Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Open Content Alliance Expands Rapidly; Reveals Operational Details

Open Content Alliance Expands Rapidly; Reveals Operational Details: "October 31, 2005 — Just a few weeks after its launch, the Open Content Alliance ( has already added dozens of new members to its Open Library project ( (For background on OCA, see the NewsBreak “Open Content Alliance Rises to the Challenge of Google Print” at Twenty-four new participants have joined the initial 10 founding members. All contributors have committed to donating services, facilities, tools, and/or funding. Microsoft Corp. has joined the effort with the announcement of MSN Book Search, a new mass book digitization project. (For coverage, see the companion NewsBreak, “Microsoft Launches Book Digitization Project—MSN Book Search” at The Research Libraries Group (RLG;, a major library bibliographic utility, has also joined OCA, contributing its bibliographic metadata. In contrast with Google Print’s close-mouthed policy toward its proprietary digitization equipment, the Open Content Alliance has released extensive details on its Scribe system, as well as other options for participants and users. "

To see an example of a scanned book, the interface and process and explanation of the aliiance see this link.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Save the Internet: New Activist Movie

Save the Internet Blog:

From blog -
"How do you take an issue that can seem geeky, remote, and impossible to explain and translate it into a compelling story that gets the attention it deserves?
That was the challenge we faced in directing the latest video, Independence Day — which premiered Dec 18 on YouTube and

But from the moment we first doodled this flying saucer image onto a napkin, we thought we might be onto something. More than just a visual gimmick, the UFO frame fits the battle for Net Neutrality surprisingly well. First, because the phone and cable companies really are aliens to our democracy. They’re the ones who want to overrun our Congress to change the way the Internet works — replacing the “level playing field” we know today their “gatekeeper” system.And secondly because they’re phony “Astroturf” groups have been disguising themselves as Internet-friendly activists (”Invasion of the Body Snatchers”-style) that are actually paid front groups. Hands off the Internet may look and talk like us – but watch for the telltale green pods hidden in their back yards…

And lastly, the whole “Mars Attacks” theme helps to communicate something fundamental: that there’s a battle going on for the future of the Internet, and that citizens need to inform themselves and take action. " Now It's Your Turn -- Dec. 25, 2006 -- Page 1 Now It's Your Turn -- Dec. 25, 2006 -- Page 1

Time's person of the year is You - those who toil bloging, mashing, posting, sharing, and ushering in the possibilities of social software and web 2.0. There is no image on the cover - there is a mylar insert that reflects the image of those who hold it up.

From TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel:
Posted Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006
"The other day I listened to a reader named Tom, age 59, make a pitch for the American Voter as TIME's Person of the Year. Tom wasn't sitting in my office but was home in Stamford, Conn., where he recorded his video and uploaded it to YouTube. In fact, Tom was answering my own video, which I'd posted on YouTube a couple of weeks earlier, asking for people to submit nominations for Person of the Year. Within a few days, it had tens of thousands of page views and dozens of video submissions and comments. The people who sent in nominations were from Australia and Paris and Duluth, and their suggestions included Sacha Baron Cohen, Donald Rumsfeld, Al Gore and many, many votes for the YouTube guys.

This response was the living example of the idea of our 2006 Person of the Year: that individuals are changing the nature of the information age, that the creators and consumers of user-generated content are transforming art and politics and commerce, that they are the engaged citizens of a new digital democracy. From user-generated images of Baghdad strife and the London Underground bombing to the macaca moment that might have altered the midterm elections to the hundreds of thousands of individual outpourings of hope and poetry and self-absorption, this new global nervous system is changing the way we perceive the world. And the consequences of it all are both hard to know and impossible to overestimate..."

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Participatory Media And The Pedagogy Of Civic Participation

Participatory Media And The Pedagogy Of Civic Participation - Robin Good's Latest News: "

Howard Rheingold, The Pedagogy of Civic Participation
Education – the means by which young people learn the skills necessary to succeed in their place and time – is diverging from schooling. Media-literacy-wise, education is happening now after school and on weekends and when the teacher isn't looking, in the SMS messages, MySpace pages, blog posts, podcasts, videoblogs that technology-equipped digital natives exchange among themselves. This population is both self-guided and in need of guidance, and although a willingness to learn new media by point-and-click exploration might come naturally to today's student cohort, there's nothing innate about knowing how to apply their skills to the processes of democracy.''

Participatory media is changing the way we communicate, engage with media and each other and even our approaches to teaching and learning.
The generation of digital natives - those that have grown up immersed in digital media - take all of this for granted. There is nothing strange, new or even transformative about the interactive, participative landscape of blogging, social networking and Web 2.0 Read/Write media for them. This is the very starting point, the background canvas on which they live their lives.
The promise of participatory media is a democratic media, and a media that strengthens our democratic rights in concrete terms. Howard Rheingold has written extensively about the very real uses people have put mobile and digital media to in fighting street level battles over concrete issues. In his 2002 bestseller Smart Mobs, he writes about the ways that these technologies have been put to use in online collaboration, direct political action and the lives of young people across the planet.

But can the use of these emergent socially networked technologies transcend entertainment and personal expression, and push us forward towards an engaged, empowered democracy?

In his recent lecture The Pedagogy of Civic Participation, which took place in the 3D virtual world Second Life on the NMC Campus, Howard Rheingold asks this very question.

In Robin Good's discussion of this lecture he divides Howard Rheingold's presentation into several audio files, and brought together the key points and questions discussed. You can listen to the original verbal presentation delivered for each key point or browse through the summary notes he has posted next to each.

Dear Kids, You Don’t Have to Go to College

Will Richardson made this posting below in his blog - he is an educator who has made it his passion and work to inform us all about the need to review our approach to education. This entry deserves to be cited in it's entirety.

Dear Tess and Tucker,

For most of your young lives, you’ve heard your mom and I occasionally talk about your futures by saying that someday you’ll travel off to college and get this thing called a degree that will show everyone that you are an expert in something and that will lead you to getting a good job that will make you happy and make you able to raise a family of your own someday. At least, that’s what your mom and I have in our heads when we talk about it. But, and I haven’t told your mom this yet, I’ve changed my mind. I want you to know that you don’t have to go to college if you don’t want to, and that there are other avenues to achieving that future that may be more instructive, more meaningful, and more relevant than getting a degree.

Let me put it to you this way (and I’ll explain this more as you get older.) I promise to support you for as long as I can in your quest to learn after high school, whatever that might look like. I’ll do everything I can to help you find what your passions are and pursue them in whatever ways you decide will allow you to learn as much as you can about them. I’ll help you put together your own plan to achieve expertise in that passion, and that plan may include many different activities and environments that look nothing like (and in all likelihood will cost much less than) a traditional college experience. Some of your plan may include classrooms, some may include training or certification programs. But some may also include learning through online video games, virtual communities, and informal networks that you will build around your interests, all moving you further along toward expertise. (Remind me at some point to tell you what a guy named George Siemens says about this.)

And throughout this process, I will support you in the creation of your learning portfolio, the artifact which when the time comes, you will share to prospective employers or collaborators to begin your life’s work. (In all likelihood, in fact, you will probably find these people as a part of this process.) Instead of the piece of paper on the wall that says you are an expert, you will have an array of products and experiences, reflections and conversations that show your expertise, show what you know, make it transparent. It will be comprised of a body of work and a network of learners that you will continually turn to over time, that will evolve as you evolve, and will capture your most important learning.

I know, I know. Even now you are thinking, “but Dad, wouldn’t just going to college be easier?” It might, yes. And depending on what you end up wanting to do, college might still be the best answer. But it might not. And I want to remind you that in my own experience, all of the “learning” I did in all of the college classrooms I’ve spent time in does not come close to the learning that I’ve done on my own for the simple reason that now I am learning with people who are just as (if not more) passionate to “know” as I am. And that is what I want for you, to connect to people and environments where your passions connect, and the expectation is that you learn together, not learn on your own. Where you are free to create your own curriculum, find your own teachers, and create your own assessments as they are relevant. Where you make decisions (and your teachers guide you in those decisions) as to what is relevant to know and what isn’t instead of someone deciding that for you. Where at the end of the day, you’ll look back and find that the vast majority of your effort has been time well spent, not time wasted.

In many ways, I envy you. I think about all of the time I spent “learning” about things that had absolutely no relevance to my life’s work simply because I was required to do so. Knowledge that became old almost as soon as it was uttered from my professor’s mouth. I think about how much more I could have gotten from those hundreds and hundreds of hours (and dollars) that now feel frittered away because I had no real choice. I want to make sure you know you have a choice.

