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I just finished watching Peter Joseph’s Zeitgeist: Addemdum.

Here’s a preview:

I was reluctant to watch it after the mental upset the first Zeitgeist caused me, but watch it I did. It is 2 hours long and pretty riveting.

We intend to restore the fundamental necessities and environmental awareness of the species through the avocation of the most current understandings of who and what we truly are, coupled with how science, nature and technology (rather than religion, politics and money) hold the keys to our personal growth, not only as individual human beings, but as a civilization, both structurally and spiritually. The central insights of this awareness is the recognition of the Emergent and Symbiotic elements of natural law and how aligning with these understandings as the bedrock of our personal and social institutions, life on earth can and will flourish into a system which will continuously grow in a positive way, where negative social consequences, such as social stratification, war, biases, elitism and criminal activity will be constantly reduced and, idealistically, eventually become nonexistent within the spectrum of human behavior itself.

In the first 25 minutes Peter Joseph takes another punt at explaining the money system as it works in the USA and more or less the same in many parts of the world. He does better this time around than in the original Zeitgeist movie, revisiting ideas that money is debt and debt is slavery, and relating it to todays concerns around interest and inflation. The next 30 or so minutes focus on John Perkins and his terrible testimony as an economic hitman helping to assert US control around the world through the creation of debt and corruption. Then it goes utopia (nothing wrong with hope for the future is there?) with Jacque Fresco with Roxanne Meadows talking about the Venus Project. And finally Peter proposes what we must do to free ourselves from this very ordinary existence, starting with careful self observation.

I must admit, I had a tear rolling down my face at the end there, partly through reflection of just how shitty this set up is, and partly at the realisation of just how impossible it is to bring about meaningful change that might just make it a little less shitty for a few more of us. Then again, this movie is bold in its hope, why shouldn’t I be also? Perhaps the new age is arriving, perhaps there is a change coming, the long anticipated age of aquarius is due soon, perhaps just as the moon affects the oceans, our women and our moods, the sun’s orbit and the Earth’s precession is about to affect us in a similarly big way.

Now, I realise there would be quite a few very pragmatic, teacherly types rolling their eyes at me again… “oh gawd, what’s Leigh saying now”… but this post is just notes really. The movie, like the last, has had an affect on me – I can say that much, and it has motivated me to want to learn about stuff. I’ll just have to turn down the volume of all the inevitable nay sayers, not so I can’t hear them, just so I can hear myself.

Going out of business sale

Going out of business sale CC By: heiwa4126

Last week, our Business School took a day to meet, along with external people like myself, and business and community spokes people, to discuss the future of the School and its services. It was interesting to participate in the process. While it had its boggy patches and sensitive areas, it was good to see by the end of the day there seemed to be a small group turned onto an idea for a new focus in the school.

One thing that came out of it for me was the opportunity to float ideas relating to open education and the business school.

Certificates, Diplomas and Degrees to the back please

Steve Keys

No Microsoft, Please CC By: Steve Keys

The idea I expressed that has attracted some interest was one where we invert the normal thinking of what it means to get a formal education. To take the “certificates, diplomas and degrees” part of what we do and put it in the back, and put the content and the learning activities up front. This is in response to common feedback from students where they want to know what is IN the course, what will they learn, how applied is it? Is it relevant? In my opinion, the package of certificates, diplomas and degrees give no real answer to inquiries to learning, worse – they limit educational development to a particular set of assumptions relating to that framework for learning.

Planning for Sustainable Small Management course

JimReeves

The Bombay Dabawalla CC By: JimReeves

Hillary Jenkins is the program manager for the Diploma in Applied Travel and Tourism – otherwise known as Travel and Tourism (probably to become just Tourism soon). This course (for some strange reason) sits inside the Business School. That aside, Hillary is keen on the idea of “inverting” the package to one that envelops a wide range of interests in learning – starting with one of the courses inside her programme: Planning for Small Business.

