Open Education Week 2012 CFP

Here's a CFP that is a call for "participation" (rather than proposals) for Open Education Week March 5-10, 2012 which will be held online and worldwide. It is organized by the Open Courseware Consortium.

Join your colleagues around the world to increase understanding about open education. Open Education Week occurs online and in locally hosted events around the world. The objective is to raise awareness of the open education movement and open educational resources.

There are several ways you and your organization can be involved:

1. Provide a pre-recorded informational virtual tour of your project, work, or organization. This should be focused on the work you’re doing in open education, designed for a general audience. These can be done in any language.

2. Offer a webinar. Webinars are well suited for topics of general interest, such as what’s happening in open education in a particular area or country, or topics that offer discussion possibilities. Webinars can be scheduled in any language, 24 hours a day. Organizers would also like to feature question and answer sessions in a variety of languages and time zones.

3. Pre-record a presentation on open education concepts. Do you have an inspiring presentation about open education? Can you discuss the issues that open education seeks to address in your country, region or globally? Organizers plan to feature short, introductory overviews of open education and OER for different audiences, such as those new to the idea, policy makers, faculty, etc. Presentations in any language are welcome.

4. Create or share text-based, downloadable information. This should be information on the open education movement, in any language, appropriate to introduce the movement and its important concepts to a variety of audiences. Specific information on your project can be linked to from the open education week website.

5. Sponsor or host a local event during the week of 5-10 March. This could be a community discussions, a forum on open education, a challenge and/or a celebration. Organizers invite you to get creative with planning events. Suggestions and support will be available on the open education week web site, and the planning group is happy to work with you to create bigger impact.

Let Open Education Week organizers know how you would like to participate by filling out the form at the website, or contacting them at Please fill out the Open Education Week contributor’s form by January 31, 2012.

The OCW Consortium is coordinating this community-run event. There is no cost to participate.

Follow them on twitter at #openeducationwk and Facebook at

Attribution: Creative Commons Blog post by Cable Green, Global Education Director

Will Apple Tranform Textbooks?

I was checking into a discussion on the College Open Textbooks Community site about Apple's move into textbooks. As you expect, that group has a very different definition of "open" than a company like Apple.

Apple announced this week that they plan to "transform" the classroom in a way similar to their assault on the music industry with iTunes and the iPod. Interactive digital textbooks seems to have been in Steve Jobs' plans for awhile, but it took a back seat to other efforts.

Jobs predicted that the iPad would knock out print books, and it has shaken things up. Textbooks seems to have been his next objective on that road.

At their announcement, Apple talked about three new apps as part of the larger iBooks 2 that gives students instant access to interactive digital textbooks through mobile devices.

An app called iBooks Author lets someone with some knowledge of Apple tools create books. It uses templated layouts that can have interactive 3-D models, photos and videos. (This is not really aimed at text-only books - interactivity is key.

The third app is for iTunes U which has been around since 2007. It allows teachers and students to connect using posted reading lists, streamed video of lectures etc.

The apps are free. Most importantly, for Apple to make this work, is partnerships with publishers. Houghton Mifflin, McGraw Hill, and Pearson are the first textbook publishing partners for iBooks 2. It was announced that high school e-textbooks will be sold for less than $15 in a partnership with the three major U.S. textbook publishers.

Audrey Watters makes a good point when she says:

"See, you can't really say that you're going to "change everything" when it comes to textbooks and announce that your partners are the 3 companies who already control 90% of the textbook market. You can't say that you're going to disrupt the textbook industry by going digital when Pearson -- one of those big 3 and, indeed, the largest educational company in the world -- made over $3 billion from digital content last year alone. That's not to say that digital content isn't shaking up the textbook industry. Like all publishers, our move from print to e-books is challenging these companies to rethink their revenue and distribution models. Add to the mix, the availability now of all manner of free content online, and it's clear that the necessity of purchasing textbooks -- at both the K-12 and the higher ed level -- is diminishing rapidly."

This new "iBook 2" and the apps is the first major "product" launch since Steve Jobs' death.

Apple And Textbooks

Apple Inc. is announcing tomorrow in New York what is expected to be a new initiative to enter the digital textbook business.

The best-selling biography of Apple’s Steve Jobs has Jobs saying that he saw a way to transform the textbook market by hiring prominent textbook writers to create electronic versions of them for the iPad.

This brings Apple deeper into the content business - a move that Amazon has also taken. Jobs also talked about offering textbooks for free might be a way to "get around" state certification requirements.

