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How to think like a child: Letting go of adult inhibitions can free up our creativity and boost our wellbeing” is a great article about how to get people rethinking who and what they are in order to think about how they engage with the world within and around them.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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Google Image Search Implements CC License Filtering – Creative Commons
Today, Google officially launched the ability to filter search results using Creative Commons licenses inside their Image Search tool. It is now easy to restrict your Image Search results to find images which have been tagged with our licenses, so that you can find content from across the web that you can share, use, and even modify. Searches are also capable of returning content under other licenses, such as the GNU Free Documentation License, or images that are in the public domain.

To filter by CC search, go to Google’s advanced Image Search page and select the options you’d like in the “Usage rights” section. Your results will be restricted to images marked with CC licenses or other compatibly licensed photos.

Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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This is a cute video by Sarah/Girltarist, who is, among other things, a student in my and Danny’s classes. We had a chat about reducing and reusing being better than recycling, but one thing at a time. I wish more educators would sing and share their songs.

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Slashdot | Suspect Freed After Exposing Cop’s Facebook Status

“A man on trial in New York for possession of a weapon has been acquitted after subpoenaing his arresting officer’s Facebook and MySpace accounts. His defense: Officer Vaughan Ettienne’s MySpace “mood” was set to “devious” on the day of the arrest, and one day a few weeks before the trial, his Facebook status read “Vaughan is watching ‘Training Day’ to brush up on proper police procedure. From the article,’You have your Internet persona, and you have what you actually do on the street,” Officer Ettienne said on Tuesday. “What you say on the Internet is all bravado talk, like what you say in a locker room.” Except that trash talk in locker rooms almost never winds up preserved on a digital server somewhere, available for subpoena.’”

The whole NYT article is even more fun: About New York - A New York Police Officer Who Put Too Much on MySpace - NYTimes.com

I wonder if the cop can be fired for just being thick? I assume that police try and fight the ‘thug with a badge’ stereotype? I cannot imagine they still nurture it. I’m dedicating this post to all my students past, present and future who will have their personal information found, pulled out and presented in public to support or contradict their actions or statements made in a professional forum. It is ok to do and say crazy things… but know it is out there. Everything you do on the net can come back to haunt you. I shudder at the thought of someone putting comments about the children and families and colleagues they work with on their FB or MS accounts.

What brings it all home is: Pope: We should have Googled Holocaust bishop. SEE? Even the pope is saying that your past will be googled.

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I’ve got a nice EFF member’s sticker on my laptop, and paid my dues… so yesterday I got an email pointing me to the The SSD Project | EFF Surveillance Self-Defense Project:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created this Surveillance Self-Defense site to educate the American public about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States, providing the information and tools necessary to evaluate the threat of surveillance and take appropriate steps to defend against it.
Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD) exists to answer two main questions: What can the government legally do to spy on your computer data and communications? And what can you legally do to protect yourself against such spying?

For students in CLD419, where we’ve been discussing how to search out information on people, how to protect children’s information, and issues around children as creators of content, EFF is one of the key sources for information on how governments and corporations collect and use information about you. Perhaps this will be a good site to add to the course next year.

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I’d forgotten about this video, but HowardR twittered it. And here it is. Every students in/of education should watch it, over and over and over. It will be on the exam… the exam of one’s own life.

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My friend Katheryn at RyHigh has an interesting blog post, Hands up, where she talks about Disabled kids show host draws criticism, praise - CNN.com. Here’s a snippet from the CNN post

A children’s show host who was born with one hand is facing criticism from parents over her disability. The BBC is receiving complaints about kids’ show host Cerrie Burnell, who was born with one hand. BBC spokeswoman Katya Mira said the corporation has received at least 25 “official” complaints recently about Cerrie Burnell, new host of two shows on the BBC-run CBeebies television network, which is aimed at children younger than 6. The official complaints do not count the dozens of negative comments lodged in Internet chat rooms, Mira said. In one chat room, a father lamented that Burnell being on the show forced him to have conversations with his child about disabilities.

Kathryn goes on to say:

What I am sure is typical of the latter perspective, a comment on the CNN article said “It’s very hard, as a parent, to have every social issue jammed down the throat of your kids before they even hit first grade. Kids need a certain level of emotion maturity and understanding to be able to MAKE SENSE of the things they see. Otherwise they can’t categorize it properly in their minds.”
I know exactly what they mean. It was so difficult to explain to my young daughter why some people did not use sign language like we did.

Really, jamming a social issue down their throats? As a parent, here is how I see the conversation going.

“MommyDaddy, why does that lady have no hand?”
“Most people have hands but some have one hand and others have no hands.”
“That’s just the way it is.”

