Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Just had to re-blog this fascinating story from the Sydney Morning Herald called "In Japan, cellular storytelling is all the rage" about how half of Japan's top-10 selling works of fiction in the first six months of the year were composed and serialized primarily on cell phones! Sounds like the books then get picked up by publishers, fleshed out, and printed as paperbacks. Interesting thought in relation to Leigh Blackalls' recent post, Time to read helps one to listen. Perhaps the reading of singular texts will take place anytime, anywhere, come to you instead of you coming to it, and involve into a kind of distributed process that involves multiple delivery platforms and modalities. The author/publisher becomes a type of multi-media composer who stiches together and uploads artifacts and coordinates synchronous and asynchronous interactive nodes, all of which make up a singular yet evolving work.
Photo Credits: Author - Newlearnscope Image: Mobilephone Mosaic
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Earlier this year TVNZ released its latest strategy document entitled ¨Inspiring on Every Screen¨. Theres a funny section in there called “It's 2011”, which provides a gloriously utopian account of the TVNZ of the future where a range of delivery mechanisms and new media outlets, controlled by the State sponsored broadcaster of course, are set to capture the viewers who are slipping through the cracks of the more traditional core channels. The new digital, broadband and mobile platforms that will have been made available are said to engage people and communities in such as way as to enable TVNZ to “truly become one with the public”. On a similar high note the piece ends with the superlative soundbite: “We are TVNZ. We are New Zealand.”
Cool eh? Well, until you're forced to consider that there may be a few others waiting in the wings to upset this beautiful little media applecart... but they can dream I suppose
Anyways, this paper: The Emergence of Internet Television in New Zealand: TVNZ ondemand
I wrote for a Media Industries in NZ course that I was taking at the University of Auckland looks at the TVNZondemand web site that is pretty much the first real web offering out of the gate for the new TVNZ strategy, and also takes a look at one of the new entrants that are fragmenting the traditional TVNZ audience: YouTube.
Photo Credit: The TVNZ Television Centre by Robyn Gallagher (CC-By)
Sunday, November 18, 2007
"The most radical alternative to school would be a network or service which gave each man the same opportunity to share his current concern with others motivated by the same concern." -- Ivan Illich.
I've started a reading group on the English Wikiversity for discussion of Ivan Illich's Deschooling Society; if you're interested in reading and discussing this work then please register an account on Wikiversity (or don't -- you can edit anonymously if you wish). The text is available online through a link from that page, but should also be readily available from most libraries. Each chapter is broken down on the wiki with a space for notes and space for discussions, but being a wiki you may edit and modify this structure as you see fit.
Photo Credits: Empty School by xaxl4
Monday, October 29, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
In light of the preceding post I think it's also worth mentioning the Instant Commons as well. Another great hack around the MediaWiki software that will allow any MediaWiki installation access and usage of any uploaded media file from the Wikimedia Commons. Instant Commons-enabled wikis will cache Commons content so that it would only be downloaded once, and subsequent pageviews would load the locally existing copy rather than the Wikimedia foundations servers. If this could be combined with some localized search interface ... perhaps using Grub to index Commons content ... now we're talking.
There's an test of Instant Commons available here.
Image: Instant Yakisoba (CC-By-SA)
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Inevitably one of the first queries that arises during conversations about authoring content using wikis is the question of how to ensure quality. Generally the response wanders around the nature of the wiki-way and collaborative development models - ie, the community will create quality in articles over time, vandalism will be removed and, for Wikipedia at least, Neutral Point of View (NPOV) will be adhered to by authors and editors.
The scale and increased importance of a source like Wikipedia though has meant that while this model of creating quality actually works quite well, there is little indication of it within articles themselves besides perhaps taking a look at their history over time and inferring from that at least a level of interest and support for the creation of a quality resource. The Wikimedia foundation though has decided it's time to tackle this growing issue head on, and to enhance the MediaWiki platform and Wikipedia with software to assist in the designation and evaluation of articles for quality. Wikimedia Quality has been created as a portal to discuss current work in this area and to solicit thoughts and feedback from interested parties.