PIPA, the Protect-IP Act

When I logged into my tumblr blog, i was given the option to " Black out my blog for the rest of the day to protest PIPA.

I chose not to - because I think it might be more effective to post about what PIPA is all about than to go black. (I can't wash the educator out of me)

Thanks to action by a broad and bipartisan coalition of Internet users, companies, and organizations, the U.S. House of Representatives has now put the brakes on SOPA, a well-intentioned but deeply flawed bill that would use Internet censorship to combat overseas copyright infringement. Even President Obama's White House has joined the opposition.

But nevertheless, the Senate is continuing to move forward — and fast — with its equally dangerous version of the bill, called PIPA, the Protect-IP Act.As written, PIPA would import censorship and surveillance techniques pioneered by countries like China and Iran, reversing longstanding U.S. policy on Internet freedom, betraying U.S. First Amendment values, damaging our standing around the world, threatening our job-creating innovators, and undermining Internet security for everyone.

Today is a day for action across the Internet.Learn about these destructive bills. Tell your Senator what you think. Congress needs to hear from you.


iPhone Application Development

Most of us can't get a seat in Stanford's popular iPhone and iPad application development course, but luckily the open side of courseware allows anyone with app dreams to follow online. 

Stanford has released the iOS 5 version of their "iPhone Application Development" on iTunes U. You can download course lectures and slides for free. The obvious audience is students of all ages interested in developing apps, but if you are teaching or planning to teach such a course yourself, it would make sense to take a look.

Stanford offered an iPhone apps course online in 2009 and it made some history by scoring a million downloads in its first seven weeks. The instructor is Paul Hegarty and he teaches students how to program apps for iPads and iPhones. It is the most popular download on
Stanford's iTunes U site, with more than 10 million views.

It is no small task to learn to create apps. Unofficial prerequisites: If you are unfamiliar with Apple's operating systems, you need to learn Objective-C.  If you were a Stanford student, you would have taken a year of computer science classes and had object-oriented programming before taking the apps course. Two Stanford prerequisite courses, Programming Methodology and Programming Abstractions, are also available on iTunes U.

Disrupting Education With Apps

Tomorrow, I am giving a keynote for faculty at Bloomfield College. It's about how software apps and mobile computing in general is impacting teaching. "Educating in an App World" is still to come for most classrooms.

Sure, "There's an app for that" has gone from being an advertising tagline to being a solution for many software needs. Apps – small, easy to download software for mobile devices – are definitely changing how students at all level are using technology.

Watch pre-schoolers playing with their parents phones and tablets. Have you seen a 3 year old go up to a TV screen and try to drag or pinch an image? It's how they expect to interact with technology.

I have found more apps available for the K-12 world than for higher education. But, we limit the use of mobile devices in classrooms, especially in the lower grades. Teachers are more likely to ban phones than make use of them.

But that IS changing. Apps are changing the way colleges design and deploy software and it is moving into classrooms.

The idea of "disruptive innovation" (which was coined by Clayton Christensen) is that a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market but then moves “up market" and eventually displaces the established competitors.

Disruptive innovation: cellular phones disrupted fixed line telephony; traditional full-service department stores have been disrupted by online and discount retailers; doctor’s offices are being displaced by medical clinics. Maybe the traditional four-year college experience is being displaced in degrees by community colleges, online learning and school 2.0.

The problem is that education isn't business, no matter how much politicians and critics want it to be.

Take innovation. Companies tend to innovate faster than their customers’ lives change. There are newer phones but customers who don't want to upgrade yet. The company ends up producing products or services that are actually too good and too expensive for many of their customers. But in education, those "customers" that we prefer to call students innovate faster than the schools. Students probably have the technology in their hands before we can offer it or have a way to use it in our classrooms.

What is changing in higher ed? Firts, is how students use technology with or without our guidance. That is driving changes in the way colleges design or purchase websites and software. Go back more than a decade and a school had to get a website. Then they had to get a better website. Now, you better have some apps. 

The ways colleges deploy software is also changing. Did your school offer software on CDs? Did it move to downloads? Did it move away from even supplying software or requiring a computer? Will it offer apps?

The greatest change comes when educators can implement apps for teaching. Initially, colleges use it for campus-wide initiatives like admissions, but we are seeing it begin to move into classroom use.

Do you agree with this critic? “For this invention will produce forgetfulness in the minds of those who learn to use it, because they will not practice their memory. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant and hard to get along with, since they are not wise, but only appear wise.”   That was Socrates on the written word, see Phaedrus, 340 BC.

Welcome to the app world.