part of a few new bills before Parliament with implications over how Canadians’ private online information can be handled and shared. According to Josh Wingrove from the Globe and Mail, critics believe that the bill will extend to unwarranted data sharing by online companies without the consumers consent.
Solveig Singleton, Report Author for the MacDonald-Laurier Institute, believes that Canada is getting too private with digital privacy laws. She argues that stronger digital privacy laws don’t help consumers but stifle businesses from being competitive and increase their business costs.

You can listen to her interview with Radio Host on CKNW News Talk Radio 980 here

Podcast Privacy

Here are the suggestions made by MacDonald-Laurier Institute upon new digital privacy laws as well.

Digital privacy
Love to generate a discussion here. How would you feel about Bill s-4 being passed, possibly leading to unwarranted data sharing? Your children’s or students information online?



Digital Privacy and Analytics Article

Hi Everyone,
Along the same lines as Group 10’s work on Analytics, I came across an interesting article I thought I’d share from Canadian Business. It relates to data privacy and analytics as this was brought up as one of the numerous challenges broached when using any form of analytics. From the discussion within Group 10s OER, for many of us the misuse of analytics was predominant but there were a few of us who were also concerned about privacy and ethical concerns.
I found this article interesting in that the Ontario Commissioner on Privacy, Ann Cavoukian, stated her belief that “privacy controls and innovation can coexist. “Privacy has enormous value at both the societal level and at the individual level. It forms the basis of our freedoms and allows creativity and innovation to thrive,”. She stressed the importance of not just amassing data but having “good data” which is quite important when analyzing any form of analytics.

Greater privacy innovation

She also states that privacy issues should be a” business issue and not a compliance issue” to help foster innovation. I wonder how this would be addressed if this becomes the case in the future, then consumer’s data privacy may then become too lax. I will post a differing viewpoint that I found above as there was another article pinpointing this exact point.

She outlines in her paper, seven foundational laws of privacy that businesses should then follow to help foster innovation. The second link is to her paper, the first is the article in Canadian Business.

Foundational Principles
Cheers, Leah


Week 10 Review – Learning Analytics

Hello Week 10!

Thank you for your informative OER on Learning Analytics! I felt like your group took a very measured approach in selecting activities that were pertinent to the topic, and also provided us with potential resources to use in our own classrooms.

Regarding the content, I thought that your group offered insight into a topic that I feel is underrated still in education. Metrics and analytics are so profoundly shaping the business practices of companies these days, and it stands to reason that similar measures can be successfully implemented in measuring learning outcomes as well. You did well to set your focus clearly on trend analysis and predication and its’ application. The danger of having such a broad topic is that it’s easy to be general and not delve deeply into the topic, but I felt that your group navigated those waters well, by stating your purpose early.

In terms of the format, I liked how you integrated videos, infographics and other images into your presentation. The pages were laid out in a logical fashion, and I felt your group did well in being very direct with the activities. I also enjoyed how you used ClassDojo to illustrate one such example of learning analytics, which provided both strengths and weaknesses in how learning analytics can be applied in the classroom.


Week 10 Review and Reflection

Week 10 you did a wonderful job explaining analytics in education in a simple and concise manner. Not an easy task! I really liked the way the your site seemed to intuitively answer the questions I had about the topic as I went through the OER. The delivery was so thought provoking it left me reflecting on the subject of data and epistemological variance.

I can’t help but walk away with some concerns about the future of this area. I think that the primary concern is in the contradiction and interpretation of the data. I understand that analytics really is providing basis for a statistical mean understanding of what is happening with regards to making decisions about the next direction to take. Relying so heavily on statistical approaches and analytics systems could create an educational landscape where we have a new ideology of how to define the ‘perfect student’. That is to perpetuate one type of educational belief and or opinion(s) onto society as whole and potentially create an A standard that is one dimensional because of wealth of data driven educational ideologies. This isn’t to say that learning analytics shouldn’t be used, but there should by multiple views and perspectives that are chosen to drive data forward. The problem inside the technology space is that data in various fields is often controlled by one or two major players. If this happens to education, we could face fundamental problems with data analytic theory and epistemological views on education.


Week 10 Review – Learning Analytics

Hi Group 10 – Great overall presentation with Learning Analytics, the navigation and layout of the website were excellent, and managed to find all the required resources as necessary. The question that really interested me, and attempted to use your resources to answer included understanding technological learning and IT integration in teacher education. Recently the Ontario Government mandated 2 year teacher college programs and the big thing was that they were focusing on providing “tech” learning during the second year. I am so curious as to understand what this tech learning is about, and if teachers will actually benefit from this second year. Understandably, there are other reasons for extending the program, but IT and teaching technology correctly with adequate training programs needs to be measured somehow. For instance, will the teachers be measured on their use of internet, and research, or perhaps they should be measured on how often they create, implement, and deliver a web-based solution, such as website creation, online resource formation, wiki entries, and other important tasks. Will teachers be able to provide the right knowledge to students, or will they simply sit them in front of computers and say, “Now Kids, off you go!?”. In respects to this, some of your products, such as the Panorama Advanced Analytics tool is perfect for this measurement, and educators need to adapt this technology for this kind of measurement. There are some issues with Performance-based analytics, including understanding the true measurement of student achievement, and if indicators suggest that students are performing well, does that relate to a naturally talented group who understands technology or does that relate to how well the teacher can teach and train the students on using the software. There are many considerations to take into account; however analysis of learning is only the beginning. I think that this tool would help weed out the bad teachers from the good, and those who are just there for being there. The tools are important for teachers delivering online courses, and understanding how often students log-in and contribute, but it doesn’t measure, quality of content, and perhaps what the students do when they log in! Haven’t you noticed that some Facebook users are always logged-in but they never actually participate in conversation! Another potential problem!


Week 10 Review – Analytics

Hi Week 10,

Great job all round! I did not know a lot about analytics or their importance up til now, but I have a greater understanding after going through the information on your site. I did like the idea of a checklist to make sure we had seen all the activities. Most of them were fairly straightforward and easy to complete.


Week 10 – Review

I loved how the flow of the website made things easy and direct. I gained a lot of knowledge and I enjoyed the activities. Analytics is everything these days. I hope I can apply it properly in my LMS in order to benefit learning. I guess we could have a part explaining xAPI the standard to collect learning experience through different LRS databases


W10 Review

Week 10 – great job on learning analytics, I felt like this was perfect timing for me, as I have been wanting to learn more about what the capabilities of analytics are, and what as an educator you can look for through these tools.

I really appreciated the organization of your website, the ease of navigation and checklist. I also realized afterwards that the use a consistent tool for participation was key (ie. activities through comments) because there was no confusion, everyone could participate without major barriers and I knew what to expect.

Your content and activities were great, I felt like I learned something new, and was able to actively incorporate the information into my own circumstances. Great job!


Week 10 Review

Hi Week 10,

Great job!  Thank you for helping me learn about learning analytics, and surprisingly it was applicable at my job this week as I learned about an analytics company that we and many school districts use to monitor employees on call for all areas of a school board.  This lets school boards know if they need to hire more employees and in what areas.  I thought it was so interesting and timely.  I thought your OER was very professional looking and one of the most striking things to me was how organized it was.  I thought that you made a good use of the physical space of your webpage with proper headings, bullet points, videos and icons.  I really found it easy to navigate.  I also feel that it was concise with not too much information per page.  It was separated into manageable chunks and I appreciated this.  The discussion activities were great too – it is always nice to have choice and I made use of the checklist because I had (somehow) missed an activity when I first went through the class.  Unfortunately (but fortunately) I really don’t have any suggestions!

Thanks for a great week,



Week 8 Review

Thank you week 8 for your facilitation last week. Your choice of topic is focused and relevant with educational filed in the point of privacy and security matters. It gave me the opportunity to think about cloud technology from a very new angle, and I think that is a good experience to me. I liked the layout and image of your presentation. As other people have mentioned on the problem of the choice of collaborative platform, I would like to add the point of openness. I appreciate your experiment in opening our collaborative discussion processes because we are to create an OER. On the other hand, through the process, it made me wonder what would be the objective and product of this open discussion. In our group, we were not as active as our regular brainstorming process of adding ideas and pooling anything without filtering or sorting. The discussion quality is different from the reviews, reflections and discussions on the regular open threads on the ETEC522 site. I wonder the experiment of opening our process creating the assessment tool could add to the readers more value.


Mathcraft: How to Use Minecraft to Teach Common Core Math

I subscribe to the mailing list with Edweb and almost every day they send out free webinars for teachers. I have done a few webinars and they range in content but they have all been interesting. Edweb is also a community for teachers so if you are interested in building or creating your personal learning network (PLN), Edweb is a good place to start. The website is american and follows the Common Core but it is very good and easy to use.

Mathcraft is a webinar that is taking place July 17th, you can sign up on the link and it is free. The teacher who is presenting has been using Minecraft in his classroom and has seen math proficiency go from 18% to 83%.


Week 9 Review

I really appreciated how you used Edmodo , Twitter and Socrative  to deliver your OER.  If you want people to reflect on social media, you have to engage them in using it.  You exposed us to several platforms and encouraged us to use them and review them.  I had signed up for Edmodo a year ago with the intention of exploring its affordances for use in my classroom and never went any further with it after discovering that it was hosted in the United States and this would be a FIPPA issue.

While I love that you immersed us in the media for your OER, there was a lot of scrolling to the bottom of the page.  I was disappointed when I clicked on Assignments and there was nothing there.   I was hoping for better content curation but this is more a review Edmodo as a platform rather than your content.  I am wondering if you will you be able to submit to NMH as an OER if Edmodo requires a sign in?

You had great, visual content that helped propel the discussions and nothing was too overwhelming or time consuming, which I deeply appreciated.  I was quickly and easily engaged in your content which expanded the field of social media as it pertains to education.  I thought the way you employed the affordances of Twitter for your activity was a great example of how to use this tool for education.

In short, you walked the walk and talked the talk.  Thanks for an engaging week.


Week 8 – Wrap up

Thank you so much for participating in Week 8!  Despite a few cloud collaboration challenges, there were some good discussions, ideas and tools generated throughout the week.  We appreciate your feedback and have incorporated many of the suggestions to improve our OER.

Please check out our Precis for the wrap up and reflection.

– Group 8: Erin, Aaron, Kuljinder, Brendan, Laura, Riea


Week 08: Review

Hi Group Week 8,

I thought it was interesting and fitting that you chose to focus on cloud-based learning in the medical field. The melding of education and healthcare is a fast-growing trend. An example is the MEd in Health Sciences Education program at the U of Alberta that was developed collaboratively between the education and health science faculties to address the needs of health professionals and medical faculty to enhance their teaching and educational research skills. Exposure to new technologies used in teaching, research and practice, like simulations, digital media in health care, and cloud learning environments are very important indeed. I enjoyed using even though I found that it had its limitations. It was great for brainstorming, but less ideal for more involved group discussions. I was not aware of so many cloud-based tools until I participated in your group survey and would love to check out some of them. Excellent work – thanks!



Week 8 Review

Hi Week 8,

You had a very interesting topic and your webpage was laid out neatly and was easy to navigate. There was a lot of information to absorb on your topic, and as most of us are not in this field, it was a little difficult to process it all. I liked the idea of having all of the groups work together to create something, but like some others have mentioned, it was a little difficult to connect with everyone through the week to get ours completed. Maybe a heads up about group work would have been more effective. I thought it was a great idea to introduce different platforms to use to create the final piece. I found that our moderator for the collaborative piece was excellent and made sure that we were on track. That was an excellent idea.

All in all, a great piece of work group 8.



W07: Code Education Recap & Tally

We just want to send a thank you out to everyone for the wonderful, lively, and insightful participation in our OER activities this week. We consider you, our peers, to be “real world protagonists” in this market, and are very happy that our efforts to involve you in the process of refining and expanding our OER were successful! Also thank you for providing excellent feedback and suggestions for improvement, we will be meeting to implement changes this week.

– Group 7, Angela, Nidal, Milorad, Yuki, Colleen & Bobbi

Here were the results from the Activity #1 Poll:


And here are the condensed results for the Activity #3 horizons review:

Looks like 2:new accreditation programs;  6:curriculum integration; and, 7: development of ‘smart code’ were the favorites although there were excellent reviews posted on some of the others. Interestingly, 5: segmentation and diversification was not well received, but is something that start-ups and corporate ventures are in some ways supporting with closed initiatives.


Thanks again everyone for participating. Just thought we’d include a list of the changes made to the site based on everyone’s feedback: The activity error found by Kendra has been fixed as well as the typo that Chris found. Kirsten’s suggestion of Mozilla Webmaker Suite, Kendra’s SkillCrush, Shaun’s StackSocial and Max’s Arduino suggestions were added (the last lead to a creation of a hybrid open/closed category). James’s concerns about traversing back and forth between the two blogs for activities has been remedied by integrating the discussion directly into the resource pages (which alined with our goal of starting the commenting fresh for submission to NMC). Monique made a helpful suggestion of just strictly making hyperlinks and addition information tool-tips red, so we also incorporated this. Ashley’s mention of “conversational fluency” lead to a new horizon addition (#8 Changing attitudes regarding code as a new and prevalent “language”). We also re-arranged the horizons in order of importance as identified by our peers. Most of this was done on a new ‘clone’ of our WordPress site at the following address:


Report: Digital content market grows 30%, driven largely by mobile apps

The digital content market surged 30 percent between 2012 and 2013, with apps driving much of the growth, according to a report from IHS and App Annie. The joint research study also looked across digital games, music and movies.

  • Overall consumer spending on mobile apps jumped 2.3x year-over-year.
  • Consumer spending on gaming apps grew 2.9x from 2012 to 2013 and game apps are driving overall digital games growth.
  • Large gains in game app spend emerged in Japan and South Korea, with 4.4x and 5.8x growth year-over-year, respectively. Apps are now the leading content category in Japan and could overtake digital games, excluding apps in South Korea, in the coming years, the report said.
  • Music apps also saw significant growth, with consumer spend rising 77 percent from 2012 to 2013.


Mobile gaming spend more than doubled over 2013, with growth particularly strong in Asia, according to the IHS and App Annie study.

“Apps deliver, but do not charge for, content. Movie subscription and transactional services favor a direct billing relationship with consumers, and one that is outside the 30 percent share of spend taken by app store owners,” the report says. “With Apple and Google offering their own movie services, an app that wishes to use in-app purchases to charge for content would be at a significant price disadvantage in order to maintain a healthy margin.”

Though monetization is always a challenge for developers, the report shows that apps may stand a greater chance of finding revenue if they are less focused on replicating content services like Netflix or Spotify and offering complementary content instead. For example, the report notes the growing popularity of games that tie in to blockbuster movies, or discovery services, which have proven particularly successful in the digital music space. In many respects, the report said, the role of apps is not merely delivering content like music or movies but helping to build the audience for it.

Read more and download the report here.

This report is another proof of importance of supporting code education for the future digital content market growth.




Mobile developers now number 8.7 M worldwide

If indie developers ever feel a little lonely working on mobile apps and games, they should know they’re part of a worldwide group that numbers 8.7 million people, according to Evans Data. The Santa Cruz, Calif.-based firm recently released its Worldwide Developer Population and Demographics Study, which culls data from the World Bank data center, CIA World Factbook, the U.S. Census and several other sources.
  • In total, there are 19 million software developers in the world, which means about 50 percent of them are now focused on creating apps for mobile devices.
  • The worldwide developer population has essentially doubled since 2010, with an increase of 700,000 in the last year.
  • Asia-Pacific region leads in mobile dev growth with about 46 percent more developers focused on mobile than the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.
  • The number of female developers has boomed by 87 percent since 2001, totaling nearly 3.5 million developers today.
  • Evans Data estimates a worldwide developer population of 25 million by 2020.

The research firm projects the worldwide software developer population to grow from 19 million today to 25 million by 2020.

“People who think that mobile developers are only developers who sell apps through app stores are seeing just a small part of the overall picture,” said Janel Garvin, CEO of Evans Data Corp. “Mobile development is becoming ubiquitous thanks to the prominence of mobile devices as the preferred client in both enterprise and consumer environments. And cloud is the perfect enabler for mobility in these realms as well as in related Internet of Things implementations. We see no slowing of mobile development anywhere in the near future.”

It’s no surprise that many developers are focusing on business apps, particularly if they come from a more traditional software development background compared with the hobbyists or those who see creating consumer apps as a sideline. What might be more difficult to track–but what would be quite valuable–is what proportion of those who start out as consumer app and mobile game makers shift into the enterprise side.

Although Evans is offering the big picture around developer demographics, the details around those who are employed by big firms vs. those who are entrepreneurs–and those who see this as a profession versus those who are doing it for the love–is incredibly complex. Those providing the best developer tools, cloud-based or otherwise, are probably not targeting that 8.7 million as a whole, but looking at specific niches. As for consumers, they probably don’t care a lot about developer demographics. They just want their apps to work–and to be fun.

To read more and access the Evans Data report, click here

This report and article perfectly supports our W07-Opportunity forecast on importance of code education. 




Tell a Story – Hedgehog Academy

The app I’ve chosen to review is Tell a Story by Hedgehog Academy. It is an Apple app and is geared towards kids aged four to seven. The goal of the app is to teach students how to use picture clues to tell a story in order. There are three levels to the game and the hardest level was more difficult than I expected. Although the game is geared to young students, I believe my grade four students would enjoy the intermediate and difficult stages. Story writing is an important part of the elementary language arts curriculum and this app is a good example of viewing and retelling a story. The app would be even more useful in an educational setting if teachers could track the progress of students and because this isn’t possible, it would be best used in a small group setting where the teacher could monitor progress. In terms of motivation, there is a small animation to show that you have successfully completed a story, it is simple but effective. The app has a single purpose and is easy to navigate, with little help four and five year olds could easily play the game.

My goal in looking for apps was to find one that was extremely simple to use, free, and motivating. I believe that Tell a Story fit the criteria well. I also needed to find an app that could work on computers and did not need a tablet or smartphone. I don’t have either and neither does my school. This app also fit a lot of the criteria on the Week 6 – mGBL website. It integrated well in the curriculum, it was motivating, it was simple, easy to learn, soft skills were present for young students, and finally it was the perfect price!

Elementary school teachers, try this app, you’ll like it.


W07: Code Education Launchpad


Welcome to week 07 (Open Free and digital content)

Our group narrowed our focus to code education (programming code) at the postsecondary and professional level.

One of the first sources of information online to be shared openly (free of charge, remixable and reusable) was code. Programmers have been sharing code openly since the birth of the internet. There are indicators that educational resources are perhaps moving towards openness; yet, there are a number of contrary closed, institution, corporate, and start-up trends emerging which create a dichotomy in the market of code education (you can probably guess which side “Team Open Content” is rooting for!)

Our interactive OER presents the emerging market of code education, exploring both open and closed to fully illustrate the market landscape. You don’t need to understand how to code in order to understand code education’s changing nature.

Please visit our OER by [clicking here].

We hope you enjoy the exploration – Group 7 “Team Open Content”

– Angela, Nidal, Milorad, Yuki, Colleen & Bobbi

Also, to post a review of our OER, please use the “reviews” box field located on the bottom of this page! (Apologies, replies to reviews appear to be broken in this environment, so we will reply using the same feature which will appear above these instead).


W07: Activity 1

“Code” by Michael Himbeault is licensed under CC BY 2.0 Retrieved here.

If you haven’t done so already, please view the video and complete the Activity #1 (part 1) poll on this page first.

Activity #1 (Part 2) – Comment

Everyone “should learn how to program [code!]” – Steve Jobs (1995).

Add a comment here (using the comments box below) about your thoughts of Jobs’ view that everyone “should learn how to [code].” Do you think this view does or doesn’t hold relevance to post-secondary or professional education today (or the market itself)? Perhaps elaborate why you think so. If at all possible try to provide resources or links that help support your view (and to help add value to our OER). If you were undecided, feel free to comment instead on others’ thoughts about this, or post any unanswered questions you might have. Be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

You can return to the relevant OER page by clicking here.


W07: Activity 2


“Open Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” by Alan Levine is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Retrieved here.

Activity #2 – Comment

Pick one resource from either “open trends” or “closed trends” and discuss it in terms of one of the options below.

Briefly discuss why you think it:

  • A ) has the most disruptive potential for the future of code education [OR]
  • B ) offers a strong value proposition for the future of code education [OR]
  • C ) discuss it in terms of both A or B, adding any additional insights you might have to offer.

Post your response as a comment here on the bottom of this page. Be sure to include the name of the resource you chose! Feel free to contribute your own resource instead (remembering that we’re focused on post-secondary and professional code education), do indicate if it’s open/closed. Please discuss how/why you see the chosen resources as disruptive or as having a strong value proposition. Also try to provide any links/research/resources that may help us understand your perspective (we think it would be great if you could add value to our OER research). Also be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

You can return to our OER page by clicking here.


W07: Activity 3


“Improving the speed and quality of research via shared algorithm implementations” by is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 Retrieved here.

Activity #3

In the spirit of open, we’re choosing to crowdsource peer knowledge here for help identifying the most likely market horizons:

Please review one of the predictions [on this page]. Post your review/thoughts using the reviews box on the bottom of this page discussing why your chosen prediction is a potential cutting-edge horizon for post-secondary/professional code education. Take a bit of time to do some preliminary research on your chosen topic and please add links and supporting materials wherever possible to help add value to the discussion and to help expand our OER. Also be sure to indicate the name/number of the horizon you’re reviewing. Also be sure to check back to engage in comments and questions that might be added to your responses.

They are condensed as follows:
(Don’t forget the full descriptions are located on this page)

1. Privatization
2. New Accreditation Programs, OERs &  Initiatives for Code Education
3. Industry and Institution Partnerships for OER and Higher Educations’ Programming Education
4. Localization and Personalized Learning
5. Code Language Education Segmentation & Diversification
6. Curriculum Integration
7. The Development/evolution of “Smart” Code

You can return to our OER page by clicking here.


App Review: Middle School Math 7th Grade

math 7

Middle School Math 7th Grade (free)
Grades 6-9
By Monkey In The Middle Apps LLC
Middle School Math 7th Grade is a marginally entertaining game, but I doubt it would hold a 7th graders attention for very long.  In this game, players guide a cute yet crudely drawn monkey (or other unlockable characters) down ladders by answering math questions.

The goal is make it to the bottom of the level while collecting bananas. In order to earn a banana and progress down the ladders, the player must answer math questions correctly.  Bananas can be used to unlock additional characters and backgrounds, so there is some incentive to keep going.  However, these “incentives” are cheesy static backgrounds of beaches, mountains, flowers etc.  The four free unlocked quizzes practice Negative numbers , Absolute Value, and Order of Operations.  Unlocking additional quizzes require an in-app purchase.

There are no game instructions, and one must figure out the game mechanics through trial and error.  However, it’s fairly easy to pick up and play.  Feedback is immediate, and there is perhaps some motivation to keep playing, as you feel somewhat compelled to post faster and faster times down the level without getting any questions wrong.  The levels get progressively harder as one goes along, and there is an element of scaffolding there as well, as each successive level builds upon the last.  However, it uses a linear step-by-step progression, without a storyline, varied paths, consequences, or engaging feedback.

Clicking on the (?) opens up a brief text tutorial about the math concept, and a hyperlink to a Khan Academy video of said topic.  The idea is for the learner to learn from the Khan video then return to the app to practice their skills.  The execution seems almost like an afterthought.

The motivation to replay and hone one’s math skills is marginal at best.  This is because the questions repeat quite frequently.  Also, each level is essentially identical, except that the ladders change locations, which brings us to the greatest flaw in the game…

Unfortunately the randomly generated ladders are often positioned too close to the edge of the screen, which prevents the character from progressing down the ladder.  This requires the player to back out and restart the level.  This is a terrible and almost crippling flaw within the game that only the most persistent players could endure.  Perhaps there is a better iOS version?

It’s clear that the developers of this game put very little effort into execution of this game.  It is crude, buggy, ugly, and severely lacking in its educational design.


