new education resources

It’s been a while since I last blogged. However here are some great resources for educators:

  1. New Horizons has created an excellent database of reviewed learning tools and you may look for tools based on level of education.
  2. Museum Box: a fun tool for presentations especially in the humanities field [requires financial subscription]
  3. If you want to create animations similar to the RSA animations, you have the opportunity to do so via Sparkol –  fantastic tool for any kind of presentation. Pricey though.. but worth it if you can pay.
  4. Movly is another presentation and animation tool that is available for free – and you may pay for advanced features, though not as excellent as sparkol
  5. Emaze lets you create beautiful presentations but somewhat slow. However it could be downloaded in its entirety so you don’t have to wait for the presentation to load.
  6. Tagxedo, word cloud with styles – similar to Wordle.
  7. Visuwords: where you may look up dictionary words and the result is giving you the word as nouns, verbs, adjectives or adverbs. It also tells you the relationship between words.
  8. Polleverywhere: wherey ou may poll your students instantly in class.
  9. Wikihood’s ultimate goal is to organize the world’s knowledge – stored in the Wikipedia – for any location worldwide, accessible to anyone anywhere.

Besides those, one of the most exciting technologies  to-date is augmented reality. while I love it and find it thrilling as pages come to life, it is still unsophisticated. The requirement to download specific software each time you want to run an AR is daunting. I think it will take off once we can view any AR marker just by opening the camera.

Here are some tools:

  1. Aursama: either download on your mobile – which is very easy to use and create on the fly auras, or use the aurasma studio.
  2. Zooburst allows you to create animations online.
  3. Information about augmented reality in education is also on this wiki
  4. Imaginality unleashed

This is a great example of creative augmented reality: The Sancho Plan video he Sancho Plan] is a group of writers, musicians, animators, designers and computer programmers who use create interactive entertainment. On March 24, 2010 at the BBC Big Screen Millennium Square in Bristol, they created an augmented reality performance where the participants were able to control the music and movement.



– A2K4 – perespectives on access to knowledge – APC

Questions to be discussed in the panel:

  • What is the relevance of A2K and human rights to each other? Which substantive aspects of human rights – for example, health, education, food, freedom of expression, and cultural rights – are implicated by A2K issues and how? Which methodological and institutional approaches hold relevance?
  • Do the A2K and human rights approaches fit together easily or in tension? What unique insights can each offer the other?  What would it mean to theorize A2K as a human right? Is access to knowledge better understood as a negative liberty or a positive entitlement?
  • Is the human rights framework – norms, institutions, and methodologies of advocacy – a useful one for advancing A2K goals? What are the risks, challenges, and opportunities involved in theorizing A2K as a human right? What venues, tools, allies and enemies might be acquired by this framing? [source:]
  • Jeremy Malcolm, Consumers International: A2K is about finding human rights dimensions to legal issues such as communication policies and intellectual properties etc.  A2K is a framework for other human rights issues.

    DSC00286Natasha Primo, Association for Progressive Communications: APC was a network of ISPs and started working with progressive NGOs and mainly in South Africa. Its membership is spreading across the world.

    What do these rights look like in the context of human rights? Access to info is also about access to tools which is access to infrastructure. APC outlined 7 themes: access to all, freed om of expression and association, access to knowledge, shared learning and creation – free and open source software and tech development, privacy, surveillance and encryption, governance of the internet, awareness, protection and realization of rights.

    What is A2K? this evolved and now deals with intellectual rights etc. The right to access to knowledge, the right to freedom of information [national and gvt.], the right to access to publicly-funded information.

    What then is the best strategy? A2K negative liberty or positive entitlement? should we step back from the human rights discourse and begin talking about development? is A2K a new right? interpreting an existing right in an information society contedst; claiming an existing right by pushing a human development agenda?

    APC talks also about linguistic access – ability to impart knowledge in their own language.

    Human rights or human development / human capabilities? There are development activists who claim human rights discourse is not useful – so do we then need to talk about development capabilities approach to social justice – including the rights-based approaches?

    Key principles of human development and the capabilities approach:

    must develop people’s capabilities to lead creative and fulfilling lives. Must allow us to examine the individual’s capacity for exercising choice of what to do and how to be without a context of real or substantive choice, rather than adaptive preferences. Should be the primary goal to economic development.

    10 capabilities and t he international bill of rights.: ability to live life, bodily health, bodily integrity, being treated with dignity, etc.

    Thinking of norms, institutions and methodologies for advocacy. Should we talk about human capabilities rather than human rights? how central is access to knowledge to human capabilities? what is the key challenge: to advocate for a new right or do we look at how realize existing rights and how we turn rights into capabilities? or both?

    – data smog

    An older book from 2007 worth reading:  Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut by David Shenk, which discusses information overload and the impact of technology on culture. I found the laws of data smog particularly intriguing:

    The Laws of Data Smog

    1. Information, once rare and cherished like caviar, is now plentiful and taken for granted like potatoes.
    2. Silicon circuits evolve much more quickly than human genes.
    3. Computers are neither human nor humane.
    4. Putting a computer in every classroom is like putting an electric power plant in every home.
    5. What they sell is not information technology, but information anxiety.
    6. Too many experts spoil the clarity.
    7. All high-stim roads lead to Times Square.
    8. Birds of a feather flock virtually together.
    9. The electronic town hall allows for speedy communication and bad decisionmaking.
    10. Equifax is watching.
    11. Beware stories that dissolve all complexity.
    12. On the information highway, most roads bypass journalists.
    13. Cyberspace is Republican.

    Not sure I agree with all of them though. Absolute freedom to me is a given.

    But here are his promising remedies:

    Antidote 1: Be Your Own Filter

    The first remedy is simply to identify the clutter and start sweeping it away. Most of us have excess information in our lives, distracting us, pulling us away from our prioritize and from a much-desired tranquility. If we stop just for a moment to look (and listen) around us, we will begin to notice a series of data streams we’d be better off without, including some distractions we pay handsomely for.

    Antidote 2: Be Your Own Editor

    After learning how to filter input, one must shift concern to the equally important task of limiting output. Amidst the data smog, a new kind of social responsibility has emerged — an obligation to be succinct. Just as we’ve had to curtail our toxic emissions in the physical world, the information glut demands that we all be more economical about what we say, write, publish, broadcast, and post online. People who recklessly pump redundant or obfuscatory information into society are the information age equivalents of the miscreants who open their car door at a stop light to dump trash onto the street.

    Antidote 3: Simplify

    Between input and output, there is life itself. How does one live a meaningful life in an ever-more complex and distracting world? One helpful ingredient, I’ve found, is to embrace a new paradigm of simplicity.

    It is often said that we are on the cusp of a whole new age when intelligent machines will take over much of the work we do. I suspect that just the opposite may be true — that we are about to comprehend the true limitations of machines. Once we realize that information technology truly cannot replace human experience, that as it increases the available information it also helps devalue the meaning of each piece of information, we will be on the road to reasserting our dominance over technology.

    Antidote 4: De-nichify

    How to change our electronic Tower of Babel into a modern Agora? The answer is easy, though the solution is not: We need to talk to one another. Recall Bill Bradley’s challenge: “When was the last time you talked about race with someone of a different race? If the answer is never, you’re part of the problem.”

    As we reach across cultural boundaries and pursue interdisciplinary studies, we are pursuing the best kind of education — not just learning how to become more efficient at a specialized task, but how to interact with the rest of humanity. These sorts of pursuits enable us to embrace the joys of education as the best possible antidote to data smog. Education is anti-glut. It is the harnessing of information, organizing it into knowledge and memory. Education also breeds a healthy skepticism, and will help consumers fend off manipulative marketing tactics. Education is the one thing we can’t get overloaded with. The more of it, the better.

    Antidote 5: Don’t Forsake Government; Help Improve It

    Finally, for collective fixes more appropriately enacted on behalf of all society, we must call on that awkward but thoroughly necessary beast, government.

    Yes, government. Federal initiatives are badly needed, mostly because technology policy is too important to be surrendered to chance or to the wealthiest corporations. The cyber-libertarian community has made anti-government rhetoric a fashionable part of the information revolution, mostly in response to a lot of very thoughtless federal legislation. After a particularly stupid law was signed by President Clinton in 1996 — the Communications Decency Act, which aimed to excessively curb speech online — leading cyber thinker John Perry Barlow issued a “Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace,” which rashly proclaimed the Net to be its own world, not a functioning part of conventional society.

    Respectfully, I dissent. The Net is not literally a new world vested with its own sovereignty; it is a new and exciting facet of society, created and subsidized by a democratic government that, for all of its well-publicized bungling and wastefulness, actually works pretty well. Barlow is absolutely correct in describing cyberspace as a very different organism from our physical world. Ultimately, though, the former must fall under the jurisdiction of the latter.

    Find more excerpts here:

    MIT’s open access research and other open scholarly resources

    MIT has done it again. After the MIT courseware and open source courses online, now it has created a space for researchers on Dspace which was “built to save, share, and search MIT’s digital research materials”. It even has theses collections. That is a fantastic resource.

    Here are some more resources:

    Publishing venues and open online journals: