26 March, 2008

'Technology to suit the brain'

I enjoyed the British Computer Society's 'Technology to Suit the Brain' article, which is a very quick overview of some of basic issues that are worth thinking about when developing electronic learning resources.

This article is based on a presentation by Dr Itiel Dror from Southampton University who is Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience. It talks about things such as the amount of items that the brain can process at once and the fact that sometimes technology distracts the students' brains from what you want the students to learn. This reminds me of a presentation by Patrick Crispen about how to use PowerPoint to aid learning (also well worth a read) where he talks about research that says students recall less from lectures where PowerPoint's "bells and whistles" (movement, fancy backgrounds, pictures that decorate rather than enforcing learning, etc) are used.

If you want to explore Dr Dror's ideas further Clive Shephard's 'The Science of Learning' article might help you get started, as might the audio interview at kineo.com and the links on his home page.

12 March, 2008

Highlight The Web

I just came across a great web app called Awesome Highlighter and my first impression was “wow, how useful!”

The Awesome Highlighter allows you to highlight web pages and provides you with a custom link to your annotated page, which you can then share.

And it’s easy… you simply enter the URL of the web page you want to share, highlight the relevant text and click done.

I think this app has the potential to be used both personally and collaboratively. I’m certainly going to use it…

Personally - I bookmark with http://del.icio.us and use the notes feature to remind me why I originally bookmarked the page. Now I can highlight relevant text on a page and bookmark this.

Collaboratively - I’m involved in a Learning Services website re-modelling strategy group and I can see this app being really useful (when analysing the current website and conducting benchmarking) for sharing my findings with the project team.