We're about to release color customization for EDU 2.0 that includes the ability to upload custom backgrounds and headers. It's not technical sophisticated, but it can make a big difference to how a site looks.
We just added Facebook-like features to EDU 2.0 such as home feeds and class feeds. This has effectively upgraded EDU 2.0 from an "LMS" to an "LMS+", because it's starting to blur the boundaries between an LMS and a social networking environment. This will become even more evident when we release support for "learning circles" in a month or so.
Here's what a typical new user home page looks like. Like Facebook, it shows a news feed of all the events, assignments, friend posts, and class posts from all the relevant activities in the EDU 2.0 learning network. It also provides a clear display of today's activities, upcoming events, notifications, online friends, etc. You can click in the top box to post to your blog, and all your friends automatically see the post in their feed by default.
Each class also has its own feed that only displays items that are relevant to that class. If you post to a class feed, it goes to your class blog instead of your personal blog.
In a nutshell, EDU 2.0 now includes a seamless blend of LMS and social networking features.
Here's a link to the one hour audio interview that I gave recently with Steve Hargadon of Elluminate/Blackboard. The sound quality is not great, but if you're interested in the future of education, I think you'll find it worthwhile!
For fun, I imagined what a future version of an iPhone might look like based on Steve Job's pursuit of minimalism. And so I give you iPhone 7 - the Monolith!
- pure black slab, very light, no surface features at all - the entire surface is a high resolution touch display - the surface is black until activated - wireless charging eliminates need for wires and connectors - uses bluetooth for headphones - automatically orients based on how you're holding it - uses the surface as a microphone/speaker via vibrations
After we released the new home page we decided that the layout still looked too blocky, so we made a bunch of new tweaks that unifies the blocks into a single page that uses subtle dividers instead of the old colored margins. We also moved some functionality around to reduce the number of tabs and simplify navigation, as well as allowing the left-bar list of classes to be expanded and collapsed.
Here's the before and after - I think it's a lot better and so far the feedback has been excellent.