The 21″ School

The student of the 21st century has a plethora of educational tools at his disposal—from traditional forms like print sources, televised documentaries, the good’ol classroom student lecturer setup, or even self-help audio files and tapes, to the more recently devised methods of learning like e-learning, gamification, online simulations and self-help podcasts, just to name a few.  Fact is, 21st century students like us are spoilt for choice.  However in the cornucopia of tools, books, programs, widgets and applications some forms of learning are gaining more popularity a lot faster than the rest – what is that you might ask?  Well it’s none other than online learning of course!—and you’re consuming the simplest form of which right now.

E-learning, or online learning, is electronically supported learning and teaching which one may receive or conduct in the comforts of one’s own home, on one’s own couch, on one’s own desktop and on one’s own 21” monitor (well mine’s 21 inches, depending on your monitor size, substitute that value accordingly).  The reason why it’s so popular is because online learning supports synchronous and asynchronous learning (Wikipedia), decreases material costs, increases productivity and facilitates standardization (Articulate, 2010).

The dawn of the interactive web (web 2.0 to be specific) there has been a groundswell of easy to digest online learning applications and courses – from simple how-to lessons to elaborate procedural lectures or activities, anybody  or everybody who has access to the internet be it the lowly dogsbody to the profoundly intellectual; the barriers to learning are incredibly low.  And with money to be saved and made from hosting these courses, more and more schools are getting in on the act with baby steps being made in online learning management systems (LMS) or portals to quantum leaps in interactive learning using and inside online games and simulations.

Speaking of online games gaining traction as e-learning mediums social interaction platform Second Life has been making plenty of headway in this department.  In and on mediums like this, students as avatars can interact with the teacher and his tools in a semi-realistic, hazard-free environment, lending a third dimension to the online learning experience.  Second life is not the only online gaming platform on that e-learning boat though; popular MMORPGS (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games) such as the World of Warcraft (WoW) have also gotten in on the act.  According to Mary Anne Clarke, professor of biology at Wesleyan University in Texas, they’ve been using WoW’s extensive reach to over 11 million subscribers worldwide to teach and popularize concepts pertaining to biology.  Due to the emersion of these games, learning on such platforms has become increasingly popular and attractive.

 

Meet your lecturer of biomechanics, level 64 Tauren hunter, Tavrnwr. Please mount your eagles and meet at the World Tree at 18.00 PST. Please bring homework on Murlocks. Thanks.

With more and more people becoming more open and receptive to e-learning and its advantages, it’s suffice to say that online learning will continue to change the education landscape for tens of years to come.  With more engaging tools becoming readily accessible, perhaps through motion capture as seen on the Playstation and Xbox 360 addons, future variants of the e-learning experience will ultimately be more engaging, captivating and profound than before—which can only be good for education as a whole.

Resource links:

http://www.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/why-e-learning-is-so-effective/

http://www.caspianlearning.co.uk/Whtp_caspian_games_1.1.pdf

http://scholar.google.com.sg/scholar?q=e-learning&btnG=&hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5

http://erictremblay.blogspot.sg/2009/07/from-world-of-warcraft-to-second-life.html

http://elearningtech.blogspot.sg/2007/08/second-life-as-learning-tool.html

How to build an empire on E-marketing

How do you build an empire on e-marketing?  Well if it’s just on e-marketing alone it’s hardly possible—however that said, marketing your business electronically, or e-marketing, can surely help—if done right of course.  I’m not e-marketing guru but if you’re going to start you’ll need to establish certain fundamentals and precepts of the electronic marketplace.  If you read on I’ll try (to the best of my ability) to inform, enlighten, enrich and endow you with the relevant know-how of how to set up, and how to better your e-marketing reach.

First things first, why e-market?  Well the answer to that cannot be simpler.  There are in fact tons of benefits to be had from taking advertising onto the internet.  As a free medium, the internet is your oyster, and given the tools at your disposal, anything and everything—if used properly, can make you a dollar more.  But while the possibilities are abundant, the four benefits of delving into the e-marketing model are these;

1)      E-marketing can lend your business a global reach and it will not cost a nickel too much.  Traditional means of doing so, employing foreign market experts or studying the market yourself then paying the local advertising firms for slots on prime time or in the morning paper is time consuming and can burn a hole in your wallet.  The internet on the other hand takes your goods to the screens and eyes of foreign lands at the fraction of the time, effort and cost.

2)      You can achieve closer customer relations with e-marketing models.  The customer feedback process can be long and arduous.  Unnecessary waiting on the automated response machine, lag time on snail mail, and disruptive time zone differences can make traditional means of customer interaction haphazard.    Well not anymore with the internet, on your advertisements, videos, blog, website or other social media extensions, customers can ping you, drop you a message, leave you a comment or hit you up at your prescribed links—easy as that, and you may reply in kind.

3)      Because the internet is largely free (notwithstanding ISP fees and electricity bills), cost of maintain a business on the e-marketing model is relatively cheap.

