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Archive for August, 2009

website: What does 21st century learning look like?

Education.au offers participants an exclusive opportunity to hear, discuss and debate with leading educators and technologists about 21st century learning.

The seminar provides an occasion for educators, academics, researchers, policy makers, curriculum designers, IT industry, digital media developers who represent a diversity of views and approaches, to meet and discuss the challenge.

The program for the day will feature speakers from technology companies and education sectors providing insight about:

* What does 21st century learning look like?
* What does it mean for our institutions and learning environments?
* How will 21st century learning impact on schooling, parents, the community, workplace and further education?

Panel discussions and opportunities from the audience to interact with speakers.

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website: www.ultimosciencefestival.com

Friday 21 – Sunday 30 August 2009

The fourth Ultimo Science Festival bursts into life from 21 to 30 August 2009 with day and night events, school sessions, family & kids events, pub events, talks and forums for everyone. It’s not just for geeks, scientists and students (though they’ll be there…) it’s for everybody!

The Ultimo Science Festival offers an amazing range of things to hear, see and do in National Science Week, along Harris St in Ultimo, 5 minutes walk from Sydney’s Central Railway and most events are free.

The Ultimo Science Festival is supported by the Australian Government and the City of Sydney. It’s an important event in the National Science Week calendar.

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Article: In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History – Tamara Lewin, The New York Times-Education.

Good article on the growing trend of ditching printed textbooks for online sources and e-book versions.

Two examples of governments preferring this method of distribution of knowledge is Korea’s Digital Textbook Program and the California Open Source Textbook Project.

In the New York Times article there is a quote from the superintendent of a low socio-economic area school…

“A large portion of our kids don’t have computers at home, and it would be way too costly to print out the digital textbooks.”

This is something to think about with Cloud computing and Learning (or Course) Management Software, as well as other digital resources — are we adding to the Digital Divide in our march towards -more- technology use in schools?

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Article: Cloud Computing in Institutions by “cetisli”

‘The term “Cloud Computing” refers to any computing capability that is delivered as a service over the Internet. While there is no authoritatively accredited definition of the concept, one of the most frequently used definitions is the one given by Gartner, who describe cloud computing as “a style of computing where massively scalable IT-related capabilities are provided ‘as a service’ across the Internet to multiple external customers.”’ — Cloud Computing in Institutions

I know this sounds like technobabble but the basics are simple…

1. software comes to you over the internet/server, instead of being downloaded onto your computer.
2. your files are stored over the internet/server, instead of on your computer.
3. this frees up your computer to just needing to run the browser, and email – this allows you to go without a hard drive, like some of the new netbooks, so you can have it cheaper and lighter than ever.

If you are an old computer geek , this might sound a little familiar.

Back in the bad old days before PCs landed on every desk, the world of business (and engineering, and the geek world in general,) used what were called ‘Dumb Terminals‘ linked up to a massive ‘server‘ that, essentially, did all the work and stored all the files.

Do you remember Tron? The big baddy was the Master Control Program (article on MCP & friends). That’s the mainframe server. The original Cloud.

Now – if you use Gmail and Google Docs (for example) you are using Cloud Apps. The software exists only online, you access it online, and your emails and docs are saved on huge banks of servers taken care of by Google staff (in this case).

This blog is also in The Cloud. I don’t have a copy of it anywhere. WordPress give me access to the software I need to make it look pretty, and they host it. I don’t have a copy on a computer, but I can access it from any computer, with a login.

This is working in a fluid way. You are not tied to one computer. You can be anywhere, but you are right there, accessible.

Questions:
– what does this mean for books? think about the Project Gutenburg, if a text of the book is available online and a student can’t just accidently leave it at home if the class is reading the e-text.
– what does this mean for project documents? think about Google Docs, groups of students can work collaboratively on projects from the library, from home, on a weekend after a sporting event.
– could teachers use the Cloud to discuss students that might need more attention? Take a look at Google Wave and think about its use for teaching staff.

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