The case for educational blogging part 2

Been thinking hard about blogging for students again.

How am I going to put all this into action?

I think I need to write a paper and presentation, as that is only thing managers and course leaders seem to understand.
What i should do is use main parts of other peoples presentations as the base of mine. I've been looking at the blogtalk 2003 presentations and theres a lot in them i can use to explain the basics and advanced concepts of blogging. Then I can use my personal experience with the last project i ran to put the killer blows in? Hummm maybe i should start writing the paper now rather than talking about it…

the draft outline i've drawn up so far in outline (opml format) and
html for those without a outline viewer

Interesting maybe i should sign up

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The case for educational blogging part 1

Its starting, the students are starting to stir…
I noticed a post on our internal newsgroups today, i have omitted some items for speed and convence of this blog

Hello CNDI / CHIRP people,
Just had a fantastic idea which i think might improve
convergence between departments and collaborative working
between students here at college.
Many departments require or reccommend that students keep a
journal or research log of their work… a great idea for
sorting ideas, have been keeping a paper based one for ages.
Howeverf, keeping a notebook of things which intereset you
seems fairly insular, and does not encourage interaction
between students with similar research interests.
Therefore, don't you think it would be cool to set up a
weblog server, upon which students could enter their
research sources and thoughts on relevant subjects onto
their blog, which is fully searchable, and available for
everyone at the college to see?
that way, if someone is
researching the Bauhaus, for instance, they could search the
blogs for it, and share their research sources with other
students. also, for instance, if a Graphics student was
researching the work of Peter Saville, and a Fashion
student was researching his influence on fashion promotion,
the two could get in touch and share information easily.
Do you think this is a good idea? obviously there would be
some issues concerning plaigarism, but none more so than two
students discussing work offline.
Should be technically
feasible too, applications such as Movable Type should make it
fairly simple (which is more than can be said for the video
over IP idea i posted last term)
see ya,

Great piece which made me think good and hard
Some extracts…
It made me think of weblogs. Initially, weblogs caught on with geeks and kids. These geeks and kids weren't at all interested in ROI, knowledge management, or even in defining what it was they were doing.

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Education blogging

Steve Cayzer from HP labs in Bristol, emailed me back with some great links and advice on semantic blogging in the context of education. I've added a lot of them to my feeds.

Oliver Wrede and Kieran Shaw's weblogs are a great start.
Then I found tons of useful links here SeBlogging, been here before for the blogtalk 2003 paper but never had a delve around.
Also found educational bloggers network but it seems very american. Looking for UK or at least european based.

I love this so much, i had to quote it…
Using the Internet as a teaching tool can expand the classroom beyond discussion daily interactions. The purpose of this weblog is to give students in my 4/5 class an opportunity to respond to prompts and their peers' thinking in a new format.

By presenting weblogs to my students, I will enable them to interact in a new way. One students thoughts can be entered into the weblog and saved for another student to respond to at a later date.

In addition to enriching class discussions, this weblog will help students understand the expansiveness of the Internet. Too often, students ask if they can “play” on the computer. My goal is to help them discover the power of computers not as a toy but as a supply of knowledge.

I'm going to write a damm paper one day in August I think… Here are some issues tackled.
RSS: The Next Killer App For Education
Student publishing and privacy
A great collection of blogtalk presentations from this year, I so wish I'd had gone. Maybe next year?

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Mozblog, blogging over xmlrpc

this is a test post from mozblog

Mozblog allows me to connect directly with blojsom using the blogger API over xml-rpc. Its kinda of works but doesnt. As far as I got on my screen remotely I cant read my posts because it ignores all html files and only sees text files. So I could change my html files to text i guess.
Also when I hit publish, it throws a error, but still publishes it. Very weird error about objects…
Mozblog does support per entry metadata, so I can now start adding more details to each blog, expect more in this area soon…
Oh and it supports not only BloggerAPI but Metafilter and a couple others. So you can use it for anything from Moveabletype to Blojsom.

A few moans…
It does allow you to ftp your images to the server if it does ftp, but why not also support webdav?
And what makes it difficult for me to even think about deploying this in ravensbourne is the server address, username and password are all tucked away in the settings. So unless we can get moz reading its preferences from LDAP, basicly it wont work in the college.

