Friday, January 27, 2006

Mozart 250 @ ASU, The Mozart Birthday Celebration
Happy 250th, Mozart!!

I don't have any interactive media for you today, but a quick visit to Wikipedia lets you listen to a number of his works. (And keep them, I believe).

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The War That Made America
For at least two years, I've been waiting for this production. It's here!

To backtrack, up the road a bit runs an ancient Native American trail: a major pathway for buffalo; a gateway for the settling of the Northwest Territory, and the route of two armies marching to secure the lands west of the crucial Forks of the Ohio. the folks at WQED Pittsburgh, backed by about 25 grantmakers, set out to tell the story of the 7 Years War--or French and Indian War as it's more know here. Tomorrow night is part II. The site has a timeline. Also, a major museum exhibition has been in Pittsburgh for the past months, and will travel to a site near you. See also

Monday, January 23, 2006

John & Abigail Adams | Maps: Sites of Liberty | PBS / American Experience
This interactive map shows closeups of some of the places of the birth of the nation. Be sure to note the little "Image" tab at each site.

At a richer level, you can also hear excerpts of John & Abigail's letters. And the Adams Unbound interactive lets you explore his thoughts and writing on the French Revolution -- thoughts which would split him from his old friend Jefferson for nearly 25 years.

Adams' life ended in a drama more poetic perhaps than Romeo and Juliet. It was lived as fully and successfully as few have ever been.

Have you been to Washington, to the Adams memorial?

Friday, January 20, 2006

Public Library of Science: Journals
No history here, but another example of how the Open Source/ Public Content model continues to grow. In this case, its access to medical and bio research papers. Often the work behind these papers was paid for with public funds. But then it goes into a for-profit publishing house which holds the rights to the printing. This made sense in the old days, when scientists waited each month for journal articles written 5 months earlier to arrive bound and printed on glossy 40lb paper stock. Today, those publishing houses remain, sometimes offering a filtering and referreeing process, but many times even using volunteers for that. PLOS is another step in the Internet revolution.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Happy 300th, Ben!
Today is Ben Franklin's 300th birthday! Happy Birthday, my old buddy. Here's a pint to you.

And what a 300 years it's been. Arguably, no man has ever impacted the world more than Dr. Franklin. If you are looking for a hero, no matter your profession, Ben should be one. It was Ben who found the solution (von Steuben) to General Washington's vexing military problems, when the Revolution was near failing, his troops loosing and ready to leave. Ben the negotiator who secured France' help when we were too broke to continue the battle. Ben the statesman across decades - from the Albany Plan of Union to the Declaration to the compromises that allowed the Constituition.

Ben alone signed all three of the documents that created our country. He was a pre-eminent scientist of his time. He was a teacher to many; a plain city tradesman; sponsor of fire brigades, libraries, postal works, and street paving. A friend to highborn and low; a musician; magician; a ladies man.

The celebration continues at and coming soon to a city near you. If you're near the east coast, you can travel the Benjamin Franklin Treasure Trail. Either way, you can try the quiz. Your quide can be the Interactive Exhibition. Or the great Franklin interactives at PBS.

So lift a glass to Ben tonight.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Robert McKee's Story Seminar
In the "have no idea where I found this" department, this page describes a hollywood writers seminar. I doubt it's cheap, but if you can go...! There's also a CNN interview with McKee and CNN's Review of RObert McKee's Story Seminar. Of course you can buy one of his books.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Flashforward > Finalists
With the FlashForward Adobe/Macromedia Flash developers conference upcoming, the finalists in this years contest have been announced. This time, one of the most impressive educational aps we've seen takes its place among the fluff and stuff!

Strangely, and (given our emphasis here) pleasantly, it's not included in the education category! Pobeteli - Soldiers of the Great War falls under "Story".

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Perseus Digital Library
Our old friends at Tuft's Perseus project have unveiled Perseus 4.0: "Perseus 4.0, a new Java-based version of the Perseus Digital Library, is available for testing. It contains a faster, more manageable back-end and a more modern look and feel. Many features of Perseus are now available as XML services"
Perseus as a web project is 10 years old now.
4.0 uses Tufts Fedora open source digital content management system. Not to be confused with RedHat Fedora (Linux).

Friday, January 06, 2006

Road to Revolution Game PBS LIBERTY!
This cool little game lets you ride from Boston to Washington by answering questions about the Revolution. Its a combination of basic facts and some interesting trivia - like Benedict Arnold's leg - which makes the game more fun.

Yet it would be better still if you got more points for actually going and reading the For More Info links in each answer. Indeed, here's a perfect call for open-sourcing a learning app. A great base, with sound subject and content. So much more could be built on it:
  • Narrate the questions.
  • More graphics.
  • Integrate the News accounts into the game.
  • Intensify the reward structure to keep players hooked.
    So, PBS/TCPT, what about it? Emulate BBC; Creative Commons / open source your content?
  • Thursday, January 05, 2006

    BBC News opens archives to public BBC NEWS
    And the open source/ commons media efforts roll on. I also saw an interesting article on the Andy Warhol foundations dilema of how to manage the rights of an artist who blatantly stole from commercial and other art. If I find it again, we'll let you know. A Somonic decision.

    Wednesday, January 04, 2006

    National Educational Computing Conference 2006 I.S.T.E.
    Billed as having "the largest Ed Tech exhibit in the world". The call for participation has closed, and the program details will soon emerge here. July 5-7 in San Diego.

    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

    Happy New Year!
    A prosperous, peaceful, joyous, and learned new year to all!

    And what a year it will be. We learn this week that the holiday season brought internet sales up 30% from a year ago. (Actually, I knew this before it was announced; you could tell from the streets, parking lots, and lines at the local mall).

    Such news reminds us: the Net is not done changing the way we live. Not by a long shot. Web 2.0/the semantic web has hardly been deployed yet, and it will change much. And learning has hardly been touched.

    Last year saw the opening of a school with no textbooks. While they may be premature, there is no reason that should not be the way of the future. We just need to work the software and content.

    In hardware, this month will see a 10GB hard drive the size of a small pack of matches. High speed Telco wireless continues to roll out across America. Video MP3 players, GPS, and cameras all merged into cell phones. As this is completed, market space will open for new devices halfway between a phone and a laptop. Schools should be huge users.

    Software last year brought AJAX. Previously, a chasm of sorts separated regular web pages and Flash applications. A full Flash interactive lived apart from the Web, and a normal web page was not that interactive. AJAX bridges that, and emerging AJAX toolkits will let mere mortal developers take advantage.

    Meanwhile, it looks like the tremendous economy will continue to let the experimenting and development (i.e. play!) continue. What a great time to live and work!

    Happy New Year.