Friday, 31 March 2006

Learning is better than sex

First, is comparing "learning" and "sex" like comparing "apple" and "apple"? let's find out.

  • Both are human instinct above biological needs.

  • Both are essential for survival: sex for the species; learning for individual.

  • In most cases, they are both pleasurable activities. (Exception: for sex: victim of a rape, for learning: when material is jammed in. Both are about intrusion without consent!)

  • Both are hard work.

  • Both are social - more enjoyable with a partner.

So, Is learning better than sex?
  • Learning has no bad/undesirable or unexpected side effect.

  • Changing partners in learning is NOT consider immoral or illegal and is actually encouraged. BTW, learning in group is totally accepted in our society.

  • Nobody ever complained about other people learning in public and in private. Learning in public is not considered an indecent act.

  • Sex drives start as puberty while learning drives start from birth and last forever.

  • Normal sex is with partner of the opposite gender. No such limitation on learning.

Learning is better than sex!

Most Rights Denied

I believe you will be seeing this mark more often.

However, while most rights are denied, the use conditions are quite strict and will disqualify a huge section of the community:
those without humour, unwilling to link back and lack of creativity to meshup and/or remix with originality.

ajaxWrite and ajaxSketch

Last week, I reported on the slow response from the online ajax based word processor ajaxWrite. Michael's Minute confirmed:

What was billed as a 6-second loading time became a minute or longer the first day and half until we could quadruple our initial capacity.

I tried this morning. Loading time is much better. I did not clock the first time from their American server. As I wrote this piece, I tried to time the time it took. I close my windows without clearing Firefox's cache and tried the American server again. This time, about 1 minute passed and I gave up. I then tried its European server. It took 6 sec for the splash screen to appear and at 43.20s, all the buttons and the sample document were loaded.

They announced the ajaxSketch as well.
Great for diagramming, flow charts, free hand drawing, and more. With a similar look and feel to popular drawing programs, you don't need to learn a new interface. Based on Ajax programming techniques, it is a completely web-based program with the quick response of conventional software.

I tried its American server and got some servlet errors. I tried the Europe server and got a splash screen at 4.5s. All the buttons and sample diagram were loaded at 42s.

My Fablusi client is also a javascript-power client side interface using AJAX-like communication technique with the server. (When I started writing Fablusi client, AJAX was not yet known to me, some how I have used very similar technique. Since I have my own set of working libraries, I am not ready to change to any AJAX framework yet.) It is also a 400K download. But I was able to compress the download to 90K! Not bad, right?

ajaxSketch is a simple drawing program. However, I did find one problem. When I tried to draw a polygon, there is no way for me to indicated the end of the polygon. Right-click is not checked! There is also no help menu!

ps: after checking the forum, the shape tool is stopped by double-click.

Hope to see some improvement in their updates.

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Student 2.0

shamelessly copied and modified from Manager 2.0 by Kathy Sierra of Creating Passionate Users.

You can't very well have a 2.0 school run by version 1.0 teachers, right? Yes, I'm making fun of the 2.0ness of it all, but if we're throwing version numbers around with impunity, might as well take it to the absurd.

One dramatic difference between traditional schools and the Web 2.0 new schools is the way students are taught. Or rather, the fact that they are not "taught." Most School 1.0 (like, say, where I graduated?) are not only too old fashioned, but their teaching practices are just too old school (and not in a retro hip way) to foster a culture that matches the culture of the new citizens growing up in Web 2.0.

My favorite example of the difference between School 1.0 and School 2.0 teaching is that school 2.0 "learner-centered learning" infuse many of these schools at the cellular level. Never has the notion of "learner-center" meant so much to learning, so it's no surprise a School 2.0 teachers would think of students as a real human being.

And that may change everything.

So, all you School 2.0 believers-- please keep the best of the School 2.0 spirt alive by NOT adopting the awful practices of School 1.0. There's nothing new here, of course--Stephen Downes has been talking about this for frickin' ever. (And plenty of others before and after him.) What is new is that while it's always been a good idea to learn this way, this time it's virtually a given.

