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Associate Press covers open courseware movement


Posted on 30th December 2007 by Judy Breck in Open Content

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A report titled Internet Opens Elite Colleges to All by Associated Press education writer Justin Pope describes the open courseware movement. This AP story appears in this link to the New York Times and was carried this weekend by numerous other print and online publications. The scope that open courseware has achieved is described in this paragraph from the story:

“MIT’s initiative is the largest, but the trend is spreading. More than 100 universities worldwide, including Johns Hopkins, Tufts and Notre Dame, have joined MIT in a consortium of schools promoting their own open courseware. You no longer need a Princeton ID to hear the prominent guests who speak regularly on campus, just an Internet connection. This month, Yale announced it would make material from seven popular courses available online, with 30 more to follow. . . .”

Justin Pope does an excellent job of highlighting the impact of open courseware on different kinds of learners: college students, teachers, online learners outside of the United States (with crucial implications in developing countries) and self-learners. The facts and implications described in this report demonstrate that what was begun at MIT as an Internet experiment has morphed into a fundamental movement within 21st century education.

The new GoldenSwamp


Posted on 27th December 2007 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning

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WordPress for Dummies
As 2008 arrives, has a new digital design. It was done by Lisa Sabin-Wilson of Lisa is also author of the brand new edition of WordPress for Dummies.

My goal in enlisting a top web designer and WordPress expert is to take advantage of the networking power of WordPress features. Over the next few weeks, the web of ideas here at GoldenSwamp will thicken, so to say, as the ideas about open education content are interconnected in increasing ways. GoldenSwamp will remain true to the theme for which it was created in 2004: blogging about the opening of learning resources causing the gold of knowledge to flow into the swamp that is the Internet.

We are learning more and more about how the networking that occurs in the open digital swamp is emerging and elevating global learning in rich and beautiful ways. That story is the subject of the writing on

Carnival of the Mobilists #103


Posted on 9th December 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

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Welcome all to the Carnival!! is proud to host #103 of the weekly showcase of the best about mobile from the blogosphere. We do the hosting during the closing days of our old WordPress visual theme ‘ and invite you to come back soon to see the NEW sister blogs and But now, you are invited to wander down the midway of mobile that follows.

We begin with a blog feature written by Roland Piquepaille that has been going strong nearly twice as long as our Carnival. It is SmartMobs’ Roland’s Sunday Smart Trends #192. Headlining is the remarkable fact that half of the top selling books in Japan are written on mobile phones.

If you think they are only writing books in Japanese on and for mobiles, drop by Pat B. Doyle where she will tell you the skinny on: Publish an Ebook in Amazon’s Kindle Book Store! Pat did it, and tells you how you can.

These strong examples of minds meeting mobiles give me background for pointing you to my recent post at Golden Swamp: Education by Mouse Clicks.

- Playing with the new Google Maps is described by Bernardo Carvalho at
- Paul Ruppert at Mobile Point of View writes about Mobile Payments: Top 10 Issues between Banks and Mobile Operators.
- Dennis at WAP Review plies his analytical skills in a Mobile Webmail Comparison.
- At Communities Dominate Brands Tomi Ahonen’s post is titled What is Mobile TV? More than TV, beyond just a phone.
- Ajit Jaokar at Open Gardens describes and analyzes Mobile Ajax, Google Gears on mobile and offline browsing.
- In an introductory post on Mobile Messaging 2.0 called What is a Mobile Message? Debi Jones tells us that over the next week MM2 will consider this question and invite readers to join in.

- Jason Devitt on the Skydeck opines that Cell phone plans are too complicated for cell phone companies.
- At wpf blog, Monte Silver explores why people do and don’t adopt mobile applications in a post called You Pull. I’ll Push.
- Why The Mobile Web Had Such A Terrible Start is the title of Martin Sauter’s perceptive essay on Martin’s Mobile Technology Page.

