Friday, November 30, 2007

iTunes U Expands 'Beyond Campus'

iTunes U, the education portal within Apple's iTunes, has expanded its content to include educational materials from sources beyond colleges and universities, including Smithsonian Global Sound, KQED, Little Kids Rock, and the Museum of Modern Art. It is accessible through the iTunes Music Store in the iTunes U section. See this Chronicle, Wired Campus article. I downloaded some of the content - excellent quality, entertaining and educational.

Cell Phone College Class

TOKYO (AP) — Japanese already use cell phones to shop, read novels, exchange e-mail, search for restaurants and take video clips. Now, they can take a university course. Take a look at this articleCell Phone College Class Opens in Japan"Our duty as educators is to respond to the needs of people who want to learn," Sakuji Yoshimura, who heads Cyber University.
It's coming, the USA is behind, but it will happen.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Film Australia Digital Learning

Take a look at Film Australia Digital Learning: "Digital Learning provides links to content-rich websites suitable for national secondary and tertiaryeducators and students." And "The digital resource finder is a free, quick and easy-to-use search engine for teachers and educators."
Watch the one minute clip of Bruce Dawe reading "Little Red Fox."I think finding quality materials and creating guides to resources such as this could become more important for academic librarians as educational content is increasingly made available via the Internet.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My XO Laptop On The Way!

Yesterday I received my confirmation number in writing and today my "Welcome to the OLPC Community" letter arrived.
Most exciting to me as an educator is that I am now a part of a OLPC global community. From the welcome letter:
We also hope to bring together the world's educators and software developers into a volunteer, global community that will provide essential feedback about how to improve the XO, as well as help create dynamic, open-source educational content that will engage and inspire children all over the world.

Facebook & Academic Libraries

Facebook Shuns Some Library Search Tools
A couple of years ago I attended a meeting at a small liberal arts college where we discussed whether students wanted libraries and/or librarians in Facebook, MySpace, etc. As a group we weren't really sure. Personally, I thought probably not.
I'm still researching this topic, but I think I'm changing my mind. I'll post again on this soon. Oh, and since the Chronicle article above was written there have been changes and more library applications are showing up in Facebook (I found a cool JSTOR widgit which I was able to add to my profile).

Book Digitization Projects, Google, Copyright

U. of Michigan Librarian's New Blog Defends Institution's Deal With Google
I wonder how digital book collections will alter academic libraries? How soon before academic libraries are significantly impacted by digital book collections? Once the copyright issues are worked out, I suspect things will change quickly. But in the past copyright issues have been problematic in higher education. I'm not sure how this works, but I suspect that eventually an economic model in which publishers, libraries, and users will all benefit will be worked out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Google's Android and Academic Libraries

A colleague recently took a look at my blog and sent me an e-mail asking this question: "What is the main point about Android, mobility and libraries?" A good question, one I'll continue thinking about, and for now this is my reply:

I believe that eventually (within 1-2 years), if Android develops as I think/hope it will, there will be a shift in how people, and especially students, find, access and use information.

Traditional undergraduate students will use their laptops much less. Students who couldn't afford laptops will be able to purchase a handheld device that will be used in place of a laptop.

Students, who are always mobile, will rely on these devices more as they develop. And with nicely designed portable plugin keyboards, better than ever screen resolutions and/or larger portable screens, even those who want to write their papers on their devices and bypass purchasing a laptop will be able to do so.

Because students will be able to easily access and input information via their social networking sites, it will be important that librarians and libraries have a strong presence there and in other online places where students regularly spend their time.

Chat based services which allow students to "Ask a Librarian" are now available via Facebook and other social networks, and there are many libraries creating profiles in Facebook, MySpace, etc. I recently saw that one university created a JSTOR search widgit which I was able to add to my Facebook profile.

Course management systems will be another area students will be able to easily access via their hand held devices. Again it will be important that libraries embed course specific materials, Web 2.0 products relevant to the student's assignments, and perhaps access to a librarian for help via chat.

So how is this different from what trad. undergrad students are already doing? Well for one thing, and this is based on observations of my 20 year old college student daughter and her friends, I believe they will be accessing this info more often. And they will be more apt to use resources that are always available to them. My daughter lives on her cell phone, mainly texting her friends. She sleeps with it. When she visits she grabs my computer to check her Facebook and MySpace networks. She will not carry her laptop anywhere unless she must. Oh, and she has checked her e-mail once this semester! All her communication takes place via Facebook, MySpace and of course her cell phone via text message. She will take the time, if it's required, to access her course managment system at her home on her laptop.

What will be the ramifications of this shift to increased mobility on academic libraries? For one thing, I believe the library as place could become even more important. Students will need collaborative spaces to work on major projects together and also to socialize face to face. The library of the future should be designed to consider this as well as advanced technologies such as walls of large computer touch screens where students can work together on projects. Jeff Hann's work with multi-touch interfaces is one example. Interactive computer/furniture is another. The tables in this bar/lounge are interactive computers, and there is much more to come in this area.

