Al Upton and the miniLegends

Microsoft is sponsoring The Extraordinary Everyday Lives Show on The Podcast Network for 6 episodes as an experiment, and I really like the format that Uncle Dave Wallace and Uncle Mike Seyfang have created.

Episode 044 is with South Australian Teacher, Al Upton, on the Order for Closure for his miniLegends blog. I fear that process may have hit the innovation fan. I hope that process learns from the shutdown of the miniLegends work. For the benefit of all children who are living daily in a digital age.

It is teachers like Al the who exhibit enthusiasm and commitment to his students and improving learning makes the difference. That is what is remembered.

CQ + PQ + EQ > IQ

hepburnsprings 004

Laurel Papworth has some interesting comments on generation-Y (digi-kids) and the disconnected nature of our current governments. Laurel’s post references this article in the Sydney Morning Herald (Laurel: the reason why Fairfax doesn’t believe in the long tail is that it hasn’t worked out its business model yet)

Having spent two days with a selection of passionate Victorian School Principals, I am more concerned about our Governmental policies and the silent digital majority than those on the ground in the classroom.

The YouTube presentation at the beginning of her post puts stark numbers on the story from The World Is Flat.

Thomas Friedman was in Australia a few weeks ago, and spent time with both sides of Australian Federal Politics. I hope he was able to talk and explain that Education and Bandwidth are critical to the future of this nation. If being a Nation is that important anymore.

I am going to extend Thomas’ equation:

CQ + PQ + EQ > IQ

EQ is emotional quotient, emotional intelligence or emotional maturity. You cannot teach EQ from books. Passionate Teachers provide a role model for our kids for the future.

Let’s hope the generation after us repairs the mistakes we’ve made.

URLs for Victorian Principal’s Conference

hepburnsprings 006 Ensure your school is in Wikipedia. Understand the social aspects of Wikis, and the rules related to Wikipedia entries.

Microsoft Breathe Life. Microsoft Australia’s starting point for Education. Professional Social Networking. Start here. search (Advanced search features) Use the Advanced features of search to ego-surf. Social sharing of photos with folksonomy tagging Search blogs, user-created tags for the folksonomy tags. Recent story

Difference of Opinion. Excellent discussion of Digital Generation Gap

danah boyd. Exploring the Digital Generation gap; formal research papers.

I Can Has Cheeseburger. Fun and interesting use of language Create your own blog, or blog for a classroom.

Finally, the presentation from 17th May 2007 and 22nd May 2007.

Jimmy Wales: Fireside Chat

eduausem2007 020

Flickr Group for all images. search for all blog posts from Jimmy’s Trip

The following is a blog-best-effort transcript of Jimmy Wales in Melbourne on the 27th April 2007. This is not a verbatim transcript. This post is purely a transcript of the conversation, not the opinion of the author.

This blog post, and Flickr images are licensed under the Creative Commons License: Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.

With Mark Pesce

Mark intros Jimmy again. Been a long day.

Casual conversation. Peer productions, peer questions.

Mark will ask 2 questions, then alternate.

Q: Getting over the hump of initial people

JW: 5-10 people make a wiki committed to coming in and checking up. Fee for entry is 5 committed people. eg: swahili language wikipedia; Sanjo from Tanzania. started on it. Wrote first 75 articles. Blogged+emailed. slowly built a community. Taken off. Past 1000 article threshold. One person passionate. Doing the social stuff.

Successful wiki greater than the content, its all the social phenomenon that’s important.

Its leadership, and persistence. Leadership: phrase : servant leadership, idea, lead the community not by general Command+control; following the community. Role in coaching, guiding.

Another example, wikia: furry. About subculture of furry about people who like to dress like animals. More of them than you can imagine. Furry wiki started quickly, within first first month (greenreaper). First month 100 editor. 30-40 regulars. 5-10 admins, Whole community in the world. (editor: now I’m scared). Needed a place to make it happen. (editor: more evangelism for wikia)

Thank you for not email around word documents, do it in a wiki.

Q: This trip, in South Africa and India. First world and third world country schools. Wikipedia and Education> what is it becoming in the 21st Century

JW: is a traditionalist in the manner of schooling. Kids using computers, technology, peer learning: extremely valuable: teacher-student relationship: 1:1 There is something special: technology NOT competing with teachers. Free up time for teachers. Standing in front of a classroom doing your own video: you can be replaced.

In many universities: huge 300 people lecture sessions: not valuable; get most entertaining professor: teacher value is 1:1 real time diagnostic assessment. Sit down with an individual, not mass classroom. Routine learning done in other ways.

