Friday, July 29, 2011

Rediscovering John Perry Barlow...

Something made me think of John Perry Barlow's A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace that he wrote in 1996 as a response to the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which was the first attempt pf the US government to regulate (some say censor) what what said by whom on the Internet.

It had been probably six or eight years since I last read it... it is still timely... as much now as it was then. I think I am going to have my middle school students read it this year.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cyborg Anthropology

In this short TED Talk, Amber Case describes some of the important trends in cyborg anthropology... she makes excellent points with which we should all be familiar:

  • technology extends us
  • information technology extends our cognitive abilities
  • we have amazing connections that increase our humanness
  • we do need time to reflect

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baseball in the Digital Age-- The World is Changing

My sons and I went to Fenway Park on Sunday--saw a Sox victory, Terry Francona's 1001th win as a manager and Tim Wakefield's 2000th strikeout as a Red Sox pitcher. Lets' look a little deeper:

1) We purchased tickets from a season ticket holder who had placed them on a web site that caters to that market.

2) We downloaded and printed our own tickets which were scanned so that we could enter the stadium.

3) Waiting for the subway, my son started downloading the app for MBTA.

4) I paid for gas and subway "tokens" by putting my credit card in the gas pump and the Charlie Card vending machine.

5) Fans in the really expensive seats just below us (we had Pavilion Box seats) were placing orders for concessions with wait staff using digitized pads, and paying with credit cards that were scanned on those pads.

6) I saw many fans (including myself) taking pictures with their phones, updating their status on FaceBook, sending email, and otherwise sharing the experience with others.

The experience of handing your ticket to an usher and having a torn stub handed back appears to be gone... the experience of passing food from vendor in the aisle to those further down the row and then money and change back and forth seems to be leaving (at least in some seats)... the experience on knowing just how much the trip costs by the disappearing collection of bills in your pocket appears to be gone as well.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Need Evidence the World is Changing?

I dare anyone to watch this and then build an argument for keeping math education "same as it ever was... same as it ever as... same as it ever was..."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

ISBN & DOI-- a primer

I was excited about Zotero (see yesterday's post and previous posts) and had the chance to show it to a colleague. He asked a great question, and I realized I probably needed to introduce educators to these tools as they are very useful in the web-centric world in which Google dominates.

ISBN's are International Standard Book Numbers-- these 13-digit numbers identify every book that is published (a few years ago the standard switched from 10 digits to 13 digits, thus many books have two ISBN's).

DOI's are Digital Object Identifiers-- these much longer than 13-digit "numbers" (letters are also allowed in doi's--sometimes the acronym is capitalized, sometimes not) are assigned by publishers to articles that are published in periodicals, and because most periodicals are accessed via online databases, these facilitate searching.

When you find an ISBN or a DOI, you can enter it in a search box (you can Google it) and the details of the resources are immediately available--and ISBN's and doi's can be entered into Zotero to be automatically added to your bibliography.

Try it... 

copy and paste this bold text: 10.1080/01972240600567170 into Google and you will find details of this article:
Deuze, M. (2006). Participation, Remediation, Bricolage: Considering Principal Components of a Digital Culture. The Information Society22(2), 63-75.

copy and paste this bold text: 9780385533065 into Google and you will find details of this book:
Christian, B. (2011). The most human human : what talking with computers teaches us about what it means to be alive (1st ed.). New York: Doubleday.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zotero -- Really gotta use it!

Previously, I suggested Zotero is an excellent tool for managing and sharing bibliographic records. As I made the suggestion just after I learned about the site, I was commenting only on what I thought the potential was; recently, I have been trying to polish up a writing project and so have a growing bibliography... when it is done, I expect around 100 sources.

I have been managing the bibliography with Zotero. When writing, I have my word processor with the reference section open in a file and I have Firefox with the Zotero plug in installed. I add references to Zotero with the ISBN or DOI and wait a few second for the information to be loaded into Zotero, then drag the icon for the source from Firefox onto the task bar and into the reference file, and move the drop text cursor to the correct spot in the list and drop it.

I do notice about 20% of the entries have some error... maybe listing only one of several authors is the most common error I have noticed. Most of the sources I am using for my project are also being added to a group I started... check it out:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Internet

For those who have been paying attention, this summer has been full of stories about information technologies and the ethics of those devices. Personally, I hope these stories stay in the news and western societies continue the collective conversation about how to conduct ourselves in the digital world. I hope we ("the people") also continue to be heard and those who acted in an unethical manner (and their bosses and the owners of the companies for which they worked) are held accountable both economically and criminally.

As educators, we all have a responsibility to engage our students in discussions about the world in which they live and to encourage them to think about what companies and governments are doing and how those actions affect us. To that end, the speaker in a recently posted TED Talk proposes we "take the Internet back." It is on my "to share ith students" list for the fall:

Monday, July 11, 2011

Interesting View of the Internet

An RSA Animate video that challenges some of the assumptions that are common about technology and its social influences is available on YouTube:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Some TED wisdom...

I have not visited TED yet this summer... today, I happened to stop by and found a couple of interesting talks... and they are short!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Information

This summer, I finished James Gleick's The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood. This is a book that needs to become on of the "must reads" for the second decade of the 21st century; despite the 426 pages of text.

The subtitle does explain the content and organization of the book perfectly. First, several chapters dedicated to the arrival of writing (and its effects on society) and the history of books and computers and networks. These chapters deserve careful reading and reflection by those who hope to be educated in our knowledge age. Second, several chapters detailing the work of the information theorists in the mid-20th century and ho people like Claude Shannon and Alan Turing (and their many colleagues and collaborators) tamed and framed information so that that computer revolution could occur. Finally, a brief treatment of the changed information landscape.

Educators should take some time to become familiar with the history and the flood of information and to come to understand the implications for their work and the questions that arise. These are the issues that will determine the direction our professional takes in the coming years. Educators should be familiar with the theory of information because it tells us the concepts upon which our professional is built, but I am think getting caught up in those details may interfere with what we do in the classroom.