Our first step was to find out what else was going on in Dunedin, Otago in terms of courses and support for people planning for small business. We didn’t want to go ahead and set something up that was in competition with others, and I don’t rightly know why something like a short stand alone course in planning for small business didn’t already exist in the Business School. So we called a meeting with the likely candidates of stakeholders in such a course. The Chamber of Commerce, NZ Trade and Enterprise, local business incubator Kick Start, a number of Polytechnic lecturers to assess the level of interest.

Our meeting was first see if us setting up a short stand alone course in planning for small business would be in competition, or could be complimentary to existing courses and services. We found that it would not be in competition and could be highly complimentary to existing services around town. The next part was discuss the aspect of this new course that would be unique, planning for small business with triple bottom line sustainability in mind. We aim to develop a course that will assist people in planning for a sustainable small business.

To do this we are currently in negotiation with NZ Trade and Enterprise to obtain copyrights to make a derivative of their already excellent guide Planning for Success. Planning for Success is a template for a business plan with supporting information attached to it. We want to make a derivative from this that will incorporate triple bottom line accounting as well as sustainability information for use in the business plan marketing and objective statements. We would also record seminars and presentations to compliment the resource. The derivative will of course be developed with the Wikibook that is already in development. We’ll make a printed and bound version for sale – all carrying the Creative Commons Attribution License (meaning NZTE would be free to take a version further if they wanted).

I’m getting to the new model now…

Enveloped learning

Lady Orlando

little max and the wow factor CC By: Lady Orlando

Once we have a text to structure a course around, we then want to set up a calendar of informative events that relate to that text and the courses we have. The events would be things like seminars from the Inland Revenue Department on business registration through to tax and levies; presentations from different insurance brokers; presentations from local business’; workshops from local services; etc etc. A range of short 30 minute to 1 hour events that are open to the public and enrolled students, and that have direct relevance to planning for a sustainable small business according to the text.

These short events link to slightly longer events such as a 3 hour workshop in spreadsheets; a day long tour of existing business; a consultation period with a service; a business plan writing workshop over 5 nights. These slightly more involved events are credited towards the course in Planning for Small Business – at which point the certificates and diplomas start to become relevant to participants, as they align to assessment for such credentials.

Examples: Take the perspective of someone in the community who already has full time job, but is interested in developing a small business idea. This person would have access to the short informative events and content of the formal course This type of access scales without diminishing the experience of formally enrolled participants or costing the Polytechnic anything that marketing or social development funding couldn’t account for – the old open lecture format. From the perspective of an enrolled student (which in Hillary’s course tends to be a young school leaver), they are attending informative events that make up the content of what they need to know to complete the learning activities, such as the Writing a Business Plan workshop, but with the extra perspective of it being of interest to a wider public attending the open lecture. From the perspective of the course coordinator, it is an opportunity to see a wider range of people participating in this level of content and to promote participation in the slightly more involved learning activities in the course. There is no commitment or enrolment to a certificate, diploma or degree at these events and activities. Just short, one off, regularly available, open access workshops to assist people.

Making our way to optional certificates, diplomas and degrees

Hands on LaBrea. CC By Here in Van Nuys

Hands on LaBrea. CC By Here in Van Nuys

Now, if those people became interested in the slightly longer sessions, they would find themselves with a group going through the tasks informed by the short and regular events. At the end of the longer learning activity, we record their attendance and completion. If they attend other activities, we record that too. Cumulatively these amount to a certificate, diploma and perhaps a degree (or they can be used in an recognition process should they decide to be interested in that sort of accreditation); or they are simply available for people to learn from – no expectation of commitment to certificates, diplomas, degrees, full time or part time study, or inflexible timetables.

The point is the certificates, diplomas and degrees are still there, and all the events and activities are coordinated around them, but the general public have access to the content and activities without necessarily committing to the certificate, diploma or degree. Some people will want to commit to that straight off the bat (such as our young school leavers) and nothing is stopping that either. This approach envelops many different levels of interest in the learning and optionally progresses people toward a credential if that has value to them. Hillary’s job is to currate the learning programme (similar to that of a film festival coordinator perhaps), and to facilitate people’s association and progress through that programme, in a fashion of free ranging like being the rain. (Those links help that last sentence make sense).

Who pays?

foundphotoslj

I Believe You Have My Red Swingline Stapler CC By: foundphotoslj

How does it pay? Well, the formally enrolled pay as normal. They enrol in the course up front and commit to all that is required. They receive their study allowance and start accumulating their study debt (or pay up front), we receive our subsidy for their enrolment, and they have access to all the content and learning support and assessment services that are afforded to them normally. As for the people taking advantage of the open access, they have access to the short events with an admission fee to cover costs if any. All sessions (where practical) are recorded and published for free online use. The longer sessions that these events feed into also have admission fees to cover costs and the content to support the activities are similarly available online for free. Obviously the online versions simply support the face to face events and activities.

What we need to be careful to ensure is that the formally and up front enrolled students have assured access to the sessions, and that their fee is less than if someone was to instead pay admission fees to all the available sessions.

Summary

So we are developing an open access course to cater for the requests of people who want more applied, practical, and more immediately relevant learning activities. We are separating the content slightly from the learning process and making it more accessible but still connected to ‘chunked’ learning activities. We are developing a 3 part sequence in learning that works both ways. People can attend events that lead to short learning activities that accumulate for assessment and certification. Or people can commit to the assessment and certification process up front and use the events and activities to achieve that objective. All resources will be freely available online, but also available as packaged resources for sale.

This idea is similar to the Sustainability Curriculum I proposed to Polytechnic leaders some time back, but as yet has not really grown any legs. It also relates to the free learning, fee education that is being considered by lecturers in Midwifery.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1362591&dest=7973]

Heike and I head off for a Sunday ski over the back of the Remarkables.

A local primary school here in Otago has been developing capacities in the use of Free Software in their school. I have met the principal of Warrington Primary, Nathan Parker. He came around to my house one afternoon after work. We drank liquorish tea and shared a few tips on the use of GIMP. I got to hear a lot of the ins and outs of the school’s progress, and I honestly think they have found a way to do it right with Free Software in Schools.

Computer World recently published an encouraging article about their developments:

The school is deploying the GNU/Linux operating system, aiming to have free software across the board by 2010, and the complete switch to Linux has been approved by the MoE, says the school’s principal, Nathan Parker.

“We are saving the government money,” says Parker. “We are saving them 13 [Microsoft] licences this year, and hopefully we will be down to zero next year.”

I hear that Nathan and his colleagues have even been rebuilding old computers and providing them to families in the school! That’s pretty nice.

What’s really great to see is the fact that Nathan and his colleagues actually knew very little about computers and networks before they started this. I think Nathan said it was a parent that introduced Ubuntu to them, and the social aspect of it clicked. Now Nathan and his colleagues have been rapidly building up a self sufficiency in computing not only in the school but in the community around them.

Some might say that makes them vulnerable in a global economy. They will have difficulty finding staff and support people for their alternative approaches. The kids will eventually be faced with a new school or employer who has never heard of free software or open standard formats. And they have more work ahead in trying to fit with the Ministry of Education’s approach. There are a few educational ways to look at those issues.. it seems we only look at it one business case way.

One thing that strikes me as VERY concerning in the article is the suggestion that the Ministry have not considered Free Software before:

In terms of future costs for supporting a non-Microsoft environment, he says, the MoE is willing to investigate situations it has not already covered.

But it’s encouraging to think that little Warrington might actually be driving a Ministry rethink!

Ideally (I think) schools should be offering educational experiences in all three computing platforms with a preference for free software. We need to equally acknowledge that there are some people who don’t mind paying for Macintosh, others Microsoft, and some quite enjoy the uniqueness of GNU/Linux.. we should preference the free software because, well.. its free, accessible, and affordable to those who can’t see the sense in paying $1000-$4000 for a personal computer that could just as easily cost $100 – $500 and that evidently encourages computing self sufficiency and the wider recognition and use for open standard formats. (Anyone having trouble opening Vista files lately? Here we go again).

At last! John Berger’s fantastic BBC documetary series Ways of Seeing is on Youtube. Many many thanks to Manwithaplan999 for uploading the intro. Let’s hope it stays. Clearly copyright will soon be all a thing of the past.