4)      Lastly, an e-marketing model is highly customizable.  Don’t like what you put up yesterday?  Well, take it off and show off something new!  Want to slash prices on certain products or broadcast a discount or promotion on a specific service or activity?  If your web designer is alright he can have your changes and announcements ready in a jiffy.   Traditional media can’t do that—not without extra costs, an earful from the print team and the editor, and sour manufacturer-supplier relations for the future.

And so with that, it’s pretty easy to see why many business, especially small-medium enterprises (SME) are adopting the e-marketing model.  Not saying the big businesses don’t, they do, but theirs is way more elaborate and “hardcore” if you will—and definitely not of priority interest to you my startup friend.

Now if you’ve already established an e-business of your own already, congratulations.  E-marketing has been quite the buttercup ain’t it?—or has it not been working out as well as intended?  Well if you’re getting more lemons than dough (unless you’re in the lemon industry, or like lemons, then think up another repelling fruit to substitute that) perhaps it’s time to revise your strategy.  Compiled below are some useful tips from the wise old sages on the Tube of You, yes YouTube.  Enjoy.

Dboozer05 on YouTube suggests creating or sponsoring blogs to review the goods or services that you are selling.  Rave reviews topped with links to your products can influence unwitting and undecided consumers to consider buying your product.  Thought dubious and not necessarily the most morally legitimate mean of drawing attention to your products, this method of creating awareness and drumming good publicity to what you’re selling does lend credence to the point that the more people “talking” about the product (especially if talk is good) the more likely people will be persuaded to buy your product.

In addition, Lydia Parrot suggests marketing videos and uploading them on free to air platforms such as YouTube.  According to her, when people look up something on the internet they’re more incline to click on video links as opposed to text-based links.  So there you go, market on YouTube!  In addition, the very astute YouTuber advises people who do so to be liberal with their tags and keywords because much like the action of uploading and posting the video, these items will not cost you a dime, so why shy on them?

For more tips and tricks on e-marketing do be sure to look up YouTube!  Because it has everything.  And if you would like to know more about dboozer and Lydia, look up the links below.

References:

Link to dboozer05’s e-marketing strategies: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=e+marketing+strategies&oq=e+marketing+&gs_l=youtube.3.0.0l7.924797.926954.0.928352.7.7.0.0.0.0.164.845.3j4.7.0…0.0…1ac.1.rkzY_O8XpCw

Link to Lydia Parrot 1’s internet marketing video guide:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vLBxrhY4LEk

Keep this private will you?

Privacy settings, Circles, blocking, invitations, custom publications, tethered and hidden links—if you’re reading this right now, you have successfully made it past some of the items on the list.  The evolution of the social media experience has always been the creation of a more “tailored” networking experience for the end user.  When first conceived, social networking sites like Facebook or Friendster had little customizable privacy options, half a decade on and the options are aplenty.  Yet to some, the current set of privacy tools is just not enough, which then begs the question, with all these viewing restrictions that one may impose on others (usually without their knowledge), how social is social media?—and are all these measures counterproductive to the social networking ideal?

 

Defined as the sharing of opinions, insights, experiences and other perspectives with one another, social media herald an age of interconnectedness unlike anything humanity has ever seen before.  This model worked well and consequently sent the world into a social media frenzy where everyone and everything vied to be on it.  But as it turns out, while ideals looks ripe on paper it doesn’t exactly play out as rosily in reality.  People began to realize that they’ve got some very nosey neighbors in their backyard, and or that adding their boss wasn’t such as good idea, or that the “nice” old man who lives in the southern county is actually a pedophilic stalker.  Such malicious and voyeuristic attempts on the social networking market prompted the authorities into action.

 

In 2010, after much egging, Facebook reworked their privacy settings to allow you to post discrete messages and discriminate against who you want to have viewing your content specifics.  In 2011, Goggle launched social media site Google+, allowed for greater discrimination in the forms of Circles.  Social networking got a whole lot safer—and a whole lot more tedious (well not that tedious, but you know what I mean).  With now sharing muddled in a web of constraints and buttons, the ideal of sharing is not longer the same as what it was back when the first social media sites first took flight.  Therefore, in some sense, heightened privacy settings do work counterproductive to the social media paragon.

 

But that’s not say the increased control over the posting and viewing options are bad, they’re good in fact and in many cases a mandatory option over what is humanity’s failing as a humanistic society.  Ill conceivings condoned though the lack of action against it, has to be mitigated by security and privacy settings on media platforms like the one in mention.  And this is the principle reason why counterproductive measures to the ideal social media state are necessary.

The Blogging Dead

Blogging in the traditional sense—measured chucks of text obstinate in the opinions of the writer and presented in reverse chronological order usually at a dedicated blog site (very much like this one), is a dying form of online self expression and infotainment.  Blogging is a dying art.  Stephanie Schwab of the Social Media explorer noted that the good old honest blogger is being buried six feet under a cistern of nondescript baloney and blatant advertising.   What happened to the traditional blogs that we grew up reading and loving?