Yes, this is ridiculously oversimplified, does not work out of context, and you can't take things in the 2.0 column ala carte. I still have absolutely NO idea what School 2.0 even means, but whatever it is, people are in the equation (both students and teachers) in a new and more meaningful way. As my friend Nat Torkington says, "It's no longer aspergers and emacs."

School 1.0School 2.0
Curriculum dictated by a syllabus.Students decide and negotiate the learning area.
Teachers are the keeper of the knowledge. Teachers are the facilitator of the learning process.
Information is limited from those in the textbookInformation are sourced from everywhere, including but not limited to online resources.
How effective is the learning is measured by standardised tests.Effective learning is linked to satisfactory and joy of knowing new knowledge and mastering new skills.
Students sit in rows facing the teacher.Students sit around tables facing each other.
Emphasis on individual learning.Emphasis on collaborative and co-operative learning
Students tightly controlled to do right time.Students free to try new ideas and experiment.
Examination result acts as an external motivation.Students delve pleasure from making and learning new things.
Knowledge in textbook are "king" and cannot be challenged.Knowledge is negotiated and learnt in a community of practice.
Learning effectiveness conducted by external "examination authority".Learning effectiveness is reported as portfolio and demonstrations.
Fixed time table. If a student missed a lesson, she will miss that forever.Learning occurs all the time and contents are covered in repeating cycles.
Scholarship are based on past examination results.Scholarship is based on the ability to learn in a group and contribution to the group.
Repetitive homework are assigned.Projects are negotiated.
Deadline of homework submission in short and frequent interval.Continuous presentation of current state of project.
Students are forced to learn without explaining why they should learn that material.Students choose the subject they like based on career advice.

.xxx domain

I am concerned about online safety, which I have written about:

Foremost to me is the issue of “duty of care” as a teacher towards my students. In a physical environment, it is the responsibility of the presiding teacher to ensure a reasonable safe learning environment. When we select teaching/learning material, we bear the responsibility to screen out inappropriate material. In the online world, the physical safety is not our issue. The learners should be in the safety of a laboratory or their home – which is beyond our control. The material accessible via the Internet is very difficult to censor and filter. In our particular case of online role play, the duty of care should be about the psychological safety of the players playing the simulation.

My position has been:
1. I don't believe any kind of censorship or filter will work. See a good argument by Mark Pesce
2. Voluntary regulation is only effective if there are strong policing. There ARE always people who do not play by rules. Hence policing is required to REDUCE the "bad guys".

By creating a .xxx domain, we can give the adult industry a space for them (which is to their benefit too because people visiting sites within .xxx domain will be interested in the material in the first place). However, it must be accompanied by a global government agreement to move adult content from .com domain to .xxx domain and set up strong policing framework within the .com domain.

I don't see the logic of Senator Helen Coonan's argument. Adult content IS not going to disappear. .xxx domain IS not about reducing pronographic content. .xxx domain will help POLICING! Don't fantasize that Australia can implement a filter/censor firewall to block out adult content. Try policing instead!

BTW, why US Department of Commerce has so much power over ICANN which is supposed to be independent, see news:
But the U.S. Commerce Department, which created ICANN as an independent body to take over its management of the domain name system, raised concerns about proposed mechanisms for managing the .xxx Web sites.

Critics said this was the third time Washington had delayed approving .xxx addresses, and blamed the influence of religious conservatives in the United States for the holdup.

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Teach Less, Learn More

I came from Hongkong, a place where we taught according to a tight and huge syllabus expecting my students to understand everything and do well in examinations.

I believe many Asian countries were the same - giving the world an impression that Asian are good in learning. Look at the international education assessment.

Now Singapore Ministry of Education is advocating Teach Less, Learn More: Re-igniting Passion and Mission. It is about

about shifting the focus from “quantity” to “quality” in education. More “quality” in terms of classroom interaction, opportunities for expression, the learning of life-long skills and the building of character through innovative and effective teaching approaches and strategies. Less “quantity” in terms of rote-learning, repetitive tests and following prescribed answers and set formulae.

