Thursday, March 29, 2012

Good awareness in interviews about open education

How Open Education Can Transform Learning | MindShift

Nicely summarised both in the text and the video. Primary points resignating to me were the realities of access, and the increasing gap between not only those with and without access, but between those who can capitalise on the opportunities, and those who can't. That last point stats to touch on my concerns about neo colonialism through open education.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Convivial research and learning

Regenerating conviviality in adult learning: towards a research agenda

As part of an ongoing research project on Sustaining social purpose, I am collecting stories from university adult educators who entered the field between the early 1970s and the mid to late 1980s, and I am struck by the emphasis on conviviality in teaching and learning that is emerging, and how in those dark years of Thatcherism in the UK, increasing instrumentalism and dismissal of learning for its own sake, adult education lost its spirit of conviviality. Only now are discussions about convivial adult learning beginning to regenerate.

Jim Groom and Alex Hayes are two people I think about as I register the domain

I've done it for a number of other sites I manage, but never for myself. Saw little reason to, apart from a kind of integrity on my online identity. So there it is, still resolving, and pointing to my Blogger blog.

$10 per year, registered through Blogger, and bringing with it a Google Apps account. Too cheap to ignore really.

Sunday, March 25, 2012


This is an intense but needed summary of the opposition to today's Oil Wars.

The Video the Pentagon doesn't want you to see!

But those soldiers will return, become political, and raise a new agenda. Let's hope it's a good one.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Vote 1: Homeless Bum

If you're voting in Darwin's local elections today, I urge you to vote 1 for Homeless Bum, Trevor Jenkins.

Trevor is famous around Darwin, for his roadside artworks using rubbish and fallen tree branches, and his preaching for love and understanding. I introduced myself to Trevor while he was repairing one of his sculptures at the university. As we shook hands I immediately knew he was a good spirit. Eyes sparkling, happy, genuine, ready to engage. I asked him about his campaign to be Mayor of Darwin, and he passed me a copy of his poster. We then had a long conversation about a wide range of things social, and he easily won my vote, with the depth of his concern for people generally, especially the vulnerable - "which is eventually all of us at least once" he said.

With his body odour, slightly mixed with the smell of the rubbish he handles, Trevor is a breath of fresh air to the political arena! He speaks of the need to connect people in Darwin, to bridge the very apparent gaps, in authentic and genuine ways, and to develop Darwin in creative and unique ways.

Photo from ABC

He has no illusions on his prospects for winning the election, or of being accepted if he does, but the simple act of standing is enough. It gives him a platform and a reason to speak to people, and gave me my reason for approaching him. I was really moved by the things he said and the way he said it, and if Mayor is simply a ceremonial role of cutting ribbons and meeting the children, I can imagine no-one better than Trevor for the job. But if mayor is more than that, about writing policy and making systematic changes, again I can imagine no one better than Trevor. I don't know, and have not spoken to the other candidates, but it says enough to me that I have met and spoken at length with Trevor, while the others are just thousands of plastic political posters everywhere.

Photo from ABC

I'm sure many of the other candidates are worthy, experienced, and have big ideas (and very bad ideas), but for me Trevor gets it, especially when you meet him in person. The ABC recorded a debate between 3 of the 4 candidates a couple of days. Interesting listening.

Monday, March 12, 2012

War on the Internet (Australia)

Electronic Frontiers and The Australian Greens teamed up a few months ago, to host an interesting event called War on the Internet, featuring:

  • Jacob Applebaum - leading computer security researcher and hacker
  • Bernard Keane - 'Crikey' journalist and author
  • Scott Ludlam - Senator for Western Australia and Greens spokesperson for Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy
  • Suelette Dreyfus - author and researcher on whistleblowing

The response of governments and corporations to Wikileaks, Anonymous, the occupy movement and the Arab Spring has been defensive and warlike.  The internet and social media were declared tools of agitation.  Behaviour that sought peaceful democratic reform was characterised as treasonous or even terrorist.
Government asserted the right to flick the internet off-switch, and law enforcement, Internet Service Providers, telcos and the judiciary were enlisted to harass activists via subpoenas, takedown notices, mercenary denial of service attacks, and direct denial of services based on unexplained breaches of hard to find user licences.  It also involved the ritual harassment of activists in the far corners of international airports, dark places reserved for unlawful arrivals and criminal suspects.
It doesn't have to be like this.  Come and hear from an activist, journalist, researcher and legislator challenging the gatekeepers and proposing alternatives to the weaponisation of cyberspace.
Videos of this event are kept on Vimeo, with just over 200 views in a month and barely any 
mainstream coverage that I am aware of. I'd say Australian journalists and editors are asleep on this subject. 

