Dead Drop no.1

Dead drop is a term that describes a way for two espionage agents to signal an exchange, or some event. This collection of sites with a bit of text is similar to that. It’s funny how I’ve done these things in waves – this time the infrequency will continue but I’ll try to use this titling to link it all together.


Both these articles are deep-ish dives into the related fields of gamification, digital badges and extrinsic motivation. One from a design perspective, which is part of the story I’ll be talking about this summer – how well designed badging experiences can help with adoption – and really understanding your audience and who you’ll be badging. The other is part of the HASTAC research project on K-12 students and looks at the effectiveness of badges on that group.

Data Visualization/Storytelling with Data

I’ve really rediscovered how much I love A List Apart. I haven’t built a full on website for a couple years, and wouldn’t consider it part of my daily job, but I really do love designing things. With that said, there’s a narrative story that most sites have, whether you recognize it or not. Big data visualizations are really telling you a story as a website tells/sells you a story.

Web Design

A really great framework for sites courtesy of Cogdogblog. I’ve been thinking about creating a website for myself, which would link here, and to the photo gallery I’m planning on doing up and trying to build something that touches the intersecting parts of my life. I’m not sure why, after 20 years on the Internet I think this is the time to build a vanity site, but maybe it is? I think back to all the things I’ve done that should be documented somewhere (but aren’t) and all the work I’ve done on ePortfolios, and it seems like I should be doing this more seriously. And age is a factor I’m sure. It’s funny that I’ve tried to keep my social life, my family life and my “professional” life separate, and done quite well at segmenting the three areas. I have no problem sharing parts of those lives within each context, but I’m 99% sure that people that know me from educational technology circles don’t necessarily care about my band.

Deep Learning/Surveillance Society

Yeah, creepy. I’ve had three conversations about leaving Facebook with three different people this week. Reminder, in 2014 Facebook did the exact same thing:

What I Learned This Week (Part 5)

Finally, one of my major pet peeves with Google has been answered. Matt Cutts announced late in October that Google Docs now lets you do a bulk export. I’ve played with Docs a lot, but never considered it a real threat to Word in my workflow as I couldn’t get all of my crap off of the one system in one shot. Now I can. Thank you Google for doing the right thing.

Was listening to Martin Weller’s presentation for CCK09 about the Pedagogy of Abundance, and while Martin’s presentation content was great, the sound was difficult. It wasn’t the quality of sound per se, although it was a bit rough around the edges. I don’t know if it’s just me, or a combination of my background as a sound engineer and sensitive listener, or if it was just my mood, but the sound was off.

It got me thinking about the aesthetics of sound, and how sounds might be pleasurable or distracting, and how that works in a networked learning environment. Clearly, the aesthetics of the new media environments extend further than the visual realm and will have to be considered when developing e-learning courses and environments. With the ubiquity of good sound devices, we still will have to have quiet spaces from which to broadcast, or record.

I also found out about Sherlock, the Codec Detective. I’m not sure how Apple feels about the possible name confusion (although I’m not sure that Apple’s search is called Sherlock anymore either), but this is a great little utility that helps one figure out if they have a video codec installed or not. As everything moves towards Flash video, this sort of tool may not be needed in the future, but in the meantime it’s incredibly useful for me, as I switch between several different machines throughout the day and may need to edit video on any of them.

Visualization of data is a huge trend, and in my opinion only going to get bigger as text literacy declines in favour of visual literacy. I’m not saying text literacy will disappear; just that visual literacy becomes more important in the future. Flowing Data posted an interesting contest, to see if a correlation can be drawn between SAT scores and class size. The contest isn’t about the correlation per se, but it’s about the visualization and what comes of it.