Currently there are two projects that are investigating this area. The first is an extension to the MediaWiki software called FlaggedRevs. The goal of this revision tagging tool is to allow a subset of editors to identify the most recent version of an article that has been checked for vandalism, or even gone through an in-depth review process. The second is called Article Trust and is being undertaken by Luca de Alfaro is an Associate Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Cruz's research studies the patterns in Wikipedia article histories and his team has created software which colorizes Wikipedia articles according to a value of trust, computed from the reputation of the authors who contributed and edited the text.
I think that also what is important to note in the development of this initiative is how the Wikipedia project is now at a point where resources and time are being applied to tasks around future scalability of this massively significant project. Tackling the quality issue is a great place to start and I will be following it with keen interest.
Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/339344589/ (CC-By-SA)
Friday, August 17, 2007
The highs and lows of working on an Open Source project could fill a large, large... blog post, but all I can say is that at the moment it feels pretty good. It feels good to have been part of something that has had input and impact on a global scale. Along the way the eXe team has physically been places: Australia, Ghana, USA, India, Netherlands, Peru and the US talking about eXe, giving workshops, participating in the community, and we've met heaps of people from all over the world online as well. So here's also a huge "cheers" to all those people who asked questions on the forums, filed bug reports, translated eXe, blogged about us, stopped by IRC to have a chat, or even just downloaded it and gave it a shot.
Its not easy. No way is it easy. Making software completely from scratch is a hard yard and you can see why a lot of it just languishes on Sourceforge. But making Open Source software can be incredibly rewarding if you can pull it off. And I think that we may have done just that ... time for a beer.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Well it wasn't long before Berger suggested some links between tourism and education. In chapter one he suggests that what tourists are primarily consuming are experiences that they believe will educate and entertain them. If being a tourist has a degree of educational experience about it (and I think that anyone who has traveled would agree that this sensation is often quite remarkably vivid after some travel experiences), then in nations where that experience is increasingly mediated by a sophisticated tourism industry, what is the role of teaching in the industry? Is the educational experience an inadvertent one, or is it something that a country could, and should, consciously supply to its visitors? In effect 'teach' to its visitors.
In thinking back towards an earlier post I made about James Farmers' Community of Enquiry graphic it occurs to me that the difference between educational experiences mediated by an online environment or an institution and travel as an educational experience is probably that the traveler doesn't particularly want the "teaching presence" to be all that up front. As Berger points out in reference to Aristotle, people like learning new things, even if that learning comes disguised as entertainment. So, perhaps technology could play a role in blending this 'teaching' a bit more subtly into the background so to speak and make the experience of learning on the move, and more importantly learning that shifts radically with changing locales and geographic contexts, somewhat less intrusive and more like entertainment. As technology becomes more and more mobile and more and more people travel with it in their backpacks, hotels, cafes, cars, etc., then the possibility of tapping into this educational potential of both the tourist and the technology becomes even greater. Hmmm... i'm starting to like this job more and more every day.
Photocred: The Accenture Interactive Network by Luisvilla License: CC-By
Sunday, July 08, 2007
photocred: Sky by Aoifejohanna.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
which I think is worth a thousand words (could use a bit more colour but, ok...) I've just given it 75 so if you'd like to add the other 925 then you can view the full presentation, here.
Sunday, May 13, 2007
There's been some discussion over on the WikiEducator google group about whether there needs to be a wikilearner.org ... about whether WikiEducator is just reproducing traditional pedagogical practices and principles. I don't subscribe to the "one pedagogy to rule them all" approach in this epic battle, and think that WikiEducator is doing some fantastic stuff... but I do think that there may be a place for a wikilearner.org (or something along those lines.) A few weeks back after a conversation with Leigh Blackall along the streets of Vancouver I reserved the domain name wikilearner.org just in case we wanted to give this a shot. What follows is basically a post I made to the WikiEducator mailing list/group today.