I’m not being paid to advertise AMC’s The Walking Dead but hey, this picture does go nicely with my subject doesn’t it?

Blogging, quintessential web 2.0, characterized by linking, tagging, searching, authoring and whatnot, is struggling to find its feet in a period of transition, from 2.0 to 3.0.  Amidst a new wave of trendier alternatives such as the micro-blogs of Twitter and the social media sites, traditional blogging is at risk of becoming obsolete and being quickly condemned to the annals of history.  I would say that this has become increasingly observable in the internet practices of both friends and family—do you personally know more people who blog than before?  I know I don’t.  The fever has passed, its heyday is no more and the pop has fizzled out—this supported in findings by Information Today Europe, who astutely put that the use of blogs has sharply declined by an astounding 13% in 2010 alone, and I fear the figures aren’t any more cheerful this year.

So what have become of bloggers?  Well many have reinvented themselves as micro-bloggers and social media updatists, occasionally they do hop back into the blogosphere to give the good old dame a good scratch on the back, but they hurry off quickly leaving the old mutt to wallow in his depressingly dated hound pound.   But most of the traditional bloggers of today are money grabbing advertorialists, writing reviews and drumming support for commercial causes with the intention of making a fast buck (Schwab, 2012).

Just as how Friendster kicked the bucket (or at least I bet they wished they did) when web 1.0 was thrown out to sea in favor of web 2.0, it is only expected in the natural scheme of things that marquee features of the outgoing web version go down with the sinking ship, unless they can reinvent themselves.

The concept of blogging itself is far from dead, but the tradition blogs that we made stereotypes of back in the early 2000s is getting there pretty quickly.  But I’m cool with that.

References:

http://www.socialmediaexplorer.com/online-public-relations/the-decline-of-blogs-and-how-pr-can-help-avoid-it/

http://www.infotodayeurope.com/2012/02/02/a-blog-post-about-the-decline-of-blogging/

The Lost and Found

An artist’s impression of the interwebnet, I think

The World Wide Web is a fantastic place to be at—it’s free (depends on the site you’re visiting actually), it’s easily assessable (depending on where you are really), it’s a good source of information (got to what’s reliable and what’s not though) and it’s a good platform to voice ideas, opinions, vent frustration or put out a laugh (but you should pick your channels correctly because the wrong words at the wrong time and place can land you in a cell).  Now that’s established, let us establish some cool little known facts shall we?

On any given day in the world that is the internet:

–          532 million statuses are updated

–          250 million photos are uploaded

–          22 million hours of TV and movie are watched on Netflix

–          864,000 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube

–          More than 35 million apps are downloaded

–          More iPhones are sold than people are born

[Figures pulled from COM 125 notes by Abel Choy]

Hmm, there are more iPhone are sold than there are people born every day.  Wait—what for real?  That’s amazing—ly hard to believe.  Maybe that’s because I’m an iGnoramus because I’m not much of an iPhone fan but honestly speaking from a sales standpoint it’s not sustainable!  To have phone sales exceed the 367,123 births a day (true on average in 2011—thank you Wikipedia) every single day since; man you’ve got to be making numbers up.  But thy name is not Thomas, and so I decided to ask Google if this was ever true.  And as I seek I found that what I was told was true- BUT only for 98 days at the start of 2012—hardly a daily occurrence (not like you needed Sherlock to point that out).

And this has reminded me of another established, albeit easily forgotten fact about the internet, and that is the net updates itself so rapidly and instantaneously that the value and utility of information within it erodes fairly quickly, so much so that interesting facts like the iPhone nugget can become obsolete perhaps a little too soon, and not to mention misleading too, if not taken in context.

The World Wide Web is a fantastic place to be at—there are cool facts to be had (obsolete and current), it provides me with the tools to clear my doubts (Google and Wikipedia) and it provides me with the channels to broadcast my findings (WordPress).  A reestablished fact, to say the least.  So there you have it folks, and thanks for reading (:

If you wish to read more about the iPhone versus daily global birth rate you may head down to the resource link below.

Resource links:

http://thenextweb.com/apple/2012/01/25/there-are-now-more-iphones-sold-than-babies-born-in-the-world-every-day/

http://www.google.com.sg/imgres?start=106&num=10&hl=en&biw=1920&bih=955&addh=36&tbm=isch&tbnid=NviirtlN6_2n5M:&imgrefurl=http://home.messiah.edu/~vh1167/definitions.html&imgurl=http://home.messiah.edu/~vh1167/internet.jpg&w=1024&h=1024&ei=AchIULvBGIXJrAfR-YD4Cg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=183&vpy=144&dur=984&hovh=225&hovw=225&tx=147&ty=116&sig=111268657809174299888&sqi=2&page=3&tbnh=139&tbnw=150&ndsp=54&ved=1t:429,r:36,s:106,i:213