Saturday, 30 June 2007

World today - its bare truth

via Evan McLintosh's Edu.blogs

Hans Rosling, showed us last year, how animated statistical data could impress us and make a change.

This year, he confirmed that UN has made its statistical data open from 1st May and stunned us with another series of data.

Make sure you watch the video to the end. Hans has an impressive performance you would wish for in any conference presentation.

Scientifically accurate visualization of 9/11 attack

from Purdue University

Thursday, 28 June 2007

Australian ISP nukes all hosted audio and video files every night -2

Related to a previous post, there is digged article with a comment by NinjaBoy:

"their multimedia files keep disappearing from their accounts" Where the f--k are they storing their files? On the ISP's server? Thats kinda like saying the cops steals my weed every time i leave them on top of a cop car.

I'm no fan of this by any means but today i found a ton of mp3's on my server here at work. Know what i did? Delete the files.

Well NinjaBoy obviously did not understand the situation here in Australia. Our ISP normally will not supply a static IP. So, if we want to share some files or have a website, these digital files have to be on the ISP's server!

The issue is ISP should NOT be the cop. Period!

Broadband affordability in Australia

I was trying to get an ADSL2+ into my home. Nope, not available. The current speed is 1.5Mbps download and 256kbps upload. [I should be classified as a large volume user and I am willing to pay for my speed.] If Australia ever aspires to be a "smart"-country, we have to be faster, much faster!

From United Press:

Japanese Internet users enjoy speeds of 661 megabits per second, South Korea averages 45 mps, France has 17 mps, and Canada has an average 7 mps. The median U.S. speed was 1.97 mps, the study said.

OLDaily Chinese Version

The widely circulated OLDaily by Stephen Downes has a Chinese version.

Australian ISP nukes all hosted audio and video files every night

via BoingBoing

Exetel, an Australian ISP, silently deletes all the MP3s (and mpg, mpeg, avi, wma, and any other unspecified file types they deem to be "multimedia") from its users' Web-site every right.

and from Exetel's web page
Effective from 1st April 2005 scripts will be run nightly that will examine all disk content and delete any multimedia content with the extensions mp3, mpg, mpeg, avi, wma and any other multi media file type.

We, Australian citizens are in general law-binding citizens and DO NOT need ISP to enforce anything. We can do it ourselves as we deem fit.

For those who are using Exetel service, there are many other ISP who will and do not delete your files. You can switch and so that you do not need to write the stupid email if you want your files to be available to anyone else on Internet.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

What students should learn today for tomorrow? - 2

In yesterday's post, I listed the curriculum for preparing our children for future.

For the skills that to be considered important, (useful starting today and likely be essential in the future) see Tony Karrer's post on Needed Skills for New Media. [Copy below without permission]

* Work Integration — the ability to leverage social media and personal learning as part of problem solving
* Meta-Learning — the ability to look at your own work and learning processes to continuously identify improvement opportunities
* Simulation — the ability to interpret and construct dynamic models of real-world processes
* Appropriation — the ability to meaningfully sample and remix content as part of work and learning
* Scanning — the ability to quickly scan from a wide variety of sources, to focus on salient details in order to maintain a broad picture and also to focus as needed to salient details.
* Distributed Cognition — the ability to interact meaningfully with tools that expand mental capacities
* Collective Intelligence — the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal
* Judgment — the ability to evaluate the reliability and credibility of different information sources
* Transmedia Navigation — the ability to follow the flow of information and conversation across multiple modalities
* Networking Building — the ability to build a network of people who can help with a wide variety of needs
* Network Access - the ability to quickly access your network for a variety of different kinds of needs in different ways using different tools
* Negotiation — the ability to travel across diverse communities, discerning and respecting multiple perspectives, and grasping and following alternative norms.
* Knowledge Work - the ability to search for, synthesize, and disseminate information as part of work processes that captures personal value, builds network, and collects appropriate feedback

As I have noted before, future jobs available in developed countries will be of three types: hospitality, creative and problem solving.

Hospitality (ie personal services including beauty salon, restaurants, healthcare, legal matters etc) is unlikely to be outsourced to cheap-labour countries. BUT, cheap-labour can be in-sourced!

Creativity is about finding markets, products or new ways of doing things. These are for the most entrepreneurial type of people. High risk with high returns. (Recent examples: Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, youTube, eBay, flickr,... sorry, I am not familiar with success outside IT area. I am sure there are many too.)

Problem solving is about fixing problems. These problems are unforeseen and many may not have a procedure to deal with. Some are caused by accidents or natural activities, and others are result of intentional attacks.

We should prepare our children to handle these situation by including the following skills as essential in their education.

So these are additional to Tony's list:

  1. Creativity and innovation spirits

  2. Sense of curiosity. Current education system seems to be very good at killing this. We should reverse this effect and encourage curiosity.

  3. Balance of Risk and Reward assessment, again based on evidence and scientific principles

  4. Resilience

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Learning is Conversation - Revisited

Back on April 2, 2005 I took the 95 Theses from the Cluetrain Manifesto, substituted “learning” for “markets” and “students/parents” for “customers”.

This is a long list (68 in total). Here are the ones that I single out:

# Learning is conversation.
# Learning consists of human beings, not demographic sectors.
# The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
# These networked conversations are enabling powerful new forms of social organization and knowledge exchange to emerge.
There are no secrets. The networked learners know more than schools do about their own learning. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
# Schools that assume the online learning medium is the same as television are kidding themselves.
# Human communities are based on discourse—on human speech about human concerns.
# The community of discourse is the learning.
# Schools that do not belong to a community of discourse will die.
# There are three conversations going on. One inside the school. One among the parents. One among the students.
We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.

Top 100 Web applications

These are the results of the top 100 Web applications, 10 in each of 10 categories, determined by Webware readers.

Question: How to display all these information on one page?

Answer: Go there to see for yourself. I think it is pretty cool!

More Google Gears Tech -2

Julien Couvreur has left a comment in David Van Couvering's post

Building P2P technology into the browser or into the browser's local server, is attractive but challenging.

I've done some small experiments building an HTTP entry point to a simple P2P service, so that I could access my personal files stored on various computers through a unified interface.

From what I can understand, it is more like a Private Information Network than P2P.


Different types of Realities

Physical Reality
This is where our carbon-based life form lives. This is kind of fundamental. Without an existence in Physical Reality, we may not have another existence in the rest of the realities I will describe in this post.

Virtual Reality
This is the 3-dimension world computer generates. You either put on a head-mount gear, wear some sensor-enabled clothing and walk in a VirtuSphere in an immersive VR. Alternately, you can control an avatar in a token-immersive VR. In both cases, the interactions of virtual artifacts are controlled by the computer. Second Life belongs to the latter in this group.

Augmented Reality
From Wikipedia, Augmented reality [snip] deals with the combination of real world and computer generated data. At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and "augmented" by the addition of computer generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion tracking data, fiducial marker recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators. Again, there are two sub groups here. Physical Reality augmented with virtual artifacts, such as Hear&There1 or Magic Eye2. Virtual Reality augmented with virtual artifacts such as Berlin in 3D for Google Earth or Las Vegas 3D Buildings. Historical events link to Google Earth, such as World War Two Google Earth Famous WW2 Battlefields Today, part 1 and 2. Last, but not the least, Google street view where physical space's photos are used to augment virtual space.

Imagined Reality
This is the scenery we found when reading novels such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, written by Mr. Mark Twain where our brain will fill in the missing parts from the author's description.

1Hear&There allows people to virtually drop sounds at any location in the real world. Once one of these "SoundSpots" has been created, an individual using the Hear&There system will be able to hear it. We envision these sounds being recordings of personal thoughts or anecdotes, and music or other sounds that are associated with a given area.
2let the user see the real world around him and augment the user's view of the real world by overlaying or composing three-dimensional virtual objects with their real world counterparts. Ideally, it would seem to the user that the virtual and real objects coexisted.

cross posted to EnRoLE

What students should learn today for tomorrow?

Before revealing what students must do, here is the list of what students must NOT do:

No holidays
Learning is human nature. We breathe continuously, so is learning. There should not be any term-break, weekends or holidays. Learning should occur 24/7 everyday every year continuous both online and offline. Day time is continuous. Stock market in HongKong closes and then open in London and then in New York. Things are happening continuously.

School is not THE school
Learning occurs anywhere, anytime. School is a meeting place. One of many other meeting places. School helps organise learning and support learning. Some learning may occur at school, most learning at places (including virtual spaces) other than school. School may be a virtual space too.

Learning, playing and working have NO distinction
Take preparing lunch as an example. Preparing the daily lunch is work, but is also learning because we should continuously look for improvement, collect data about the food, the preparation process. As noted before, school is NOT a specific place. Lunch can be prepared in kitchen, in park or in a commerical kitchen. Obviously, it should be and is fun too!

Here is the list of what I believe should be the curriculum in no particular order:

Minimum four languages: English, Chinese, one other human language (including sign language) and a scripting or programming language.
English is now the default for online communication, business transactions, major publications...
Chinese is the language of one quarter of the world's population. (Still need more convincing?) China will be the economic power house in this century.
One other language is for appreciation of world diversity.
These three languages should achieve fluent speaking level BEFORE age 5. Children learn languages easily when young. These languages must continue throughout the formal education years for further development and consolidation. May be they can drop them at University level.
The scripting/programming language is for discipline training and procedural thinking development. Should start at beginning of secondary school if not earlier.

Communication skill
Knowing a language is not the same as having the ability to communicate effectively. Students should be able to communicate effectively in different genres of expression for appropriate audience under different situation using different technologies including face to face, telephone, teleconference (audio only and audio+video), web-based technologies including discussion forum, blogs, wiki, chat, ....
Examples speak louder.

Self Entertaining Development
One musical instrument (including human vocal), one non-digital art (painting, pottery, photograph, sculpture, ..), one sport and one mental game (such as chess, bridge, or other form of quiz/puzzle).
All work no play make Albert a dull man!

Evidence-based data-based learning
Scientific method (or the subject matter themselves although different subject matter are used as examples of practising Scientific method). Data collection, analysis and presentation (numeracy and mathematics are learnt under data processing). Note: "Religious Studies" is ABSOLUTELY not allowed to be "taught" in any school at any time.
Today's world is filled by miracles created by the relentless application of scientific methods. All technological achievements human has made, with no exception, are based on principled understanding of the world. This will not change in the future. A sound basis to tackle problem with evidence, data and disciplined methodology is critical for future citizen to solve unforeseen problems and challenges.

Authentic learning
Learning does not occur in vacuum. When we want to achieve a goal, a game goal or a life goal, we need skill and knowledge. That's the best time to learn. Learning is organised as tasks which lead to an overall goal aligned with learner's interest. Like many times in life, we sometime practice and rehearse. These can be done with simulators or role playing games.

Final Remarks

You may notice that I do not include any traditional subjects in the above list. Not that I don't believe they are important. I just don't believe compartmentisation of subject areas are effective strategies. By organising learning goals which require understanding of culture issues will cover traditional subjects such as history or literature. By organising investigative activities will cover subjects such as chemistry, physics, mathematics and so on. A collection of mathematical games (covered in the self entertaining section) will cover interesting subject areas such as cosmology in Physics, Fractals etc in Mathematics and other interests.

Please let me know what you think? Am I too radical? or too conservative?

Monday, 25 June 2007

Demystifying Holy Grails of Innovation

Our education system is too old to meet today's requirement.

This is likely to be a post not you would have expected. But just stay with me for a while.

The article (an article on an article originally published by Business Week) is about innovation processes. First the classic Six Sigma is considered not working by way of the lack of innovation of 3M:

The magazine illustrates the ramifications of ill-directed Six Sigma rigor by juxtaposing the leadership philosophies of James McNerney and George Buckley at 3M and showing how an over-emphasis on process-quality led to “sameness” and the gradual waning of the company’s innovative power. Process-obsession may in fact be opposed to “the new age of creativity” that propels hyper-customization and attempts to save brands from the “death spiral of commoditization.” If you measure everything you manage, risky ideas will not spark.

By contrast, Apple is receiving a lot of praise. To summarize:
The four principles of innovation from Apple’s success are:
1. Network innovation – “very welcome” vs. “not invented here”
2. User first! – design around the needs of the user not the demands of the technology.
3. Discover untapped markets – listen to what your customers do not say rather than relying solely on the requirements they articulate
4. Fail wisely – allow failure but don’t make the same mistake twice

This is all fine on paper and this blog is NOT about innovation in business. So you have asked why you should read on. Since you are here already, the relationship is about how we should "teach" our next generation.

I wrote over three years ago,
our future in the developed world is
a future where
  • repetitive tasks will be replaced by computer and machinery,

  • creativity and innovation are critical,

  • communication skill, team work and problem solving skill are important,

  • productivity must be so high that an average people will support the needs of parents who had inadequately funded their retirement and children of their own

  • Solving (new, unforeseen, complicated and complex) problem will be everyday job of citizens of the future. For the more ambitious few, they will need to come up with totally new idea to meet not-yet-filled, unknown market demands.