I've been conspicuously quiet on this one... particularly on my 'intentions' ... which are mostly good ;-)Image: Where to find a good wiki
I am / we are thinking about how, or why a wikilearner.org card might be played out. It seems to me that there is definitely a black hole appearing here ... which is something along the lines of, "can you 'learn' on this platform' and if so, how? (Which, of course, implies .. can you teach? should you teach?) It also reminds me of the age old question posed by Freud: What do women really want? Well.. replace 'women 'with 'learners' and you'll get it from the perspective of a bunch of educators and technologists running around with good ideas, tools, and desires. What those learners really want may tell me more about my own psychologies/philosophies/pedagogies than i'm willing to admit.
I'm very appreciative of the benevolent goals of Wikieducator, it's focus on the Free Culture movement and developing societies. Personally, I see it as a site for "educating the educators", developing robust "content" in the more classical sense - the result of which is essentially a print based model, stemming from the lessons of distance education but replacing the printing presses with distributed, collaborative authoring tools. I don't see anything 'wrong' with that, and I'm more than happy to partake in that vision. But the truth of it for me is that I co-exist with a very very very digital-native (even though I hate that term) - so native in fact that the terminology doesn't even apply to him. "There was something before digital, Daddy?" And, to tell you the truth, I want make something that might end up contributing towards how he and his buddies learn and teach. Fortunately, i've got some time (he's only 2.75 yrs old.)
I don't know how and if "curriculum" applies to him.
I also spend a great deal of time lingering on the IRC chanell for Wikiversity as well, and engaging in conversation with that group as well, as do some others on this list. What Wikiversity is ... is mostly "what Wikiversity is about" ... a great struggle for self-identity. If my psychology was more up-to-date i'd probably have a great term to explain this in tems of some evolving stage of development. It's kind of painful to watch sometimes, but it's also a wonderful space full of some cutting edge thoughts and ideas about using the platform for learning in a networked world, (see: http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki
/WCR), etc. The problem with Wikiversity is that it's a 'versity' and it scares the pants off of people ... i'd never try to "learn" there. It's also currently stuck on the same MediaWiki software that runs Wikipedia ... that's a serious drawback at the moment, because what's good for the goose is not, in this case, what's necessarily good for the goslings. How they will break this bond and fly away from the nest is yet to be seen. Some smart guys over there though, and backed by some heavyweights in the wiki game.
So it seems to me that between these two .. there is a grey area that should really be a very colourful area. Think of it as the little brother or sister of it's parents WikiEducator (the Mom/Mum/Id) and Wikiversity (the Dad/Superego). I think that this is the area that a wikilearner.org might fill, a space that is carefully oriented towards learners in a networked world, that balances content with creativity, an online learners mirror stage (excuse all the psychology references please!). It still needs it's parents for the most part but it may not need all the baggage they bring with them.
This wiki platform isn't the be-all-and-end-all but it's the best manifestation of Berners-Lee's original intent we've got; it's the second half of his dream come true, but it's probably just one bit, one skill, in something larger. So maybe we are nearing the need for another experimental space here ... and maybe a wikilearner.org is it. It wouldn't/shouldn't be about content development though.. that's what WikiEducator and WikiBooks do best. It should be about the activities of living and learning online. Not about all the worlds knowledge in one place, but about the subtleties of discovery, the moments of clarity, and the power of peer-produced creativity; it should be about harnessing the spaces in between teaching and learning (and it shouldn't be anything near a varsity), it should be equally about teaching/learning how to navigate the metaverse, as how to sharpen a chainsaw; how to manipulate a mesh-network, as how to manipulate a solar cooker. So, there's my 0.10 c worth.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Image: Sedimentary, my dear Watson, by: Sean Stayte
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
One of the areas we are continuing to explore with the eXe project is making educational resources available in a variety of formats, including mobile content delivery. In the 0.23 release of eXe, we've added a prototype of an export function that writes the Notes format used by the Apple iPod. There are several limitations imposed by this format, including being restricted to unstyled text, a strict page size limit, and a design that makes it difficult to include images or audio. However, even with these severe limitations, certain types of read only resources are still usable and are now very portable.