So, when the time comes, we’ll start talking about what roads you might want to pursue and how you might want to pursue them. Your mom and I have high expectations, and we’ll do everything we can to support the decisions you make. But ultimately, my hope is that you will learn this on your own, that you will seize the opportunities that this new world of learning and knowledge offers you, and that you will find it as exciting and provocative a place as I have.

Love always, Dad

Web 3.0? Self-Organizing Content

Yet Another Meme: The Web 3.0 Label Highlights Self-Organizing Content - Shore Communications Inc. - News Analysis:

"Already tired from a year's worth of Web 2.0 buzz John Markoff of The New York Times is spinning out Yet Another Meme - a 'yam' known as Web 3.0. In Markoff's eyes the new game in content is to push out concierge-like services that analyze Web content to discern much deeper patterns of meaning and more intuitive results for answer-seekers. It's all pretty true stuff, but it's also stuff that's been under development for a long, long time - and is not likely to provide quick payoffs any time soon. In the meantime publishing-empowered users are organizing content themselves and coming up with some pretty compelling insights of their own."

Online Collaboration And SOHO Web Conferencing: Acrobat Connect

Online Collaboration And SOHO Web Conferencing: Acrobat Connect Is The New Reference - Robin Good's Latest News

Adobe has ushered in the new standard - meshing the power of Breeze and web conferencing into the Acrobat reader. If you have the reader, you can web conference - no other installation required. And at$39/month for up to 15 users this is a very, very competitive price. Flat-rate monthly or annual pricing for both web and teleconferencing.

Key traits include “always-on” personal meeting rooms, the leveraging of the ubiquitous Flash Player software available on over 97 percent of all Internet-enabled desktops, availability at one-click distance inside Adobe Acrobat 8 and on the Adobe Reader 8 toolbar, screen-sharing, 2-party video, text-chat, integrated tele-conferencing, live annotation and easy invitation management.

Integrated VoIP, videoconferencing, layout customization, full PowerPoint presentation support and many others are all available in the Connect Professional version to be released by 2007.

Online Collaboration And SOHO Web Conferencing: Acrobat Connect

Online Collaboration And SOHO Web Conferencing: Acrobat Connect Is The New Reference - Robin Good's Latest News

Adobe has ushered in the new standard - meshing the power of Breeze and web conferencing into the Acrobat reader. If you have the reader, you can web conference - no other installation required. And at$39/month for up to 15 users this is a very, very competitive price. Flat-rate monthly or annual pricing for both web and teleconferencing.

Key traits include “always-on” personal meeting rooms, the leveraging of the ubiquitous Flash Player software available on over 97 percent of all Internet-enabled desktops, availability at one-click distance inside Adobe Acrobat 8 and on the Adobe Reader 8 toolbar, screen-sharing, 2-party video, text-chat, integrated tele-conferencing, live annotation and easy invitation management.

Integrated VoIP, videoconferencing, layout customization, full PowerPoint presentation support and many others are all available in the Connect Professional version to be released by 2007.

The Dawn of the Stupid Network

The Dawn of the Stupid Network

In recent history, the basis of telephone company value has been the sharing of scarce resources -- wires, switches, etc. - to create premium-priced services; glass fibers have gotten clearer, lasers are faster and cheaper, and processors have become many orders of magnitude more capable and available. In other words, the scarcity assumption has disappeared, which poses a challenge to the telcos' "Intelligent Network" model. A new type of open, flexible communications infrastructure, the "Stupid Network," is poised to deliver increased user control, more innovation, and greater value.

Telephone companies (telcos) have always pushed technology improvements that promote the smooth continuation of their basic business. They invented the stored program control switch in the 1970s, as a move toward cost reduction and reliability. Programmability also made possible certain call routing and billing services. In the 1980s, phone companies began marketing these services as the "Intelligent Network." Technology continued its trajectory of improvement, but because technology began to change the value proposition in ways that the old business could not assimilate, the telcos seemed to "fall asleep at the switch" at the core of their network. Meanwhile, the Stupid Network – based on abundant, high-performance elements that emphasized transmission over switching, as well as user control of the vast processing power at the network’s edges – was taking shape.

See link for more.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Internet lampposts to be trialled

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Internet lampposts to be trialled: "Smart lampposts that could provide high-speed internet access are set to go on trial in Scotland.

The idea will be piloted later this month in Dundee but could spread further afield.
Backers of the project plan to install six of the solar-powered, internet-capable lights on a rooftop at the University of Abertay.
Later in the year they plan to install up to 4,000 more in a student village to be built for the university.

The idea will combine lampposts with solar energy and wi-fi wireless internet access. "

Pixelpurchase: Support FREE WIND and SOLAR Powered WiFi - Wireless in NYC Parks and Green Spaces

Support FREE WIND and SOLAR Powered WiFi - Wireless in NYC Parks and Green Spaces
The GREENlined for WiFi!* project seeks to raise $250,000 (US) by selling 1,000,000 pixels for $0.25 each. The funds raised will be applied toward operating expenses and the next phase of upgrading, building and operating a growing Wireless Metropolitain Area Network across the rooftops of NYC, Brooklyn, and Queens, to add SOLAR and WIND systems to power the network, and to provide FREE WiFi to parks and open spaces.

WiFi-NY started the GREENLINED for WiFi!* project to upgrade service and extend its reach to underserved areas such as Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bedford Stuyvesant, and to support extended FREE WiFi services across the entire network. Your contributions will enable us to purchase the energy and network technology and the high-speed internet connectivity required to achieve the goals set forth by this project.

Presently, WiFI-NY provides affordable wireless broadband service to homes and businesses in Manhattan's East Village, Lower East Side, and Williamsburg, Brooklyn. WiFi-NY and its subscribers also sponsor limited free public access across its entire network including Tompkins Square Park, La Plaza Cultural Garden, The Earth People Garden, Open Road Park, De Colores Yard Garden, 9 CD Garden, ABC Playground. Help us meet our goal to install a permanent link to McCarren Park in Williamsburg, and to install SOLAR and WIND power and purchase more bandwidth and Internet connectivity using high-speed Free Space Laser Optics and Gigabit RF.
read more about WiFi-NY here

Green WiFi To Launch Solar WiFi In India

Solar wi fi just seems so right - for developed and developing world needs - as shown below in India, in Colorado and in Minnesota. Yes - even if the sun doesn't shine all the time, solar power works fine. Now isn't Edmonton one of the sunniest cities in Canada? YES! If you have the power - make use of it!

GigaOM » Green WiFi To Launch Solar WiFi In India
Green Wi-Fi, a non-profit organization that aims to bring Internet access to schools in developing countries via cheap, solar-powered Wi-Fi networks, is developing a pilot project in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh at the end of the summer. A Canadian aid organization that has asked for Wi-Fi in three schools in the northern Indian state where electricity is unreliable. One of these schools has a cable connection.

Green Wi Fi has received seed money from Nicholas Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child Initiative (OLPC).

Other solar wi fi news:
St. Louis Park is poised to become the first city in North America to provide city-wide, solar-powered, WiFi.
“It’s a cost-saving alternative to traditional powering resources,” Pires said. “We’re expecting to save $40,000 to $50,000 a year by using solar and avoiding standard electricity.”

St. Louis Park (pop: 45,000), 10-sq miles, expects to enter a public-private partnership with ARINC of Maryland, which would install, run and maintain the system’s infrastructure, with an initial investment of $3.3 million from the city. St. Louis Park also is negotiating with Internet provider Unplugged Cities of Fridley.

Boulder Colorado solar wi fi installation

The network cost $10,000 to deploy, but upkeep costs will essentially be nil. The rechargeable batteries need to be swapped out every so often, but the solar panels are built to run for 25-30 years.

Because a 100 percent solar-powered network will continue to run even when electricity is out, and LightWave offers enterprise level security, it has obvious “homeland security” and emergency management uses.

“When power’s out, the first 24 hours can be crucial to saving lives,” says Lyon. “If the system is already in place, and if a disaster strikes and takes out power, our network will still be operational. They are also very portable, so if FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency] has a supply of them, they can move into an area that has lost power and set it up very quickly, mobilize search and rescue, do resource management. The infrastructure would already be in place, it could be functioning with VoIP all the time”

Thursday, December 07, 2006

WebCT - Pseudo Blog

Tama’s eLearning Blog This an older posting I just found but pertinent nonetheless. WebCT/Blackboard continue to "advance" their product into the social software sphere that students want and demand - but are they succceeding? Can you make an enclosed space, a walled graden into a social space?

"Mark Hallam from WebCT spoke at the Annual Teaching & Learning Forum held at the University of Western Australia. Mark previewed a number of WebCT’s next steps including ePortfolio tools and blogs. However, on close questioning, Mark admitted that WebCT’s blogs aren’t really blogs at all because…
1. They are locked behind WebCT’s password protection.
2. They cannot be made publicly visible (there is a complex workaround whereby students could copy there WebCT-blog entries to their ePortfolio and then allow anonymous access via a guest password, but WebCT cannot bypass the password stage).
3. Comments can only be made by internal WebCT users using the same installation of WebCT.
4. The “blogs” don’t have RSS feeds."

Hmmm. Doesn't sound like a blog, yet claims the name. Perhaps they should stop trying to recreate what already exists - maybe just allow a link into Elgg. That would be social, personal, amd not institutional centric and not tied to a course, a semester, or to a licensed, closed environment. Now that sounds social. Now that is also added value - but alas, not added profit. (Unless Blackboard/WebCT buys Elgg)

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

To fix education, think Web 2.0

CNET reporting on John Seely Brown speaking at MIT suggesting that web 2.0 is the fix for education - "education is going through a large scale transformation toward aore participatory form of learning." and " web 2.0 affords opportunities for information sharing and content creation with "students who are passionate about specific in groups and participate in online communities."

Yes, yes and yes again. When I find someone passionate about the same things I am passionate about, my learning increases - when I participate my learning increases. When I make my own choice about learning -space, time, association, selection - my learning increases. Web 2.0 affords me access to the passion and participation - it's a no brainer. But changing the existing structure and control of the educational establishment, the learning delivery and assessment framework - now that is difficult.

Second Life - Does it have a future?

This is going to be BIG! - 10 Reasons to Go Short on Second Life worth a read to see not only Charlie's reasoning, but also to see the comments from others that question his reasoning. It is good that some questions are being raised as Second Life continues to receive extensive news coverage - I've seen three national news items on television and heard two radio news presentations on Second Life in the last 4 weeks.

I am skeptical about Second Life - primarily for the reasons cited by Stephen Downes - it is not democratic, it is owned by a single company, and that has a lot to say about what freedoms are accorded to the online user. I'm not interested in investing a lot of time and energy into creating perosnl or educational aplications that are "owned" by someone else, and could be used for purposes I did not design them for.

As a visual medium it is attractive - but not terribly innovative. It is just creating the saem structures we have in real life - it's educational uses are great for say the behavioural sciences. I am also apprehensive about the continued impositon of corporate interests into Second Life - product placements, sponsorship, advertisements, billboards, soon enough it'll be come the virtual mall linked into paypal and catalog databases.

Open croquet is an educational immersive environment that might be more to my liking - if I were more savvy about programming.

Formal Informal - Control!

As I advise educators on learning design and instructional approaches I am always astounded by their fear of "letting go". They seem to have an innate need to be in control of the learning situation - and that loosening their grip is somehow abdicating their responsibility as educators. I'm also struck by the lack of respect accorded to informal learning - the idea that a learner might acquire knowledge from something/someone without formal accreditation, or without commonly understood forms of structure like courses, classrooms, assessments and set hours for learning. It isn't surprising then that I find Stephen Downes' comments on formal/informal learning and the misunderstandings surrounding structure and informal learning of interest:

"What makes informal learning different from formal learning is not that it is formless, but rather, it that it is conducted outside the domain of the formal education infrastructure, with the associated and not trivial implication that it is managed by the learner, and not the professor or institution.

That's why a statement like 'too important to be left to chance' is so misleading. It implies that there is no reason why a person (whether an employee or a student) might choose this or that informal learning method. It implies that nothing can be done to support this person, to suggest some structures or mechanisms, to improve their likely outcome. It assumes that, unless we control this person, the outcome is 'by chance'"

Informal learning does not mean less structure - it means different structures, with opportunities for student involvement in the definition of the framework and conditions surrounding learning. We, as educators, have to learn that there are variants of control, and that "letting go" of some of the reins of control is a good thing for the student. We need to have students more responsible for their learning and we must also support and help them define and establish parameters and structure to their learning design.

After all we have to remind ourselves that informal learning is the primary mode of learning. Formal learning is event based, episodic; informal learning is lifelong, continuous. Learning come in many forms, as does learning structure, and control. We just have to be willing to explore all the options available to us.

Friday, December 01, 2006

From Ice Cream to Nuclear Freeze

From Ice Cream to Nuclear Freeze cofounder of ben and Jerry's ice cream is mounting a campaign to push U.S. legislators to spend more money on education and less on defense - yes, asking them to get their priorities straight - it's intriguing that business men are readily signing on to this initiative - maybe American teachers, grossly undepaid, may benefit from this - and perhaps the other high priced jobs - like stock brokers, lawyers, doctors, anyone dealing with money - can see a drop in pay - it is always sad to see that those professions who work in the "front line" with people are not well compensated for their work.



elearningeuropa, the European Commissions lifelong learning portal, has a series of eLearning Papers - includes:

mGBL - mobile Game-Based Learning: perspectives and usage in learning and career guidance topics Characteristics and Capacity of e-learning platforms for learning languages (Summer 2006) and more

Blogs or Discussion Forums? Which is better?

Comparing Weblogs to Threaded Discussion Tools in Online Educational Contexts by Terry Anderson and Donna Cameron -

This is a well reserached article (by the Chair of Distance Education in Canada and a student of the MDE program at Athabasca University) exploring the difference between discussion forums and blogs.

"Computer conferencing emerged in an era that predates the Web, thus the tendency is for use that is separated from Internet resources and focuses on discussion of readings, or activities that take place off-line or behind passwords... The current generation of blogging tools were not designed for closed class courses and thus the component of teaching presence referenced as facilitating discourse is in some ways more challenging in a blog environment."

The blog is a "freer" environment, and the control of or facilitation of the discourse is a more difficult process. It's this "chaotic" nature of blogs that explains why many academics are so immediately dismissive about it. Those academics that do embrace blogss do so with great enthusiasm; those that do not embrace it are quick to criticize it.

Ecto - educational environment

Ecto - Welcome!: "Teachers
unleash active learning

Ecto - (as in ectoplasm?) free tool to make the classroom interactive, collaborative, connected, and student-centered. Haven't tested it yet - let me know if you do.

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better | OEDb

Hacking Knowledge: 77 Ways to Learn Faster, Deeper, and Better | OEDb

Looking for opportunities for self improvement? Life-changing knowledge? Follow the link to 77 tips related to knowledge and learning - most for students in traditional learning institutions but many applicable to all.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Book for Business, Wiki-Style

The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog: A Business Book, Wiki-Style

Pearson Publishing is experimnenting in book creation and development using a wiki - can a wiki-style editing process result in a worthwhile business book?

The publisher is putting together We Are Smarter Than Me, a new book that tries to help businessmen make sense of blogs, online communities, and other interactive Web media. Professors at Penn and MIT have already written the volume’s chapter titles and introductory anecdotes. Web surfers are invited to stop by the book’s home page and edit or add to it as they see fit.

But - apparently community created isn't up to par - Pearson will step in next year - and ghostwrite the text into "a publishable book". And of course they will then sell it - keep that in mind as you add to the content.

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Social Software Tsunami Watch

The more I read, the more I see, and the more that I talk about social software, the more I feel that a tsunami is coming and educators are just not watching the horizon. It isn't just that children as young as 5 have e-mail addresses, and more and more kids are maintaining their own websites and blogs, or that has almost 6 million postings about 900,000 teachers covering almost 85% of North American schools. And it isn't just that I'm astounded by the number of primary and secondary school teachers who are working in social software and exposing their students to the world, or that I'm woefully disappointed in the slow take up by college and university professors). I do worry about the future of higher education as these students start to arrive on campus in the next 5-10 years. I worry that the millenial students will feel that the campus is so woefully inadequate and the learning experience so out of touch and authoritarian. I worry that we could have done so much more for them, with the tools and approaches available to us, yet chose to continue with the same old - old approaches, old language, old learning models, bound by copyright and software license. They'll enter the campus expecting the world, and we'll offer them a provincial gated town with limited access to the world. I'm worried that we will rein them in, contain them, and stifle the curiousity,creativity and connections they have cultivated throughout their lower grades. But really, they are resilient, and there is a social software world awaiting them beyond the walls of the campus. They will survive. It's us I worry about - at least those of us who fail to see the wall of water before it is too late.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

School Tools - Class of Web 2.0

Back to School with the Class of Web 2.0: Part 1: Follow the link above and be prepared to be intrigued, overwhelmed and maybe you'll find something useful... a valuable resource for students, teachers, and school administrators...a compilation of Web 2.0 products grouped into two main categories: “Tools”; and “Office Applications”. Some more specific services include: organizers, gradebooks, research tools, document managers, diagrams, and more.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Create, share, post, earn from videos

Brightcove enters the game- and webcast video takes new turn on the web - the connected web.

