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Borehole data on paleoclimatology – boring, no


Posted on 30th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Learn nodes and Paleontology

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The map here is from NOAA Paleoclimatology, which is the study of past climate, for times prior to instrumental weather measurements. Obvious sections of the topic are tree-rings and caves (with the layers of dripping preserved in rock. Less obvious are ways paleoclimatologists learn from paleofire, plant macros, insects and pollen. The borehole section includes the interactive map, which is an internet tool for digging into what is known about what is known about past climate.

Health special section demos knowledge online


Posted on 30th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge and Open Content

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To find information about diseases, diagnoses, and treatments the internet as good — and sometimes better — than trying to get this knowledge from doctors. For sure, one would not expect to find this kind of information nearly as efficiently, rapidly, or thoroughly in a brick and mortar library, even a medical one.

In a special Science Times: Decoding Your Health section today, the New York Times includes a page titled Health on the Web in which it introduces with this summary: “A Google search for “cancer” returns 299 million results; narrow that to, say, “prostate cancer” and you still get 12.7 million. It’s a vast, bewildering world out there, but here’s a look at six of the most interesting and potentially useful online health resources.” The six websites the Times editors have selected are then reviewed.

The Science Times forcefully argues and demonstrates that anyone can learn a lot about health online. This marvelous fact is true about most anything we want to learn. For example, a Google search for “science” returns 911,000,000 results; search for “atmospheric sciences” and you still get 4.8 million . The new learning methodology of the 21st century is emerging as searching for and interacting with the online knowledge that is now superior to what is found in a brick and mortar library. For atmospheric sciences, here are six examples:

University of Washington Weather and Climate Data
BUGS Atmospheric General Circulation Model
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Climate
NOAA: Paleoclimatology
Weather Wiz Kids: Weather Safety
Environmental Protection Agency: Climate Change Kids Site

How the Web sets one-by-one free


Posted on 29th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge, Golden Age of Learning and Mobile Learning

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An essay at the Washington Post today argues that The Web Won’t Make Us Free. I posted this comment in disagreement:

The Web will not set “us” free. It sets one-by-one of us free individually. Clay Shirky and others are profound in their insight into the ways the Web affects groups and creates community. But the most potent freedom in human history is given to the individual who has in his/her hand a mobile connection to everybody else and all the world’s information. Broadcast like Hitler used is replaced with interaction. The masses Stalin oppressed have become 3 billion and counting free nodes in an open network. The truth will make them all free. The Web delivered through an individual device offers education and participation — and as Jefferson would say, the pursuit of happiness (whether it be porn or physics or politics). My blog is about this point of view.

Carnival of the Mobilists at The Smartphone Show


Posted on 29th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists and Mobile Learning

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Midway Master for Carnival #143, Steve Litchfield at The Smartphones Show, introduces the best mobile blogging in a week when mobile grew its emergence in several other interesting ways. Steve includes our recent GoldenSwamp post featuring describing the iPhone in Action in multimedia ways that can be powerful tools for delivering education through the global avalanche of mobile phones.

How we do blush to hear the untutored tongue


Posted on 27th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression, Emerging Online Knowledge, Golden Age of Learning, Mobile Learning, Networks, Open Content, Subject Sampler and Uncategorized

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In his powerful heads-up book Jump Point, Tom Hayes writes (p. 11) that experts forecast that Web-enabled mobile phone adoption can “easily reach the three billion mark by the Jump Point year 2011, attaining an astounding five billion worldwide users by 2015.” [italics Hayes']. He further tells us that the “third billion” people who will come online within the next 1,000 days will have “never been in a classroom, owned a book, or read more than a few signpost words.” (p. 22) This learning deficit will be even more true of the fourth and fifth billion. These billions will include most of the children of the new generations.

Obviously, there is no way to build schools by 2011 or 2015 for these billions of people who do not have an education. They will essentially all, however, have a mobile phone. At the least, the mobiles the new internet participants have can provide the literacy input Abe Lincoln (born 1809) was limited to as a boy in the rugged pioneer settlements of Kentucky and Indiana. In his biography Lincoln, David Herbert Donald describes the poverty of education available to the youngster:

. . . his teachers, transient and untrained as they were, helped him master the basic tools so that in the future he could educate himself. Dilworth’s Spelling Book, which he and [his older sister] Sarah had begun to use in Kentucky, provided his introduction to grammar and spelling. Beginning with the alphabet and Arabic and Roman numerals, it proceeded to words of two letters, then three, and finally four letters. From these the student began to construct sentences like: “No man may put off the law of God.” Dilworth’s then went on to more advanced subjects, and the final sections included prose and verse selections, some accompanied by crude woodcuts — which may have been the first pictures Abraham Lincoln had ever seen. Other readers, like The Columbian Class Book and The Kentucky Preceptor, expanded and reinforced what he learned from Dilworth’s.