However, the report I quoted in Private Schools in the Poorest Countries painted a very different picture. It seems that James Tooley believe students are not learning anything in public schools in some developed countries while Singapore Government wants to cut down on content and focus more on personal development.

I believe the key issue is in the quote of the Teach Less Learn More page. By Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, MOE Work Plan Seminar 2004:
It is the teachers who inspire our students to do more than the ordinary, or to go beyond what they can achieve with ease. It is teachers who take education beyond 'filling a vessel with knowledge', and who 'light a fire' in our young.

Friday, 24 March 2006

ajaxWrite and writely

via Michael's Minute

ajaxWrite is a powerful word processor that can read and write Microsoft Word formatted documents. Anytime you need a word processor, need to open a .doc file or edit a .doc file, simply point your Firefox browser at and in seconds a full-featured program will be loaded.

It took me over 6 minutes to load - may be their server is overloaded! When I wanted to open a local file to test, it was taking too long so that I have given up.

From the interface, it looks quite similar to Word(tm), but again some commands can changed place.

It reminded me of writely. I opened writely and in a few seconds, I am logged in.

Writely supports collaboration whereas ajaxWrite does not.

Anyway, since it is free, give it a try and tell me how you feel.

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Designing Survey Questions

We all know that the way you ask a question will have effect on the response you will get. Hence it is very important to pay special attention to the way questions are worded when designing any evaluation or survey instrument.

Here is a good example of how to ask questions which people will be hard to say "yes" to. [Example draws from comment about polling on copyright on music as a contrast to how Music Industries word their polling questions. More on the link above.]

Do you agree that you should have to get the permission of the photographer every time, now and in the future, that you wish to use your own family portrait?

Of the following, which do you feel would be the best use of $1,000,000 in educational tax dollars in your province or territory:
• hiring more teachers,
• improving the physical conditions in schools,
• providing additional assistance for special needs students,
• providing additional assistance for gifted students,
• buying more library books,
• improving school lunches, or
• paying copyright tariffs to the collective agency Access Copyright?

12 reasons why you should choose math in high school

Math is a sharp knife for cutting through thorny problems. If you want a sharp knife in your mental tool chest - choose math!

By the way,

Choose math because it is cool. You have permission to be smart, you have permission to do what your peers do not. Choose math so you don't have to, for the rest of your life, talk about how math is "hard" or "cold". Choose math so you don't have to joke away your inability to do simple calculations or lack of understanding of what you are doing. Besides, math will get you a job in the cool companies, those that need brains.

Private Schools in the Poorest Countries

by James Tooley

I have found private schools in battle-scarred buildings in Somaliland and Sierra Leone; in the shanty town of Makoko built on stilts above the Lagos lagoons in Nigeria; scattered among the tin and cardboard huts of Africa’s largest slum, Kibera, Kenya; in the teeming townships perched on the shoreline of Accra, Ghana; in slums and villages across India; among the “floating population” in Beijing; and in remote Himalayan villages in China. Indeed, I have yet to find a developing country environment where private schools for the poor don’t exist.


It seems to me that parents in the slums and villages may be less sanguine and more impatient. Parents may not feel they have any impact on distant or corrupt political processes. They may not believe in any case that politicians can or will effect solutions to their problems. Their only realistic alternative might be to ...

I would say, parents in poor area are desperate to find themselves a way out of the poverty - educate your children! When they see that the state system does not provide an adequate mean to achieve the goal, they have no choice but to send their kids to the education they can barely afford. BTW, according to the report, private education in the poor area are not necessarily more expensive than its state counterpart AND private schools are run as a profitable business.

Something very wrong is in the public system, if the report is right!

Dream Machines

by Will Wright*

Just watch a kid with a new videogame. The last thing they do is read the manual. Instead, they pick up the controller and start mashing buttons to see what happens. This isn't a random process; it's the essence of the scientific method. Through trial and error, players build a model of the underlying game based on empirical evidence collected through play. As the players refine this model, they begin to master the game world. It's a rapid cycle of hypothesis, experiment, and analysis. And it's a fundamentally different take on problem-solving than the linear, read-the-manual-first approach of their parents.

