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Back to school with RIAA-funded copyright curriculum – Ars Technica

School kids in America could certainly stand to learn about copyright in the classroom—it’s a fascinating topic that increasingly impacts the life of every “digital native” and intersects with law, history, art, and technology. But should they be exposed to industry-funded materials meant to teach kids:

That taking music without paying for it (”songlifting”) is illegal and unfair to others (RIAA)
Why illegally downloading music hurts more people than they think (ASCAP)
How the DVD-sniffing dogs, Lucky and Flo, help uncover film piracy (MPAA)
To use problem-solving approaches to investigate and understand film piracy (The Film Foundation)
The importance of using legal software as well as the meaning of copyright laws and why it’s essential to protect copyrighted works such as software (Business Software Alliance)
If this sounds more like “propaganda” than “education,” that’s probably because Big Content funds such educational initiatives to decrease what it variously refers to in these curricula as “songlifting,” “bootlegging,” and “piracy.”

Actually, I think this is great. The best thing the RIAA has done ever. By making every child aware of the corporate interference with their culture and cultural expression, they’re giving kids the best opportunity to think differently and fight for cultural expression that is outside of their purview.

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Mirrored from Lemmingworks.

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globeandmail.com: Universities plan joint digital media program

Three Ontario universities – Ryerson, Waterloo and the University of Toronto – are in talks to create a new graduate school of digital media in downtown Toronto, aimed at linking top-flight students with businesses struggling to adapt to emerging technology.

The joint venture, unveiled yesterday by Ryerson President Sheldon Levy, could be running in less than two years, he said. The leaders of the three schools have already discussed the initiative with the province, and have taken the idea to businesses, including banks and technology firms.

No one told me! :) But Ryerson seems willing to take the lead on digital media, so we’ll see what happens.

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

A colleague sent me a link to the The Future of Children website. The Future of Children is a co-production of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. They’ve got some major events going on this spring, and the results are available online at the site.


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

Jeremy is again in a sharing mood, sending me this link for Aviary - Creation on the fly / tools

All of our tools are based right in your browser or as downloadable AIR applications. Our tools all communicate and relate to each other. To illustrate an example: You can import a swatch from Toucan into Phoenix, while doing complex bitmap processing of a 3D object developed in Hummingbird. Finally, you can take your finished artwork and lay it out in Owl as the DVD artwork for a music CD you and your friends put together in Roc and Myna and offer it for sale in our marketplace, Hawk.

Sounds useful for educators and kids alike.

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

Now it is getting fun. Pixel Qi is the project of Mary Lou Jepsen (former CTO of OLPC). Their web site starts off:

What computing can be, the XO laptop was just the first step.          

Pixel Qi is currently pursuing the $75 laptop, while also aiming to bring sunlight readable, low-cost and low-power screens into mainstream laptops, cellphones and digital cameras.

Spinning out from OLPC enables the development of a new machine, beyond the XO, while leveraging a larger market for new technologies, beyond just OLPC: prices for next-generation hardware can be brought down by allowing multiple uses of the key technology advances.  Pixel Qi will give OLPC products at cost, while also selling the sub-systems and devices at a profit for commercial use.

[via PC World - Former OLPC CTO Aims to Create $75 Laptop]

On another note: OLPC America to launch in 2008. What I’m afraid of is the cultural ignorance of the US. America is not the name of their country. They are the United States of America. If they say “OLPC America” means their 50 states, it is just reminding me that they either have to include all the Americas, or better, how about OLPC.US.

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

This is a neat path, sarting with northxsouth : free software news from latin america claiming “Corporatism threatens One-Laptop-Per-Child Project”:

Then, it was discovered that Intel was secretly pushing the Peruvian government to drop their order for OLPC computers and instead purchase an Intel competitor laptop. Intel is supposed to be a part of the OLPC project When Nicholas Negroponte complained about this, Intel’s response was simple: they withdrew their support from the OLPC project. You can read about it in this NYT article: Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children.

This article points to the New York Times article, Intel Quits Effort to Get Computers to Children, which notes:

A frail partnership between Intel and the One Laptop Per Child educational computing group was undone last month in part by an Intel saleswoman: She tried to persuade a Peruvian official to drop the country’s commitment to buy a quarter-million of the organization’s laptops in favor of Intel PCs….