As Lincoln grew through his childhood and adolescent years he had very little schooling. He read books when he could get them, but they were rare in the rough farming environment where he remain until he was in his twenties.

Today, 200 years later, many of the third, fourth, and fifth billion who will come online in the next six years are strikingly similar in their experience with education to young Lincoln. The huge difference is that today’s billions will have mobile phones that will provide them with everything Dilworth’s gave Lincoln, all the books they could possibly read, and much, much more.

iPhone in Action: teaching commercial stuff, thus far


Posted on 26th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression, Mobile Learning and Open Content

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The iPhone in Action webpage from the AdMob leaders in mobile advertising is a great place to go to use some of the tools of learning’s future. The videos show highly interactive media format of eight different kinds — used here for advertising. These exact tools are powerful ones for bringing knowledge into the hands and minds of the new generation. How would learning use the eight tools? Here are some quick ideas:

App Store serves as the library format
Maps illustrate history, earth sciences, etc.
Video explores science and delivers lectures
Call supports networked conversation with teachers and experts
Web puts internet page interaction in the student’s hand
Audio tunes in lectures, narratives, etc.
Canvas empowers the student to create digital content

AdMob founder Russell Buckley describes the very rapid uptake of these tools in a blog post at MobHappy. The demos at AdMobs and the comments by Russell are about advertising. How does this apply to education? At the most fundamental level, advertising IS EDUCATION. By watching these videos you will see, for example, advertising that shows the user the nearest Best Buy store (maps app), teaches people to buy the Jaguar XF (Web app), and demonstrates to them that the “Mummy” movie (Canvas app) is worth their time and money.

This powerful knowledge delivery medium awaits the lessons once captive of paper and chalkboard.

Tomorrow teacher

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Posted on 24th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression, Golden Age of Learning, Networks and Schools We Have Now


If I were starting out today to pursue a career in teaching, this is what I would do:

1. Rent teaching space in a building with high speed internet access.
2. Make a deal with a smartphone company to sell or give their latest device to students who sign up for my teaching sessions.
3. Make a deal with some advertisers of projects valuable to students (museums, media) to help with the cost of my students’ 24/7 wireless access in return for limited time display of ads on the students’ phones. Many other ways of monetizing access are coming.
4. Advertise to the locality where my teaching space is rented for students to register for specific subjects I will teach them.
5. Make a deal with an online testing service to test my students after completion of my teaching, and to certify their level of competence based on the tests they take.

I would teach only what I am interested in and know, such as world history, American history, and civics. My teaching would include one-on-one sessions with students, group discourse, and virtual discourse across the internet. Students ages would be mixed: they would be accepted based on their competence for the subject and demonstrated motivation to learn it.

A key goal of my teaching would be to instruct each student in how to use the network of online knowledge for our subject to continue to learn more into the future. Student families could pay me directly or tap into scholarships I would arrange with private sector sponsors.

When I was 23, I taught high school for a year — a half a century ago. Over the years since my 1960-61 revolving door teaching experience, the internet has removed the barriers that repelled me then: cookiecutter classes, disregard that students learn so little, and administrative frustration. I was driven out of teaching then.

I would be eager to enter teaching today because the future is full of promise. Lockstep, low expectations schooling is fading from relevance as the internet emerges to partner with the teacher of tomorrow.

Update on universal access to all knowledge


Posted on 14th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge and Networks

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TED has posted a talk from December 2007 by Brewster Kahle, talking on the subject of A digital library, free to the world. The talk is a terrific update on what it takes to digitize all of the world’s books, recorded audio, and movies — and a progress report from Internet Archive on the vast amounts of this work that has already been done. Brewster Kahle is a star of the early Internet era as the quintessential digital librarian. His increasingly towering achievement is essential in fulfilling the promise of a global knowledge ecology.

The next step — that is just beginning to be understood — is that the global ecology of enlightenment will be unleashed by the knowledge within the pieces Kahle collects, not by the pieces (books, audio, movies) themselves. For example, the digitized pieces may include dozens of books about the biology of butterflies. In the books-bound-in-paper era, those butterfly books would all sit next to each other on a shelf in a library at best. More realistically, they would be scattered in libraries across the world. The next step is not about putting all the books on the same shelf; something much more valuable will happen.

The ecology of enlightenment is being born in the networking among the knowledge WITHIN the digitized books and other digitized media. As it becomes possible to tag digital content in every book that has “Monarch butterflies,” a student using the Internet will be able to cluster the Monarch butterfly content from all of the digitized books into her focus for comparative and contextual learning. The tag will also add to her cluster stuff about Monarch butterflies from other media such as blogs, wikis, movies, etc. Students will be enlightened by emergent ideas from a knowledge ecology that includes all open media.