The File > Export > iPod Notes menu item in eXe will prompt for a folder to be used for the export. Within that folder, it creates a new folder with the current eXe package name that contains the table of contents and all of the pages. Simply copy that new folder to the Notes directory of an iPod to make the resource available on the go.
If you don't own an iPod but have some other kind of mobile device that you'd like to be able to get your eXe content onto, try the Text export under the same menu.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Scraping, feeding and spitting out ... or "How I learnt to stop going to conferences and love the Real"
I said/blogged that last year after my first encounter with an FLNW as it somewhat clashed with the pace and networking capacity of the island I live on. And while at that time it all seemed to me possibly a bit of a culturally insensitive 'shoot first upload immediately and ask questions later' style affair ... it was turned out to be one of the most interesting, inspiring, and engaging encounters of my 'professional' life -- so much so that I can't even stomach the thought of attending yet another *fest style conference.
I'm still engaged in a variety of different dialogues with some of the participants; some face to face, some via IM, Google group posts, blog posts/comments, Wiki Talk pages, or Skype; i've loaned one my spare bedroom, and I often track their Flickr photos and add my Del.icio.us tags to networks I know they're lurking/participating in. No doubt we will be called a bunch of bloody navel gazing, tech, geek, nerd, self important anti-socialist wankers! at some point (yea, yea, ... "First they mock you, then they fight you, then you win." yadda, yadda, yadda.) But I'll say that FLNW #1 changed my life a bit, it definately changed the way I think about a lot of things in the world of networked teaching & learning.
There's a curve somewhere, on some mathematically adept sociologists graphing software that would explain/rationalise some of the criticisms of swapmeets, unconferences, and hyperactive networked literacies ... it peaks at a point, then flattens out and along the way some people will get runover, and others age indiscriminately, their mousing hands succumbing to arthritic pangs, their predictive txting dictionaries falling miserably behind the vernacular. I know that all this TALOing stuff doesn't sprinkle pixie dust on schools along the way, there's a heap of soap-boxing going on, but it does act like a magnet for some of the outcasts, outside thinkers, luminaries, geeks, nerds, artists and other passionate sociopaths who on one level see learning as some kind of metanarrative glue for almost everything we do in this world. What I really like about it all is that it's never about the "best practice", it's not the "tried and true", the "path most trodden" because personally I'm not really in it for those things. My world doesn't seem to work like that, I mostly feel like I'm making it up as I go along, i'm suckered in by emergence. And so for that reason I'll go along for part deux if I can regardless of any critics or naysayers. I may not actually make it physically, but if not I'll be a virtual support crew - headset strapped on, aggregating and directing flows of data thru chanells ready for the stuff or not. Because, after all, I am enamored by the fantasy -- there isn't really any escaping it.
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
There's a whole other part of Netvibes that I've not really looked that far into, what they call the Netvibes Ecosystem. From what I can tell it's a place for all the third party modules, etc, but there's also an option on your feeds to be able to share them via email, IM, or some cut'n'paste code for your blog or web page which could be really useful.
Friday, March 16, 2007
Finland, Finland, Finland,Forget watching TV ... if I was in Helsinki right now I'd be txt messaging the MobilED Helsinki server. Basically it goes like this: the server receives an SMS search query, looks it up on a MediaWiki they've got setup, then calls you back and reads the article found from the wiki to you! Teemu and co have just got the basic functionality up and running.
The country where I want to be,
Pony trekking or camping,
Or just watching TV.
Finland, Finland, Finland.
It's the country for me.
Lyrics by Michael Palin.
Find out more here: http://mobiled.uiah.fi/
and if you're going to be in Helsinki anytime soon drop Teemu a line - he says he'll give you the # to txt to try it out. Nice job Teemu!
Monday, March 12, 2007
It seems that even more these days i'm swamped by information that is of interest to me (RSS feeds, blogs, etc) or that i'm obliged to read (a.k.a., email.) It's getting pretty critical for those of us who spend a lot of time in here to be able to sort through this stuff, to slow this flash flood of a data flow down a bit and try to just irrigate the bits of our brains that we're currently into cultivating. To this end I spent a few hours over the weekend looking into Yahoo Pipes which is a really cool idea and one that I suspect will be a dominant geek meme next year as others jump into this space as well (there's already a few). Basically Pipes is a relatively simple GUI for creating aggregate RSS feeds; it's a bit more dynamic than that, there's some neat stuff you can do besides just combine feeds like doing content analysis on a feed for dominant words, or allow user input into a hosted Pipe to create searches across focused data sources.
So why would you need this? Well I suspect that a huge part of the literacy of networked learning will be about acquiring the skills on just how to manage your personal learning by being able to alternate between broad and narrow approaches to information. Search is generally the broadest approach but with the sheer amount of information currently available even the best boolean searches are often thwarted. Which is why establishing narrow, focused approaches to information acquisition through network protocols like RSS, Atom and then creating specific content interactions with applications like Pipes will be crucial for learners as they become more specialized in their subjects and pursuits. The interaction with content and data that the learner engages in will be in creating connections between content and data sources which for a lot of people equates to what learning is all about anyways.
These skills are not easy to explain (I've helped create two tutorials on Boolean in my life and it always confuses students) - i'm still having a hellishly hard time explaining what RSS it to most people and why it's so valuable let alone something like Pipes, but I think that it's time we start developing some basic resources on how to do these things: how to subscribe to a feed, how to tag resources in social bookmarking systems then subscribe to the feed of this tag, etc. We'll need to make all this as simple as, well... looking at a picture of a pipe.
I've got it in the pipe to do so on WikiEducator and Wikiversity as part of the Networked Learning resources ... it's just that with all this stuff to read I get so little time these days :-)
Friday, March 09, 2007
I have no doubt though that for another generation of highly networked youth, spaces like Second Life will be where they prefer to inhabit, where they play and where they work and learn. I just think that a highly centralized, proprietary and highly commercialized 'service' is not where it's at - it didn't work for the internet as we mostly know it today, and I don't see why it will be what the Web3Ders of tomorrow will want either.
For this reason it was interesting to see Tim Wang's post: Arts Metaverse Constructed on Open Croquet. Tim's group at the University of British Columbia, who have already done work on the UBC island in Second Life, are now moving into developing for the Open Source Croquet system. Croquet is:
an open source software development environment for the creation and large-scale distributed deployment of multi-user virtual 3D applications and Metaverse that are (1) persistent (2) deeply collaborative, (3) interconnected and (4) interoperable. The Croquet architecture supports synchronous communication, collaboration, resource sharing and computation among large numbers of users on multiple platforms and multiple devices.There are a lot of advantages to Croquet over Second Life (some are mentioned in Tim's post) but the most obvious and powerful has to be that it is truly Open Source and that there is the possibility for the server power required to run these kinds of enivonments to be distributed over the network, ie. decentralized. If Croquet can start getting some real backing by developers like the UBC is doing and other organisations who start looking beyond the fancy graphics and more at the long term implications of supporting proprietary and centralized services then this platform could make Second Life look second rate.
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
See more about this amazing organisation: http://www.freegeek.org/
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
We're on a mission now to really ramp up this thing towards a 1.0 release so if you do decide to help test these packages, and we hope that some of you can, then feedback is most welcome! If you have problems, please be sure to let us know by either emailing us or using our ticket tracker, being sure to specify the (pre)release and revision number of the package you are using.
You can access the experimental builds here: http://exelearning.org/files/nightlies/
Friday, January 19, 2007
Some have taken to desperately deleting things but thier artistic temperaments are still recombining and recreating at the same time like some perverse perpetual motion machine. (I'm listening to these by the way - free and in my favourite format.)
Is it just me or do things seem faster now? Is that 2.0? Twice as fast?
When my grandkids txt me an address to thier Olfactoripedia page where they've collected a variety of their farts from the past month - I'm quitting. I don't know about you...