Wednesday, 9 July 2008
Thursday, 12 July 2007
by Leigh Blackall
Leigh was offered money to link to an essay writing service. Interested in what they do, Leigh conducted an email interview. The questions and answers are interesting and call for reflection in the role of essay writing as an assessment task.
Here are a few Questions and Answers I found very inspiring:
Does you your service subvert academia? - good bad, doesn’t matter, other…
To some extent, yes, but not without help of educational system itself. Since essays are used as an assessment tool, which is a wrong method for testing student knowledge, students are seeking the way out. This is not bad in itself, since, as previously stated, they receive an opportunity to devote themselves to the path chosen – whether Math, IT, or Dance, but this, perhaps, shapes a wrong worldview, as students have to deal with ethical dilemmas imposed by society, which should not have happened if academic institutions were to develop better assessment techniques and a more personalized, individual interests based educational program.
Do you have alternative visions for knowledge creation and sharing?
With the advent of online social networks, I think that one could definitely come up with an alternative to regular writing assignments. Why not let students communicate and develop their own interest based social networks where they could stand up for their views in academic related subjects that do interest them? For students majoring and/or interested in IT or Math – let them discuss in a written form questions that interest them – both professional knowledge and writing skills would develop. Math and IT students need writing for communicating own ideas in a written form in a professional manner, perhaps, using specialized IT/Math vocabulary. What would develop their writing skills better than an open discussion on an education related topic of own choice? Academic institutions perceive Internet as a threat instead of enjoying all the benefits and opportunities it offers for improvement of education.
I linked to another by Glenda Morgan on Tuesday with more focus on copyright.
I think the whole issue of IP, including the beginning of copying to original ideas, the notion of reference, R & D (repeat and duplicate) has to be re-examined in the light of the current technology.
The whole notion of "reference" is also political which I may address in a later post.
Tuesday, 10 July 2007
by Glenda Morgan
I like Glenda's title. An alternate title to this post may be "What does your R & D stand for?"
Many would say "R & D" stand for "research and development". The fact is in school, we do a lot of "Repeat and Duplicate" from simple Physics experiments to reciting peoms from the great.
If learning is conversation, we are constantly remixing our understanding with feedback from people we meet and talk to. Which part is yours originally and which is a re-hatch of an idea you have forgotten where you have heard of?
In the article Glenda pointed to, Jonathan Lethem wrote
The idea that culture can be property—intellectual property—is used to justify everything from attempts to force the Girl Scouts to pay royalties for singing songs around campfires to the infringement suit brought by the estate of Margaret Mitchell against the publishers of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone. Corporations like Celera Genomics have filed for patents for human genes, while the Recording Industry Association of America has sued music downloaders for copyright infringement, reaching out-of-court settlements for thousands of dollars with defendants as young as twelve. ASCAP bleeds fees from shop owners who play background music in their stores; students and scholars are shamed from placing texts facedown on photocopy machines. At the same time, copyright is revered by most established writers and artists as a birthright and bulwark, the source of nurture for their infinitely fragile practices in a rapacious world. Plagiarism and piracy, after all, are the monsters we working artists are taught to dread, as they roam the woods surrounding our tiny preserves of regard and remuneration.
Further down the article:
The distinctive feature of modern American copyright law is its almost limitless bloating—its expansion in both scope and duration. With no registration requirement, every creative act in a tangible medium is now subject to copyright protection: your email to your child or your child's finger painting, both are automatically protected. The first Congress to grant copyright gave authors an initial term of fourteen years, which could be renewed for another fourteen if the author still lived. The current term is the life of the author plus seventy years. It's only a slight exaggeration to say that each time Mickey Mouse is about to fall into the public domain, the mouse's copyright term is extended.
Even as the law becomes more restrictive, technology is exposing those restrictions as bizarre and arbitrary. When old laws fixed on reproduction as the compensable (or actionable) unit, it wasn't because there was anything fundamentally invasive of an author's rights in the making of a copy. Rather it was because copies were once easy to find and count, so they made a useful benchmark for deciding when an owner's rights had been invaded. In the contemporary world, though, the act of “copying” is in no meaningful sense equivalent to an infringement—we make a copy every time we accept an emailed text, or send or forward one—and is impossible anymore to regulate or even describe.
I encourage you to read the article. It is refreshing....
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