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Picture by Foxtongue.
I don’t know if we’ve ever really listened to kids, but it seems to me that these days we have the opportunity and plenty of need to listen (even without them knowing) and have what they say dramatically improve what we do as teachers.

In a recent post by Artichoke (I just can’t get enough from this mysterious person) a conversation followed when I offered a link to the US research paper Digital Disconnect, talking about kid’s impressions of whether school is relevant or not.

I have proposed before, that we need much more of this type of research, and Art’ sent me off to have a look at an attempt at this in New Zealand. But I got a similar impression to Art’:

They sounded much like a “guess what the teacher wants” interviewee response – a giving the interviewer what we think he/she wants to hear stuff. Wonder how they conducted the interviews, individual or focus groups. Have issues with the validity of focus group interviews.

But that’s where the US paper is different, in that it largely rang true my experiences talking with kids… Art went on to blog her very interesting conversation with a kid who was into Warcraft, which has led Art into an ongoing exploration of edugaming, and renewed my interest in any forms of participatory action research with kids in schools.

Michael Nelson was certainly miles ahead in the thinking, when he proposed months ago now, that we might tap into the technorati tags to seek frank and open remarks from students about their impressions of school. To me, Michael’s suggestion hits home in regard to the value of kids engaged in the read write web. Soon enough (if we can get access for kids to writing to the Net that is) we won’t need to send out stale impersonal surveys, you can just tap into the conversation and listen – with open hearts and minds I prey.

It’s well worth following Art’s links from our discussion following her post. It has some rich insight from kids, and analysis of some of the educational attributes of some games.

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The 2006 Lemelson-MIT Invention Index, which gauges Americans’ attitudes toward invention and innovation, found that a third of teens (33 percent) predict the demise of gasoline-powered cars by the year 2015. One in four teens (26 percent) expects compact discs to be obsolete within the next decade, and roughly another one in five (22 percent) predicts desktop computers will be a thing of the past.

Thanks Derek for the pointer.


ha ha ha haaa! It’s early days yet, but make no bones about it! We intend to take over the world, and nothing can stop us. Join us now, or be lost forever…

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Recently I posted my attempts to get a Google translate link for multiple languages at the foot of each post. It wasn’t working and I was at a loss how to fix it with my embarrassingly limited knowledge of code. Then Jo Kay came in and saved my day with an excellent link to step by step instructions that even the lamest bloggerliterate person could follow!

I opted for the WorldLingo option, and it really was as simple as copying the code on offer, and pasting it straight into the blogger template, anywhere between the tags. Then its just a matter of hitting preview a few times to get it in the spot you want it.

Many thanks Jo! And very pleased to have found yet another Australian eduBlogger blogging openly about her work.

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I while back I noticed Eide NeuroLearning Blog using some fancy code at the bottom of each of their blog posts offering links to see a post in a range of languages. I emailed the good doctors asking for a copy of their code, the next day I had it. Now I have that tricky feature as well, but not in the languages I would prefer to be offering. Personally I’d rather Chinese Simplified, Thai, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, and French – just to name 6. At the moment I’m just testing it. I need to tweak it, fix the spacing, make sure it reliably works etc. frankly I wouldn’t know where to start! But I like the idea.

I have to write back the the good doctors and ask them for the attribution for this code. Perhaps the original author could help me..

If you find yourself questioning if first person shooter games influence human behavior, child development, and social ideologies, then consider a letter to Mr Curly about football.

Nice positioning Art’!

And when you’re done asking those sorts of questions, how about you shoot off to the blog of a student we have here, and download yourself a copy of his LAN game Silence Of The Terminals. Its a load of fun, and you just might learn something playing it!