Piltdown Man fraud exposed by his own fossils


Posted on 13th September 2008 by Judy Breck in History, Learn nodes and Paleontology

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This goldnode of online learning is the work of the British Natural History Museum, where the actual Piltdown artifacts are housed. The image shown with this post is from the interactive tutorial at the museum’s website, where you are invited to compare how the fossils were examined at the time of their discovery with how they would be studied today. The museum describes the history of the artifacts, which were proven to be a fraud 40 years after they were discovered in 1912 by Charles Dawson and Arthur Smith Woodward at Piltdown in Sussex in 1912:

Their discovery came 50 years after Darwin published his theory of evolution, just when many people were beginning to think about our ancestors and question what kind of creature might have bridged the gap between apes and us. The only evidence we had of early humans was the skull cap of Java Man, thought to have lived 700,000 years ago, and the jaw of Heidelberg Man, estimated to have lived about 500,000 years ago.

Ecology of enlightenment

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Posted on 9th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge

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The beautiful image above illustrates a New York Science Times article about how “new research suggests that exotic species, instead of causing extinctions, may actually aid diversity.” This is a very big idea, and one that gives us insight into the globalization of humanity and ideas that is washing across our planet.

When Europeans began arriving in New Zealand, they brought with them alien plants — crops, garden plants and stowaway weeds. Today, 22,000 non-native plants grow in New Zealand. Most of them can survive only with the loving care of gardeners and farmers. But 2,069 have become naturalized: they have spread out across the islands on their own. There are more naturalized invasive plant species in New Zealand than native species.

It sounds like the makings of an ecological disaster: an epidemic of invasive species that wipes out the delicate native species in its path. But in a paper published in August in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dov Sax, an ecologist at Brown University, and Steven D. Gaines, a marine biologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, point out that the invasion has not led to a mass extinction of native plants. The number of documented extinctions of native New Zealand plant species is a grand total of three.

Exotic species receive lots of attention and create lots of worry. Some scientists consider biological invasions among the top two or three forces driving species into extinction. But Dr. Sax, Dr. Gaines and several other researchers argue that attitudes about exotic species are too simplistic. While some invasions are indeed devastating, they often do not set off extinctions. They can even spur the evolution of new diversity.

The big idea here is the mechanism that is illustrated: openness both stimulates established factors through competition and makes room for new participants that are able to win ground. In the Golden Swamp that is the open internet, it is this mechanism that will release the generations now young into a global ecology of enlightenment. Education is breaking down its protection of varying species of ideas that are learned by children in each country and each culture. Ideas that can hold their own from each of these groupings will participate in the enlightenment and those that fail will require the loving care of cognitive gardeners and farmers.

The frog and fish and fly in the image remind us that the big idea of diversity has been around for a very, very long time. Somehow rocks and rivers once welcomed one-celled life, and that life grew more diverse as colonies of cells became individuals — and later on the fish, and then the fly, and then the frog found room in the ecology of life. I think what lies ahead for human thinking is a grand new stage of strengthening of established truths by competition, along with some making room by all of us to be nourished by some exotic thoughts that will enlighten us.

We need to be careful not to be too simplistic about exotic ideas.

Carnival of the Mobilists #140


Posted on 8th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists


This week’s Carnival midway master is Pablo Picasso, a carnival sort of guy who was a master at putting together pieces in new ways to create exciting innovations. His Harlequin is enjoying the CanCan from the iPod feature of his iPhone as we look through this week’s pieces of best mobile blogging.

We start with 15 pieces of wisdom from mobile guru Rudy DeWaele of Rudy gives us 15 Tips To Create Value For Mobile. My favorite: Think global, act viral.

Next, James Cooper at mjelly gives us 12 ways to promote your mobile web site. Since my own focus lately is SEO, I was interested to learn from James that Mobile SEO is right now a “movable feast.

For tips on dealing with the most little pieces of all, take a read at Mobile Twitter Client by Andrew Grill of London Calling.

For browsing the zillions of online bits and pieces, Dennis Bournique at Wap Review gives us his expert analysis of Mobile Browser Tex -UCWEB6

Ram Krishnan at Mobile Broadband Blog describes how mobile broadband can be a significant threat to the old DSL-fixed line business in his post: Deep Dive into Mobile Broadband Growth in Austria.

In Justforkix – Mig33 a new and innovative business model Ajit Jaokar of Open Gardens describes a very unusual revenue model for social networks.

In her post, Personal vs. Shared Spaces, Sarah Lipman at Really Sarah Syndication essays on Mobility = Individuality, and the related mobile phone impact.

The first of two posts about mobile learning is by Mark van’t Hooft of Ubiquitous Thoughts: Has the 1:1 Classroom Era Arrived.

The second post related to learning is at SmartMobs where Roland Piquepaille writes about Sign Language over cell phones in the US.

