Digital vs. Analogue: Silencing Audio Books

Submitted by Laura Costello on Wed, 01/04/2012 - 7:18pm.
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Brilliance Audio, an audio book publisher owned by Amazon, has recently withdrawn its titles from OverDrive. Is this a coincidence or bleed over from OverDrive e-book withdrawals by major publishers? Amazon also owns Audible, a much larger and more stalwartly digital publisher of audio content. It’s possible that the withdrawal is related to a possible merger or Audible hosting of Brilliance content. The INFOdocket article on the subject also suggests the possibility that Amazon will offer these titles with Prime lending.

For digital vs. analogue, I'd like to consider the e-book bleed over possibility. Audio book content well preceded e-books in the digital lending sphere and emerged with fewer splashy management issues. It’s interesting to see something like this now and it makes me wonder if the recent e-book drama has caused audio book publishers to rethink their relationships with public libraries.


How to Win Friends in EdTech

Submitted by Laura Costello on Tue, 01/03/2012 - 6:49pm.
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O’Reilly School of Technology recently posted a rant by Scott Gray about CodeAcademy and the development of new formats in education. It’s a little snarky, especially considering all the plugs for O’Reilly’s CodeRunner system as a CodeAcademy alternative, but I got a kick out of Gray's 4-step recipe for instant popularity in educational technology:

1. It must be free, with minimal transaction effort.

2. There should be exaggerated claims of ultimate learning outcomes without evidence. Place the promise on the future, not now.

3. It needs to make people feel like they've learned something in a few minutes by giving them a thumbs up, or badge for accomplishing something trivial.


Best of: Kate Meersschaert

Submitted by Laura Costello on Sat, 12/31/2011 - 11:45am.
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All Kate’s articles are memorable, but I think this one is very representative and inspired a lot of people inside and outside of EdLab. When I was investigating the curation website I stumbled across it in a mini-pub called technology tools for teaching French. This is also the article that inspired Vialogues for Language Acquisition! Though it’s not technically NLT, I think it really created a groundwork for our new content stream Digital vs. Analogue which explains the occasionally strained relationship between old and new methods of teaching and learning.

French Teachers Use Twitter to Teach Writing

French teachers are experimenting with Twitter as a way to teach primary school students to write and read. Twitter's 140 characters are viewed by teachers like Jean-Roch Masson as a way to encourage budding writers to, "be the journalists of our (their) own lives." This article, translated from Le Monde by WorldCrunch describes a typical morning in a Twitter-positive classroom:


EdLab Review: Flubaroo

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 3:09pm.
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Flubaroo (pronounced floo-ba-roo, not flub-a-roo as I initially thought) is a Google Docs add on meant to assist teachers with grading. Flubaroo checks against a teacher-created key to automatically grade, create statistics, and distribute grades to students via email.

Flubaroo is an extremely simple, need-based tool created by a teacher and it fulfills its role well. They system is meant to be automated, but alerts teachers when more than half of the class gets a particular question wrong. It’s fast and simple, if a little impersonal, and seems like it could dramatically decrease the workload for the right teacher. Google Docs integration means that it takes very little setup or sign-up to begin working and the process is natural for someone used to working with the Docs platform.


Research Digest: DDA and the Workflow Issue

Submitted by Laura Costello on Thu, 12/22/2011 - 5:22pm.
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De Fino, M. & Lo, M. L. (2011). New roads for patron-driven ebooks: Collection development and technical services implications of a patron-driven acquisitions pilot at rutgers. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 23(4), 327-338.

Rutgers University recently implemented a demand driven acquisitions program for electronic resources, this article describes changes to their workflow and concerns surrounding the future of collections development at their institution. Rutgers, moving from a librarian managed collection to a largely automated collection, had a strong barrier to entry and required large-scale reorganization. One of the major moves for Rutgers was a change from individual to batch catalog processing, their local bibliographic standards were not always upheld and they resolved to individually edit problematic records post-upload to maintain the catalog.


Digital vs. Analogue: Updates for Video Privacy?