Contribute and view your video creation on the Brightcove site or create your own video "station" page in Brightcove or syndicate Brightcove's video offerings to third-party Web sites (blogs and more) offer your videos as paid downloads or streamed for free, with ads. Brightcove will sell ads and pool them among its customers, or it will plug in commercials that content creators sell themselves.
“Launch a business in our system in a week,” said Brightcove's founder and CEO, Jeremy Allaire, who formerly was chief technical officer at “Flash” graphics creator Macromedia Inc. before it was acquired by Adobe Systems Inc."

The concept...Back in the spring of 2004, a couple of us dreamed up the future of television. We dreamt of an open model for TV, fashioned on the architecture of the Web. We saw a world where there were no gatekeepers, but rather a web-like distribution network that could create a marketplace for video distribution. In this new world of video and rich media colliding with the Internet, we envisioned that content creators and media owners would be in control -- that they could directly reach consumers, and could tap the incredible power of the web to match their content to a global, fragmented audience that was incessantly clicking from site to site, from search to search. We thought, how could we help enable and organize this imminent chaos? A lot of existing models and ideas inspired us, including eBay for it's open, self-service and democratized commerce platform, Google for it's ability to organize chaos, and create value through every node of every website on the Internet, and even Comcast and DirectTV, who in their own way have created expanding distribution networks that have contributed to the fragmentation of TV that is underway, while providing platforms that content owners could rely on to reach consumers.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Prof gets funding for virtual Shakespeare world

Reuters/Second Life » Prof gets funding for virtual Shakespeare world: "Prof gets funding for virtual Shakespeare world
Wed Oct 18, 2006 10:10pm PDT
By Adam Reuters
SECOND LIFE, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Indiana University Professor Edward Castronova has made a name for himself as an economist who studies virtual worlds. Now he’s been awarded a US$240,000 grant to create one himself, based on the world of William Shakespeare.
“What we plan to do is have people encounter the texts in Shakespeare and ideas in the text at many points within a really fun, multiplayer game, so without even knowing it, they gradually are learning more about the bard’s work,” said Castronova, (right) author of “Synthetic Worlds: The Business and Culture of Online Games.”
But Arden, Castronova’s planned world, will have a hidden purpose beyond teaching: he plans to use it as a Petri dish for testing out economic theories by creating controlled experiments within the game’s population.
“You have two randomly selected populations and do a policy variation in just one of them,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview. “What if (Karl) Marx had been able to say ‘Hey, let’s try out communism, we’ll set up two worlds and in one the workers will own the means of production, and in the other they won’t, and we’ll see what happens to equality and growth and all these things we care about.”
It’s a strategy that could give social scientists unprecedented ways to test out their theories.
“If we set up parallel worlds and get people distracted to go hunt the dragons or something, behind the scenes we can run little experiments that they may not necessar"

Sloodle - 3D Learning Management System

Sloodle - 3D Learning Management System: "SLoodle is a project to integrate the VLE platform Moodle with the 3D world of Second Life. Imagine a Moodle course that, if you wanted, could turn into a proper 3D interactive classroom with all your Moodle resources available to your students in the virtual world. "

It had to happen - the creation of a v-classroom. take the 3D artefacts of second life and integrate into an open source LMS and voila - the v-classroom.

IBM eyes move into Second Life v-business

Reuters/Second Life » IBM eyes move into Second Life ‘v-business’: "Computer services giant IBM has plunged into Second Life at the urging of its “metaverse evangelists” Roo Reynolds and Ian Hughes, using it as a location for meetings, training and recruitment. But the company is also eyeing revenue opportunities that could have it vying with Second Life design firms to bring real-world businesses into the virtual realm.
“E-business was a strategy for us, why not v-business?” said Reynolds, known in-world as Algernon Spackler, at the “My So-Called Second Life” conference in London on Tuesday. “I don’t mean to be competitive with Rivers Run Red or Electric Sheep, but just like we set up a bricks and mortar business online, we could integrate a company’s services in a virtual world.”'Integration with services, integration with data — exactly what we helped people do back in the days of e-business, that’s sort of what I envision us doing,” he said. “Mind you, I’m an evangelist, not a strategist, but if I had to guess that’s where we’re going.”
IBM has embraced Second Life to an extent unmatched by any other major company — it has more than 230 employees spending time in-world, and it owns some half-dozen islands. Some are open to the public, but most are private, with restricted access for the public."

NonProfit Approach for City WiFi

From Wireless Toronto - Following Philadelphia and Washington D.C., Boston appears poised to take the non-profit route to providing “civic bandwidth”.... more and more cities seem to be recognizing that relying on private (profit-oriented) providers may be counterproductive to genuinely addressing “digital divide” issues.

Richard O’Bryant from the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University has emphasized that there are some key issues that must be considered, lest Boston (or any other city considering public Wi-Fi) end up in a “we built it but noone came” scenario.

According to O’Bryant, these issues (and recommendations for addressing them) include:

1) policy makers should refrain from the temptation of the city becoming an Internet or quasi-Internet service provider. The service should be attached to institutions and entities that will not be so readily subject to changes in leadership and leadership ideologies and priorities.

2) build the system as a public and private partnership. However, the process should be a bottom-up instead of top-down approach. In particular, identify community level individuals and groups to develop specific community needs assessments and gauge, (i.e. through polling/surveys), what the expected utilization rates might be.

3) policy makers should also be prepared to inform and train residents, specifically those technologically challenged, on how to make meaningful use of their new found wireless Internet service.

O’Bryant’s recommendations are right on, and are good starting points for any plan of this nature…

Non-Profit may Run Boston Wi-Fi Network

Associated Press BOSTON — The city is considering an unusual approach to creating a citywide, low-cost wireless Internet network: putting a non-profit organization, rather than a private service provider, in charge of building and running the system. A City of Boston Wireless Task Force Report released Monday recommended that Mayor Thomas Menino assign an as-yet unidentified non-profit to raise the $16-million to $20-million (U.S.) in private money that the city estimates it will need to build and begin running the Wi-Fi network. Other cities have generally relied on a single private contractor to assume up-front costs and financial risk for a chance to expand its business. Although Boston’s strategy depends on the willingness of foundations and businesses to come forward with cash donations, officials believe having an existing or newly formed non-profit in charge is the best way to ensure the project meets its civic goals and steers clear of special interests. - How long will Toronto's wireless network be free?

Toronto gets it right, then wrong - yes it is wifi as a public service using publicly paid for infrastructure but no they shouldn't be charging a fee back to the taxpayer - Another missed opportunity. Graham Longford, a post-doctoral research fellow in the Faculty of Information Studies, University of Toronto, and a co-investigator with the Community Wireless Infrastructure Research Project (CWIRP)and Andrew Clement,professor in the Faculty of Information Studies, U of T, and a co-investigator with CWIRP wrote the article the snippet below is from, see full article here:

...We believe the commercialization of THT's WiFi service wastes a golden opportunity for the city to be truly innovative, and violates Toronto Hydro's public interest obligations as a city-owned utility. That city council and Mayor David Miller have given their blessing to THT's approach makes this an issue for political debate.

Utopia Municipal Fiber Network Lo cost Hi speed in US

From Sascha Meinrath - UTAH - UTOPIA is an 14-city consortium serving hundreds of thousands of people. As UTOPIA user, Brad Thurber sums up, ""The speeds are insane... We've been on the system for a month now and there has been absolutely no down time." According to Utopia's website, "As a minimum, UTOPIA will deliver 100 Mbps of bandwidth to every connected home and 1 Gbps of bandwidth to every business." Services are already available at 10Mbps for $39.95/month , 15Mbps for $44/month , or get Internet, Phone, and Cable services for around $90-120/month .

Lest you think it's just the independent ISPs getting in on the act, AT&T plans on the Utopia network that are an order of magnitude better than their regular service plans . In other words, UTOPIA is demonstrating that municipal ownership of network infrastructure dramatically lowers customer pricing while, at the same time, providing faster services.