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Alex Hayes invited me to give a talk to the Open Training and Education Network (OTEN) and the Centre for Learning Innovation (CLI) at Strathfield on Thursday. I thought it went pretty well. I rattled on for about an hour about where I think the Internet is going, free and open source software and the Creative Commons, Web 2.0 technologies and trends, ideas on networked learning, and plenty of opinion and outspoken remarks about learning management system based work, learning object production, repositories, digital rights management, and the like. After I finished, the polite crowd then went into an hour long discussion about it all, with some of the most insightful comments I have yet heard from an audience asked to endure my dissing.

Alex is a new face in at the CLI and he is there to research and develop mLearning. He brought me in to talk about Web 2 and the possible convergences with mLearning. Alex and I have talked about this before, and I believe it even more now – web 2.0 is mLearning!

When you think about it, the opportunity to move everything you do, say and learn to web based applications, without needing to open a single desktop application (but for a browser), basically means that a person invested in such practices is very mobile and flexible indeed. All that person really needs is an Inter-networked connection to a device with a browser, and away they go. That device could be a crappy desktop PC in a back room of a forgotten Internet/Gaming cafe, or a free community WiFi connection for their on PDA while sitting in the church grounds over looking the city. The thin client/web application/WiFi era has arrived, and this should spell out some clear directions for mLearning.

But back to the talk with OTEN and CLI. I have to hand it to them, even though what I had to say and show directly challenges a lot of the work being done there, from what I could tell that did not result in a backlash or overly defensive behaviour at all. Perhaps they’d heard all this before and just needed a catalyst within their organisation, but I think that their open minded consideration of the ideas is a sign of a some-what healthy organisation, and an indication that changes may be possible – to embrace the read write web, and ideas like open networked learning. Unfortunately, not many people stayed behind to introduce themselves and invite me into projects, but Alex assures me that an impression was made, and the ideas are amongst them at least.

So good luck CLI, I will be watching with keen interest to see what projects you get up this year.

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Gee! I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at the The 12th Biennial Copyright Law and Practice Symposium held in Sydney on 17 and 18 November 2005! I discovered the record of this talk fest through EdNA’s Recent Items feed, where they promoted an unashamed job application by Michael Fraser, the CEO for the Copyright Agency Limited, called Information wants to be free? or as it was put in the Symposium’s program, Copyleft in practice: issues & perspectives.

I am quite simply steaming after reading this last minute note from Fraser, it is filled with unreferenced “facts” and statements, misleading truths, and political side swiping. “These accusations are a bit rich coming from you Leigh” I might hear you say, but its one thing to write like Michael in the format of a blog, but to write like this and call it a paper! and pin a CEO’s name to it, and present it at a symposium… like I said, I would have liked to have been a horse fly on the wall at the Maritime Museum at Darling harbor those days.

For reasons that become obvious later in Frasers application, he spends half his ink and paper taking swipes at the Copyleft movement. Never actually defining who he is actually talking about when he refers to “Copyleft” Fraser says,

The copyleft movement is anti-copyright because they are opposed to intellectual
property. Copyleft disparages copyright as a powerful monopoly, but actually copyright is just a property right.

I feel sick just looking through this pdf for things to copy and paste here. Come to think of it, I’m a bit nervous… Fraser has applied nothing short of shallow spin here. How about we dismiss the first sentence as a misunderstanding, and swap the last sentence around a bit… how’s this? “Copyleft disparages powerful monopolies for their use of copyright as their sole property right”.

My jaw just dropped off when Fraser just keeps spinning, he’s like a kaleidoscopes top, I’m dizzy with amazement.

But in fact, if you look closely at Copyleft’’s ideals they are not really against property. Copyleft licensess allow for payments. Copyleft is not really against intellectual property. They are against other people’’s property, especially their competitors’.

What? where? is that a fact? who is he talking about? I dunno, but I get a strong sense that here we have yet another CEO not afraid embarrassess himself with displays of ignorance in attempts to spin his top.

The real danger posed by copyleft’’s anti-intellectual property, anti-copyright, is political. Copyleft adherents promote a weakening of copyright in policy and in law, especially by making the claim that copyright restricts the flow of ideas.