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Java server based RSS aggregator?

Ok I had a try writing my own rss aggregator in xsl and it only works if your inside my network, which is a shame. So I'm now on the look for a java servlet rss aggregator.

Interesting enough the older cousin of blojsom, bloxsom does have this already. Blagg News aggregator for the Bloxsom weblogging system.

Tempting to put a application on the server though… Seems to be quite a few .net ones. I cant believe no one has wrote a server based one for java yet! Specially with things like this done Java Collect

2 hours later after searching, I found it.
Flock is an RSS aggregator written in Java. It is a server-side web application accessible with a browser, similar in spirit to AmphetaDesk
Subscriptions are stored in an OPML file, yeah!

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Fixing the tablet

If you've been reading my old blog you will know I have a tabletpc and its not working as a tablet.
The screen still spins round 180 degrees and the pen still operates. But none of the inking fuctionality works, actually it stopped working back in late 2002. If I sent it back to Toshiba, how long would it be out of action? And seeing how this is actually my work machine…i cant take the risk.

So anyway my problem cant be the only one, and it isnt…
windows journal won't load anymore??? error inking components??? …

Some good sites I picked up while browsing…
tabletpc 2
tabletpc talk
tabletpc buzz

And of course some weblogs to go with that.

Marcus' TabletPC Radio weblog
Stephen Dulaney's Radio Weblog
Loren's Incremental Blogger
Tabula PC

Some of the stuff I'm reading, is urging me to get this tablet fixed

The problems DLL for future reference.
All exist in – C:Program FilesCommon FilesMicrosoft SharedInk

penkor.dll, Microsoft.Ink.dll, Microsoft.Ink.resources.dll, HWXUSA.DLL, penchs.dll, penjpn.dll

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Nokia’s mini applications which actually make a difference?

I've just attended a show about mobile life, it was your usual come look at my new phones style thing. Pretty boring but I found a couple of things which make me think. All from Nokia too

First thing I saw was the Nokia obsavation camera. Ok its basicly a camera-phone but in the shape of a camera. It is like those Axis network cameras but this one has no network socket only a 9pin serial socket and a SIM slot.
So how do you control it? Well once its got AC power, it acts like a phone waiting for a phone call (more on this later) or text message. Once it recieves a text message it will reply with a MMS message, included in the body of the message will be a photo of what the camera currently saw.
But it gets better, you can adjust its internal settings to send you a MMS when it detects movement over a user specified livel or over a set period of time. You can even get it to stop sending depending on howm any you specify.

Its a first of its kind and we are interested in getting some on the cheap and setting them up in college as a useful way of connecting new students to there courses and the college as a whole.
We could offer new students the ability to get pictures of the college before they come in on the first day. Just by giving out the mobile number of the camera.
I believe its also possible to have a access list, so if the number becomes widely known, we can block all except for those who we put in the access list?
If they sort out reverse billing for this, we could open it to all no problem.

Another neat little feature is that if you phone it, you can hear what the camera hears! Now thats clever stuff. Specially if you get the reverse billing working…
Anyway I'm thinking if I can grab a nice VGA quality copy for the website over serial and let students at the number for MMS. Maybe setup 5 cams, one for each area in college and one for reception? Pricing seems ok, about 150 pounds online with contract. Shame theres no ip to gsm bridge though… oh nokia reckon within a month we can buy it. Just in time for next college year I would say… could be a interesting project for this summer?

Ok the next very very interesting thing from Nokia. I'm not actually ment to talk about too much because its not be shown in the uk yet. So they say…
When they explained what this device does, I was blown away. My legs turned to jelly and I collapsed. In my mind of course…

So what does Nokia SU2 do? Yes I got the model number when they let me look at it. Well its basiclly allows anyone to send a picture to it over a bluetooth connection and display it on a device which accepts composite.
Yes its that simple. Unfortually I never got a demo of it because they were not allowed too, but I'm gonna do some searching when I get home this weekend for sure.

How would this work for Ravensbourne? Well any student can do a presentation from there bluetooth enabled laptop without plugg-in a vga cable. Doesnt sound like anything amazing except when you imagine a small group of around 5-10 students who can each send there photos to the large screen. You can imagine them sending concepts and talking about it, while someone else grabs that image and adds there own take on it, while there talking. I'm guessing the SU2 does allow uploading and downloading over bluetooth?

Anyway I was thinking, we could do the same with the bluetooth hub and a computer. The hub is the bluetooth to network bridge and if you place a image in a certain folder it would pick that up and display it through a vga card which supports svideo or composite. Its kinda wasteful but it does allow you to deal with not only images but video and audio.
But then again, we have wireless, why use bluetooth when all there laptops have wireless anyway? The advantage of the SU2 is that it works with mobile devices not laptops, stupid Me.
So maybe its not so good for ravensbourne, specially if we sort out webdav access and shared folders. Oh well it was a good thought wasted on us.
Now if the camera was bluetooth…

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Hidden code content of matrix site

The makers of the Matrix Website have put hidden movies, 360 degrees pictures.Tech Critic have discovered and have unveiled them for our enjoying pleasure

Go to
Click on 'Enter High Bandwidth'
Click on the yellow dot upper right corner
Click twice on the square next to 'Low bandwidth'
Click on the slide next to 'Access panel 3'

Now you will see switches witch can be turned of or on, 1 or 0.

This is the binary mode

11011011- 3d view Nebuchadnezzar
10110110- Bonus clip Stunt coordinator
00011000- Bonus clip Concept Illustrator
10000001- Previous matrix website
11101001- Trinity concept art
11010100- Animatrix Desktop Art
01101111- Hexadecimal menu.
01101111- ZION410E20 Access Panel 2 for entering hexadecimal keys.
11101000 – Philosophy section.
11010100 – Brings up a nice screenshot of the new character Jue (sp?)…
11101001- Hint: It has something to do with David Lapham.
00011000 – Bonus clip. Special audio commentary. Interview with concept illustrator Simon Murton.
10110110 – Bonus clip. Stunt coordinator R.A. Rondell.
10000001 – Reloads the classic “The Matrix” website.
11011011- Zion QuickTime VR picture.

The hexadecimal codes:

A3B1A428- Nebuchadnezzar Model Kit.
19A642BF- P.O.D behind the scenes.
8E217AC9- Data not yet online.
D53D49F9 – Unloco- Bruises music video.
A8C3F9AD- Deftones-Historical segment.
64CF29E3- POD: behind the scenes 2.
43E17AC9- The Making of the Soundtrack.
8D966F2A- POD Interview.
C1B49F13- POD lyrics.
98765432- The final theatrical “The Matrix Reloaded” trailer.
d487a317- About “The Animatrix: Detective Story.”
f03350b1- Hugh Bateup (Supervising Art Director) interview.
0081cf5e – John Gaeta (visual Effects Supervisor) interview.
ec306071 – QuickTime VR: Oracle Kitchen.
098ca701- New wallpaper.
cc883300- Test key.

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Quantum Computing

Its one of those areas which I wish I had the time to look into more and more. But I never have the time…
Anyway with all talk and theorys about the matrix reloaded, questions are once again been asked about Quantum theory.
I couldnt believe one of my students had never heard of it. And somewhat compared it to Quantum leap. I knew he was messing with me.
Anyhow its kinda hard to explain, so I will supply links instead.

Basics of Quantum Theory (if there is one)
Rudiments of Quantum Theory

What is Quantum computing?
In a quantum computer, the fundamental unit of information (called a quantum bit or qubit), is not binary but rather more quaternary in nature. This qubit property arises as a direct consequence of its adherence to the laws of quantum mechanics which differ radically from the laws of classical physics.
A qubit can exist not only in a state corresponding to the logical state 0 or 1 as in a classical bit, but also in states corresponding to a blend or superposition of these classical states. In other words, a qubit can exist as a zero, a one, or simultaneously as both 0 and 1, with a numerical coefficient representing the probability for each state.

