On a quarterly check-in call a few weeks ago with one of EE's team members whom I knew was a gamer, I asked what's the best thing he's seen recently. He said "Apex Legends." Now, I love playing video games even though I am not necessarily skilled in any particular genre or format. I just appreciate good game design and being immersed in interesting environments. I used to play Counter-Strike (nearly 20 years ago) and just loved playing with other people even though I was never very good. I somehow got to be around and observe the folks (in IRC!) who ended up creating an eSports website called 'gotFrag' back in the day (go [rdw]). I also like single player games with good stories. eSports and streaming continues to be a growing industry, though still not necessarily recognized much less talked about in most traditional learning and business environments (though some universities, like some pro sports orgs, are starting to create their own eSports divisions).
So I downloaded the free Apex Legends for my PS4 and over the next couple of weeks and learned enough not to completely embarrass myself. I also learned quickly that I will not be improve quickly enough to be like some of the experts who play because I do not have the drive nor the resilience to achieve that kind of excellence.
I was confused - then delighted - when one evening I was paired with two players - @da_olaf and @himmie_ who not only were speaking to me via the in game voice chat but apparently to an external audience as well.
This team proceeded to win our match with very little help needed from me. Soon after I left the match, I decided to investigate and understand what I had just experienced. Sure enough, I found @da_olaf's Twitch.tv channel (and subscribed) and learned that he and @himmie_ are frequent collaborators. I also learned that with Amazon Prime, you get one free Twitch.tv subscription (so if you have an Amazon Prime account and have never explored Twitch - use it one of these guys' channels! It's really interesting). I also found them on Twitter (hence the mentions in the subject line). I had not had a recent reason to be curious about this space, but now I am extremely curious.
I want to draw attention to this experience for a number of reasons:
And if you are curious about my what my gamertag means, it's drrsqrd = Dr. R. Squared
My EDU friends Holly Clark and Tanya Avrith made me aware of Tim Grahl's work a few years ago leading up the publication of their co-authored book, The Google Infused Classroom. Last week I learned that Tim was offering a discount and early bird promotion for his Book Launch program, and with two months until Make Yourself Clear releases, it seems like it could be good timing. I've seen some free webinars from Tim before and have always been impressed. You can learn more about this particular program here: Book Launch
I followed the instructions on this post to create a simple workflow for adding a watermark to each page of a 250+ page PDF. I am sure there are paid and free tools that make this possible to do, but I really liked the idea of creating a 'Workflow' in Automator that followed this simple logic.
I actually learned about this a couple of weeks ago following a share by one of my colleagues. Invision, maker of a digital product design platform, released a report with findings from a well-scaled survey they conducted. What I appreciated most from this report is the measurement rubric and language they used, both which give a vocabulary and some benchmarks for discussions and assessments within an organization.
I've been working with and around design thinking for a number of years now, and while I am certainly familiar with David and Tom Kelly's work and influence, I had not actually read their book Creative Confidence until last week.
There are plenty of good reviews, summaries, and other artifacts already out there in the world as the book was published 5-6 years ago. Most encouraging for me, today, is that the ideas and approaches for thinking about one's own creative mindset and general self-efficacy seem to have already taken a strong foothold in many of the education circles to which I am closely connected. The long game, then, is that the young people learning in those environments stick with it - even when they go to schools or work with teachers who may not understand it. I hope they will use design to correctly play the game until they can put themselves in a position of relative influence and authority to change the game.
I've been following an interesting discussion taking place on Google Group whose members are technology leaders at regional independent schools. The conversations in this discussion are about the merits and challenges of multi-factor authentication (MFA) in a school environment (i.e. for students and/or teachers) and different ways to approach it when trying to balance smooth user experience with responsible security practices. One of the things that came up was password strength, and one member posted a link to the comic below.
I then started to check out other discussions on web forums about the broader perspectives on this password theory, and several posts pointed to various research on this topic. There is no conclusive evidence (yet?) or at least any certainty within the research that I looked at. What I did find find interesting is that there is a free, open source tool, for generating 4-word pass-phrases, inspired by the very comic above: correcthorsebatterystaple.net.
I had the chance to visit Lyft's San Francisco offices last week and I was delighted to hear how their employees' talked about the organization's mission, which I was not aware of. I had assumed their mission as to give people a way to earn extra money using their own vehicle. But Lyft's mission is bigger than that - it is to reduce the number of cars necessary for people to be productive workers and citizens while increasing the amount of open, walkable spaces in our cities and towns.
I am not the only person who wonders about the unwritten rules and manners around airline travel and window shades.
On my most recent flight, I had my usual window seat. It was an 11AM flight (my local time), landing at 2:30PM local time in a different time zone. So 100% of the flight was during daylight. I kept my shade open the whole time, and rather enjoyed having the natural light and occasionally peeking out. If anything, I wonder if it was less disruptive than opening and closing it. I like that the article suggests that people can pack their own eye masks. And if any of my neighbors had asked about closing the shade, I would have happily complied.
Oh yeah - the person in the middle seat took plenty of liberty when expanding into my personal space. I think other people noticed that too so that might be why my neighbors also didn't say anything.
For every graduate school course I teach, I look forward to revisiting the assigned texts while having added another year of professional experience to shape how I engage with the ideas in them. I also like when new texts are suggested or introduced by my co-faculty and instructional design colleagues. Here are the four books that I (re)read last week: