How to Fold A Shirt?

I’ve taken classes, tried the audio tapes, explored peer mentoring approaches, yet to this day, I haven’t been able to master the are of shirt folding. Until now …

Perhaps all I needed was clever instruction such as this to appeal to my visual mode of intelligence. Actually … no … I still can’t figure this out although this ‘new technique’ certainly seems to bear promise.

Cornell Library To Distribute Open Source E-Publishing System

Cornell University Library has just announced the distribution of an open source publication management system. The software was developed to facilitate a cost-effective approach for publishing scholarly research by libraries, colleges and universities.

“This flexible online publishing tool will aid institutions of higher education and research in managing and disseminating the intellectual efforts of scholars and researchers. The DPubS beta version will be available in 2005, with final release scheduled for 2006. An initial meeting to elicit development recommendations from interested libraries and publishers is scheduled for late October at Cornell.”

See the full news release here.

More Open Source Resources …

I recently came across a couple of great documents with links to many good Open Source-related resources.

First, check out Free Open Source Software for E-Learning. This is a comprehensive list of useful links from the International Institute of Educational Planning (IIEP). Lots of good stuff here.

I’ve also discovered a great resource titled “Liberation Technology for the Lands of Diversity? Free Software in Asia“. This is an incredible resource which covers the diffusion of free and open source software on the Asian continent. Additionally, it handles some excellent background information for anyone interested in this emerging area. Definitely a must read!

Learning to Write with Classroom Blogs

Although I no longer teach in the K12 system, the idea of using blogs in the classroom has been a great interest to me and I am hoping that I can pass this idea to the preservice teachers in my classes. On this note, I found a good article from the Internal Herald Tribune re: blogs as a classroom tool.

As i read through the article, I become aware of certain pedagogical/technological principles which blogs seem to provide. These principles follow along with the supported passages from the article.

“It allowed them to interact with their peers more quickly than a journal”

“… blogs are attractive because they require little effort to maintain, unlike more elaborate classroom Web sites, which were once heralded as a boon for teaching.”

“The work that is required to refresh and maintain an interesting blog is being provided by students.”

Extend Learning:
“One way teachers use blogs is to prolong spirited discussions that have been cut short, or question-and-answer periods with guest speakers.”

Immediate Feedback and Digital Accessibility:
“I used to have this stack of hard-copy journals on my desk waiting to be read …. Now I can react to what they say immediately, and students can respond to each other.”

While I knew most of these attributes (re: blogging) existed before, it’s interesting to see how clearly they are perceived in this particular instance.

The Shaping of Human Thought

I came across a very interesting article on the Pirahã tribe of Brazil, a group of people whose language does not define numbers above two. The study of this tribe has been significant for linguistic determinists who believe that language determines the way humans think and perceive the world.

I got to thinking about our use of metaphor, especially in thinking about social networks. Additionally, I am intrigued at how we use our knowledge of the natural world to describe our own reality, or use it to improve our tools. For instance, I love this description of Mute, an anonymous file sharing utility that has been developed through principles underlying the collective intelligence of ants.

However, in thinking of the Pirahã, I wonder how our own language and our use of metaphors limit our own thinking. When we use metaphor, we pay attention to certain aspects of reality … but I think what is important is what we fail to pay attention to, or come to ignore. So, I looked for something that would help to describe what I was thinking … and this was as close as I could get …

“Gathered together as a community huddled under one particular umbrella we grow into believing our assumptions so strongly that we don’t even notice their existence. We grow into believing our exemplars and metaphors are reality, not just representations or models of reality.”

I’m not exactly sure where I am going with this … and that’s OK. I guess, in our hypertext, email-focused, (X)HTML and RSS world, I wonder if McLuhan was meaning something similar when he said “we shape our tools, and thereafter our tools shape us“, or is there something else I am missing here.

Refresh the Educational Technology Conference Calendar Feed

A few people were wondering why they weren’t receiving the updates (recently added events) through their subscription to the Educational Technology Conference Calendar. If you’re not getting updated events, this is likely because your imported calendar feed (into iCal, or Mozilla Calendar) hasn’t been set to refresh automatically. Feeds in iCal, for instance, can be set to update at at specified interval (e.g., hourly, daily). Once you set the refresh rate, you should be able to see any new conferences added to the calendar.

FOSS Primer

Brian Campbell sent me this useful primer which covers the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in educational institutions.

“This primer covers the use of FOSS from schools to universities. It provides a brief overview of how it can help in setting up the IT infrastructure and administration of educational institutions and considers software (mainly proprietary) which is now used as the basis for IT curricula and alternative FOSS which is available.”

For those new to FOSS, this is an excellent starting point as it gives a great overview of the reasons for and methods of using FOSS effectively within various institutions.

The FOSS Primer can be found at: “Compilation of Human Knowledge Experience”

I often browse the ‘Hot Spurls‘ and discover terrific websites that I hadn’t noticed earlier. This time I found

“Answerbag is a compilation of human knowledge and experience. It is a universal, user-generated set of frequently-asked questions (FAQs). It is built and policed by its users, a worldwide information community that is working together to make Answerbag an authoritative collection of questions and answers on any topic relevant today. Answerbag follows the Open Content model.”

Answerbag is similar to Wikipedia in that the content is generated and edited by its users. However, Answerbag is focused mostly on building everyday knowledge and frequently asked questions on various topics (home remedies, skin care, sports, weight loss, mortgages, etc.). If you want to learn anything from the type of wood used in popsicles sticks, to the difference between dvd -r and dvd +r formats, to what heaven may look like, Answerbag may be what you are looking for.

Educational Technology Conferences Calendar

Thanks to Dan, we’ve set up an editable, RSS-enabled (subscribable) list of current educational technology conferences.

One can easily subscribe to the calendar via an RSS aggregator (e.g., Feedreader, NetNewsWire Lite, Bloglines) or for added utility, try subscribing through applications such as Apple’s iCal or Mozilla Calendar. Really neat.

I will attempt to keep the list up-to-date as possible, but if this is really going to work, I would love to see individuals who know of upcoming educational technology related conferences to add them to the calendar. I’ll leave it wide-open for now, and hopefully the spammers don’t get to it.

Check out the Educational Technology Conferences Calendar here:

To subscribe or to add a new event (conference), follow the links on the calendar page.