    This article basically has thrown out the prospect of any process as a potential "must-learn" subject for our students. The BIG question is WHAT we should teach our students today to equip them to meet challenges from the future.

    Any suggestion? Tomorrow, I shall reveal my current thinking.

    Sunday, 24 June 2007

    A good story is a good story even the ending is not what you have expected

    BoingBoing has a post about a lawyer going after a DVD rental service. The owner has been publishing the email messages he's received from the lawyer. By part 6 of the series, the emails developed into unbelievable tones: [Quoting from BB]

    Tourtelot [Lawyer]: Dear Mr. Corcoran [DVD rental Store owner]: I am in receipt of your e-mail to my client, Mr. XXX. I note your comments about me. I have a proposition for you. I will pay your way to California if you will agree to come and meet me in a gym, the address of which the limo driver who meets your flight will have.

    Oh yes, the deal only includes a one-way ticket, as I do not believe you will be needing the return portion! Ciao, and have a good day. RHT

    Corcoran: Are you proposing a boxing or MMA match?

    I accept. I’ll pay my own way back, of course.

    Any weekend in June works for me.

    Please mail the airline ticket (departing from Logan Airport, in Boston) to the address I previously supplied.

    I look forward to our bout (I usually do heavy bag work in my training sessions, but I’ll make sure to add some speed bag work to the mix over the next few weeks).

    Shall we specify the same $1,000 wager that you suggested to Mr. XXX in your bet about my height?

    Tourtelot: Plain and simple, pal. A street fight.! By the way, do you have a Black Belt also?

    Corcoran: Please send the plane ticket.

    By part 7, the situation took a very unexpected turn. (I don't want to spoil your reading pleasure, please read the series starting from here if you have time.)

    As a role play designer, I found this example very important and a great lesson to learn.

    A good story is a good story even the ending is not what you have expected.

    A good role play is a good role play even the ending is not what you have expected.

    ps Life is really stranger than fiction.

    The beginning of the end for the industrial schooling system?

    by Graham Attwell

    Eleven existing secondary schools in Merseyside will be closed by 2009 and replaced by "learning centres" where they

    will open from 7am until 10pm in both term-time and what used to be known as the school holidays. At weekends, they will open from 9am to 8pm.

    Youngsters will not be taught in formal classes, nor will they stick to a rigid timetable; instead they will work online at their own speeds on programmes that are tailor-made to match their interests.

    The students (should we still refer to them as "students" or "customer" or "client"?) will be given the day's assignments and then they can disperse into Internet Cafe zones to carry them out.

    The focus of the new learning centres, according to what Graham quoted, are mainly vocational such as "haircare, beauty therapy, leisure and tourism, and engineering as well as the more traditional academic subjects"

    This is certainly a bold move. I believe the success depends on the nitty-gritty of implementing the concept.

    Saturday, 23 June 2007


    Do you remember the days when we made toys for ourselves? It seems that our children in the developed world are not doing this anymore. I don't know whether this will become a problem later in their lives or not. The African children are full of ingenuity. See African Children’s Toys: Ingenuity Starts at a Young Age

    All you need to know about elearning?

    via Harold Jarche

    I found Google Apps for Education and Google for Educators in the article.

    None of these are new. Just different combination of the online tools by Google grouped together and some example uses. Anyway, it is worth a look to see examples.

    Birth Order and future success

    from Scientific American

    Some sniplets from the article:

    Past studies of birth order and IQ have produced a mix bag of data; studies of children found that younger siblings fare better on the tests, but research on adults and teens showed the opposite.

    Petter Kristensen and Tor Bjerkedal studied 241,300 Norwegians, focusing on men. Not only did they find that first-borns had higher IQs (103.2) than second-borns (100.4) and third-borns (99), but they also say that social rank, rather than birth order per se, is the determining factor.

    They reached this conclusion by looking at families whose first-borns died in infancy. In such cases, the second-borns' scores rose, to an average IQ of 102.6. Third-borns whose two older brothers died jumped the most, to 103.5.

    Robert Zajonc to explain why, as children at least, younger siblings outscored their top-bunk mates. These youngsters evidently derive wisdom from the older siblings and get an IQ boost; that ends during the teen years because the older kids gain more benefit from tutoring, rather than being tutored. You handle a topic more adeptly when you have to teach it to someone else.

    In any case, the study illustrates the power of the environment on IQ. The best example is the Flynn Effect, which shows that IQ scores have been rising over the generations, a rise attributable to the environment more so than to genes.

    All emphasis are mine.

    Jaw-dropping Photosynth Demo

    via ForeverGeek

    Using photos of oft-snapped subjects (like Notre Dame) scraped from around the Web, Photosynth (based on Seadragon technology) creates breathtaking multidimensional spaces with zoom and navigation features that outstrip all expectation. Its architect, Blaise Aguera y Arcas, shows it off in this standing-ovation demo. Curious about that speck in corner? Dive into a freefall and watch as the speck becomes a gargoyle. With an unpleasant grimace. And an ant-sized chip in its lower left molar. “Perhaps the most amazing demo I’ve seen this year,” wrote Ethan Zuckerman, after TED2007. Indeed, Photosynth might utterly transform the way we manipulate and experience digital images.

    WOW. Watch this video to see why it is jaw-dropping.

    BTW Seadragon is
    an incubation project resulting from the acquisition of Seadragon Software in February [by Microsoft]. Its aim is nothing less than to change the way we use screens, from wall-sized displays to mobile devices, so that visual information can be smoothly browsed regardless of the amount of data involved or the bandwidth of the network.

    If this sounds a little vague, consider the following four "promises" of Seadragon:

    1. Speed of navigation is independent of the size or number of objects.
    2. Performance depends only on the ratio of bandwidth to pixels on the screen.
    3. Transitions are smooth as butter.
    4. Scaling is near perfect and rapid for screens of any resolution.

    Friday, 22 June 2007

    Learning Vs Practice

    Here is a good example of the difference of learning something and being able to do something (after learning it).

    Watch any of the 20 magic tricks from this. Now, do the trick.

    [I'll wait. Go ahead, do it!]

    Are you successful in performing the trick?

    If you are like me, the answer is "no".

    In order to perform the magic, after knowing the secret, you need to practice.

    In our discussion on learning, we seem to focus only on the learning part and have completely ignored the practice part which is at least equally important if not more.

    Question: how can we encourage (or ensure) practice so that the skill will reach mastery level?

    Which Word processor are you using?