Broadband rates cheaper in Europe

Published on
US vs. EU -- Broadband Rate Comparison. AKA, More Evidence of US Market Failure.
Created 2006-09-11 11:45
More and more European cities are getting into the Municipal broadband game, and they're blowing the doors off of US pricing models. How does this compare with US multi-megabit broadband rates? As it so happens, I have been looking for multi-megabit broadband for several community organizations I work with -- here's quotes from late July from AT&T for their new, supposedly innovative, "Opt-E-Man" services:
3 Year - 20 Mb - $3,300 monthly with a $0 nonrecurring5 Year - 20 Mb - $2,950 monthly with a $0 nonrecurring
3 Year - 10 Mb - $2,600 monthly with a $0 nonrecurring5 Year - 10 Mb - $2,450 monthly with a $0 nonrecurring
In other words, for 20% to 40% of the speed of what Paris is offering, I have to pay roughly 7000% to 9400% more. Let's let that sink in for a moment -- how could we end up with a system that provides a tiny fraction of the service for mark-ups that are tens of times more? Clearly the EU is doing something right that the US is failing miserably at -- and it's now spreading rapidly throughout the EU. Meanwhile, innovative projects across the US are being choked off by exorbitantly priced broadband services. One has to wonder, how many of these examples have to crop up before we start taking telecom companies to task for their continuing failure to maintain competitive pricing with the rest of the industrialized world.
[UPDATE1] A vigilant reader pointed out that one could get the "impression that municipalities are going to be the entities that offer FTTH in the EU. That is not necessarily true. For example, in the Paris situation that you mention, I believe that the provider will be a private entity. Also, there has been a lot of recent attention focused on the sensational take rates in the FTTH project in Hillegon, Netherlands, where the provider of FTTH is also private entity. Otherwise, keep up the great work." Very good point!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Municipal Wi fi -why not?

"Let There Be Wi-Fi" by Robert McChesney and John Podesta:

U.S. consumer pays more for less - and the great divide grows:

"American residents and businesses now pay two to three times as much for slower and poorer quality service than countries like South Korea or Japan. Since 2001, according to the International Telecommunications Union, the United States has fallen from fourth to 16th in the world in broadband penetration. Thomas Bleha recently argued in Foreign Affairs that what passes for broadband in the United States is “the slowest, most expensive and least reliable in the developed world.” While about 60 percent of U.S. households do not subscribe to broadband because it is either unavailable where they live or they cannot afford it, most Japanese citizens can access a high-speed connection that's more than 10 times faster than what's available here for just $22 a month. (Japan is now rolling out ultra-high speed access at more than 500 times what the Federal Communications Commission considers to be “broadband” in this country.)"

Moyers on America . The Net @ Risk | PBS

There was an excellent Bill Moyers show on PBS last night, and one segment of it dealt with the net neutrality issue. It is excellent and I highly reccomend that people visit Bill Moyer's site and check out the videos. It is a scary time for the voice of the ordinary citizen, at risk as the telcos and cable companies seek to control the internet highway. We are at a major crossroads. For a short while we had a movement toward equality of voice through the web and the connections we can make. Now our short attempt at flattening the earth and chipping away at the controlling hierarchies is at risk - because net neutrality is at risk...

"So why "neutrality?" Because since the Internet's inception, everyone, every site, regardless of the data load, has been given equal-i.e., neutral-treatment by providers, their content transmitted at equal speed. Net neutrality advocates argue that changing this system will give unfair advantage to deep-pocketed content providers, while start-ups, small businesses, and nonprofits who can't pay the piper will be unduly punished. The telecom proponents of the tiered system insist that they need these new fees (in addition to those paid by their users) to recoup the costs of updating their networks to handle all the new data-heavy content. Many also object to the additional government regulation and involvement that would be necessary to enforce net neutrality.
Neutrality supporters worry that without regulation, there's no guarantee that some traffic would move over the net at all. In other words, neutrality supporters say that only with regulation would internet users be guaranteed access to whatever they want to read, listen to, or watch online, and that without regulation, large telecom companies could block or censor things they don't like without consequence.
This past summer, Congress took up the issue. Following a huge lobbying campaign by both sides, including millions spent by the cable and phone corporations, the House voted down an amendment to the Act that would have made the Federal Communications Commission responsible for enforcing neutrality. In the Senate, a similar amendment was defeated in committee, but net neutrality legislators managed to table a vote on the telecommunications bill indefinitely in hopes that they can somehow force the issue back to the forefront."

Another example of how money can buy the votes of a democratic nation.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Creating Online Communities

What is a community? What is a weblog? How can they be used together? Nancy White has done a great series of postings discussing these issues. Of particular interest is her taxonomy of three types of blogs - single blog centric, topic centric and community centric. Terry Anderson expands on her discussion to explore his relationship with Elgg and his use of Elgg to "generate community" in the MDE program. I am attempting a similar activity with a class of graduate studnts in the Masters in Communications Technology program here at the faculty of Extension at University of Alberta. The commitment of individuals to the "community" is demonstrated by their attention to the blog postings; if they don't come and contribute, there is no vitality to the community, in fact it isn't a community. Without vibrant and ongoing interactive exchanges there is nothing but stale blogs.

CeLEA Free Book Case Studies in E Learning

As announced by CIDER through Terry Anderson In Plan to Learn: Case Studies in eLearning Project Management, edited by Canadian eLearning Enterprise Alliance (CeLEA)/Alliance des Enterprises en eLearning (ACEeL) – has just released a new free ebook entitled Plan to Learn: Case Studies in eLearning Project Management. This book edited by Beverley Pasian and Gary Woodill, presents authors from both the corporate and educational sectors in eight different countries, to provide a total of 22 case studies of elearning project implementations. The full book is available in PDF format here Congatulations and thanks to CELIA and its members for this access (open access) and significant contribution.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

White-Collar Workers Unite!

Barbara Ehrenreich and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have joined forces to create United Professionals, a nonprofit networking agency for “unemployed, underemployed, and anxiously employed” white-collar workers. The idea for the organization grew out of the research for her latest book, "Bait and Switch." Ehrenreich, intending to covertly enter and expose the degrading and volatile world of corporate employment, spent nearly a year searching for a job through websites, networking events, career coaches, only to discover it was worse than she thought.
This organization is for "the 20-somethings who come out of college with an average of $20,000 in debt and are stuck in low-wage jobs. And this is not what they expected with a college degree. The other group is people in their late 40s and beyond who find that they are suddenly judged as too old to be in the work force.”

The goal is to form a voting bloc, or at least a coalition of interests. “It’s not just a matter for the poor, the chronically poor,” Ehrenreich explains. “The insecurity and instability of the middle class is part of the picture and we want those middle-class people to see that things like universal health insurance and a better safety net are in their immediate self-interest. I think we can build a majority movement for economic justice in this country."

Friendship declines as networked society grows?

blog*on*nymity - blogging On the Identity Trail:
A recent study published in The American Sociological Review suggests that "Americans have fewer close friends and confidants than they did 20 years ago"

Odd that the decline in friendship in the last two decades has coincided with the rise of the networked society. Are we losing close friendship as we cultivate less intimate on-line relationships?

Online Rights Canada

Online Rights Canada: "Online Rights Canada (ORC) is a grassroots organization that promotes the public's interest in technology and information policy. We believe that Canadians should have a voice in copyright law, access to information, freedom from censorship, and other issues that we face in the digital world. Join us by using the form on your right to sign up for email updates."

Patents on recipes?

Keep recipes free --
Now I haven't seen copyright notices on my restaurant ordered food. Then again cheesburgers and hot turkey sandwiches are rather "common" fare. But apparently plagiarized recipes, and copy cat presentations are a concern, and addressed in various degrees of indignation. But do we need to slap on a copyright tag to a new soup and charge licensing fees to those chefs who want to make it?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Second Life in growth stage

Second Life now has a population of over 800,000, and more than a hundred of them are earning a real-world, full-time living selling virtual land, clothes, or offering virtual services, notably sex…. Major League Baseball, Harvard University, American Apparel Inc., Telus, have opened operations in "Second Life,". Anshe Chung, a virtual character created by a Chinese-German businesswoman netted more than $100,000 last year trading and leasing land in desirable "Second Life" locations.
How does Linden, the company behind Second Life make money?
Land is limited. It costs $10 a month to own 500 virtual square meters, in addition to the one-time cost of purchasing developed real estate from speculators. The company also makes commissions from operating "Second Life's" currency exchange. "Linden dollars" trade at a fluctuating rate against the U.S dollar — right now it's about US$1 to L$280.
Users own the intellectual property rights to the things they design there. That has attracted tech-savvy designers who craft landscapes of stunning beauty and build objects of infinite cunning.
Apparently most folks just want a nice home with a beach and waterfront in a warm climate. At least they can afford it in Second Life - for now.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Student Mindset -hardening of the references

For the past eight years, a professor and public affairs director at Beloit College in Wisconsin have prepared a Mindset List for the school's professors, clergy and other faculty so they might understand the "world view" of incoming freshmen. "[The list] is an important reminder to faculty, some of whom are only a Ph.D. older than their students, that what we call 'hardening of the references' can set in quickly. It is meant to be thought-provoking and fun, yet accurate."
Anyone want to begin to Canadianize the list? Let's see, if you were born in 1989 - "Alberta has always been an economic boom province?" "Ralph Klein has always been Premier" "Canada has never been to war" (oops that has changed)

