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Erupting science: Alaska’s Augustine

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Posted on 31st January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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Augustine Alaska volcano
The webpage here on the Alaska Volcano Observatory website virtually erupts and flows with knowledge about recent and ongoing activity of the Augustine volcano. For example, as I post this the most recent hourly report says:

2006-01-31 04:31:29 Eruption is in progress. Short periods of increased seismicity, likely associated with explosions and pyroclastic flows, are occurring intermittently. Satellite and NWS Radar data confirm that a continuous ash plume is still being produced. Please reference the link to the NWS for more information on current ash trajectories, advisories, and SIGMETS.

Take a look at this page and wonder why on earth do we spend billions on “educational resources” when this sort of fabulous learning content is open and free?

Teaching information literacy skills or censoring kids?

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Posted on 30th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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In all our efforts to keep the Internet open, have we forgotten our children? Do educators and librarians have the authority to judge what is appropriate for our kids to study online? The article here in the current eSchool News blythly assumes Wikipedia must stand the judgment of the education establishment before it is accepted as a learning resource for students. Hey, what about the judgment of the individuals participating as editors in creating Wikipedia articles?

Repeatedly, the bottom line the article comes down to is that education must teach students “information literacy.” Though “information literacy” is not defined here, several quotes about what the kids are supposed to do about checking their sources does not sound different than what I learned about checking printed sources when I was in high school fifty years ago. As to educators teaching kids how to use digital information, I think in the real world the need is pretty much the reverse of that because the educators have taken a lot longer than students to figure out the Internet.

What scares me is there is not the least hesitation in the article to assume educators must approve what students study. That notion does not teach information literacy — it empowers censorship. We need to be careful here.

James River Plantation

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Posted on 30th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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James River Plantation
The National Park Service online exhibit here blends history, culture, and visitor information for the early history of the British colony of Virginia. At no cost of education industry dollars, interesting and authoritative materials beckon learners young and old into the lovely land of Pocahontas that evolved into the most aristocratic of the colonies. History. Via Scout Report

The science of digital education

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Posted on 29th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

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The Public Library of Science journal Computational Biology has just announced a new column on “education.” In doing so, the journal’s editors have truly turned a corner into the future. For years now, educators have striven mightily to shoehorn pre-digital pedagogy into the radically new venue of virtual information. The biologists here are looking at new evolution of methods, open source, techniques, algorithms and more — for education. Here’s some flavor:

Tutorials and reviews are only the beginning. Over time, we will explore ways to present educational information in this digital age that can take advantage of technological innovation. In addition to text-based information, we are considering multimedia presentations and other media to enhance the written word. On this front, in particular, we welcome any comments and suggestions from the community.

Marine Biology Mission

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Posted on 28th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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marine biology
The merging here of information about marine biology is a nonprofit volunteer project by marine biologists, students, professors, and conservation advocates working to share the wonders of the ocean realm online to inspire education, research, and a sea ethic. The website is a rich virtual undersea ecology of knowledge. Ecology

Mexican wolves – ghosts of the southwest

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Posted on 23rd January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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mexican wolf
The pages here are an online exhibit from Field Trip Earth providing facts and images for North America’s most endangered wolf species. Other field trips are showcased for sea turtles, elephants, and red wolves in this project of the North Carolina Zoological Society. Animal Sciences

Territorial Kansas Online

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Posted on 22nd January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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kansas territory
ThisVirtual Repository for Territorial Kansas History provides multiple entries to massive materials. Kansas was a US territory from 1854-1861, and then became a state. There are various virtual routes into the collection which is hosted by the Kansas State Historical Society. The entry page here is an interactive county map. A senior historian, a sixth-grader doing homework, or anyone else can click on a county to see, read, and learn from handsomely displayed virtual objects that once were part of the goings-on in that county of the territory. History

San Francisco Earthquake and Fire 1906

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Posted on 21st January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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San Francisco Earthquake Fire 1096
The Bancroft Library of the University of California at Berkeley created the online exhibit here that superbly harnesses digital media to interface history. The photograph above is a piece from a panorama on the entry page of the exhibit. The utter devastation depicted and San Franciso’s rebirth as a premire world city should give heart to New Orleaneans and others in the United States Gulf South. History, via Scout Report