Daughter embarrassed him Cambodia/Kampuchea 6 years old. Spinning the world around. Home schooling. Individualized instruction. (editor: hurump from audience)

Q: Andrew Wilson: Managing Fire in Vic Gov’t Use of technology in a multiple-stakeholder world.

JW: remove the tight hierarchy; wiki is more than just the software; its the social side. Removal of voting for editorial decisions. Getting people from diverse backgrounds and choices, listening to all people, 70/30 voting ignores 100% of the 30%’s input. That’s not good.

Must be broad community support.

JW: Watch the old movie, 12 angry men, premise: murder trial. Set in Jury room. Beginning from nearly all convict; then picking apart each of the individual arguments. By the end of the film, vote to acquit.

When a wiki is working well, and healthy, process/group : one person can change the world. Wiki a great tool for structuring how the argument is placed. Forums = flame war, wiki is much more collaborative. Consensus document needs to survive: need to find something that all agree on.

Q: Mark, rebuilt copyright regime rebuilt from scratch

US, copyright law, by default everything you write is under copyright. Now essentially universal. Done just before the internet became “big”. Now you have to do more stuff to make something into the public domain.

Think of the lots of stuff that they don’t care about copyright; it is by default. The hampers our ability to share. Can be done casually with a statement.

JW: let’s have regime where there is no default copyright.

Some people have moral rights/economic rights to retain copyright.

How long should it last? Copyright has extended to absurd lengths. Not driven my organsiation, done by movie industry. Long life IP assets. JW’s view is “it doesn’t care”. So, Disney = 200 years that’s fine; collateral damage in other spheres.

Now, its one size fits all. Recent AU ruling copyright of a design of a boat was functional not artistic. Different act for design protection (from newspaper article). Good idea: multiple options. Beneficial for software: life+90 years?? reasonable. Software author? Life of the computer. Economic life of software less than 90 years; Old version of Excel into the free software movement to make it better.

After a short of period of time, re-register and small fee – lets many things fall into public domain by default. Many pieces that are economically feasible; eg: put into wiki world.

Current process is arduous, tracking down the rights.

JW: Patents: Software patents are a bad idea. No opinion of drug industry. In software industry, patents are defensive rather than offensive. Patents on the web restricted to 6 months. (editor: JW’s opening bid on time, that’s all) Patents are a real threat to wikipedia vs. copyright. With patents, violation: not sure if you are violating it (submarine patent). Interesting political issue

Q: APRA: Opinion. 3-4 Tb of server on songs. From teenagers. Is it a mute point in regards to copyright as the younger generation.

What is fair use? JW has no opinion on how music performers are paid, distributed.

JW buys from iTunes. Technology is going to make sharing easy; “cassette tapes and video” is going to kill companies. Record and timeshift, has been fought against by content creation industry.

DRM is a stupid idea, cf: Steve Jobs, Publishing Company. Getting in the way of ease of use for users.

Q: Mark; everyone will be famous for 15Mb. Bio-page, has something he doesn’t want. JW dinged for editing own page. We can edit our own page, community will fix. Too much truth?

JW: biographies of living people is the toughest question. cf; Queen Victoria, she’s dead so she doesn’t care about her wikipedia entry.

So, how do we deal with biographies of living people? Thoughtful manner, sensitivity. Talk page vs. yell at you.

Not everyone is about whitewashing page. Solution is to become a more open, public person about your life. Famous people, certain things are known – narratives grow around these stories, but only a part of the real story.

Jimmy Wales want to sail around the world. He has an interest in it. Not on his wikipedia.

Wikipedia is powerful of google.

Others are so “over” the internet: they don’t care. More and more articles, less and less famous people.

Discussion now is what level of notability for wikipedia entry.

There are biography guidelines. danah boyd huge impact on her field. cf. being notable for being on Foxnews vs. academic work. Watching the debate on seeing if you should be deleted.

Worse than finding your are unimportant; but also talk about deletion. Mechanism for blanking from external view.

Categories are problematic. Tag there or not. Nuance in text, cannot in category. Criminals for instance. Who should be there or not? Politician caught driving DUI. Some will categorise as criminal. Its binary on/off. Tricky. Categories are provocative.

Q: Mark, pleasure to spend a week with JW. JW, Brian Balendorf, Tim Berners-Lee: low ego people. Ego beat out of you?

JW: early incident in wikipedia in Spanish; dispute over impression JW was going to put advertising in Wikipedia. Opponents were tricking people. JW overly combative. Violated the first rule of wikipedia, assume good faith. Need to explain yourself.

Don’t have an argument with someone for the point of the argument, but in a different

Brian: introduced to Richard Branson as “the person who freed the internet from Microsoft”, JW says its true.