In Peru, where One Laptop has begun shipping the first 40,000 PCs of a 270,000 system order, Isabelle Lama, an Intel saleswoman, tried to persuade Peru’s vice minister of education, Oscar Becerra Tresierra, that the Intel Classmate PC was a better choice for his primary school students.

Unfortunately for Intel, the vice minister is a longtime acquaintance of Mr. Negroponte and Seymour Papert, a member of the One Laptop team and an M.I.T. professor who developed the Logo computer programming language. The education minister took notes on his contacts with the Intel saleswoman and sent them to One Laptop officials.

And most interestingly to a long article in Fortune, Negroponte on Intel’s $100 laptop pullout - Jan. 4, 2008
Fortune: What’s the biggest single reason your partnership with Intel fell apart?, which is an interview with Negroponte not only outlining the problem

Negroponte: The biggest single reason was that they were directly selling their Classmate laptop as opposed to having it be a reference design. They’re not selling it in this country because they’d be killed by their biggest customers like Dell (DELL, Fortune 500). But in the developing world they are selling directly. It just set them apart from every single one of our other sponsors [which include AMD, Google, News Corp., Taiwan’s Quanta Computer (which builds the XO), and Florida-based distributor Brightstar]. When Intel joined us we thought we could move toward that being a reference design more and more, and less toward them selling the Classmate itself.

But oddly it went in the other direction. And then they started using their position on the board of OLPC as a sort of credibility statement. When they disparaged the XO to other countries they said that they should know about it because they were on the board. They even had somebody go to Peru, which was a done deal for OLPC, and rant and rave to the vice minister in charge. He dutifully took copious notes and was stunned.

And he shared them with you? Yeah. It was unbelievable. “The XO doesn’t work, and you have no idea the mistake you’ve made. You’ll get yourselves into big trouble,” and that kind of stuff. We kept the sale of course, but when one of your partners goes and does that, what do you do? It first happened in Mongolia. And at that point [Intel CEO] Paul Otellini called me and basically asked to not be thrown off the board, because they were going to change their ways. But they didn’t.

Why, do you think? He’s got 100,000 people and he can’t control all of them. That’s part of his problem. When I sign a nondisparagement clause that means all our people. He said we’ll get a machine ready for CES and make a joint statement together there. As recently as three days ago we still thought we were going to introduce it. We had asked them to do very very small things and they just decided not to.

Do you wish OLPC and Intel could be less acrimonious? Well, we weren’t acrimonious for 7 months. But they signed an agreement and didn’t do one single thing in the agreement.

Like what? Nondisparagement is the easiest. That clause they violated all over the place. They said they’d work on software, but they didn’t touch it. We said we’d work on the architecture together, and that wasn’t done. We said we’d work on a processor and to this day don’t have a spec on it. The nonfulfillment on theiir side was so continuous I don’t even know what to say.

So the real issue was they were competing with you? We’re like the World Food Program and they’re McDonald’s. They can’t compete. They are both food organizations but for completely different purposes. If the Classmate were in the hands of every single child in the world, that would be pretty good. Could it have better power charcteristics, a better display, etc.? Sure, that would be good. But I don’t care if kids get the XO so much as that they get laptops.

This is interesting information. I’ve always been worried about OLPC being a bit of a Western hegemonic force, or the danger in becoming one. The reason I want my own laptop is that I want to see and follow how the OLPC can be subverted by the learner and the learner’s culture to do what is meaningful and important for them beyond the purview of the West (or in the West, out of control of the dominant discourses). Can the OLPC be ‘good’ for the people who are getting it. The model, which Negroponte notes is apt: world food program vs mcdonalds. I was thinking of the world food program vs baby food producers (Nestlé boycott - Wikipedia). Of course I have no personal information about any of this, and I’m just sharing what I’ve read. Intel could have valid reasons that we don’t know about. I’m not condemning anyone. But it does seem like the OLPC has the moral high ground on this, and that Intel is helping them to define it and show it. If so, it becomes a direction and technology of even greater interest to me, and, I hope, of value to the world. Let’s see.

