Monday, March 10. 2014
Google search feature that allows image search based on usage rights
This month I attended a talk at William Paterson University on fair use for educators given by Brandon Butler. He is the Practitioner-in-Residence at the Glushko-Samuelson Intellectual Property Clinic at the Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. Before teaching law, he was the Director of Public Policy Initiatives at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Before that, he was an associate in the Media and Information Technologies practice group at the Washington, D.C. law firm Dow Lohnes PLLC.
One of his main points was that educators need to use fair use and even push against the edges of it. In my years working in instructional design, I had many instances of faculty declaring something to be "fair use" for a new online course section because "that's what I do in my face-to-face class." Of course, that is often not the case.
But one takeaway from the talk was that educators need to use and push at fair use to keep it alive.
I brought up a MOOC I am currently in offered by Coursera and the University of Rochester on "The Music of The Beatles." I'm sure The Beatles have good lawyers, but the idea that there is NO music in the course - not even snippets to illustrate lessons - seems rather sad - and overly cautious.
In 1994, the Supreme Court ruled that parody can be protected by the fair-use clause of the Copyright Act of 1976. The ruling came about when the rap group 2 Live Crew used elements from "Oh Pretty Woman" by Roy Orbison in their song "Pretty Woman." The 2 Live Crew version uses the same guitar riffs and melody, but the lyrics and storyline has the "pretty woman" as a hairy, bald-headed two-timing woman.
The music publishing company that owns Orbison's song sued Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew for copyright violation saying he used too much of the original work and gained commercially from it. Campbell argued that he had fair use and the Supreme Court agreed. Supreme Court Justice David Souter wrote, "Like less ostensibly humorous forms of criticism, [parody] can provide social benefit by shedding light on an earlier work and, in the process, creating a new one."
The revamped Google search tool (illustrated above) allows you to search based on reuse rights. The photo-sharing site Flickr allows for search of the photos that a particular kind of Creative Commons license.
The Flickr Creative Commons license has several permutations which are designed to provide a creator with more flexibility than copyright provides without requiring the creator to give up copyright. It is very helpful for people looking to “remix” materials originally created by someone else and then shared online with a license that allows remixing.
Images are only one sort of digital content available online with Creative Commons licenses. They are used for audio, video, text documents, slide presentations - and this blog.
The Search.CreativeCommons.org site is not exactly a search engine but metasearch using other search engines and filtering for CC-licensed material. The search results should be only materials licensed for those particular needs. (You should double check just to be sure.)
At DiscoverEd.CreativeCommons.org site is an experimental project from ccLearn which attempts to provide scalable search and discovery for educational resources on the web. This search prototype hopefully will allow you to explore metadata enhanced search, specifically for OER. Unlike most search engines, it can incorporate data provided by the resource publisher or curator.
Some more sources of information:
Open Access and creative common sense - a 2004 interview with Lawrence Lessig from Open Access Now
A Call For Copyright Rebellion by Steve Kolowish – InsideHigherEd
Free Culture and Remix, by Lawrence Lessig - two books available for purchase, or for free PDF download under a Creative Commons license.
Butler's talk is available online through NJVid and allows you to embed it. It also carries the following Rights Declaration: This video is protected by copyright. You are free to view it but not download or remix it. Please contact the licensing institution for further information about how you may use this video.
Friday, March 7. 2014
For one of the projects I am working on currently, I participate in a weekly Hangout. The team meets using the Google service in order to talk and share materials. We don't archive the sessions or publish them to YouTube. It's an easy service to use and if you have never participated in a Hangout, it's worth experimenting with someone to see how it might be useful in your teaching or research.
With Hangouts On Air, you can broadcast live discussions and performances to the world through your Google+ Home page and YouTube channel. You can also edit and share a copy of the broadcast. This is a bit more involved as you will need a YouTube channel that is connected to your Google+ profile or page. (Newly created YouTube channels are automatically connected to Google+. If you have an existing channel that is not connected to Google+, you can connect it.)
