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March 27, 2002

Board's Vote Starts Plan for Privatization I guess there's no real debate about the divide between public and private schools if the whole system is privatized. That's what's on the verge of happening in Philadelphia as the School Reform Commission took the first step yesterday toward putting the city's public schools into private hands, appointing a series of consulting firms to handle different components of the transition. People involved in the public system should take note of some of the companies involved, especially KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers, both of whom have already made a splash in e-learning at higher levels (the latter leading a large consortium to provide e-learning for the U.S. military). I have always said, when the crisis comes for the public system, it will come suddenly. Could this be it? Too soon to tell. By Susan Snyder and Martha Woodall, Philadelphia Enquirer, March 27, 2002.[Refer]

At 13, He's at Helm of School Newscast OLDaily readers will be familiar with my own experiments with media when I was a kid and so won't be surprised that I list yet another example of a 13 year old taking the media into his own hands, in this case, an eighth grader at Glenwood Middle School who writes, films, produces and packages in a high-tech, real-time a school newsletter for parents every week. I might add that this story - and the many hundreds out there like it - are further evidence that self-directed students can go beyond - way beyond - traditional in-class learning. By Tanika White, Baltimore Sun, March 26, 2002.[Refer]

The Father of Modern Spam Speaks This link is probably more of a personal interest to me because I remember the day Canter and Siegel's "Green Card Lottery" messages flooded the Usenet system. Their act was called the birth of spam - rightly so - and so it's interesting to read Canter's reflections on that day and his take on how to deal with spam today. By Sharael Feist, CNet News.Com, March 26, 2002.[Refer]

Art, Science, and Magic: What Really Happens During User-Centered Design? This article looks at the psychological concept of subsumption as it may be applied to the methodology of user centered design (UCD). The idea of subsumption is that you place new experiences or new entities under existing categories. Thus, if you see a creature for the first time and it looks like a cat, then you would think of it as a type of cat. In UCD, this concept expresses itself as the use of existing forms of design to represent new information. Thus, online calendars represent wall calendars, news sites look like newspapers, the computer desktop looks like, well, a desktop. But there is more to it than that, because with completely new technologies - such as the telephone, or the Sony Walkman, a completely new design scheme was developed, one that looks and feels familiar to users, but isn't a clear cut case of subsumption. This is where the art - and even the magic - of UCD comes into play. By Carol Righi, TaskZ, March 26, 2002.[Refer]

The Basics of Online MBAs I don't really think that this article is much of a guide - it lists no actual programs and demonstrates a limited understanding of online learning, as in: "Business ethics, for example, is experiential. How can you teach that online? In the classroom, you get people involved in a social discourse." That said, the article is useful for organizations offering online learning as guide to some of the things prospective students might look for: the quality and style of the program, program cost, and the question of whether a site visit is required. By Mark M. Borlongan, Business World, March 25, 2002.[Refer]

International Project: Virtual Novels From the website: "Students and teachers from more than 30 different countries play virtual characters. Once a month, they interact by writing stories and sending pictures to the France Telecom Education web site. The students pretend to be families or friends living in different places (Germany, France, USA, in the stars, on an island) where a lot of strange or fun events occur in their virtual lives. In reality, these pupils and teachers have never met or been in these places." An interesting project involving online collaboration and creative writing. By Alexa Joyce, European Schoolnet News, January 28, 2002.[Refer]


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