- Mobile Myths is the subject of Morten Hjerde’s post at Sender 11.
- John Puterbaugh at Mobile 2.0 and Emerging Mobile Media Services looks down the road in Reviewing 2007 Mobile Predictions.
- Future of Indian Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS) is explained by Chetan Sharma at Always On Real-Time Access.
- Al stillong with the doubts, myths and predictions, Steve Ives is able to report from Taptu that mobile is huge as he writes the post called Mobile Penetration Hits 50% Globally: The lure of big numbers,
- And Mike at Cell Phone Guru can describe 6 Reasons Why an Apple is the Ultimate Temptation,
- And finally, Andreas Constantinou of Vision Mobile can tell us in Nokia’s Ovi equals S60 squared of strategy beyond mobile and acrossFinally, tall types of connected devices, and mediums.

This week’s Best Post nod goes to Katrina Verclas at MobileActive. All the features and services described in other posts are worth the creative effort when we see mobile functioning as social positive like this post describes: SMS support Network: Connecting People with HIV/AIDS in Mexico.

Next week’s host is C. Enrique Ortiz at About Mobility – The Mobility Weblog. There will then be a two week break for the Holidays before the 2008 Carnival of the Mobilists comes rolling back online in January.

Education by mouse clicks

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Posted on 7th December 2007 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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The Army’s $200 Billion Makeover: March to Modernize Proves Ambitious and Controversial. That is the title of an article today in the Washington Post. Here from the article is a sketch of the scope of the ambitious effort the Army has underway to maximize its effectiveness:

In the Army’s vision, the war of the future is increasingly combat by mouse clicks. It’s as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game. The Army has a name for this vision: Future Combat Systems, or FCS. The project involves creating a family of 14 weapons, drones, robots, sensors and hybrid-electric combat vehicles connected by a wireless network. It has turned into the most ambitious modernization of the Army since World War II and the most expensive Army weapons program ever, military officials say.

Whatever you may think of what the Army is doing, I believe you will agree that the education industry has thus far done nothing similar. The potential for learning by mouse click is held at arms length, and often the wireless, mobile devices students carry for social. safety and entertainment purposes have been forbidden inside schools.

The Army is hardly being avant guard in its move toward interfacing with the connected world. It follows major commerce, entertainment/media industries and other sectors. The education sector will, I believe, inevitably turn its creativity and resources toward making learning “as networked as the Internet, as mobile as a cellphone, as intuitive as a video game.”

I am very hopeful the swing toward connecting education digitally is already happening. The march of established education toward modernization will almost certainly be less expensive than maintaining the analog status quo delivery of learning resources. I cannot imagine how making over learning to interface our times could be controversial.

Toddler tech demand


Posted on 3rd December 2007 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

A parameter-adjusting posting on the Wikinomics blog today is titled Thanks for the doll but I want your mobile phone. It is not the parents who need to read what Wikinomics reports: the parents are getting it from their own toddlers. Everyone who expects to have a role in future education needs to know what this post tells us about the children who are now starting school and even those too young for pre-school. Here is a sample, though I recommend you read it all by clicking the title above:

A mother of one year old twins who purchased toy cell phones had to return them a few days later. “They know what a real cellphone is, and they don’t want a fake one,” she says. Another exasperated mother who refused her 6 year old’s wish to own a real laptop conceded that she might have to give in next year. A parent of a two year old says “We have a toy laptop for him, and he knows it’s a fake.” He prefers to play on the real one. . . .

At this pace of adoption today’s kids will upstage the Net Generation as the true tech experts. . . .

Carnival of the Mobilists #102 from Cairo


Posted on 3rd December 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

cairo louve pyramid carnival mobilists
Coming to you from Cairo, Egypt, this handsome midway webpage with provocative invitations to click on links to the week’s best mobilist blogging is hosted and authored by Tarek Ghazali at

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FreeRice is a glimpse of global open learning

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Posted on 2nd December 2007 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

free rich wall street journal quote
Here are some awesome numbers from the FreeRice project:

On 8 October 830 grains of rice were donated.
On 15 October 6,403,920 grains were donated.
On 31 October rice grains donations totalled 59,167,790.
On 10 November the first million grain donation day happened: 122,377,240.
On 26 November the donations in one day totalled 188,457,808
And the total (as of December 2) from the day the project started, on 8 October, is 5,306,133,170 grains of rice donated to the world’s hungry people.

This rice was all donated by a mechanism completely beyond imagining without the online commons: it’s a website called ‘FreeRice‘, which is a function of the open Internet that gives rice to hungry people, stimulates vocabulary learning practice and is paid for out of advertising budgets, making the rice and the learning essentially free.

My strong interest in the potential of the online commons for learning turns my thoughts to the educational value of FreeRice. There is, of course, the vocabulary practice it is providing for a large number of people. That practice is most certainly useful education. But the education potential sketched here is much, much bigger. I believe that the potential for a global learning activity has been activated as the FreeRice story unfolds. For example, each person who interacts with FreeRice is part of a global-scale learning process that is switched on every time anyone participates in this global learning project. Visionary educators should look at FreeRice and study how it works. FreeRice is multiplying learning using a completely open and spontaneous global venue. That is a beautiful thing – and I believe it is a glimpse of the global golden age of learning that is now dawning. (more…)

Global Text Project – free education for the disadvantaged

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Posted on 28th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Open Content

My blog team colleague Marius Chitosca has posted a piece to day titled: Global Text Project – free education for the disadvantaged. He explains the mechanisms and goals of the project, which is based at the University of Georgia. For those interested in open publishing in education, Marius’ post is well worth reading.

Carnivals of the Mobilists


Posted on 26th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

In recent weeks, as GoldenSwamp has been undergoing development, I have been sporadic in posting the Carnivals of the Mobilists. That will be corrected from now on. All of the Carnivals are here. The latest is Carnival of the Mobilists #101 at Martin’s Mobile Technology Page.

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Mobile phone project considered in New York City schools


Posted on 20th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning

I have done a 180 degree turn concerning education woes: I think the perfect storm already hit education, decades ago. Now lovely lights twinkle on the horizon and golden days of learning lie ahead. This and future Golden Swamp posts will develop this new Golden Learning theme and category.

We begin with an article about The Million program proposed by David Droga last week at Advertising Age’s Idea Conference in New York. This is the crux of the approach, from an Advertising Age article about the Droga proposal:

Mr. Droga — a self-professed “advertising man” — looked beyond his field. “We went back to [the Department of Education] with a technology idea wrapped around advertising.”

The result is The Million program. Referring to the amount of students in the New York City public school system, the program involves giving away free mobile phones packed with learning tools such as a thesaurus, spell checks and an extra-help tip line to each student. The more a student uses these learning applications, the more rewards — discounts for movies, sneakers, clothes and music downloads, as well as air-time minutes and text messages — are unlocked. Additional incentives for achievement and attendance, including congratulatory voice-mail messages from, say, Derek Jeter or a wake-up call from Jay-Z, are also planned.

“What’s cooler than the iPhone is something that has almost as many applications but is free,” Mr. Droga said. In addition, the phone’s exclusive nature — only public-school students will be able to reap the benefits of it — may drive up the “badge factor,” adding to its appeal.

Naturally, there’ll be room for brands to latch onto the cause. The hardware provider, based on the video Mr. Droga showed at the conference, appears to be Motorola, though he wouldn’t confirm it. He also declined to name the service provider that’s been chosen. There’ll also be some room for advertising on the phone. After all, the phones, while provided for free to the students, won’t be completely without cost. As such, marketers will be able to infiltrate the students’ world through “responsible” sponsorships.

The pivotal value for learning that providing these phones to students would achieve is not even mentioned above. Thesauruses, spell checks and tips have important learning value. But the mobiles that the students would possess would also-and this is THE BIG ALSO-open up the Internet to them in their hands.

What only months ago was a negative in mobile learning-that walled gardens would let only elite students benefit-is wonderfully changed by The Million project approach set in the venue of more powerfully broadband mobiles. Learning applications built into handsets can vary, and provide ways for ads to fund them-while the handset itself will open the One Web Internet global knowledge commons to the student in whose hand it is held.