In open source world, win vs. right.

Cannot be a boss and be a jerk. Companies won’t survive. With high level people, they can be jerks, and the employees will survive. With volunteers its different; you have to be as nice as possible.

Jimmy Wales: Panel Discussion

Flickr Group for all images. search for all blog posts from Jimmy’s Trip

The following is a blog-best-effort transcript of Jimmy Wales in Melbourne on the 27th April 2007. This is not a verbatim transcript.

This blog post, and Flickr images are licensed under the Creative Commons License:

Creative Commons License

work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License.

After-lunch Panel Discussion

Gary introduces Mark Pesce: VRML. Author 5 books, “How Technology is Transforming our Age”

Also on New Inventors, 2003-2006 AFTRS.

Mark: The Inconvenience of Truth: Mark Twain quote in relation

Peer data, with peer data.

Lots of ways of generating knowledge

21st century: what’s you know become who do you trust

Systems of knowledge generation: compare and contrast the outcomes.

Simple word: kangaroo: wikipedia, first para clear and concise. Taxonomist, zoologist. Gold standard. Wikipedia’s authoritative voice is collaborative. Wrong fix it, look at history, look for bad data. Distributed authority.

Britannica: second paragraph, go online to buy full license. 72 hours of going online: servers collapsed based on demand: higher bandwidth, servers etc. 1999 – consistently lost money in 1999. Behind a wall, $6.99/month – not a distributed authority. Elites control access to the editing of data.

Other ways to do peer production. Citizendium (sp?), attempting to contact Mark. Attempting to differentiate. Seems like a community of recognised experts. Its out there and interesting.

“After the flood” : stated neutrality of wikipedia was socialist secularist claptrap: wikipedia, conservapedia. Trustworthy encyclopedia. Origins section based on creation science. Process of production same as wikipedia, but outcome is different. Truth, justice and beauty does not come from just sharing.

Uncyclopedia; (lots of LOL) Friggen Hugh Mouse == kangaroo. Themes that show up, its funny. Wikia purchased it. Another kind of knowledge/peer production. Comedy. Cool.

Medicine, can’t leave it up to mere mortals. Top Headlines example. LOL (missed screen) Peer produced medicine. April Fools example. peer produced epidemiology  Who is reporting sick in google maps.  Where is this one going. Really interesting 🙂

“All knowing is doing, and all doing is knowing.”

Education is changing massively due to knowledge, not just the pure IT.

Knowledge > Elites know knowledge is power, and it subverts the hierarchy. Special interests are also in play. Knowledge sharing, and free stuff gets stronger: cries of elites and special interests.

21st century: war as forces tug against each other.

Panel intro:

Jimmy Wales, Martin Wildes, Sarah Phillips, Randal Strong, Rodney Sparkes, James Farmer, Daniel Ingerson, Derek Whitehead

Daniel: education is a social thing. Chicago: effect of moving schools on students. 25 people that moved to better schools didn’t do better: the desire (passion) to do better was critical. Students today: how do we turn that engagement into better education, how do we get the systems to understand that? Personalised learning vs. standardised testing. Over next 10 years: exploding of what information is recorded: processes of learning, not just the end result. Looking at what students are doing, which will change assessment. First elements of the web where R/W. Concern of control an issue in Syd. Highlights quote form Jimmy: accountability not gatekeeping. Daniel is producing s/w to do this.

Martin Wildes: superclubsplus. MIT, all academic content delivered free online. Why MIT? Quality of education experience is between the students + lecturers. Its the passion! The enthusiasm!

Content controlled by 6-12 yo children (by+for) in a UK site. (missed site) Gives children a voice, and something to say. Trends toward to user generated content: peer to peer participative approach. Intuitive media working with this. Even actuaries are thinking about user generated content.

Challenge: power communities for young children: integrity, extend learning. Legitimise these into our institutions, K-12 and

Derek Whitehead: Swinburne Univ; Derek here as copyright officer and librarian. Librarians like wikipedia? yes and no. lots to love. well organised current accessible widely know. Not all librarians like wikipedia, lack of authority, volatility (eg defintion) Librarians are ambivalent about information democracy. Dichotomy. Every has the right to information, but must get order and control into the situation (LOL) Life is google’d (google can be used as any part of speech). Whole web as the reference source. Google search on the web, take the first. Wikipedia is way more QA’d than the first/random google search. Before, once “just ask mum”.  Google is about the same, Wikipedia is better as its community controlled. Wikipedia is what all Librarians have been looking for.