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

People ask me why I’m doing work in virtual worlds when there aren’t any virtual worlds out there for kids… Well, yes there are, and there will be more of them soon: Virtual Worlds News: JP Morgan Bullish on Kids’ Worlds

Yesterday JP Morgan released its “Nothing But Net: 2008 Internet Investment Guide.” It’s 312 pages long, but skip on down to page 70 for JP Morgan’s virtual worlds primer. The investment company doesn’t look at virtual worlds as a whole for investment, instead pointing to “two audiences, two differing growth curves” for children’s worlds and worlds aimed at adults. The company believes that worlds for adults have yet to see mainstream appeal, but that the market is in its infancy and 2008 will bring “rapid growth.” Regardless, the company is “bullish on sites for children” as they “present parents an opportunity to let their kids play online and interact in a closed environment that is perceived as safe, especially when sites are operated by companies with trusted brands.”

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

Two bits of interesting information. Intel leaving OLPC seems strange. I can’t imagine that OLPC would be crazy enough to demand a monopoly or foolish enough to not think that intel could support the project, so there must be something more involved. I’m not mindlessly pro-OLPC, since I’ve not gotten mine yet and there are social, cultural and pedagogical issues with any piece of technology from blackboard to textbooks to technology that must be considered. Which leads me into the next point. Digital divide? Even the term is problematic, to me, and to I think many others interested in education and social justice issues. Do I have to list the issues in calling it a divide? Na. You can look it up. There will be a test.

OLPC News: Intel Leaves OLPC Board Over Classmate Sales: “Sadly, this spat has ended hopes for a Diamondville XO Laptop, which could have born the best of both worlds: Intel focused on selling laptops, OLPC focused on changing education.”
Access? Open source? Rethinking the digital divide

Rethinking the digital divide - now that’s a mighty big agenda, especially in the context of attempts to increase access to learning technology for a range of disadvantaged individuals across the globe….
The ALT conference will focus on the following dimensions:

  1. Global or local - What are the dichotomies between global and local interests in, applications of and resources for learning technology?
  2. Institutional or individual - How can the tensions between personal and institutional networks, and between formal and informal content, be resolved?
  3. Pedagogy or technology - How do we prevent the enthusiasms of developers from skewing development away from the needs of learners and are pedagogic problems prompting new ways of using technology?
  4. Access or exclusion - How can learning technology enable access rather than cause exclusion?
  5. Open or proprietary - Can a balance be struck, or will the future be open source and open access?
  6. Private or public - What are the respective roles of the private and public sectors in the provision of content and services for learning?
  7. For the learner or by the learner - How can technology empower learners and help individuals take ownership of learning?

The closing date for submissions of full research papers is 29 February 2008. Full details of the ALT conference are available at: ALT-C 2008: Rethinking the digital divide ALT-C 2008, the 15th International Conference of the Association for Learning Technology

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

One Laptop Per Child — XO Giving

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time in North America. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops—one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home. If you’re interested in Give 1 Get 1, we’ll be happy to send you a reminder email. Just sign up in the box to the left and you’ll receive your reminder prior to the November 12 launch date.

I hope I can get one up here.

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We’re studying children as photographers in (c)cld419, and one of my students pointed me to this show that takes up many of the issues we’re interested in; seeing the world from the child’s perspective.

My Life As a Child Premieres February 26 at 7/6c

My Life As a Child documents the lives of 20 American children, between the ages of 7 and 11. Each episode inter-cuts the stories of three to four children from different backgrounds, providing a complete snapshot of American life through their eyes. 

These incredibly talented children were given digital cameras and the opportunity to film their own lives over the course of several months. They filmed themselves at home, in school and on vacation so that viewers could see every aspect of their lives. Most importantly, the children commented and narrated on their experiences through weekly video diaries, in which they talked to the camera about their thoughts and feelings.

My Life As a Child tackles difficult issues such as absent parents, divorce, racism and religious beliefs. In the show, the children offer their thoughts on the complexities of life, pondering such questions as the meaning of success and the role of gender. They also remind viewers of what it means to be a child, by sharing their favorite games, displaying their imaginations and discussing their dreams for the future.

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JuliaD blogged about this youtube video called medieval tech support.

Aside from the giggle this will give to all of us who teach tech to newbies, any newbie in my class should see it, to remember that everything is new at some point.