The most interesting comment she makes is:

Sometimes kids will mimic the difference. Maybe they’d tuck their hand up their sleeve to experiment with having one hand. Most of the time, they’ll be satisfied with their little experiment and move on. As a two-handed person, I don’t speak for those with one hand, but I feel confident as a person with a disability to say that no one thinks your kid is a creep or you’re a bad parent for letting your kid do this. At that point, the child isn’t mocking; they are rehearsing in order to understand and empathize. After an ugly parental scolding “stop doing that. Don’t make fun of the handicapped,” or worse, “stop doing that. Do you want people to think you’re handicapped?” they start internalizing the value that it isn’t just different, it’s bad. And then, someday, when they’re looking to insult a classmate on the playground, they won’t call them one of the other ugly slurs based on race, nationality, gender, orientation, religion, or athletic ability, they’ll call them retard, or spaz, or gimp, or dummy.

I wish more parents thought this way.

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Clevergirl says

NYT: 21st Century Librarian is a great video currently up on the NYT video site about the role librarians play in (primary) schools these days. The libarian in the video talks at length about teaching children, particularly ESL-speaking immigrant children, to use search engines and understand that not everything online is true.

Check it out.

But I cannot. I’m in NYC with poor internet connection and I am having trouble watching videos. But you can!

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Shelly sent me this: Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.

ALL my students should be reading this. And people laugh at me when I say that I don’t like sites like FB where you cannot remove your content and take it with you. Content mobility is a right. IMHO. But this just makes it even worserer. If you don’t care about what happens to your content, you probably aren’t old enough to be allowed to run free on the internet.

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Digitally Mapping “sustainability” and “innovation” through Crafted Networks | In Media Res

The video embedded here is that of  Rob Kalin, the founder of Etsy talking to the World Economic Forum about “a handmade marketplace” (gesturing at once to digital coding and offline craft as “handmade”), “local living economies”  about the making of an “innovator.”

In this video we see that Mr. Kalin raises various issues about economic concepts and value building through social networking. He uses terms such as ”Sense of Value,” “Sustainability,”  and “Innovation”.  These are terms also used in traditional as well as emerging theories of innovation as they relate to the developing world. Development models since the late 19th century have been faced with the discourse of innovation. Such a discourse of innovation has often meant a “diffusion” from Western worlds into so-called behind the curve “third-worlds”. 
However, in the way that Kalin talks about innovation – specifically marketing innovations through the digital interface  - we see that he is not talking about “innovating” the production of the goods being marketing. In fact he is suggesting that we recover handmade production processes

Read more of what Radhika has to say by clicking on the link above…

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Brain training games get failing grade

That Nintendo brain-training game you’re carrying around in your purse may be sparking some mental activity, but new evidence suggests your prefrontal cortex may be just as happy with a crossword puzzle or a good book.

While millions of trendy puzzle-based video games have been sold around the world on the premise that they can improve cognitive function - and even reverse the signs of an aging brain - there’s nothing the “technological jewel” can do that low-tech alternatives can’t, according to cognitive psychologist Alain Lieury of the University of Rennes 2 in France. [...]

On the memory tests, which involved maps, the puzzles-only group showed a 33-per-cent improvement, but the Nintendo kids’ performance dipped 17 per cent. The Nintendo and puzzle groups matched each other with a 10-per-cent rise in logic scores. In math, all four groups - even the ones with no extra work - showed roughly an 18-per-cent jump in scores.

Personally, I’ve always thought that reading narratives is the best way to work the whole brain. Not just a cognitive workout, but a social education and a creative imaginative exploration. I find that the people I know who are active readers of fiction have greater mental dexterity than those who do not. This just a survey of my own friends. I notice that they are more easily engaged in abstract conceptualization of concrete things and have an active imagination. Those who read fiction less seem to be more baffled with questions that ask them to respond with multiple potential outcomes or too many variables, and difficulties making decisions.

I’ve always thought that reading a variety of narratives and fictions allows someone to see the world from many different perspectives, times, contexts… especially being able to see how different people deal with similar situations, or similar people deal with diverse events. The idea is that the reader is able to contextualize personal lived experience within myriad other character’s experience. This ability to compare, contrast and critically evaluate, assuming one is an active reader, is something the non-reader lacks. How can you cram many lifetimes of experience into a single few years? Stories and fiction allows us to live many lives from many perspectives and integrate what we experience in reading with what we experience in our own lives. And I really don’t know what other form of social interaction gives you that much bang for your buck.

I read a lot, and I watch a lot of movies. At least 3 movies a week. And I talk to lots of people and reflect a lot, and do yoga, etc. I don’t know of anything that has as much effect on my body and mind, and seems to help me in understanding how I can and might interact with the world around me. And I think on average about 50 books a year… fewer in the past 5 years as work has taken over, but as soon as I have a moment I feel compelled to read for the therapeutic effect… it is calming in the way a good long run might be for others.

This is not a professional opinion, just something I’ve noticed over my life. Your friends and mileage may vary.

So, in relation to children and technology, I’d like to say that the old technology of the book has not, IMHO, been superseded by a technological fix that does more… but rather does less.

