Get Your Walk Score - A Walkability Score For Any Address seems neat. Rochelle twittered about this. It would be a great tool that if I ever moved, to find out where would be the best place to live. I’ll add it to my science class next year for sure.
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.
Check out Innovate: Hacking Say and Reviving ELIZA: Lessons from Virtual Environments by Rochelle Mazar and Jason Nolan:
As text-based predecessors to Second Life, MOOs can offer educators important insights on managing virtual communities to create rich, meaningful learning experiences. Rochelle Mazar and Jason Nolan outline two instructional experiments in MOOs that have implications for current educational practice in Second Life. One involves modifying and modulating users’ ability to speak, first by strategically removing this ability altogether in an attempt to manage information flow and then by adding context-based text to a student’s speech to strengthen the immersiveness of the experience. The second experiment explores the use of chatterbots to deepen the richness and interactivity of a virtual build. While MOOs and Second Life appear to be vastly different technologies, Mazar and Nolan highlight their similarities and suggest that educators can apply the lessons learned from MOO experience to Second Life practice.
Forget the pills, hypnosis, and meditation. Losing weight or boosting self-confidence can be achieved by adopting an avatar and living in virtual reality, says Jeremy N. Bailenson, an assistant professor of communications at Stanford University.
Well, Duh! Amy Bruckman’s work like a billion years ago explored that.
Alexandra Alter on the toll one man’s virtual marriage is taking on his real one and what researchers are discovering about the surprising power of synthetic identity.
Rochelle told me about this one. Yuka calls SL my “second wife” but I think she was referring to something slightly different.
Rex Murphy is talking about whether tuition fees are too high; during the show, Jason and I had this conversation:
Rochelle: are you listening to rex murphy?
Rochelle: it’s about tuition
Rochelle I’m not terribly sympathetic
Rochelle: tuition fees are fine
Rochelle: it’s the living expenses that are the problem
Jason: I’m very sympathetic about the whole show
Rochelle: if tuition were free
Rochelle: there would still be a ton of students who couldn’t afford university
Jason: yes, but they couldn’t afford to do anything right?
Jason: living is living
Rochelle: well, sure they could
Rochelle:they could afford to WORK
Rochelle: where they actually have an income
Jason: working poor can’t afford to live in toronto
Rochelle: well, there’s that, sure
Jason: that’s the problem
Rochelle: now, if they cut residence fees in half
Rochelle: and meal plan fees
Jason: so yes, there is a problem with ‘living wages’ in cities
Jason: but that’s a bigger issue of which tuition is a part, right?
Rochelle: or, alternatively, made it easier to attend university from their parents’ house in napanee
Jason: I like your man’s approach
Rochelle: yeah, agreed
Rochelle: I’d love to see education turn into a workstudy sort of thing
Rochelle: so you take fewer courses per term, but you work part time in some socially useful capacity
Rochelle: shelters and libraries and child care
Jason: like the peace corps
Jason: the EduCorps
Rochelle: those folks who build houses for people
Rochelle: youth programs
Jason: work in appropriate trades
Rochelle: now, wouldn’t that be useful?
Jason: 20 hours work a week, plus summers would pay for your education
Rochelle: register for work, learning and applying knowledge
Jason: optional of course, but ya.
Rochelle: think of the skills they would come out with! Their job possibilities would be outrageous!
Jason: call rex and tell him
Rochelle: I should
Jason: do it!
Rochelle: I’ll email him instead!
And so I did! I sent him this very transcript!
Rochelle was telling me about this Jesus in Japan | MetaFilter thing… so I went to have a look. Lots of fun information on
Cercle Zetetique : Jesus Christ’s grave in Shingo, Japan! including: “…eat a nice “Dracula” ice cream, which, in addition to being delicious (Shingo garlic is not renowned for no reason!), will turn vampires away. The crucifix drawn on the lid will finish repelling any vampire still surviving after the garlic (and a crucifix is right in the theme of the place)!”
Now, what could be better than that?
Rochelle’s got a wonderful post up (Random Access Mazar » MLearn: One Laptop Per Child) and a bunch of others from the MLearn conference in Banff. JuliaD and I have been talking about zero cost computing pretty much since when we met, and watching the MIT One Laptop Per Child project has been interesting. Rochelle has brought up many of the questions we have had, and added some from the Librarian’s perspective as well.
Introducing computers and digital technology into a new environment always SHOULD make one think about what is missing, what must be taken away, and what is lost, MORE than what is merely gained. Debates that can answer the should we or shouldn’t we do this in a definite clear manner are pretty useless to me personally. The question is more that of seeing that it is going to happen, how do we maximize valuing of what is presently there so that what we add is additive rather than destructive. I’m happy to see the debate from as many perspectives as possible.
