Wow! Esref Armagan, the Blind Painter

I think I am a bit off my usual educational technology rants today … but this story blows my mind. New Scientist reports the story of Esref Armagan, an individual born without sight, who is an extraordinary artist. From the article:

“… if Armagan can represent images in the same way a sighted person can, it raises big questions not only about how our brains construct mental images, but also about the role those images play in seeing. Do we build up mental images using just our eyes or do other senses contribute too? How much can congenitally blind people really understand about space and the layout of objects within it? How much “seeing” does a blind person actually do?”

Also, be sure to check out Armagan’s artwork here. tv video search

Last week, like many others, I wrote about the introduction of Google video search. While it looks promising (I do love the idea of transcripts), one of my readers let me know about I would have to agree that blinkxtv goes well beyond what Google has so far, and it’s functional. My only complaint … well, it covers a lot of the American and British media … but I would love to see some Canadian content. I guess that’s why we have the CBC archives. Not quite the same, but a great resource.

“What Makes Our Teaching Anti-Oppressive”: Presentation by Dr. Kevin K. Kumashiro

I was lucky enough to see Dr. Kumashiro’s presentation regarding anti-oppressive education at the University of Regina. Dr. Kumashiro is the Director of the Center for Anti-Oppressive Education. The following are some of the highlights of the presentation, from my point-of-view. I realize that I never came CLOSE to capturing the thoughts of this presentation … but for those looking at a VERY sketchy and possibly inaccurate representation (with my apologies to Dr. Kumashiro), read on.

After wonderful and thoughtful introductions by my colleagues Dr. Carol Schick and Dr. Meredith Cherland, Kumashiro started his presentation off with his personal background, a personal story and this fascinating quote:
“[A]ll modes of address misfire one way or another. I never ‘am’ the ‘who’ that a pedagogical address thinks I am. But then again, I am never the ‘who’ “that I think I am either. (Ellsworth)
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Open Source Web Design

Many of my students will soon be developing electronic portfolios. For many beginner designers, visual design is often the most difficult hurdles to overcome. So … for those less savvy with visual design, it may be useful to check out the Open Source Web Design page.

“Open Source Web Design is a community of designers and site owners sharing free web design templates as well as web design information. Helping to make the internet a prettier place!”

Ahhhh … more useful stuff for free.

Cyber Stalking, Abusive Cyber Sex and Online Grooming

Those who are interested in the online habits of teens, and in particular, the issue of online safety should take a look at the newly released article, “Cyber Stalking, Abusive Cyber Sex and Online Grooming” from the University of Central Lancashire. While the article covers various aspects of teen online behaviour that could comprise the safety of these youth, blogging activities, and in particular mobile blogging (moblogging, were implicated as being especially problematic. In fact, a recent BBC article focusing on the content of the report went as far as to write, “Online journals and camera phones are a paedophiles’ dream which have increased the risk to children.”

The article is worth a read if this topic is of interest. Find it at:

Google Video Search

A short while back, I blogged a short post on Yahoo! Video Search. Now it seems Google has released Google Video (Beta). Looks like it will be impressive as Google eventually plans to organize the “thousands of programs that play on our TV’s everyday”. However … at this point, it doesn’t seem to actually have any active video.

Anyways, I do look forward to seeing this up and running.

Check it out:

How Knowledge is Negotiated in Wikipedia

I found this very interesting, descriptive and narrated screencast from John Udell. Through it, Udell describes one particular Wikipedia entry (the heavy metal umlaut character) and how it moves from a non-detailed entry, to an exhaustive and well-organized piece of knowledge on this obscure topic. Through Udell’s description, he demonstrates how wiki vandalism was addressed and how typographical issues and knowledge were negotiated.

If you are not quite sure of how a wiki works in practice, this animation is worth your time.

Sony Learns the Errors of Proprietary Technologies

Yahoo! News reports that a high-ranking official with Sony has admitted that the proprietary technologies maintained in the Sony Walkman brands (particular Atrac technology) has led them to lose valuable sales in the MP3 player market. Of course, Apple Computer has been the biggest leader in this area partly due to their players being able to play the MP3 format. (Incidentally, this is one of the reasons I sold my minidisc player and purchased an iPod)

It’s rare to see a company like Sony admit to being ‘overly proprietary’, but I think it’s another huge indicator that the future will be a good balance of proprietary and open technologies … with an emphasis on the latter.

Overview of the Open Source Movement

Dr. Liz Cooper is teaching an educational technology ‘issues’ course at the University of Regina which focuses a fair bit on the digital divide. She’s asked me to put forth some information regarding the open source movement so I have blogged a response on the EC&I 830 course blog. I have also updated a couple of resources that Dan and I put together regarding an overview of open source, and a hotist of open source applications. I hope these are useful to someone out there.

– My blog post – an overview of the open source movement
Understanding open source
Common open source software applications