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This professor has grabbed the future

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Posted on 29th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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This report, being carried at BBC News this weekend, provides a model that begs for broad acceptance:

A lecturer at a West Yorkshire university has abolished traditional lectures in favour of podcasts.

Dr Bill Ashraf, a senior lecturer in microbiology at Bradford University, says the move will free up time for more small group teaching.

He told The Times Higher Education Supplement that first year biochemistry students would watch or listen to virtual lectures in their own time.

Students will access the podcasts via their MP3 player, phone or computer.

Text questions

Students will ask questions about lectures via text message, which will be answered in Dr Ashraf’s blog.

The lecturer has also been putting his appointment times online so students can check if he is available or book a meeting without coming into the university.

Dr Ashraf said the move would better suit the needs of distance learners, part-time students and those balancing studies with family and work.

He said: “Some lecture classes have 250 students, so I question the effectiveness of a didactic lecture for an hour.”

thanks to Jim at SmartMobs

Military Intel: The Inside Story

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

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intel word
The stories here are part of the Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress. These new stories, which are personal accounts by veterans of all American wars, were posted by the LOC in honor of Memorial Day 2006. History

Carnival of the Mobilists at Open Gardens

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Posted on 26th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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This week the carnival is hosted by Ajit Jaokar at Open Gardens. The Carnival is the greatest mobile show in the blogosphere and a window on our global future. Don’t miss the wisdom and news there from the top mobilist originators and bloggers.

Getting global warming real science

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Posted on 26th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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global warming eclipse study
The matter of global warming is heating up big time among the politicians. To assess the validity of facts in the warming hyperbole, scientists have potent new ways to do real global science. Young scientists, can observe and even participate by connecting online to projects like this one at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory unless they are blocked at school. One way to be sure kids are getting the right information about global warning is to see to it that the kids can run videos like this one on their phones. That is going to take some waking up among older generations, and their leaders like the Mayor of New York City who forbids mobile devices at school.

The mobiles are the tools of the new generations, and global warming is most important to them.

Dioramas remember natural history

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

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wolf diorama
In a wonderful leap of imagination and artistry, the American Museum of Natural History has showcased its gorgeous ecological dioramas online here. The work of some of the greatest artists of nature from bygone centuries is now viewable online for new generations. Some of the ecology captured long ago in the museum’s dioramas no longer exists in nature! Ecology

Carnival of the Mobilists 28

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Posted on 19th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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carnival dancer
This week’s Carnival is hosted here by Digital Evangelist. Like the above image from the Carnival, the ideas and writing along this week’s midway are vibrant and interesting.

Cheating to keep connectivity out of classrooms

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Posted on 18th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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OK: cheating at school is on the newspaper front page again here. The main point of the article is the claim that laptops, iPods, mobile phones and the like make cheating easier than it once was something we are supposed to accept as gospel. Having set out that (unproven) theory, it is easy to imply students should be denied the devices at school. The impact of an article like this and of thousands that have been published since the devices that connect to education beyond schools showed up in classrooms is to hit a lick against the devices.

We should be very careful about blindly accepting yet another blow against the role of the mobile computers the new generations own in education. The devices are certain to be integral to their careers for which they are preparing. Cheating has its built-in punishment of stunting the distance its practioners eventually go in their careers. What sort of wholesale stunting may we be imposing on students now in school by the interminable attacks on their 21st century information tools?

Queen Hatshepsut on the phone

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Posted on 17th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Open Content

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Queen Hatshepsut
A major GoldenSwamp theme is that there is a huge opportunity for global learning in putting open education content on mobile phones. An example of how that could be done is offered by Queen Hatshepsut in her exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On the museum page here for the exhibit, the Metropolitan offers both an xml subscription to a podcast and the download of an MP3 audio file. The audio is terrific learning material: a description of what the curators say is the most important female pharaoh of ancient Egypt plus the story of how archeaology found out about her life. For phones that can play MP3, this open content is already able to go through the Internet to individual learners. Why not set up an easy way for museums to also offer images of their artifacts to play on mobiles along with the audio?

BTW, if you listen to the audio about Hatshepsut you will discover that she was a woman of imagination and action! Clearly she would have demanded to be downloaded if she had had a chance.

Building an organ

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

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pipe organ construction
The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia is home to the new and largest concert hall organ in the United States. The construction information here is a place to learn a lot about the grand musical instrument. Links to related topics form a rich chord of online knowledge about musical arts and performance. Arts

Training tiptoed past education

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Posted on 15th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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windows and doors tutorial
While established education has resisted and debated engaging online knowledge and lessons, the commercial training industry has quietly moved in great part into the virtual environment. For example, the construction industry offers dozens of excellent free courses here. While Dads and Moms who are door/windows installation company managers or workers can learn their stuff online, their kids spend most schooldays trying to understand stuff found in the same paper and chalk media their parents and grandparents used. Dad and Mom can get certified online; the kids get report cards.

As GoldenSwamp.com features daily, there are bountiful free, open websites for school subjects. The difference is that K-12 in general views online resources as suplementary, if they expect students to engage them at all. For more and more of the training industry, the online material is primary.

Chernobyl knowledge web

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Posted on 14th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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Chernobyl coverage
The webpage here is a node in a rich and wide web of information about the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986. The page is part of an information packed website called Chernobyl Info, and also links out to a wide variety of other web sources. It is a fine example of how the Internet connects ideas to form dynamic concepts. The illustration is from a link listed on Chernobyl Info to Georgia State University’s HyperPhysics project.
Nuclear energy, Via Scout Report

Using the Internet to teach

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Posted on 12th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

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Jesus Decoded
This title and image are from the tutorial here that was created to refute the historical accuracy of information about Jesus and the Christian Church in the movie “The Da Vinci Code.” This digital tutorial was prepared by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It uses digital expressive tools and techniques to teach facts and ideas.

The bishops understand the efficacy and effectiveness in 2006 of conveying their lessons through the latest techniques of our times. When I saw this I could only wish our students who are stuck with textbooks from century-old technology could learn their school subjects from material as compelling as Jesus Decoded.

Carnival of the Mobilists 27

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Posted on 12th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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GoldenSwamp is honored with “Best Post of the Week” in Carnival 27 here. 3G Portal’s Steve Jones is the host who highlights a showcase of terrific blogging about things mobile.

Shadow puppets: Playing with Shadows

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Posted on 11th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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puppet theater
Created by ARTSEDGE at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the lovely and informative website here introduces the performing art of shadow puppetry. This exhibit is a delightful and rich concoction of puppetry, history, theater, animation, and more! via Scout Report, Arts

Biologically inspired artificial compound eye

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Posted on 9th May 2006 by Judy Breck in Networks

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artificial insect eye
Today’s New York Times Science Times has a handsome graphic illustrating a project from the University of California at Berkeley where insect eyes have been copied to form an artifical compound eye. The graphic shows how, in two major ways, the New York Times perpetuates old media methods that sadly miss the connective powers of the Internet.

1) The beautiful graphic is only free for a few days, then it goes into the for-pay archives of the Times. Maybe the Times needs the income, but the fundamental problem here is that that the graphic that is locked away cannot be linked to other free content about insect and artificial eyes. The graphic is pulled out of the Golden Swamp of knowledge.
2) The graphic does not link out to its source or related webpage of any kind. With a little digging, I found the page at Berkeley of the scientist in charge of the artificial eye featured in the graphic. He is Luke P. Lee, Lloyd Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering and Director of the Biomolecular Nanotechnology Center. His webpage about the eye project is here, and it links to many related projects and sources.

Professor Lee’s description of the artificial eye is a node in the broad network of active science of artificial vision. The Times graphic is an isolated picture in an old-time print medium that happens to have a website.