Turning to recent news, Tsahi Levent-Levi at Radvision analyzes: Are the Olympic Games a Win for Mobile Video?

And addressing the news dominating the USA, Justin Oberman at Mopocket tries to take us Beyond the Mobile Hype in Election ‘08

And finally, with the intriguing post name Oysters, Chickens, Eggs, NFC, Raddedas at Techhype describes a London security caper involving thieves who fish pockets for chips.

Next week, Carnival of the Mobilists #141 will be at Always On Real-Time Access with Chetan Sharma as host. For information on how you can participate by submitting a link to the Carnival, and/or becoming a host, visit the Carnival of the Mobilists website.

Children today have their heads in the cloud


Posted on 5th September 2008 by Judy Breck in Mobile & Ubiquitous and Mobile Learning

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Children have their heads in the cloud because that is where what they are tasked to learn by education is now. In the image above, Dell illustrates its new Inspiron Mini 9 with a child viewing a pagoda. That pagoda is not on the hard drive of the device displaying it. The pagoda is in the internet content cloud.

The image on the left shows my iPhone G3 in the hands of my eight-year-old great niece Melinda. Using the iPhone, she can display the same pagoda from the cloud. Children the age of those in the images would be hard put to find anything in their analog experiences that would provide knowledge remotely as complete and compelling for a pagoda as they reach in the cloud.

In announcing Fizzbook, another mini laptop competitive to the Inspiron and available soon in the UK, explains:

With its inspiration coming from the One Laptop Per Child initiative, Intel has teamed up with Zoostorm to launch a budget laptop for school kids in the UK.

It is based on the second generation Intel Classmate PC – part of the One Laptop Per Child initiative, and is called the Fizzbook. It includes a fully functioning Windows XP operating system and comes with the Intel Atom chip processor.

The mini laptop can be used for learning activities as well as general computer tasks such as surfing the internet, playing media and, of course, games.

In the early stages of personal computer device development, a fundamental assumption was that the device had to have a big memory so what its owner would use it for would be available on its hard drive. If you wanted to learn about pagodas, you had to feed your computer CDs to download an encyclopedia with an article about pagodas. If you were a school library, you had to buy digitized knowledge resources for students to learn from. Those were the old days.

People who are children today will embrace the subjects they learn in the cloud, which is the open online network of what is known by humankind. The cloud abounds with mathematics, sciences, humanities, technologies — liberal arts, business studies, skill training — what is known about these subjects is already out there in the cloud. For example, if you are learning about pagodas, just about every pagoda on earth is in this network.

A key question for educators: It is the 21st century, do you know where our children are? For the part of the answer about where their minds are, the answer is: in the cloud.

Six ways that education will be revamped by the Internet


Posted on 3rd September 2008 by Judy Breck in Golden Age of Learning

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Being an “old pol” who served long ago on two national staffs of Presidential campaigns and six statewide election efforts, I am having trouble staying away from spending just about all of my time reading the political blogs. The US Presidential election is fascinating, and the bloggers are delivering information in entirely new ways through their posts.

The blog is about the learning stuff (gold) in the swamp (the internet). What I am writing here picks up a format that has been popping up in the political blogs. The format could be called the “n things list”: n things that are happening, n reasons why, n things to look for. In that format, here are:

6 ways that education will be revamped by the internet in coming months:

1. The shift of primary creative development will be from tech to content. The progression of the most interesting challenges has been from creating the computers, to conceiving applications, to establishing networks — and now to manipulating the data and its meaning that lives in the new environment created by it all. The wildly popular new Apple App Store does not sell devices or connections, it sells content to be played with, used for information, and learned.

2. The understanding of the internet is deepening to studying the relationships [think hyperlinks] of its smallest pieces. The open connectivity of the pieces of cognitive gold within the internet swamp is the way that knowledge will emerge for students, mirroring the connectivity of their learning minds.

3. The cloud cometh – but SaaS (Software as a Service) is only the technical platform for the content the cloud contains and interfaces. When we are interacting with content in the cloud, our cognitive connectivity becomes global.

4. Learning content will be SEOed (optimized for search engines), revolutionizing its use as has happened already in e-commerce and the media.

5. Social networks — increasingly replacing textbooks — will become significant delivery mechanisms for connection to the knowledge students learn.

6. As mobiles increasingly deliver the Internet there will be no separate m-learning to create. Soon most digital learning content interaction will be mobile as these devices individually owned by students deliver the Internet. One Web will rule.

Carnival of the Mobilists visits GoldenSwamp


Posted on 1st September 2008 by Judy Breck in Carnival of the Mobilists

This week’s best blogging round-up comes from in the beautiful Canadian city of Vancouver, where host Igor Faletski includes mobile learning described at GoldenSwamp.