Mad about Mendeley: An Academic Knowledge Sharing and Managing Tool for Researchers

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Wed, 07/15/2009 - 4:55pm.
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Back in March, Anthony and I blogged about Mendeley (“men-del-lay”), a free research paper sharing and managing software developed by seasoned researchers, graduate students, and open source developers from various academic institutions. When it caught our attention, it was available as beta 0.6. My initial impression was somewhere between lukewarm to curious in seeing how their long-term vision gets realized.

Now in its beta 0.9 version, Mendeley has impressed me with further implementing their design and development goals. This time I also learned that the amazing team based in London work with the former founding engineers of Skype and’s former chairman.

Simply put, it r.o.c.k.s and here’s why I think so.


Rewind to July 1st <<

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Mon, 07/06/2009 - 5:23pm.
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So what did others talk about?

Again, thank you everyone for participating in the group activity last Wednesday. Critter team is happily overloaded with great ideas for improvement.

The 5-minute speeches about possible learning scenarios are now uploaded on Critter.

We encourage you to view and comment on Critter, but the unedited clips are also available here.


Kids as Design Partners

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Tue, 06/30/2009 - 9:40am.
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At the University of Maryland's Human-Computer Interaction Lab, researchers and kids work together to design new tech tools for children. The RA being interviewed has it right: kids are experts at being kids, so who better to ask for ideas? Where better to go for observing and understanding the needs for redesign?

This video reminded me of how important it is to challenge the power dynamics of any organizational situation in order to promote innovation and free thinking.

My favorite part? It's at 1:40 when a child says,

We work with the National Park Service a lot. Some of the games on their websites are sort of cheesy, so we help to fix them up and stuff.


Test Drive Critter (Wed 6/24 – Tue 6/30)

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Wed, 06/24/2009 - 10:31am.
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Team Critter would like to kindly ask everyone at EdLab to test drive our prototype. It will take about 25 minutes if you're visiting Critter for the first time.

Please begin when you are tagged by a colleague. Once you're finished with testing and completing our online survey, then place your headshot photo sticker to the friendly animal that was given to you when you were tagged. Finally, tag someone else! Say hello to someone whom you haven't met yet, yay.

We will have a prize for the team with the longest chain of tags by the end of the test drive. No one person can test drive more than once. The best strategy for winning is trying to participate and making sure you are tagging others quickly and encouraging them to participate and keep the chain going.

We also have embedded a feedback tool inside of Critter that you can use to write short comments as you use it. We encourage you to save your feedback for the usability survey above, but if you encounter bugs or other issues that you want to report immediately, then go ahead and click the "Write Feedback" tab to give us feedback.


Trends in Ed, 6.8.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Mon, 06/08/2009 - 11:12pm.
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An eye-catcher: EdTech in Practice

An article on today’s NYT, “Connecticut District Tosses Algebra Textbooks and Goes Online,” covered a story on how frustrated math teachers decided to rewrite the algebra curriculum, cutting about half of the concepts that have been taught in the past. They did so to help students develop a deeper understanding of key topics. What’s actually more interesting is that teachers in Westport, CT have started replacing textbooks with their own custom-designed online curriculum.

The lessons are typically written in Westport and then sent to a program in India, called HeyMath!, to jazz up the algorithms and problem sets with animation and sounds.

This 50-sec video shows how it’s done:

The end of Peterson's guide to colleges? How about this excellent reference for prospective Archi students?


Trends in Ed, 6.3.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Wed, 06/03/2009 - 4:57pm.
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The Marriage of Future Publishing and Reading

Do you like to read online or are you the type who loves to actually hold a book in your hands? (Hi Jess B!)

Whatever side you are on, portable e-books like Kindle isn’t what I’m about to recommend.

Clive Thompson, a writer/columnist on science, tech, and culture for the New York Times Magazine, Wired, and Fast Company, advocates for digital reading from a very interesting perspective here.

Thompson says:

Every other form of media that's gone digital has been transformed by its audience. Whenever a newspaper story or TV clip or blog post or white paper goes online, readers and viewers begin commenting about it on blogs, snipping their favorite sections, passing them along. The only reason the same thing doesn't happen to books is that they're locked into ink on paper.


Trends in Ed, 6.1.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Mon, 06/01/2009 - 10:58am.
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Open Government Innovations Gallery

Following up with Rebekah’s mention of, I was quiet impressed to find that the open government initiative is chugging along. First, the open government innovations gallery shows some examples of new ways in which various government agencies are applying transparency, participation, and collaboration. Seeing these examples could open a whole new set of ideas for our current work!

Two particularly interesting picks from the gallery:

NARA (National Archives and Records Administration)’s COLLABORATE
- Currently in the pilot stage, The National Archives Experience is developing a new website to make it easier for teachers to incorporate primary sources into their classroom teaching. (Link to the COLLABORATE Forum)


Trends in Ed, 5.27.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Wed, 05/27/2009 - 10:38am.
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Notes on Design Thinking

Mark Dziersk, the VP at Brandimage-Desgrippes & Laga, one of the world's largest design and branding firms, calls design thinking currently an "It" concept across multiple sectors. He also teaches "Design and Design Thinking" at Northwestern University and for those who aren't there in hot body, he has ten things to demand from design thinkers.

While some of his points seems most relevant for consumer product brand marketing, some of them are applicable to any project. After all, as Frederik recently blogged, there are design-thinking projects and programs that are specific to K-12 education. (Link to k12 laboratory at Stanford


Trends in Ed, 5.18.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Mon, 05/18/2009 - 10:44am.
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Create-your-own, Powerful, Flash Contents
Yooba is a new web-based Flash CMS tool for interactive flash-based content and requires no programming skills. It allows individuals and businesses to make Flash objects into an entire presentation or clips that could be embedded into websites. This is yet another introduction of internet marketing/campaign tool and if used cleverly, there could be great implications for media literacy education. Public switch is set for June 8th.

Game Education Summit 2009
The 2009 Game Education Summit will be held from June 16 to 17 at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University, offering seven tracks:


Trends in Ed, 5.13.09

Submitted by Arianna Choi on Wed, 05/13/2009 - 11:56am.
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SPACE: What do you need it for?

My reaction to seeing the whiteboard outside EdLab’s main door is that I kept pausing whenever my eyes caught the word “space” while sifting through the latest blog posts about learning & teaching, eTech, new media, the usual’s and unusal’s. As a nod to the upcoming seminar on (re)designing our atelier, I wanted to share a thought-provoking presentation titled Space The Final Frontier.

The speaker is Stephen Heppell, Professor of New Media Enviornments at the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice, Bournemouth University, UK; he was also on the board that founded and nurtured teacher’s tv.

He suggests some key issues to address when trying to create space conducive to collaborative and creative learning in higher-ed institutions:

Agility, not flexibility

Although we won’t be discussing about renovating the entire building, the most interesting part I found was at around minute 3:00. Watch/hear about a Coopenhagen school that asked, if our students are moving a lot less, then why not use the stairwells for something other than they have normally been used for?

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