Category Archives: News

Quick Links for 2008-07-28

Image by sridgway

(Image by sridgwayCC-by)

From time to time I’m going to post a bunch of links to news items that I find interesting, want to draw attention to and make some brief commentary on, but that don’t warrant a post of their own, and that I don’t necessarily want to post to del.icio.us for later reference.

Welcome to my inaugural “Quick Links.”

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TechCrunch – Is This The Future Of Search?

Google is testing a Digg-like interface for search, where users can vote search results up or down and add comments. The human element is added to Google’s magical secret search algorithm.

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TechCrunch – Google Walks Away From Digg Deal

Google had been in negotiations to acquire Digg, but the deal fell through.

As I read about the negotiations I couldn’t help but think about that famous Epic 2015 video in which Google merges with Amazon to become Googlezon, takes over the online world and develops a “social recommendation engine.”

Oh well, at least Google have their own social search engine experiment from the previous item to fall back on.

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MySpace support bolsters OpenID, but the logins won’t be portable

Popular social networking site MySpace said Tuesday it will join the open source authentication platform OpenID, further bolstering the idea of a unified system to carry online identities between Web sites. But for now, MySpace’s OpenID accounts cannot be used elsewhere.

So the good news is… one of the largest web services is supporting OpenID, joining Google, Yahoo!, AOL and other big players, but the bad news is…

However, the implementation of OpenID on MySpace is still incomplete.

The social networking site is what is called a “provider,” which means the site can create new OpenIDs. But to actually use that OpenID login created on MySpace on another OpenID-supported site, MySpace needs to become a “relying party.”

Apparently Yahoo! is only a provider too, at this stage.

I didn’t know that about OpenID… you learn something everyday. Hopefully MySpace and Yahoo! will come on board and become relying party and make OpenID really useful.

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New Foundation Wants to Bridge the Gaps Between Open Web Tools

Speaking at the OSCON Open Source Convention, Six Apart’s David Recordon recently announced the Open Web Foundation, a meta-standards organization dedicated to smoothing the way for large businesses to embrace open web standards like OAuth, OpenID and more.

While there is already the Data Portability Workgroup, which acts as an open standards evangelist, the new Open Web Foundation aims to do the behind-the-scenes dirty work. The goal is to ensure that the various standards, like OAuth and OpenID have consistency, a legal framework and communication between them.

Sounds like a great idea… I wonder if they will be covering open standards for the metaverse.

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IBM says traditional e-mail, phones and desktops will go away

I agree with IBM that 3D immersive environments are going to play a big role in work place communication.

IBM foresees the demise of e-mail, phones and desktops as unified communications makes it possible to replace them with laptops and other mobile devices.

Instant messaging will step up as the preferred means of written communication around which other communications modes – voice, video, conferencing – will revolve, he predicts.

Rhodin demonstrated a virtual conference using technology similar to Second Life that creates a conference space that becomes familiar and in which participants feel comfortable. In combination with other unified communications features, this can make for more productive conferences, he says.

Toward that end, IBM announced at VoiceCon that it is teaming with Forterra Systems to integrate Lotus Sametime with Forterra’s graphical collaboration software. The goal is to create a virtual environment in which groups can meet to run through simulations of physical events and draw on relevant experts as needed.

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ABC launches free net TV service

THE ABC’s voracious and highly successful push into the digital domain has taken another mighty leap with the launch of ABC iView.

The free internet TV service, which went live last night and is available at abc.net.au/iview, is the first real attempt by an Australian network to deliver comprehensive content online.

So our very own Aunty (as the ABC is affectionately called here in Australia) is making as many of its TV shows available for online streaming as possible.

Surely this is the future of television.

Unlike the BBC’s iPlayer, the ABC’s iView does not consolidate the public broadcaster’s television content with its radio content; but like iPlayer, the in-built video player is geo-blocked, or unable to be accessed internationally.

Disappointing, but I guess they have their reasons.

ISP provider iiNet also announced last night it would include the ABC’s new iView service quota-free for all customers.

Woot! Guess who’s with iiNet?

I don’t see Bananas with Pyjamas up there yet. 🙂

Where in the World Wide Web is Sean?


Crikees! It’s almost halfway through 2008 and I haven’t posted a thing since January!

Have you noticed I’ve been quiet? Have you been wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to? (Maybe not! 🙂 )

Taking time off

Well, I’ve taken some time off to explore my interests, and sort out what I want to do next with my life.