    Here is a review of 14 word processors including 3 online alternatives.

    The author's (Zaine Ridling) summary:

    my only advice is to look beyond any one word processor and seek openness in your choice of file format. Do not allow yourself and your data to be locked-in to the whim of any one vendor. ODF can be used by any word processor if the vendor so chooses, and it satisfies the criteria outlined by Sam Hiser of: "(1) being developed and maintained in an open, multi-vendor, multi-stakeholder process that protects against control by a single organization; (2) being the only openly-available standard, published fully in a document that is freely available and easy to comprehend; (3) being the only format unencumbered by intellectual property rights (IPR) restrictions on its use in other software, as certified by the Software Freedom Law Center; and (4) offering interoperability with ODF-compliant applications on the common operating system platforms of Windows, GNU/Linux, and OS X, along with most online word processing apps."

    For me, I am still using Word 98 (on my XP laptop) and Google Doc for online sharing with collaborators. Reason: Inertia of change.

    Thursday, 21 June 2007

    Image Hosting

    Every now and then, I need to make some images available to an unspecified number of people, such as those reading my blog. Where should I put these images?

    I hot-link to the original image if I can. (ok, I am stealing someone's bandwidth.)

    Alternately, if copyright allows, I get a copy and upload to flickr. Get the URL of the image and link.

    Well it seems that there are many choices too.

    All you can upload allows you to upload your image, copy the link and post.

    From TechCrunch:

    Well known and often controversial BitTorrent tracking site The Pirate Bay has launched BayImg, an uncensored free image hosting service.

    From BayImg: is a place where you can host all your images. We do not censor them. We believe in freedom of speech, it's of utter importance to us. As long as your pictures are legal they will be hosted here, but we reserve the right to remove images due to technical reasons though.

    So for those images which you may have problem locating their rightful owners but you definitely have to use, you now know where to put them. :-)

    Immersive Learning Environments

    The proceeding of EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Spring 2007 Focus Session on Immersive Learning Environments: New Paths to Interaction and Engagement is now online. I have not had a chance of go through the material yet. It certainly looks very interesting.

    Here are the list of available material.

    # Generation G and the 21st Century
    Speaker: Richard Van Eck
    # Cyberinfrastructure-Enabled Learning Environments for Gen Z
    Speaker: Gary R. Bertoline
    # Cognition, Learning, and Literacy in Virtual Worlds
    Speaker: Constance Steinkuehler
    # Virtual Learning Environments in 3D
    Speaker: Phillip D. Long
    # The Bar May Not Be as High as You Expect: Considerations in Implementing an Immersive Learning Environment
    Speakers: Heidi Trotta, Jeffrey K. Sarbaum, Phillip D. Long, Alan Levine (Moderator)
    # Student Cameo 1 - Using Adaptive Interactive Narrative to Guide Discovery Learning
    Speaker: Jim Thomas
    # Student Cameo 2 - Visions of the Underworld: Transforming Classical Texts into a Virtual Reality Experience
    Speaker: Patrick Paczkowski
    # Student Cameo 3 - Online Time Consuming Real Time
    Speaker: Whil Piavis

    Tuesday, 19 June 2007

    Encyclopedia of Earth

    from TreeHugger

    This Encyclopedia aims to become the definitive one stop destination for all things environment, climate change and sustainable development.
    "there are many resources for environmental content, but there is no central repository of authoritative information that meets the needs of diverse user communities."

    Monday, 18 June 2007

    More Google Gears Tech

    Laurence Rozier responded to my previous post:

    I think Albert Ip provides some reasonable definitions of the terms peer-to-peer and mesh networking but as with a forest(especially a rainforest) precise definitions of trees, to degree they can be said to exist, tend to obscure the forestness of the tree.

    He further adds:
    Croquet is p2p at it’s core but each instance of Croquet is perfectly capable of simultaneously behaving as a client and/or server. Similarly, Jini/Javaspaces are not inherently p2p but can be configured to function as a p2p service.

    Again, I believe there is a difference in our underlying assumption. Laurence, while talking about Google Gears (GG) which is a browser-based technology, is happy to extend the "forest" to include non-browser-based technologies. I have stayed within Web-based technologies and argued that the current GG implementation cannot provide the fundamental features to support peer-to-peer or mesh network.

    Adding a local data storage does NOT provide the essential technical infra-structure for peer-to-peer or mesh network!

    However, for those hard-core technies, some limited peer-to-peer techniques are available today without the need to invoke GG.

    Firefox has an extension which adds a server to the browser, POW. With a web server incorporated, smart programmer will be able to enable ways of having a webpage calls the local web server. That's the enabling technology we need to kick-start peer-to-peer with web-technology.

    Of course, there are several limitations to such an approach. But when more people are interested, things will start to look interesting.

    About Teaching and Learning - 2

    A previous post here.

    Among all the interesting questions James Kariuki posted, here is another one: What should students know in order to ask questions about the future?

    I would rephrase the question as "What should students know in order to be effective in the future?"

    Our world is changing, fast, very fast! Information is doubling every couple of years. This is exponential growth! While it is not true that whatever we know today, it will become irrelevant in couple of years time. But it is true that whatever we know today will be only a smaller part of we know in a couple of years.

    The job market in the future will consist of jobs that have not been invented yet. How could we prepare today's students for tomorrow's world when we do not know what will happen tomorrow?

    See some of my thinking in Learning for 2020

    How has Information-scape Changed?

    David Warlick was challenged by Gary Stager on "How is information changing?” He gave a few very good points about how the information-scape has changed.

    1. Information has become increasingly networked. I suppose he meant there are increasingly more hyperlinks within information. We can find referred or linked information more easily via such hyperlinks.
    2. Digital convergence of information is continuing at rapid pace.
    3. We are overwhelmed by information.

    I can think of some changes as well.
    4. Information can spread rapidly these days. News published at one end of the world can be read instantly from the other end, usually by almost everyone connected to the Internet.
    5. Because of 1 and 4 above, we are now capable of reading multiple viewpoints of current affairs. [Bloggers play a significant role in this.]

    Back to how information has changed, I think:
    1. Information creation is increasingly collaborative, e.g. Wikipedia, and hence more information is a manifestation of a community instead of an individual.
    2. A few new information genres have evolved over the past years. Email as a format of information (cf letters), webpages (full of hyperlinks see 1 above), blogs (cf with personal diary) ... More and more information is now written as first person observation of world rather than from a third person description.
    3. More information are published by novice, students and other groups which traditionally do not have a platform to reach millions. (Is it part of the explanation of 3 above?)

    Implication for learning: [obviously an incomplete list]
    Two life-skills:
    1. ability to evaluate accuracy, authentication and viewpoints of information
    2. ability to filter, yet have a general "feel" of a vast amount of information and make sense of out such a body of work.
    A learning strategy:
    3. participation of information production is now a necessary strategy in learning

    Some other good points from the comments in David Warlick's post:

    I also think one area that has NOT been touched upon is that that teachers need to be preparing more for the PRESENT and the FUTURE…..and many still teach in the comfort of the past.

    I would add to your Item 2 about information becoming digital the discussion of SIZE and DUPLICABILITY. E.G. the book War and Peace can be shrunk to an electronic footprint that is so small we can pass it to others with little regard to the taking of physical space. Duplicability allows us to make one thing and provide it to millions of people almost instantly.

    At the very least the tangibility of “frozen” media (whether print, video, etc.) gives it a different affect than the purely oral tradition that preceded it.
    The distinction between print and electronic forms has, perhaps, some small relevance, but in the end it is all physical (physical pits on a DVD, electron transfers in RAM, etc.) At most we might be talking about the difference between “light through” media (stained glass) vs. “light on” media (paper), and volumes have been written on this topic, none of which have enlightened me much on the issue you raise.

    As David says, the print vs digital question is a false dichotomy.

    Information is information is information, whether its from the neighbor, the teacher, the Weekly World News ( as we all need a little Wolf Baby now and again), or some other source.

    Taking my lead from Danny Hillis, ‘The Pattern on the Stone’, Gregory Bateson defined information as “the difference that makes a difference”

    Hillis goes onto argue that computers have made a difference. So I agree with David Warlick’s second point, about the importance of the change to “being digital”, a point made long ago by Negroponte (book title)

    I also like the McLuhan / Alan Kay / Philip Armour suggestion that the important thing is that we are undergoing a shift in the dominant media that we use to transact knowledge. Philip Armour said it this way:

    “Software is not a product. It is a medium in which we store knowledge. Historically there have been 5 such media: DNA, Brains, Hardware, Books, Software.”

    Software is a superior medium to print, more powerful things can be elegantly represented (eg. simulations of systems), it is more readily searchable etc. So I disagree with David Thornburg in playing down the importance of this shift. The future is (almost) here it just hasn’t been distributed yet.

    It’s dangerous to talk about information in isolation and I agree with Tom Hoffman and David Thornburg that we need to be clearer about the terms and also look at the interplay between “data, information, knowledge and understanding” (David Thornburg)

    But this is not the only perspective. Hugo (in Hunchback) provides a brilliant analysis of how printing competed with the architecture of the church. Grand cathedrals, with their stained glass and sculpture, were books built of stone and glass, telling the story of the bible. To “read” this story, one had to travel to the church. As Hugo remarked, the book let ideas be more like a flock of birds in the square that would scatter themselves way beyond the edifice. To Hugo, print destroyed the power of the edifice, and THIS was the threat to the church.

    Again, the point was access.

    We have perhaps been deceived by the relatively stable texts of the print-age into thinking that information is static, but surely it isn’t. Change the reader of the Bible, for instance, and you generate different information. Convert the Bible to a Charlton Heston movie, and you have yet different information. I’m certain that the Bible in Japanese or modern English is different again from the Bible in Hebrew. Decide that the Bible is written not by God, but by Moses, say, and you get even different information.

    Friday, 15 June 2007

    Project EnRoLE

    This is the official blog for project EnRoLE, a Commonwealth funded initiative to encourage role-based learning in eLearning environments.

    sloodle - Learning System for Virtual Environment

    from the website:

    Sloodle is an Open Source project which aims to bring improved learning support to 3D Multi-User Virtual Environments. Our first objective is to develop a range of tools and methods for learning activities in the rich interactive and user-created virtual world Second Life with the Open Source and modular web-based Learning Management Systems (LMS) Moodle.

    Thursday, 14 June 2007

    About Teaching and Learning

    by James Kariuki

    James posted a list of interesting questions (not in any particular order, he said):

    Is the teaching and learning field broken? Does it need fixing? What need to be fixed? Who should fix it?

    Are educational institutions fighting for freedom through education or freedom for education?

    What is the importance of teaching and learning? What is the importance of scholarship of teaching? What is the importance of the culture of teaching? What is the importance of learning materials?

    What should students know in order to ask questions about the future? How would students be encouraged to define and create their world views? How do students learn? How do we teach? What is defined by the culture and heritage? How are we encouraging students to drive innovation in Higher Education? How are we realigning the teaching and learning in the wake of technological innovations?

    Is good teaching a skill that can be taught? how?

    How do we shape our schools and teachers for teaching and learning?

    What are we using to evaluate the success of teaching and learning? Can we justify the use of the evaluation tool?

    If marks are what motivates students to learn, then why don't we link evaluations to mark?

    Why do academics fail to use or adopt elearning? For those who do, why do they use it?

    What is the role and responsibility of government in improving the quantity and quality of educational output?

    What a list!

    While I am passionate about most of the questions posted, I just like to say a word or two on one at this time. (May be more later.) What is the importance of learning materials?

    To me this is a particularly interesting and difficult question in this era of fast changing information age. Information has become ubiquitous and students can easily be more knowledgeable in a particular field than the teacher. The information gate-keeper role of teacher has long gone!

    Is there still a role for teacher in someone's learning? Is there still a role of "learning material" in learning?

    Obviously, the answers are "yes" to both. Let me just focus on the second one here.

    I have always held that education is about "orientating" a person into a community of practice. Community of practice includes professional groups, being a functioning citizens and a contributing member of social groups etc.

    Historically, academic subject was introduction to (or steps towards ) professional groups. Take Physics as an example. There are a set of vocabularies, concepts, methodologies etc which are being used by Physicists. The primary aim of "Physics" was to enable Physics students to be able to communicate and practice in this "community". As we progressively realize, not all students aspire to become a Physicists. We started to look at what are the other values a Physics curriculum can offer to people who do not have a primary interest to become a Physics and look at the value of such training. Understanding the nature, realizing the importance of evidence-based investigation (or scientific methodologies), etc. become the learning objectives of such courses.

    Information, as I insisted in many of my previous postings, are manifestation of a subset someone's world view. Physics textbook, in particular, is a writer's attempt to systematically introduce Physicists' working guidelines, concepts, vocabularies etc. (The auther may also pay attention to relate such work with daily life examples).

    I understand current education system is still very much a "people sorter", implemented as various examinations, qualification tests. Curriculum was forced down from University lecturers who do not want to teach "basic" stuff. [Sorry forgotten who said that before.] Textbook writer has no choice but to meet the "market demand".

    Unfortunately, in the case of Physics for instance, Physics textbook is too far away from the actual practice of a current working Physicist. It can not excite students. It rarely covers the current issues. It is likely to be out-dated before it is published.

    To make "learning material" an important part of the learning process, it needs to change. Do NOT compete with the information on current issues in the chosen community of practice. Focus on a gradual introduction to the community, generate the excitement of the field, discuss current issues up front and enable communication with the practitioners.

    Am I hoping too much?

    Wednesday, 13 June 2007

    Dalai Lama and Science

    While Christianity is in conflict with science (creationism vs Darwin's Natural Selection), Buddhism seems to be embracing Science very well.

    Dalai Lama wrote:

    Science shows us ways of interpreting the physical world, while spirituality helps us cope with reality. But hte extreme of either is impoverishing. The belief that all is reducibnle to matter and energy leaves out a huge range of human experience:emotions, yearnings, compassion, culture. At the same time, holding unexamined spiritual beliefs-beliefs that are contradicted by evidence, logic and experience-can lock us into fundamental cages.

    To back it up, Tibetan Buddhist Monks were taking part in studies of the brain activities involving emotions. So far, experimental data showed that mind training (such as mediation), people can learn to control their emotions and remain in "happiness". See this and this.

    Learning about Dalai Lama

    Here is a worksheet and a video (both from ABC) for students to focus and learn more about this man.

    Video of Bush losing his watch

    via BoingBoing

    When working the crowd, with security personnel surrounding him, US President lose his watch in daylight publicly. [Video in Dutch website]

    Photo showing the watch

    Photo showing the watch has gone

    Can you spot who took his watch?

    Top Firefox 2 config tweaks

    by Gina Trapani

    When you type in about:config in the address bar of the Firefox browser, you enter into the Firefox's configuration page. Here are some tweaks to make your browsing experience more pleasurable. The following are the tweaks that I have put in.

    Fetch only what you click

    Fx .6 and up: Firefox has this wacky little feature that downloads pages from links it thinks you may click on pages you view, like the top result on a page of Google results. This means you use up bandwidth and CPU cycles and store history for web pages you may not have ever viewed.

    * Key: network.prefetch-next
    * Modified Value: false

    Turn off chrome tooltips

    All versions: [snip] Like you, I already know what all the buttons on my browser chrome do, so the tool tips aren't necessary. To turn them off, set the key value to false.

    * Key:
    * Modified Value: false

    Enable spellcheck
    layout.spellcheckDefault = 2 turns on Firefox 2's spell-checking in input fields as well as textareas. (That means no more typos in Lifehacker post headlines!)

    Hide the Go button at the end of address bar
    * browser.urlbar.hideGoButton=true turns off the rarely-used Go button at the end of the address bar, for more room to see long URLs.

    See other tweaks in Top Firefox 2 config tweaks

    Tuesday, 12 June 2007

    You Only Live Twice

    This is a 4 Corners program by Australia Boardcasting Corporation (ABC) on Virtual Worlds, Second Life in particular.

    Monday, 11 June 2007

    Learning Chinese R/W way - Lesson 10

    The first group of chinese radicals, according to the ChangJie Input method is "Philosophical group" consisting the words 日, 月, 金, 木, 水, 火, 土.

    The first two: 日 and 月, being sun and moon respectively, represents the Yang 陽 and Yin 陰in the Chinese YinYang 陰陽 Etymology. Sun is also commonly known as 太陽 and moon is also occasionally refers to 太陰.

    金木水火土 are the Five elements 五行 in Chinese philosophy.
    金 literally means Gold and is generalized as metal [金屬]
    木 is wood. 森林 means forest, lot of 木!
    水 is water. But as a radical, it is usually appears as 3 dots on the left such as 海洋 [ocean].
    火 means fire. 炒 is stir-fry and 炸 is deep fry when you talk about cooking.
    Finally 土 is earth. 土地 means land.

    Because YinYang and the 5 elements form the basis of a lot of Chinese concepts, they are radicals of many words. We shall look at some words with these radicals in the next lesson.

    Sunday, 10 June 2007

    Beethoven Symphony No. 3

    Another great resources for Music by San Francisco Symphony

    From Neatorama:

    The San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas has created a fabulous website devoted to Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony, the Eroica. The section called Explore the Score is especially valuable. The music plays as you follow the score, with the option of highlighting themes, keys, and markups, offering an excellent insight into the details of the composition.

    Saturday, 9 June 2007

    DaLai Lama

    I have the opportunity to hear the Dalai Lama speaks at a public meeting this afternoon. Here are a few personal impression of this man.

    At the start, he told us that there is NO miracle. He is just an ordinary man like you and me. He jokingly said if there is any miracle, he would like to meet as well because he has an itching skin and hoped that miracle can cure him.

    He offered to speak to the people at the gathering (I believe there must have over 10,000 people there) on a man-to-man level.

    The main teaching is "compassion" to others. Compassion to other is NOT for the sake of others. It is for oneself. I may write more about this if I can understand that better.

    A few interesting answers from Dalai Lama really shines through to the deep of understanding/wisdom he has.

    An 11-year old girl asked him the meaning of life and why. He said he did not know and then proceed to explain why. He said scientists and experts are still trying to learn the meaning of life, so he did not know either. He suggested the girl is still young and can search for the truth herself. (I later learnt from the friends that Buddhism refuse to question the origin of life, instead, Buddhism encourages living the life to the fullest. The analog is "when you are driving a car, you don't worry about the mechanics or the make of the car, you concentrate on driving the car and don't hit a post. I would add that this whole true for the Buddhist Monks. Scientists may make it their purpose to understand how life has evolved!)

    Wikipedia's article on 14th Dalai Lama (the current Dalai Lama) is accurate: He has also stated his belief that modern scientific findings take precedence over ancient religions. At least I believe Buddhism does not corner itself to the contradiction of the findings of modern science - great contrast to Christianity (as I understood it).

    As a religious leader, Dalai Lama's teaching is remarkably non-religious. He appeals to fundamental good human nature. He objects using fear, hatry and force.

    I really want to learn more about this man.

    Friday, 8 June 2007

    Genie Gears Up

    Laurence Rozier is optimistic that Google Gears (GG) can be extended to include "mesh" and "peers" based on security page for Google Gears:

    Sometimes web applications on different origins may want to share resources. We are investigating ideas for granting permissions across origins.

    I must say that Laurence and I must have different understanding of "mesh" and "peers".

    There are several types of collaborations:

    1. A website which acts as a post master and relay data among users log on to its server(s), a star-collaborative model, e.g. discussion forum. GG can certainly helps increase the concurrent users log into a system by caching some previous data local to the users.

    2. A web page pulls together several resources from different sources into to provide added-value to the user. That's the current "mesh-up" model. Most of these are done via server-side technique. The originating server (the one which sends the web page) performs web service calls to the different sources and then process and present to the user. A client-side solution will be pulling the data from different sources, massage the data on the client-side (typically using Javascript) and present via updating different elements of the web page DOM. The second scenario to work, the web service must be able to return a JSON string and allows a call back function. (See JSONscriptRequest for a technique to implement the later.) If the web service only returns a XML string, cross-domain scripting restriction will block the Javascript from processing the returned XML and block insertion to the DOM.

    3. This is similar to 1 above, but this time the user will arbitrarily select star-model collaborative services (1) to connect AND enable users from different collaborative services to exchange data. That's what I refer to as "peers-to-peers" service. Currently, I know of no pure browser-based service of this type.

    4. Extending from (3), if user A can, via connected to user B, further support data exchange from those connected A (such as A1, A2,...) with those connected to B (such as B1, B2,...) AND truly enable a mesh, then I call this "mesh".

    Web is basically a client-server structure, (3) and (4) above are definitely pushing the web model to its limits.

    Going back to collaboration type (2) above, the client-side implementation is already posing a serious security threat. Firefox 2.0 trusted extensions cannot help in this case without the use of extensions or chrome code. Current GG only use the "same origin" policy. I hope the clever guys at Google can come up with something to enable granting permissions across origins in a scalable way.

    Journey of Mankind

    via OLDaily


    From Stephen Downes:

    displaying the spread of the human population across the globe through history, connecting the story with the artifacts and artwork that documents the history

    More on Intel Vs OLPC

    On one side, we have OLPC, with Sugar interface running a version of Linux supported by open source using AMD processors.

    On the other side, we have Intel teams up with Asus offering $3 software bundle.

    Is that a winner-take-all game? or both can survive and serve different clientele?

    The Radical Impossibility of Teaching

    via Stephen Downes OLDaily by John Connell which in turn refers to Ron Burnett's paper Learning to Learn in a Virtual World

    John did a great job summarising Ron's key idea which is further summarized by Stephen:

    "Is the whole process of teaching a paradox? When teachers teach and learners learn, what is the nature of the causal link between the two, if any? How does teaching produce learning? Does teaching produce learning?"

    The traditional teacher/student relationship, whereby, teacher controls the information and claim the authority of knowledge no longer exists in today's world. Information is highly available and teachers can no longer control what kind of information students are exposed to.

    As Stephen suggested, the causal relationship between teaching and learning is much less direct than popular wisdom suggests and he believes the teacher is limited to modeling and demonstrating.

    Is there anything else teachers can do besides "modeling and demonstrating"?

    In so many subject area, "modeling and demonstrating" are not a regular part of the "teaching", e.g. history which is very much a "story-telling" approach - at least as I learnt it in the old days.

    If the causal relationship between teaching and learning is illusive, the causal relationship between information communicated to the students and the actual message understood by the learners is problematic and uncertain too. (This is another poiint from Ron's paper - communication.)

    I would further add this:
    Information is only fragments of the author's inner world as manifested in a language. No author can expose his/her complete world view in full details. The manifestation is only one instance or one way of express what the author really believes. The language, being a socially constructed symbols, is subject to continuous change and varying interpretation. (Isn't politics the art of interpretation, eg "some animals are more equal than other".)

    If knowledge means the procedural steps to execute a complicated sequence, yes information can do a lot of "teaching". If knowledge refers to the understanding of the world, the value system and the belief system, then the "causal relationship" of information and knowledge is yet another problematic uncertain area.

    Wikipedia Games

    Here are a couple of games based on Wikipedia:
    1. Joining Back [The name I give this game]

    To begin, a random page on the Wikipedia database is loaded (Random page link in the left navigation menu). The player is then given twenty seconds to orient him/herself to the subject matter on that first website (called the 'Homing Page'). Once this 'Reading Period' is up, the player is then transported to completely different topic page after a series of hypertextual selections ('clicks'). More specifically, this displacement is caused by first selecting a random link on the Homing Page and then on ten subsequent pages.


    After arriving at the final page in the randomized succession, the player must reorient him/herself and begin playing the actual game. It is the object of the game to find one's way back to the Homing Page using as few clicks as possible. The player can use any wiki-link inside the contents of any entry page they come across. These links can appear as either images or words."

    2. Catfishing
    Game invented by Sumana Harihareswara and implemented by Kevan, December 2006.
    Get the list of all the categories that an article belongs to (at the end of the article), your opponent must guess which article it's describing.

    3. Get there first [The name I give this game]
    grab a laptop and challenge someone else on a different laptop. Both people go to Wikipedia and start in the same spot. [...] Then someone calls out a word or term or person, like "Bob Dylan," and they race to see who can get there first. The rule is you can't type anything; you can only click on links. And you can't go backwards.

    A different version of this game is always to start from the homepage.
    Wikipedia itself has a description of a version of this game too.

    4. Wikigroaning
    First, find a useful Wikipedia article that normal people might read. For example, the article called "Knight." Then, find a somehow similar article that is longer, but at the same time, useless to a very large fraction of the population. In this case, we'll go with "Jedi Knight." Open both of the links and compare the lengths of the two articles. Compare not only that, but how well concepts are explored, and the greater professionalism with which the longer article was likely created.

    Have fun!

    Thursday, 7 June 2007

    “Explore Evolution”—displacing good science with 'dumbed-down' creationism

    by PZ Myers

    I am not going to discuss the validity of the content of the referred book.

    What worries me is that religion is now mixing into /interfering with politics and decision making at the highest level. I remember (but not very sure) that the US president once said he sent US troops to invade other countries because God told him to do that. I really hope I have mistaken. Otherwise, what is the difference between USA and an Islamic-extremist-governed country?

    Religious wars kill people. Unlike couple of centuries ago, the weapon today are more dangerous.

    Sound, evidence-based education is the only tool to fight against this. Teachers, again, are at the front line.

    May reason and common sense bless America!

    Apple’s File Labeling: An Effective Anticopying Tool?

    Recently it was revealed that Apple’s new DRM-free iTunes tracks come with the buyer’s name encoded in their headers.

