I found a post on the Digital Digs blog that pointed me to a report from the American
University’s Center for Social Media
called “The Cost of Copyright Confusion for Media Literacy.” The Center based its report on interviews with 63
Here’s an issue that cerainly bridges the two education worlds that we call K-20. And the results
aren’t good. Educators at the secondary school and higher ed levels are equally confused about copyright, especially
the battlecry of Fair Use.
The report concludes that educators receive almost no training on copyright law and
Fair-Use doctrine. As a result, they are not only possibly violating copyright, but also avoiding using materials
because they are unsure about the legitimacy of the use.
I have done several presentations on copyright for
educators and the two things that everyone is really interested in are when I present scenarios and “answers”
and when they get to ask about their own situations. Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible to give definitive answers
that have some precedent in an actual case. I have even heard lawyers give copyright & education presentations and
say the same thing.
So, we have teacher#1 who creates his own advertising examples for a lesson on persuasion so
as not to being in violation, and teacher#2 who posts excerpts from the movie version of the novel she is teaching into
her online LMS. I’m sure that that #1 is within Fair Use. I’m fairly sure that #2 is safe too - but I’m not positive
Though the report focuses on media-literacy teachers (who I would have mistakenly guessed would be
better informed than many other disciplines about copyright), this is classroom issue that crosses all the lines.
The report’s authors recommend that a solid set of best practices for fair use are needed rather than the usual
“guidelines and rules of thumb” that serve as answers when educators ask for answers. I couldn’t agree more.
But who is volunteering to write those best practices?
This blog post allows me a little room to expand on the prompt for November that uses Terrance Hayes’ poem. I have to admit that I did not first read this poem. I had it read to me, which happens more and more these days. No, I didn’t go to a reading (though I did hear him read at the 2006 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival)
I heard him read it on a podcast from the Poetry Foundation. The podcast itself is called “A Straight Man’s Epiphany in a Gay Bar” but it’s really about Hayes exploring relationships between men - in the case of our model poem, a father and son.
Not that this is the “answer” to the poem, but I found what Terrance Hayes says about the origin of this poem on the podcast very interesting. It opened up the poem for me and inspired this month’s prompt.
As I said on the site, I don’t really care if Hayes ever really jumpstarted his father’s car battery as he does in the poem, because I’m really taken with that image.
I also love the lines:
But to rescue a soul is as close as anyone comes to God.
Think of Joseph, raising a son that wasn’t his.
I decided to focus on the poem’s 2 part structure. It’s written to appear that the poet writes his poem and then decides midway to start again.
It’s not just two poems linked together. The poem works because of the interplay between the two stanzas. The second echoes the first. They bounce images off each other.
This is not a totally unique approach in poetry. Many poets will do multiple takes on a line or question within a poem the way they have described something. Mark Doty comes to mind. He often asks questions in his poems, and sometimes questions himself.
So our new prompt is to write a poem that contains two versions of the same poem. I’m afraid that I’m going to get a handful of submissions that are just two conjoined poems that might easily stand alone.
You need to consider the reasons we might restart mid-poem and allow the original to remain. Hayes is partially reconsidering what he wants to say. I get the feeling reading the poem (and this happens when I write) that we are discovering something as we read (write) that forces us to reconsider whre we are headed.
Usually, when writing, you would go to draft#2, but might there be a case where a reader needs the “false start” to understand the new direction?
I’m not sure if this prompt is very easy or very hard. I’m sure that this might work with a poem that has more than two parts too.
And I admit that there’s a more complex writing prompt in Hayes’ poem that would involve fathers, sons, children, forgiveness and other themes. I hope you’ll try that one some time too. (via Poets Online - the blog)
Does your institution’s convergence plan look like Jackson Pollock’s painting
One thing I always talk about whenever I do presentations on podcasting and
iTunes U is using it as an entry into mobile computing. However, anyone who knows the live version of me knows that I
don’t get real excited about cell phones.
The launch of the Apple iPhone was not a stand in line moment for me.
In fact, I only know a few people who own one. But there’s no getting around the trend towards the smartphone as THE
I don’t think there’s a definitive definition of a smartphone right now, as the technology is early in
its evolution. Most users would agree that it is a mobile phone with advanced capabilities that make it more like a
computer than a traditional phone. I’d say that (unlike your average cell phone) it would also be running some complete
operating system software. And many people would add that is would also allow third-party applications to be
Apple was not one of those many when the iPhone first released. The phone was locked and there was plenty
of attention given to both the hackers who tried (and suceeded) in unlocking it, and Apple’s updates which could turn
those unlocked phones into very pretty paperweights. Apple got a lot of bad press on that approach.
Apple made two announcements that it will support third-party applications on the iPhone and that Orange (Apple’s
partner in France) will be selling unlocked iPhones for a slightly higher price.
Apple says it was always their
intention to release a Software Development Kit for the iPhone and iPod Touch (probably next February after MacWorld)
and that the delay in opening the iPhone was on the side of caution in protecting users from malware.
also created the iPhone Dev
Center to provide resources (guidelines for optimizing Web apps for the iPhone, sample code, tutorials). It’s part
of the Apple Developer Connection, a Mac-heavy
(free) community of developers.
Now, I am not a developer, and I don’t live in a Mac or Windows only world. Some
potential readers of this post already left after the first few paragraphs because of the Apple-heavy talk, so let me
return to the original point. Convergence.
If your institution is using Web 1.0 or 2.0 applications (who in the
crowd won’t raise their hand on that?) from the Net, through an LMS, podcasting, RSS, distance learning course,
emergency notifications etc., you can not ignore mobile computing. It’s here. It’s growing. It’s where we are
I wrote here almost a year ago asking “Are you .mobi ready?" - meaning are your web development team and instructional designers making
content ready for use on mobile devices? I suspect that the majority of institutions are not .mobi ready, and don’t
take the entire issue very seriously right now. It won’t be a tragedy on your campus (as with emergency notification
systems) that will bring this to the table, but it will be an issue that eventually schools will need to address, and
many will wish they had taken it into account earlier.
So how does podcasting and iTunes U fit into this? I see
iTunes U as an easy way for a school to enter mobile computing by allowing Apple’s team to enable you to deliver
content quite easily to mobile devices - and that certainly includes their own smartphone. Our enhanced podcasts and
video look really good on a iPhone.
If your school has been considering entering
the world of educational podcasting and you’re searching for answers and guidance, I have to recommend a 3 webinar series from Higher Ed Experts that will be offered next week. Full disclosure: I’m doing one
of the three webinars, so, yes, 1/3 self-promotion.
The series kicks off on November 6 from 1PM-2PM ET
with “Podcasting 101: How to record and produce your podcasts with ease.” This is the technical &
production side of podcasting. Micah Ovadia, from the
University of Cincinnati is the author of “PoducateMe, Practical Solutions for Podcasting in Education,”
and he’ll discuss what you need to know to get your institution started with podcasting. He will share a simple plan to
get your institution ready to plan, record, produce and publish its first podcasts in 30 days.
Miller is the director of marketing and public relations at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, and he will focus
in webinar #2 on marketing and how podcasts can become powerful tools to engage students and their parents. He will
share best practices and good tips to make sure your podcasts find their audience. That’s on Wednesday, November 7,
2007 (1PM-2PM ET)
My session is on the 8th in the 1-2 PM time slot - a webinar called “To be or not to be an iTunes
U(niversity)?” In this webinar, I’ll be focusing on what it takes to join Apple iTunes U (and if
you should consider applying to Apple ) and how NJIT planned and implemented our iTunes U program over
the past year. I’ll also address how you might optimize your presence there, and in other platforms. NJIT was one of
the original sixteen schools to be featured by Apple in iTunes U in May
She was smart to narrow her blog’s focus. With all the categories I have here, there are
still things that I want to write about that don’t fit in any slot.
Here are 3 that I picked up on from her daily
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OpenProj - a free, open source project
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LectureShare lets instructors make lecture notes, audio and video available
to their students - or the world - by giving “students access to course materials without the burden of
maintaining your own webpage or the hassle of complex web-based solutions.” Students can “stay organized
with course materials and announcements for all of your classes is gathered in a single location.
Marvin Minsky is here critical of many current
researchers in artificial intelligence researchers who he feels have gotten bogged down in theories of machine
learning. He sees this as a crisis point in a time of an aging population that he feels will need help in performing
"We have a computer program that can beat a world chess champion, but we don’t have one that
can reach for an umbrella on a rainy day, or put a pillow in a pillow case." For “a machine to have common
sense, it must know 50 million such things,” and like a human, activate different kinds of expertise in different
realms of thought, says Minsky.
The machine he envisions will have a very
high-level, rule-based system for recognizing certain kinds of problems like humans do.
Then he, in his good
scientist way, classifies things - like the parts of the brain he calls “critics” that are selected for a
particular situation, while other critics turn off. His machine’s reasoning architecture has 6 levels of thinking
that attempt to emulate the different kinds of human reasoning such as learned reactions, deliberative thinking,
reflective thinking (sometimes several simultaneously).
Complication is necessary: with at least 400 different
areas of the brain operating, “if a theory tries to explain everything by just 20 principles, it’s doing something
I actually take some hope in his despair about AI because it tells me that scientists are still trying
to understand some of the amazing but “simple” things that we humans do. What he is really proposing is a
kind of AI that might eventually result in a “really resourceful, clever thinking machine…with knowledge about how
to do things,” and which “can do the broad range of things children can do.”
Another post inspired by a podcast (but not about podcasting). People who see me walking around with my iPod never
really believe me that my little Shuffle never has any music on it. It’s my podcast device. Pure audio. Really, I’m
The one that really interested me was a
presentation by Angela McFarlane, Professor in Education,
University of Bristol, UK. Her podcast is
called “Online Communities of Learning: Lessons from the Worlds of Games and Play” and listening to it in the
car, I (once again) did that dangerous notetaking in motion activity.
Four notes I made led me to go back &
listen again and I recommend you listen to the actual presentation if any of my takeaways interest you. Some of her
observations probably wouldn’t be popular with many educators and readers of this blog, but I agree with them.
She believes that most collaboration and community online fails. It “fails” in comparison with the
informal communities that emerge around interests like fan fiction, hobbies and technology users. How do we learn from
those less formal communities to build educational ones? Have we yet to take anything really useful away from looking
at Second Life, Facebook, MySpace and all the rest of it?
Individual production is rewarded in formal education,
but we often “punish collaboration” or see it as copying or cheating. Obviously, she’s not talking about
blatant cheating & plagiarism, but that hard-to-deal-with area of groups working together in classes formally or
the informal learning that goes on outside our classroom. Considering collaboration and collaborative software is so in
the forefront today, I believe this is an area that we really need to deal with more directly.
Those of us who get to do what we love as a job are incredibly
lucky. If you look at the etymology of education, it derives from the Latin educare, meaning “to
nourish” or “to raise”. She questions whether or not education (all levels) is making richer the lives
of our students. She say that we don’t educate kids as much as train them. That’s why they can decode text but they are
not really reading. They take tests but don’t learn.
Note 4 was Socratic - good learners ask good questions and
students need to get much more experience doing that.
Another post inspired by a podcast (but not about podcasting). People who see me walking around with my iPod never
really believe me that my little Shuffle never has any music on it. It’s my podcast device. Pure audio. Really, I’m
The one that really interested me was a presentation by Angela
McFarlane, Professor in Education, University of Bristol, UK. Her podcast is called “Online Communities of Learning: Lessons from the Worlds of Games
and Play” and listening to it in the car, I (once again) did that dangerous notetaking in motion
Four notes I made led me to go back & listen again and I recommend you listen to the actual
presentation if any of my takeaways interest you. Some of her observations probably wouldn’t be popular with many
educators and readers of this blog, but I agree with them.
She believes that most collaboration and community
online fails. It “fails” in comparison with the informal communities that emerge around interests like fan
fiction, hobbies and technology users. How do we learn from those less formal communities to build educational ones?
Have we yet to take anything really useful away from looking at Second Life, Facebook, MySpace and all the rest of
Individual production is rewarded in formal education, but we often “punish collaboration” or see
it as copying or cheating. Obviously, she’s not talking about blatant cheating & plagiarism, but that
hard-to-deal-with area of groups working together in classes formally or the informal learning that goes on outside our
classroom. Considering collaboration and collaborative software is so in the forefront today, I believe this is an area
that we really need to deal with more directly.
Those of us who get to do what we love as a job are incredibly lucky. If you look at the etymology of
education, it derives from the Latin educare, meaning “to nourish” or “to raise”. She
questions whether or not education (all levels) is making richer the lives of our students. She say that we don’t
educate kids as much as train them. That’s why they can decode text but they are not really reading. They take tests
but don’t learn.
Note 4 was Socratic - good learners ask good questions and students need to get much more
experience doing that.
2. Checked into iTunes U. There is a new section called “Beyond Campus Highlights” It features educational material from museums, radio stations, and other public institutions. I guess we’re not cranking out enough content to keep the iTunes U appetite satisfied. Samples: live music performances, video walkthroughs of art, from American Public Media, KQED, Little Kids Rock, The Museum of Modern Art, the Oyez Project, and the Smithsonian Global Sound. Lots of material from these sources - no doubt pulling from extensive archives. The Smithsonian has a lot of world music including lesson plans for teachers. A non-profit music education group called Little Kids Rock has video drum and guitar lessons and lessons in print.
Does this dilute the higher education part of iTunes U, or does it turn up the flame under schools to add more content? I downloaded the Einstein’s Ethics podcast that I had already listened to awhile back (but didn’t save) from Speaking of Faith (an excellent weekly radio program & podcast). I’ll relisten to that on the way home tonight.
4. Checked on the new zucchini plant I have growing in a big pot on the deck under plastic. The idea was to bring it in and let it grow in Drew’s bedroom while he’s at college. Is that magical thinking? Zucchini growing inside in NJ during winter?
5. Back to my laptop while the oatmeal cooks. CNN’s American Morning is on in the background (too bad CNN is wasting Soledad O’Brien on those occassional specials instead of using her every morning). U of California at Berkeley launched its YouTube channel a few weeks ago and I wanted to check their numbers: more than 740,000+ visitors and 6,000+ subscribers. USC is there too. There’s all kinds of competition out there. Howm many media people do these schools have working on this stuff?
6. Then with coffee and oatmeal I read 12 more pages of Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief by Lewis Wolpert which helps balance some rather magical thinking I’ve been doing lately. Seventy percent of Americans believe in angels; 13 percent of British scientists "touch wood"; 40 percent of Americans believe that astrology is scientific. Maybe the zucchini plant will produce fruits.
I’ve seen a few posts the past month by edtech bloggers asking if
people have actually read the Facebook terms
The part that scares these folks is the section on “User Content Posted on the Site”
"When you post User Content to the Site, you
authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage
of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you
represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive,
transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly
display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in
connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works,
such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing."
