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January 25, 2002

The Digital Divide in the Classroom A cautionary tale expressing the frustrations and the fears of some classroom instructors. "The students sit down in front of their computers. Some have trouble logging on to the system, others find their computer keeps crashing. Quite a few don't know how to use a search engine properly. The teacher doesn't really know how to fix the students' computers. The class starts to get noisy." I can think of a lot that went wrong in this scenario, and so can the author... but they're different things. Why oh why would a teacher assign a web-search activity in a one-hour chunk of class time? Use the class time to talk, to interact... that's what it's there for. By Sally McLaren, Child Research Net, January 25, 2001.[Refer]

The Power of the School Website "In the school of the future, the website will become one of the main conduits for the school administrative and teaching staff to maintain personal connection with parents,students and the wider community." But how do schools use their websites today? How close are they to meeting that objective? Short discussion and a number of links. By Anne Gilleran, SMC Resources, October 9, 2001.[Refer]

The Power of the School Website, part 2 Further analysis of school websites, and in particular, an analysis of how schools depict their head teacher. This stat should tell you everything you need to know: 'The Invisible Head: 54 percent.' This is an interesting project - I hope Anne Gilleran continues her investigation. By Anne Gilleran, SMC Resources, January 8, 2002.[Refer]

Relate It's need to be able to surf to a brand new forum like this. When I arrived this morning there were zero posts and five members (an administrator and four 'starting members'). Makes me feel like I'm right on top of things in this field. What will become of this forum, I wondered. There are so many, and this one - with off-the-shelf message board software - doesn't really look unique. Well, this evening it has a few posts and is up to twenty members. Not bad first day. If you drop by and sign up... tell 'em OLDaily sent you. By , , .[Refer]

Rewarding Punishment More discussion of the proposed antitrust settlement that will see Microsoft donate a billion dollars of hardware and software to underfunded schools. A nice twist on the proposal is offered by Red Hat: "Let Microsoft donate money for computing resources for underfunded schools, but let those donations go toward hardware only; then populate those machines with open-source software." Heh. By Russell Pavlicek , InfoWorld, January 25, 2002.[Refer]

Microsoft release LRN 3.0 Toolkit, supporting IMS Content Packaging, IMS Metadata and SCORM Hot on the heels of the release of a similar package by Macromedia as a Dreamweaver, Microsoft releases an IMS and SCORM content packaging toolkit. Naturally, the toolkit is intended to be used with Microsoft's Learning Resource iNterchange (LRN). I don't think it works with Netscape. There's a short article with related links at CETIS By Microsoft eLearn, Microsoft, January 25, 2002.[Refer]

Buy Versus Build: A Battle of Needs I thought at first that the subtitle read, "A Battle of Nerds," and while my eyesight may have cleared, the allusion remains. Because in many companies or educational institutions, a champion emerges - the 'nerd' - with a plan to build a dedicated learning system or learning content. I know; I am that nerd. And building can in some cases be the way to go - if the product you need doesn't exists yet (as has been the case with me), if you are creating proprietary content, or if you aren't willing to pay the off-the-shelf price. But sometimes, when your needs are sufficiently generic (and when the product can be customized), it makes more sense to buy. Either way, advises the article, calculate all the costs. Sound advice for all of us. By Laura M. Francis with Randy Emelo, Learning Circuits, January, 2002.[Refer]

Mission: Buy an LMS So you've decided to buy a learning management system (LMS). Now what? First, define your learning need - where do you want to be when this is all done? And second, plan on (large) migration costs, no matter what the vendors say. The article does a good job of helping you define your learning need and matching this need to LMS features. It also advises - wisely - that you look beyond the LMS specs for information: contact previous customers, for example. The article is a bit light on implementation - but by then you have access to the vendor's expertise and advice... right? By By John V. Moran, Learning Circuits, January, 2002.[Refer]

Topic Representation and Learning Object Metadata
Discussion of the use of topic maps and alternative schema generation tools for the creation of learning object metadata designed to handle tasks not envisioned by SCORM and other metadata standards. By Stephen Downes


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