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mLearnopedia community launched today


Posted on 16th February 2009 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression, Mobile Learning and Subject Sampler

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GoldenSwamp is proud to be a featured founding participant in the new mobile content community described in this press release:

New Mobile Learning Content Community Resource Available partners with TechEmpower to provide information source for mobile learning

Greenville, WI February 16, 2009: With an increasingly mobile society and the need for instant information for employees and students everywhere all the time, mobile learning and mobile performance support are growing at a rapid pace. Ambient Insight recently reported that the US market for Mobile Learning product and services is growing at a five-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 21.7%.

To provide access to the latest news and best practices a new content community has been created at Content is aggregated from sites such as Cell Phones in Learning, GoldenSwamp, mLearning is Good, mLearning World, mLearnopedia, moblearn, Mobile Commons, and MobileDot. “The mlearnopedia project is a terrific idea at the right time! I look forward to being part of it,” states Judy Breck from Golden Swamp. Ben Bonnet from mLearning is Good commented “The community has already benefited me by providing exposure to content I normally would have missed.” The aggregation technology, called BrowseMyStuff, comes from Tony Karrer of TechEmpower with the support of Judy Brown from

Two kinds of open educational resources (OER)


Posted on 15th November 2008 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression and Open Content

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The advent of the cloud has fundamentally changed the meaning of “open” content. Open used to mean opening doors to your content so that visitors could come in and use it. Open now means placing your content “out there” in the cloud where it is integrated into the global whole.

An example of the first kind of open content is when a university places a course, for example a syllabus and lectures on French history, on to university webpages — letting anyone online visit those pages to study its course materials.

An example of placing content into the cloud is for the French history professor to write a post on her blog with a new nugget of knowledge from her research into Napoleon — and then to publish that post. By publishing the post she releases it as a node into the open cloud where it can network with all the other Napoleon nodes out there.

For OER to be open in the cloud, it must be unbundled with its cognitive content linkable at the node level. I would bet my beret that the opening into the cloud, like the Napoleonic nodes example and their connected patterns, is the Waterloo of education assets held closely to the chest by academic institutions.

Image: The Emperor Napoleon in His Study at the Tuileries, Jacques-Louis David, National Gallery.

Tech has ruled content in the digital world — but that is changing


Posted on 15th October 2008 by Judy Breck in Emerging Online Knowledge, Findability, Mobile & Ubiquitous, Mobile Learning and Open Content

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A powerful example of the trend toward content being served by tech is the Kyte Mobile Producer software. Kyte delivers the same content to the full range of devices that interface internet content — at the same time! That is an important step forward for teaching, learning, and educational collaboration. Think for example of the news this month that researchers at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) have generated a digital zebrafish embryo which is the first complete developmental blueprint of a vertebrate, as shown in the image. In the days of print — and even recently in digital media — students and teachers would get this news from different periodicals, books, and lectures as the information trickled differently to various outlets. With Kyte, the news from EMBL could be distributed as the same content at the same time: to desktop computers, mobiles, blogs, video channels, social networks, and chat groups (think: study groups for edu :) .

Gannon Hall, KYTE Chief Marketing Officer, shown above in a demo video of the new software, puts it this way: Kyte is a “universal digital media platform. . . . The power of Kyte really lies in the distribution of content and user engagement.” Kyte provides this list of features:

Kyte Mobile Producer delivers live video streaming over 3G and WiFi networks from your Nokia N-series (N95, N96) device and enables you to distribute that content across the web by embedding your own Kyte video channel into blogs & social networks. Everyone can produce and distribute live videos now across the web directly from your Nokia S60/Symbian smartphone!
Kyte also delivers web audience interaction and community-building via live group chat on your Kyte channel.
Kyte also features a mobile-optimized website for viewing live Kyte channnels on your Nokia smartphone!

