Monthly Archives: April 2007

iQuiz – the next assessment innovation on iPods?

I was intrigued by an announcement today about a new free application dubbed iQuiz Maker by Aspyr Media. To understand the significance of this tool, you must first take a look at the recently released $0.99 iQuiz game for the Apple iPod:

Test your entertainment knowledge in iQuiz, the fast-paced trivia game for your iPod. Test your knowledge of the songs, albums, and artists you’ve got on your iPod, or try out trivia challenges for movies, music, and TV. Make your own custom trivia packs to share, or play trivia packs created by others.

When I first heard about this new games, I had no idea that “trivia packs” could be authored by mere mortals. When I read the description of iQuiz Maker, the wheels started turning:

iQuiz Maker is an easy way for you to create custom quizzes for the iQuiz game for the iPod. iQuiz Maker works seamlessly so you can write, create, package and test the smarts of people you know and even people you don’t know. Download the free application today to begin putting the world to the test.

I wonder if educators will view this as an opportunity to perform some light assessment on the iPod. Podcasting is a hot topic these days it seems like being able to use the same device for multiple purposes would be highly valuable. I cannot say whether iQuiz is the right vehicle for that or not, but it does make you start thinking about the iPod in new ways…

Updated 28 April 2007 – Two new sites of interest:

  1. Apple has provided a sample Biology quiz on their Learning Interchange web site: http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/story.php?itemID=11017.
  2. One of the commenters pointed me to their iQuiz Library site. There is not a lot of content available yet, but you will find a sample Spanish quiz linked.

Updated 21 May 2007 – Another new iQuiz content creation tool/site:  http://iquizr.com/

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Fun Google Maps Humor

If you ask Google Maps to plot a course from New York to London, you will receive a pleasant surprise when you reach step 24 of the route.

Route: New York -> London

It is nice to see that we can still have a sense of humor even in large corporations like Google. Does this qualify as an easter egg? I suppose it depends on your aquatic motility capabilities. :)

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Adobe Announces Flex is to be open-sourced

This seems like a significant announcement. As we move towards a more dynamic user interface, the ability to rely on proven web-based technologies like Flex will be key to Sakai’s success. Does the fact that Flex will become open source “grease the skids” for further adoption within open source projects like Sakai?

This includes not only the source to the ActionScript components from the Flex SDK, which have been available in source code form with the SDK since Flex 2 was released, but also includes the Java source code for the ActionScript and MXML compilers, the ActionScript debugger and the core ActionScript libraries from the SDK. The Flex SDK includes all of the components needed to create Flex applications that run in any browser – on Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux and on now on the desktop using “Apollo.”

Announcement: http://labs.adobe.com/wiki/index.php/Flex:Open_Source

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Google Releases Improved MySQL Code

This is an interesting read.  I personally was not aware that Google was using MySQL for some of their backend, non-search related systems.  I think it is cool they are contributing their enhancements back to the MySQL community.  The code they are contributing include enhancements to high availability and manageability.

Personally, I was hoping that the enhancements would have included  fixes to the transaction engine that has plagued Sakai of late.  I still hold out hope that these transactional issues are cleared up at a very low level so that we do not have to perform backflips and handstands in the application code itself.

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199201237

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Eben Moglen Resigns from FSF

I saw a posting recently on Slashdot that referenced Eben’s blog, where he indicates that he will be retiring from the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation.  It seems like now that his work is done with the GPLv3, he can move onto other things like writing and teaching.  Source: http://emoglen.law.columbia.edu/blog/2007/04/index.html

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Educational Gaming Observations

It was clear after last week’s Learning Impact Conference that the use of gaming for teaching and learning is a hot topic. Two of the areas of focus during the discussions were related to Second Life and content authoring. There have been two interesting recent developments related to these topics:

  1. After open-sourcing the Second Life client, Linden Lab has decide to open-source the server code as well. This now opens the door for some very interesting deep integration with other learning technologies. Will we embed the server in learning management systems like Sakai? This is fun to think about…
    Source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/social/?p=142
  2. We all agree that authoring engaging gaming content is a very difficult task. It will be a long time before instructors are building high quality games/simulations on their own. However, I do see some progress being made to make authoring easier and more ubiquitous: XNA Game Studio Express. This is a development environment for creating games that run on both Windows and the Xbox 360 console. The apparent goals of this project are to front load Xbox Live Arcade with a steady stream of innovative and independent arcade titles while lowering the bar to entry and making development fundamentally easier. However, I also see direct application to the educational space as well. Since this is all based on .NET, the code should be fairly portable.

What other interesting developments have you seen in gaming related to education?

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