edubuzz blogs help build East Lothian’s learning community

An East Lothian teacher I met tonight mentioned how odd it seemed that, in her few years teaching here, she felt that she knew so many staff in the other authority schools, and so much of what was going on.

She’d been in a city school in a previous life, and had felt much less in touch with what was going on despite the relatively short distances between them.

She didn’t put forward any reason for this, but went on to mention how her class had been:

  • using blog stats from other school’s blogs for data handling exercises
  •  stealing ideas from other class and school blogs to use in class
  • enjoying publishing their own blog and getting comments back

She had been actively involved, too, in publishing the work of a project for others to share, and enjoyed browsing staff blogs.

Of course, this doesn’t in any way prove cause and effect, but more and more of this kind of anecdotal evidence is emerging to suggest that this spider’s web of connections between schools, classes, students and staff is gradually creating a strong sense of a single learning community.

The Top 100 Web2.0 Apps

Webware Top 100 Web2.0 Apps

Via John Naughton,  the Webware Top 100 ( . Webware provide a navigator to help with browsing them.

Organisations will soon be scrabbling to get people who can choose the right tools from the Web2.0 toolbox, and use them effectively. Schools that continue to churn out students who’ve been “protected” from them are going to have a lot of explaining to do…

How will schools educate for Science2.0?

Looks like Web2.0 is now impacting science in radical ways. Maybe it’s time to start thinking about recording those experiments on-line, and not just in private jotters? Via Slashdot:

Scientific American is running a major article on Science 2.0, or the use of Web 2.0 applications and techniques by scientists to collaborate and publish in new ways. “Under [the] radically transparent ‘open notebook’ approach, everything goes online: experimental protocols, successful outcomes, failed attempts, even discussions of papers being prepared for publication… The time stamps on every entry not only establish priority but allow anyone to track the contributions of every person, even in a large collaboration.” One project profiled is MIT’s OpenWetWare, launched in 2005. The wiki-based project now encompasses more than 6,100 Web pages edited by 3,000 registered users. Last year the NSF awarded OpenWetWare a 5-year grant to “transform the platform into a self-sustaining community independent of its current base at MIT… the grant will also support creation of a generic version of OpenWetWare that other research communities can use.” The article also gives air time to Science 2.0 skeptics. “It’s so antithetical to the way scientists are trained,” one Duke University geneticist said, though he eventually became a convert.

BT, er, clarifies get-out terms in time for Phorm

I’m getting worried about my old friend BT. She’s fallen in with the wrong company, Phorm, and started behaving completely out of character, being evasive, and started getting into trouble with the law. It was like she didn’t know who she was any more. Saw her interviewed recently, and she couldn’t even answer a simple question.

Today she wrote to me to “keep me informed”, she said, but it was like her memory had gone completely; she didn’t mention any of it. “You can have complete trust in me”, she said.

And she’s losing her grip on language. If you were asked to clarify the term “significant disadvantage”, would you replace it with “material disadvantage”? No, I thought not. That doesn’t clarify it, it completely changes the meaning. But here’s what her letter said.

Changes to the Terms and Conditions for … BT Total Broadband … took place on 3rd January 2008. The changes are summarised below:

  • All references to contractual changes which are to your ‘significant disadvantage’ have been changed to ‘material disadvantage’. These changes are for clarification purposes only.
  • In future when we make contractual changes that we reasonably believe is to your ‘material disadvantage’ we will also let you know that you may end the agreement early without paying a charge for doing so.

She seems to have completely lost her grip of how language works, and has started to think you can just redefine words at will.

Or maybe there’s method in this madness? A reasonable person would view introduction of compulsory interception of their private internet traffic as a change to their significant disadvantage. That might lead them to decide to go elsewhere. Even if they were locked into an 18-month contract, they could walk away without charge, because of that “significant disadvantage”.

But if those terms were, er, “clarified” to replace “significant disadvantage” with “material disadvantage”, the old girl might just argue that things were different. Intercepting private traffic without permission might be illegal and breach the psychological contract between ISP and customer – but it might just be argued that it doesn’t cause a material disadvantage.

This episode has got me suddenly appreciating the emphasis on texts of all kinds in the literacy outcomes.

The definition of ‘texts’ also needs to be broad and future proof. Within Curriculum for Excellence,
a text is the medium through which ideas, experiences, opinions and information can be communicated.
Texts include those presented in traditional written or print form, but also orally, electronically or on film. link

This is, of course, a private view.

Eee PC to get special Windows build

 Not that Microsoft are worried, of course not.

KrispyChips via Slashdot

“In what could be a first Microsoft is working to create a special build of Windows, just because Windows doesn’t run very well on a certain computer. ASUS’ runaway success Eee PC is now ‘officially’ available with Windows XP, but (according to APC magazine) is not exactly a great experience. There are none of the nice pre-loaded apps that come with the Linux version, for example. And XP has some real problems coping with the screen size and limited system specs of the unit. As a result, ASUS says it is going back to Microsoft and working on a special XP build that will be lightweight and more suited to UMPCs.”

Welcome at Do Not Call it a Blog!

Just had the odd experience, while checking for WPMU news, of finding this “What if…?” post which describes a future vision that’s not a million miles from describing East Lothian’s edubuzz community.

Welcome at Do Not Call it a Blog!
What if we didn’t understand what we do in education with blogs as “blogging” but as a quick and easy way to publish online within a learning community? Or a place to feature a portfolio of students’ best work? Or a site where professors and staff track their professional and personal development? What if we understood “campus blogging initiatives” as a community publishing platform to share, learn, and integrate various resources from around the Web into a more specific community?