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Mozilla Ubiquity as an On-Demand Learning Tool August 28, 2008

Posted by B.J. Schone in eLearning.
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Earlier this week, Mozilla (the makers of Firefox) released Ubiquity – a small application that allows you to quickly perform web-related tasks without having to surf out to different web sites. Watch their video for a quick introduction.

So, can this relate to learning? My answer would be absolutely! My main job is to help people learn (acquire knowledge and skills) and then apply what they know on the job. Sometimes this is done by providing them with the right tools. Ubiquity is one of these tools. It gives learners faster access to a wide range of information; it empowers them.

Now here’s where things get interesting: Mozilla has built Ubiquity in a way that allows outside developers (you and me) to add commands and actions to the tool. Think of this scenario: You have a user who is interested in taking a class on leadership skills. Imagine if they could pull up Ubiquity and type lms leadership to bring up a list of classes offered at your organization related to leadership. Or imagine if they had to look up information that was specific to your organization: They could type widget XYZ to immediately pull a spec sheet for a product. Ubiquity allows them to grab information very quickly without having to surf around to different web sites. This is on-demand learning!

If you’re using Firefox, install Ubiquity and then take a look at the tutorial. (If you’re not using Firefox – get it now! It’s definitely the best web browser out there.)

Have you tried Ubiquity? What do you think?

(I plan on developing some Ubiquity commands in the coming weeks. I’ll report back on what I find. Please let me know if you do any work in this area. I’d love to know more…)

Comments»

1. Steve Nguyen - August 28, 2008

This is awesome, BJ. Not sure if you’re familiar with Allison Anderson’s work at Intel and the Learning Ecosystem they are embarking upon there, but I’m trying to drive the same concept at my organization. Problem is hooking all the systems together to make the ecosystem more viable. Ubiquity would be a great way to start tying things together.

When I get a chance, I plan on installing Ubiquity and trying it out. I’ll report back any findings.

2. vijay - August 28, 2008

It looks very intriguing and promising. However, this program will have to carry along common folks like me who are not extraordinarily web savvy. So, I hope, there will be more discussions, tutorials, and reading material on the topic.

3. B.J. Schone - August 28, 2008

@Steve – Thanks – I look forward to hearing about your progress..

@Vijay – You are correct. There will be a barrier for some folks. If the tool really flourishes, I would hope it would continue to get easier to understand and use. And I would hope to see more resources, just as you mentioned. In the mean time, I believe this tool makes power users even more powerful.

4. ubiquity: an idyllic tool to customise learning « life-long, life-wide learner - August 28, 2008

[…] an idyllic tool to customise learning e-learning weekly made a great blog post about mozilla labs new alpha release of ubiquity, stating that it could be an ideal tool for […]

5. ruyoung - August 29, 2008

i’ve played with it a bit. part of me thinks it’s fabulous and part of me wonders why it has taken so long for something like this to be developed. πŸ˜› did you use ubiquity to create your blog post?

@vijay, i wonder if this is the sort of tool that would help increase technical savvy *because* of its intuitiveness. if you’re willing to use firefox, then you may be more open to using something like ubiquity. a few months ago seth godin said, “if someone is using Firefox, they’re way more likely to be using other power tools online. The reasoning: In order to use Firefox, you need to be confident enough to download and use a browser that wasn’t the default when you first turned on your computer.”

6. B.J. Schone - August 30, 2008

@ruyoung – Nope, I didn’t use Ubiquity to create the blog post. I don’t know if that would be the right tool for the job (ex. I need formatting options and more space for paragraphs). But who knows – I’m sure somebody will add a new command for writing blog posts. I’ll take a look at it when that time comes.

Also, good call on the Firefox/Seth Godin quote. I think people are moving in that direction, slowly but surely. But it’ll still take people like us to *highly* recommend that they start using Firefox.πŸ™‚

7. Hmmm … Sites that Caught My Interest « Learn-Learn-Learn - August 31, 2008

[…] Mozilla Ubiquity as an On-Demand Learning Tool […]


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