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Carnival of the Mobilists #100


Posted on 20th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

This landmark achievement is hosted by Abhishek Tiwari. Drop by to click into the best mobile blog posts of the week. As mobile muscles flex – taking prominence in more and more venues in coming months – the Carnival of the Mobilists rolls on. It is a great guide to mobile developments and news, written by bloggers who are making the developments and the news.

Berners-Lee this week: One Web to work on phones


Posted on 18th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

technology review illustration

Speaking at the Mobile Internet World conference in Boston, Tim Berners-Lee described the mobile initiative at W3C, which he heads, had announced a new W3C developer tool for testing website/mobile device compatibility. An article from Technology Review reports Sir Tim’s speech:

The overarching goal of the initiative, according to Berners-Lee, is to keep content available regardless of the devices available to a person. “I like being able to choose my hardware separately from choosing my software, and separately from choosing my content,” Berners-Lee said at the conference. There needs to be just one Web, he explained, and it needs to work on phones.

Many websites are far from Berners-Lee’s vision. Some developers don’t have websites that work with mobile devices and don’t make mobile versions of their sites, seeing this as an added technical headache. For developers who do want their websites to be available everywhere, a common practice is to build special versions of sites for mobile devices, with pared-down features and, sometimes, content.

In some parts of the world, the mobile phone is the primary way that people access the Internet, and content should be available to those people as much as it is to people using a desktop computer. The system doesn’t work well for those in wealthier nations, either. Users with devices such as the iPhone want to be able to access sites from their mobile device at the full capability that the iPhone has, says Matt Womer, the W3C’s mobile-Web-initiative lead for North America. Users don’t want to see a pared-down site.

On the other hand, Womer notes that mobile-device users shouldn’t be forced to download large images or be redirected to several different pages, since users pay by the kilobyte.

via Roland Piquepaille at Smart Mobs

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Online learning for attention deficit suggested by new studies


Posted on 13th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

ladder boy grades
A front page article in the New York Times today includes these new findings from “landmark studies”:

“One [study] concluded that kindergartners who are identified as troubled do as well academically as their peers in elementary school. The other found that children with attention deficit disorders suffer primarily from a delay in brain development, not from a deficit or flaw.”

The lockstep grades and standards of the schools we now have are inflexible against the remedies these findings suggest. What the studies are saying is all children are not ready to learn at the same time.

The above image is from a discussion in a book I wrote about How We Will Learn in the 21st Century. Under the system we are used to “looking at the boy and the ruler above” we would expect him to learn “Animal Names” in the second grade. If his brain had not matured by second grade to the point where he could do this learning task, his frustration could vent in bad behavior. Online knowledge resources are not divided into sequences; they are distributed in linked natural networks of meaning. A child bored with “Animal Names” in the second grade can explore into more complex topics. Later maturers can move at any time through the networks to catch-up on what they might have missed when they were younger.

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Cory Doctorow primer on Creative Commons

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Posted on 11th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

An article in Locus Online is a concise explanation of Creative Commons and of the expanding copyright creative paralysis that led to the need for CC. Think of this question: why can’t we remix Mickey Mouse and other aging Disney properties when, as Doctorow writes: “think of how Walt Disney was able to adapt works by Lewis Carroll and Washington Irving without permission or payment” ?

Now developing is a division of Creative Commons called ccLearn whose mission of relevance to the ideas of Golden Swamp is: to minimize barriers to sharing and reuse of educational materials, legal barriers, technical barriers, and social barriers.

Assembling knowledge and ideas


Posted on 11th November 2007 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression

model notre dame cathedral
The two images of the Cathedral of Notre Dame above are from a University of Washington project where the model at the left has been created from hundreds of open vacation photos on flickr.

The image on left is also a more general model for the way knowledge and ideas emerge from the Internet. A student attempting to learn about, for example the Cathedral of Notre Dame, is no longer limited to a pre-cast summary in a textbook or printed encyclopedia. The student can assemble facts, opinions and stories about the famed cathedral until the model she ends up recreating and learning is far more accurate, detailed and current than her pre-Internet sources would have been.

Via Roland Piquepaille and SmartMobs