August 10, 2006


Miguel Guhlin[Edit][Delete]: Data Analysis, Around the Corner [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] Be sure to have a look at the 'multiple measures of data' graphic in this post. It is a four-circle Venn Diagram identifying four corresponding measurement metrics and how they interact. Of course, once you admit these dimensions of measurement, what is to argue against a variety of other measurements - nutrition intake, for example, local crime rate, perhaps, or per-student computer budget - into the same sort of calculation. Of course, if you do that, then you have made a mash of the idea that you can nicely and neatly measure school achievement - and you can't have that, can you? [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott Leslie[Edit][Delete]: - What a Student-developed, Student-focused Learning/study Tool Looks Like, EdTechPost [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 14 Hits] Described on the blog: "[ is] part scheduler, todo manager, and 'web 2.0' notetaker, is also a social network. By using, you agree to make all of your notes public. The search function allows you to search for notes by school, professor, class, or the note itself." Pretty interesting concept, dead simple. What I like is how it becomes something really useful by focusing on a student need and essentially ignoring what teachers or administration would want. Scott Leslie writes, "So... a web-based, mobile-accessible site for students to store THEIR notes/information about THEIR studies, which simultaneously gives them access to other students' notes as well. So cool." [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Jakob Nielsen[Edit][Delete]: Screen Resolution and Page Layout, Alertbox [Edit][Delete]AlertBox [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] In his first relevant post in quite a while, Jakob Nielson says we ought to optimize screen displays for monitors with a 1024x768 resolution, but that we should continue to employ liquid layout for users of other monitors. You'll notice that this is what I do on my website. What Nielsen doesn't tell us, though, is how to do this. Usually such sites use three column liquid layouts. You should also ensure that the columns have margins (called 'gutters') and that the centre column loads first. Columns should have 1-2-2 width ratios, with the narrow column used for navigation, or the classic 'Drupal' look of 1-3-1. I have also used this layout at glish a lot. Also, here's a neat hack to get three columns of equal height in a liquid layout. See also A List Apart on the topic. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Joseph Epstein[Edit][Delete]: Friendship Among the Intellectuals, Commentary [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I really didn't like this mean-spirited paper listed in today's ArtsJournal, but I spent enough time with it to merit passing it along. I am torn between wanting to disparage the author's off-handed swipes against socialism (by equating it with Stalinism) and wanting to show disdain for the offhand manner in which the author supposes that he is an intellectual (and therefore qualified to talk on the subject of friendship among the intellectuals). If I may be thought of as an intellectual, just for the moment at least, then my observation would be that friendship among the intellectuals is as varied as the intellectuals themselves, created and dissolved for no end of reasons, and not so often characterized by the pettiness of the charades described here. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Press Release[Edit][Delete]: Creative, Capable, Connected - Our New Brand, [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 15 Hits] got a new identity last Friday. Personally, I've always felt identities should reflect what people or organizations are, or what they do, while compliments - such as 'creative', 'capable' and 'connected' - should be the domain of friends and well-wishers. But perhaps I take an overly modest approach to branding. Also from the same EdNA newsletter, information on podcasts from Friday's seminar and news that Australia will no longer refer to VET (vocational education and training) and instead will call the same thing vocational and technical education, or VTE. [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Scott Jaschik[Edit][Delete]: Privatization and Public Universities, Inside Higher Ed [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: 5 Hits] Book review looking at the trend toward the privatization of the public university system in the United States. Interesting because it recognizes the phenomenon of de facto privatization, where public funding is reduced and replaced by tuitions, foundation grants, research revenues, and other enterprise income. A number of the traditional beliefs (such as: high tuitions can be offset by need-based grants) are considered and refuted, which leaves us facing the genuine problem of how to ensure access to qualified but low-income students. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: mLearning Tools, Half an Hour [Edit][Delete] August 10, 2006
[link: Hits] Leonard Low offers a nice theory and set of activities for mLearning in an EdNA forum, but like Geoff Stead I see the 'mobile' aspect as "flavouring" and not essential to the model. I haven't spend a lot of time on mLearning for just this reason, because I see it not so much as a new form of learning but rather as a transition to something more useful, something I describe as virtual hardware in this short article. But also, mLearning concerns me a bit because of the tendency of vendors to lock down mLearning offerings. In this mLearning portal, for example, clients can only go where they're allowed and all the content is otherwise hidden from view. Walled gardens (with sentries). Or this demo - there's no way out, only in. It's all closed prepackaged content. mLearning offers vendors what computing never did - complete control over the delivery platform. So even though people can moblog and SMS and otherwise escape the restrictions, I am still cautious. More: mLearning presentation by Geoff Stead and Lilian Soon in Flash. Via EdNA. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

: Blackboard Update, August 10, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Eric Goldman and John Ottaviani notes, "The academic community is outraged at the lawsuit. Most of the venom has been directed at the perceived breadth of the patent, which many feel is so broad as to cover any course-based on-line learning management system, including those in existence since the early 1980's."

We know that Blackboard probably hustled down to the patent office just as fast as its little feet could take it after reading of e-learning 2.0. They have already indicated (More) a desire to pursue 2.0 methodologies, and if there were any doubt, this article describing their plans should dispell it.

eeLearning opines (in all lower case) that the patent is good for Blackboard shareholders. "it's an easy argument to make that if blackboard didn't grab these patents, a competitor might beat them to the punch and leave their shareholders with a much less valuable company." It also has a poll asking whether the patent is a good thing.

What is Feldstein's spinmeister telling him? "Already there are grumblings among the Blackboard building blocks community that they shouldn't be contributing code and ideas to a company that is just going to turn around and patent them." D'Arcy Norman says, "If Blackboard wants to recoup some karma, they should sign the patent(s) over to an impartial body, ensuring that the patent is used only as a first strike protection to prevent evildoers from obtaining said patent and obliterating an entire marketplace. So... Who's the best candidate to be handed the patent? IMS? IEEE? Creative Commons? UN?" Me?

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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

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