See the rest of the videos on the video’s Youtube page, and the book fully scanned on Scribd

I used to use this documentary series to capture the attention of year 9 (15-16 year olds) in high school art classes. It never failed! I think my passion for the subject use to come through though – even the other teachers would sit in the class just to watch it all go on. It was a pretty cool.

I think the era of the documentary helped the kids to reflect on their own context a little easier. Once they got over giggling about the hair dos and stuff, they quickly quietened down and started to see something of themselves in it. The little book that came before it is nice and small and really is easy to get through with the age group. We used to tear into magazines and I had them imitating the ads in their own photographic efforts.

There really is a lot that can be done in high school with Berger’s work. I hope, now its on Youtube, we’ll hear of more kids spinning out about too.

Copied From WikiEducator

This document is to explore literature relating to sustainability issues in the use of Second Life for education. What is referenced here will be submitted to a working group involved in the progression of a New Zealand research project that is investigating Multi User Virtual Environments MUVEs in education, with a focus on the Second Life platform specifically. The content of this document will be considered by that working group for inclusion in a final literature review. That review will inform later phases of the project where educational models will be developed, tested and critiqued.

Considering sustainability issues in relation to Second Life

Sustainability is a complex and ill defined set of issues in any subject area, or too broad in meaning to be of any use specifically. None-the-less, I’m attempting to find writing that considers economic, ecological and social aspects of sustainability relating to Second Life. I should note that so far as I can tell, formal literature surrounding these issues and directly relating to Second Life is virtually non existent, so I’m tending to look further afield and historically, with what time is available, to find relevant points to bring to this review. I have also relied quite a bit on journalists and bloggers, as well as spokespeople from the industries themselves, for insight on how we might consider these issues at the moment.

For purposes of structuring this review, I have taken the advice of a colleague Samuel Mann and will consider Second Life in terms of direct and indirect impacts on sustainability. I will try to use the samples of writing I have found to outline those two perspectives, and then use that to formulate something of a framework we might use when considering the use of Second Life with sustainability and education in mind.

Direct impacts on resources, waste, pollution and cost of access

The possibility of computer equipment power consumption spiraling out of control could have serious consequences for the overall affordability of computing, not to mention the overall health of the planet. (Luiz André Barroso, Google 2005)

When I log into Second Life, one of the first things I notice is the bandwidth being used just to get around and see what’s in there. The second thing I notice is the sound of my computer fan as it works harder to cool powered parts needed to keep me in there. This makes me think of the lifespan of that fan, and of my computer, the access and provision affordability, over all energy use, waste and pollutants, and ultimately the impact this has on ecosystems. For an end user to run Second Life satisfactorily requires newer and faster personal computers and Internet. For many this will mean discarding old computers, resulting in ewaste of the redundant hardware. All of this must flow down the line, compounding into an increased direct or indirect cost for a user to access the services and a likely unaccounted for impact on ecosystems.

On the provision side Second Life requires many servers and cabling, that also requires cooling and protection, all consuming energy and generally producing more polluting waste. In an attempt to get an idea of just how much energy the provision and use of Second Life is consuming, Nicolas Carr (drawing largely from the initial work of Tony Walsh and others at the time) became widely cited for his 2006 Rough Type blog post, Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians where he makes a rough calculation of how much electricity an avatar in Second Life consumes and compares that with known consumption rates of people.

…So an avatar consumes 1,752 kWh per year. By comparison, the average human, on a worldwide basis, consumes 2,436 kWh per year. So there you have it: an avatar consumes a bit less energy than a real person, though they’re in the same ballpark.
Now, if we limit the comparison to developed countries, where per-capita energy consumption is 7,702 kWh a year, the avatars appear considerably less energy hungry than the humans. But if we look at developing countries, where per-capita consumption is 1,015 kWh, we find that avatars burn through considerably more electricity than people do.
More narrowly still, the average citizen of Brazil consumes 1,884 kWh, which, given the fact that my avatar estimate was rough and conservative, means that your average Second Life avatar consumes about as much electricity as your average Brazilian.
In a comment on [Carr’s] post, Sun’s Dave Douglas takes the calculations another step, translating electricity consumption into CO2 emissions. (Carbon dioxide, he notes, “is the most prevalent greenhouse gas from the production of electricity.”) He writes: “looking at CO2 production, 1,752 kWH/year per avatar is about 1.17 tons of CO2. That’s the equivalent of driving an SUV around 2,300 miles (or a Prius around 4,000). (Carr et al 2006)

As far as I can tell, Carr’s blog post remains the most cited article on the question of energy consumption of Second Life, and it appears that as yet, no one has done the follow up on it. Tony Walsh continued to keep notes and field comments on the issues for some time on his blog Clickable Culture, and advises that former CEO of Linden Lab, Philip Rosedale maintains an interest in the ecological impact of Second Life.

So far, responses to these direct impacts on economic and ecological sustainability come in the forms of projects like the Big Green Switch – where people can obtain carbon offset credits for their use of Second Life; and the University of Notre Dame’s project where they use heat waste from servers to maintain keep warm temperatures in horticultural greenhouses (Adam Stein 2008). The Wikipedia entry for eWaste inlcudes links to projects and legislation to manage levels of eWaste going to landfill.

Indirect impacts on culture, ideology, language and behavior

Second Life is built upon, and relies on our fundamentally familiar relationships to landscapes and social interactions that occur within them. Carolyn MacCaw 2008

Indirect impacts of Second Life on sustainability issues relate more to content and the possible influence this has on people’s awareness and appreciation of sustainability issues. On the one hand there are several content projects like the eTopia Eco Village being developed in Second Life that present models and ideas for more efficient resource use, less energy waste, less pollution, and better building design; but on the other hand there are messages implicit in all of these, and throughout the Second Life operating system itself, that arguably reinforce problematic cultural assumptions and behaviors that are fundamentally disrupting sustainability from the outset. Things such as perpetual consumerism, futurism, comodification, culturally inappropriate symbolism, and an inherent preference for human design over established ecological systems, are all prevalent in the Second Life program, including the many user generated models within it.

The model inferred here is highly colonial. Second Life is positioned as a Terra Nullius and this applies layers of colonial meaning and association. (MacCaw 2008)

This opening sentence to Colonial precedent, a section in Carolyn MacCaw’s article Art and (Second) Life: Over the hills and far away?, echoes the same sentiments held by Bowers in his book 8 years earlier Let Them Eat Data: How Computers Affect Education, Cultural Diversity, and the Prospects of Ecological Sustainability.

…the Sim series, like all other educational software, ignore other forms of cultural storage and renewal – such as elder knowledge and the need to develop symbolic forms of expression (music, dance, narrative, ceremony) that do not diminish the processes of Nature… [M]aking decisions that involve the use of modern technologies leaves the students without an understanding of the differences between ecologically appropriate technologies and those that are culturally imperialistic. (Bowers 2000: p138)

While Bowers’ book was concerned with computers in culture and ecological sustainability generally, his analysis of popular education and simulation software of the time offers us useful considerations we can apply to Second Life. Bowers wanted educators to consider a wider range of issues than simply the content designed for relatively narrow learning objectives. He wanted us to critically reflect on the whole experience that is implicit in the content and the interface, including the computer itself. His premise is that the designs and symbolism used to develop such technology and experiences represent a linguistic colonization of the present by the past, which is ultimately an ecologically unsustainable vocabulary.

Ironically, the technology that is proclaimed as revolutionizing the deepest foundations of culture is rooted in this basic misunderstanding of language. This misunderstanding partly accounts for one of the most important oversights of computer-mediated learning: the symbol systems appearing on the screen reproduce the implicit thought patterns of the software programmers. [Where the programmers themselves are evidently unaware of what they are communicating](Bowers 2000: p123)

In the case of Second Life there are the programmers of the platform itself, and then there are the users as programmers of content that is on the platform. Bowers concerns can be extended to both, and it is MacCaw who takes his critical framework to Second Life.

If land is not producing economic value then it is un- or under-utilized. Land and its use value become synonymous with ownership.
Danny Butt in his essay on Local Knowledge (2005) proposes three impassable contradictions, related to settler culture, indigenous culture and location. One of these is mapping – the most basic function of the colonial process – Butt writes, functions by turning a profoundly social relationship with the land characteristic of indigenous culture, into data.
And while the designers of Second Life created a land conveniently without indigenous people, its first owner (the Linden Corporation who establishes initial trading rights for each ‘new’ island) and the Linden inhouse building tools frame the world. I suggest that the way that we construct the formation of culture in this empty land draws upon a colonial model and precedents. The research question that follows from these initial considerations is: is it possible to have new empty land that allows for a different model of colonization, or will older models prevail? And how can we consider art in this relationship? (MacCaw 2008)

And I would suggest that we think about this not just in terms of art. It seems to me that any occupation that is concerned with forms of communication, interpretation and learning should take these thoughts into account as well. Quoting Bowers again:

Storybook Weaver not only encourages the student to make decisions about the storyline, but also about the geographical features on which the story will be situated, as well as the animals, plants and types of buildings that will be part of the visual background… The 650 images and 450 scenery combinations that the program makes available to the student provide for a wide range of imaginative possibilities, and this is where the real problem arises.
What the creators of Storybook Weaver view as the expression of students’ creative imagination can also be viewed as extreme anthropocentrism. Rather than a knowledge of specific ecosystems and cultural traditions (architectural styles, clothes, technologies, and so on) the student’s subjective experience is the basis of learning. (Bowers 2000: p130)

A framework for developing sustainable education using Second Life

Here is a suggested framework to assess possible aspects of sustainability education using Second Life, and inform a process of design and development for education for sustainability.

3 guiding questions from Bowers:

  1. How do we educate teachers and educational software programmers to become more conscious of the cultural assumptions and values reinforced in computer-mediated educational experiences?
  2. Can the software be designed to clarify how certain cultural assumptions and values undermine the convivial and morrally reciprical patterns that characterise more self-reliant communities?
  3. What do students need to understand about the cultural non-neutrality of technology and the difference between imperialistic, environmentally destructive technologies versus those that support local knowledge of environmental possibilities and limits? (Bowers 2000: p139)

While there are several well known projects in Second Life that treat some of the issues mentioned here to do with sustainability, I am yet to find one that attempts to address the full range of issues included in this review (although a combination of some would go close). An educational development using Second Life might consider Bower’s questions and use them as a basis to critique existing content in Second Life, taking what is useful and noting what is evidently missing or counter productive, and then devise an educational experience from that.

Projects in Second Life relating to sustainability issues

References

I have bookmarked to Del.icio.us all writings referenced in this review with the tag word SLENZSUSTAINABILITY

There’s always been a few people around ready to call “web2” a bubble that will burst. The email news that Eyespot will be no more may add confidence to that idea, (which of course for us in free range world is an inevitable future and should be planned for):

We deeply regret to inform you that Eyespot Corporation will no longer be able to continue serving you.

For our users at eyespot.com, we’re no longer allowing you to upload new videos. You can retrieve your uploaded video and mixes by going to your mymedia gallery and clicking the download link below the video thumbnail.

For our business customers in the eyespot video network, your site will continue operate unaffected for a limited period of time. We encourage you to migrate your video solution to one of our competing providers in the video mixing (e.g. http://corp.kaltura.com/) and video publishing space (e.g. http://www.fliqz.com/) immediately. We’ll soon be providing you with the means of downloading your community videos from within your dashboard at http://eyespot.com/partnerDashboard].

We have spent three years providing over a hundred thousand of you with a unique video experience. We believed that by putting creative tools and rights-cleared media into the hands of influencers and connectors, Eyespot would enable social media and participation culture like no other company.

After playing over two hundred million of your video creations, we have to stop. After assembling possibly the most potent team in digital media ever, we’re now moving on.

Thank you all for being apart of our community over the past three years.

Jim Kaskade
President & CEO

Ourmedia and Archive.org (the ones that started it all) are still chugging along, and as far as I can tell, will continue to do so for some time yet. 3 years of the Eyespot service is not something to forget either! That’s longer than many an institution’s “solution”, and they were very innovative when they arrived too – offering web based collaborative video editing long before the rest. Now Kaltura takes their place.