Does that mean you
are giving away the rights to your intellectual property when you put something in Facebook?
We might not worry
about that if all that’s there are a few pictures and wall postings, but there has been talk out there of Facebook
becoming a kind of LMS or OS. The general thought is that it (and perhaps other sites) are a kind of social learning
space that already has wide acceptance with our students. So, why not use that acceptance and co-opt it for educational
Teachers are using commercial blogs, social bookmarking sites, wikis, even MySpace for class projects and as
course sites, though not as fully as a commercial or open source LMS.
Facebook is quite user-friendly - more so
than say Blackboard - but it seems to be a completely unfair comparison. I can’t imagine it becoming an accepted LMS
alternative any time soon, though I can easily envision LMS products (Blackboard, Moodle etc.) ADDING social tools
(some are there already) and borrowing the design features of the popular online sites.
I have some suggestions
on things Facebook could do to make their service more likely to be adapted by schools - but after reading their
section on “Submissions” (below), I’ll keep those million dolloar ideas to
"You acknowledge and agree that any questions, comments, suggestions,
ideas, feedback or other information about the Site or the Service
(“Submissions”), provided by you to Company are non-confidential and
shall become the sole property of Company. Company shall own exclusive
rights, including all intellectual property rights, and shall be
entitled to the unrestricted use and dissemination of these Submissions
for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without acknowledgment or
compensation to you.”
I’ll be presenting along with Jahanzeb Jabbar on that Thursday. Both of us are NJIT employees who
are based day-to-day at Science Park High School here in Newark this year.
My role is as manager of intructional
technology, which means I deal mostly with faculty to increase the use of technology in their classes. “JJ”
is the manager of network resources, so he deals with the IT/telecom issues that make my work possible.
Science Park High School is a new (opened in November 2006) science & math magnet school that
prepares students in grades 7-12 for academic careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
NJIT is now
the first of the Newark higher ed institutions (Rutgers, UMDNJ, Essex County College) to actually put staff positions
into the school.
The two of us report to the principal on a daily basis and hope to be considered culturally
part of the SPHS community.
There are loads of technology issues to address - from dealing with the content
filtering that is common in K-12 that we don’t usually deal with in higher ed, to bringing the school online with
NJEDge, Access New Jersey and NJIT’s own Internet 2 connection. But what I’m more interested in - and will be the focus
of our presentation - is the human networking.
We are working to enable collaborations with NJIT and other
colleges, other science/math magnet schools, and the private industry tenants of Science Park. These efforts are part
of NJIT’s new K-20 Initiative.
We hope to share NJIT’s vision of a high school and university collaboration in
science and technology that will affect the pedagogy of both schools. We’ll show attendees examples of the current
I hope there will be some human networking going on at the conference too. We’d love to meet other
schools that are working on similar efforts. Hopefully, as we progress, this model can be replicated by other
CD version, vinyl record version, enhanced CD,
artwork, lyrics in hardback book & slipcase; they have it all online.I wouldn’t usually point to
recording artists like Prince, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails and Radiohead as indicators of any trend in education, but bear
These artists are moving away from the conventional music sales model. This month the British band Radiohead announced they would sell
their new album (for now) by digital download and not through a record label & on CDs.
unconventional is that buyers can decide how much they want to pay for it.
The band has said that it anticipates
having the usual CD release early next year, but since their contract with the huge EMI Group is finished, there’s no
contract right now.
I have heard from good sources that bands generally only make up to $2 on a CD sale, so even
if fans decide to only pay $4 for the CD download, Radiohead is making more from the sale than usual.
could make an edtech point here about “new methods of delivering content to students” but I’ll let you do
that in your head and continue a bit.
This might be a smack to the record companies, but it’s also a smack
to Apple’s iTunes Music Store (which was itself a big departure for record companies). iTunes usually sells individual
songs for 99 cents each (albums are about $11) but Radiohead (though very digitally savvy) had passed on iTunes because
it didn’t want individual tracks sold but only the entire album.
So Radiohead fans now choose their own price for
the digital version of the 10-song album In Rainbows,which is free of DRM (digital rights management or copy
restriction). The band is asking its fans to put some dollar value on the music they love.
Of course, it doesn’t stop illegal downloads at no cost (or profit) from happening. According
to infofilter.net, the album is #6 today on the
charts of things being downloaded using Bit Torrent. (Yes, there are best sellers charts for illegal
This idea of variable pricing is new but has been talked about ever since iTunes started.
now the iTunes Store has a well-positioned competitor - the Amazon MP3 store which
opened at the end of September. Unlike iTunes, Amazon MP3 sells unprotected songs which will play on any portable
digital music player. You can buy EMI songs in an unprotected format from iTunes for $1.29 (the DRM versions are 99
cents), but on Amazon MP3 many songs priced are 89 cents and are in a higher-quality 256 kbps bitrate (for you
These big record companies (some of which are part of even bigger media companies like Sony) are
slow to change. They seem to have no vision for where all this digital content is headed, and they resist the
Slower to change than schools? That’s hard to imagine, but perhaps.
