Posted tagged ‘2011’

8 interesting things at CeBIT Australia 2011

1 June 2011

CeBIT AustraliaI don’t find CeBIT very interesting. I’m not really an IT geek, so for me it’s a bit of a yawn fest.

However I still like to go to the expo. Amid all the server boxes and data storage units and networking solutions and management systems, I usually find a few gems that make my attendance worthwhile. And this year was no exception.

Here are the 8 things I found most interesting…

CeBIT Australia 2011 Expo

1. Getac – These guys make “rugged” laptops and tablets that are resistant to temperature, vibration, dust and water. They remind me of Motion Computing’s Motion C5 which I saw at CeBIT a couple of years ago, but Getac’s versions even look tough.

Getac Rugged Laptop

When I quizzed the rep about the keyboard, he said that if you get mud on it, you can wash it off with a hose. Clearly these devices would be perfect for m‑learning and other computing activities in workplaces such as mines, construction sites and forests.

2. NuMaps – These guys license census data from the ABS and their DrapeBrowser software lets you overlay it on a map.

Not very exciting? Well suppose you work for a financial services company that’s introducing a retirement income product for UK expatriates. You could use DrapeBrowser to identify the suburbs in Sydney that have high concentrations of British born males who are over 65 and British born females who are over 60. Now you know where to focus your mailout campaign.

3. eWAY – These guys are PayPal competitors. Enough said.

4. Interactive whiteboards – These have been around for a while, but the one I saw at the Promethean stall looked like a huge iPad.

Promethean whiteboard

The iBoard, perhaps?

5. Emotiv – I was super keen to see a demo of this brain/computer interface, but I was a bit disappointed. The punter who was doing the training exercise couldn’t get the little box to move on the screen. The presenter assured us that others who have trained properly can indeed move the box just by thinking about it.

The implications for the gaming industry are obvious, but given you can also move a robotic car attached to the computer, the broader potential is mind boggling. They are also working on a wireless version.

6. Australian Defence Force – Unfortunately these guys were interesting for the wrong reasons. They had brochures about becoming a soldier or a sailor or even a tradie – which is fine – but CeBIT is an expo for geeks.

How about a brochure about becoming a cyber operations officer or a geomatics engineer or a cryptologic technician?

7. Chargebar – Running out of battery is no fun. A free mobile-charging kiosk with multiple attachments is a godsend.

8. An absence of scantily clad women – You might think this is a strange one coming from a red-blooded male, but those PYTs in nothing more than a bikini were a blight on previous events.

There were, however, a rather unusual number of knockouts who happened to be dressed in business attire. I’m sure it was just a coincidence.


ElNet Workplace E-learning Congress 2011

15 March 2011

Last week I attended ElNet’s Workplace E-learning Congress in Sydney.

As per my tradition, I will share my 1-line takeaways with you here, and I am more than happy to discuss them further. Simply add a comment!

Please note my 1-liners don’t necessarily reflect a synopsis of each presentation. Instead, they represent something specific that I found particularly worthwhile.

ElNet 2011

Tom Kuhlman knows that learners won’t complain about a lack of interactivity if the content is relevant.

Aside: Tom’s insight reminds me of one of my earliest blog posts, Text ain’t half bad, and aligns with thoughts I’m having currently about mobile learning. Stay tuned… ;o)

Lisa Vincent – well actually, Lisa’s guest – claimed the responsible investment approach predicted something bad was going to happen to BP.

Aside: His claim reminds me of another blog post, Noise pollution, in which I argue real environmental management is in the hands of corporations and individuals, not governments.

Ruth McElhone assigns points to her students for their contributions to an internal social media platform, and they require 1000 points to pass the course.

Aside: This one surprised me because the motivation is extrinsic rather than the universally admired intrinsic. Ruth also explained that she pre-approves all the contributions for relevance and substance. I see it as a Catch 22: If you drop the points system, will anyone bother participating? If you relieve yourself of the burden of pre-approval, will superficial junk ensue?

Mark Samuels shared success stories in the corporate sector that demonstrate m-learning works if you align it to your purpose.

Aside: This one seems obvious until you consider all the time and energy that’s wasted on hot trends and buzzwords that end up going nowhere. While m-learning is not a flash in the pan, you should harness it carefully as a means of achieving your desired outcome (whatever that may be). Don’t do it just because everyone else is.

Alison Bickford demonstrated content-rich VLEs on the Confluence platform.

Aside: Alison’s VLEs are wonderful examples of Informal Learning Environments (ILEs) as per How to revamp your learning model.

Erin McCuskey recommends treating your training video like a mini Hollywood production – with character development, a storyline and emotional connection – which makes it so much more engaging.

Aside: With the advent of the Flip camera, anyone can create authentic video clips. All you need is a dash of creativity.

Clinton Smith contrasted the main varieties of e-learning in the VET sector in 2004 – self-paced learning (online courses), online distance learning and web in class – against those in 2008 – which now include live online learning (virtual classes), knowledge sharing (social networking) and virtual worlds, simulations and games.

Aside: I see a similar trend in the corporate sector in terms of increasing use of virtual classes and social platforms. Will these, coupled with Alison’s VLEs, kill the online course? Apparently not according to Clint’s comment below, or perhaps it depends on the sector…?

Top 5 things I hope not to hear in 2011

11 January 2011

The title of this article is self explanatory, so here goes…

1. Death by PowerPoint

If you mean “death by bullet point” then say that instead.

PowerPoint is just a tool. A poor tradesman blames his tools.

2. I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn

…if we’ve never met.

LinkedIn even tells you “Invitations should only be sent to people you know personally”.

Take the hint.

3. Dear Twitter

Twitter isn’t the Batcomputer.

It’s a bunch of people, many of whom would be delighted to help you.

Try “Dear friends” or even #lazyweb – it’s cute.

4. Learning styles don’t exist

The research doesn’t say that.

It says there isn’t sufficient empirical evidence to prove whether they do or don’t exist.

What you do with that pearl of wisdom is another story.

5. If Facebook were a country

We’ve heard this 600 million times already.

How many of these so-called “users” are actually second account holders, imposters, gags, pet dogs and rubber duckies?

Regardless, yes, Facebook has millions of users.

We get it.