Open Source ethos

I have been spending a bit of time thinking about The World is Flat by Friedman in preparation for the first Flat Classroom Project in 2010. Amongst other things, I thought about Open Source thinking and flat world communications which I planned to share in the  Keynote kick-off.

Well, you now how it is – I just couldn’t share everything  I wanted to (lots out in the rough cuts), but the ‘finds’ are still inspirational.

You have to be inspired by the powerhouses of  Open Source software and Open Content. There is no doubt in my mind that an Open Source ethos is the best way to collaborate, create, share, and be empowered to inspire future learning.

For example, during the crisis in Haiti, the Open Source community did amazing work in Haiti OpenStreetMap to assist aid and rescue workers to do their work and help the relief and reconstruction effort. It was a Flat Classroom Project in action – creating up-to-date  maps of  Port au Prince. Dozens of mappers and developers were able to lend a hand, coordinating on the OSM Haiti WikiProject.

Thanks to Paul Hamilton, I was inspired by yet another amazing example of the power of work taking place using Open Source Software to help people. The development of the  Eyewriter is inspirational. The Eyewriter uses low cost creative technology an free open source software to enable graffiti writers and artists with paralysis to draw using only their eyes.

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Mobile Medline Plus ~ shows us the way

So why haven’t more libraries adopted mobile tools? asks Eric Rumsey as he considers the advantages of mobile friendly design on iTouch/iPhone or like devices.

I agree -  we do need to get on the mobile wagon as quickly as we can. There are many popular mobile compatible sites these days, and blogs are well-optimised on the mobile too. WordPress is a great platform for achieving an integrated look in relation to this, and the mobile-based management tools for WordPress is also impressive.

So it was most interesting to read  Mobile Medline:Plus: A Great Example for Libraries. The mobile version of MedlinePlus that was released by the American National Library of Medicine last week is an elegant example of  libraries making their sites mobile-friendly. Eric gives a good run-down of  MedlinePlus on the mobile.

Eric is on Twitter @ericrumsey

photo910772

I confess – I access a lot of things via my iPhone instead of on a regular computer. The portability and immediacy of access is irresistibly convenient.  Whether this is a good thing or not is vaguely irrelevant – the mobile is embedded in youth behaviours.

Anyone got a good example of this kind of application in schools or school libraries?

Better get our blogs and information services mobile minded soon!

Copyright changes – let’s fuel our imagination!

Under European Union law all books, poems and paintings pass into the public domain 70 years after the death of their creator.

At midnight last night the works of artists and thinkers who died throughout 1939 slipped out of copyright, meaning they can be reprinted and posted on the internet without incurring royalties.

In addition to Yeats and Freud, the list includes Arthur Rackham, the illustrator whose drawings appeared in early versions of children’s books such as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the novelist Ford Madox Ford, and Howard Carter, the archaeologist who discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen in Egypt.

A selection of works by the artists will be available on Wikisource, a sister website of the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, from today.

Wikimedia, the not-for-profit foundation that runs the sites, hopes that further works will be uploaded by the public throughout the year, providing near-complete and legal archives of the artists’ output.

The end of copyright also means that the works can be freely downloaded onto electronic reading devices such as the Amazon Kindle.

It’s an astonishing shift for us all. Copyright has always been expiring each year on works of writing and music – the key difference now in 2010 and beyond is the ready accessibility, transportability and share-ability of these resources.

On New Year’s Day 2009 the copyright expired on the Popeye cartoon character, following the death of the artist Elzie Segar in 1938. Works by Mikhail Bulgakov and F Scott Fitzgerald are among those due to pass into the public domain on New Year’s Day 2011.

Right at the fingertips of our students!

The Greatest Leap

From the first primitive flints and spears, civilization has moved
forward by creating tools to improve the quality of life, and on using
these tools to create still better tools. Every modern miracle, from
antibiotics to the international space station, owes its existence to
our having successfully built upon the achievements and discoveries
of our predecessors.

via acceleratingfuture.com

Just how much have you lived this transformation? I’m  amazed to say I will have gone from this
http://www.rosiehippo.com/%5Cimages%5Cproduct%5Cicon%5CS233_slate-board-set.jpg
to something like this in 2010!

Just as the rumors of a pricey Apple tablet computer have reached a high-water mark, Freescale Semiconductor on Monday showcased reference designs of an affordable, lightweight tablet computer, which is set to hit the market later this year.