I had a few videos on Eyespot, but I try never to load media to one service only, partly for distribution and exposure reasons, partly as back up. I used to use the service Heyspread.com to get my videos across multiple services in one hit, but they started charging. Not long after, TubeMogul came along to replace that free service space and with a possibly better economic model. Blip.tv has been offering cross uploading for quite a while now too. When you load to Blip, it gives you the nice little option to load to Archive.org as well (Once you’ve set your Blip account to be able to do that). And of course, I keep a version locally as well.. just for when the Net goes down. I still need to transfer video to film mind you.. might save that for the best 10 and when we have a pedle powered [film] projector for when the lights go out too.

I’m totally gripped by Bowers book, and am now on the hunt for more writing. Why on Earth this reference hasn’t come my way in the past is a really big concern to me! Downes, Seimens, Artichoke! Do you know Chet Bower’s work? This guy deserves a Wikipedia page!

To my initial reading, his work is significant! His message fills this quiet space of concern I have had all along about all this computer mediated networked learning, and the cultural insensitivity it carries in it, not to mention the blind futurism we are all embroiled in. Bower’s book Let Them Eat Data for example, gives a much better voice to the counter arguments, much better than that Andrew Keen fella. Why the hell Keen has a WP article and Bowers does not is another concern…

I have only browsed the introductions in a list of readings he has on his web1 style blog, but they all share this clear and intelligent writing that Bowers has.

I have to get back to reading, just wanted to post now on the chance that someone out there knows his work and has a review for me. I’ll start the WP article soon enough…

I haven’t read a book in ages!

Don’t get me wrong, I used to work in a book shop and spent all those quiet hours reading history, culture, art, design… instead of dusting. I lasted there for a few years too. Good job that was… Anyway, Samuel Mann has recommended a book to me. One to help with this literature review I’m trying to do for sustainability issues relating to the Second Life Education in New Zealand project.

Let Them Eat Data looks to be an excellent read that will be a significant reference to the general question of sustainability relating to computing and the Internet. Take a look at the 2 page 1st Chapter in the Amazon preview!

The specific question relating to Sustainability of Second Life in terms of energy consumption has been opened by Tony Walsh in his Clickable Culture posts such as ‘Second Life’ Avatars Energy-Suckers? and Nicholas Carr in his post: Avatars consume as much electricity as Brazilians. I have found very little on how Second Life’s hardware requirements may be contributing to eWaste, but I think this could be covered again generally, specifics would be good to find though.

Regarding Sustainability projects in Second Life, there are a number of inspiring projects. I covered a few projects in my July post Sustainability design with Second Life as a modeling tool. Since that post I have discovered the Etopia Eco Village project that, “..is a showcase for individuals, organizations and businesses who want to offer goods and services which promote a socially and environmentally sustainable world”.

In the end, I am so far thin in terms of a literature review. I have this book, some in depth blog posts, and some project examples without reviews. If anyone has links I can add to my slenzsustainability tag, I’d greatly appreciate it.

I’ve been waiting for something authoritative to appear online, and Phil Ker’s post is it so far. Phil makes mention of the International Centre for Open Educational Resources (or will that be Reform?) to be established by Otago Polytechnic. From what I know, the Centre will be independent to the Polytechnic but the Polytechnic will partly fund it for its first 3 years. The Centre will be directed by Wayne Mackintosh after he exits the Commonwealth of Learning in April 2009. Wayne intends to make the Wikieducator project one of the primary projects of the Centre along with working towards finiancially sustaining the Centre within 3 years.

I’ve had very little to do with the planning of this Centre and it came as a surprise to me as much as anyone. My work will continue as normal in the Educational Development Centre in Otago Polytechnic – helping staff at Otago Polytechnic to understand OER, helping staff and students to develop new information literacies, and assisting in the development of new and existing courses at the Polytechnic. I will have little to do with the Centre apart from one of my professional expertise being OER, and so I imagine I will communicate with the Centre in terms of what Otago Polytechnic is doing as one of the many members of the Centre.

I hope the Centre will help to establish Open Educational Resources/Reform as common practice in New Zealand and Internationally.