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September 18, 2012

“John hit the ball”: Should Simple Language Be Mandatory for Web Accessibility?
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, September 18, 2012.

My diffiulty with proposals such as the one described here - which recommends a set of writing standards to ensure that web content is accessible to all - is that what they understand to be "simple" are not simple at all. "For example," say the guidelines, "the simplest sentence-form for English consists of Subject-Verb-Object, as in John hit the ball or The Web site conforms to WCAG 2.0." Really? How about this? "First, he went to the pub. Then he ate dinner at the restaurant. Finally, John hit the ball." Simple? Hardly. Clear writing has very little to do with sentence structure. Otherwise the absolutely opaque "The Web site conforms to WCAG 2.0" would be understood by everyone. Clear writing have everything to do with setting context and developing ideas in a logical manner. The most common mistake in web writing, I think, is assuming your readers see things from the same perspective you do. That's a very common flaw in web and internet technology help documents.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Accessibility]

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Developing Open Web Apps: First, get it onto the web
L.M. Orchard, blog.lmorchard.com , September 18, 2012.

I'll let you all in on a secret. I have tried and tried and tried to wrap my mind around how to make svn and git work and I just can't do it. I get the concept, but there is from my perspective no good guide to these. The latest series of instructions, these from L.M. Orchard - who is very good - is typical. Here's he's trying to provide basic instructions describing how to launch a project on the web. I'd love to launch a project on the web. I didn't make it past the second step in his instructions. I made a repository (his instructions just said 'make a repository' so I had to feel my way around here) and cloned it in my Dropbox public folder (no instructions here either, but I had Dropbox handy, so I was OK). But then git co -b gh-pages failed utterly for me

Granted, I have never been good with svn or git. But I do have an account on github and the Mingw32 Official Git Client on my Windows box. I cloned my-project with it no problem. But when I try 'git co -b gh-pages'  everything begins to fail. It says 'co' is not a command. So I assume 'co' means 'commit'. It says 'unknown switch -b' - and here I assume the switch is '--branch' (had to look that up on the web). I'm assuming 'gh-pages' is the name of a branch, because there's one in Orchard's repository. Not sure how it was made. The command fails, so it wasn't made with the command. But I can't find any way on the website to create the branch. So now I'm stuck.

Why am I telling you all this? To let you know I'm really sympathetic when people say this tech stuff is difficult. It's difficult for me too, and even the best documentation frequently simply doesn't work. Don't blame yourself, don't think you're the only one, and don't think some people never get stuck. They do - they all do.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Microsoft, Project Based Learning, Learning Object Repositories]

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xED Book
George Siemens, xED Book, September 18, 2012.

George Siemens, Dave Cormier and Bonnie Stewart have signed up to write a book for Johns Hopkins press. The book will be closed-access, so they've created a blog to share 'field notes'. I assume this is where they'll be blogging now instead of their usual blogs.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Books, Web Logs]

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Mozilla Web Literacies v0.7
Doug Belshaw, Weblog, September 18, 2012.

Doug Belshaw takes a stab at defining web literacies as a part of his work with Mozilla. There's an etherpad discussion of the elemental skills, ranging from basics like using the browser to advanced skills like server architecture and object oriented programming (there's a lot more to add to the list that's there). Belshaw plans to have version 0.9 available for the Mozilla Festival this November, and v1.0 for the DML Conference in March 2013. There's a long way to go between here and there.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: none]

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Playing Catch With Grover Is the Future of Video Gaming
Andrea Smith, Mashable, September 18, 2012.

Article and video about a new Sesame video game for children - this sort of interactive video game has been around for a while (I remember seeing it in 2006!) but with the release of systems like Microsoft Kinnect they have become a lot more interactive and intuitive. I like how they place the image of the child right into the video game.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Microsoft, Video]

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Ed Radio September 18, 2012
, , September 18, 2012.

Ed Radio September 18, 2012 - You never know what you'll hear on Ed Radio

[Comment][Tags: none]

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Study Explodes the Myth of Internet-Based Information Overload
Shel Holtz, Social Media Today, September 18, 2012.

This study turns popular belief on its head - and accords with my own expewrience with information: “We found that the high volume of information available these days seems to make most people feel empowered and enthusiastic. People are able to get their news and information from a diverse set of sources and they seem to like having those options.”

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Information]

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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