Monthly Archives: October 2016

The Wowroom virtual reality experience

I have attended the first presentation in the wow room of the IE Business School via Live streaming and Twitter Feeds. What an experience! Based on the presentations and my own views, I have identified the following advantages:

a) Lecturers can teach two classes simultaneously

Lecturers can teach two classes simultaneously, one group being present in the wow room and the other being ‘virtually’ present in the same classroom (see screenshot).

b) Conducting an orchestra virtually

The conductor was present in the room, but the members of the orchestra were ‘virtually’ brought to the classroom (See screenshot).


c) Teaching one class virtually

The students attending the class were presented on each screen to allow one-to-one interaction between the lecturer and the students (see screenshot).


d) Using Big Data created during the process to improve teaching and learning

The semi-circular classroom allowed the professor to watch the responses of all students. The staff measure the emotions and gestures of the students via tablets and use the graphs (see screenshot) to check emotions to understand how teaching and learning can be improved (see screenshot).


e) Involve the audience

The audience can be involved due to large display on the screens (See screenshot).


f) Bringing field trips to the classroom

The real world can be brought into the classroom when students cannot be taken onto field trips and they can be allowed to interact with people in their working environments (see screenshot).



g) More than replication of traditional face-to-face teaching

The Wowroom replicates the real world, but can bring much more to the learning situation since every student can be monitored. I believe this technology will change teaching and learning for the better.

h) Intelligent assistant

An intelligent assistant (Amphi) controls the wow room, therefore presenters and lecturers can focus on their tasks since they do not need computers or laptops when they present.

i) Video-recording of this experience

The video was ready to avail on Youtube. Enjoy watching the presentations.

To read more about the wow room, follow this link.



ePortfolios as high impact practices

George Kuh added eportfolios earlier this year as the 11th high impact practice.


In this video, Kuh (2016) identifies various elements of effective integration of eportfolios:

  • More than electronic record keeping tool
  • Longitudinal projects allowing students to store authentic work
  • Allows students to question their own work, in company of lecturers and other students
  • Allows students to invite peers, lecturers and even employers to look into their electronic toolboxes
  • Repository where students can see how far they came, how they developed and how they have changed
  • Others can see how far they came, developed and how they have changed
  • Ongoing process of reflection, integration, and digestion IF it is well-designed and structured
  • Every student in every field can benefit from having such a representation of their  work, development and growth
  • Reflection is most important since it deepens learning and knowing about what the student can do.

Although he does not pertinently state it, he identified two of the three cornerstones of a learning oriented approach to assessment, namely that:

  • learning tasks be designed
  • self and peers be involved in the assessment process

He did not state the importance of prompt feedback, but he did name the role of reflection on own work.


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Personal Development networks

Many managers spend a lot of money compiling files filled with paper work on how to do the work. However, when a group of engineers was surveyed, the engineers reported that they would 5 times more ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work than visiting filing cabinets. This finding was confirmed in several South African educational settings.

In fact, 57% of the mathematics teachers of a secondary school in Gauteng reported that they relied on their colleagues to work effectively. When the staff of a secondary school in Gauteng was surveyed, 67% of the teachers indicated that they would rather ask a colleague when they do not know how to do their work. In this regard, 65% of the students enrolled for a module at an start for open and distance education indicated that they rely on their relationships with their colleagues to learn to do their work effectively. My research shows that teachers rely on their personal relationships with colleagues to get access to information, knowledge, advice, support, guidance, ability and concrete resources in their working environments, therefore I have coined such a set of relationships as the personal development networks of teachers.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 10.44.59 AM

Unfortunately school managers do not always give enough time for creating sustainable personal development networks. The quality of teachers’ work depends on their personal development networks, therefore teachers need to be provided with enough opportunities to create relationships with their colleagues. Meanwhile, teachers are using a variety of networking interfaces to take their relationships online.

