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Class Polling via “Plickers”

Plickers combines high-tech (one smartphone with the recording application) and low-tech (printed on paper, cards for each student – 40 to 63 cards, and different sized cards for smaller classrooms or auditorium settings).  The instructor creates questions, and then puts them in a queue, and performs a “Live View” which projects the question on a screen (project to a wall for your student audience).  The audience can remain anonymous or you can create a class roster and Plicker will record the answer from each student.

“You print the Plicker cards in advance, one for each student
and record student responses
via your smartphone.

*I’m not sure if the application “bogs down” when there are a bunch of students, but it is supposed to record from 40 to 63 responses from all the cards being held up simultaneously.  There does have to be a “line of sight” between each card and the phone recording the responses, so conceivably someone or something could block another student’s response.


Each card these students are holding has a unique outline.  Each side of the card is lettered from A – D, and the student must hold the card so the correct answer is at the top of the card.  *Scanning the responses takes a fraction of a second, so you don’t have to go up to each student to record their response.  Also, you could record the responses from the back of the classroom, with students facing forward, holding their cards, facing backwards, and looking at the projected questions (from the “Live View” screen).

plicker-answer-choicesHere is a Plicker card #1 rotating through the various answers, A, B, C and D.  Remember, the answer displayed at the top is the chosen answer.  The smartphone screen capture below has recorded 7 responses, all “D” and the card numbers are in the upper left.  Look closely and card 17 and 26 were being recorded with their response in the class picture.


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Movo Photo MTP-10

I finally decided to get back to the Google Cardboard Camera and to try and create a 360 degrees video tour.  The Cardboard Camera software was free and I was able to create a panoramic image relatively easily, but I was having to manually rotate the camera 360 degrees.  If I rotated too quickly the recording would fail.  It probably took about 3 minutes to complete the rotation.

I have just ordered a Movo Photo MTP-10 Motorized Panaromic Time Lapse Tripod Head with Variable Speed, Time and Direction with Built-in Rechargeable Battery to hopefully automate the process.  The slowest time is 5 minutes, which may be too slow for the software… but we will see.



Looks intuitive for a high tech egg timer;-)


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Someone recently pointed me to the UTK web site which was displaying several demographic graphs on a page.  I found that the graphs were being generated by an application called Highcharts.  I visited their site and was able to download their free app for creating these, interactive, web graphs.  There is also an online version of the app.


The impressive functionality of the graphs on the web page is that the viewer can click on certain elements to turn them off or on.  If you are viewing the graphic data for four cities, you can choose to turn one or more of the cities off/on and this regenerates the graph on the page.

Not sure if I can paste the coding into this page, but if so, be impressed;-)


Do you want to use Highcharts for a personal website, a school site or a non-profit organisation? Then you don’t need the author’s permission, just go on and use Highcharts…


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I think I used the free Google Cardboard Camera app to produce the panoramic 360 degree view of the room. *The image displays fine in the WP editing window, but does not display on the page, when viewed from the browser.  If you can get to the following location, there are hotspots in the view that take you to more info.

I created the above 360 degrees image using my old Samsung SIII phone on a tripod.  You could piece several of these 360 images together to make a virtual tour.  One nice feature is that you can add sound to the images, so that the sound plays when the viewer is looking at a certain part of the image.  In one of the example tours, a rooster crows loudly when the viewer is facing the image that has chickens in the yard, but when the viewer has panned the image and has his/her back to where the chickens were located, a rooster crows again, but this time, the audio level is lower, giving the impression of being further away from the sound.  *That is just good tool manipulation on the part of the tour creator.

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Using LED Light Bars to Enhance Video Productions

This was an initial test using my old Samsung Galaxy SIII to record the video/audio.  I used the free, online EasyPrompter teleprompter app and displayed it on my office PC.  I had a cheap desk mount tripod (purchased at Dollar Tree several years ago) and a special smartphone mount that attached to the tripod and held the phone snuggly.  I placed the phone in front of my monitor and resized the EasyPrompter display so that it was skewed toward the camera lens on the phone.

The new part of this test, and I only used one USB LED Light Bar, was some cheap lighting.  I bought two LeDengLux Dimmable USB LED “Under Cabinet Lighting” bars from Amazon for a little over $14 @ with Prime.  I think you can see at the end of the video when I lean in to turn the camera off, how well lit my face appears.  Playing with two lights, and maybe add a cheap reflector and for under $30 you could improve the quality of your office video output.

light-bar-controllerThree nice features of this LED Light Bar are the USB power connector, the dimmable on/off control and a color temperature option that changes from a reddish to bright white hue.  I figure placing one light on each side of the monitor, or an HDTV would work.  You can tell that I am reading the text, but I’m not using my glasses, because I can blow the text up to very large.


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Knowledge Isn’t Power. The Ability to Learn is Power.

Knowledge isn’t power.  The ability to learn, quickly and efficiently is power!

I was driving about the countryside recently and saw a sign that said something to the effect, “Knowledge is Power.”  Years ago, this was true, but with the Internet and the rapidity of our changing and global society, this is no longer the case.  The knowledge you currently possess is much like the printed word in a just published textbook… It is old by the time it reaches the presses, and even older by the time it is shipped to your bookstore.

Tere Traub, Executive Director – Kaplan

So, the ability to learn quickly and efficiently makes you more marketable and powerful in our current society.  I am guessing that most of the junk you have memorized in your lifetime is now quite useless.  Do you need statistics?  Google it!

I rarely purchase books, even at discount rates, or in electronic form, that are meant to be definitive works, or even introductory works.   I find technology conferences and peruse the list of conference sessions, topics, and leaders and try to determine what are the “trending” ideas or technologies.  I then google for session leaders and their session topics and normally will find where they work “in the real world” and the writings and presentation materials they have posted previously regarding a topic.

I haven’t found this recently, but if a leader is willing to post, “What/Who I am currently reading,” then I try to google to the source of the stew.  After all, what they are currently reading or researching will become the ingredients for future recipes.  Maybe the session leader is reaching the end of the life of their current session topic, and is preparing to turn in other directions.

A couple of years ago, I started watching a local conference session video.  The leader was faculty at a local higher ed institution, and was introducing a trending topic & its creator. Their department was interested in implementing this new concept.  I stopped about a third of the way into the video and googled for the topic & the creator’s name.  I found their book on  I also found that the creator had spoken at another higher ed institution, for that institution’s faculty, and that his lengthy & detailed introduction had been videoed.  I didn’t go back to finish the local conference leader’s video.  Why should I?  I had found the source.  I was able to have the creator teach me personally.  Ain’t the Web marvelous!

I also read articles from the latest online issues of “Campus Technology” or “T|H|E Journal“.  I will google the topics and leaders, as I do for conferences.

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Unbundling: Marketing to the Prospective Student in a Digital Age

[Slideshare slides for Ryan Craig’s presentation above.]

A distinguished panel of higher education marketing experts, including UNC, Kaplan, and Duke, discuss the future of education given rapidly changing trends in the industry.

The Best of Education Connect 2015” [LinkedIn]

Will Unbundling Kill Higher Ed as We Know It?” [Campus Technology Magazine]

6-17-2016 9-41-14 AM

COLLEGE DISRUPTED The Great Unbundling of Higher Education [Ryan Craig]