Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Storage in the Cloud EDUC 8848 Module 2

Cloud storage is not based in a physical device like previously popular devices.  Hard drives, floppy disks, even flash drives are all physical devices one can take away with one.  Cloud storage on the other hand is located “in the cloud” and not in a physical device, although one can argue that storage in a Google doc is indeed located on the Google servers in North or South Carolina, Iowa, Georgia, Oklahoma, or Oregon.  Web-based storage, barring disasters that destroy the servers and their backups, are safer than onsite storage.  They also make it possible to circumvent strong filters, where one person uploads from their location and another downloads ‘the drop’ to their location. 
Cloud storage enhances the ability to share and store files.  It brings to mind filing cabinets from the past where my parents stored all their important documents, both at home in filing cabinets, and at their offices in filing cabinets.  Storage has gone through many progressions since, including CDs, floppies in two or more sizes, and flash drives with different storage capabilities measured in gigabits.   
It has been predicted that cloud storage will replace personal computers by 2014.  But what will replace cloud storage in the future?  Right now, major companies are in the cloud storage business.  They offer to store your data on their servers for a fee.  An act of God can still destroy your data on that one server.  What if cloud storage was more open source and storage was mirrored around the world continuously, bouncing off those NASA satellites and globally distributed servers like a jumbo game of Ping-Pong ?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Asynchronous Connections EDUC 8848 Module 1

Connecting online in synchronous spaces with audio and video capabilities has been around at least since the 1990s.  I learned to webcast (it was more painful for Jeff Lebow than for me) during 2007 as part of the Webcast Academy class of 2.1. At that time, using Windows, simplecast, and a shoutcast server maintained by EdTechTalk, and a lot of luck, one could stream live audio.  Here is an example from It’s Elementary the webcast by Jose Rodriquez, Alice Mercer, and myself.  Such webcasting solutions are now obsolete as free webcasting is as easy as calling friends on Google+, connecting on Oovo, Ustream, Livestream, or Qik.
People love to connect and converse with each other.  Today I witnessed k-12 students using Blackboard Collaborate (free to them) to connect and talk about their learnings during their recent Flat Classroom projects.  The above photo is from a recent webcast including Illinois and the Virgin Islands.  Webcasting services connect more people at a time than VOIP services, although a few of us still remember the hundreds of people in Skypecasts (no longer around).  These services connect people synchronously and allow for asynchronous archival of the content in mp3 or mp4 formats.
Dream with me for a minute.  Free webcasting could be even better if it were possible to project the live webcast (or the archival copy) anywhere there is wifi using a hologram to include audience members without any hardware.  I may be dreaming now, but give it a couple years….

Thornburg, D. D. (2009). Current trends in educational technology. Lake Barrington, IL: Thornburg Center for Space Exploration.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Bookmarks of Note

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.