Tired of typing Google docs? Use Speech Recognition

The Speech Recognition Add-on changes spoken words into text. Open your Chrome browser and follow these steps:

  • Create a new Google Doc or open and existing document
  • Click on Add-ons (top menu of Google Docs)
  • Type Speech Recognition in the search bar
  • Click on the Blue + button to add it to Google Docs (Mine is green since I have added it already)


  • Click again on add-ons (Google Docs menu)
  • Click on speech recognition
  • Choose your language (Afrikaans is there!)
  • If you select English, you can select the dialect as well
  • You can choose for example South Africa as the dialect


  • You can use a range of commands
  • Click on Save to save your settings
  • Click again on Add-ons
  • Click of Speech Recognition
  • The box will open (far right)
  • Click on Start (Blue button)


  • Click on Allow to use microphone
  • And start talking
  • Google will listen to you and type the text where you need it.
  • The microphone stays green to show that it is ready
  • If the microphone is crossed out, click on Start


Example of her excellence:




  1. I do not use the punctuation, I add it when I proofread my text
  2. Insert lines to show new paragraphs.
  3. Google learns quickly, thus the more you use it, the better she will understand you.
  4. For now, I am impressed.

Google understands my dialect of English, and her spelling is excellent – she can even spell “reëls” correctly!




Meet Google Home

Google Home is a voice activated speaker powered by Google Assistant. It is designed to fit your decor, therefore the base colours vary. Underneath the swappable shell a speaker waits to play back songs and allow Google Assistant to talk to you.

On top of the device is a capacitive touch display with four LEDs that are used to:

  • interact with Home
  • trigger the assistant
  • adjust the volume, etc

There are no buttons on the top, just mics that listen for your voice, but a single mute button can be found on the shell. Google Home can filter and separate noise from speech to offer an Assistant that can follow instructions.

You can ask it questions, tell it to do things and have your Google always ready to help. Just start with: “Ok Google” to power your Google Assistant up.

Google Home is a WiFi speaker that can stream music directly from the cloud. It also works as a smartphone control centre and an assistant for the whole family. You can access songs, playlists, albums, and podcasts from your music services by using your voice. You can also use Google Cast to send music from your Android and iOs devices.

Google Cast allows you to adjust the other speakers in your home. You can even get multi-room playback if you add one or more Google Home devices to a group of speakers to hear music where you are in the house. Google Cast will also allow you to watch choose videos from Youtube. Tell the assistant and the content will appear on the television.

Google Home can be used to:

  • playback entertainment throughout the entire house
  • manage every-day tasks
  • and to ask Google to do something
  • set alarms and timers
  • manage to-do-lists
  • control lights, switches and doors and Googles own Nest products

Google is working with others to allow you to:

  • book a flight or car
  • order dinner
  • send flowers

You can ask Google assistant anything:

  • weather
  • facts on Wikipedia
  • any question that can be answered by Google
  • ask follow-up questions.


  1. You can ask Google who George Clooney is. And then you can ask where he went to school. Google will understand that you mean George Clooney!
  2. You can even ask complex questions such as What was the USA population when NASA was established.
  3. Google can also read the relevant part of the webpage back to you.
  4. You can ask Google Home to play that Shakira song from Zootopia and he will be able to find the correct song from your favourite app without you having to name the song

Google Home supports the following:

  • YouTube Music
  • TuneIn
  • Philips Hue
  • Pandora
  • IFTTT (to activate recipes over speaker)
  • SmartThings
  • iHeart Radio
  • Google Play Music
  • Nest

Google Assistant and its machine learning capabilities allows Google Home to know you and your preferences. It can also act as a Chromecast Audio Receiver. Google Assistant is a Siri-like bot that is an adaption of Google Now and OK Google. It is called Google Assistant and improves two-way conversation experiences of those two services.

I cannot wait for the 4th of November when this little accessory with the big heart will be released!



How to use Google Drive offline

Google released a new Google Drive interface a few days ago. Google Drive, when enabled, allow you to access , create and edit your Google docs and presentations offline. I find it useful when I need to get access to my documents where no Internet is available.

The offline function is only available in Chrome browsers. Follow these steps to enable the offline function.

  • Open Chrome browser
  • Check the box next to
  • Choose Drive


  • Click on the gear icon (far right)


  • Click on settings
  • Check the box next to Offline to sync Google Docs, pages, etc to be edited offline as well
  • Turn off wifi
  • Click on document you want to edit and it opens in the chrome browser
  • When you are connected to the Internet, the files will sync automatically.


3 Nano technology innovations I can do with

Nano-technology is amazing. After watching this video, I think I love the spray on clothing the most!

A)  Ultra-ever dry (0:00-4:03)

Sprays on anything to protect it from being damaged by accidental water, oil, mud and even concrete spillage.

B)  Spray on material (see minute 4:05).

The material can be washed and worn again, but it can also be dissolved to create a new clothing.

