New Tech

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Given our interest in new arenas of information and instructional technologies, such as wearable computational tutors, ontological tools on the semantic web, GIS systems for field work by employees, GPS tracking for student-created robots, psychophysiological tools, and other such topics, we are only beginning a long-view look at what what technology innovation can bring in the future for instructional design. Our interests focus on what drives learning, how technology can open up access to learning, cross cultural and language barriers, and especially how technologies can capture the interest from an as yet unidentified audience of new learners! Select the Research page to see what investigations we are pursuing at present.

We especially love innovation, science, media, mobile technology, stories about learning, and those who research in these areas. To share our interests, we provide some of our favorite sites and resources here. Further below, you can find some online tools, toys, and advanced technologies to explore.

We have begun a new research endeavor looking into a virtual reality teacher training program called, “3D GameLab,” from Boise State University.  Check our ‘Technology in Learning Blog’ for some thoughts about “virtuality” for learning environments.

Ira Flatow’s Science Friday Films and Resources
Investigate Discovery Channel’s teacher resources:
See KQED’s Quest Educator Resources

NEW TECHNOLOGY: If you would like to start exploring, here are a few of our favorite technology tools (some new, some older) to try.  Most are small creation tools. All are free or have free trials. To get a well-rounded introduction to new technologies including well-written and researched blogs and articles, see Robin Good’s MasterNewMedia site. The following list is somewhat irreverent, but then we suspect you wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much if it wasn’t. If you have a great example of the instructional use of any of these or equally good technologies, please share it here! – This little application makes announcing the next learning task just a little more fun. Check out our first announcement: News from Hawaii
[Instructional Uses: Consider applying characterization to a story, or having students embed clues or facts in their projects.]

Archive – Anything old … you can find it.
[Instructional Uses: Research historical and sociological information; teach copyright and appropriate uses of primary sources]

Blabberize turn any picture into a “blabber” photo. Well, it has possibilities for education(!) and definitely potential for some corporate sites. Come see what we tried for our NatureShift site invitation!
[Instructional Uses: Have pictures tell their own stories! Have images explain what they show, such as a cell tell how it is undergoing mitosis. Get a young reader’s attention. Stage a debate. Teach about syncing audio.]

Go Animate – Make animations easy … and free.
[Instructional Uses: This technology can provide “illustration” that any user can create: on the job, in the classroom, on the product showcase floor, etc.]

Glogster – Make your own Posters or have your students make better ones! [Instructional Uses: Teach organization of ideas (especially visual); teach graphic design and layout; or, teach how to coordinate group activities.] – View and manage all your network site postings from a single dashboard. In one friendly user interface, you can broadcast an important message to your Twitter, microblog, Facebook or other accounts without logging in or out. Also check out “” below for a similar but somewhat different aggregation tool.
[Instructional Uses: Instructor can send diverse messages to class or workshop participants for quick results on mobile phones or other technology; or instructor could broadcast a quick quiz or instruction on-the-fly.]

Incredibox – talking animations with editing

Kerpoof Make a short movie — really, it’s that easy!
[Instructional Uses: Learners can teach others; record journals; turn writing into a visual story; demonstrate an abstract concept in action; record a project for a portfolio; create a visual resume.]

Mindmeister – Blow your mind with this social mind-mapping tool!
[Instructional Uses: If you used Inspiration in the past, this is a far more robust and collaborative mind-mapping tool. Student groups can cooperate to create a map of their project or create an image and text map of their notes; trainers can have workshop participants or employees demonstrate understanding of a process.] – is one of the highest rated microblogs for keeping your business or classroom connected and connecting. You can upload your postings to other network sites, such as a site, or upload a posting to your account from your mobile phone and simultaneously upload your post to your Twitter or other account.
[Instructional Uses: See “Hootsuite” except add more functions. Students can stay in touch on-the-go, and update mom and their facebook page at the same time. In the field, learners can document with pictures and upload to the class course site in one easy session.]

Prezi 3D object mapping with animated path.
[Instructional Uses: Individually or in groups, create story elements in text, images, and sound, then map the path that tells the story, or presents the story to an audience.]

Star Walk (for iPad) – star and constellation finder among a myriad other potential uses. My new latest favorite! What won me was not the fact that you can view the stars and constellations in your night sky in front of you, but that you can point the iPad at the ground and see the stars and constellations in sky on the exact other side of the Earth from you! Now, that is using the tools of today.

PROGRAMMING – For the Young at Heart

  • Alice – A robust 3D programming tool with tutorials, community blog, and much more. 
  • Scratch – A very smart programming delight for young children to teens and above, developed and maintained by M.I.T.

School Notes – for educators to create their own classroom portal and school-to-home connection.

SpaceTime – a 3D browser for collecting your favorites into an animated 3D window that allows you to search, organize your pages, and skip around in an unlimited space of collected pages.
[Instructional Uses: Create a 3D WebQuest that can be downloaded to the desktop]

Tagxedo Wordle in shapes
[Instructional Uses: Map documents, files, speeches, etc. to show the dominant words and ideas – just like with Wordle. But this time, put the words into a representative shape.]

Voki – Create custom avatars!
[Instructional Uses: Customize and differentiate the learning environment with a personal avatar the learner can create for themselves – instant motivation!] – Just a fun way to post your notices without the paper trash! … Wall trash – that’s another matter!!
[Instructional Uses: in the work environment, a changing notice board saves paper, and can target learning goals on a project; in classrooms, students can create their own grafitti boards to encourage comment on the story they are reading; or keep journal notes on an experiment.]

Wordle The original word mapping visualization software.
[Instructional Use: Find the dominant ideas in a primary source document; demonstrate links in ideas; study language usage.]

Xtranormal – If you can type you can make movies. Caveat: you cannot download on the free trial.

Are you an avid new technology hunter? Keep current with Robin Good’s Best Online Collaboration Tools – that is, if you can scroll through the huge link map, made with social mind-mapping tool, Mindmeister (see above).

Some areas of future technology interest:

Ontology Engineering Group at Facultad de Informática, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid – can you find their latest results for Fortunata, mining the Semantic Web?

ASTD 2011

Full course, Yippee It’s Free!, at

Agenda: (create animated GIFs instantly) (Kids posters in 3 easy steps)



Google Docs

Google Sites


See also: (multimedia posters for education)




See “Files” for course data:


Free Media A list of places to get free audio, video, and images for use in projects.

Flickr Creative Commons Photos

Jamendo Creative Commons Licensed Music for use in Projects

Creative Commons The source for information about sharing and using materials openly

Wikimedia Commons Database of freely usable media files

ELMS – E-Learning Management System Open-Source Drupal constructed for e-learning


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