Rochelle sent me this article which is really interesting: The Chronicle: 10/6/2006: E-Mail is for Old People: “As students ignore their campus accounts, colleges try new ways of communicating….” While I’m very happy that people are thinking this through, they don’t seem to be thinking that wisely or deeply. I did post something recently about this and thin technologies but it also is an issue of appropriate technologies. When I’m the prof. and I want to communicate with students about formal matters, sending an IM is, well, stupid. And with Facebook and Myspace, the cognitive equivalent of social communication as dressing up to go to a disco in a stripmall, you’ve got to wonder how far out of touch the admin might be. I’ve used IM for communicating with students for years. The problem wtih that is that they don’t use any of the ‘good’ ones and I have to use MSN (I guess I’m old school prefering IRC (yes, I know I trash IRC but that’s for a diff reason), ICQ, AIM/iChat, MOOs or the like).
I use AIM/iChat mostly to communcate with colleagues. While I was working with my RA on the songchild project (http://songchild.org) I was IMing with Danny, who teaches part time at ECE, showing him how to use media wiki, and editing the CSS for his wiki. We were in text, but when he was trying things out we switched to audio (which is a function of iChat) so we could type while we talked. And of course I could have 2-3 other chats going on with other faculty. Facebook isn’t quite up to that level of communication, though it is good for the rather thin communication that perhaps is all students want to engage in.
I’d prefer a jabber server for our school though, then we could be sure that we had a record that messages were at least sent. That’s what I like about institutional email… we have proof that it got to a student’s account, and the reverse. You can lead a student to email, but you can’t ensure they read it… Hmmm… I’d even think that setting up a monastic learning environment in World of Warcraft would be better than just getting a school facebook account. Now that’s a thought.
Our job is to improve student’s ability to communicate, not bring the level down to what has been marketted at young people. I’ve yet to find anyone who can justify FB or MS as a more rich or sophisticated form of tech over whatever else is available… and there are so many other ways of keeping in touch… of course blogs and livejournal, or even MOOs.
As well, if students were ACTUALLY more sophisticated they could do what I do. My university email is forwarded to my gmail account, and the email I send out from Mail.app is configured such that anything I send out appears to come from my university. And they wouldn’t need to go to the unversity account at all, nor embarass their friends with a stupid email account name.
This is also funny. UofT and Ryerson both allow for firstname/lastname@ email accounts. My students who try (they stop after the first try) to email me from elsewhere as firstname.lastname@example.org are directed to try again from something slightly more appropriate.
The final interesting point is that I strongly suggest that students experiment with a more professional language register than they are used to.
I am sorry that I will not be in class today, as my new puppy ate my bus pass, and my student loans will not be in until next week, and there’s a meteor shower at the moment.
Ed the Horse
Most of my students want a job when they graduate, and they see the point of knowing how to communicate effectively and professionally with their future employers, and later on with their employees. If they just want to communicate with their friends, they’re more than welcome to, since education is all about the choices we make based on the opportunities available to us.
[Listen to Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town on Last.fm in another window while reading this]
Catsy is back in down doing some cult/evangelicalical work for Google. So we’re having a good ol’time pizza night, which I’ve not organized in ages, this saturday night. Rochelle’s the major force, and JuliaD should be there if she’s forgiven me, along with some new faces who will not be embarassed in public. Just wish more of the crew were afoot. Seems like I haven’t made ‘Za since March for a group [see blog for the last and here’s a list of 28 posts relating to ‘Za on my site ] and I just hope that I can find something suitably creative to pull off this time. Wild Boar Prosciutto is hard to top. But I do have some truffle olive oil that Ken gave me.
I was about to post on this, cause i read it on /. but then I realized that everyone was doing it, so I’d just point to someone who had more spare time than I do… like Catspaw!
Nearly half of Radcliffe Publishing Course’s “top 100 novels of the 20th century” were banned at some point. This is not an occurrence from distant history. This is still happening today.
This week Google is promoting the American Library Association’s “Celebrate your Freedom to Read” campaign against banning books.
Catsy seems to be cutting in on Rochelle’s job of being a force for good.
Was just reading Alex’s post on Facebook creepifies?, and then went to have a look. I’ve always ignored it. Seems like Facebook, MySpace, Orkut, LinkedIn are all just examples of form without content technologies that allow people to pretend that they exist.
As one sage and urbane professorial friend put it while we were chatting online:
- never assume anyone on facebook does anything
- fb is about college and stuff
- orkut is about brazillians having sex
- linkedin is about business
- and myspace is about teenagers pretending to be adults pretending to be teenagers who are actually 45 year old women looking for teenagers pretending to be adults… so they can condemn the practice
Of course he’d trash blogs and Livejournal, but for me, and I point to Rochelle for getting this into my head, it is about metaphor and the location of discourse. Blogs locate a narrative on yourself. It is all about you. The others mentioned above are all about pretending you are someone… the location of discourse is ‘elsewhere’, and the metaphor is hype, with a little bit of the simulacra thrown in somewhere. What I find interesting is that there seems to be a relationship between popularity of a technology and its inability to actually DO anything of value. If you have to work at it, express yourself, think about what is important to you and how you want to share it with others, then it is just too much work. If you just have to create a list of personal opinions edited to highlight how you are simultaneously just like everyone else and much cooler than you really are, then the technology is a hit. Hmmm… I wonder why that is?