Wednesday, August 31, 2005

rSmart Offers First IBM-Enabled Open Source Application for Education
Does anyone yet use a courseware / education mangement solution to track students use of online apps? Could an app supply a service which reports students game/quiz results back to the instructor's systems?

The key part of this article is the Sakai Project course management framework (Open Source) begun at Michigan (ack-spptt...&#$%! Wolverines). Sakai also has a nice Sakaipedia (Wiki) for support, and it even includes a section on Pedagogy.

Also, RSmart has a white paper: Open source - opens learning__Why open source makes sense for education. Includes a list of academic related OSS projects.

Monday, August 29, 2005

State of Ajax: Progress, Challenges, and Implications for SOAs
This article has links to a number of good resources on Ajax (Asynchronous Javascript + XML). I also did a quick Amazon search, and the books will soon pour out - though I think none were released yet. There's also several good-news-bad-news takes, from "Ajax is much simpler than advertised" to "Ajax is difficult to cross-platform harden."

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Bye, Bye, Library CBS News
The University of Texas tosses the books from its Undergrad Library.

What's left - an "academic center" - isn't a bad thing to have, but from this chair the Internet and conversation pits still aren't as educational as a perusal through orderly collections.

Now, just yesterday, I observed the same effort taking place at Ohio State. (Is the coincidence related to the Longhorns-Buckeyes "Showdown at the Shoe" next month?) At OSU, they'll build a "Learning Commons" where the Undergrad library once was. The more recent inhabitant--the Education library--will remain; it will house journals, but no books. (Given that the print subscriptions seem to be lapsing by the week; and there were no actual textbooks or readers in the "education" library, the loss may be negligible.) You can peruse the Learning Commons / Library Futures Committee Bibliography.

All of this presages the need for us to succeed here. If libraries are saying goodbye to books, well,...the Net needs to be much better.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

In the First Person: An Index to Diaries, Oral Histories, and Personal Narratives
Not only does this include text from over 9000 individuals; over 2500 audio and video clips appear.

One can search, view by historical event, view collections, and check out the top 100.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Israeli Withdrawl from the Gaza Strip New York Times Interactive Graphic
History marches forward in this up to the moment graphic. Earlier this summer, many Americans were appalled that their local government might be allowed to forcibly buy their homes for development. Imagine the feelings of these Israeli families who have been in homes up to 35 years, now being evicted en masse across a wall they might never revisit.
The 10 Best Resources for CSS SiteProNews
While we focus here on sound and animation, much cool interactivity can be brought through normal (D)HTML. This page lists 10 sites to liven up the look and feel of your pages. The listamatic alone has a gazilion tricks.

Also today, there's a little news on IBM's contribution to accessible sites.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Wetwang Chariot
BBC - History
A beautiful and carefully crafted interative, it certainly has depth of subject. Now, can anyone tell me what is missing?

People! There are no people in this; and arguably no history! Who used it? Who made it? A cart has no values; no moral to the story. If there is a lesson in this long interactive, it ought be the hard work and care that the craftsman put into building this chariot: we ought come away with respect for the dignity of the builder.

We don't; and so this lesson mimics so many bad chapters of current texts. History texts are boring because they too much concern processes and too little regale us of people.

Lets change this in the next generation of learning.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Mozilla Foundation Reorganization
Hopefully, it's clear that we feel passionately about Open Source as a solution to some intractable parts of the education problem. So occaisionally we note milestones in the greater OSS domain.

Last week, the Mozilla Foundation, overseer of the project to build Firefox, Thunderbird, and other open source projects, announced a major reorganization - mostly to suite the I.R.S. Mozilla will now have a taxable corporation as a subsidiary.

For why, you can read Chris Blizzard's blog note. For us, the point is that many creative tacts can work to solve big problems. The 50% of African Americans not graduating; the under-educated masses of the world's oppressed countries are waiting for your creative solutions.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Next Generation of Educational Engagement
Here's a thoughtful piece on games, interactivity and education from the former President of Educause (and before that C.I.O. at the U. North Carolina system), and now head of higher education at Microsoft.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Jhai Foundation - Connecting Lao Villagers
Monday's Wall Street Journal ran an article (Portals / Lee Gomes) highlighting a $200 computer designed to run on bicycle power. The JHAI foundatatio site also addesses the economic potential of the village computer and communication system.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Colonial Williamsburg
Last weeks blog, you'll note, is empty. The Nags Head coffee shop offered wifi; I punted. Today we write from the College of William and Mary, a college that was old when Thomas Jefferson took his law training here. Around the bend is colnial Williamsburg. Didn't take in the whole experience, but I've heard from many families that it is a remarkable experience.

They do offer an online media page. View the various colonial trades, seasons, etc. Also, Online Exhibits. The timeline in the colonial maps exhibit looks worth a return.

But do go out and visit our historic places. Even the college here is full of tour guides, and interpretive signs.