The digital natives have fundamentally different ways of approaching problems from us. As educator/trainer, our responsibility is to help them learn. We should change our way of "teaching" to suit them, not change them to suit the way we teach.

*Will Wright is the creator of The Sims and more than a dozen other games.

Monday, 20 March 2006

Documentary on the state of the Internet in 1972

via BoingBoing

This 1972 documentary entitled "Computer Networks: The Heralds of Resource Sharing" covers the early years of ARPAnet, the precursor of the Internet, through interviews with the heroes of the internetworking revolution. Tightly wound internetworking geeks like the legendary JCR Licklider intensely recite the benefits that internetworking will shortly deliver, sliding in digs at the telecoms industry, the Bellheads who have no desire to see this future realized.

As I watched the video, I found that they were actually talking about Web2.0 we are talking about today. Is that really more than 30 years old documentary? or is the history just repeating itself?

What's wrong with the training at that bank, I wonder!

Attracted by a lower fee structure, I walked into a local bank recently to ask whether I can open an online stock trading account without opening a new account to link to the stock trading. I thought it would take me only a few second to find the answer from the customer service officer. I ended up spending an hour in the bank.

First, I needed to wait for the service. There was an old lady talking to the officer at that time, so I thought I would just wait a while. Of course, time just went. By the time it was my turn, I had been standing there for 15 minutes. OK, my answer would just be a yes or no and I could be on my way. It turned out the custom service did not know the answer straight the way and she offered to find it out for me. OK, that would be fine, just a minute or so to look up in her computer, I thought. No, wrong!

After about 10 minutes of very diligent search using her computer, she could not find an answer. She politely apologised and offered to call to find an answer for me. I was getting a little impatient. But, the idea of opportunity cost started to kick in. OK, I had been there for almost half-an-hour, so a minute or two would not hurt. So, I agreed.

It must be a very busy day. It took a very long time to get connected as she repeatedly redial the number. She kept trying. Finally, she got through and started pressing keys on the phone. I asked why. She said the computer has picked up the phone and she had to select the right department. Finally, she was online talking to someone. I guessed it must be the call centre somewhere in India. The person on the other side apparently did not have the answer as well. (Well the call centre must be looking as the same computer information customer service looked at before.) So the problem as escalated to the manager on duty at the call centre. Apparent s/he did not have an answer as well. So the polite customer service officer put down the phone and offered to call me after she had an answer. I left my name and mobile number and left; very frustrated in spending an hour achieving nothing.

That was a week ago. I still have not heard from her!

What's wrong with the training at that bank, I wonder! Wasted 45 minutes of a staff time and created a very frustrated potential customer who wasted almost an hour! Worse of all, the frustrated potential customer also blogs.

I went online, tried to apply for a new online stock trading account. A new saving account was opened automatically linking to my trading account. I needed to print out the application forms, sign, post them to the bank or drop them to a local branch. I decided not to proceed. Did not bother to print and stopped the application. I will continue with my current online stock broker in spite of a higher fee!

BTW, the complexity was due to the fact that the stocks are in the name of a company.

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Constructivist contamination

by Clark Quinn via XplanaZine

I’d felt that in the constraints of higher education and industry, where timing is critical, overt constructivism was a luxury for K12. [my emphasis]

"Timing" is the keyword which attracted my attention to Clark's article (well his name is the other reason). Unfortunately, I did not found him elaborate on this.

To me, timing has two aspects which may influence the success of learning. I suppose it is similar to milestones in project. On a broader level, there should be "synchronising" points where anyone in a team should get to at the same time, e.g. deadline for assignment. On a micro-level, it is always better to let individual to manage how they use their time. Micro-managing everyone's time obviously will be counter productive except in factory line-production environment. (Ooops, I forgot to mention that I don't agree that education should be factory production - although it still is!)

Looking timing in this way, I don't see why constructivist philosophy may be hindered. As long as we can manage to give sufficient time for the learners to explore and reflect on the material presented, the internalisation of the concepts can occur quite effectively.

