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QR Codes Used in Lab Settings

Since labs are often difficult to make-up, labs can be video recorded and QR [Quick Response] codes can be applied to a lab calendar. Students are able to scan the QR code to download the lab.

Additionally, difficult procedures can be recorded by video and/or audio and added to lab handouts for distribution before, during or after class.

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3 Easy Ways to Use Mobile Devices for Learning

The Guardian US recently mentioned “the growth in online learning is likely to push universities towards greater emphasis on one-to-one tuition and other interaction with students.”  In my mind meaning, a personalization of learning and what better way to personalize and connect with your online students than by using mobile devices.

Which really isn’t much different than working one-to-one with students, except now we have great tools to interact with our students and primary amongst them are mobile devices.

So, how are you using mobile technology in your classroom?  Whether you meet online or in person, there are techniques you can implement.

1.  Push Messages:

Use automated text messages [or voice messages] to connect with your students.  Call Loop is a free [or nearly free] service that is easy to use and integrates with services you might already be using.

  • Use it to remind students: of assignments that are due, dates and times of tests or just to check-in.  Personalize the learning experience for your students and you’ll find deeper learning.

2.  QR [Quick Response] Codes:

Think of these as the ‘wild child’ of the Bar Code. QR codes hold so much more information.  Scanning apps can be downloaded to mobile devices and used to scan any QR code you pre-load.

  • Post your homework, outside your classroom and train students to scan the code-everytime they come to class.
  • Use QR Codes to link to more intense reading, video or online experiences.

3.  Cameras & Apps:

Challenge yourself and your students to use the cameras and apps on your mobile device to create:

  • videos
  • podcasts
  • even virtual meetings

The bottom line is to just get started using mobile devices within your online course.  Make a list of 3 more things you could do to integrate mobile devices within your online learning.  Start small and get going.  Let me know if I can assist you in any way. 

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Prom Dress 2012

So, this year’s prom dress was slightly less complicated than last year’s dresscue.  Of course, 2011 had a twisty middle and end.

This year’s dress was also inspired by a trip to NYC  last December and a visit to Shareen Vintage. A girl has to start planning Prom way in advance. Post inspiration, was a trip to Osgoods for fabric and supplies and then the sewing began.  Within a few weeks months the dress shaped into this: [I love that Jan got captured in the background.  She was taking images as well.]

the back of the dress looks like this:

I lined the entire dress and created the straps by cutting and gluing vinyl strips together.

Here’s the whole gang:

Even Brendan happened to be in town:

Xernay and Maggie:

And Mr Harp:And Xernay’s friend:

A good time was had by all.

What will be the next Dresscue?

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The Weight of the Nation

These films are a MUST see. Please take the time to watch. These are a series, so be sure to see them all.

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36 UIs In 30 Locations

When to know enough is just enough. Ericsson had too much information and needed a message to communicate how a multi-purpose, multi-technology network node enables operators to meet their three priorities in relation to data traffic explosion: differentiation, control and monetization.

The above video is work that makes you jealous, inspires and does both simultaneously.  The beauty of this video is that it is a great example of the changing nature of how instruction can communicate an idea [not just a product].  It shows how Ericsson moves data around, and why it matters.

The House of Radon did the creative work and really hit the nail on making sense out of a concept. The video’s message “appeals to the senses.” Data, nodes, operators, differentiation–all of these ideas in Ericsson’s brief are just so much insubstantial vapor. House of Radon’s video translates them into snappy factoids, which helps. But the idea of embedding them into physically appealing touchscreen interfaces–and then embedding those into a series of viscerally evocative first-person live-action scenelets, where just a hint of sound effects and out-of-focus background action instantly tells your five senses everything they need to know about what’s happening outside the edges of the frame–that’s what makes Ericsson’s brief make sense.

House of Radon’s relentless cutting from new interface/location to new interface/location, three dozen times, is an essential part of getting the message across. As more and more innovative companies find themselves “selling” invisible-but-essential ideas, this kind of advertising-as-sensemaking becomes more valuable than any glib “Got Milk?”-style product campaign ever could be. Does every spot need to cram in 30-odd interfaces and locations to make its point? Of course not. But the designers behind this House of Radon spot know that, sometimes, “too much” is just enough.

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Home Office MakeOver

Recently I assisted Paula in the beginnings of her home office makeover. As with many busy professionals Paula’s office had become a clutter of stuff in bags, items not being used and of which now accumulated on Paula’s office floor.  There are still deeper purging that needs to be done and new systems to be created.  However, the process has begun and Paula can now hang-out and enjoy her office space.

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How Ziggy Stardust Opened My Eyes

Way back in the days of Ziggy Stardust, I stood on the floor of the Coliseum in Madison, Wisconsin awaiting David Bowie’s appearance on stage. As we all lingered, Mr. Bowie toyed with us by showing a short clip of the 1929 movie: Un Chien Andalou.  I innocently watched this black and white film.

For this who don’t know the storyline, I highly recommend watching this short 40 second film and see Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali’s most famous scene.  Spoiler alert, short as this is, it is NOT for the squeamish and these images could follow you for life.  As a young Midwestern gal, I was completely unprepared for what Ziggy was sharing with us.  The packed arena groaned at the end of this film.  I guess I wasn’t the only one caught off guard.

Now, these many, many years later, Ziggy’s sense of humor [or whatever sensation Mr. Bowie was attempting to teach us] has changed to an aqueous one. For those uninitated to the schematics of our eyes, aqueous humor is basically the fluid that flows in our eyes and also in simple terms maintains the intraocular pressure and inflates the globes of our eyes amongst its many other functions.  But how does aqueous humor impact me this week?