Once the broadcast is over, it’ll be posted to your YouTube channel as well as your Google+ homepage. From there you can edit it, and the edited version will be available to anyone you share it with.
There can be issues with the content you can and cannot play in a Hangout On Air - for example, using clips from films or television news and other programs. You can check out the restrictions at the YouTube Copyright Center.
Recently, I became aware of a small project (4-person team) based at the MIT Media Lab to have people create Unhangouts. The unhangout.media.mit.edu is an open source platform for running large scale online un-conferences.
The term "unconference" goes back to 1998. It was meant as a way to have a loosely structured conference emphasizing the informal exchange of information and ideas between participants, rather than following a conventionally structured program of events we are used to at a "conference."
Unhangout uses Google Hangouts to create as many small sessions as needed, and help users find others with shared interests. Their site says to "Think of it as a classroom with an infinite number of breakout sessions. Each event has a landing page, which we call the lobby. When participants arrive, they can see who else is there and chat with each other. The hosts can do a video welcome and introduction that gets streamed into the lobby. Participants then break out into smaller sessions (up to 10 people per session) for in-depth conversations, peer-to-peer learning, and collaboration on projects. UnHangouts are community-based learning instead of top-down information transfer."
Unhangout is an open source project. (The code is in their repository on GitHub.) The team offers to help get this set up on your own servers and may even be able to host your event on their installation.
Monday, February 17. 2014
The New York Times carried a story last year that I wanted to write about concerning a study of the different ways technology is used by students from different backgrounds. It looked at fourth and eighth graders who answered questions about their classroom experiences while taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress. That is the test that is often nicknamed the "nation's report card."
Thursday, February 13. 2014
Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) is a program that wants to accelerate educational innovation through applied technology. Their goals include showing dramatic improvement in college readiness and completion in the United States. They provide investment capital to expand the use of proven and emerging learning technologies, for collecting and sharing evidence of what works, and fostering a community of innovators and adopters.
How do they define a “Breakthrough Degree Program”? These are programs that generally depart from the higher education’s structures with which we are familiar. They question how we typically use technology (preferring to allow faster progress to a degree via personalized pathways or competency-based learning), tuitions (preferring more affordable costs), how course time is used and measured, and new roles
for students and those who support students.
At the website nextgenlearning.org, you can read more about their work and their partnerships. Those partnerships provide the investment capital - and sometimes are the reason that their ideas are looked at with some suspicion by educators. Their Executive Committee, comprised of EDUCAUSE, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, guides the project’s overall efforts. (EDUCAUSE has management and fiduciary responsibility for the program.)
Examples of what a “Breakthrough Degree Program” can look like can bee seen in Southern New Hampshire’s "College for America," Northern Arizona University’s "Personalized Learning Program, and programs at Rio Salado College. These programs address alternatives like subscription models for tuition with one low-cost, all-inclusive rate. They also experiment with college-level learning being driven by and built upon the experiences and competencies that students bring with them. Some focus on support systems that use technology but rely on advisors, peer mentors, coaches, and instructors.
NGLC also likes to support K-16 partnerships tying postsecondary work to the being done in K-12 (see iNACOL and CCSSO) since college readiness and college completion are both big issues on campuses and appear to be intertwined.
Monday, February 10. 2014
There is a good article, "Technologies that Unlock Competency-Based Learning" by Dian Schaffhauser, that looks at how in New Hampshire a shift away from an educational system based on "seat time" is already underway.
Wednesday, February 5. 2014
Would you ever put your music, pictures or videos in a "folder"? Well, you do digitally. That's skeuomorphism.
Skeuomorphs are not just computer-related. When you see physical objects with faux rivets to look like they are made of metal, or stitching to give a leather look or faux wood on a cars side panels or dashboard, these are all skeuomorphs.
Even though we click rather than "press" many icons on screens, they still look like and are referred to as "buttons."
If you never worked in a photo darkroom, then some of the icons and terms used in the Photoshop software package may seem strange. In order to move photographers who had used darkrooms into the digital world terms like dodge and burn and the sponge and eyedropper from the darkroom were retained in the digital darkroom.
An article in Forbes magazine suggested that it was time for skeuomorphism "to die." The author points to Apple's design whiz Jony Ive as one person there who would rather not design with that nod to the past.
Apparently, Steve Jobs did not agree. That's why we saw on Apple products: calendars with faux leather-stitching, bookshelves with wood veneers, fake glass and paper and brushed chrome. When a technology is new, it helps. Taking notes on a screen may feel more comfortable if the the application gives us "pens and highlighters" and the screen looks like a lined notebook or sticky notepaper.
But at some point, the technology is familiar enough that we shouldn't need these nods to the past.
My students don't know what I mean by a Rolodex, but they recognize the cards as a symbol for a contact.
Skeuomorph is from the Greek: skeuos (container or tool) and morphê (shape) and has been used since the late 1800s.
But the design concept has been around since antiquity and can be seen in leather and clay pottery which used traits from the wooden counterparts of earlier artisans. Clay pottery with rope-shaped handles were creating a connection to a familiar shape and usage.
Digital skeuomorphs abound. Your digital camera or smartphone still makes a shutter-like click is an auditory skeuomorph since there is no mechanical shutter present. Even the swipe on a pad to turn a page is a nod to the actual paper page turning motion.
Apple's iOS 7 is seen as a shift from skeuomorphism to a cleaner, more digitally pure design. The death of skeuomorphism? I doubt it.
Does a old dial television still work as the symbol for a video that streams over the Net?
Monday, February 3. 2014
This blog has now crossed the calendar mark and into its ninth year. In blog years, that is getting close to the senior citizen discount age. Over the years, we have looked at others predictions about learning and technology and we have made a few our own. It is interesting but I never view these predictions very seriously. We in this edtech business don't score much better than Oscar predictors or long-range weather prognosticators.
Groundhog Day is my reminder that another blog year has passed at Serendipity35. Phil, "the groundhog of record," saw his shadow and so predicts six more weeks of winter. If spring comes in four weeks, Phil doesn't get much bad press. And that's my thought on technology predictions too - we need to check back on them a year ot two out to grade them.
The predictions de la semaine are in the new “NMC Horizon Report: 2014 Higher Education Edition,” a 52-page document that is available free from the New Media Consortium and the Educause Learning Initiative.
Before we get to the new report, I thought I would recap what I wrote four years ago about the 2010 Horizon Report predictions, The report always looks at the time-to-adoption for technologies or trends. Four years ago they said that the Time-to-Adoption was one year or less for "cloud computing and collaborative environments. Both of those had pretty much arrived in 2010 already, so those are your safest bets. The cloud is certainly here now. Although collaborative environments may exist, they haven't taken any greater hold now than they did a few years ago.
In 2010, game-based learning and mobile learning was seen as 3 to 4 years away. Mobile is used more than it was a few years ago, but it is hardly a major part of the learning world. Gamification is still a topic for conference presentations as "on the horizon."
The predictions that are the most difficult are the ones that wil be arrive in 4-5 years. That 2010 Horizon Report said they would be augmented reality and flexible displays - both of which are still far from being a part of the learning environment in any significant way.
So, why even look at predictions? It is a good thing to be aware of what appears to be on the horizon. I belong to several groups, such as the NJEDge Academic Technology Group, that meet and try to do the same kind of predicting on an ongoing basis. We llok at emerging technology, so things like the Horizon report are useful in setting the agenda.
The new Horizon Report looks at six technologies and the changes they’re expected to bring. Of course, you should read the full report, but here is my PowerPoint slide summary.
Social media’s expansion into education will continue and have its maximum impact within two years. “Understanding how social media can be leveraged for social learning is a key skill for teachers, and teacher-training programs are increasingly being expected to include this skill.”