1. Ricky Nelson, Richard Burton, Samantha Smith, Laura Ashley, Orson Welles, Karen Ann Quinlan, Benigno Aquino, and the U.S. Football League have always been dead.
2. They are not familiar with the source of that “Giant Sucking Sound.”
3. Iraq has always been a problem.
4. “Ctrl + Alt + Del” is as basic as “ABC.”
5. Paul Newman has always made salad dressing.
6. Pete Rose has always been a gambler.
7. Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.
8. An automatic is a weapon, not a transmission.
9. Russian leaders have always looked like leaders everyplace else.
10. The snail darter has never been endangered.
11. There has always been a screening test for AIDS.
12. Gas has always been unleaded
13. They never heard Howard Cosell call a game on ABC.
14. The United States has always had a Poet Laureate
15. Garrison Keillor has always been live on public radio and Lawrence Welk has always been dead on public television.
16. Their families drove SUVs without “being fuelish.”
17. There has always been some association between fried eggs and your brain.
18. They would never leave their calling card on someone’s desk.
19. They have never been able to find the “return” key.
20. Computers have always fit in their backpacks.
21. Datsuns have never been made.
22. They have never gotten excited over a telegram, a long distance call, or a fax.
23. The Osmonds are just talk show hosts.
24. Undergraduate college athletes have always been a part of the NBA and NFL draft.
25. They have always “grazed” for food.
26. Three-point shots from “downtown” have always been a part of basketball.
27. Test tube babies are now having their own babies.
28. Stores have always had scanners at the checkout.
29. The Army has always driven Humvees.
30.Adam and PC Junior computers had vanished from the market before this generation went online.
31.The Statue of Liberty has always had a gleaming torch.
32.They have always had a PIN number.
33.Banana Republic has always been a store, not a puppet government in Latin America.
34.Car detailing has always been available
35.Directory assistance has never been free.
36.The Jaycees have always welcomed women as members
37.There has always been Lean Cuisine.
38.They have always been able to fly Virgin Atlantic.
39.There have never been dress codes in restaurants.
40.Doctors have always had to deal with “reasonable and customary fees” and patients have always had controls placed on the number of days they could stay in a hospital.
41.They have always been able to make photocopies at home.
42.Michael Eisner has always been in charge of Disney.
43.They have always been able to make phone calls from planes.
44.Yuppies are almost as old as hippies.
45.Rupert Murdoch has always been an American citizen.
46.Strawberry Fields has always been in New York.
47.Rock and Roll has always been a force for social good.
48.Killer bees have always been swarming in the U.S.
49.They have never seen a First Lady in a fur coat.
50.Don Imus has always been offending someone in his national audience.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lifelong learning - as a prison sentence

Ulises Ali Majias has poked a hole in my thinking about social software. It will take time for me to find a way to put the synapses back together. To quote:

"This is the paradox of social media that has been bothering me lately: an 'empowering' media that provides increased opportunities for communication, education and online participation, but which at the same time further isolates individuals and aggregates them into masses —more prone to control, and by extension more prone to discipline." For example he quotes Deluze (Deleuze, G. (1995). Negotiations, 1972-1990. New York: Columbia University Press.):

"In disciplinary societies you were always starting all over again (as you went from school to barracks, from barracks to factory), while in control societies you never finish anything... school is replaced by continuing education and exams by continuous assessment. It's the surest way of turning education into a business. (1995, p. 179)"

Ulises goes on to surmise that this perspective "puts a sinister spin on 'life-long' learning. The constant student is not one who engages in an ongoing perfection of the self, but one who is constantly assessed according to the performance standards of a service economy. Thanks to distance education, e-learning and technologies such as the Learning Management System (LMS), education becomes something that can be delivered anytime and anywhere, and which —more importantly— can be used to monitor performance throughout the 'learning' career of the individual. Thus, assessment-based education helps reconcile control and discipline in society by helping to effect, in the case of those who fail, a transition from controlled subject to disciplined object."

perhaps I am not the agent of positive change I've thought myself to be. Maybe I'm just an unwitting agent working toward the increased control and discipline of the populace.

Killswitch - your system is dead!

� What Microsoft still isn�t saying about WGA and Volume Activation 2.0 All about Microsoft

Awww c'mon, this is just getting out of hand. The next generation of Microsoft products will be checking your system for any unauthorized software and if detected you have x amount of days to rectify or system will be shut down! Big brother in the belly of your beast waiting to slap you down. Couldn't Microsoft make better use of time and resources - likee working on making their products better, more secure AS A PRODUCT?

"The Software Protection Platform, according to a Microsoft Volume Activation 2.0 FAQ that I saw recently, includes the following: “An Activation Service, client services and API that ship in Vista, and tools and technologies designed to better protect software through stronger security measures.” What kinds of code-protection technologies are we talking? “Code protection technologies such as tamper resistance, code obfuscation, and anti-reverse engineering measures have been considerably strengthened for Vista. The SP Platform has enabled Vista to improve software security, including new product activation technologies and policies for Retail, Volume, and OEM customers.”

Teen learner as teacher

The Thinking Stick � The official release of Jeff teaches in Shangai - or does he? - that is, his students are teaching and he's learning, and we are all impressed! Middle school kids building a drupal site, creating a brand and a presence, uisng tools to create, share, mix, and planning a marketing plan to generate enough dollars for pizza money! Teentek - which brings us to a dileema for educators and parents - first, we have to allow experiementation, creativity, and we need to give credit where credit is due. Forget assessing content knowledge, let's assess based on creativity, initiative, teamwork (virtual and physical), and building connectivity!

K-12 is coming to get you

Think of it:
1. a free online conference
2. it deals with the future and the present; kids today are experimenting with social software at a pace that outstrips us
3. the pace of their experimentation does not bode well for future educators - if through K-12 these kids are immersed in a world of "connections" then they get to university and are stuck within a walled space with people they did not choose to socialize with listening to one person spouting out one view of the world as they see it?
4. catch some - if you can

Monday, October 23, 2006 - Friday, November 3, 2006
WhereOnline Conferences - Workshops
On the InternetWorld Wide Web, World Wide Web
(Yahoo! Maps, Google Maps)
DescriptionThe “K12 Online Conference” is for teachers, administrators and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice! This year’s conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30- Nov. 3 and will include a preconference keynote. The conference theme is “Unleashing the Potential.”For more details, please refer to:The conference announcement postThe Submission guidelines postOur growing FAQ pagePlease share this event with other educators you know. Everyone is invited, admission is absolutely free!

Kid Flattens World

Will Richardson link... the power of social software - a young boy in U.S. creates a video series about the importance of wearing seat belts - calling himself Buckle Boy and publishes to YouTube. Then kids in Shanghai want to raise seat belt awareness, check resources on web and discover Buckle Boy. Kids love it - Buckle Boy makes special video for Shanghai kids and also line up opportunity to travel personally to visit.

As Will aptly puts it "Buckle Boy saves lives, teaches kids AND flattens world"!

Kansas State 6,000 Podcast

Kansas City infoZine News - Kansas State University Launches World's Largest Course Podcasting Initiative - USA

Kansas State U is creating 6,000 recorded classes using Tegrity campus lecture capture tool that will be available for podcasting. While I applaud the desire to make learning more flxible, more mobile, more in tune with the technology the students have and use - still...are we walking into another "capture the classroom" approach? I hope not. We don't want to use new technology to recreate old world teaching - like the LMS electronic classroom. I would hope we might be wiser about this by now...then again...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Turnitin vs. Student Intellectual Property Rights

Ed-Tech Insider: Turnitin vs. Student Intellectual Property Rights

So how did turnitin get all those asignments and papers to make comaparisons and identify plagiarism? Well apparently they were not submitted by the original authors. Tom Hoffman tells us about the students at McLean High School who have not only twigged onto this practice but recognize that is a hypocritical and illegal use of their intelectual property and are taking action!

PC on a stick, finger computing


A true anytime, anywehere, multiple incident of a PC environment - and all you need is a USB. This could be a really big change in everyday computing opportunities - now my x86 computer is worth something other than a paperweight!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse:
"Do you know your online rights? Have you received a letter asking you to remove information from a Web site or to stop engaging in an activity? Are you concerned about liability for information that someone else posted to your online forum? If so, this site is for you.

Whenever you are online and you get that queasy feeling that your being watched, monitored, or wonder "where does all that personal information go to? what electronic trails am I leaving behind? will this comment come back to haunt me?!" then you need to see Chilling Effects.

