Sunday, 26 February 2012

College Students build mobile prototypes in four days

This week I was fortunate to be involved in a local mobile application development contest, sponsored by the Technology / Engineering Facuality at Conestoga College.  Under the careful direction of Ignac Kolenko, Chair, School of Eng and IT; “Ig” challenged his students to create and design working prototype in 4 days. A $10.00 gift certificate to a local coffee shop and Pizza served as inspiration to the teams (33 student’s) working day and night to produce some outstanding prototypes. 

RIM (Playbooks) and Communitech (resources, facilities and food) served as the primary sponsors for the inaugural event. Several volunteers at the College also chipped in over the 4 day reading break to ensure students had access to labs and resources.

The students were split into two groups: 

Group #1 - Blackberry/Playbook

RIM provided (and a few new Playbooks) links to HTML5 development on Blackberry/Playbook devices: 

Friday, 17 February 2012

Lessons from Thomas Edison and mLearning

Last week we discussed Failure and the 5 Big Questions for mLearning. This week I’ll focus on lessons learned from failure. It is through our own experience and how embrace change can have the courage to innovate.

To truly appreciate innovation; we need to study Thomas Edison, a master of transforming ideas into modern day marvels. Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t invent the light bulb, but rather improved upon an idea. Mr. Edison was methodical and persistent in his approach to get it right – but the key to his success was his ability to adjust and be nimble. In his seven steps of development he carefully documented his findings. (from inventors.about)
  1. the parallel circuit
  2. a durable light bulb
  3. an improved dynamo
  4. the underground conductor network
  5. the devices for maintaining constant voltage
  6. safety fuses and insulating materials
  7. light sockets with on-off switches.
As an eternal optimist, here are a few quotes that capture the spirit of Edison's lessons learned......

Friday, 10 February 2012

Failure and 5 Big Questions For mLearning

Last week we discussed the call for innovation and the opportunity to create, collaborate and build technology that matters. Like most great ideas we also need to study FAILURE first.
An optimist will tell you failure is simply many tiny adjustments to success. A pessimist will tell you why they don’t like your idea and may elect to give you many reasons why your approach is flawed.

 ….taken from Wikipedia – defining Failure
Thomas J. Watson is attributed with saying "If you want to succeed, double your failure rate". Wired Magazine editor Kevin Kelly likewise explains that a great deal can be learned from things going unexpectedly, and that part of science's success comes from keeping blunders "small, manageable, constant, and trackable". He uses the example of engineers and programmers who push systems to their limits, breaking them to learn about them. Kelly also warns against creating a culture (e.g. school system) that punishes failure harshly, because this inhibits a creative process, and risks teaching people not to communicate important failures with others.

For me, FAILURE is not even trying, giving up, passing the buck, not taking the road less travelled and not engaging in the risk = the missed opportunity.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Keith Richards and mLearning (Part 4/4 on Innovation and collaboration)

This week we wrap up our four part series on innovation. Wikipedia defines Innovation as: a creation of better or more effective productsprocessesservicestechnologies, or ideas that are accepted by marketsgovernments, and society. Innovation differs from invention in that innovation refers to the use of a new idea or method, whereas invention refers more directly to the creation of the idea or method itself.
In my Innovation for Dummies post, we discussed the power of music as a creative art form how it can transform both the listener and the musician playing the song.
In the case of Keith Richards (The Rolling Stones legendary guitarist) it is his ability to pull off several iconic classic rock guitar riffs with style and ease. When asked how he remembers all the chord progressions from The Stones vast catalog ….he responds “I don’t get caught up in memorizing songs – it is more of a feel – I let my fingers do the walking – I just trust my instincts and try to never play the same song exactly the same….that would be awfully dreadful.”