Think about the resistance to
distance learning 30+ years ago - and still today in many ways. Delivering courses on CDs, DVDs or now in podcasts in
iTunes U or any other way.
Want to really leap ahead? We offer courses for free. Call it open courseware. We
offer some of those same courses for thousands of dollars in tuition. The latter is the “deluxe boxed set”
with all the extras - a teacher, tests, discussion, grades, credits and degrees. Where is the “variable
pricing” model for courses?
What about if someone wants to take the course, including all the deluxe features - but NOT the credits? What’s
Yeah, yeah, I know - we’re trying to convert these students into full time students or at least
graduate certificates. But maybe that will happen. You take the course, enjoy it, want to take another and start
thinking, “Hey, if I’m going to spend $1000 to take a few of these, maybe I should get some credit and pick up a
degree.” So they have to back pay on the course & pay the balance on the current tuition. And if they don’t
matriculate, is that so bad? Lifelong learning. Continuing education. Personal & professional development. Not so
new. Or is it?
I’m a bit tired of the current trend to call any new version of something tech as “something 2.0.” Example:
today I read a piece called "Digital Divide 2.0" on the Education Week site that takes the issue of the digital
divide and shows how new technologies just widen that gap.
But I’ll admit to being interested in a story I
found on the new Wired Science
site (a joint production from PBS and Wired magazine) about Estonia and a kind of cyberwar attack. I’ve thought for
awhile that a war could be fought with the Internet as the battlefield. I think cyberterrorism could be an incredible
force against another country. (Not everyone agrees.) If a terrorist group could take down the Internet for a
city like New York or the east coast of the U.S. or for the entire country, it would hit harder than a bomb.
course, this sounds more like a novel than reality, but that’s what’s in this video story from Estonia which
I did not hear on the news.
A patriotic statue was moved and the Russian community (about 25% of the population)
there rioted in reaction. Then the rioting and violence went “2.0” with Russian hackers. Using botnets (a term for a
collection of software robots, or bots, which run autonomously and automatically) running on groups of
“zombie” computers controlled remotely by hackers they began launching against the Estonian networks a denial of service attack.
Not only was I ignorant to this event, but I was ignorant of
Estonia. It is said to be Europe’s most wired country.
For example, citizens can vote for their Parliament online.
The story has so many possible classroom
possibilities - as a current event on culture, technology, terrorism or computer science, or as the starting place for
a kind of realistic science-fiction or even a geography lesson. The Wired Science site is a good place to find other
technology/science stories that have applications in several subject areas.
The theme this year is the environment and anyone with a a blog can join in by posting something today related to the environment.
Maybe it’s a local environmental issue, or the beach cleanup nearby, or a poem or story with an environmental theme. Podblogs, videoblogs, and photoblogs count too!
The purpose is to have a massive hit on public awareness by sharing as many ideas in as many ways as possible.
Check out the Blog Action Day blog and read more about how bloggers can change the world. You can register your blog and join the 15,000+ other blogs (with 12 million readers) that are already signed up.
I clicked over to the excellent Poetry Foundation web site for inspiration, and using their search tool found some haiku.
I enjoy haiku for many reasons, but I do particularly like the close-up focus they often take on something in nature.
Hammering a dent out of a bucket a woodpecker answers from the woods
At the last turn in the path “goodbye—” —bending, bowing, (moss and a bit of wild bird-) down.
Both of those poets are ones that I particularly enjoy reading and having met them both and heard them read, I know that their sense of nature and its influence on their poetry is quite - organic. Is that the word I want? It is within them, not something they take on in the writing. It is part of their practice of poetry.
Still, my favorite haiku still come from the masters.
In this one by Bashō,
In Kyoto, hearing the cuckoo, I long for Kyoto.
you might say, “Where is nature?” I would have trouble answering you, and yet I am fairly certain that within that longing for place that is prompted by the bird’s call is some longing for something lost from nature. Am I imagining that?
In this poem by Issa,
On a branch floating downriver a cricket, singing.
the branch, river and cricket represent three areas of the natural world. I hear that cricket’s sound as joyful (singing) and yet I also feel it may be doomed in its river journey. Is it singing like those on the Titanic going down? I might even convince some (especially without the author or time period being identified) that this small poem is a plea for our natural world (cricket) which is being carried away while we sing a song of ignorance is bliss or the song of the sirens or a sad dirge. (via Poets Online - the blog)
Today is Blog Action Day and the theme is the environment, so I’m blogging day about my
experiences with the web and the environment.
My first experience with the environment on the web was with a
website contest called Thinkquest. The purpose of the competition is to have students create educational websites. The
kids learn web skills and focus on a topic of interest (it’s actually a giant research project in so many ways) and
their site joins a library of
good sites to use with other students.
I coached several teams of students with their websites back in the 1990’s
and they actually won a few times. It’s what really got me into creating websites. The first site I ever worked on was
this movie site in 1997
that took first place. The students did 99% of the web site building with the coaches just giving guidance and advice. I
think my biggest contribution may have been proofreading.