I will be posting more on my thoughts about this and the academic library of the future. It will be increasingly important for librarians and library administrators to understand what types of changes need to be considered as we work to remain relevant in the academic community.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Visual Data - Gapminder

I learn best with visual data. I first discovered Gapminder a couple of years ago in Google Labs. I love playing with this tool and recently discovered that one can subscribe to Gapcasts and put them on your blog, iPod, etc. I'll embed one below.

While on the reference desk, I have recommended this tool to students working with human development statistics with very positive results. If you know of other good visual tools please post a comment.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Senators Support Open-Access Measure

From the Chronicle's Wired Campus article, October 2007The Senate passed HR 3043. The measure included language requiring all researchers supported by the National Institutes of Health to submit their final manuscripts to a free online archive:
The Director of the National Institutes of Health shall require that all investigators funded by the NIH submit or have submitted for them to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central an electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication to be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication: Provided, that the NIH shall implement the public access policy in a manner consistent with copyright law.
The Open-Access Movement is important to all and I believe it's a movement in which librarians should be major advocates. How might we go about furthering this movement within our institutions? What about open-access of all scholarly research?

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Google Apps for Higher Education

I can not understand why colleges and universities choose anything else over Google Apps. Why?! Many academic institutions are looking for ways to save money, and not only would the savings be significant, but by switching to Google Apps they would be upgrading. And many students, faculty, and staff at academic institutions already use Google Apps, and then when we are forced to use inferior products (Outlook?!), it can be quite frustrating.
I've been told it's because of Google's data mining practices. I wonder how valid that argument is? And shouldn't the fact that Google's security is far beyond what most institutions can provide be worth the data mining? I think if students, faculty and staff were asked which they would prefer, they would choose Google Apps over other products, especially if they were given a 30 day trial and then could decide. What do you think?
Take a look at the 2-min. introductory video tour and then you will want to watch the comprehensive 12-min. presentation on Google Apps.
And below is a 4-min. video by Arizona State Unversity on their experience w/Google Apps:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Or Has Google Blown It With Android?

Google's got it wrong with Android Despite the hype, it's a bad move, says David L Margulis

I like to read both sides. This article makes some good points, but I have a hard time believing that Google didn't think through these issues before releasing Android.

What do you think? Is Android going to revolutionize mobile computing or did Google just make one of its biggest mistakes ever?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Why Google's Android Is So Important And Could Change The Future Of Mobile Computing

If mobile computing interests you (especially the future of mobile computing, which many believe is the future of computing), you should read this informative article just published in Slate Magazine. The title is "Yes, Google Is Trying To Take Over the World. Next step: Take out Ma Bell." written by Tim Wu. The article explains why it's not the mobile OS of Microsoft or Symbian that are the real obstacles to Google's largest plans. Rather as Wu states:
Google's truest and most formidable foes are much older and more powerful. Today we call them Verizon and AT&T, but their real name is the Bell system. Their ideology, which today governs the cell phone world, is called "Vailism," and it can be traced back to 1907 and the origins of AT&T's domination of American telephony. The Bells' philosophy, as promulgated by AT&T's greatest president, Theodore Vail, is based on closed systems, centralized power, and as much control as possible over every part of the network. Vailism is the antithesis, in short, of everything Google stands for. It is this—conquering the business culture of the telephone, as opposed to the computer—that is Google's great challenge.
Towards the end of the article - "Google believes that the ideology of openness must win out, and that the Bell system will collapse under its own contradictions." And the article's last sentence "Provided Google continues to have the nerve and resources, we'll likely remember the Android announcement as the beginning of a long, drawn-out battle for ideological supremacy in the world of wireless."

I do feel just a tad bit nervous about whether Google has taken on more than it can handle with this.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More on Relevance-Academic Libraries/Librarians

Two articles -
This first article is titled The Blended Librarian: A Blueprint for Redefining the Teaching and Learning Role of Academic Librarians
by Stephen J. Bell and John Shank C&RL News, July/August 2004
Vol. 65, No. 7
The second article "A Strategy for Academic Libraries in the First Quarter of the 21st Century" (click pdf link at top) by David W. Lewis, College & Research Libraries 68(5)(September 2007): 418-434.

It's important that academic librarians begin discussing and acting upon what these authors have researched. I'm feeling an urgency about this. I have proposed a meeting to discuss these articles with the library director and librarians at my university. I'll write more about this after the meeting.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Google's Android Demo

Sergey Brin and Steve Horowitz discuss the availability of the SDK (software development kit), that it will be open source in the future, and demo applications on the Android platform.

(The best parts start after the first 3 minutes.)

What are the implications for higher education? What is shown in this demo is just the beginning, wait until the developers get hold of this! (And there should be no lack of developers with $10 million being offered.)

One Laptop Per Child (OLPC)

At exactly 3:00 A.M. PST, my XO laptop was purchased. Here is a picture of it on the production line (I'm pretty sure one of those is mine!). I wanted to be the first one so I started calling at 2:58, but didn't get through my first attempt. Oh well. They are hoping (but not guaranteeing) they will arrive before Christmas).
OLPC Give One Get One
One Laptop Per Child Foundation
How might this change our world? Implications for higher education?

Want to know more? Check out this four min. video review by David Pogue of the New York Times