The role play simulations supported by Fablusi stress on this quite a bit. We ask team to play a role - so that players are forced to articulate the reasoning in acting out the role to the team. We also have tasks which are due at time set by the moderator so that the players will be reaching similar milestones at about the same time.

Friday, 10 March 2006

How do you enter text when holding the device with both hands?

Running Microsoft's UMPC (Ultra-Mobile Personal Computers) OS. See MS's press release.
Photo from Engadget

Stephen Downe's Hiatus

Stephen puts up a FAQ on his website but does not reveal anything really. The only thing I can find comfort with is that his health is fine!

Stephen, take care. When we meet again, in meat-space or cyberspace, we will have a good debate again!

Writely is now part of Google

Writely is an online collaborative tool I have reported earlier. It is now part of Google. Of the top 10 reasons the Writely team thinks it is fantastic to be part of Google, I like their 2nd reason:

As fun as it's been to launch a popular, global, 24x7 Web service, it'll be nice to take a vacation once in a while!

Number 1 reason is potential massive increase in users.

Number 0 reason, not listed, is ... [your guess!]

Another attempt to create Britannica

from eSchoolNews

A new internet research tool called Digital Universe aspires to be a more authoritative version of Wikipedia. If successful, it could provide scholars and students with one more option for finding accurate, reliable information online.

So, how are they going to do it, I wonder.
Instead of relying on anonymous volunteers [like Wikipedia], Digital Universe will pay experts, mostly academics, to write encyclopaedia articles and to round up outside video, audio, online chats, and other resources.

Oh, another attempt in reinventing a circle wheel. Is that just Britannica or similar encyclopaedia?

“what are you working on?”

by Alec on Concepts Trump Information

Ask a students in a technology classroom “what are you working on?”, what can you conclude if you hear something like

“preparing a budget” or “projecting costs” or “analyzing and comparing information from multiple sources.”

According to Alec, you can conclude that
the teacher has created an environment where such software is just another tool in the arsenal.

Try ask the same question “what are you working on?” to your students, what is the answer?

Thursday, 9 March 2006

Finished Products are no more!

by David Warlick

I really like David's description about the change of value between the industry era and current generation. In the old days, things were built as a finished product and to last. Things built to serve a designed purpose. Today, we use paper cups, plastic fork and knives, disposal chopsticks. Children also make artwork using paper plates and stuff. (OK, I did use a hammer to hit a screw in, and making paper plate artwork has been here for quite some time.) What David has point out is the fundamental change of the concept of finished products. For digital products definitely, there is NO FINISHED products. If a vendor does not continually "maintain" a piece of software, it is for all practical purpose considered dead. "Maintain" is fitting parts which are faulty, not due to use because there is no metal fatigue in software - faulty because of incomplete design in the first place.

David also introduces us to the concept of "mesh up", missing different things (media as an example) to produce new thing. Information is one of those which can be slice and dice easily using information technology - namely tools such as computer.

In developed countries, we have developed beyond just fulfilling our basic biological needs. Too much food IS a problem. The jobs are created to cater higher order needs such as entertainment, self-fulfilment, satisfaction etc. As such, the vast majority of job will be to satisfy these higher order needs - looking more pretty, entertainment, etc. If this "mixing" is becoming a social norm, jobs will be created around satisfying this need.

In a way, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The current generation of young people are generating the need and they will therefore generate jobs to meet that need.

As educator, what should we do?


In terms of how experience is being told, I talked about "first person", "second person" and "third person" experiences. During the process of experiencing an event, you are in "first person" mode. Later you tell your story and your audience can feel your experience in second hand, as "second person" experience. Most of the cases, we tell stories about experience we have not lived through. That's third person experience to the audience.

from Antenna:

All experiences can be measured along three scales: Social, Intellectual, and Visceral (or Heart, Head, and Hands if you want something catchy). For example:

Reading a book:
Social: low (unless read out loud)
Visceral: low
Intellectual: high

I were not in New York on 9/11 when the two planes crashed onto the towers. I have been exposed to many second and third person experiences on that event through the media. I can now imagine what would it be if *I* were at that place at that particular moment. In order to do that I will fill in many missing details by my imagination. If I were a painter, I might be able to paint about that scene.

