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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gates, Jobs & the Zen Aesthetic

This is actually quite fascinating. If you have your students use Power Point (or other presentation software) at all, take a look. There is power in the completely BLANK slide.

Qwiki Public Alpha

A new search engine to try out! Qwiki was initially limited to select users during a private "alpha" testing phase. It has since been opened to the public. 

Have you seen Wall-E? Remember when the captain starts talking to the ship's computer and asks it questions about Earth? That's sort of what the Qwiki "information experience" is supposed to be like. Give it a shot.

Our Mission

Qwiki's goal is to forever improve the way people experience information.

Whether you’re planning a vacation on the web, evaluating restaurants on your phone, or helping with homework in front of the family Google TV, Qwiki is working to deliver information in a format that's quintessentially human – via storytelling instead of search.

We are the first to turn information into an experience. We believe that just because data is stored by machines doesn’t mean it should be presented as a machine-readable list. Let's try harder.

Think of asking your favorite teacher about Leonardo Da Vinci, or your most well-traveled friend about Buenos Aires: this is the experience Qwiki will eventually deliver, on demand, wherever you are in the world… on whatever device you’re using.

We've all seen science fiction films (or read novels) where computers are able to collect data on behalf of humans, and present the most important details. This is our goal at Qwiki – to advance information technology to the point it acts human.

Currently, Qwiki's technology has been applied to describe millions of popular topics - but soon we'll do much more. Our team needs your help in reaching our goal: join our alpha now to help test Qwiki and shape the future.

About the Alpha
Qwiki's alpha is the first step towards bringing the information experience to life. A few important things to know:

This is our very first release, so you'll encounter quality issues. The goal of the alpha is to help us improve through feedback and user contributions of content relevant to each Qwiki.
Submit content by clicking the "improve this qwiki" button located at the top of each Qwiki playing page.
Currently, Qwiki covers 2 MM reference topics - a wide variety of people, places & things. Soon, we'll have much more content.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Parents' Guide to Facebook

Facebook, and other social networking sites, has been the topic of many recent discussions (on campus, online, and in the ed-tech blogosphere) as it pertains to teacher/student interaction. Whether you are a parent or not, I encourage you to check out A Parents' Guide to Facebook at, for some helpful information on how Facebook works, what the age restrictions and privacy settings really mean, and how you can help guide our young people in this environment, or help them out when they run into trouble. Even if you are not a newcomer to social networking, there's good stuff here, and being educated about it cannot hurt.