Carnival of the Mobilists

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Posted on 20th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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Carnival of the Mobilists
Welcome to the GoldenSwamp, which is proud to host the first Carnival of the Mobilists for 2006 — themed this week toward the mobile future. GoldenSwamp.com is my blog for posting terrific knowledge available as open content for learning on the Internet. This golden knowledge is the future of learning. In the masthead the Idea Frog will tell you the basics, tadpole tabs lead to more ideas, and if you put your cursor over the little boy he will start learning from his mobile phone. My new book about all of this is featured in the sidebar. My entry for the Carnival describes The Interactive Fly (don’t miss the gastrulation slides). On to the stellar entries below, and again welcome! Judy Breck, Swampkeeper

Before we dive in, click here for an invitation to a 3GSM Gathering of the Mobilists on February 14 at the Hotel Palace (the old Ritz) in central Barcelona. Host Rudy De Waele writes “hope to meet you and the other mobilists” there. (Hey – somebody blog the party for those of us who have to stay home!)

We begin this first Carnival of the New Year with the Digital Evangelist’s Six Wishes for Wireless in 2006. Evangelist Ian Wood explains that he gave up on an effort to recount 2005 disappointments, took a leaf out of his daughter’s books and wrote a wish list. I found myself in hearty agreement with each of his wishes, and liked number 6 the best: tiny pies are hardly satisfying at all.

In the same vein of looking ahead into the future, the Vanilla Gorilla is very provocative in this entry about what might become the killer app for mobile? He gets you thinking about what is really valuable in operating in the digital arena now. But then Primate asks, what will be invaluable tomorrow? The Gorilla posts some ideas. My bet is we don’t even have a name for the mobile killer app yet.

Troy Norcross grabs the predictive spirit of the New Year to express his optimism that Mobil CRM will triumph. Troy is persuasive in what he writes and his thinking is very not 20th century. This entry is an affirming read if you, like me, believe 2006 can be the year we cascade into 21st century thinking for digital content. After reading this post I was sure it can happen and that mobile will lead the change.

Next, C. Enrique Ortiz’ Mobility Weblog casts an experienced eye on some mobile metrics, looking for what sorts of future trends they may reveal. Enrique thinks convergence will be vertical and involve essentially four areas. This fact-filled post gives some hard numbers for US mobile subscriber use. Can you guess the top 3 uses at 32.0%, 10.2% and 9.1? Enrique shows they confirm the device is being used primarily for personal communication.

This week on his SmartMobs.com blog — that has for years described the edge of the next social revolution — Howard Rheingold posts news of proposals for using mobile devices for epidemic alerts. With a flock of public health and safety worries, including bird flu, fluttering in the future, the subject of Howard’s post promises global health benefits from harnessing mobile messaging, location awareness and other features.

Continuing in the health venue, a textually.org entry from Emily Turrettini highlights a blog called Disabled Hands that addresses people suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome, RSI, arthritis, injury or any other cause that has left their hands weakened and less functional. Like Emily, I was struck by the post that explains why, perhaps “counter intuitively,” fully featured mobile phones are recommended. The post explains why and offers tips for a more easily connected future for mobilists with disabled hands.

My passion at GoldenSwamp is virtual learning, and I realized after a few minutes of visiting this Open Gardens Carnival entry that I was learning a very great deal. Open this first in a series of three articles and you are quickly learning of a whole new virtual world: Mobile web 2.0: Web 2.0 and its impact on the mobility and digital convergence. Your guide is Ajit Jaokar, whose many qualifications include leading the Oxford University next generation mobile applications panel.

2006 is already seeing rollouts, and we can thank our lucky eyes that the Wap Review is scanning their eagle eyes through the multiplying mobile web based email services and features. In this week’s Carnival entry, Windows Live Search Mobile Beta is reviewed, illustrated and explained in lucid detail. I not only learned a lot about the beta, but my own judgment on several of these services was very helpfully informed.

In Coming to a Pocket Near You; Advertising to Mobiles Threatens to Annoy Billions, Olive Starr at MobHappy explores with some passion (which I think we all share) an issue that he says will be “white hot” in 2006. Oliver proposes a “smack-down” by consumers, which means you and me along with everybody who uses a mobile phone. The post describes a looming problem and suggests some answers. I was glad I read it as useful background for the 2006 life of mobilist.
This post reflected some good news that kick-off 2006: Oliver Starr joined MobHappy from the Mobile Weblog. On behalf of the MobHappy team: WELCOME OLIVER!

