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Jun 1, 2001

Welcome, new readers. As always, send me your comments at sdownes@ualberta.ca:

The Spirit of Invention: Edging Our Way to 21st Century Teaching This article lists four 'edge happenings,' that is, developments on the edge of the field that will have a ripple effect throughout. The first two - laptops and ubiquitous computing, and wireless and mobile computing and Networking - aren't very new and aren't very controversial; they will wash over education very shortly. The next - e-books and digital textbooks - is the subject of much controversy, as people will resist renting textbooks and buying special readers. And the last - moving to human-centric computing - is here now. By Judith Boettcher, Syllabus Magazine, June, 2001. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

Do Charter Schools Pass The Test? Now that charter schools have been around for a few years, it is time to ask whether they met their promise (or the direst fears of critics). The results? Mixed: some seem to be all right, while others quite bad. The take on this article is that, even though some charter schools may be bad, parents at least get the choice to switch schools. Sounds nice in theory... By Jodie Morse, Time, May 29, 2001. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

More than Bit Players: How Information Technology Will Change the Ways Nonprofits and Foundations Work and Thrive in the Information Age This report focuses on non-profits and foundations, but educational institutions are so similar I think that some lessons can be drawn from this research report. Such as: information technology will do for philanthopy what WalMart did for retail. But small charities can still prosper by forming networks and creating alliances. Sound familiar? PDF document. By Andrea Blau, submitted to the Surdna Foundation, May, 2001. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

eLearn Magazine Just announced on DEOS, this new online magazine is published by ACM (formerly the Association for Computing Machinery (which to me spells 'pedigree')) and will officially launch at the upcoming ASTD 2001 conference. The magazine includes syndicated news, feature articles, columns, and some e-learning resources. And I like the price: free. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

Licensing Questions Overshadow Office XP Launch The question is: would you buy a copy of MS Word if you knew the software was going to expire in a year? Bill Gates is betting the farm that you will. By Oct. 1, Microsoft intends to eliminate version upgrades, instead pushing a variety of non-perpetual licensing agreements, or limited-use contracts, which company officials say are intended to keep users running the latest software versions. By Bob Trott and Ed Scannell, InfoWorld, May 31, 2001. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

Computers Will Save Us: The Future According to James Martin Consultant James Martin takes a quick romp through the computer assisted world of the future. In such a world, computers are ubiquitous and a lot smarter than today - imagine: cars that report good driving to insurance companies, television sets that suggest programs to watch, coffee machines that start automatically when they detect that the owner needs a boost... By Brad Lemley, Discover, Volume 22, Number 6, June, 2001. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

The Virtual Laboratory Project: DesignDrug@Home Peer-to-peer grids enable application and resource sharing over networks of computers. The Virtual Laboratory project at Monash University is an example of such a grid. It provides tools for researchers to selectively extract resources from the Protein Data Bank (PDB) for screening or other work. Exhibited at the recent IEEE/ACM International Symposium in Brisbane, Australia, the project is led by Kim Branson and Rajkumar Buyya. The link take you to the project home page; scroll down to find a link to the presentation. Submitted on Jun 1, 2001

Course Delivery Systems for the Virtual University A bit dated, though it has a 2001 publication date. Nonetheless, this essay is a useful list of important features to look for in learning management systems and what constitutes 'state of the art' for those features. Peter Brusilovsky comments in an email today, "Surprisingly enough, most 'LMS' provide under state-of-the-art support for a number of key features." By Peter Brusilovsky and Philip Miller. In Emergence of the Virtual University. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science and International Association of Universities, 2001, pp. 167-206. Submitted on May 31, 2001

An Introduction to the Evaluation of Learning Technology An overview of methods of evaluating learning technology and a look at how changing technology changes evaluation. Good introduction to the topic. By Martin Oliver, Educational Technology & Society 3(4) 2000. Submitted on May 31, 2001

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