OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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December 23, 2011

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The (Technology) Ghosts of Christmas Past and Present and Christmas Yet To Come
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, December 23, 2011.

Brian Kelly ponders the death of email and I respond with observations of my own. "Currently, email is by far and away the most common way people contact me. I'll get maybe two or three phone calls in a day, zero instant messages or texts, and about 200 emails. Granted, 150 of those are not useful emails. But the remainder still dwarfs what's left."

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2011 The Year of Open
Paul Stacey, Musings on the edtech frontier, December 23, 2011.

files/images/paul_stacey.PNG, size: 145863 bytes, type:  image/png Paul Stacey authors an almost-definitive account of 'the year of open' that we have just experienced, documenting such initiatives as the adoption of Creative Commons and creation of open data portals by governments, the mainstreaming of MOOCs by big name institutions such as University of Mary Washington and Stanford University, the launch of MITx, the opening of content by museums and libraries, the UNESCO-COL Guidelines for Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Education, the creation of hundreds of millions of open resources by individuals, the ideas of citizen science and citizen journalism, the concept of a JAMs for open engagement ("A JAM is a a non-linear moderated discussion of fixed duration that is part creative brainstorming, part active dialogue, and part focus group"), the embrace of open by LMS vendors, the American Community College and Career Training grants totaling $2 billion over four years for open content, the bringing to life of the OER university (OERu), and (believe it or not) much more. I think those of us who have worked toward these outcomes for a very long time can take significant satisfaction in these developments.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Open Educational Resources, Open Content, United States, Portals, UNESCO, Experience]

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Project Management for Instructional Designers
David Wiley, iterating toward openness, December 23, 2011.

David Wiley reports, "Students in our IPT 682: Project Management class put the finishing touches on their new online textbook, Project Management for Instructional Designers." The book is a revision and remix of an original published by Flat World Knowledge, Project Management from Simple to Complex written by Russell Darnall and John Preston. The students replaced the examples with those appropriate to instructional design, added video interviews, and created interactive, mastery-check assessments. Good stuff. That's how this open content thing is supposed to work.

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DIY solar panel maker heads to Africa for charity
Jane Wakefield, BBC, December 23, 2011.

When you read or watch post-Apocalypic science fiction there's always ambient technology - solar panels, for example, jury-rigged with spare parts to power old cellular phones in an ad hoc mesh network. projects like this are how those parts got there. Mark Kragh takes solar panel rejects ("Slight chips in the corner render the panels useless for traditional solar energy use") and converts them into home phone charging systems. The he ships them off to Africa where they're needed. "For many in Africa there is little access to electricity due to mains power shortages. Infrastructure has not kept pace with the explosion in mobile phone ownership." Charity takes us only so far, though. We need not only more projects like this but also some way to convert our economy back from the massive megaprojects that make basic infrastructure inaccessible to those without the cash and toward a much more distributed system and less opaque of micro-scale projects that do things like create energy, facilitate communication, grow food, and transport people. Related: makinga phone charger from scrap.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility, Project Based Learning, Networks, Africa]

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Chet Baker’s Soulful Version of ‘Time After Time’ (Under the Snow)
Mike Springer, Open Culture, December 23, 2011.

Just some really ncie jazz as an interlude in today's newsletter. As much as I've enjoying the rich soft tones of his singing and playing on the flugelhorn, I'm enjoying this look at the way the world was in 1964. People were still named Chet. Musicians stood and waited patiently for their cue. Major stars could appear on Belgian TV missing a front tooth. Baker was 34 when he played this "melancholy interpretation of the Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne standard, 'Time After Time.'," I was five years old at the time, and the show could have appeared on our television set one December evening as the snow fell and my mother made supper in the kitchen (who knows?).

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Tips for Facilitating a Week in Change11 MOOC
Nancy While, Full Circle Associates, December 23, 2011.

files/images/change11tweets-217x300.jpg, size: 23066 bytes, type:  image/jpeg We had Nancy White as a guest presenter in #Change11 this fall and she did a wonderful job, introducing us to concepts like 'social artistry'. This post is a pretty good look at the task of presenting from the other side. It's interesting to see how the course and the work were perceived by somebody dropping in for a week. She writes, "I followed the links and left comments on as many blogs that I found relating to my week. That took a bit of time, but the feedback was that this was really meaningful to people — particularly since we talked a lot about connection in week 8." One thing I regret about this course is not being able to do as much of that follow-up myself as I would like.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Web Logs, OpenCourseWare]

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Welcome to AltairKit.com!
Grant Stockly , Website, December 23, 2011.

Looking at that Altair 8800 front panel takes me back. No, I didn't own one personally, but I know how the panel works, because I used to use a panel similar to that in 1980 (we had card readers so we'd just use the panel to initialize). What you do is you encode some data in binary using the toggles (the set of them under the red lights). Then you use one of the lower toggles to enter the data into a specific memory location (see the operations manual, p. 36). You could step through your program one machine language command at a time (second to the left toggle, lower line) or run them all at one (far left toggle) and watch the red lights do things. It's hard to believe everything we do in these systems is based on the same basic technology, but it's true. This isn't really the gift you want to give your kids, but the enthusiast who likes soldering things together might like it. It's kind of a niche market, though. Via Kottke.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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