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Inside Higher Ed :: iCranky talks about a point close to my heart, as a teach-educator, just read and see. This isn’t someone who’s anti-technology, and I find it nostalgic to see someone talking about FTPing files. I find the whole tone of faculty workshops troubling, and engagement issues a bit like giving into marketting trends, and forcing new technology for the sake of itself just wrong-minded. Even though I teach tech, I want it to be used for the right pedagogically appropriate reasons, not just because…

I’m feeling a bit cranky. My colleagues and I have just received word that our next professional development day will focus on ways we need to technologize our teaching methods so that we can better facilitate the success of the newest new generation, commonly known as “Millennials.”This latest alien invasion of first-year students, we are told, are teenage battery packs “with wires running through their veins” plugged into video games, MySpace and iPods.Therefore, we better get our collective act together and at the very least hybridize the delivery of knowledge so that we can help them make the grade in the global marketplace.

So one of the reasons I’m cranky today is because most faculty development workshops I’ve attended assume no knowledge and experience on the part of those being lectured to about the latest advances in technology, learning style, and interconnectivity.

Nobody asks us what we already know and do. Nobody wants to know what the personality of our learning is. Nobody really wants to hear what we have to say. We’re stuffed into row after row of folding chairs facing the PowerPoint torture of illegible pie charts…

Another reason I’m cranky today is that I detest these facile characterizations of our students. At some point, I expect the next newest generation to be labeled “USBs” or “ScanDisks” or “Intels” or “iLearners.” These names and framing metaphors, of course, support all sorts of false notions of knowledge and learning and teaching and success and most frightening: humanity.

And I’m cranky because this attempt to equate pedagogy with technology confuses ends with means. “Student engagement” has become the latest assessment buzzphrase, and thus, the newest once-and-for-all measure of and purpose for learning.

Techno-teaching and ilearning are also best because that’s what our students expect from us. They are the current experts on learning, they know how they best prefer to learn, and we should deliver unto them what they want in the way they want it.

What our students need is not more of what they come in the door with. They don’t need more of the same in the same way they got it before. They need to be confronted with people who talk about ideas that matter. They need to become people who can confront and talk to other people about ideas that matter. They need to sit in a room of people and learn about humanity.

Also, not more Facebook, but more faces in books, extended periods of silent and sustained reading and writing, developing intellectual stamina and the ability to ask questions that don’t lead to easy answers or a quick and final Wikisearch.

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Slashdot | One Laptop Per Child Security Spec Released

“The One Laptop Per Child project has released information about its advanced security platform called Bitfrost. Could children with a $100 laptop end up with a better security infrastructure than executives using $5000 laptops powered by Vista? ‘What’s deeply troubling — almost unbelievable — about [Unix style permissions] is that they’ve remained virtually the only real control mechanism that a user has over her personal documents today…In 1971, this might have been acceptable…We have set out to create a system that is both drastically more secure and provides drastically more usable security than any mainstream system currently on the market.’”

I teach about children and technology, so my statement is not strange, but I’ve always believed that young learners (if they’re going to use digital technology at all, which is a different issue) should have the best. In the old days, you’d see a child with a 256 colour display trying to do something using cassette tapes to load programs while we whizzed away with the best stuff. It seemed strange to provde the developing mind with the most limited set of tools when a business exec who never did much with it anyway and the brightest and shiniest. Of course the child is seen as less valuable. My attitude is, and was before I started teaching about childrean and tech., that you give the best [insert variable] to the children to get the best children, and that the best children lead to the best adults. But we give the worst to children. (I’ve used best and worst for their vague sense of value without specifics to keep with the notion of the article). I don’t know if the OLPC project is the best thing for children, though I’ve been following the topic for longer than this specific project’s been around, but they might as well have the best possible security, since the world does such a poor job of keeping them safe in most other categories.

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eSchool News online - ‘Augmented reality’ helps kids learn:

Researchers at Harvard, MIT, and the University of Wisconsin at Madison have developed a project that uses “augmented reality” to teach students math and literacy skills. The project involves teams of students gathering data on handheld computers to explain why aliens have landed, and in the process students “interview” virtual characters they encounter at certain GPS hot spots. The researchers say the project holds great potential for engaging students and teaching high-level skills.

one more reason to not see what’s there when you go outside?

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Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Jeremeanie started me thinking again with Too many topics, too little time. » This note’s for you » One Laptop Per Child? about the One Laptop Per Child issue, and then I found this on SlashDot below. I think what’s bugging me is that old standard of ‘what was good enough for me is good enough for everyone’ nonsense. When was our modern notion of the child invented. I’ve heard it variously put as post war, turn of the century, early 19th C or beginning of the industrial revolution. And this has nothing to do with whether we loved children or not. Point: how we see children is socially constructed and open to change. Secondly, technology for children is also not eternal, and will change, just look at the history of children’s books. Personally, I think TV was a bad thing because it opened up children to advertising, aside from the notions of what the CRT does to the brain. Point: children are already wedded to produced content and current technologies of the time.

As with most everything, people think that what they grew up with is the norm, and befores and afters are somehow unenlightened.

I don’t know if the OLPC project is a good thing. It definitely bugs me for its lack of transparency and inclusivity, and the hegemonic air about it. Perhaps I’m just out of the loop and everything’s kosher, but who knows.

I do know that there’s no validity in the status quo argument at all.

I’ll wait to see what happens.

Slashdot | OLPC’s UI To Be Kid-Tested In February
“The AP is reporting that kid testing of Negroponte’s ‘$100 Laptop’ starts in February. This article is some of the first mainstream coverage of just how different the user interface of the XO Computer is — it ditches the traditional office metaphors in favor of a ‘neighborhood’ and an activity-based journaling approach. Video of Sugar, as the UI is called, has been out on the net for a while, and Popular Science recently gave the color / monochrome display a ‘Grand Award’ in its 2006 technology roundup. What do you think of this new UI?”

Related links:
Low-cost laptop could transform learning - Yahoo! News

YouTube - Slightly better demo of the OLPC User Interface

PopSci’s Best of What’s New 2006

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Slashdot | College Freshmen Struggle With Tech Literacy

an article on the E-Commerce News site [E-Commerce News: Trends: Generation M’s Surprising Struggle With Tech Literacy] about techno-literacy problems with incoming college freshmen. Some schools, like CSU, are planning on including a technology comprehension test alongside their English and Math evaluations for new students.

From the article: “Not all of Generation M can synthesize the loads of information they’re accessing, educators say. ‘They’re geeky, but they don’t know what to do with their geekdom,’ said Barbara O’Connor, a Sacramento State communications studies professor involved in a nationwide effort to hone students’ computer-research skills. On a recent nationwide test to measure their technological ‘literacy’ — their ability to use the Internet to complete class assignments — only 49 percent of the test-takers correctly evaluated a set of Web sites for objectivity, authority and timeliness. Only 35 percent could correctly narrow an overly broad Internet search.”

I can’t wait to see how this plays out in my senior courses this winter on Children and Technology. I’ve had a running argument with anyone would didn’t run away on what it takes to have a useful level of technoliteracy since I was first a TA around 1990. Knowing how to set up the VCR is nothing in comparison to understanding how to subvert the proscribed functions of the VCR. Merely following a manual is to technoliteracy what phonics is to reading Proust.

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Slashdot | How Skype Punches Holes in Firewalls “Ever wondered, how P2P software like Skype directly exchanges data — despite the fact, that both machines are sitting behind a firewall that only permits outgoing traffic? Read about the hole punching techniques, that make a firewall admin’s nightmares come true.”

I’ve never liked skype, though perhaps it has improved. When I found it was using my computer to route information and was making connections to things over the internet even when I had it turned off and disabled, I wiped the harddrive and did a clean install of everything to be sure it was off my computer. Of course there are people who know more than I do who can run skype and control port access and whatnot. But for the rest of you, when there’s something bad on your computer that runs when you tell it to turn itself off… what else is it doing or can it do?

jason: jason (Default)

Ex-Lemmingworks. ##.

Google For Educators looks like a good start. I wonder why I wasn’t personally told about this. :) I’ve had a google unit in my teaching for a couple of years, and I can’t wait to compare their ideas of how google’s good for teaching with what I’ve been doing. Of course my fav was showing students how to find excel spreadsheets that contained student information that had been mistakenly left exposed to the net.

[found via teachersource.]

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