By Stephen Downes
June 29, 2004

I spent about an hour or so playing around with this last night and I don't know what to think. Amplify is a toolbar that lets you highlight an area of a web page you are viewing, and will retrieve the highlighted area (including images and even video or multimedia content) and place it on an individual 'amp'. An 'amp' is a one page snapshot of your captures from the various sites. Amps also support RSS feeds. Found via Corante's Social Software blog. There are also community features, such as member rating of individual amps. By Various Authors, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Take It, It's Free
I have had serious people email me and argue that the publishing model of high subscription prices helps subsidize access for people in developing countries. That subsidy, though, doesn't seem to work its way down, not when you read about people in India paying half their stipend on reserach articles. Small wonder, then, that so many downloads from open archives come from outside the United States and Europe, and small wonder that there is increasing interest in countries like India in open access publishing. After all, how do you foster an educated population if the price of the necessary materials is beyond anyone's reach? Via Open Access News. By Raja Simhan T.E., The Hindi Business Line, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Columbia Study: University Students Gravitate to Electronic Resources
Short article linking to a study that shows that students are increasingly turning to online materials for research. But that doesn't mean the special collections libraries set up of subscribe to: "Nearly all respondents (99%) said they use electronic resources for their schoolwork. However, they use the World Wide Web, then email, before they use library-sponsored electronic databases." Note that "a third of respondents won't go beyond electronic resources when looking for information." I huess that 'comfortable feeling of holding a book' doesn't carry so much weight (or perhaps, weighs too muc) when you have work to do. Via Open Access News. By Unsigned, Library Journal, June 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Hong Kong to Build E-learning Society: Official
Short article containing the statement and some statistics on computer use in Hong Kong schools. By Xinhuanet, China View, June 28, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning For Short Attention Spans
I've hit this point before but it's nice to see a reasonably comprehensive article - with a good case study from Dow Chemical - argue in favour of short e-learning units, especially for corporate learning - rtaher than the traditional course. "In fact," the article notes, "a goal for some companies is 'pervasive learning,' whereby e-learning is such a natural part of each employee's desktop that they don't even realize they're doing it." Associated with this article is a handy-dandy guide of e-learning suites listing their starting price along with compatible LMS, LCMS and authoring tools. Via elearningpost. By Penny Lunt Crosman, Transform Magazine, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

One Quarter of Online Americans Have Heard of VOIP
This shortish report (more of a memo, really) from Pew documents what observers have been sensing for some time: that voice over internet (VoIP) is catching on and is well into the 'early adopter' phase of the technology cycle. The interesting this is the technology's penetration int the (U.S.) home market, which, with one in eight considering getting it for personal use, is higher than I might have expected. PDF. Via NewsScan Daily. By John Horrigan and Alan Hepner, Pew Internet and American Life Project, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Many Schools Choose to Stick with Traditional Yearbooks Although CD-ROMs are Gaining Ground
This is another case of new technology reshaping an old standby, as schools are replacing the traditional school yearbook with a CD-ROM. It's a great idea, not only because it lowers production costs but because it allows students to record video and other media that would have been impossible for a yearbook. I hope they are aware of CD rot, though, and have a plan in place to preserve this legacy data. Via TechLearning News. By Linda Fantin , Salt Lake Tribune, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Virtually Perfect
This is a very good article, one of the best of the year and certainly the best I've seen on this topic at this level. It describes how various universities are building and using mobile production suites to capture and display learning resources (such as, say, classroom lectures), taking as its point of departure the Georgia Institute of Technology's Big Bertha system. The author has done his homework, describing such systems not simply in general terms, but by naming specific parts and even brands used by different universities. Thus we know not only that Georgia uses cameras to record streaming video, but that it "uses Sony EVI D100 PTZ cameras and Vortex mixers in 21 digital classrooms [which] feed video signals to Dell Inc. Optiplex GX-270 PCs equipped with ViewCast Corp.'s Osprey 230 video-capture cards [and from them to] a Sun Microsystems (www.sun.com) enterprise server running RealNetworks Inc.'s Helix Universal Server." This level of detail (and note that abbreviations are explained and jargon is kept to a minimum) give the reader a precise picture of how these systems are being set up, how much, even, that the different components cost. By Joseph C. Panettieri, University Business, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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