Well, it has to do with the narrow angles of my eyes.  Without boring you, the space between my cornea and the iris of my eye has narrowed.  This, in my Ophthalmologist’s world is called: Narrow Angles, Closed Angle or Angle-Closure Glaucoma and leads me to be at a high risk for glaucoma.  Fun times [I’m being sarcastic, for those who don’t know me well]. Have a look for yourself, in the image below.

Which means, I’m having some surgery today, wherein the Ophthalmologist will be using a laser to blast a very fine hole into my eye…more precisely my iris.  They tell me my eye will be numbed, a sort of contact lens inserted and the laser will blast into my eye.


The whole procedure will go something like this short video.

Being a visual designer I’m actually-as many of us I’m sure are- very in love with my vision, so having this type of procedure done to my eye has given me the very same hibbie-jeebies that David Bowie’s pre-concert flick gave me those-oh, so many years ago. Only this time, it’s happening to me. And adding to the drama, today’s procedure only involves my right eye.  I get to enjoy the fun all over again, with my left eye, in two weeks.

Now maybe my Ophthalmologist didn’t want to freak me out, so he only told me the basics of this procedure.  His nurse called me and gave me more details and when I signed consent papers she gave me a very basic handout describing the surgery.  I went out and researched the above medical video, which brought up those crazy, eye-slitting images Ziggy Stardust embedded in my half-baked, pre-concert brain decades ago.

So, I’ll let the aqueous humor [hee, hee] help me deal with the fears I have leading up to today’s action plan.  After my appointment, I’m planning on laying low, administering my steroid eyedrops and hoping for the best. Maybe I’ll even listen to Five Years from my favorite Glam Rocker as I psych up to do this all over again with my left eye. We’ve got five years, stuck on my eyes…

My Right Eye Before:                       My Right Eye After: Upload to follow






Oh, and BTW that ‘little prick’ you’ll feel-as the Dr. explained-felt more like an industrial, automatic nail gun piercing thru my iris.







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DIY: Painting Old Vinyl Floor Tiles

Ever since I painted my old kitchen rug with bold chevron stripes, I’ve been thinking about painting my vinyl bathroom floor tiles. So, I gave it a go and it turned out even better than I thought.  Note: I used porch and floor paint from my local hardware store so as to have a durable finish that will withstand the traffic the floor will be receiving and the whole process cost: $75 along with 6 hours of my time [not including the final drying which was an additional 8 hours, overnight]. We were able to walk on the entire floor 30 minutes after the final coat of paint.  I waited the entire 8 hours before putting anything down onto the newly painted floor.

Bathroom Vinyl Tiles Before:











Here is what the bathroom floor looked like before.  This vinyl floor tile was laid directly over old linoleum and the job was, well, let’s just say, did not appear to be completely professional. Added to that, the old, tired swirly pattern in a dull beige…and I think you can start to get the picture.

Step 1 Preparing the old vinyl: I sanded the vinyl floor tiles with a 180 Ct sandpaper.  After sanding I vacuumed the whole area.

Step 2 Creating tooth on the old vinyl: I deglossed the vinyl floor with a deglosser liquid.  This is is a somewhat caustic process, so be sure to wear protective eye wear, gloves, and be sure the area in which you are working is well ventilated.  I had the overhead fan on the whole time and had another portable fan pulling fresh air into the bathroom. The deglosser is applied with a clean cloth and removes any gloss finish the sandpaper didn’t get.  Steps 1 & 2 creates the ‘tooth’ from your old vinyl tiles and prepares the surface to accept the new primer and paint.

Step 3 Painting prep: I used painter’s tape and taped off the areas I didn’t want the paint to adhere to.

Step 4 Priming the vinyl: Primer is then applied. I used 2 coats and laid each coat on somewhat thinly. It took about 45 minutes between each coat to dry. Check the label on your printer and follow those steps.  The primer is an important step that prepares the vinyl surface for painting.  I used disposable sponge paint brushes, however you could use a roller or traditional brush.











Step 5 White base coat: Since I wanted black and white squares, I next painted on the white base color, over the primer. This time I used a disposable sponge brush and a small roller. The white paint took 2 coats and I allowed 45 minutes between coats for drying.











Step 6 Creating the black squares: Taping off the squares was the most time consuming process.  I followed the old tiles, as my guide, and taped off the tiles I wanted to maintain the white color.











Step 7 Painting the black squares: Next I applied the black paint with another disposable sponge brush.  In order to get the density of black I desired, I applied 2 coats of black, waiting 30 minutes between coats.  After the second coat of black paint went down, I waited another 30 minutes, then pulled up the painting tape.











That is all that is needed.  Except I did go in with a small paint brush and touched-up a couple of areas where the black paint had seeped under the painters tape.

One last time: Painting over vinyl tiles.

Before                                                                 After











The whole bathroom appears bigger, cleaner and the eye is fooled into thinking these are actual tiles, when I just painted over the old vinyl floor tiles.






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PodCampWM#4 Mobile Marketing Presentation


At PodCamp Western Mass #4 I presented a session on Mobile Marketing.  Download a copy of my presentation at SlideShare here.  Or scan any of these QR codes in your smartphone or tablet device. Please share any comments or thoughts you might have.


And, if all this isn’t enough, check out this interesting application for QR codes. Thinking beyond the computer screen and how the QR code can be an instructional design tool.

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A Tiny Story About the Fundamentals of Storytelling

I’ll let this tiny video speak for itself.  Remember; storytelling is an increasingly important part of successful design.

Tiny Story from Sebas & Clim on Vimeo.

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