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Archive for the 'Danny Bakan' Category

Too many topics, too little time. » Free Music Project: Creativity on Children’s Machine XO

Jeremy blogs about OLPC News: Free Music Project: Creativity on Children’s Machine XO: “While we are all impressed by mini TamTam, the OLPC XO music generation software, not every child is a composer at heart. But every child can find joy, fun, creativity, and education in music. That’s the idea behind the Free Music Project, a library of the best free music the web has to offer from Freeculture.org”

freeculture.org’s Free Music Project
We know you love music. We know you love free music.

Freeculture.org is building a library of the best free music the web has to offer. And we need your help.

This will be your music — you are the curators and creators. We want everything: all genres, all time periods, all cultures—as long as it is available under a license for sharing and collaboration.

Our first project is with OLPC, the One Laptop per Child project, also commonly referred to as the $100 Laptop.

OLPC News: OLPC: miniTamTam Video Will Blow You Away

miniTamTam video tutorial « TamTam: Music and sound for the OLPC

Funded! Chasing Learning Landscapes

My proposal, “Chasing Learning Landscapes: a Pilot Virtual Learning Environment for Early Childhood Educators in Second Life” was accepted for funding by our school. I’m doing this along with Danny Bakan, and we’ll be building resources for (c)cld419. OH, a happy day!

‘Second Life’ opens source code

‘Second Life’ opens source code - Yahoo! News:
“”There are lots of handicapped people using ‘Second Life,’ It’s one of the really inspiring things about it,” Rosedale said. “There are a lot of ways of connecting people to their computers, not just mice and keyboards but gaze detection and neuromuscular stuff” that Linden Lab doesn’t have the manpower to address, but he hopes outside programmers will.”

The Chronicle: 10/6/2006: E-Mail is for Old People

Rochelle sent me this article which is really interesting: The Chronicle: 10/6/2006: E-Mail is for Old People: “As students ignore their campus accounts, colleges try new ways of communicating….” While I’m very happy that people are thinking this through, they don’t seem to be thinking that wisely or deeply. I did post something recently about this and thin technologies but it also is an issue of appropriate technologies. When I’m the prof. and I want to communicate with students about formal matters, sending an IM is, well, stupid. And with Facebook and Myspace, the cognitive equivalent of social communication as dressing up to go to a disco in a stripmall, you’ve got to wonder how far out of touch the admin might be. I’ve used IM for communicating with students for years. The problem wtih that is that they don’t use any of the ‘good’ ones and I have to use MSN (I guess I’m old school prefering IRC (yes, I know I trash IRC but that’s for a diff reason), ICQ, AIM/iChat, MOOs or the like).

I use AIM/iChat mostly to communcate with colleagues. While I was working with my RA on the songchild project (http://songchild.org) I was IMing with Danny, who teaches part time at ECE, showing him how to use media wiki, and editing the CSS for his wiki. We were in text, but when he was trying things out we switched to audio (which is a function of iChat) so we could type while we talked. And of course I could have 2-3 other chats going on with other faculty. Facebook isn’t quite up to that level of communication, though it is good for the rather thin communication that perhaps is all students want to engage in.

I’d prefer a jabber server for our school though, then we could be sure that we had a record that messages were at least sent. That’s what I like about institutional email… we have proof that it got to a student’s account, and the reverse. You can lead a student to email, but you can’t ensure they read it… Hmmm… I’d even think that setting up a monastic learning environment in World of Warcraft would be better than just getting a school facebook account. Now that’s a thought.

Our job is to improve student’s ability to communicate, not bring the level down to what has been marketted at young people. I’ve yet to find anyone who can justify FB or MS as a more rich or sophisticated form of tech over whatever else is available… and there are so many other ways of keeping in touch… of course blogs and livejournal, or even MOOs.

As well, if students were ACTUALLY more sophisticated they could do what I do. My university email is forwarded to my gmail account, and the email I send out from Mail.app is configured such that anything I send out appears to come from my university. And they wouldn’t need to go to the unversity account at all, nor embarass their friends with a stupid email account name.

This is also funny. UofT and Ryerson both allow for firstname/[email protected] email accounts. My students who try (they stop after the first try) to email me from elsewhere as [email protected] are directed to try again from something slightly more appropriate.

The final interesting point is that I strongly suggest that students experiment with a more professional language register than they are used to.

Dear Jason;

I am sorry that I will not be in class today, as my new puppy ate my bus pass, and my student loans will not be in until next week, and there’s a meteor shower at the moment.

Sincerely,
Ed the Horse

Most of my students want a job when they graduate, and they see the point of knowing how to communicate effectively and professionally with their future employers, and later on with their employees. If they just want to communicate with their friends, they’re more than welcome to, since education is all about the choices we make based on the opportunities available to us.

Wiki-style textbooks to aid poorer nations

Since Danny and I are starting this open license children’s music project this fall, he sent me this link to a free online textbook project.:

Wiki-style textbooks to aid poorer nations - tech - 01 September 2006 - New Scientist Tech Watson has recruited about 80 academics from the US and other countries to his Global Textbook project. It will produce free online textbooks using technology similar to that behind online reference work Wikipedia.

Interestingly enough, my publisher, Sense Publishing, allows free PDF downloads of their books, so lots of people are ‘making them free’.