The Beginning of a Great Adventure (or The Floor is Made of Lava)

When I was a kid, I used to play this game called “the floor is made of lava.”  Perhaps you’ve heard of it.  Maybe you’ve even played it yourself.  For the uninitiated, the rules go something like this.  The hardwood floor (or shag carpet or linoleum tile or whatever) is made of lava.  Your mission is to navigate the room without touching the lavafloor.  You can climb on the shelves, the desk, the dresser, the bed, the TV or any other furniture, as long as you don’t touch the floor.  You can even stand on your shoes if your shoes are on the lavafloor, but you can’t touch the lavafloor yourself.  If you drop something and it hits the lavafloor, then you can’t pick it up because it’s in the lava.  If you, yourself, touch the lavafloor, then you have 3 seconds to get off of the lavafloor or else the game is over.

Um… ok.  How does that relate to instructional technology?

I’ve decided to undertake an experiment and will be documenting the process here.  The experiment is this… for the next 30 days, the floor will be made of lava.  I will not use any desktop applications other than my web browsers, Spotify, and a couple of internal applications that we use here for which there are no web-based alternatives.  I’ll be working exclusively in the cloud and documenting the successes and failures of my journey.   Think of it as the “floor is made of lava” game for grown-ups.  I’m sure I’ll touch the floor on occasion, but so long as I don’t abandon the mission altogether, then I’ll be safe and I’ll just have made a misstep.

Why am I doing this?

My reasoning is twofold.  First, I’m trying to see just how well our students would be able to perform in a fully web-based environment.  If they were to take an online course with us and didn’t have access to any additional software, would they be able to succeed?  Second, I’m trying to envision the office work of the future.  Our job is to educate our students and prepare them for the “real world.” What will the “real world” be like in 2 years?  Will we still be using big productivity suites or will we be more reliant on web-based apps which can be accessed from any device without relying on operating system specific software.  I’m trying to see if I can function in the “OS agnostic” world of the web.

What tools I’m using (for now)

There are scads of tools that can be used for this experiment, but here’s the list I’m starting out with… I’m sure it will expand as the experiment progresses, but here’s how I’m starting.

Web Browsers: Google Chrome, Firefox
File Storage: 
Dropbox, Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive, Apple iCloud
Productivity Suite: Google Docs, Microsoft Office Webapps
Image Editor: Pixlr
Screen Capture: Pixlr Grabber
Text Editor: Drive Notepad (Chrome app)
Instant Messenger: imo.im (Chrome app)
Additional Presentations: Prezi
FTP Client: FireFTP (Firefox add-on)

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post to see how (and if) I survived day one of the experiment…

As always, any questions, comments, concerns, or (gentle) criticisms are always welcome.

~Rodney

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