C)  Liquipel (5:33)

Protects cellular phones from accidental water damage.

Mac desktops found their voices

Siri, the 5-year old intelligent assistant of Apple mobile devices is now also available on Mac desktops since she is part of the new macOS 10.12 Sierra operating system introduced on the 20th of September 2016 and offer features designed exclusively for desktops.

Siri, the intelligent assistant, includes all favourite features and new ones designed for Mac desktops:

  • send messages
  • create reminders
  • search the web and more while you work
  • drag and drop or copy and paste Siri results
  • pin Siri results in notification centre and reference later
  • find files
  • adjust settings
  • get system information by asking Siri.

Copy and paste between devices near each other with universal clipboard. Copy a quote, image and video from an app on one device and paste it into an app on another device.

Drag and drop search results into emails, messages and notes

Pin results where you can find it, right in the notification centre, where it stays up to date. Just click + to pin results to today’s view, where it stays up to date.

Apple watch: log automatically into my Mac by wearing my Watch.

Use iCloud Drive to get access to files on Mac desktop from iPhone. Store and update files on desktop and in Documents automatically in iCloud Drive and access on any of your iOS devices and even another Mac.

Apple pay in Safari makes it faster, easier and more secure to pay on the web since you can check out without providing your credit card details. Complete the transaction by Touch Id or double-clicking the side button on the Apple Watch.

Optimized storage since Sierra automatically stores files rarely used in iCloud. Store files in the cloud until you need them. This feature includes the following:

  • remind you to delete used app installers
  • clears out duplicate downloads, caches, logs, and unnecessary stuff
  • ind and delete large apps and files and ones not used
  • delete files that have been in the trash for 30 days

Rediscover memories, and turn them into memories, including:

  • new technologies for powerful face recognition
  • display all photos on interactive world map, zoom in and out to see where the shot was taken
  • search photos by objects and scenery in them
  • memories automatically creates slide shows and sharable collections of best photos, based on people, places, holidays, and more
  • find photos of beach, sunset, birthday cake, etc.
  • sort photos based on face recognition

Improved messages to express yourself in new ways, including:

  • huge emojis
  • respond with heart of thumbs-up
  • play videos in conversation
  • preview links in the conversation

iTunes makes is easier to find favorite songs and discovering new ones. For you makes it easier to:

  • discover new music and playlists Apple think we would love
  • new browse function – new releases, exclusives, playlists, top charts
  • view lyrics while listening to refined mini player

Tabs works same as in safari, but now in most of the apps. It allows for example to:

  • breeze between multiple page documents in full screen mode
  • look at various destinations in maps

Picture in Picture allows you to float a video window from Safari and iTunes over desktop or full screen app, his allows you to:

  • play a video in the corner of the desktop, resize it and see what is behind while you catch up on email
  • or to watch a game while you are busy with something else

Questions to ask Siri:

  • Show all PDFs in my downloads folder
  • How much free space do I have on my mac?
  • Play the top 40 jazz songs
  • What’s the weather like in Barberton?
  • Add Laura to my 10AM meeting
  • How do I spell broccoli?
  • Find photos I took at home
  • What is the time in Cape Town?
  • Show me all files I have shared with Karen last week
  • Find tweets from Paul
  • FaceTime Jane
  • Get information about Cape Town
  • Search the web for images of Cape Town

I am an Apple fan, therefore I do love the new MacOS Sierra. Now I have a reason to learn to use Siri more effectively! For more ideas, watch Help!


Best dictation software for desktops

Voice dictation allows you to record your ideas hands-free. I was kind of forced to try this out after being teased about typo’s when I am answering a Whatsapp, sms, or email on my phone. The small buttons are so frustrating, yet I have only decided to test voice dictation after somebody told me yesterday that Windows computers are the best, and that he has used Dragon NaturallySpeaking the past ten years. according to him he never have to touch his keyboard, Dragon allows him to control his computer hands-free, performing any task from typing Word documents to adding numbers in Excel spread sheets.

Although Dragon seems to be a perfect match, it is most expensive. I have a Mac desk top, Mac Air and a Windows computer. To be able to use Dragon on my devices, I would have to pay a lot of money. I realised that I have heard somewhere that Windows and Mac do offer speech recognition (dictation) functions, therefore, I have decided to do some research.

Esposito (2016) evaluated dozens of dictation apps and tested them for comprehension, accuracy, and ease of use to select the top four dictation tools for desktops (see Table).

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