A few years later, my youngest son (then in grade 6)
wanted to enter with a few friends, so he got a teacher at his school to be a coach for the content and I joined as the
They picked endangered and threatened species in New Jersey as the topic. That was kind of my prompt since
they wanted to do the environment in some fashion, and I had a lot of background on the endangered program.
So we built a site using Claris Home Page and a bunch of 3.5 floppy disks that the kids
would take home and bring to school. They found information, looked for similar sites, got permissions to use images,
typed and ate snacks in Mrs. Ellert’s classroom after school.
That site won the gold in 1999 in the Thinkquest
Junior competition. The original site is still up there, but
unfortunately the competition doesn’t allow the team access any more and there were some errors and time sensitive
things that we couldn’t revise - so, I have a mirror version of Endangered
New Jersey online that has those corrections.
It was a great experience for me and for the other coach (who
had zero web site building experience - as I did with my first entry) and for the kids, who got a good amount of
attention for the site/award, including a few environmental group awards here in NJ.
One of the features on the
site was a page for teachers to ask questions and share what they were doing in their classroom with the topic. In some
ways, it was a blog before we had blogs. Unfortunately, the email address on the original site is my old school address
so those mails just bounce back. The mirror site has an active email and (with no promotion other than all those Google
searches) it gets a few emails every month from teachers.
When the sixth graders had to explain their reason for
creating the site and what “need” they felt it fulfilled, they wrote:
Our site fills a need for information on endangered species of New Jersey. The only site
that has this information is a few pages on the state’s site. We had their cooperation in making our site. This site
gives information on each of the over 60 species by categories (mammals, reptiles, etc.) It also has pages on general
topic about endangered species (causes, ways to help etc.) Since endangered species is studied in almost every
elementary school in the country, we think our site will generate a lot of interest. There is information for teachers
& students (a teacher page, site diary, question board etc.) We stressed content over flash and followed the
concept of “Think globally, act locally.”
The students (Drew, Jimmy & Brandon) are
now juniors in college. Their school coach, Barbara Ann Ellert, has retired from teaching and I’m still typing
characters online. And the site lives on.
Miles Coon, Founder and Director of the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, wrote to ask me if I would let you all know about their upcoming event. I’ve taken workshops with several of these poets (Thomas Lux at Provincetown was poetlife changing) and heard almost all of them read, and it sounds like a great event.
The 4th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival - January 21-26, 2008
The deadline to apply for a workshop is October 31st
This sounds very tempting - workshops with some great poets in the Florida sunshine during January (while I’ll be sloshing through snow in NJ). All festival events take place at Old School Square Cultural Arts Center, a national historic site blocks from the beach Delray Beach, Florida.
In addition, participants get free admission to two craft lectures and a panel discussion by all of the faculty poets, as well as invitations to the festival gala and to participate in workshop participant readings offered free to the public.
"The Palm Beach Poetry Festival was simply one of the best, most fun, and best-run poetry conferences I’ve ever been to—a very high level of student writers was one special feature; to be among all those sweet people brought together in the spirit of poetry, in the miraculously soft Florida salt air, was a sweet and very satisfying experience. "—Tony Hoagland
"This was a lovely and thoughtfully worked-out event, absolutely exhilarating fo be part of. I didn’t want to delay any longer in thanking you for putting on such an outstanding festival/workshop and for including me in it. To you, Miles and Mimi, and all who made it such a great success, my gratitude and my warmest congratulations."—Jane Hirshfield
Our Internet2 regional network gigaPoP, MAGPI , recently formed a partnership with the
OSTN (Open Student Television
Network). OSTN provides educational, foreign language, news and entertainment IPTV content and services. Internet
Protocol Television IPTV is content that, instead of being delivered through traditional broadcast and cable formats,
is received by the viewer through the technologies used for computer networks. OSTN features the only 24/7 worldwide
channel exclusively devoted to student-produced programming. They have 41 million subscribers at 4,500 university
member campuses and 36 countries around the globe.
OSTN is accessible at colleges and universities around the
world. At some institutions, it is broadcast 24/7 on a specific channel on televisions on the college’s or university’s
closed-circuit cable television system. In some cities it is a channel on a local cable television system. I’m more
interested in the schools where it is available to computers on a college’s portal or through the college website. In
New Jersey, Princeton University, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, New Jersey Institute of
Technology and Seton Hall University are members. In North America, OSTN uses Internet2’s advanced network to
programming to members.
I’m particularly interested in that part of the MAGPI discussion is about OSTN’s
potential K-12 expansion channel. OSTN runs several media
festivals and I’d love to see a new media festival for K12 student film and video.
OSTN will be represented
at the NJEDge.Net Annual
Conference later this month with a keynote by Rich Griffin, their VicePresident of Technology.
didn’t say it. Take a look at the "GTISC Emerging Cyber
Threats Report for 2008" from Georgia Tech’s Information Security Center. The report was released at the
GTISC Security Summit on Emerging Cyber Security Threats and Countermeasures last week. The report identifies the key
data security threats to watch in the coming year and ”Web 2.0” is on their list of the top 5
emerging security risks.
