Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration - Open Education For All

Please read and consider signing the Cape Town Open Education Declaration. The quote below describes what has transpired amid the growing open-access, open-source and Web 2.0 movements over the last few years. And, in my opinion and hopefully many others, why the time is now for such a declaration.
The expanding global collection of open educational resources has created fertile ground for this effort. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning. They contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.
You may be asking why this is so important, bottom line is this:
"Most importantly, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through freely available, high-quality, locally relevant educational and learning opportunities."

The declaration lists three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources. I hope educators everywhere will understand the importance and commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Google & Open-Source Science Data

Good news for scientists and all who benefit from science, which of course would be everyone. Google will be providing a very large home for open-source scientific datasets. And free access for everyone!
Take a look at this Wired Science post. And the quote I copied below excites me because I believe it's saying that Google will be creating Gapminder like visualizations of the data. I'm a fan of Gapminder because information is displayed visually in a way that is easily understood. If it's anything like the current Gapminder website, it will be quite valuable. And the fact that it will have YouTube like annotating/commenting features is icing on the cake. Another great educational resource for schools and universities everywhere.
"Building on the company's acquisition of the data visualization technology, Trendalyzer, from the oft-lauded, TED presenting Gapminder team, Google will also be offering algorithms for the examination and probing of the information. The new site will have YouTube-style annotating and commenting features."

Monday, January 21, 2008

My Flickr, Library of Congress, Web 2.0 Video

I just uploaded the short one minute video clip below to YouTube. I'm impressed with this pilot project, as are many others according to the Wired Campus Chronicle post. The Library of Congress' photos on Flickr has been a huge hit, more so than had been anticipated. I expect "The Commons" will continue to develop and will serve as a wonderful resource for educators and general users everywhere.

FYI - All photos used in the video were from the Library of Congress' photos and the tag clouds were created by using the OCLC TagCloud builder and checking the box to cloud a Web page and then inserting the flickr URL for each invidividual photo. I was just experimenting with the technology here. I realize that using only relevant tags would have been better (though more time consuming).

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Flickr, Library of Congress, Web 2.0

Great news from the Library of Congress (LOC) Blog. The article "My Friend Flickr: A Match Made in Photo Heaven" is about a brand-new pilot project between Flickr and the Library of Congress, and people. People everywhere will tag, comment and make notes on the LOC images. This will be a huge benefit to both the community and the collections.

The added value of Web 2.0 and the wisdom of crowds is being more fully understood and it's wonderful to see the implementation of this collaborative project.

Here is the LOC new Flickr page which will include only images for which no copyright restrictions are known to exist.
And that's not all. In addition, The Commons, was also announced:
We’re also very excited that, as part of this pilot, Flickr has created a new publication model for publicly held photographic collections called "The Commons." Flickr hopes—as do we—that the project will eventually capture the imagination and involvement of other public institutions, as well.

I have had great fun tagging the photos, give it a try yourself! What a great resource, kudos to Flickr and the LOC - makes me proud to be a librarian.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The XO Laptop For Needy U.S. Students

I was getting ready to send out a YouTube video plea to Mr. Negroponte and the OLPC to please bring the XO laptop G1G1 program back to the U.S. when I found this Washington Post story. "OLPC America plans to combat digital divide by distributing low-cost laptops to needy students in the U.S." Here is another link on this story from the BBC.
This is great news. I wish them well. There is definitely a need to close the gap in the digital divide in this country as well. I am hopeful that the original intent of the OLPC, to bring education to children in developing nations, will also continue to move forward.
And once again, I have to ask, are there implications here for higher education? Things that come to my mind: 1) Young students with access to these machines will grow up learning in very collaborative ways and this will have an impact on the types of learners they become. 2) They will have a foundational understanding of technology far beyond todays traditional college students and they will be open source program developers as well as users of these programs. 3) Their expectations regarding learning environments will be much different.
I'm sure there is more. I'm still thinking about this. How about you?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

A Librarian Reviews XO Laptop

I just uploaded the video below to YouTube. It is my attempt to provide an overview of this amazing little machine and its cutting edge technology. I wish all the best for the One Laptop Per Child Foundation. Nicholas Negroponte is a true visionary and I applaud his efforts to help provide an education to children in developing nations. I wonder if he and others working with the OLPC realize how much they are educating adults in this nation as we partner with them to help bridge the gap in the digital divide.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Ebook Reader - Not a Kindle, Not a Sony - It's An XO Laptop Reader!

Here are a couple of links for those who would like to see what others are saying about this:
The first one is from O'Reilly radar, by Mike Hendrickson and titled "OLPC and the Kindle." The other post titled "XO Laptop as PDF Ebook Reader: A First Look" compares the XO laptop ebook reader with the Kindle, Sony, and iPhone readers.

Below is my latest YouTube video showing off my very own XO laptop ebook reader. If you aren't familiar with the XO laptop or the One Laptop Per Child Education Project responsible for the XO, then please check my other posts on this topic including the New York Times video review of the XO by David Pogue.

Lastly, I'm an academic librarian and would be interested in any thoughts regarding the XO Laptop and higher education. Most will agree this machine, and others being produced based on the XO, will help provide an education to children in developing nations and thereby help close the gap in the digital divide. As a librarian interested in Web 2.0 technologies, I can easily see the value of the mesh network. I would love to see this technology on college and university campuses; it seems a perfect fit. Any other thoughts?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Google's Knol & Wikia Search

I recently posted here about Google's Knol and how I felt it was not the best idea. A couple of days ago a colleague mentioned he thought it could be a good thing for various reasons. I had considered the reasons he mentioned such as authorship making the posts more credible (though my understanding was that Google would not be verifying the authorship) and that Google competing with Wikipedia could make them both better, etc. I've also been following Wikia Search which just launched today. Check out this New York Times article on Wikia. As my colleague was talking to me about Knol's positive attributes, I mentioned that I just didn't see why Google had to be competing with Wikipedia. And now Jimmy Wales (Wikipedia's co-founder) is going after Google with his own search engine, and I don't like that.
Then I realized something - I love most things Google, and I am a big fan of Wikipedia and Jimmy Wales. I don't like how this competition between the two feels. I would like to see Google and Wikipedia collaborating on an amazing project rather than competing with each other. Oh well, I'm a child of divorce, maybe that's it.