App Review – Cyberchase Shape Quest

cyberchase shape questI chose to use the game Cyberchase Shape Quest! by PBS Kids.  The reason I chose this game is because I wanted to use a game that was available on multiple devices.  This game supports Apple IPad, Android Tablet, and Kindle tablet.   At first I thought this was a wide range, but on closer look I can see that it is still exclusive to a tablet.  I did download the game to my IPad after reading the 2 reviews available (one great and one said it did not work).  There were 5 people who rated the game in total and it had almost 5 out of 5 stars.  I can’t say for certain what the experience would be on all devices but I can speak to my experience with the IPad.  The game is visually appealing with good graphics and I can see that a child would like it.  It also has fun music playing in the background with lots of sound effects.  One odd thing that I did not realize about the game is that there are 3 games within Shape Quest: Patch the Path, hide and Seek and Feed the Critters.  For Patch the Path the user has to print off a map from the PBS website and hold the IPad up to the map.  This seemed like a hassle for game users, particularly children, and I would predict that the map becomes the problem of the parent and that holding an IPad camera up to a map to play a game is perhaps more challenging than an IPad game should be.

There was no tutorial, and perhaps there should have been, especially with the printed map which could be confusing for students.  The other parts were fairly simple to figure out if you had played games on an IPad before.  It also started simple with the games, easy levels and simple tasks.  I think that students get some level of satisfaction out of the game.  Each time they play an activity the pass or fail and can retry the level.  Levels are unlocked when the previous level is passed and students get a rating for each level (out of 3 stars).  There is a lot of visual and audio feedback for correct and incorrect moves letting the student know immediately if they are doing well.  I also think that the content was well masked to be fun.  While the player did have to carry our geometric tasks – for example feed the animal by using a sling shot motion to bounce the food off of walls and aim it at the animal’s mouth – it seemed more fun than geometric.  The content was very educational.

While I do think that young children would like this game, I think that it has a very narrow audience.  It caters to young children and children learning about geometry but it certainly has the feel of a young child’s game and I think junior and intermediate students would pass on playing this game.  I also did not like that it had external parts (the printable map).  I like that it is available on multiple devices but it does cater to a narrow audience.


Review: MarcoPolo Ocean

 MarcoPolo Ocean Review

1. IntMPoceanegration
Regarding this application, it seems as though the developers had a certain educational agenda, and then tailored the application to suite that need. The game clearly aims at teaching younger children about the various elements that are contained in the ocean, and how vessels navigate these waters. If the application is upgraded at a cost, a number of other puzzles and levels emerge, however I did not investigate these options.

 2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience
There are a number of elements that would keep children engaged with this game. Firstly, it is predicated on an ‘open-sandbox’ mentality, in which students can explore the vast expanses of the ocean at their own leisure. The game itself is driven by visual and auditory cues, which also can serve as directives for children to follow. The various colors and tactile nature of the game, would easily keep children engaged.
3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content
This application does a good job at identifying the learning outcomes it wishes to achieve, and then designing activities centered around those outcomes. For example, one learning outcome is for children to expand their ocean related vocabulary. This is achieved through narrated games, which have students identify objects for which they have learned the vocabulary of.

4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

As previously stated, I believe that this game meets the learning goals it sets out to achieve, in an age appropriate way. The target demographic for this game are parents of children in lower elementary school, and so the games which are suited for this demographic, involve low level cognitive and fine-motor skills.

5. Learning & Mastery

The game is both simple and intuitive to play. The layout is clean and crisp, and the audio quality provided by the narrator is clear and articulate. The colors in the game are vivid, and so children are able to identify objects easily. Mastery of the game is easily achieved, and the levels provided in the game allow for the mastery of a diversity of skills.
6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content
One of the strengths of this game is that it begins with lower cognitive skills (such as rote memorization) but then builds on these with more 21st century learning skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. The puzzles that arise in the game would help lower elementary school students not only learn about the oceans, but also understand how the oceans work and the problems facing the worlds’ oceans.

7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards
The fact that this game can meet curricular standards, and then engage students in critical thinking activities, leads me to believe that it can push beyond curriculum standards. Furthermore, this game platform could be easily adapted to teach students about an infinite number of social ills.

8. Flexible and Adaptive

As previously mentioned, this game could be easily adapted to educate students on a variety of topics (i.e. deforestation, climate change, consumption), and this flexibility is a definite strength of the program.

9. Cost  & Low/ Right Technology
Considering this application is free (upgrades are available of course at a price), I would say the price was certainly right. Having read through a number of the reviews on iTunes, a number of parents have praised this game for being both educational and fun – a winning combination for any game.


Fun English by Study Cat

Fun English Course By Study Cat

Compatibility: Universal

Audience: Ages 3-10

Content: English Language

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Fun English by Study Cat is a fun and engaging game for young English language learners (aged 3-10). Learning and play are well integrated into the framework of this game which includes a series of 10 themed lessons and over 50 games. It is clear that the educational goals (language learning) have been clearly outlined and embedded within the games of this language app. The Fun English course focuses on both vocabulary development and basic grammar concepts – which are integrated into fun themed games.

Instant feedback is offered to help leaners/players understand their progress and how they are performing in the game. Fun English emphasizes the entertainment value and the importance of play in the learning context. The game engages learners through games, songs, animation, and the “fun factor.”

Fun English does not have a continuous story line that is carried through the game. Rather, each lesson focuses on a different theme (i.e. Food, the house, the body, colours), and the games within that lesson allow players to develop a specific vocabulary set for that context. Each lesson also focuses on a different grammar concept (i.e. the verb “to be,” “adjectives,” “singular and plural”). Each lesson could stand alone, and lessons don’t necessarily need to be completed in a consecutive order, so there is not really any scaffolding happening between lessons. However, within each lesson, scaffolding occurs as each game within the lesson progressively becomes a little bit more difficult. In the lesson on “Colour,” for example, the lesson begins with games focusing on matching colours, and listening to the names of the colour while matching the colour to an image, and the games near the end of the lesson focus on the spelling of the different colours and building sentences with the colours.

The game seems fairly easy to comprehend and pick up. The games do not come with instructions (written or verbal), however, and so when playing a couple of the games, it took me a few minutes to figure out the objective or “aim of the game”. Overall, learners engage in a series of vocabulary and grammar related games to develop their English Language skills, and then receive feedback once each level is completed. There is a lot of repetition and reinforcement of the vocabulary being learned, and each game focuses on a different skill or aspect of language.

The visuals and animation are fairly basic, and many of the games resemble other popular games that kids may be familiar with from other contexts. It combines language with games that allow students to develop hand eye coordination and other motor skills.

In terms of 21st century skills, perhaps the process of game play and the skills necessary to navigate through this technology would qualify as “21st century skills.” This game has been designed for a primary aged audience (ages 3-10), so this game allows players to develop their motor skills, build on their ability to concentrate and remember, practice hand-eye coordination, and ultimately familiarize themselves with technology and gaming applications.

Regarding price, this game costs about 12.99, or each lesson could be purchased for 1.99 from the App store. There is also a free option that gives players access to a smaller selection of games.

This is a simple, yet engaging game that is appropriate for young learners in this age group. I think for a basic language game this could be useful, and fun for kids. However, this game does not go beyond the basic language development of simple vocabulary, and does not help students develop problem solving or critical thinking skills.



The Candy Factory

The Candy Factory

Integration: The CandyFactory is a universal iOS app that runs on the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone mobile devices.Requires iOS 4.3 or later.

Motivation: All the games on CandyFactory consists of three game levels that challenge students to build a stronger understanding of proper and improper fractions. The game is based around a candy manufacturing factory where students must satisfy a customer’s order for a candy bar of a particular size.

Audience: Students, parents, teachers

Content: Number Sense and Numeration for Middle school grades

Learning and Mastery: Games on CandyFactory are simple and engaging. Needs not too much explanation. Becomes challenging as one progresses to next level.

It consists of three levels: Level 1 teaches proper fractions as part-whole concept. Level 2 teaches proper fractions as whole concept. Level 3 teaches proper as well as improper fractions as whole concept. A nominal score is displayed at the end of the game to show how well the student has done. Sound-based feedback and background music are provided.

Cost: Free

Review: I will this game as 4 star for the level of cognitive demand because this game is engaging students in exploring/identifying and understanding the nature of Fractions concept using complex and unpredictable ways to solve the issues at hand.


Dragon Box


Dragon Box: Algebra game

Integration: Available across platforms (Android, Windows, ipad)

Motivation: Unlocking levels.  Fast progression.  Dragon rewards for leveling up.

Audience: Students, parents, teachers

Content: Math: Algebra

Learning and Mastery: Leveled learning.  Moves from basic algebra concepts using pictures and rules and gradually replaces pictures with mathematical symbols.

Base game Dragon Box +5c is about $6.  There is a harder version available Dragon Box +12, which costs about $12

This game has incredible potential.  I am eager to download a version and try it out with my step kids.  It is a fun game that gradually moves kids from abstract symbols to algebra specific symbols while teaching the fundamentals of balancing and equation and isolating variables.

I would like to see how they transition kids in to real world applications of these skills to see if the knowledge transfers to solving word problem or if the skills remain isolated in game play.


Review: Business English Games for ESL

For the week 6 activity, I reviewed: Business English Games for ESL

A summary of the different points in relation to my own context are as follows:

1. Integration

The game certainly integrates learning with pay in it’s game show format, but seems perhaps a little unbalanced (more about play than learning). The game claims to be a “business English games for ESL.”Not to be overly critical, but I have a hard time seeing idioms as of critical importance in relation ESL learning for business. For me falls perhaps under edutainment.

2. Motivation & Think About Your Audience

The game is intrinsically motivating with continuous challenge, has elements of surprise in the questions as well as, rewards systems, consequences, and rapid feedback. A flash game it does not have tacit feedback. The repetition is made special by the format of a popular rewards-based game show with suspenseful time limits and rewards.

3. Choose Your Game Wisely and Find it in the Content

This game covers a minor topic in relation to business ESL (idioms) which are somewhat anecdotal. There isn’t much scaffolding provided to actually make these useful in different business situations, it focuses more on getting quotes themselves right. The ability to recite Nietzsche correctly at a board meeting is not necessarily going to make a business ESL student accel at his or her career goals so I’m a bit befuddled at the usefulness of the games title in relation to this.

4. Think Small; Don’t Be Overly Ambitious

The game does think small in it’s focus and cover it fairly tightly. The cognitive format of this particular game show suits the learning of idioms rather well. The scale and complexity is manageable and useful and mastery is supported with suitable puzzles and points and there are three different levels provided (expert, advanced and novice). The system relationship between these is clear. .

5. Learning & Mastery

The game itself is simple and quick to engage with and play. Features are simple enough to not need explanation, and goals, progress, and incentives are clear.

6. Soft Skills of 21st Century are Connected with Content

Soft skills involved are looking up and rehearsing idioms for motivation in business. As one would likely use search engines for unknown idioms this does to some degree support 21st centry skills along with critical process of elimination. These are however fairly basic skills so I can’t say they would have a large applied impact outside of the game.

7. Push Beyond the Curriculum Standards

I don’t see this game as pushing the frontiers of knowledge or redefining new learning, rather it reinforces old practices.

8. Flexible and Adaptive

I see this game as lacking much iterative potential. It is not very adaptable but rather right/wrong. There are different paths enabled in a small way by the choice of which categories to approach first.

9. Cost  & Low/ Right Technology

This game is in my opinion more entertainment than education so it is reduced in aesthetics. Although it is free I believe it’s novelty and therefore usefulness would wear thin.

10. 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

I think that “open” education games (OEG?) would be a wonderful idea and resource for game players and makers alike. This would support a more iterative and innovative model of game development. It would also make better use of digital rip/mix/burn culture in order to support the three R’s mentioned!


I’d give it  2 or possibly 3 stars at the most in terms of rating.

Final reflection:

Overall, I don’t see this game as a strong example for mobile game learning. It was a great example for evaluating these different properties though! It could have provided a better balance of game vs learning and also provided better scaffolding, better adaptability, and better future applicability and remix-ability.


Finger Count App Review

I have young children who are using many of these apps, so I used the criteria provided by team 06 and reflected on some of the apps that my 3 and 5 year old play with. Many have great songs, visuals, original ideas. Some are almost ‘digital worksheets’, which my children seem to love. However, the app that really stands out for me after seeing it in use is this insanely simple Finger Count app.

Finger CountThe game consists of the player touching the screen and each touch creates a bubble with the next number in correct sequence and a voice that says the number. The player can then touch any of the bubbles to pop it and have the number said again. The numbers are intended to be popped in reverse order, so if you pop 9 before 10, it says ‘nine’ but the 10 disappears.  The description does not sound riveting, I know, but here is what I love about this app:

  • Simplicity – One of the criteria provided to use this week was to ‘think small’. I think that this game does that very well. The goal of the game is to simply count from 1-99 and back down again. The simplicity of the game keeps the focus on the learning rather than other distractions like songs and stickers. Although the learning and mastery goals may not be clearly outlined in the game, they are intuitive and easily mastered.
  • Target Audience – This game is targeted at small children who are learning to count. The absence of background music, easter eggs, varying paths is well suited to their learning goals.
  • Flexible – The game can be used in a number of ways. The player can simply explore, or play it, but a parent or teacher could use the platform to modify the game to suit the players needs. I noticed my son use the game for a purpose not implicit in the game. During our Christmas Advent calendar time, he would use the game to determine which square was to be opened next and whose turn it was.
  • Cost – The full version is only $0.99. A good value for a tool that is so diverse.

I would (and have) recommend this app to parents and educators of small children. A great example of how simple is sometimes the most effective.


Cloud Based Apps

A cloud based app is like …

What do you think when you look at this picture?  Do you know about Cloud Based Applications?  If yes,  How does this picture represent your understanding of cloud based apps?  If no, what questions do you wonder when looking at this photograph?

Please share your thoughts and reply to this post with an example of a simile that explains your understanding of a cloud based app.  For example you could say: “a cloud based app is like a locker that holds all of your stuff.”

Your participation is greatly appreciated!

Follow the link below to our Weebly.  We hope you enjoy working through it as much as we did making it.

Have fun,

Week 5 Group.


NMC Horizon Report 2014 K-12 Edition Review

The New Media Consortium Report (Preview) is a short overview of projections inside the Educational Technology space. I will comment on it based on three basic questions What?, So What?, Now What?.


It is split into 3 topics that provide examples that progress in time or complexity:
  1. Key Trends accelerating Ed Tech adoption (0-2 years, 3-5 years, and 5+ years)
  2. Significant Challenges Impeding Ed Tech Adoption (Solvable challenges, difficult challenges, wicked challenges)
  3. Important Developments in Technology for K-12 Education( 0-2 years, 3-5 years, and 5+ years.)
So What

I have decided to comment on its value based on two audiences of interest,  “The Entrepreneur” and “The Educator”

The Entrepreneur- This report allows you to get a snapshot of what the market might look like for the next 0-5 years. If you want to start a venture or you are already in a venture, this is a very good place to start to address problems that your service or product could solve and the climate you might find yourself in while you solve them.

The Educator- This report gives you insight into your classroom/school and what the classroom and the demands of those classroom will look like. After reading this, you can have informed ongoing conversations with curriculum developers, teachers, principals, and educational technologists on how to best accommodate the changing space of learning and ensuring that all players are supported in Ed Tech adoption.
Now What
I think that this report would be worthwhile resource to have and refer to because of its brevity and ease of reading. I would definitely consider subscribing to this publication would suggest this reading to others interested in Ed Tech. I understand that this is currently a preview, but if it is going to be longer, I would suggest that there is an additional info graphic that displays the information as it is currently. Short and too the point.

Another Review – EDUCAUSE: 7 Things

As I perused the articles found in the emerging market library, there was one that caught my attention; EDUCAUSE: 7 Things Review. These are a series of articles that provide information on current and emerging technologies. The information in these articles is written in a simple manner where anyone, education, educational technologists and laypeople, would be able to understand the basics of the technology. The articles are based on answering 7 questions:

1. What is it?
2. How does it work?
3. Who’s doing it?
4. Why is it significant?
5. What are the downsides?
6. Where is it going?
7. What are the implications for higher education.

The 7 questions are those that would be asked by those who may be looking at implementing or trialing the technology. The publications provide a means to explain to an institutional committee who would decide if the technology would be a good fit for the institution.

EDUCAUSE: 7 Things format is very simple as it answers the questions in a 2-page PDF paper published throughout the year when there are updates or new technologies that need to analyzed. I find that the format is very easy to follow and the language is simplistic enough that everyone would be able to understand it. One thing I noted was the case studies that were provided and I found that these added to the realism of the technology and if usage would be right for the institution.

I find that this is a very viable site and it will become a permanent bookmark on my computer. It is also a good area to send or refer those who are looking for basic information on a technology.


Educause: 7 Things

The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative 7 Things You Should Know series is a collection of 100 two-page articles, each focused on a single topic related to the use of the latest technology in post secondary education  (Educause, 2013).

Although they are primarily intended for the faculty and students of colleges and universities, their concise nature, combined with their simple style and language, makes them accessible to people in other levels of education as well as the general public.

Each article aims to answer the following seven questions related to its topic:

  1. What is it?
  2. How does it work?
  3. Who’s doing it?
  4. Why is it significant?
  5. What are the downsides?
  6. Where is it going?
  7. What are the implications for higher education?

This provides a useful framework for:

–       introducing and evaluating new technology

–       inspiring technological development

–      keeping up-to-date with emerging technologies

I have already browsed through a number of issues and have managed to locate several articles related to our team market analysis topic. They may be able to provide us with a starting point from which to begin our investigation and some ideas about how to proceed from there.

I will definitely be revisiting this resource in the future, both to review articles I have already located and to find new ones. It is a very user-friendly source of technological information that I will recommend to several friends and colleagues who are interested in emerging technologies. Once you find an article of interest, you can use tags to find related resources within this library and the community and learn about new technologies for hours!


Educause. (2013, September 12). 7 Ways to use 7 things. Educause Learning Initiative, ELI7100. Retrieved from


Major Ed-Tech Trends for 2013

Hi everyone!

This article is packaged in an accessible and appealing way.  There are colourful visuals and directional arrows that guide one through the emerging Ed tech trends for 2013.  This document is designed to be a brief overview of some of the trends anticipated this year and it provides that, with little surprises or depth of information.  Nevertheless, the document manages to provide several examples regardless.

