Happy holidays! Lunch Box will be shutting its lid for a month from now until mid January 2009. Thanks to all who’ve contributed comments, ideas and support in 2008.
I’ve really enjoyed blogging this year - it’s been a great discpline for me, professionally, to commit my ideas to screen. In November, Lunch Box had 773 visits from 582 visitors. On top of that, since mid September, 38 feeds have been picked up by readers. Visitors have been steadily increasing since I started in July. I plan to keep going next year, with an extended scope, now that my job is evolving to include e-learning research and innovation.
A few treats for the Christmas stocking, then. I’ve written on trends in education recently, so here’s some thoughts from the periphery …
First, this holidays I won’t be far away from Google Earth – some bright spark has created a mashup with surf forecasts, layering swell maps, wind direction, wave height and tides over Google Earth to help me track down that elusive wave.
I’m sure we’ll see many more mashups in 2009. Try Dipity’s timetube, which builds a timeline of videos scraped from across the web from your keywords. This has many uses – for example, tracking news stories and perspectives on current events.
Second, Sony Playstation has just launched the virtual world Home, which I’m picking will give Second Life a run for its money in 2009. The animation and rendering in Home are astonishing.
I’ve been re-reading an excellent article: Carrington, V (2007) ‘“I’m Dylan and I’m not going to say my last name”: some thoughts on childhood, text and new technologies’, British Educational Research Journal, 34:2, 151-166.
Carrington argues that young people’s practices around technology – think of blogging, social networking, texting, fan fiction etc – are resulting in new forms of identity construction. Whereas traditionally adults controlled the flow of information to children, young people today have access to the same sources of information and the same technologies as adults, and they are using this information and these tools, often independent of adults, to comment on the world around them.
Young people are producing the very media that they consume, and Carrington is saying that these practices are challenging our traditional notions of the adult-child social hierarchy:
… the convergence of technological change and new forms of identity construction around self-narrative present a new model of the child that does not find a comfortable fit with many of the more traditional discourses. Schools are modernist institutions par excellence. They are premised upon segmented roles, spaces and timings and upon particular developmentally hierarchical understandings about children and childhood. These views and the accompanying institutional practices have contributed to the exclusion of children from direct participation in civic life. (p161)
This all feels a bit unsettling. As Carrington says, if children are not who they used to be, and learning happens in places different from where it used to happen, then ‘curriculum, school hierarchies and classrooms cannot … continue to be what they used to be’ (p164).
I’m the first to let my mind wander when someone talks metadata to me, but Digital New Zealand has converted me to its power. I posted recently on this initiative from the National Library. Well, DigitalNZ was officially launched this week by a talent National Library team and their content partners and collaborators, who should be rightly chuffed with their achievements.
To top the release of the Coming Home search widget and the remixing tool Memory Maker, DigitalNZ has released an open API that lets developers build services over the metadata that DigitalNZ has harvested from its content partners in the culture and heritage sector. To understand how this works, click on the fabulous diagram above, which explains it visually much better than I ever could in words.
An example of the kind of tool that’s possible (one that the DigitalNZ team ‘prepared earlier’) is the customisable search builder, which lets users design their own mini search engine to search for New Zealand content on a subject of their interest – volcanoes, disasters, ANZAC day, and so on.
Wow! You can see the educational uses immediately. Pop a search on your wiki or website relating to your class’s inquiry or project – learners will be guaranteed quality New Zealand content on that topic.
… it’s a computer – equivalent in computing power to a year 2000 PowerBook or an XBox or a PlayStation2. It’s a fine example of ubiquitous computing and convergence (a global positioning system plus wireless access to the web as well as a phone).
I’ve been out walking with Nathan and Baxter the dog. We took Nathan’s iPhone and activated the RunnKeeper iPhone application, which Nathan had previously downloaded from the iTunes App Store. On our walk, RunKeeper takes the data from the iPhone’s GPS, which marks the route and time, and sends it to the RunKeeper web application.
When we get back home, we check out www.runkeeper.com, which has received our data and displays the start and end time and distance of our walk, accesses maps to record elevation and present the route, and calculates the elapsed time, average pace and average speed. It also displays a graph plotting elevation and speed against distance. We can map multiple walks and runs over time to chart our progress and reach our fitness goals. Do we need all this data? Well, we’re finding that the increased distances that we are walking and running is motivating.