There is no copyright in ideas. Copyright prevents copying. Copying someone else’s
work without permission. Copyright does not restrict using or adapting any ideas.

Clearly the man ain’t digital. And clearly he has never tried to edit a documentary that happens to have footage that has accidentally captured copyrighted posters, TV shows or soundtracks in the background. Or what about when he wanted to put favorite music to the video of his kid taking her first steps? And is he not following the madness in patent laws at the moment? Copyright is more than just copy rights! The was it has been up until now, it has restricted using and adapting ideas!

Eventually Fraser does cut to the chase, and leaves behind all this when he tries to position himself and his line of work as being relevant in this day and age.

From rather polemical beginnings, the Creative Commons has become a moderate and constructive movement. The Commons have come to respect copyright as a tool for promoting communications.

Oh I see it now, copyleft is what the Creative Commons used to be before it saw the light being shined by people like Michael Fraser! Give this man a raise!

So I have proposed to the Creative Commons that rights management organisations such as CAL should work together with the Creative Commons to facilitate online access to creative content, both the free content and the commercial content together.

And there it is! CAL wants a job. Thanks for the interest Mike, but personally I wouldn’t want a guy like you trying to negotiate with people who come from heathier roots in the copyleft fields. Somehow I just don’t think you’re all going to see eye to eye on many things at all. I’m not too sure what you think CAL could offer here anyway? Google advanced search, Google Scholar, Yahoo advanced search, OurMedia, Flickr, and most other content management tools already offer rights management far beyond your reach. We might feasibly say goodbye to middle men like you, and start using these emerging pratices instead.

You might do better Mike, talking to the publishers, and explaining to them that their work gets good promotion in the free world, and they should reconsider their position on restricting third party property use. Work with them in thinking up better incentives to attract money from the exposure gained in the free world. Look to some areas in the slowly maturing music industry for ideas.

Looking at the Symposiums program though, there were some interesting and more informative presentations by the look. Well worth having a look through the available ones, and interesting to see where the copyright lawyers heads are at these days. Creative Commons and free and open source business models are well and truly on the radar I am pleased to see. How that gets interpreted by some though, is more than aembarrassingssing…

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Sunshine and I visited the local pub in Blackheath today, the Ivanhoe Hotel. We went there to try out their free WiFi. While we had lunch, I wipped out the PDA, fired up skype and called around my mates to show off.

Then I got to thinking. This place would be OK for the TALO Swap Meet 2006! Seeing as so many people missed the 2005 and therefore a nice visit to the Blue Mountains, maybe we should have it here again.

  • 20c pool table.
  • $33 rooms with breakfast!
  • Free WiFi.
  • On the top of the Blue Mountains.

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Have received confirmation that I will be meeting with a Polytechnic in NZ to discuss work prospects in that fine land. Over the past month or so I have been keeping an eye out for New Zealand edubloggers to inform me better before I go. Recently I gave a talk at the Centre for Learning Innovation in Strathfield NSW Australia on Web 2 and networked learning ideas (a detailed post is coming), and I was passed a link to Derek Wenmoth’s blog. Derek is the Director of eLearning CORE Education Ltd Christchurch, NZ making him one of the only edubloggers I know of who also happens to be the director of something. Derek’s articles are giving me quite a bit of insight into birds eye view of the political and cultural climate in which online learning is growing in New Zealand, and I think we may see eye to eye on a few of the on the ground issues such developments face – not just in NZ, such as:

…While the anecdotal and small amount of research evidence available would indicate these initiatives [online strategies] have proven to be successful, the policy environment within which they operate (and the resourcing mechanisms that stem from that) continues to be based on notions of physical attendance at a physical school from which you receive all of your instruction.

NZ should take careful note of what Swanson and others are saying from these overseas experiences and put some serious effort into developing robust policies that are consistent with learning in a “learner-centred, digitally-minded” paradigm.

I’m off to read some more…

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