From unconference to teachmeets

Peter Shanks dropped two interesting links into the TALO (Teach and Learn Online) email group today. Two newspaper reports about Teachmeets - unconferencing for teachers:
  1. Daily Telegraph: Australian teachers crazy for their teachmeets
  2. Sydney Morning Herald: Lesson in numbers: TeachMeet aims for a world record
You know it must be something note worthy if it survives as a Wikipedia entry these days:
A TeachMeet is an organised but informal meeting (in the style of an unconference) for teachers to share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology. These events are often organised to coincide with other educational events like the Scottish Learning Festival and the British Educational Technology and Training Show BETT.
Participants volunteer (via the TeachMeet website) to demonstrate good practice they've delivered over the past year, or discuss a product that enhances classroom practice.
TeachMeet events are open to all and do not charge an entry fee.
Steven Parker then replied in the TALO forum with his experiences in a Teachmeet in Belfast. 
I recently attended a teachmeet in Belfast. A remarkable success, 80 teachers attended face to face with live streaming of the event to around 140 people online. These videos give a taste of the format with a good use of twitter. With each presentation at 2min to 7 minutes interest was maintained and alot of people got to speak. Here is an animation explaining the format.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mobile wikis

Need to view a Wikimedia Foundation project better on a mobile? Just add an "m". For example: put an "m." between "en." and "wikiversity", as such:
Wikipedia has had this for a while now, but we've been waiting a long time for it to roll out across the other projects.

Friday, March 09, 2012

:) A Business Degree with No Messing Around -- AIU

See what we're all about at

If you're not interested in getting your business degree surrounded by a bunch of 19-year-olds, check out the school for busy, working professionals. American Intercontinental University is an accredited university for people who want to earn their business degree as efficiently as possible with no messing around.

When I was looking for a college -- really the only ones I looked at were ones that I knew had strong business programs. But now I realize college is about so much more than just what you learn in class.

It's a place to make lifelong friends. A place to learn about yourself. An environment where you can...grow up. That's why I could never go somewhere like AIU. Sure they've got an award-winning virtual campus where you can get your business degree online. And sure, a business degree could really help build a career.


But they're like totally straight line about it, Point A to Point B -- "let's do this as efficiently as possible." "Get a business degree without wasting any time." I mean, that's why they're called America's #1 Unparty School. They don't get is all about...the journey.

If you've already done all your growing up, come check out the school for busy working adults. We're AIU, American's #1 Unparty School. See what we're all about at

LEGAL: Not all programs are available in all states. AIU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at American InterContinental University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. REQ0238142

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Me and Charles Darwin University

Peak Oil Jacket 002

Julio and I have finished the second protoype of the Peak Oil Jacket, refining the findings in 001.
This one uses a lighter treated canvas outer, still lined with ventile, a sleaker design better fitted for active wear, more face shielding in the hood, adjusted pockets now using RiRi aqua zips, and all closed up with a 2 way aqua zip protected by a double placket fastened by studs. This version is lighter, axtra weather proof, and a better fit.

I can't wait to test this one in August, up on the main range of the NSW Snowies. In fact, I reckon it'll be tough enough to use in an approach up Mount Townsend from the West, where I'm expecting a rough, rarely if ever attempted climb, carrying skis through forest, thick scrub and alpine grass, before reaching the snowline for a sunset ski return overlooking the valleys of the Murray. I better get started on the pants, gloves, woolens and featherdown jacket, so to be gear-ready for it!

As soon as I have the pattern graded (sizes small, medium and large), I'll get it up as an open source design and offer supply of materials raw or cut, or a complete jacket made to order.

Tracking nicely for a launch in July, August.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Good question Harold

Online community ethics

Harold asks a good question, and I've tried to use the obvious answer to guide my practice since 2006. While I don't go as far as not setting up and offering spaces like Facebook for people to engage in courses and other activities I facilitate, I certainly don't make such places the primary channel of information. Wikiversity is my primary, periodicaly copied into blogger, that automatically feeds through to email lists, twitter and Facebook. All of them offer that scale of userbase that enhance the probability of people connecting and hopefully networking their learning, but where people choose to then engage is up to them.

Raspberry Pi and convivial computing

Raspberry Pi released

I agree with Graham, these sorts of things should at least have a presence in school based mass education, if not be the central theme of their tech studies, but they're not, and won't be due to a rather sad view of employability and life meaning in such places. So over to you home scoolers, unschoolers, and free universities.

Climate change hypothesis in more doubt

Judith Curry interview on climate change

Bill points to somr good middle ground perspective on the debate around climate change

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Confronting fear

Life on the Edge by Dennis Maitland

Creatively coming to terms with a fear of heights, Dennis made a vertigo enducing photo series of his effort.