What adult learners (still) want

CAUCE - Canadian Association for University Continuing Education - Research: A reserach study into the decisions that mature students make about academic progression(Joan Fleet, Donna Moore, Susan Rodger, The University of Western Ontario) concluded that:
- it is important for universities to listen to and, whenever possible, to consider and respond to the needs of adult learners.
- adult learners contribute to the educational experience of all - model dedication and positive motivation, and share viewpoints and approaches that represent their often varied life experiences.
- learners want to have more preliminary course information available when making their course selection. (make detailed course outlines available)
- learners want on-line tutoring for courses and improved e-mail communication with professors.
- frustration about course availability, especially for evening classes and for distance education.
- institutions need some mechanism in place whereby students can indicate their level of satisfaction with the availability of current courses and academic programs.(evaluation!)
- student support servcies are not designed to accomodate those students with limited or no access to campus.

This study highlights the reality that adult learners are not adequately served by the universities and that universities do not have an evaluation procedure in place that can identify satisfaction/dissatisfaction with their service offerings.

Sad to say this study is ten years old, and these shortcomings still exist.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

20 Ideas: Mobile phones and learning

20 Ideas: Getting students to use their mobile phones as learning tools at

Sure phones are banned in most lecture halls and classrooms - but that doesn't mean they can't be tools for learning. her's 20 ways to make that a reality. Turning a problem into a solution seems like a pretty good strategy.

U Manitoba VLC

The University of Manitoba (Learning Technologies Centre). Peter Tittenberger and others have created the Virtual Learning Commons: “We wanted to develop a site that recognizes that a student’s personal development is not separate from his or her academic development, that informal learning plays a crucial role in academic development, and that learning is a process of social participation,! ”).

Think 43 things and you have the basis for the VLC, but with an educational slant. VLC allows students to drive social dialogue through posting subjects of interest and being connected with others who have similar interests. This is a great way to integrate student support into student activity. There are also a sprinkling of pre seeded links connecting to styudent support services provided by the University (like essay writing, reserach assistance, etc). But student to student support is also a fallout of this approach. Like a hive of bees students can connect with many others and exchange thoughts, ideas, resources - a constant, dynamic network of exchanges, social discourse. A subset of social learning (i.e. available only to registered students) whose uptake will demonstrate that students come to scholl not just to learn, but to connect, to socialize, and learn in so many richer ways than through the organic structures (classroom, teacher to student) framework of the existing educational process. What a great hive for evaluation - to find out what students are really interested in, what they really want help on, and what they really want to be able to do.

Group vs Network

Stephen's Web ~ by Stephen Downes ~: "the distinction between groups and networks. Groups require unity, networks require diversity. Groups require coherence, networks require autonomy. Groups require privacy or segregation, networks require openness. Groups require focus of voice, networks require interaction. The group I am with right now is very intent on being a group. That doesn't interest me. I have no wish to lose my identity and my freedom, my empowerment. Because a group is subject to this very objection - backlash, groupthink, the works. But a network is not."

Freedom of association, openeness - concepts I try to be true to present I am creating a few instances of Elgg, one for a communications course and another for a community of new teachers. In each case I am faced with a dillemma - is it a closed, gated community and how does that square with the ideas of openness, freedom of association? Yet If it isn't "closed" or "gated" do I still have the commonalities, the security of incubation - of cohorts, of new teachers - that allow the community to germinate? Am I stripping the "social" out of social software? Sometimes I like to be an individual - like this blog activity - yetI "connect" through links to other bloggers, and assume I am part of a larger "connected" group. Other times I associate with a particular group or community. Other times I like to be networked into others without a loss of identity, without a loss of freedom.

But as we know freedom has obligations, responsibilities, and consequences. Sometimes it is nice to fly on your own, other times the security of the flock is desired, and sometimes the community of a few close friends. We have to ensure that the learner can make the choice - alone, apart, together. opportunity to make the choice

Downes: Distributed vs Networks

networks.wmv - Google Video Stephen Downes, using a graphical breakdown displayed on a whiteboard, explains the power relationships, technology and elements of distributed vs. netowrked learning/information design.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Open space conference in New Zealand

Otago Polytechnic has initiated a traveling open space conference called The Future of Learning in a Networked World. It features online and face to face sessions combined with an online presence and a travelling roadshow across the islands of New Zealand.

International speakers will come to Dunedin on September 18 to 20, then travel as a roadshow to participating institutions to continue open space meetings with local audiences.

This event coincides with the annual meeting of the Teach and Learn Online network being held in Dunedin on September 18, and eFest being held in Wellington September 27 to 29.

Between these dates the group will travel to Christchurch, Northland, Auckland and end up in Wellington, continuing the discussions, recording, blogging and publishing ideas and models to the wider audience along the way.

Conference tour coordination is being conducted by Otago Polytechnic Educational Development Centre and Orbit Travel, Dunedin; University of Otago HEDC (Higher Educational Development Centre) and Dunedin College of Education."

Thursday, September 14, 2006

PLE Attwell

Dave Tosh :: Blog:
"Graham Attwell - Live in Edinburgh
Graham Attwell has just posted his presentation from our PLE session at ATL-C. It is well worth taking 8 minutes to listen to it, Graham is an entertaining speaker raising some interesting points."

Graham very succinctly introduces the why and the what of the personal learning environment, the need to capture informal learning, and the "evil trinity" working against the openness of education - privatization, commodification, and how the discussion of lifelong learning is restricted to institutional education.

Open Content Open Books

Open Content :Free, open knowledge.

More free E-books!

Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching and Technology, Michael Orey, Editor, 2001-Present

Section 1: Learning and Cognitive Theories (Shorts)Section 2: Instructional Theories and Models
Section 3: Other Online Books and Stuff
Section 4: Lesson Plans

Theory and Practice of Online Learning
Editors: Terry Anderson & Fathi Elloumi

Part 1 Role and Function of Theory in Online Education Development and Delivery
Part 2 Infrastructure and Support for Content Development
Part 3 Design and Development of Online Courses
Part 4 Delivery, Quality Control, and Student Support of Online Courses
Open Course Ware : Free, open course materials

The OCW Finder currently shows results from:
Utah State University OCW
Johns Hopkins School of Public Health OCW
Tufts University OCW
Foothill De-Anza SOFIA
Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Second Life 3 D Educational Tool

Second Life is a 3D world where participants can "create" avatars to represent themselves and create virtual environments to "socialize" in. Sara “Intellagirl” Robbins is using it to teach the concept of community to her students. She teaches students how to conduct and write research with a focus on ethnographic research She asks students to think conceptually about communities and to consider their own involvement in communities. But to gain true insight into communities she created a second life environment where students can, through their avatar, practice research and complete collaborative exercises. See her entry below:

8/30 Community Collisions and Cohesion
We have five dorms on Middletown. Each dorm houses three to four students who act as a team for peer evaluation and collaborative exercises. Last night each student was given a box with five avatars in it: Kool-Aid man, samuari, female alien, short green alien, and a huge grey monster. After splitting into their teams, each team was asked to select one avatar from their boxes to be their team costume for the night. After each team selected a costume they were sent to a well populated pselected a costume they were sent to a well populated public region in SecondLife. Their instructions were to stick together as a group and observe the reactions from those they met. They were cautioned not to be rude to people or to interfere with activities they observed. The reaction to their mere presence as a group in a strange costume would be the stimulus they would observe.

The learning goals:
SL skills:- team cohesion: students assisted each other in dressing, navigating the map, and recording reactions- saving avatars: students learned to save their appearance as an outfit before changing into their avatars so they could return to their original form easily- navigation: teams were given only a region name and had to find the region on the map, as well as selecting the optimal location in the region- boxes: students learned to take items out of boxes, unpack them, put the pieces into their inventories, and wear them

Ethnography skills:
- safety in community: students learned how much safer they felt in their own groups, even small groups of three or four made them feel more confident about exploring- identity and uniqueness: groups looked markedly different from those they encountered. Feeling unique can enhance a sense of cohesion in a group. When others are different we’re more likely to feel closer to those who are the same- respect for communities: students were careful to not intrude on the activities they encountered. They were told to observe while not intruding.

There was a definite element of chaos as each team selected an avatar and got ready to explore. There were no arguments, however. Teams worked together to assist each other. A few students needed a bit more help but the teams worked well.One team, dressed as Kool-Aid men, did get booted from the dance club they visited. Not because they were rude or obtrusive but simply because they were physically too big for the space (a phenomenon that one student compared to how morbidly obese people might feel in public spaces).