And there you have the basic understanding of Quantum computering

Once you understand the theory this is where to go for the lastest. NEW SCIENTIST'S GUIDE TO THE QUANTUM WORLD

And for a true mind fcuk…
An introduction to quantum cosmology

And for those unsure about how all this relates to the chaos theory
Chaos theory explained

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Infopath trial

Ah ha, I've been playing with microsoft's infopath beta.

So whats the crack?
Well its a form based maker for filling in xml documents. It uses a datasource as the start of the document and you can then build forms to fill in that datasource.

In english – it takes a schema, can be database or xml schema and creates forms for each element in the schema. Sounds good eh? Yes and it actually isnt that bad, it does what it says and within 1 hour I had a form which would fill in a courselet for me.

First problem
it hates my schemas to death. If you import or include a schema in or apply min or max to a choice it goes nuts. Which means you end up writing a schema just for infopath or simplifying your schema to the point it becomes non useable.
My orginal schema for courselets was fine, but the one for courselet 2 which included simple xlink with its namespace and a generic xhtml schema. Threw a error each time, i even tried to fix the errors and ended up making all my current xml documents un valid.

Next problem
Even if like me you make a custom schema just for infopath, and create the forms.

You have to own a copy of Infopath to fill it in! I thought you could open it in word or even ie6 and fill in the forms. No it seems like you must own infopath to save the final xml document. That sucks big time.

Plus points
It allows you to write validation in javascript or vbscript. It also understands xml schema and points out required and optional elements. I havent really tested the attributes too much because all my new schemas dont work in infopath. It also reckonmends how you should layout certain forms based on there schema type. So it will not create a freeflowing block of text for intergers. Or a drop down box for free flowing text.

It deals with repeatable elements better than I actually thought, everytime you press return it will create a new paragraph in my case. You can also change that to shift return or anything else you want.
Its also creates accessable forms using access key and tabs points, which is useful for the future. i have yet to try the xsd:any element and serious xhtml style schemas which allows the author to play with the format. You could allow them to put in element of there own using the greater than less than thing but you shouldnt have to. I would also like the ability to split forms up, so one form could be for dublin core metadata and the other for the xml content. It would then join them together using xinclude or something like that.
because even a form for a courselet looks big and most of the metadata is already filled in. yes you can do prefilled and subs. It will take defualts into consideration too.

So I would say its good but great for simple structured documents where the author doesnt have the freedom do what they like. For creative input, basicly forget it, its far too restrictive. But lets not forget its a beta and things will hopefully change.

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Streamliner on pocketpc

Ok I have to confess Streamliner on the ipaq is actually quite good for writing down notes quickly. So good I might actually buy a copy.
One thing it doesnt do at this moment is, save or open opml files.
It does however save as wiki format and rtf. The rtf unfortually is styled and not in bullet lists as I orginally thought it would be in. The wiki is xml based and is actually valid, so I can always write a xsl which will take the node element and nodetext and turn them into a outline with nodetext becoming a attribute.
For some unknown reason it also puts the DTD for the wiki at the top of the file. Useful? unsure yet.

I tried to put the wiki file from streamliner into Java outline editor and it refuses to read it correctly. Instead it just bungs the whole lot into a new outline. So you can see all the node tags.
After futher experination I realised that Joe is expecting outlines not nodes, even on wiki files. Which is a shame because I'm gonna have to write my transformer soon if I want to keep using them.

I'm hoping the next version of streamliner will support opml natively or at least import/export. Or I can get joe to read nodes like outlines. That would be hardwordk.
I need to find out what officially is a wiki file, I guess streamliner has it right and joe is just being silly.

Its quite interesting that outline is actually a really good way to write structed notes quickly and easily. I never used streamliner before I went to the semantic web talk the other day. But I was able to write quick notes on my ipaq very quickly. And they actually make sense afterwards.

I really can not see one note beating this for speed and structure. Plus the fact theres editors on every platform.
I have yet to play with one note because it crashes everytime I run it, has to be something due to the fact my tablet feature doesnt work no longer. Will have to try it out on a non tablet machine see if it still crashes.
But going on what others have said, one note stores notes in its own format and it is not xml based in anyway. I guess Microsoft were thinking that you will bring your notes into word or something else and export as xml then.

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