Rodney Sparkes: eworks: vocation education/TAFE sector. Wide range of styles and types: included those with limited skills for self-directed learning. 70% are part-time and mature age works. Untapped potential in the peer to peer world. Capacity to self-directed learning is going to be toughest challenge. Immediate impact in the area of teaching: Peer to Peer impact on teachers will be greatest impact and keeping teaching quality high. Takes the informal approach into al little more formal. Translating skills into the online environments is critical. Learning objects. Making content available to others. How to incent contributors to make them add knowledge.

How do we ensure everyone has learning skills? Smartest people are the wealthier people. Technology is everywhere; how to we create economic models for community rights. Is teaching in the 21st century illegal due to recent Digital Laws. How about our culture knowledge. Writing is not the only way: digital storytelling: peer to peer model: video+sound etc. Value of culture of knowledge is appreciated.

Randall Strong: Multimedia Victoria: Education, how do gov’t policy people think: dejavu to 1993/1994. Network ICT’d disrupting technology: web2 is the next disruptive technology. 1990s we under estimated impacts. This time, the gov cannot underestimate the impact. Now want Victoria into secondlife now. Opportunity: web2 open innovation platform for the country. Exploit the other 99% of the knowledge in the world for local use; effect journalism. Digital TV: make it, now watch it. DESTRA “‘yooph’ generated TV”. Teacher generated content; student generated content from/for kids. Web2 disruption to drive productivity. Threats: experimentation; that has to happen again in the economy. Basic ADSL will not drive this in AU. Converged networks need Symmetry to Write. Deeper fibre into the economy. Vic EDU fibre to the school. Gov’t will react to excesses, Youtubes: why, werribee example. US Congress; throttle $ to schools who use web2. 1994 now excess: billion people are already using it. Internet measured and monitored, will happen quicker. MMVic is thinking through this stuff.

James Farmer: Edublogs and The Age,  pissed. Drunk. Intoxicated. On the knowledge. Gorging on information, binge knowledging. Don’t abuse the knowledge. 100 years ago, rote learning, information transfer. Since then, research, John Dewey etc. Old skool schooling don’t work. Conversation and interaction are better. Forget modes of teaching, just jump on the knowledge. Just follow the IT. ICT. (C for communication is silent). Content, content, content. Challenge is to get over the orgy of knowledge to add social side. JF sick of learning objects, wikis, podcasts…. less can be more!

Sarah Phillips, Deakin University: wikipedia for speech? Free encyclopedia is a noble idea. Essay topic to trivia questions. Answers don’t provide a basis of credible argument. Online vandalism. In an ideal world, people don’t cross check. PR student, in social media, PR people cannot edit in wikipedia. Peer produced learning should permit PR people from communications professional. Does this rule apply to the PR team at Wikipedia?

Q: Sarah; as PR practitioner, can I write an article?

Jimmy Wales: broader rules from community, conflict of interest editing. When you have a personal interest in this. Must identify openly, post in discussion page openly, present information on themselves.

Problem we have, PR unprofessionals who do exist out there. Come in mindlessly without openly saying who they are. Quite dangerous behaviour, and unethical for the PR community. Show the respect. Idea not a free-for-all; there are people on the other side who spent time.

Corporations may have entities who are paid and potentially not fair: but remember the community norms and values.

Q: Rodney: cf: News Ltd Purchase of Myspace.

JW: Myspace skeptic; Myspace too much advertising and spamming, core market like facebook.

Wikipedia is owned by a non-profit – so its not for sale. Content is (cc) anyway!

Q: (on podcast, survive death of universe). Ownership of Knowledge in Education domain. Information is not shared freely between educational institutions; actively discourage sharing as they are threats to each other. Sharing the source, won’t happen until (c) policies are solved.

Information is not open. Randall: information should be shared, not a formal policy. Gov’t can lead by example. Does Gov’t use (cc) model? Critical mass of user generated content.

Victoria, software IP; changed default model where IP resides: in the industry, gov’t should not be in the game of making and exploiting IP – commercial.

Growing band of people who will drive this.

Mark: peer produced drawing project. All the way to the AFTRS board to get approval for OS software.

James: slightly different in the university world.

Martin: the students will drive the university with their own learning networks in place. Students will continue their tools and networks already in place. Education is beyond the institution.

Mark: peer learning – pushed outside the school. Is the school the locus of learning in the 21st century?

Martin: UK experience, superclubsplus; social networking; 120,000 6-12 years of age. Learning in school, outside: logs engaging generating content + annotating, friends, primary outside school confines. Innovative teachers: any tool or technology. Creative and original ways.

Q: QLD fire+rescue: Jimmy a citizen of the world. Software design, social education/design.

