OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 12, 2011

gRSShopper 0.2.1
Stephen Downes, Website, April 12, 2011.

files/images/grsshopper_logo.jpg, size: 12135 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Only four months behind target, I've uploaded version 0.2 of the gRSShopper code. I'm messing around with the demo site trying to clean it up as well. Note that the documentation on the gRSShopper site is out of date (but still sort of accurate). The code is significantly improved, eliminates the module dependencies that made it impossible to use, and has a speedy-fast harvester.

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Over 150 Free Fonts to Use in Your E-Learning Courses
Tom Kuhlmann, The Rapid e-Learning Blog, April 12, 2011.

I've always loved fonts but I've hesitated to use web fonts because my content goes out over email and RSS, into smart phones and even into klip files (where it gets about 20 views a week). But using them is very simple - see this preview page from Google (and note the nifty web-keyboard in the lower right corner). You simply link to the font file and then use it in the CSS.

Here is a sample.

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Can you blame iPhone for this? Cisco is closing Flip Video camera business
Joe Wilcox, betanews, April 12, 2011.

files/images/6375.png, size: 74250 bytes, type:  image/png Cisco is killing the Flip Camera. In its day (ie., last year) it was the greatest advance even in digital video - a video camera that uploaded to your computer without a complicated video import process. "Flip had 22.5 percent portable video market share in 2010, as measured in units, down from 23.9 percent a year earlier." And the cameras were incredibly cheap compared to their digital video predecessors. It's actually a bit hard to believe Cisco is shutting down the line. "Still, why should Cisco just give up? Why not sell as Baker suggested? Or, better -- take the Flip technology mobile, starting with a Flip video conference solution for smartphones and future stand-alone video cameras." Cisco, I guess, prefers its big government contracts instead of producing quality produces at affordable prices for consumer markets. Kodak, meanwhile, produces a fine videocamera that will make an admirable replacement for my Flip. See also Tom Hoffman, who notes the irony of the whole "run schools like a business" mantra after watching Cisco blow through $590 million with nothing to show for it. "School districts wouldn't compete with charters, they'd buy them and run them into the ground."

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files/images/worldreader-classroom.jpg, size: 81105 bytes, type:  image/jpeg
eReaders will transform the developing world – in and outside the classroom
Education Technology Debate, David Risher, April 12, 2011.

David Risher writes, "If Worldreader's experience so far is any guide, e-readers are set to transform the developing world, both in – and outside the classroom. But this change won't be driven by e-readers by themselves – it will be driven by human curiosity, ever-increasing connectivity, enlightened self-interest, and a gentle push from organizations like ours." The devices the children in the photo above are not OLPCs, they're Kindles. A few years from now they could be anything; they'll be cheap, and they'll be everywhere, and they'll signal the end to the printed book. "Worldreader is currently working with 500 teachers and students across three grade levels in Ghana to measure the impact of e-readers, and the effects have been pretty dramatic. We've loaded e-readers with about 80 books each – a combination of local textbooks and storybooks we have digitized along with international books donated by Random House, including the entire Magic Tree House series. That's 40,000 books already delivered – nearly impossible to contemplate without the use of e-readers." 80 books is nothing - we should be thinking 800 books, 8,000 books even, at a cost of $100 or so - a scale of distribution unimaginable in the paper era.

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Open Educator Manifesto
David Truss, Connected Principals, April 12, 2011.

files/images/Open-Educator-Manifesto-300x124.jpg, size: 16777 bytes, type:  image/jpeg David Truss authors and expands upon a worthwhile education manifesto. "Teaching is my professional practice," he writes. "I Share by default. I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social." Nice. My own manifesto, of course, has been on my home page for several years now.

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Taking a Closer Look at Open Peer Review
Jennifer Howard, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 12, 2011.

I think that if peer review were open, rather than constituted by smallish groups of people working in secret, we'd see very different papers published, from very different authors. To this end, "The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has given New York University Press and MediaCommons a $50,000 grant to take a closer look at open, or peer-to-peer (P2P), review." The money will be used to author a while paper that will take a close, critical look at the idea.

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Peter Thiel: We're in a Bubble and It's Not the Internet. It's Higher Education.
Sarah Lacy, TechCrunch, April 12, 2011.

The mythology is this: if you work hard and get into a good school, you'll be set for life. This myth supposes that it is the education that sets us up for life. But maybe what people are paying for isn't the education at all. "If Harvard were really the best education, if it makes that much of a difference, why not franchise it so more people can attend? Why not create 100 Harvard affiliates?" But in fact Harvard won't franchise, because Harvard isn't about access. "It's something about the scarcity and the status. In education your value depends on other people failing. Whenever Darwinism is invoked it's usually a justification for doing something mean. It's a way to ignore that people are falling through the cracks, because you pretend that if they could just go to Harvard, they'd be fine. Maybe that's not true." It's not true. Yes, education is valuable; I'd recommend it for everyone. But no, education doesn't guarantee financial security; you need political policies promoting social equity to do that. So instead of paying all this money paying for access to the rich-people's social club, why don't we open access to all, and see about minding that gap between rich and poor. See also dkernohan.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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