As editor this week I am allowed to select a favorite post. My choice is the one from OpenGardens. What a privilege it is to be able to learn from someone able to extend the principles of basic ideas virtually before our eyes. Keep it up Ajit! You are adding golden knowledge to the Internet swamp, enriching the global learning commons. I know a college geek in Cincinnati, Ohio who has already dipped into your Web2 post described above.

Next week, the Carnival will be hosted by Blethers.com. The Carnival invites new writers about mobile as well as old friends to participate – you don’t need a special invite. Send your entry no later than next Wednesday, January 25 to: mobilists@gmail.com. And, if you have any feedback about any of the posts, the idea behind the Carnival, or its format or style, please leave a comment as we’d love to hear from you.

Happy New Year! Happy Mobiling!

The Interactive Fly

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Posted on 19th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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drosophila inheritance genes
The website here is a cyberspace guide to Drosophila development and metazoan evolution. Drosophila is a genus of a small, two-winged fly that is a favorite of researchers of the mechanisms of inheritance. Called The Interactive Fly, this website is a top-flight model of how a subject can be centered on one virtual page while linked to massive, detailed and interlinked information. It is a virtual swarm of fly knowledge. Don’t miss the slideshow in the left column called All I Really Needed to Know I Learned During Gastrulation. Animal sciences.

MEdia generation brought into focus

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Posted on 19th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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The Edutopia article here by Josh McHugh is full of important information and insight. I don’t think it is possible to teach children in school today without understanding what this article describes. Writes McHugh:

Teachers in every strata of education are increasingly dealing with a student population that is not only more wired than they are but also grew up in a techno-drenched atmosphere that has trained them to absorb and process information in fundamentally different ways. This generation of students is more likely to be armed with cell phones, laptops, and iPods than with spiral notebooks and #2 pencils.

My expectation is that very soon the education industry is going to be past the point of no return on remaining relevant, while the MEdia generation learns on its own terms. I am not at all sure that is a bad thing.

Why should a student attend a lecture?

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Posted on 19th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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The LA Times article here reports the absenteeism from class that happens when lecture notes are published online. Yet, we read here that Harvard Medical School is making podcasts available for download so students can listen to the material independently. It seems to me that an interesting and informative lecture will motivate students to attend in person PLUS reviewing online notes and/or listening to it more than once in a podcast. Americ Azevedo, who teaches at UC Berkeley, looks ahead as the article says here:

But teaching experts say Internet-era instructors have to change tactics to combat in-class boredom and absenteeism. Azevedo said he is working to enliven his lectures with material and interaction that students can’t get on the audio or video “coursecasts”; he wants to move to a Socratic teaching method and foster more discussion, while using technology to relay more of the basic information.

“There are a lot of pluses here,” he said. “We just haven’t adapted to it yet.”

via Edutopia

Stardust Mission

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Posted on 18th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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comet trail
The official website here of NASA’s recently returned comet probe is a stellar example of how learning opportunities abound beyond the boring regimentation of many school classrooms. The Stardust Mission can be reconstructed, analyzed, and even assisted in these webpages. The project is recruiting volunteers to scan for interstellar dust — and provides classroom materials as well. Astronomy

The Emanciption Proclamation

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Posted on 16th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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Emancipation Proclamation
President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. The original is preserved at the National Archives & Records Administration and can be studied and read at the NARA online exhibit here —announcing,

That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

Government

Bronx library on steriods

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Posted on 16th January 2006 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous

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This morning the New York Times has an article here about the new Bronx Library Center. The new library replaces the Fordham Library Center, reports the Times, that “was the borough’s former flagship, beloved through the generations from its opening in 1923 to its closing on Nov. 27. . . The building may now be wireless and digitally zippered. But immigrants will be knocking at the door, just as they have for eight decades.” In the 1920s the foreign-born patrons were primarily from Russia, Italy, Austria, Germany, Ireland and Hungary. Now they are primarily from the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Mexico, Ecuador, Guyana and Honuras.

The new facility will have 127 desktop computers with Internet access and 30 laptops that patrons can check out to use wireless anywhere in the five floors of the building. The difference for these new immigrants to the Bronx is that the steroids of wireless makes the library virtually the whole world.