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Carnival of the Mobilists 92 and Handheld Learning

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Posted on 24th September 2007 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

My pick of the posts on this week’s Carnival of the Mobilists 92 is Mark van ‘t Hooft’s discussion of topics for the upcoming Handheld Learning 2007 conference. Golden Swamp will hereinafter recommend pertinent posts for mobile learning from future Carnivals of the Mobilists.

The New York Times opens its knowledge treasures

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Posted on 21st September 2007 by Judy Breck in Open Content

new york times rembrandt guide

This week the New York Times dropped the walls around its gardens of knowledge, making current materials and most of those in its archives open and free to Internet visitors. An example of what this means is that the excellent interactive, narrated A Guide to “The Age of Rembrandt” that went online today will stay open. Until the new policy went into effect this week, marvelous knowledge assets like this Guide would be online for a few days — and then disappear into a paid archive.

Although the payment was a nuisance for scholars, the pay wall was much more hurtful in a different way. Because the wall was there, it was not possible for websites to link to the Guide. Students, teachers, painters — those who wanted to include the Guide as part of a report, lesson or study could not. Now they can.

Kudos to the Times! Wonderful!

Added October 15, 2007: The Metropolitan Museum of Art podcast page offers a narration of the exhibit by Walter Liedtke, Curator of European Paintings at the museum.

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Where learning is going: online and on mobile

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Posted on 12th September 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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learning online and on mobile

Doodling with some ideas ahead of a conference call this morning, I ended up with the above chart. If what the chart says is essentially true, great change for education will happen soon. One of the most interesting new drivers — which may be the tipping point that cascades mobile learning — is the burgeoning adoption of mobiles in education for safety. The irony is astounding because safety was once a major fright (that kids would see porn and be found by pedophiles). It is now understood that small children can keep in touch with guardians using the mobiles and that campus alerts for older students are most effective through the mobiles they carry. Will reading, writing, arithmetic and academics not soon follow into the kids’ pockets on their mobiles? The chart sets out a time frame for that happening.

Emergence as alchemy

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Posted on 10th September 2007 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression

The Internet swamp is golden because it allows the emergence of what is known by humankind. In this report of an exchange at the Singularity Summit 2007, the functional principle of the alchemy of knowledge is touched upon. The future of learning will be undergirded by emergence (and not AGI, BTW):

Google Director of Research Peter Norvig opened the second day of the Singularity Summit 2007 with his take on the state artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Norvig was asked during a Q&A after his talk if Google has seen any “emergent” property or behavior (the way complex systems and patterns arise out of a multiplicity of relatively simple interactions) as it amasses data and manages massive infrastructure that has been a surprise.

We were all surprised at how game theoretic it is,” Norvig. “We made a copy of the Web and indexed it and we thought it reflected of Web. Now we understand that we are in co-evolution. When we make a move, the Web changes and when Web changes we do. Optimizers look at what we do and we look at what they do and Web moves in different directions because of the interaction between them. We hadn’t expected that.”

He also cited communications between computers at low level, such unexpected behavior in balancing bandwidth between switches.

Educators must understand and operate in the world Norvig describes where what is known and taught is co-evolved in the global commons — being willing to change when the Web does. The Web emerges new knowledge because it is a network among humans who also emerge new knowledge.

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Good vibes for the virtual global village

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Posted on 7th September 2007 by Judy Breck in Networks

This morning’s New York Times has a review of the newly released movie “In the Shadow of the Moon.” The review titled “When the Moon Was a Matter of Pride,” includes these 2 dreary paragraphs:

If Mr. Collins’s recollections make you swell with vicarious pride, they may also make you shudder. When was the last time the wonders of technology received such wholehearted endorsement? If today’s world is even more strife-torn than the world of 1969, when the Vietnam War was raging, one reason may be that the same technology that produced Apollo 11 has since come under a cloud.

The good vibes are gone. The tone of international political discourse has toughened, and the United States is increasingly viewed as an arrogant, dangerous superpower. The concept of a cooperative multinational “we,” working together for world peace, with America leading the way, is almost as quaint as the cozy concept of “the global village.” The planet that looked so pretty to Mr. Collins from 240,000 miles away is more fragile than we realized.

Is the world REALLY more strife-torn than the world of 1969? Of course not! Certainly true peace remains a global goal, not yet an achievement, but dreadful threats of nukes pointed at the West by Russia and China are gone, world literacy has risen significantly, whole new nations and cultures have emerged toward individual freedom and prosperity — and Vietnam has become a trendy tourist center. I remember 1969 — and 2009 promises to be spectacularly better for literally billions of people.

The moon movie review includes this observation: Millions around the world who had watched on television as men walked on the moon for the first time felt that they had participated in a great adventure that ennobled the species. As things have turned out in the nearly four decades since a few guys walked on the moon, the rest of the species has not been able to do so. My guess is that our grandchildren will be the first generation to do a lot of moon walking.

The reason good vibes for technology is not gone. Its cause has changed: we are approaching a tipping point when connectivity of individuals will cascade across our planet. Instead of watching a few guys on television as they grab a bit of moon dust, billions of us will hold devices in our hands by which we are connected with each other and with what is known by humankind — through the golden swamp we call the Internet. Unimaginable in 1969, this grand gift of technology makes the global village a virtual reality.