Wise word to edu from mobile guru on App Store


Posted on 22nd July 2008 by Judy Breck in Findability

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Mobile expert Enrique Ortiz at About Mobility Weblog describes the power that ease of discovery has for delivering content. He writes in the context of mobile, and the huge success of the new Apple App Store, which I have been extolling for its new way of making content available. The new mechanisms of the App Store are illustrating, as Enrique says, “that people WILL” use what they can discover.

“Discovering” begins by finding something you want online. Educators can increase the use of open educational resources by making them findable. To join in a major way in the cascade from the App Store (and its inevitable clones), education assets will need to be not only findable in these environments, but downloadable and useful, as Enrique says:

Awesome, 10 million downloads, in just 3 days.

I (and others) knew it all along, and proves the point I we have been making again and again and arguing for a long time: that people WILL download applications, if the problem w/ downloading (i.e. discovery) is solved. (Of course, the app must be useful to begin with) — see

>iPhone SDK, the App Store, the iPhone on the Enterprise . . . .

Apple solved it, and everyone is happy… Andriod MUST solve it, if they want to be successful w.r.t. local apps. Java ME doesn’t have a solution to this, and that is a problem. And Mobile Widgets also need a discovery solution. Ease of discovery must always be part of the mobile solution: being it a search box, an icon on the home page of the handset, a mobile widget, or side-loading…

One way edu could make open educational resources discoverable is by pointing to them with learn nodes that are easily findable blog-like little webpages for micro topics that are within the resources. (Resources have to be open for this to work. The App Store makes both open (free) and for sale apps available, which is literally a mixed bag.)

The long tail graph can be both the students and their subject


Posted on 23rd February 2008 by Judy Breck in Connective Expression and Networks

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longtailgraph.jpgGerrit Visser has posted a comment on Smart Mobs titled Approximating the Community Structure of the Long Tail. The post points to an analysis by Akshay Java on ebiquity which is the source of the graph shown above. The discussion in both posts looks at communities. Java explains:

Social Networks and Web graphs exhibit certain typical properties. The classic work by Barabási–Albert showed how nodes in such network link preferentially — popular nodes often gain disproportionately larger share of the links. This is also known in other fields as the 80/20 rule or simply the “rich get richer phenomenon“. Another early work by Steve Borgatti studied social networks and found that they exhibit a core-periphery property. A small set of (popular) nodes form the core and the rest comprise of the peripheral nodes.

A HUGE KEY to the new education of our connected world is that networks express long tails of BOTH students AND what they are learning! The community long tail is what the chart copied here from the ebiquity post is supposed to illustrate. The same chart illustrates the learning subject content long tail with equal veracity.

The content side of network behavior is at least as exciting for education as the community side. Something almost magical happens when an open network becomes the structure into which cognitive stuff is imbedded: the ideas act just like the communities of the students who seek to learn them. The idea content goes into 20/80 formations and exhibits the long tail—yeah, like the students do.

Just as there are some 20% of the students who learn 80% of the ideas, 20% of the ideas are about all that 80% of the students learn about a subject. Most kids studying American history learn about Washington, Jefferson, John Adams and Franklin—but only a scattered number have access to Paine, Knox, Sam Adams and Greene.longtailgraphrev.jpg

Here is a dirty big secret we are just beginning to understand: Education has been institutionally cutting off the long tail of content for decades. Standards are satisfied when students score well on 20% of ideas in a subject; the other 80% are not even included in standards. Textbooks do not have room for more than about the 20% of the main subject material. As students move through grades, they get to learn a higher percentage of their subjects, but the tail just gets a little longer each year.

Because content for learning that is open online is imbedded into a network, the ideas that form the content can and do interconnect cognitively and in context. A student can follow the network from George Washington to his generals Knox and Greene. The long tail of learning content is not cut off.

Plush toys and laptops


Posted on 2nd May 2007 by Judy Breck in Open Content

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The fellows in the image are from a blog called The Art and Craft of Toy Design here. If you go to their webpage and play the YouTube video you can watch them interact with a laptop in a game for small children. The blog is based at the Parsons New School for Design. I found the link on the website I had just posted about Harry Potter’s toothbrush. Open educational resources online link to each other and form weblets of learning. Very cool stuff, especially when you run into Harry and plus lions and monkeys.

The buy is on for mobile content why not teach something?


Posted on 20th February 2007 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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The remarkable page here on the Adobe website is a sign of the times! The page seeks to connect mobile developers with major content buyers, most notably Verizon and Nokia. Here is a call that should be answered by education if we expect to improve learning in our digital age. There is money to be made as well as ignorance to be diminished by selling mobile content for sciences, history, geography, technologies, literature and the 3 Rs.

The beautiful blue yonder of digital education


Posted on 9th February 2007 by Judy Breck in Subject Sampler

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The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Safety Topics page here is a marvelous, focused online mini-school for pilotsand it is free. Take online courses on topics for small plane pilots and general aviation subjects. Click into background webpages and related links. The informative modules are ideal for adaptation to mobile phones. This content network takes you into the beautiful blue yonder of digital education. Transportation Via Scout Report

The next perfect storm will hit education

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Posted on 26th October 2006 by Judy Breck in Schools We Have Now

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“Resistance is futile,” believes Richmond: although existing educational institutions are not generally embracing a digitally transformed future, “the educational sector will be dragged into the future kicking and screaming by the next perfect storm.”

The above statement by Todd Richmond is from his presentation on October 19th at the DIY [Do-It-Yourself] Media Seminar held at the Annenberg Center. You can read the report of the event here. What Richmond is say is that the same chaos that blew away the infrastructure of the music business is about to hit education. My favorite bit from the article is this idea:

The precipitating phenomenon that could turn open educational resources into a detonator of change would be the advent of digital learning objects that go viral, the “holy grail” of DIY media production; Richmond cited the Chinese Backstreet Boys video, viewed one and a quarter million times on Youtube, as an example of “going viral.”

Why not Do It Yourself to make a bunsen burner experiment for the mobile screen that is so cool it goes viral? That’s going to happen, and education ain’t never going to be the same. And that is a beautiful thing.

Podcast pioneers open the mobile learning frontier


Posted on 16th March 2006 by Judy Breck in Mobile Learning

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Stanford on iTunes
Added recently to the listings down the left column of the front page of the online New York Times, under is Podcasts. Clicking Podcasts takes a reader to this page. Any mobile phone that plays mp3 files can, of course, be used to listen to these podcasts. Cock your learning ear, and youll hear a friendly Hello, Future.

At, our focus and mission is virtual learning. What that meant until very recently was sitting down at a stationary computer, opening a browser, and connecting with webpages containing some content to learn. Laptops, of course, made it possible to tuck the virtual learning tool under your arm and carry it with you. Mobile phones are now beginning the transition to putting the tool into your pocket.

Podcasts are turning out to be the pioneering content for the arriving learning transition. A mobile phone is, after all, in its soul a voice device. It is fitting for a learning app that speaks to the tool’s soul* to flood first into the learning venue. In the same sort of soul vein, the MP3 in its soul, is musical. Fitting therefore is the project here titled Stanford on iTunes. No, this is not a music app from this venerable California intellectual bastion. It is university faculty lectures, interviews, music and sports. (Well music is in there.)

Although in the examples just given, learning seems to be piggybacking on a device made for something else, it is beginning to seem likely that the mobile phone will become the most-used, most effective device on earth for delivering learning content. Sound is pioneering learning on the mobiles, as would be normal. Texting learning interactively is under way in early stages. Some mobile browse the Internet effectively, and that trend is deepening. For now, the pioneers are very impressive, as these samples show. News from the New York Times and lectures from Stanford are top drawer content.

* The reality of a tool soul is beyond the scope of this blog :)