The other trend that is here and will continue to make inroads is the blending of traditional face-to-face instruction with online, hybrid, and collaborative learning. The report says it has “the potential to leverage the online skills learners have already developed independent of academia.”
In the next 3-5 years, we should expect data-driven learning and assessment to have more of an impact on attempts to personalize learning and improve performance measurement.
Also listed as having more of an impact in three to five years is a shift toward “learning by making and creating rather than from the simple consumption of content.” That sounds like my idea that the Web 2.0 shift would cause a Learning 2.0 (AKA University or even School 2.0) to follow.
The most challenging predictions are the two trends that are long-range (5 or more years away). The Report predicts one of those to be the softer prediction that there will be a continuing evolution of online learning. That includes thinking about what effects MOOCs will finally have on academia. The second general trend is universities shifting to more agile “approaches to teaching and learning that mimic technology start-ups.”
That last prediction makes me want to say that education always seems to move slower than the the corpoarte world or even the general consumer world when it comes to embracing new technology. Mobile has arrived in almost every sector except education where it is still viewed as a distraction. MOOCs will probably have a greater impact first in corporate training and for lifelong learners than it will in academia in the next few years.
But it is interesting to guess. And I think Twelve Years a Slave will win the Best PIcture Oscar.
Wednesday, January 29. 2014
The majority of K-12 educators seem to dislike the Common Core Standards. But you know who likes them? The for-profit education industry. Why? Because having common standards makes it a whole lot easier to produce educational materials and sell them to a wide audience. In New Jersey was using the same standards as Texas and California, things would be great for big vendors.
Having to individualize resources costs more money. Having to customize learning in your classroom costs you more time.
A vendor can label a product as being “Aligned with the Common Core” and pick up some easy sales. If you have to apply the same standards to all your students - no special accommodations - your teaching life is easier.
If in 4 years your college freshman composition class is filled with students who went through high school with the Common Core Standards, you should be able to expect a certain homogeneity to their knowledge. Right?
Of course, the idea of having adaptive and personalized instruction was very popular the past few years. What happens to that?
I was part of an effort in 2006 to build a K-20 (AKA K-16 or P-20) program to bring colleges and secondary or lower schools together in order to better prepare the pre-college student. One of the the goals was to align K-12 education with postsecondary goals.
Now, you have elementary and secondary schools in 45 states and the District of Columbia trying to implement new standards for math and language arts in order to improve college and career readiness for every high school graduate.
An admirable goal to be sure. The first set of assessments will be in the 2014-15 academic year.
Perhaps the first department to feel the heat at a college will be the school of education. They need to prepare students now to work in a school environment that will be using the CCS as soon as they start.
Sure, other college departments will probably sense a different kind of student (better or worse prepared, depending on your current bias). But that probably won't be really evident until students arrive who were taught with Common Core-based curriculums in elementary, middle school and high school. That will take a decade.
I like standards. Standards of weights and measurement were very important to industrial and technological progress. And while I feel that students who graduate a high school in Vermont or Alabama should be equally prepared for work or college, I also think have observed in my own classrooms for 38 years that having the same standards for every student in a class sometimes just did not make for the best learning in that room.
Monday, January 27. 2014
I use SlideShare to share my slide presentations with the world. They send me weekly stats and they always surprise me.
This last week, the most viewed was one on "Moodle: a free learning management system" which has had 47,000 views. I feel a bit embarrassed by that because the presentation is kind of out of date by now. I think I should do an update. Obviously, there is interest.
The latest popular download of the week was one I did on "Student Blogs As Reflective Practice."
My SlideShare stats showed that 1,000 people have embedded one of my slide presentations on their blog or site. Some can be embedded as a slideshow but some are pdf documents and 2000 times people have downloaded the presentation. That is way more people than I will ever stand in front of live and share a presentation.
Here are a few of those popular ones lately.
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