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Slashdot | Internet Not Really Dangerous For Kids After All
“We’re all familiar with the claim that it’s horribly dangerous to allow our children on to the Internet. It’s long been believed that the moment a child logs on to the Internet, he will experience a flood of inappropriate sexual advances. Turns out this isn’t an accurate representation of reality at all. A high-profile task force representing 49 state attorneys general was organized to find a solution to the problem of online sexual solicitation. But instead the panel has issued a report (due to be released tomorrow) claiming that ‘Social networks are very much like real-world communities that are comprised mostly of good people who are there for the right reasons.’ The report concluded that ‘the problem of child-on-child bullying, both online and offline, poses a far more serious challenge than the sexual solicitation of minors by adults.’ Turns out the danger to our children was all just media hype and parental anxiety.”

There’s an NYT article on it, and I’m looking for the full report.
FRONTLINE: growing up online: watch the full program | PBS has some interesting segments on children and youth online

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Don Norman’s cool. I would like to see government support for bringing novel and useful designs to market, though. To often you only see cool things, but no one can afford them.

Designers challenged to include disabled - CNN.com

The future of design could see the divide between able-bodied and disabled people vanish.
Don Norman , design Professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, and the author of The Design of Future Things, is issuing a challenge to designers and engineers across the world: Create things that work for everyone.
“It is about time we designed things that can be used by ALL people — which is the notion behind accessible design. Designing for people with disabilities almost always leads to products that work better for everyone.”
Once the champion of human-centered design — where wants and needs of individuals are the primary consideration in the design process, Norman now believes accessible activity-centered design is a better approach.
This approach creates designs by looking at the job a person needs to achieve in using a particular technology.
Norman told CNN that including disabled people in this thought process would create better technologies for all people, regardless of their level of ability.
“Make cans and bottles that a one-handed person can open and guess what, many people will find it makes their lives easier when they only have one free hand.
“Showers and baths can be made better and safer for all. Make things better for the hard of hearing or seeing and guess what, similar benefits for all,” he said..

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I’d been looking for a list of learning tools, and Jeremy found me this Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008list. It is not at all what I was expecting, which makes it even more interesting. Planning my winter course, and I need to get caught up.

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Intellagirl twittered about Where is Your Username registered. I think it will be an interesting addition to the arsenal when it comes to exploring social networks and how much info about you is out there.

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I’m one of the series of pundits talking about Information Bombardment… My fav of my quotes is “The Internet isn’t in its infancy… it is prenatal.”

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Slashdot | Researchers Find Racial Bias In Virtual Worlds

“Real-world behaviours and racial biases could carry forward into virtual worlds such as Second Life, social psychologists say. According to a study that was conducted in There.com, virtual world avatars respond to social cues in the same ways that people do in the real world.

Users, who were unaware that they were part of a psychological study, were approached by a researcher’s avatar for either a ‘foot-in-the-door’ (FITD) or ‘door-in-the-face’ (DITF) experiment. While results of the FITD experiment revealed no racial bias, the effect of the DITF technique was significantly reduced when the experimenter took the form of a dark-skinned avatar.”

Read more at Researchers find racial bias in virtual worlds - Internet - iTnews Australia

No, I have no question about the assertion of racial bias in Virtual World. I’m just reading Lisa Nakamura’s Digitizing Race, which is interesting. However, the research seems pretty lame for reasons commented on in the comments on the first two links, and others. Would be nice if peeps reported on research that would appear better constructed to take up what I think is an important issue.

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First day of School by BGenovesi from Ryerson’s ECE program for the Song Child project. The full page isn’t public yet, but I wanted to share it.

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Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

University of Toronto — News@UofT — UofT Human rights software given prestigious award at French Senate (Feb 14/08)

Psiphon, an Internet censorship evading software project developed by the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab has been deemed “the world’s most original, significant and exemplary Net and Digital Initiative” by a panel of French and international government, media and business experts. Psiphon was chosen first among 100 technology projects from around the world that were nominated for the Netxplorateur of the Year Grand Prix award.

I remember when catsy was working on this. I tried out a copy back in the summer of 2003. I can’t believe it was that long ago, and yes, it was cooler than all get out, but I had no idea that it would be sen as “the world’s most original, significant and exemplary Net and Digital Initiative”. My students are watching Catsy’s video presentation made to my class in 2005, and so this is timely. Congrats Catsy, Nart and the Citlab crew!

Psiphon works by leveraging the Internet and social networks of trust that span censored and uncensored jurisdictions. Those with friends, family or colleagues in censored countries download the small psiphon application on their home computers and then give the unique connection information to their psiphon node to those living behind firewalled jurisdictions. Instead of attempting to access banned content directly, users of psiphon connect to the psiphon nodes over an encrypted channel and use them to surf the Web instead. As each psiphon node is private, encrypted, and separate from each other, the system as a whole is virtually impossible for authorities to discover and block.

Found via Catspaw’s Guide to the Inevitably Insane and Nart Villeneuve


Feb. 22nd, 2008 08:28 am
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Originally published at Lemmingworks. You can comment here or there.

I’ve had olpc.tv on my RSS feed for a couple of months but have not been paying attention to the amount of cool stuff there is there.

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