December 23, 2005

OLDaily

Thomas Crampton: In France, A Movement to Legalize Web Piracy of Films and Music, International Herald Tribune December 23, 2005
Ignore the blatant propaganda in the title (I always take titles directly from the source, but staying true to this one makes me grit my teeth - folks, it's not 'piracy' if it's legal and you pay for it. Sheesh). The French parliament is attempting to legalize file sharing for non-commercial purposes. We can only wish them well in this attempt. The proposal "would establish a so-called global license fee that - once paid - would permit Internet users to download unlimited digital music and films from the Internet for personal use." Gosh - this coverage is really bad. I am pretty sceptical of the press generally - despite their pretenses I know what sort of anti-citizen agenda they are pursuing. But I am really appalled that the supposedly objective press would be so one-sided on this. Call it vested interests, hm? Via Joi Ito. More here (in French) and on Slashdot. [Tags: File Sharing, Marketing] [Comment]

Daniel Lemire: AJAX RSS Display, Daniel Lemire's blog December 23, 2005
Daniel Lemire sends this quick guide to using Ajax to embed RSS in your web page, with an example. Here's the example running my feed. Nice, except as usual you can only use it if both the RSS and the viewer are on the same site. Now if there were a Javascripty way to do this with scripts located on remote sites, that would be cool. [Tags: Cool] [Comment]

Various authors: Libraries and E-Learning, Canadian Association of Research Libraries December 23, 2005
Librarians and libraries will play a key role in e-learning. This, not surprisingly, is the conclusion of a recent report from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL). The report "recommends that librarians take the lead in the consolidation of Learning Object Repository management and licensing practices, in order to bring an orderly approach to management and use of shared instructional across Canada." I would certainly hope that librarians find their future in protecting and supporting free access to information, rather than becoming front-people for publishers' licenses and access restrictions. This is the link that came with the item - you'll find the report under the title 'Final Report' (and not, as one would logically think, under a link titled 'Libraries and E-Learning'). The link to the press release is just above it, untitled (it just says 'more'). Hope this isn't what they mean by the "orderly approach" to information. [Tags: Books and eBooks, Online Learning, Canada] [Comment]

Mike Weber: Open Source Savings for a School District, SpiderTools.com December 23, 2005
While you may hear a lot about the idea that open source is not about the money you save (see the Stallman interview from a couple days ago), the fact is, if you have the staff, open source will save you money. This article is a case study in which Noxon School District saved $92,675.20 in start-up costs, with projected savings of more than $300,000 over a ten year period. The author writes, "The reality of these figures for Noxon Schools is that if we had Microsoft products only we would not have185 computers we would have 50 because that is all we could sustain. That is the big difference for us." Via Rob Wall. [Tags: Microsoft, Project Based Learning, Schools, Open Source] [Comment]

Stuart Yeates: SiteGround offer Moodle Hosting as a Commodity Service, Educause December 23, 2005
Interesting. Stuart Yeates writes, "SiteGround is offering Moodle hosting as a commodity offering. Starting at 5 USD / month, they're already hosting 400 Moodle sites, and at the price, I guess we can expect that to grow rapidly. The commoditisation of Moodle hosting will inevitably drive down prices and lower the technical barriers to entry for large numbers of smaller and less technically capable institutions." [Tags: ] [Comment]

Josie Fraser: Learners as Teachers as Learners, EdTechUK December 23, 2005
Josie Fraser follows up a recent link depicting "children teaching adults the non-lethal use of PowerPoint" and comes up with two more good examples of the younger teaching the older, both interestingly in topics dealing with web safety. "The idea behind this switching of roles is to stimulate communication between children and adults about their internet use. By becoming more involved in the internet activities of their children, adults will be better able to discuss possible risks the internet may bring about." [Tags: Adults and Adult Learning, Children and Child Learning] [Comment]

Stuart Yeates: Documentation Issues in Open Source, OSS Watch December 23, 2005
I've certainly had my own issues with open source documentation, so I can sympathize with the thrust of this article. Brief discussion, with some examples of open source software that provide good documentation (of course, this is a matter of perspective). Via Scott Leslie. [Tags: Open Source] [Comment]

Robert Ashley: You Can't Be Serious, 1Up December 23, 2005
As funny a post as I have seen in a while, this article looks at some standard 'learning games' - for example, Virtual Leader or A Force More Powerful - and subjects them to a reworking by some well know game designers. True to form, the games become more violent and more random - but also, from the descriptions, a lot more fun. Via Mark Oehlert. [Tags: Web Logs, Games and Gaming] [Comment]

Roger Riddell: eSN Seeks Nominations in First-ever 'Best of the Education Blogs' Contest, ESchool News December 23, 2005
The publication means, of course, its first-ever education blogs contest, as there have been two Edublog awards thus far (something the article acknowledges). Categories include "Best Classroom Instruction Blog, Best K-12 Administration Blog, Best Higher-Education Management Blog, and Best Education Theory Blog." Personally I don't see why the magazine didn't throw its support behind the Edublog Awards, nor do I see why it would spell my name with a v. Sigh. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment]

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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes