Week In Review: 2008-June-09 Published 2008-06-17 under , ,

Alltop Education This week in review includes a discussion on open access, effective training, and the Alltop badge contest.


The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School celebrated their tenth anniversary this past academic year culminating in a conference - "The Future of the Internet" - that was held on May 15-16, 2008. There are numerous videos of the conference sessions / panel discussions and I encourage you to hear what these folks are saying.

But one of the topics really caught my eye - Open Access. In conjunction with the conference, the Publius Project published two essays on "access", the initial essay by Peter Suber and a response by Melissa Hagemann.

I have always been curious about the mystic behind journals and why researchers choose to publish in journals where they are not paid, they relinquish their copyrights, and the access to the ideas is limited to those who can afford subscriptions to the journal. Open Access is "digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions" (source).

The conversation continues in Melissa Hagemann's Open Scholarship where she discusses open education. "Open education resources", Hagemann writes, "are digitized materials offered freely and openly for educators, students and self-learners to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research" (source) An innovative teacher could compile a set of these resources, add her own material and product a textbook customized for her class - and the cost would be far less than traditional textbooks.

Effective Training

I enjoyed Doug Johnson's recent post titled "Seven Qualities of Highly Effective Technology Trainers". In a nutshell, here are his seven qualities:

  1. The problem is on the desk, not in the chair.
  2. No mouse touching.
  3. Great analogies.
  4. Clear support materials and advanced planning.
  5. Knowing what is essential and what is only confusing.
  6. If it breaks, we’ll fix it.
  7. Perspective.

These "qualities" revolve around the theme of creating a safe environment for the technology student (e.g. teacher) so that they feel confident to try and even make mistakes. It is worth reviewing these seven ideas before any workshop, presentation or training day, as they remind us that we are not all geeks and what we might find exciting (and perhaps easy) is to someone else a scary mountain with no clear path to conquer.

Alltop Badge Contest

If you have not already discovered Alltop, it is a site that shows the latest posts from a selection of news and blogs organized by topic. For example, education.alltop.com provides a rich source of news and views on education. You will find the obvious (NY Times, NPR, BBC, US Dept of Ed) and the big guys (Dave Warlick, Will Richardson, Vicki Davis, Kathy Schrock). But you will also discover new sources of information or opinion like the "Generation Yes Blog".

Alltop has hundreds of topics ranging Ajax to Women. And their growing all the time.

Currently, they are holding a contest for folks to create badges for Alltop that bloggers or others can paste on their sites. The prize is an Apple iPod Touch so I had to try my luck. I have posted three so far (see blow) and may try some more. Deadline is June 29th, so you better get busy.

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