I thought it was interesting to start with SMS.  This is not an attention grabber and did not seem to be as relevant as technologies such as social media or free online university courses.

I was also surprised to see 3D printing presented so prominently.  I had not previously considered the connections between 3D printing and classroom practice.  Although a few examples are mentioned, I am somewhat skeptical, without more information, about the likelihood that my classroom (or any classroom that I visit regularly) will be equipped with a 3D printer this year (or next year for that matter).

I found my personal interest drifting to those technologies included as footnotes at the end of the page.  BYOD, game-based learning and e-books (particularly those with integrated accessibility options such as text-to-speech) are much more relevant to my work as a learning support teacher.  Perhaps links to more details regarding each of the topics to further information would have allowed those interested to explore specifics in more detail and perhaps learn from experiences of those who have worked with the technologies already.

Overall, I thought the document is interesting to browse through and easy to navigate, though lacked some key details, more examples and background information that many professionals within different organizations would be interested in.

If this sort of document were improved in the manner suggested above, I would definitely subscribe and recommend it to other educators as well.  As it stands now, the document would be a great discussion starter for professional development, staff meetings and Ed tech workshops.  These could be venues were details, suggestions for implementation and examples of use in classrooms could be explored in greater depth.

Ed tech venturers might require a document with a little more depth in order to make decisions about the creation, direction and implementation of technologies.  This might be something that might be shared through social media with colleagues rather than become the basis of a complex development process.


New Media Consortium Horizon Report

I found this publication to be the most informative for my practice as a teacher and technology coordinator in a secondary school. Despite the fact that it focuses on higher education, many technologies described in the document are applicable to a secondary education setting. I also looked at the K-12 version, and many predictions involve the same emerging technologies. The higher ed as well and the K-12 document follow the same format, making predictions on which technologies will be widely adopted by practitioners within one to five years. The advisory board for both document is composed of different members and each are made up of technologists, analysts, researchers, administrators, as well as business and industry leaders. Conspicuously absent from the boards are educators themselves which I found interesting. Perhaps teachers are too busy trying to connect their Smartboards properly too see the next wave of technology that will come crashing in their classrooms.

Smart aleck joke apart, I would definitely recommend that educators read the Horizon report every year to get a sense of which technologies can help them in their practice. I also think it is important for educators to know what technologies loom on the horizon, so they can participate in their development, implementation, or critic.

Learning technology specialists as well as administrators should also read the reviews to help them make informed decisions. The fact that the report revisit some of the same technologies every year may be the best tool available to them when it comes to decide which ones will fade away and which ones will stick around. Even a glimpse of what may be possible five years down the road can help them make better decisions about organizational and infrastructure upgrades.

Finally, for the entrepreneurs/developers who are not already involved in the development and implementation of the technologies reviewed, this document can point to potential ventures as it identifies problems requiring solutions. Knowing what is already taking place can also help the developers to seek simpler, cheaper, better integrated versions of these emerging technologies.


Mary Meeker 2013 Digital Trends Review

In reviewing this slide show I first look to the source of the information. The authors of this slide show are employed by an investment firm; focusing their work in high growth Internet companies. They come to the idea of digital trends with this perspective, growing their company’s capital. The author, Meeker, is highly educated, published and award winning in the area of digital growth technologies. Wu, the co-author, is relatively new in the field. He adds a younger and international expertise as he grew up in China. This perspective is very different from that of an educator, learning technologist, they are the venturers. These authors guide those that have the “big bucks” to invest. They know about making money, but do they know about education? Interestingly, the authors are open to discussion on their presentation asking for feedback. They are looking to gain perspective as well as give it.

The slide show offers 117 graphs with statistics from a wide range of studies. The visual presentation is an interesting to read. Informative slides leaves the reader questioning. To the classroom teacher, and not a statistics teacher, the barrage of information is too much at first. Although there are definitely useful pieces of information for teachers, for example, teacher need to know that people are changing the way they learn. Also, people like to share information, especially in picture format. Because of this, I am beginning to use digital photography and digital story telling tools to teach how to make recipes in my Foods classes. To a community of educators looking at the big picture of where education is going the information is useful and valuable. There are many different ways to expand and develop based on the information. There is enough diversity in the information that different focus groups could tap into useful content. The information presented a jumping off point, it presents trends and statistic without many conclusions or answers. For a Venturer it may provide direction for innovation. The slides mesh together ideas that guide venturers. The second half of the presentation focuses on the exploding digital market in China. A venturer would find this slideshow valuable.

As a whole, I find the information overwhelming, there is just too much of it. There are pieces of it that I find interesting and may support further learning and professional development. It left me feeling like I should get out of education and get into the high tech industry. Actually, it reinforces what I have been telling my college age daughter, there are many emerging careers are in digital technology.


Taking a look at Major Ed-tech trends for 2013

Using SMS Marketing to Connect:
This seems plausible. Of course mobile devices are on the rise. According to the article 53% of college students own a Smartphone, 93% text-message on their phones, and 89% of surveyed colleges send text message alerts as part of a crisis communication plan. What I question is who was surveyed, which colleges? Were they surveyed because of their use of SMS marketing to connect, in order to make the percentages seen in the article dominant? I can understand a college or university sending emergency notifications through students phones, however, it is mentioned that students could potentially get updates on deadlines for their classes and coursework. The latter would require professors to do this for their classes. Do professors do this? Are they willing to? Is their college/university set up for them to actually implement this?

Social Media:
Social media is everywhere. And for that reason among others, I do believe that this is a trend that has started and will continue to grow.

3D printing:
“Some predict that one day every classroom, if not every student, ill own a 3D printer”. ONE DAY, those are two words when put together create a whole lot of ambiguity. Could it mean 5 years, 10 years, 20…etc.?). I personally don’t see 3D printers as one of the forerunners on ed-tech trends, but I could be wrong.

As I read through it is clear that the information given throughout can inform teachers, ventures and the general public, however, every country, state, province, and school board functions in their own particular way. They have plans and visions they wish to implement, which I would say in general will fall into some part of the ed-tech trends, but definitely not all. Therefore, I see this ed-tech trends article as informative but not of practical use for let’s say an elementary teacher such as myself. It is good to know the direction of trends, but I am more concerned with my school board fixing the internet problems and IT support issues.