They are looking at threats to both consumers and the enterprise and by
“threat” they mean people exploiting holes in these new applications - most likely for financial
Part of the 2.0 problem is that these new apps are developing so fast. If you use Facebook, you know
there’s a new tool/widget/app available every day. Most users make the assumption that “someone” is checking
this software out and watching out for us. Apple iPhone users were mad that you couldn’t add third-party applications
onto the phone (though people have now hacked the phone to do so, of course) but those kinds of cool 2.0 applications
are what this report is addressing. And, of course, no one reads the “Terms of Agreement” before they
install, do they?
The report’s 5 big areas of threat are:
Web 2.0 and client-side attacks on social
networking technologies, aimed at “stealing private data, hijacking Web transactions, executing phishing scams,
and perpetrating corporate espionage;”
Targeted messaging attacks, aimed at individual users, largely for
the purpose of stealing authentications and private data;
Botnets expanding the scope of their activities to
the theft of information and increasing abuse of DMS servers;
Mobile convergence threats (includes vishing and SMiShing - bet you didn’t even know they
existed) plus denial of service attacks targeting your voice infrastructure
RFID attacks, tracking users via
RFID devices, cloning, RF blocking
I was reading a piece online by Martin Scorcese on Teaching Visual Literacy
and I have to admit I started it a bit reluctantly thinking that visual literacy was going to be just a fancy
way of saying watching movies in class. Foolish me. I should trust Marty.
Not that I’m opposed to movies
in class. I got a M.A. in media and I taught film and video courses for a good number of years and showed plenty of
movies. It’s so tempting to hrness the storytelling power of Hollywood to motivate, inspire, and educate
Scorcese was talking in the interview about The Story of Movies. It’s a program designed to teach students how to “read”
the visual language of film. It’s a project of IBM, Trner Classic Movies and the Film Foundation,
established in 1990 by Scorcese and fellow film directors Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint
Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg. Quite a
The Story of Movies curriculum is available free to teachers and is intended for use in
middle school classrooms. So far it includes 3 classics: To Kill A Mockingbird, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington, The
Day The Earth Stood Still and a film lesson library with problem-solving activities on things like interpreting a
But it’s more than just showing movies in class. Scorcese gets at some of
One of the things that steered me in the direction of visual storytelling was the fact that I
come from a working-class family. My mother and father weren’t well educated. They were second-generation Italian
American. There was no tradition of reading in the house, no books. Of course I read in school.
books. But it took me years to really learn how to read a book — in other words, how to live with the book, how to
read a few pages, savor it, go back to it. I was much more open to whatever visual codes were hidden in films. What I
mean by that is the storytelling of cinema through the use of the camera and the use of light, actors, and dialogue —
all the literature of the screenplay translated through the images.
My K12 student experiences with
film were like Scorcese’s - we didn’t see many feature films - mostly educational shorts - and there certainly was no
attempt at teaching any kind of visual literacy.
Students today see a lot more media in and out of school but I
don’t think much more time is spent addresing how ideas and emotions are expressed visually films and videos. How many
people are teaching the vocabulary and the grammar of film?
The grammar is panning left and
right, tracking in or out, booming up or down, intercutting shots, lighting, the use of a close-up as opposed to a
medium shot — those types of things — and how you use all these elements to make an emotional and psychological point
to an audience.
We have to teach our younger people how to use this very powerful tool. The world is now at
the point where they are exposed to the visual language sooner than the verbal, and I think there’s a danger of visual
language having more of an effect on kids than it used to. We have to try to deal with this and teach them to interpret
the power of visual language.
You have to make room for film in curriculum. What you are doing is training
the eye and the heart of the student to look at film in a different way by asking questions and pointing to different
ideas, different concepts. You’re training them to think about a story that is told in visual terms in a different way,
and to take it seriously.
To Kill A Mockinbird is a great film and just showing it to class
probably has some value when done in conjunction with the reading and discussion of the novel, but there’s so much more
to be gained from studying the film.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before this would
happen in Second Life. Then again, I’m not so sure what actually happened.
In January 2007, a man named Molotov
Alva, disappeared from his Californian home.
Recently, a filmmaker named Douglas Gayeton came across a series of
video dispatches by someone of the same name in Second Life. Gayeton put them together into a documentary.
So what is real here? Is a Molotov a real person from California using that name in SL? Is this a story about a
guy from Petaluma who leaves his first life for a search for answers in Second Life? Is it a new kind of promotional
campaign? Or is it some indicator of how involved people can become in a virtual world?
"I entered Second Life as "Gayeton Ringo" for the first time in
June of ‘06. After traveling within the world for six months I came across the video diaries of Molotov Alva. I felt
that they were the first truthful account of a person’s introduction to a new digital world so I worked with him to
bring them out of Second Life."
If you dig around online some (I did), you find
that Gayeton = Alva (not a shock) and since Linden Labs (who own Second Life) have a policy in which SL residents retain the underlying intellectual
property rights to content they create in that world, his machinima is all his.