Love the vision ~ future travel

It’s holiday time for me “downunder” so I have time to play, dream, and generally relax.

Imagine my amazement when I came across the AutoMotto’s post about the VW Breathe private delivery commuter (forget car)!

Well I want one – if I’m still around :-)

breathe


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British Library sound archive

The Guardian reports that the British Library revealed it has made its vast archive of world and traditional music available to everyone, free of charge, online.

That amounts to roughly 28,000 recordings and, although no one has yet sat down and formally timed it, about 2,000 hours of singing, speaking, yelling, chanting, blowing, banging, tinkling and many other verbs associated with what is a uniquely rich sound archive.

The recordings go back more than 100 years, with the earliest recordings being the wax cylinders on which British anthropologist Alfred Cort Haddon recorded Aboriginal singing on his trip to the Torres Strait islands off Australia in 1898.

What an extraordinary record and resource for current and future generations. Amazingly, much of the British archive was obtained by the library in 2000-01 in a lottery-funded project!!

Videos on paper – the next thing!

Extraordinary!

The report at BBC news Video Appears in Paper Magazines tells me that the  first-ever video advertisement will be published in a traditional paper magazine in September.

The video-in-print ads will appear in select copies of the US show business title Entertainment Weekly. The slim-line screens – around the size of a mobile phone display – also have rechargeable batteries.

The chip technology used to store the video – described as similar to that used in singing greeting cards – is activated when the page is turned. Each chip can hold up to 40 minutes of video.

Embedded videos in books next perhaps? Imagine Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman – how much easier to read that new combined format without having to jump onto Youtube.  A whole new picturebook format could emerge too!

I like that I read about all this on the same day that I discovered that TED.com released its 500th TEDTalk.

There’s a kind of synergy in that for me.

Who we are; what we do

What types of media, access, and support do cutting-edge media centers and school libraries offer students? How are teacher librarians and library media specialists leading the charge to help students master 21st century literacies?

Issue 22 Volume 4 of ASCD Express “The Transformational Media Centre” looks at ways teacher librarians and library media specialists can collaborate with teachers and other staff to enhance student learning.

A good read overall – and I’m excited to say also includes a piece by me -  Content Used to be King – as the New Voices feature.

Future Learning in a Digital Age

I encourage you to read this report from the MacArthur foundation, published by MIT Press The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (.pdf).

The project began as a draft document posted on a collaborative Web site developed by the Institute for the Future of the Book (http://www.futureofthebook.org) in January of 2007. The draft remained on the Institute’s site for over a year (and still remains there) inviting comments by anyone registered to the site. This recent Report is a redaction of the argument in what is a  book-in-progress, currently titled The Future of Thinking: Learning Institutions in a Digital Age, which is to be published in 2010, after the culmination of extensive research and collaboration face to face and virtually.

Quotes that attracted my attention which have immediate relevance to our planning in schools – both formal and informal:

Since the current generation of  student has no memory of the historical moment before the advent of the Internet, we are suggesting that participatory learning as a practice is no longer exotic or new but a commonplace way of socializing and learning.

This puts education and educators in the position of bringing up the rearguard, of holding desperately to the fragments of an educational system which, in its form, content, and assessments, is deeply rooted in an antiquated mode of learning.

Most fundamental to such a change is the understanding that participatory learning is about a process and not always a final product.

According to the report, there are ten principles which are foundational to rethinking the future of learning institutions.

  1. Self-learning
  2. Horizontal structures
  3. From presumed authority to collective credibility
  4. A de-centred pedagogy
  5. Networked learning
  6. Open source education
  7. Learning as connectivity and interactivity
  8. Lifelong learning
  9. Learning institutions as mobilizing networks
  10. Flexible scalability and simulation

Some wonderful reading and professional discussion could ensue if you can get your school’s leadership team to consider these ten Pillars of Institutional Pedagogy.

I am particularly interested in the focus on virtual learning. For example, Quest to Learn: New York, is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009. Quest to Learn, a school using game-inspired methods to teach traditional and multimedia literacies, is a joint venture between the Transformative Media at Parsons The New School for Design in collaboration with the nonprofit organization New Visions for Public Schools (See http://www.q2l.org/).

I know that while it is difficult for schools and education authorities to fast-track their thinking and to be strategic in changing cultures and educational practices, this report, and the book that will follow should provide an opportunity to mandate future developments.