Learner-Shaped Technology

October 26, 2009

Scrivener Rocks as a Course Design Tool

Filed under: demo,education,general,technology,time management,writing — Tags: — Mike W @ 2:45 pm

I mentioned in an earlier post how much I liked Scrivener as a writing tool.  As I used the program to write some learning goals for an upcoming course, I began to realize how powerful it is for facilitating the entire course development process.

Here’s a brief video demonstration which shows how I’m using it for course design as well as reflection and organization during the course.


While there’s only a Mac version available, Literature and Latte, the maker of Scrivener, has provided a list of supporting and alternative softwareWriteItNow is mentioned as an alternative for the PC, but I haven’t tried it yet.  Anybody out there have any experience with WriteItNow?

June 15, 2009

Visualizing the World – Wow!

Filed under: data visualization,education,general,gis,mapping,technology — Mike W @ 12:36 pm

This is a really powerful tool for viewing global statistics that might be useful for class.  The visualizations in Hans Rosling’s presentation  are pretty amazing.

Motion Map

The tool Rosling uses in the presentation is available online (along with his blog).  It took me a little while to figure it out how to use it, but experimentation with the maps and charts, along with the video tutorial, really helped me realize how much is here.

Indicators include health, economic, education, environmental, and more data from the UN.

The site also provides information about how you can use Google Spreadsheets to make your own motion charts.  I experimented, and the process is fairly straight-forward for charts but doesn’t include the mapping piece, which is available for the UN data on Rosling’s site.


Total Oil Consumption – Let’s get on those bikes or carpool America 🙂

May 25, 2009

Scrivener – A great tool for writing

Filed under: demo,education,technology,writing — Mike W @ 9:45 am

What’s this demo about?

I wholeheartedly agree with Bryan Bibb’s great overview of Scrivener . Scrivener is an amazing tool for writers and allows for easy organization of a wide variety of resources. This tool has transformed my writing process!

Additional Detail:

The software is only available for the Mac. 🙁

How long is it?

The overview video is fairly long but definitely worth the time to get a sense of what this software can do.


view the demo

May 14, 2009

Geospatial Revolution Project

Filed under: education,gis,google earth,mapping,technology — Mike W @ 10:36 am

Now that spring semester is over, I’m hoping to pick up my blogging pace again. Penn State University announced the geospatial revolution project recently, which involves the creation of video episodes to explain the importance and role of geospatial technologies in our world. Check out the trailer below. This looks intriguing!

Whenever I try to articulate my excitement about the power of geospatial technologies for learning across the curriculum, I’m usually disappointed in my ability to convey the message. It looks like these episodes might do a much better job of highlighting that connection. I’m currently taking GIS courses through Penn State’s online program, so I recognize at least one of the interviewees in the clip!


January 19, 2008

Science Projects and the NFL

Filed under: education,football,general,science — Mike W @ 6:47 pm

eyeblack experiment The upcoming NFL matchup between the Packers and the Giants on the frozen tundra of Lambeau field this Sunday helped my youngest daughter design an experiment for her upcoming science fair project. She’s been studying heat, so we’ve been discussing what Green Bay fans can do, if anything, to stay somewhat warm during the game.

I’ll share more details once we have data, but it’s the second NFL-inspired project we’ve undertaken in the last few years. The strange picture above was taken during experiments carried out by my oldest daughter when she was in second grade. We were wrestling with science fair project ideas and took a break to watch football when she asked, “Dad ,why do they wear that black stuff under their eyes?”. A visit to the wig shop (for the styrofoam head) and the sporting goods store, along with a borrowed light meter, provided the raw materials.

indoor eyeblack

We didn’t see a difference indoors or outdoors in the amount of light entering the eye, but she conjectured that the light meter doesn’t have the same kind of peripheral vision that we do. She didn’t use those exact words of course.

While we were experimenting, Ricky Proehl (pictured below), then wide receiver for the Carolina Panthers (and fellow Wake grad, I might add), was signing autographs at a nearby sporting goods store. My daughter took the opportunity to ask him a few questions, since he wears eye black. He admitted that there might be a bit of habit and superstition involved, but he felt it really helped him see better, especially indoors. He was really friendly and patient and seems to be a great a guy. We added the eye black with photoshop.

Ricky Proehl

More formal studies seem to suggest it helps with glare and contrast sensitivity and that the grease is better than the stickers. Plus it looks tough! That’s the real reason I wore it while playing high school baseball, since my hitting wasn’t going to impress any girls. I even remember swiping grime out of the tail pipe of my car before one game because I ran out. Gross.

Go Packers! With wind chills way below zero, light glare is going to be the least of the players’ worries this weekend.

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