Submitted by Laura Costello on Wed, 12/21/2011 - 2:59pm.
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Gather around friends and I shall tell you an old librarian tale: Long ago when movies meant VHS, a judge’s video rental records leaked to the press during his Supreme Court nomination. Chaos ruled the land until the formation of the Video Privacy Protection act which binds all rental agencies, be they private or public, to protect the privacy of their users. Libraries rejoiced at the reinforcement of their long-held professional duty, all the Blockbusters in the kingdom fell in line and they all lived happily ever after...


Then Facebook happened.

There’s been a sea change over the meaning of the Video Privacy Protection act in the context of social network sharing and streaming video. Two years ago, both Facebook and Netflix ran afoul of the law in regards to targeted advertising and recommendation algorithm tweaking respectively. The Video Privacy Protection act currently requires users to provide written consent for each title and instance of sharing. The proposed update to the law, which has just passed in the House, would allow users to consent once to sharing and allow web consent.


EdLab Review: Projeqt

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 12/16/2011 - 6:57pm.
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Projeqt is a non-linear presentation and storytelling website. Like Prezi, it aims to address the post-powerpoint world with greater freedom, style, and portability. Projeqt draws more heavily from the slide model, but allows users to create tangents and alternate paths in their presentations.

Projeqt allows users to create professional-looking, branded, shareable, and embeddful presentations without much fuss. It’s easy to get signed up and immersed in the project and the networking opportunities are robust. I can see this being useful for portfolios and conference presentations because it’s extremely easy to connect to social networks and external sites.

Though it’s quite a bit prettier, Projeqt is a bit like a locked down Powerpoint 2.0. The best thing about Powerpoint is that it allows an unprecedented level of freedom among Office products. Projeqt is in a bigger pond, but it doesn’t evoke the same feelings of control. In fact, there are very few layout options. While it’s true that the finished product looks a lot better than my liberated Powerpoint efforts, it’s a bit stuffy for my tastes.


Research Digest: Ebrary Download Survey

Submitted by Laura Costello on Thu, 12/15/2011 - 4:38pm.
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McKiel, A.M. (2011) Ebrary Download Survey.

Ebrary, the primary provider and host of e-books for our library, recently published the results of a 2011 survey of the current e-content practices and interactions in academic libraries. This was clearly a vendor-funded paper, though the author is a librarian. In response to a survey comment about the feasibility of electronic interlibrary loan, McKeil stated “interlibrary loan does not make sense in the context of the Internet. Demanding it inhibits the evolution of a model that utilizes the functionality of the Internet” (8). Despite its flaws, the survey presents an interesting picture of an industry firmly rooted in past models, but deeply considering the implications of change.


Name the iPad Room Booking Project

Submitted by Laura Costello on Tue, 12/13/2011 - 6:48pm.
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Thanks for your help and feedback on the iPad wall housings, a sample of the favorite is on its way. With all the wheel-turning that's been going on recently in collaboration support land, we've found we need a better way to talk about the project. The wall-mounted iPad room booking system just doesn't roll off the tongue.

Let's put that famous EdLab brain power to work and generate a snazzy moniker for this futuristic project. I'm going to give Urtak a try in the polling! I added my 7 favorite brainstormed names, but it's rolling polling so you can add yours to the mix as well!

iPad Name Poll

Thanks in advance for your help!


EdLab Review: Urtak

Submitted by Laura Costello on Fri, 12/09/2011 - 7:13pm.
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Yes. No. Don’t Care. Urtak brings simplicity to online surveys. The idea is that with only three possible responses, surveys will be hard not to finish. Urtak also relies on crowd power to evolve and improve surveys. Survey takers can add their own questions and answer questions asked by their peers. The result is a simple, growing way to survey and engage readership.

Urtak is dead simple and very intuitive. As soon as users answer a question, the responses appear in the form of a pie chart. There is instant gratification built in to the process. As soon as you choose one of three options, color coded results appear in their place. 4% of survey takers like the smell of dirty socks? Extremely addictive. I suggest a try of the General Interest survey. As the first Urtak endeavor, it’s snowballed into a massive 17,000+ survey that’s endearingly erratic. The survey curates itself. The more survey takers that “don’t care” about a question, the fewer times it will be asked to others.

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