    There are many discussions on how bad it is to add buyer's name in the header of the music file, and I honestly believe that Apple would have known all these issues and it is not implemented without careful consideration. So what is the REAL reason of doing this?

    IMHO, adding information in the header of a file has always been there and removing such information is just a matter of getting the right skill or tool. So encryption of the information is NOT an issue. (Just look at the properties of any MS Word document, how many people actually take that seriously?)

    Given that such information can be added and removed (with the right tool and skill), this is also not a great method to prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that a music file was copied from a certain source. Tracking distribution via header information as such, with good defense lawyers, should be very difficult to establish because anyone can just pretend to be anyone else.

    This is a very clever move, Apple!


    I must admit that my family members and me included are suffering from Procrastination.

    From Wikipedia:

    Procrastination is the deferment or avoidance of an action or task to a later time. For the person procrastinating this may result in stress, a sense of guilt, the loss of productivity, the creation of crisis, and the chagrin of others for not fulfilling one's responsibilities or commitments. While it is normal for individuals to procrastinate to some degree, it becomes a problem when it impedes normal functioning. Chronic procrastination may be a sign of an underlying psychological or physiological disorder.

    This 1995 essay describes my situation very well and has given me some hope - that's why I am writing this post.

    Structured procrastination means shaping the structure of the tasks one has to do in a way that exploits this fact. The list of tasks one has in mind will be ordered by importance. Tasks that seem most urgent and important are on top. But there are also worthwhile tasks to perform lower down on the list. Doing these tasks becomes a way of not doing the things higher up on the list. With this sort of appropriate task structure, the procrastinator becomes a useful citizen. Indeed, the procrastinator can even acquire, as I have, a reputation for getting a lot done.


    The trick is to pick the right sorts of projects for the top of the list. The ideal sorts of things have two characteristics, First, they seem to have clear deadlines (but really don't). Second, they seem awfully important (but really aren't).

    What do these findings tell us about this generation of parents?

    BBC has a report on a survey.

    One in four adults in a poll of 2,000 for the services website, Directgov, said they wanted an online alert if their child did not turn up for school.
    Speaking in focus groups on the subject, some parents said they wanted to be able to play back video of lessons to help with homework.

    I think the UK parents are doing the right thing. What is your view?

    ASUS and Intel slaughters OLPC with Eee-ase

    A bit more information is coming out about the Intel and Asus's $200 Laptop:

    The ASUS Eee computer will cost a mere $199 for the 7″ LCD model whereas the so-called $100 OLPC costs $175. Given the fact that Eee can run Linux or Windows XP and it can boot off NAND flash memory in a mere 15 seconds, the Eee slaughters the OLPC with ease.

    Wednesday, 6 June 2007

    Gear Mesh: Power To The Peers

    While everyone is putting forward about how great Google Gears (GG) would be, pushing it to include "mesh" and "peers" [I assume is peers to peers (p2p) is a bit over the edge.

    I agree that GG would potentially be able to increase the capacity to serve more concurrent users in a collaboration system. However, creating a browser-based solution do "mesh" or p2p is a totally different ball game. First of all, for security concerns, scripts will not be allowed to call arbitrary servers (AJAX is no exception) and hence one user logging to multiple "collaborating" servers is a technical challenge. Establishing connections to other peers without an intermediate server acting as a post office, meaning each user is both a client and a server at least after connection is established, is even more difficult.

    Intel, Asus Show Off $200 Laptop provide an alternative to the One Laptop Per Child project, Intel announced plans on Tuesday to team up with Asustek to produce a notebook for developing countries that could cost as little as $200. The 'Eee PC' will be a full-featured low-end notebook, whereas the OLPC is more aimed at children. Intel has criticized the device in the past for being too simple, and not having enough functionality to even make it worthwhile.

    While the specifics of the Intel Eee PC is unknown, whether it would be a good alternative depends on the software that is included!

    Tuesday, 5 June 2007

    Learning Chinese R/W way - Lesson 9

    I set out to do a "read/write" focus to learning Chinese. So far, I have explained some Chinese way of expressing ideas and have not given much information about how to input Chinese. Here it is.

    The particular input method I am recommending is "ChangJie" method. Please review lesson 1 if you have not installed the input option.

    ChangJie method (倉頡輸入法) was invented in the seventies by Mr Chu Bong-Foo (朱邦復) and has been in the public domain ever since. I met Mr Chu in the Nineties when he was working on hanzi 聚珍 Chinese operating system (My company in Hongkong helped in promoting this product) before it became public domain.

    From Wikipedia about 朱邦復:

    During the development of Cangjie method, Chu found that his invention is not only an input method, but also a character encoding method for computing systems. Unlike An Wang's encoding method of the time, or later methods such as Big5 and Unicode, Cangjie method dose not sort characters by their usage frequency, stroke count, or radical, but is based on their composition aspect and inspired by the "pictophonetic compounds" principle of Chinese.

    Chu therefore began to develop a theory (which he would later call "Chinese DNA", "Alphabets of Chinese Language", or "Chinese character gene" theory). The theory states that the forms selected by Chu are the "genes" of Chinese. Proper arrangement of these "genes" can provide all functions of the characters. Therefore Cangjie method as a character encoding is very useful, since it contains not only an ordered set of characters, but also precise references of shapes, pronunciations and semantics of the characters. Therefore the system is an efficient base for a variety of Chinese information technology: smart dictionary; operating system and application software; programming language; hardware architecture of PC and embedded systems; and even strong artificial intelligence.[3][4]

    Here is the basic mapping with an English (US) keyboard with the "Chinese Genes". Please study the input table from Wikipedia Cangjie method [Wikipedia chooses to spell 倉頡輸入法 as Cangjie method and I am using the original spelling used by Mr Chu and the general public.]

    Now, try using your keyboard and ChangJie method to type in some Chinese.

    Sunday, 3 June 2007

    Strategies and Techniques for Building Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS)

    The recent Guild Research Report on Immersive Learning Simulations (ILS) revealed that in the next 12 months there will be a projected 72% growth in simulation/scenariobased learning and 37% growth in e-Learning games.Though the use of ILS is on the rise there are still a number of barriers that prevent organizations from using this approach for e-Learning — from perceived difficulty in building this type of e-Learning to questions about the costs to build ILS to the appropriateness of using “games” for e-Learning.

    I will be presenting "Engaging Learning Experience Using Role Play Simulations" on Thursday, July 19 — 12:00n to 1:15p (USA Pacific Time).

    Further details will be posted when the event is closer. :-)

    Friday, 1 June 2007

    Women In Art

    via BoingBoing

    This may be an wonderful resource for Art classes.