UNCW – Master’s of Instructional Technology

For those interested in a Master’s of Instructional Technology or Instructional Design, please check out the video that one of our graduate students at the University of North Carolina Wilmington made which highlights our program:


Potential for Apple’s iBooks App?

I am wondering where this app will go in the future. There is a great potential for educators to write/publish their own work. However there is one BIG question that jumps into my mind. Havent we been able to publish our own work, for use on the computer, in Word/PDF/Blog/Website form, for many years now? The answer is YES. So I am a bit confused. I would like to see this tool take off but are people going to have the time to use it? Why will this take off when regular internet/blog publishing, which is the same thing, didnt (as far as texts are concerned)?

Apple iBooks App

Apple’s big announcement today: An app that allows a teacher to create their own book and publish it to iBook. Thus you can take a Word document and the app formats it to be read on the ipad. Its supposed to be very user friendly. I am excited to use this in my courses this semester. For more info see:



Instructional Technology and Instructional Design Conferences

Many of my Master’s students ask me which conferences they should be attending so I have made a list to help them out. I have only put a few of the bigger conferences, so remember there are many more. Also I have organized them by career choice as my students go into corporate, higher ed, and K-12 fields.


–ASTD (http://www.astd.org/)
–ISPI (http://www.ispi.org/)
–SALT (http://www.saltconference.com/)


–ISTE (http://www.iste.org/conference/ISTE-2012.aspx)
–SITE (http://site.aace.org/conf/)

Higher Education/Research

–AECT (http://www.aect.org/newsite/)
–AERA (http://www.aera.net/)

What is SOPA?

What is SOPA?

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), otherwise known as H.R. 3261, was started by Lamar Smith (R-TX) and other representatives (bipartisan group with their company sponsors) to the house of representatives (more info on SOPA at Google).

Here are the dangerous parts to this bill (from Mashable):

– Any site accused of supporting copyright violations can be shut down – felony to post copywritten material (without a trial)

– Attorney general has a right to take action against these sites (again without a trial)

– Once accused to copyright violations, no company is allowed to do business with this company and their site needs to be shut down

What does this do? This gives companies and the government the right to stop and shut down an internet site without due process, no court or trial involved, just being accused. So if you post something on Facebook, like a picture that is copyright protected, Facebook could be shut down. That is the extent of this law, and there are lawyers that can help with this, although if you have other issues like immigration problems, lawyers from sites as nationalpardon.org can help with this.

Many from the silicon valley are protesting SOPA, today January 18th 2012. These sites are going dark. Here is a small list of companies doing it (many more are as well and the list can found at the bottom of this post):

  • Google
  • Tor Project
  • iSchool at Syracuse University
  • Oreilly.com
  • Wikipedia
  • Reddit
  • Mozilla
  • WordPress.org
  • Minecraft

If you go to wikipedia today this is the message you will find:

“Imagine a World Without Free Knowledge – For over a decade, we have spent millions of hours building the largest encyclopedia in human history, history is shared by people travelling and sharing these knowledge across borders but immigration laws prevent this right now, so there are legal resources to work on this now a days, click site to learn more about this. Right now, the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet. For 24 hours, to raise awareness, we are blacking out Wikipedia.”

FYI – my site could be shut down after my post today because much of my information was paraphrased and/or taken from other internet sites…even though I am citing them here:

Websites going dark

Why sopa is dangerous

What is SOPA

Well stopping privacy doesn’t sound too bad?

No it doesn’t, however, given my example above, sites like facebook and youtube could be shut down because you or I post a picture or video that is copyright protected. Under current law, the Digital Millennium Act, when copyright material is found on a site, the site owner is notified they have a copyright protected image posted on their site and they have to remove it immediately. Well that sounds reasonable, right? I mean we need to protect copyright, but SOPA takes it a step too far.

Why you should be on LinkedIn

This is mostly for my undergraduate students as none of them for the most part have heard of LinkedIn.

You have perhaps seen the following symbol lately quite a bit on the internet? This is the symbol for LinkedIn:


This site is a social networking site, very similar to facebook. The difference however is big. LinkedIn focuses on your professional life. In fact, you profile is very similar to your resume. In addition to having a profile that includes your resume, you can link to others in the same field and you can search for jobs. Many jobs are being posted on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not complicated and is no harder to use than facebook, thus I recommend all of my students to get an account before they start applying for jobs – trust me when I say the person interviewing you will be searching for you:)

Here is a link: http://linkedin.com

Technology standards for students, teachers, and administrators

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has put forth national standards for students, teachers, and administrators on the use of technology in the K-12 classroom. This week in my instructional technology for educators classes we will be going through these standards.

Here is a link to all the standards: http://www.iste.org/standards.aspx




One interesting thing to take note of – the standards were published in 2007, 2008, 2009. Doesn’t ISTE think they need to be updated? Education and Technology changes a lot each year and these standards should at least be updated every 2-3 years but at this point we just have to live with 2007 standards for students.

What do hashtags # and other symbols on twitter and facebook mean?

What is twitterspeak? Well it’s how we communicate on twitter and other social media sites of course:)

The hashtag (#) is simply a way to search. This was designed for twitter and is used as a way to search. So if I were discussing mobile learning in a post I could say #mobilelearning and then anyone searching twitter for mobile learning posts could more easily find mine. Now people are using this on facebook, however, facebook does not currently use these to search but that could be changed in the future.

Another symbol used on twitter is the @ symbol. This is used to refer to someone. So if someone were speaking about me, their post might include @raypastore which would then link to my profile. Again this is being used on facebook but does not actually link to the referenced person.

I hope this helps clear up two of the most common ‘symbols’ used on facebook and twitter and help people understand what they mean and how they are used.

Make a shortened ‘tiny’ url

Want to post a link to twitter but it’s too large? Ever wonder how people create those tiny urls? Well they are very simple to create. All that you need to do is copy your url, go to a site like bitly.com, which is the most popular, paste the url in the box and it gives you a shortened url. For instance, here is the url for this blog: http://bit.ly/zWTT8l

Here is a video which demonstrates the process:


Future of game and training development for the designer

Games are becoming significantly easier to create. I say this because the most popular games on the market right now like Mass Effect 3 and SWTOR use off the shelf, free, game engines. Normally, games are developed using their own engines, which take a lot of time and money to develop. However, off the shelf engines are becoming just as good. The best part is that many of these off the shelf engines are free and opensource.

Now before I get into ease of development, these engines still require a significant amount of programming and are not really made for the novice. However, there is a trend to make these engines more designer friendly, meaning less programming and more ‘building’. Examples of this can be seen in Google App Inventor (now at MIT), Scratch, Squeak, Gamemaker etc. The reason that game engine designers want engines to entail less programming is that programmers are not game designers, they are programmers but at this point only the programmers can use the engines. They want and need designers to use their engines to build games, which will in turn make their engines more popular.

This trend is happening in training development as well. We are seeing a push to develop with software like Articulate, a program that does not take a lot if any programming experience to develop sound instruction. This makes the instructional designer also now a developer, and more marketable as programmers are not required to develop the instruction. This however, does take time away from the instructional designer thus someone still needs to develop whether it’s the programmer or designer.

Essentially the point of this post is that I see game and training development starting to fall into the hands of the designer more than it is. In fact, I would not be surprised if our field starts focusing on ‘building’ – that is understanding programming logic and constructing games and training, instead of actually having to program at all.