Monday, July 18, 2016

The Three (Plus) Collaboration Apps I Use Every Day

1. Google Drive
There is nothing like it! No one has figured out how to enable real-time digital collaboration like Google did. At the composing and creating phase, I do everything in google drive and especially in google docs. The ability to travel in time in a single fully integrated documents has made collaboration seamless and always a blended experience. Even when I work right next to colleagues, we all look at the same product. In the days before the Google suite, we shuttled documents back and forth often losing the flow at one point or another.

2. Video Conferencing
I did not name one such app because I use different ones with different collaborators. Since I am fairly adept at technology, I use whatever others are used to. That is why I use: Adobe Connect, Skype, Zoom, Hangouts, and even Facetime. If I were pressed, I would name Skype as my most commonly used video conferencing app. This is how I connect to co-authors, students, and potential collaborators.

3. Social Media
Social media is my way to learn from people I do not know (or at least know well). My favorites are Twitter and Google Plus. Twitter has a massive reach, and I find many like minds. The downside is the 140 characters limit that collaboration- and I often find myself frustrated by the speed and brevity. Google Plus is a much smaller community, but I often find that interactions are productive and more enduring.

There are many ways that technology complicates our lives, but in collaboration it allows us to collaborate better and further than ever before.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Power of Gaming- Pokemon Go

There is an ebb and flow in the attitudes and buzz around gaming in education. This week, with the release of Pokemon Go, I saw, once again, the power of gaming in action. Pokemon Go was released. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game that allows users to interact with a Pokemon world overlaid on the real world.

My younger kids play it (10,12) of course delighting in the Pokemon they find as we drive around town. My 22-year-old son and 26-year-old nephew are also enjoying it. Reliving parts of their childhood they are interacting and discovering the hidden world around them.

Next to my house there is a park, now visiting the gazebo gives you Pokeballs and the sign is a Poke Gym. Traffic around the park has more than doubled with kids teens and adults stopping to explore the digital and the real.

My point is not to celebrate this particular game. My point is that gaming is something that appeals to the digital generation. This app makes participants move (you need 2K steps to hatch a Pomkemon egg). If done correctly it can generate learning, motivation and a sense of adventure. I can easily see a game app at a museum, sending users to find specific exhibits and discover ideas and histories. There can be a real reward but just as easily you can just have a leaderboard and levels that seem to motivate gamers. Imagine a city creating an app that provides points for each landmark, and cultural event.

Just imagine what we can do!