Sunday, April 23, 2006

Fun with Web 2.0!

I have been plodding through lots and lots of Web 2.0 (Read/Write Web) applications in preparation for a presentation at ACEC 2006 in October. I found a rather neat one today that allows the user to create online scrapbook pages and slide shows of multiple pages, allows RSS feeds of the scrapbook pages, and allows commenting by viewers.

The online application is called Scrapblog and is easy and fun to use! It was a nice to take a break from other less creative (but equally as powerful!) Web 2.0 apps.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Thinking about the public library of the future....

I was asked to meet with the Building Committee of my local public library to share some thoughts on what the impact of technology will be in 20 years. They wanted to know the types of things that may be coming in order to plan space, services, and so on. I did not feel comfortable making predictions for such a fast-changing area, but was able to share some thoughts about the future digitizing of materials, the gadgets that might be available, and the services that the public library will probably be offering.

My suggestions were met with both awe and discomfort, as I described my vision of what the public libary of 2026 might look like. When I left the meeting, I had some feelings of self-doubt. Was I way out of line with my ideas? When I got home, I did a little research on what others think, and I realized that I was not too brash in my statements.

I found a most interesting article, by Thomas Frey, the Director of the DaVinci Institute, that I would like to share. It certainly has caused me to think more deeply about this topic!

The Future of Libraries: Beginning the Great Transformation

In addition, an NPR program, aired in February 2006, deals with some of the same issues.
"If a Library is Bookless, What's In It?"

Thoughts and comments?

Kathy Schrock

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Bandwidth Hog!

Okay, I admit it...I was a bandwidth hog today! I am usually very polite and careful not to chew up the infrastructure of the Internet, but today I was wasteful. However, I was conducting an experiment.

This may not sound too interesting to you, but it was a lot of fun! As you may know, I am a school district technology administrator. My good friend, Midge Frazel, is a technology consultant and also is in the throes of an online Master's program in educational technology.

I wanted to "pretend" we worked together in a traditional office setting, and that our cubicles were next to one another. In order to simulate this, we both kept the audio portion of Skype open all day long. As I took phone calls and people came into my office (I warned the visitors), Midge was treated to a "day in the life of a technology administrator." I, on the other hand, got a glimpse into the life of a busy graduate student taking courses online. We conversed at times, just like we would if we worked in neighboring cubicles, but, mostly, we really just went about our work.

(The downside is that we could not go to lunch together, nor could I watch Days of Our Lives while Midge was able to watch her soap.)

How cool would it be for professional people in the working world to give kids the same experience? Eavesdropping on a physicist or astronaut for a day would be quite the virtual experience and would give students a better understanding as to what goes on in all types of occupations and environments.

(Okay, I really do not feel so bad about chewing up the bandwidth now that I have come up with an educational excuse for doing so!)

Any takers to "work" in the next cubicle for a day?

Kathy Schrock

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Mitsubishi PocketProjector LED DLP Projector

I have been watching the development of the Mitsubishi Pocket Projector with interest for over a year. It is a tiny (4.85" x1.85" x 3.85"), one pound, DLP projector that uses LED bulbs instead of regular projector bulbs. This means there is no heat, instant on and off, and is rated for 20,000 hours of use (5 hours per day for 10 years)!

It is not the brightest projector on the market at 250 lux (more about that later), but is supposedly able to be used in a dimly lit room without a problem. It can even be used with batteries (with an optional 2.5 hour battery pack) for a truly portable experience!

According to the spec sheet, it can project at SVGA 800x600, and can project a 12" to 60" (diagonal) image.

Now to the technical stuff. Most projectors we have in schools are measured in lumens, not lux, so we are used to seeing really high numbers for the brightness capacity of the devices. Lux is defined as a measure of illumination, and here is a formula that describes the relationship between lumens and lux.

Light Output (Lumen) = Illumination (Lux) x Screen Surface (square meters)

I did find some information which stated that a bright office is about 400 lux, so, with a 250 lux projector, such as this one, it is evident the lights would have to be turned down low to use this device. In addition, here is a page that provides the average lux illuminations in school settings.

So, after all is said and done, is this device the "killer device" that gets video projectors into every classroom? Will it work with an interactive whiteboard? The price of $799 is higher than was originally published for this device, but, if one takes into consideration the ease of use (no wiating for warm-up or cool down), no replacement of expensive bulbs, and the fact it can throw a decent size image from a close distance, perhaps turning the lights down low is not the end of the world...

Laptop Magazine
PC Magazine


Audio file of this post from Talkr.