Law Professor at Harvard. Tension between guards and prisoners, due to escape. Used a wiki to produce a neutral view of what happened. Both sides never agree, so wiki was used to find the source of the conflict.

In general, using social tools at a young age, to teach at a young age from TV. How to have a constructive conversation aimed at a mutually agreeable end. vs. TV is A vs B style to make the other side appear evil. (editor: need to create a Jimmy Wales – Microsoft healing wiki)

Q: Increasing comfort of use, downside on KPIs and measurement

Mark: distribute authority, you are distributing expertise. Distributed model of assessment.

Martin: expertise model is interesting. Expertise is about experience, not knowledge. Organisations to grow expertise need to provide the power of the community in development of the expertise, and distribute it around – including assessment.

Philosophically true: demonstrate competencies, not just what they remember.

James: competencies: pain with this word. Education system K-12+University, segment wheat from chaff. Nice comfortable society (class).  School – social aspects is rubbish with outdated assessment processes and large exams.

Rodney: employers decide in vocational side. Demonstrate in a work context (portfolio) Qualifications only one aspect.

Sarah: all assessment in this final term is work-oriented cf. exam. Term of learning for 3 hours of pressure. Into the community is far more beneficial in final exam.

Daniel: who is doing the assessment? Peers doing the assessment, shifts the power base to the community.

Q: Collaborative. University had a model more advanced than the students in a Master’s degree. Generational gap in learning styles.

Daniel: Doug Brown has a spectacular presentation on cultural change. Teachers vs. students perspective. Research – publication can be peer and self.

Rodney: are universities the best example of collaborative learning/peer learning.

(next: Fireside chat with Jimmy)

Big Day in Queensland

A big thankyou to Scot Steinhardt, Principal of Mount Gravatt High School. He runs a tight ship, and had a big day yesterday with “big names” arriving from all corners of Australia to get some of his time.  Thanks, Scot. And live that dream!

To all the teachers who attended and answered my random questions. Thanks.

Also, thanks to Sean Tierney for hosting me – and providing some excellent guidance from a professional’s perspective. Notes from my day are posted here, for comments.

Year 10 (and the Year 11s who subversively arrived, too) at Mount Gravatt: remember Astronauts and Princesses. You guys have the opportunity to do anything you want. First thing, is ensure that the Wikipedia entries for your school, and your local area are up to date and informative.

Later that night, Difference of Opinion on the ABC covered this whole area of the digital generation gap.

And even later, Chris Saad, Cody Robb and I had a long discussion on the debate. Mount Gravatt came up in the podcast. The world is small when its highly connected.

Notes: Mount Gravatt ICT Day April 2007

mount gravatt, 7:30am

  1. Web 2.0: needs extra work to map to teaching outcomes (, flickr) Many Web 2.0 sites still blocked by policy. It makes it difficult to use all the cool web 2.0 stuff in school, especially when these tools will be used by the students for project delivery. Think a mashup as a project handin. (cool!)
  2. If multiple-media submission types (Powerpoint, video, web sites) are required for presentation: how do we present? Making the technology easier is key; and the students have more advanced Quicktime, FlashPlayer, WMV, Powerpoint than on the standard, locked down desktops. Secondly, as SVGA style connections to projectors in the room.
  3. Web job opportunities mapped to ICT. What sort of jobs exist for students in a web-world? Art teachers > design, for instance
  4. 90+% of Yr10s have IM address; 80+% communicate with people outside Australia! Can only think this is based either on family or friends overseas with similar interests
  5. Managing the balance between ICT evangelism vs. Microsoft demo-stuff.  Showing cool stuff is cool. Consider that video cabling and audio may not suit in all circumstances.
  6. Key guidance from Sean Tierney critical. 20 minute chunking important; just like adult learning.
  7. Surprised many teachers how few people it took at Castlemaine XXXX to make beer, how automated the process is. Can a bunch of teachers organise a p*ss-up in a brewery? (yes, if timetable permits)
  8. Mount Gravatt High: Im in ur your Wikipedia pages.

Online = talking about what you are interested in!

From World in their Hands, Sydney Morning Herald Icon today:

But Dr Jan Fletcher, of the Child Study Centre at the University of Western Australia, is wary of virtual lives for children. “There is a danger that this online interaction might be limiting the amount of social interaction the child is actually having,” she warns. “I want kids to talk to each other about what they’re interested in, not about a world invented by a toy company.

Hmmm, online interaction takes many forms – and kids do talk to each other about what they are interested in. Online, offline, within and without borders.

It seems the world of “toys” and “information” joined together magically means “education”. What if information is actually, well, fun? Gone are the bookish days of reading an encyclopedia and welcome to the world of instant information.

The critical skill is information literacy.