Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Keyng on Quirky

Keyng is a boardless keying system with tactile response for alphanumeric input to portable devices through exoskeleton frames.

I developed the idea about 18 months ago, but haven't really done much since then. I've decided to submit Keyng to Quirky--and crowdsourcing product development site.

If you like the idea, please vote :)

Here is the first prototype--built out of Legos--by my son:

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Salsa project completes Phase 1

Having successfully provided web-accessible online syllabi to more than 5,000 students during the Fall 2014 pilot program, the Salsa project completed Phase 1 on January 31, 2015.

Phase 1 was made possible through funding provided by the Utah Science and Technology Research (USTAR) initiative, and a partnership between Commercial Enterprises and the Center for Innovative Design & Instruction (CIDI).

Salsa is an open-source, web-based application for creating accessible higher-education syllabi. The full application is available for download at GitHub.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Bird Song Labs

I developed this instructional tool for the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University a few years back. There are three labs that contain image maps of 35 North American birds. Click on a bird's image and you will hear its song:

There has been speculation that listening to birds sing may have mental health benefits: http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/blogs/can-bird-songs-boost-your-brain

Bullet-proof Jigsaw Instruction Sheet

Have you ever tried to conduct a Jigsaw Activity with your learners? It can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but one that is often worth the results if you muscle through :)

Here is my attempt to create a Bullet-proof Instruction Sheet™ for Jigsaw Activities:

PDF file: https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/gjoeckel/bis/Jigsaw_Instructions.pdf

Please share suggestions for improvements!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Keeping the GUI simple with the HUI

The Hidden User Interface
As we strive to maintain the "easy as dirt"* usability of the Graphic User Interface (GUI) in our open source Salsa application, we are creating a customizable User interface that lives "beneath" the GUI. We have even coined an original term: Hidden User Interface (HUI).**

We're still fleshing out the concept, but here are some thoughts:


  1. Achieve simplicity and beauty through "ruthless reduction" (inspired by Fedarko's description of dories in The Emerald Mile).
  2. Provide an interface that is accessible for all Users.
  3. Maintain a common "top-level" interface to support interactions between Users: collaborative creation of SALSAs, feedback, coaching. 
  4. Maintain a common "top-level" interface to optimize resources and services provided for Users: documentation, training, support.


  1. Provide the ability to adapt to a User's spatial and/or visual preferences.
  2. Allow the User to select the level of instructional scaffolding that is visible.
  3. Allow Users to also share HUIs through the "Template Link" (currently allows a User to share content without creating a User account).
SALSA template link

*Actual client feedback on a beta version.
** Originality claim based on an exhaustive (several minutes) Google search.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Getting my global geek on

Today I received Happy Ugadi greetings from the Swift eLearning team:

A quick check on Wikipedia informs me: 

Yugādi,Telugu:Ugadi (ఉగాది/యుగాది), (Ugādi 'Samvatsarādi Kannadaಯುಗಾದಿ Yugadi , Konkani/Marathi: युगादि yugādi) is the New Year's Day for the people of the Deccan region of India. The name Yugadi or Ugadi is derived from the Sanskrit words yuga (age) and ādi (beginning): "the beginning of a new age". It falls on a different day every year because the Hindu calendar is a lunisolar calendar. The Saka calendar begins with the month of Chaitra (March–April) and Ugadi marks the first day of the new year. Chaitra is the first month in Panchanga which is the Indian calendar.

The question is, do I send a greeting in Telugu, Kannada, Konkani, or Marathi?

JS to the rescue:

var lang = "language";

if (lang = "Telugu") {

"-ఉగాది శుభాకాంక్షలు"


else if (lang = "Kannada") {

"ಯುಗಾದಿ ಹಬ್ಬದ ಶುಭಾಶಯಗಳು"


else if (lang = "Konkani" ) {

"Navve varsache shubhashay, Samsar padvyache shubhashay."


else if (lang = "Marathi") {

"'गुढी पाडव्याच्या हार्दिक शुभेच्छा'" 


else {

"Happy Ugadi!"


I didn't want to limit the critique of my JS to just my readers, so I posted on StackFlow: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22790439/js-formula-for-ugadi-greeting