HBO acquired the North America TV rights for the
production (which had been called My Second Life) and plans to submit the film for an Oscar in the Animated
Short Subject category. It would be the first movie shot entirely in an online
virtual world to be nominated if it makes the cut. HBO will screen it in a theater, maybe premiere it at Sundance, and
air it next spring on HBO.
On the website for the film at molotovalva.com, I now find instead of “Episode 1” only a very brief promo and a
“Coming Soon.” The contact person for the project is in The Netherlands.
Who is Gayeton? He created a
multimedia version of Johnny Mnemonic
working with William Gibson and thereby the first interactive CD ROM. He pitched his SL project to Submarine.
Bloggers seem to think that this HBO deal will move machinima into a new acceptance as a creation tool for
The -12 Online Conference is back next eek. It’s the conference where you don’t book a hotel room or transportation or pay aregistration fee.
They nvite participation from educators around the world interested in innovative ways Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to improve learning.
It’s a freebie run by volunteers and open to everyone.
This year’s theme is Playing with Boundaries”.
It begins with a pre-conference keynote the week of October 8 and then the following two eeks, October 15-19 and October 22-26, forty presentations will be posted online that you can download and view. Check the schedule. There wil also be live events (three “Fireside Chats” and a culminating “When Night Falls” event) hat will be announced. Although the presentations are published those weeks, all of the presentations will be online or anyone to access in the future.
In part one of
this post about the roles bloggers take on, I looked at some other bloggers who have considered online the jobs they
take on in doing their work.
This variety of roles is one reason why I think blogging is such a good activity
for students. Blogging allows, perhaps requires, you to try a variety of tasks. I know of several bloggers who knew
nothing about web design and so chose to publish via a blog. Most of them have learned some web skills in the process.
As word procesing changed the way many of us write, so does blogging affect your writing.
I asked my own
students again this semester to think about the roles they see for bloggers (themselves & others) and this post i
drawn from some of what they told me. Everyone starts with the obvious roles of writer and editor. All of them
recognized by studying corporate bloggers that in that world there are often multiple people filling the roles in one
blog (multiple writers, researchers, designers, an IT staff…) unlke their personal efforts in flying solo.
There was general agreement on bloggers taking on these roles:
Reader - what writer in any genre
doesn’t read others in the field
IT support - who hosts your blog, fixes the bugs, updates the software? I
have Tim; some people rely on Google/Blogger; some have to do it alone. Is this the same as
Tech writer - well, my students are more involved in that field, but many blogs are
technical (not always technology) oriented. Catherine talks about bloggers as reporter, author,
storyteller. She also sees bloggers as librarians (but that is probably a personal take on it) and as gurus: “experts in a particular topic or field. For example, see Librarian in Black or Miss Snark, the
Literary Agent. These experts set up their blogs as testaments to their experience and know-how, so others may
learn from them.”
Designer - though you can leave most blogs alone and just accept the theme
defaults, the majority of bloggers eventually start digging into the code view, adding HTML, playing with the CSS,
embedding video etc. It’s a way into web design for some people. There are also the visual design aspects of an
appealing blog. I’m not including many links here but designers-who-blog.com is a good example for this role.
seems to be an obvious role though Revathi mentioned the related
role of “house keeping” as in “purging” outdated & redundant information. She’s thinking of
corporate blogs, but now I’m wondering what needs to be purged here? Broken images & links? Should we be updating
Entertainer - there are blogs that aren’t trying to change the world, and most of us try some
“web cetera” once and awhile.
Educator - those bloggers who want to “teach” even if they
are not in education
Many of my grad students work with SME’s (subject matter experts) in their jobs, so it’s
not surprising that they saw that as a role. As readers, we might argue the “expert” label on some bloggers
out there, but…
Orna Gadish wrote about blogger as
"…must be able to conduct surveys into the habits of his readers, or perform
audience analysis (e.g., as conducted by Turn, Jenniffer, 2004). Audience analysis conducted at the beginning of the
Blog design can be coupled with usability testing. In order to create a user centered Blog, the Blogger must apply
audience analysis methods (general dimensions for characterizing the audience,) such as testing the User Role in his
blog, User Goals in accessing the blog, User’s current knowledge of the Blog’s subject matter… Next the blogger
should be able to apply concrete methods in his research (e.g., survey that requires feedback – via online survey,
via log-files to the website or phone interview.) He must be able to arrive at results and draw conclusions from them.
For example, about the connection between the audience analysis and the web or the blog’s design."
were some unique roles mentioned that might apply only to a few out there in the blogosphere: critic, devil’s advocate,
Did someone in the UK buy out YouTube or Google?
Did they move all their servers over there to save money? (I know the American dollar is not particularly strong right
now…) Is it just me or my laptop, or is this happening to all of you? I went to plain old http://youtube.com and even that is now the UK version.
Invasion of the URL snatchers?
It’s late and I need to go to sleep or I’d do some searching. Maybe I’m just too
tired. Of course, if I sleep there may be a YouTube pod left in my home…
Any reader out there know what’s up?
Please post a comment.