Relevant student quotes from the debriefing session:“at first we fit in, everyone one said to the kool-aid men, “Oh, YEAH!” but then they were bored with us….”
“yah the peopl ein teh club kinda said hey and then left you out of the rest of their conversations”
“i think people are more accepting in SL than in RL” (Real Life)
“i feel more comfortable being weird and outgoing here than in RL”

Social and more

Educational social software. This includes formal and informal tools, like information messengers, blogs, wikis, e-portfolios, and personal learning environments (Elgg). These tools are designed to make use of the networking power of the world wide web and allow users to be “connected” online and offline, and to be able to share, create and recreate text, audio and video.

The advent of social software calls for a new approach to designing learning. George Siemens suggest that this new approach could be “connectivism”.

What is Web 2.0? What is social about software? Who better to tell you than Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of Web 1.0. Berners-Lee calls for Web 2.0 calm: But wait…he’s not talking positively. He’s not gesturing wildly about web 2.0? What gives?

Diana Oblinger has published a new book: Learning Spaces. The book contains case studies of learning space design in a variety of organizations. And check out Using wiki in education to see some practical educational applications.

Free is good, as is open learning, and E-Press has lots of free books (if you download) or if you want the hardcopy you can pay. A great example is Complex Systems for a Complex World that talks about how we must understand human reasoning through simulation to assist us in understanding the complexity of social networking.

For a bit of fun, and to hear all the modern technological babble used in one 3 minute skit see George Carlin perform his Modern man routine.

Seeking a better world? One where opportunities are endless, where physical limitations can be overcome? See this video that creates such a world using Second Life - an online society within a 3D world, where users can explore, build, socialize, and participate in their own economy..

Friday, September 08, 2006

Dave Cormier P.E.I Ed Teker

Maintaining a blog is no mean feat. Sharing in the bandwagon, clarion calling and rabble rousing against those that would hamper and those that ignore the opportunities afforded by open learning, open content is even harder. And then there's trying to keep up with all the info floating in the blogosphere. Ohh, and having a regular life and job with all the concommitant responsibilities. And I think, sometimes, that I'm doing a great job (patting myself on the back) and making great strides in my understanding and disseminating until, UNTIL, I run into those who are doing even more - and seem to be doing it without breaking a sweat.

Of course I would cite the Supersurfer of it all - Stephen Downes - who seems to be everywhere and commenting on everything at the same time (impossible? Ok,hmmm he's now "sitting on the porch at the guest (Africa) Bloem, about to leave for a Free State Braii," and still sharing it all with us.).

And of course there are others - like Dave Cormier, tucked away in Canada's smallest province but contributing big time to the cause.

I'm installing and implementing a series of Elgg sessions (for teaching and for community building objectives) here at the University of Alberta, and Dave Tosh (developer of Elgg) referred me to dave Cormier.

I Skyped Dave C. and we had a great talk as he multitasked giving me advice, sending me refrences and stepping me through his world of blogging and networking - especially his Edtech talk interviews (and don't miss number 60 the one with Terry Anderson, my ex professor, fellow Edmontonian and mentor.

But there's more - what is Dave doing?
This is dave's educational blog

This is dave's movie show

This is the educational technology show that dave hosts with jeff lebow

This is the webcast academy

This is the community that dave works with worldbridges

This is the educational show that dave hosts with Jeff

This is bonnie's (dave's partner) blog, the crib chronicles.
This is the flicker account for Oscar , dave's son.

Dave - slow down, chill a bit. It just can't be that healthy being that productive. Can it??

Microsoft 1/2, Open learning 1

This is the section of the US Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education report before Microsoft, as David Wiley put it "threw a hissy fit" and "demanded" an amendment:

The commission encourages the creation of incentives to promote the development of open-source and open-content projects at universities and colleges across the United States, enabling the open sharing of educational materials from a variety of institutions, disciplines, and educational perspectives. Such a portal could stimulate innovation, and serve as the leading resource for teaching and learning. New initiatives such as OpenCourseWare, the Open Learning Initiative, the Sakai Project, and the Google Book project hold out the potential of providing universal access both to general knowledge and to higher education.

And this is the revised version amended to appease Microsoft:

The commission encourages the creation of incentives to promote the development of information-technology-based collaborative tools and capabilities at universities and colleges across the United States, enabling access, interaction, and sharing of educational materials from a variety of institutions, disciplines, and educational perspectives. Both commercial development and new collaborative paradigms such as open source, open content, and open learning will be important in building the next generation learning environments for the knowledge economy.

So Microsoft succeeded in expunging most references to free and open source content and applications, BUT open source,open content and open learning are still there!Yeeeahh!

Inside Higher Ed :: Momentum for Open Access Research

So who is truly against open access publishing? The scholarly societies have been opposing open access to academic content, but as this article notes, the provosts of 25 research universities came out in favor of open access.
And why not? As they cite the "current system of research publishing leads to outrageously high journal costs that are harming libraries and making it impossible for people to follow research." Making reserach free and accessible shouldn't be such an argumentative issue. Research is paid for through public dollars, why should the public have to pay again for access to the findings? Or to put a finer point on it, isn't the expectation of research to share it with as wide an audience as possible? Information wants to be free.

Friday, September 01, 2006

No Education Patents! - Home

The education community has a wiki established to voice concern about and submit a priori info on elearning LMS development. Access the No Education Patents wiki ( to see a a plain-language explanation of all 44 claims contained in the Blackboard patent and submit specific examples of prior art.

SAP patents e learning

Now SAP has decided to patent e-learning. What's going on here? This continued wall building is not good for open education. maybe Blackboard and SAP can go at each other and leave Desire2learn alone. SAP has very deep pockets, and no, they are worldwide and won't stop at European patents.

SAP patents e learning

Now SAP has decided to patent e-learning. What's going on here? This continued wall building is not good for open education. maybe Blackboard and SAP can go at each other and leave Desire2learn alone. SAP has very deep pockets, and no, they are worldwide and won't stop at European patents.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Green Wifi - The Solar Wi-Fi Grid Project

Addressing the lack of reliable electricty in developing areas that is required to power wi fi network - a low cost, solar-powered, standardized WiFi access solution that runs out-of-the-box with no systems integration or power requirements. All that is required is a single source of broadband access

Green WiFi is committed to providing solar powered access to global information and educational resources for developing nation K-12 school children striving for knowledge in a digitally divided world. There are approximately 3 billion people under the age of 15 living in developing nations. 42 percent of the developing world's population is below the age of 15. Green WiFi was founded on the principle that the welfare of our world is dependent, in large part, on providing these children with free and open access to the world's information. Absolutely!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Desire2Learn CEO John Baker is Our Hero

I second Michael Feldstein's observation that Desires2learn's intention to fight Blackbeard on the patent issue rathter than roll over and die is a brave position taht helps us all. As consumers, we would not benefit by desire2learn rolling over and agreeing to pay royalty fees. It would be an admision of acceptance of this crazy patent.

Desire2Learn is dedinitely going to come out of this bruised and battered, worse off financially, and maybe even (unfairly) beaten. It is an enormous public service that they are serving, and deserve all the support and the strength that we in the ed tech arena can muster on their behalf.

I used to work with CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental health) in Toronto when they were deciding on an LMS - it came down to Angel or Desire2Learn (from nearby waterloo Ont.) I remember the execs and trainers from Desire2learn were great people. I wish them and their company al the best in fighting this untoward, unseemly, uncalled for action by Blackboard.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

/Google launches free WiFi in Mountain View

After months of beta testing and anticipation, the Internet giant plans to open up its free, wireless Internet network to Mountain View's 72,000 residents.

The network covers about 90 percent of the city's 12 square miles and offers maximum data-transfer speeds of up to 1 megabit per second -- slightly slower than DSL.

Why is Google doing this? Ahh, because they are an internet company and this is akin to opening up a new storefront for 72,000 customers. Their cost is about a million dollars, a pittance to a company that collected $2.5 billion in revenue for the quarter ending June 30 - and remember ninety-nine percent of that revenue came from online advertising.

Google - come on up to Edmonton!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Web 2.0 is Marxism? Get a Life

Andrew Keen has an article about Web 2.0 on the CBS News website, posted with the inflammatory title Web 2.0 Is Reminiscent Of Marx.

"Just as Marx seduced a generation of European idealists with his fantasy of self-realization in a communist utopia, so the Web 2.0 cult of creative self-realization has seduced everyone in Silicon Valley." Ohhh, scary talk.

Ben Werdmuller ably disputes this nonsense which is probably designed, as he states, " to ellicit a reply from the blogging community and thereby increase Google ranking, ad revenue and columnist name recognition". And that is free enterprise capitalism at work.