Cool Toys Conversations: September 2008

We had a small group today, from computer science and architecture, but wonderful dynamic discussion.
Discussion: Tools for bringing online media into Second Life. We were looking at some items sold in OnRez and talking about WebX.
NOTE: Conversation was along the lines of what is going on with online and social media tools to support research processes and long distance collaborations, as well as off campus graduate students.
Google CSE: Disability Info:
NOTE: Talked about Google custom search engines (CSEs), with this as an example, focusing on power of CSEs for the expert who really knows their field. Showed briefly how to start your own.
Launchcast: Make Your Own Radio Station:
NOTE: An addition to the various personalized audio experience tools such as Pandora and, from Yahoo.
NOTE: This was discussed as an example of a relatively undiscovered class of tools for annotation, collecting and sharing the web via tools that allow you to embed notes or highlight sections of a web page in a way that allows you to share that note with your friends and colleagues. More web annotation tools are available here:
Joyce Bettencourt: Global Kids Second Life Curriculum:
NOTE: Not coming up to speed as fast as you’d like in Second Life? Have grad students or classes you want to bring along quickly? Take a look at this curriculum designed for youth but being also used at the grad student level.
50 Awesome Open Source Resources for Online Writers / By Christina Laun:
NOTE: I have a lot of work to do …
Story of my Second Life: Imagine a Person Who Is Blind Using Second Life…:
NOTE: Several folks interested in web accessibility were at the table, including a few using virtual worlds and gaming. We covered the gamut, from games designed specifically for those with visual impairments to universal access applied to virtual worlds design. This topic needs a whole blogpost just for itself.
NOTE: Ideas included putting up blueprints as a background texture and having persons at remote sites sketch on and annotate the design. Need to test to find out if this is possible. Meanwhile, we can do exactly this function in Second Life using the whiteboards available from AngryBeth Shortbread’s CyberGrrrl shop.
Simple Wikipedia:
NOTE: Could be used with children, students with learning disabilities, international students seeking assistance in explaining concepts, teaching / expanding literacy, consumer health, writing projects / assignments, and much more.
Keith Jarrett / Welcome to NCS-Tech!: Let students design their own video games with Atmosphir!:
NOTE: Gaming is increasingly important in basic and distance learning. The blogpost has links to several excellent resources and research about gaming for education and learning. Atmosphir is a free tool for making your own video game. Very exciting. We watched the video. 🙂
Google Base:
NOTE: We talked about Google Base Clinical Trials and Google Base: Recipe Search, looking at some interface design issues, content sources, and potential for marketing local content.
NOTE: Open source searching platform being evaluated by the UM Library system. Potentially very interesting. Discussion about going directly to the best source/tool versus stab-in-the-dark tools.
Plurkshop: Delicious: and
NOTE: Someone mentioned their bookmarks were out of control, so we talked about Delicious, and showed this Plurkshop about things to do with Delicious. Talked about the similarities and differences between Twitter and Plurk.
Embeddable Google Books:
NOTE: Excitement about being able to embed a Google book on the course page for your class. Wondering if it is possible to embed the page you searched, with the search terms highlighted, to promote / provoke discussion.
Superstruct Game:
NOTE: Crowdsourcing meets gaming — solve the world’s problems by brainstorming with the best and the worst in “the world’s first massively multiplayer forecasting game.”
* Flickr: Shareski: Interesting Quotes:
* Flickr: InJenuity: Slides:
* Google Docs: Reflections:
NOTE: Looking at how folks use social media to share resources for professional presentations, collaborate on presentations, and as viral marketing for concepts.
* About Garrett Lisi and the e8 Polytope
Talked about open science, open notebook science, the Nature Publishing Group event on scientists and the lack of engagement with social media, impacts on translational research and bench-to-bedside practice, changing publication models, and Garrett Lisi as an examplar of these, and how his work has continued to move through the online social environments into Second Life.
Nature Network: Joanna Scott’s Blog: Scientific Researchers and Web 2.0: Social ‘NotWorking’?:
Open Science Blog:
SL - SLUM - E8 Polytope
A Preliminary Forensic Exploration of a Scientific Social Technologies Success – The Garrett Lisi Story


4 responses to “Cool Toys Conversations: September 2008

  1. You had me at “visually impaired” 🙂
    I have found that the technologies that exist aren’t always as good as I would want them to be. For instance, JAWS (screen reader) is great, until you take it to the internet and then it reads everything–and I mean everything–on the page. The kids get confused and I have to monitor to make sure nothing naughty snuck up on the screen.


  2. I know what you mean. Those advertisements can get really raunchy sometimes. Someone stole one of my sites for children once, and reposted it with doubleclick banner ads — including one of Bill Gate’s being shot in the head!! I was SO horrified when I found it. They also ripped my authorship off. I went to lawyers, and they said there was nothing I could do because I had made the site available for free.
    I want to do another richer blogpost about Louise Later’s presentation. Very important work!


  3. What a great resource site! I had no idea that Google has a database to look up current clinical trials!


  4. Well, it is fascinating, but not necessarily something I’d recommend. Interesting more than useful, but it does get you *to* the good stuff, where you should be searching —


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