During the painting process, or the imaginative journey through the event, I would be experiencing something else. It is an exercise of imagination and creativity. It is an exercise of trying to feel as if I were there. It is a solo creative experience. Again, this is a first person experience. According to the scale from Antenna, it might rate like this:
Social: low
Visceral: high
Intellectual: high

My audience looking at my painting would go through a third person experience, "feeling" as told by my painting. A significant and powerful event such as 9/11 definitely projects a powerful experience to the audience, if I were a good painter.

Many painters and story teller also excel in identifying common events/experiences and convey the story in a particular way which projects great impact on the audience too and generates great retention.

From a practical angle, if we want to give scale to experiences, I think we should add another scale which indicates the impact of the experience in the subsequent outlook of the person. We want through many experience daily. The great impact experience will be memorable and life-changing.

Wednesday, 8 March 2006

21st Century Skills

Some big companies are behind this. So I was hoping to find some interesting material.

As I try to understand what are the "21st Century Skills", I was kept circling around a set of assessment to achieve 21st Century goals which include the use of 21st century tools and skills.

As I have an attention span of a few minutes, I am lost and I declare I will find another revenue to find that answer.

The Power of Narrative

According to wikipedia [],

a narrative is a story, an interpretation of some aspect of the world that is historically and culturally grounded and shaped by human personality (per Walter Fisher).

In an article called I Shared my Bed with Mice, Doug of Borderland told the story why he decided to enter the teaching profession:

The insight that led me to become a teacher presented itself when I was standing at the top of a three-legged ladder with an apple sack on my shoulders, with branches in my face....

A Mexican family drove into the orchard in a yellow Buick. They were assigned the row next to me. There were several people working the row, and they all spoke Spanish. There were kids in the car.

I began thinking about the limited options those people must have had to be all living out of that car and working as fruit pickers. I realized that any day I chose to quit I could return to the university and pick up where I left off. The difference between me and them, I reasoned, is that I had a foundation in the basics of reading, writing, and math-tools that I could use to construct an alternate future.

As you read Doug's story, you are seeing the world through the thinking mind of the author - a powerful way to gather experiences which may otherwise unavailable for you. That's learning from second person experience. More

Tuesday, 7 March 2006

The Changing Shape of Information

I said, regretfully, but with some apology, that the book’s days may be numbered. I expressed my preference that we continue to have books for a long long time, that they are part of my heritage as well as the heritage of our children. However, it is our children’s future that we are preparing them for, and it is a future that they will be choosing.

Very true. What we, as teachers, prefer does not matter as it is our children's future that we are preparing them to face.

The medium which carries the information is changing, and has been changing ever since human can communicate. The recent technological advances have made more information from more sources available more readily. That would have significant impact on how our children will make their living. There are new skills to be learnt in order to handle this vast quantity of information.

More and more data are generated automatically (data collection equipment, weather satellite, mapping images...) Many data will be processed automatically to provide information.

Among all the information skills, the need to be able to search boarder and study deeper is increasing. New jobs will require board knowledge in many fields, yet with specialist skill in one or more particular subject area. We should start thinking for to prepare our children to be equipped with these two seemingly contradicting requirements.

OLDaily in Hiatus

I have been reading OLDaily for the past years and will miss his insight. Wish Stephen luck and hope that his light will never flicker or waver.

Monday, 6 March 2006

Resource and Learning Resource - Final Cut

Since blogs are published in reverse chronological order, please read the following fictional scenarios in reverse order. Or follow these links, 1, 2 and 3.

Resource and Learning Resource - take 3

Mary who was next to me interrupted the discussion I was having with John. She was obviously distracted by my louder and louder voice as the excitement increased. She asked to join into the discussion, so I put her into a conference call on skype and introduced her to John.

We changed the subject from discussing how to use that particular videos into something else.

"I envy you guys. The video is so good! How can I find some for my class?"

Good question!

"Why don't we ask our students to find them for us", I suggested.

"Great! The kids are better in the Internet than we are anyway", Mary supported.

"Yes, we can also ask them to explain the video they found. That would verify that they really understand the theory behind the thing", said John.

and the discussion continued with more and more excitement.

Resource and Learning Resource - take 2

Here are two videos I found in

They are interesting videos by themselves. If I am going to use the first video as a learning resource, what does this mean?

I call my buddy from another school via skype.

"John, I found this video. Cool! Have a look!"

John felt the excitement and put down his marking and took a look at the video.

"Wow, It would be a great opener for "surface tension" lesson I am going to do next week!"

We continued discussing how the video may be used and come up with a set of follow up questions and a great lesson plan.

Resource and Learning Resource

Here are two videos I found in

They are interesting videos by themselves. If I am going to use the first video as a learning resource, what does this mean?

Teachers always reuse material whichever they can put their hand on it. Internet offers lots more material than ever before. Again, this does not change the nature of the job itself. Learning technologists said we should add metadata to the resources ("doo be doo be doo!" and with some magic dust, this will turn the resource into a learning object)!

As a teacher, I don't understand why I should do that, but anyway I will just add the appropriate metadata: year level: A-level; subject: Physics - surface tension, etc.

Here is ONE problem. Surface tension is *MY* idea of using this video, somewhere in a lesson on surface tension (I don't know exactly how I want to use it yet!). Another teacher may want to use it his class on dynamics, yet another may use it in teaching gravity.

Ah! Metadata records can be multiple, so there would not be any problem.

But, the subject field is a controlled list and "surface tension" is no way to be found. What? I have to look up the syllabus to find the exact location?

I thought I was trying to do the metadata tagging for the technologist. In the first place I don't understand why I need to do that. And it is so DIFFICULT! AND it does not help me anything in using the resource in my teaching.

Sunday, 5 March 2006

How to be an expert

Again, a remarkably good article by Kathy Sierra in "Creating Passionate Users".

As teachers and trainers, what are we trying to motivate our students to achieve?

I am afraid many of us don't even bother to go beyond "suck threshold".

I challenge you to show me that I am wrong!

Friday, 3 March 2006

How the human brain works

This is an interactive map indicating which part of the brain is responsible for which daily activity.

.com, Verisign & eLearning companies

Fablusi, like any other elearning provider, owns a domain name ending with .com. This is a global village, we may one day try to obtain, but the .com is the MAIN domain.

According to Bob Parsons, (owner of and one of the eight registrars who oppose the deal), Verisign has put forward a proposal for ICANN to have monopoly of the .com domain forever with 7% price increase in four of the next six years.

I don't have first hand data to verify any of the claims made by Bob, but I am not feeling good about all this.

Top level domain name registry IS a monopoly, until someone can devise a distributed DNS system with does not require the top level domain to be distributed - of course, then we shall have synchronisation and all sort of other problems. During the monopoly period, it is up to ICANN to ensure that a reliable service is provided at a reasonable price. Price should increase ONLY based on need, NOT because it is a monopoly. It seems that the proposed deal does not ensure that.

If the monopoly is perpetual, there will be NO incentive for the monopoly to improve the performance. Only competitive pressure with monetary incentive will ensure commercial organisations to improve their product.

All these apart, .com is now a global entity. Why should the decision affecting so many be made by American companies and American courts? Shouldn't everyone have a say? Why turning over ICANN to UN (or some international body) not a good idea?

Wednesday, 1 March 2006

Australia Copyright Agency to schools: pay Internet licenses or shut down the net!

via BoingBoing

Australian schools may have to pay a copyright fee every time a student is told to look at the web, if a plan from the national collecting society is successful.

There are a number of good reasons why Australian schools should not pay:
  • there's an implied license to read Web pages that goes along with publishing them (who puts up a web-page without expecting it to be read?)
  • the vast majority of pages online weren't created by Australians
  • he vast majority of pages created by Australians weren't created by professional authors

If this proposal is accepted, we are giving the "clever" in clever country away and will really depend on the "luck" in our lucky country.

Goodness me. Education IS for the next generation. We need to tax organisation or people suggesting such a proposal to fund the education system.