In other words, I’m still trying to work out what I want to be when I grow up. 🙂

I’ve also needed to take some time out to deal with some personal issues that I haven’t been giving enough attention to in recent years.

Bye-bye ed-tech sector

I’ve decided to leave the educational technology and online learning sector. There are many reasons for this decision, but the main one is that it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I’ve actually been trying to pull away from the sector for about two years now, but it took until this year to fully let it go. My explorations into the educational uses of Second Life and virtual worlds last year was a last hurrah to that field.

I will explain more about the reasons behind my decision to leave the ed-tech sector in a later post.

New/old interests

In the meantime I’ve been doing a lot of reading, exploring new websites and blogs, culling blogs from my RSS reader and replacing them with new ones that reflect my current interests, changing my RSS reading habits, and watching lots of videos (great for me as I’m an auditory/verbal learner/communicator/thinker, but didn’t have the time to watch videos in the past).

What I’ve discovered is that I’m returning to many of the interests that I had before being in the educational technology sector started to consume my life.

Will I have my say?

There is one thing about my time in the educational technology sector that remains unresolved.

Over that time I read a lot, followed a lot of the conversations in the edublogosphere, but didn’t participate in those conversations as much as I would have liked to. There were many things I wanted to say about education and technology but never did. For the main part I sat on the sidelines of the conversation, getting frustrated with things I disagreed with, but never really adding my bit.

There were many reasons for me not speaking up, for not participating. Most of them are related to fear of one type or another. I’m thinking of talking more about these fears – and the related issue of why I have so much trouble blogging – in later posts.

I’m considering if I should leave what wasn’t said in the past and move on or whether I owe it to myself to go back and address some of the issues I felt strongly about but was too scared to express my thoughts on at the time. We shall see.

So… don’t keep us in suspenders!

So anyway… what have I been exploring this year? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned.. I will reveal all in a later post!

Watch this space. 🙂

(Image by mobilestreetlifecc-by)

jokaydia Christmas Party

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Join us for some dancing and socialising on the Island of jokaydia as we celebrate the festive season AND delivery of our new sim!

Where: http://slurl.com/secondlife/jokaydia/113/150/23

Time:

  • Saturday 22 December @ 6pm (Sydney Time)
  • Friday 21 December @ 11pm (Second Life Time)
  • Check your local time here – http://tinyurl.com/325upc

For more info IM jokay Wollongong or myself – Sean McDunnough – in Second Life or email Jo or email me!

Nominated for the Edublog Awards 2007 – twice!

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I’m pleased to announce that the Second Life in Education wiki and the Island of Jokaydia have both been nominated in the Best educational use of a virtual world 2007 category of the Edublog Awards 2007.

I’m not sure how the nominations work, but it is rewarding to see some recognition for all the hard work Jo Kay and I have put into developing educational resources and into helping introduce educators to Second Life and the potential of virtual worlds.

Of course, special acknowledgment goes to Jo for all her tireless work… she is the one with the great graphics and building skills.

We are in good company too – we are competing with Edtech Island, Schome Park and Suffern Middle School in Second Life, who are all doing great work in Second Life.

And also congrats to our friends who were also nominated in other categories… you know who you are! (Jo mentions them in her post on the nominations).

Now… go vote for us! 🙂

Australasian Second Life Educational Projects Showcase documentation

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On the 20th of June Jo Kay and I facilitated an in-world showcase of Australasian educational projects in Second Life for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s E-learning Networks June 19-20 Online Conference.

Event materials – including the chat transcript, presenters’ notes, slides, videos, photos and blog posts – are now available at: http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/enetworksjune07documentation

Jo and I are pleased with how well it went, especially since it was our first event. There were a few of the usual technical glitches that we come to expect in Second Life, and we learned a few lessons for next time, but overall we think it was a great success.

We actually maxed-out the sim at 40 avs and had several people trying to get in throughout the event!

One thing I think worked well was mixing up the media. We alternated slide presentations with videos, and one presenter used an oversized Thinc book. It made for a very multi-media event.

We had intended to use streaming audio, but as we were about to set-up we found someone else had pirated our rented Shoutcast server! It wasn’t such a bad thing though – only a few presenters wanted to use voice and it would have added another variable to an already challenging session.

Thanks to all those who presented and provided videos. And a special thanks to Corwin Carillon for dealing with a flood of newbies’ questions in IM… asking them to send him their questions worked a bit too successfully it seems!

And we may have inadvertently become responsible for the inaugural ‘Australasian Second Life Conference‘! 🙂

(Images by Jo Kay)

Virtual Worlds – What are They and Why do Educators Need to Pay Attention to Them?

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Last week, as part of the Australian Flexible Learning Framework’s E-learning Networks June 19-20 Online Conference, I delivered a presentation called Virtual Worlds – What are They and Why do Educators Need to Pay Attention to Them? (with the help of Jo Kay of course!)

The recording of the Elluminate session is available here: http://snipr.com/1nnp8 (directly opens the Elluminate session).

My presentation notes and resources are here: http://seanfitz.wikispaces.com/virtualworldsenetworks07

Overall, the presentation seemed to go quite well, although it’s always hard to tell with presentations in Elluminate.

I didn’t pay any attention to the chat channel… I focused on the presentation while Jo did a great job of fielding questions in chat. I always encourage chat – I like having a back channel going on. I like it that people are having rich conversations provoked by the topic that I am presenting. It’s great to see people sharing resources and helping each other out too.

As for my own performance, I was extremely tired as a result of burning the candle at both ends – one end being preparation for the presentation and the other end being our preparation for the successful In-World Presentation: Showcasing Australasian Educational Projects in Second Life we ran the very next day – so I wasn’t as sharp as I could have been.

I fluffed my punchline a bit. I wanted to finish up by making a point about the need for educators to pay attention to virtual worlds, or they will no longer be relevant in the eyes of Net Gen students who are growing up completely accustomed to avatarised environments.

I took the risk of using a famous clip from the South Park episode where the boys are represented playing World of Warcraft to illustrate this point. The language in it is very ‘blue’, which is typical of South Park, but the clip is funny, and I think it does a great job of illustrating the danger of teachers (and other adults) coming to be seen by the Net Gens as “artards” (r-tards… gamer speak for retards) for completely misunderstanding what young people are doing online, and the value of online interaction for them. My intention had been to shock, but not offend.

I wasn’t sure whether I was going to use the clip right up until the end, but the audience seemed pretty receptive up until that point, so I decided to let it rip. Unfortunately, between being tired and nervous, and feeling rushed as we were running out of time, I didn’t get a chance to actually say:

“The last reason I think educators need to pay attention to virtual worlds is so that our students don’t think we’re artards.”

In the rush I also didn’t give a blue language warning, which I regret, and to make matters worse the the clip kept looping! Several people seemed offended, which is understandable, but I think most people got the point.

Anyway… if you get chance check out the presentation resources – there is a lot there to explore about what’s happening in the virtual world space.

Virtual Worlds and Second Life Presentations for the AFLF

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This week Jo Kay and I will be doing two sessions for the the AFLF’s E-learning Networks June 19-20 Online Conferencehttp://networksevents.flexiblelearning.net.au/.

We hope you can come!

Sean



Virtual Worlds – What are They and Why do Educators Need to Pay Attention to Them?

Tuesday June 19th 2007, 3.30pm – 4.30pm, AEST/Sydney time
(other time zones – http://timeanddate.com/s/efy)

Overview

There is currently an explosion in the number and population of online 3D virtual worlds. This development could even be heralding the next evolutionary phase of the Internet – the 3D web.

This session will provide an overview of the latest developments in online 3D virtual worlds and describe some of their unique characteristics.

We will also look at how these environments can be used in education and how they can help explore new learning models. We will look at why it is important for educators to pay attention to online 3D virtual worlds and become involved in their development.

The session will focus on Second Life, one of the more popular and flexible online 3D virtual worlds.

Outcomes

At the end of the session participants will have an understanding of the following questions:

  • What are online 3D virtual worlds? How popular are they becoming?
  • What are some of the characteristics of online 3D virtual worlds and what new opportunities do they present for online education?
  • What are some of the ways online 3D virtual worlds can be used in education?
  • What are some of the challenges educators face when using online 3D virtual worlds?
  • Why do educators need to pay attention to online 3D virtual worlds?
  • What does the future hold for online 3D virtual worlds and the 3D web?

This one is an Elluminate session, so you will have to register at http://networksevents.flexiblelearning.net.au/ to participate.



In-World Presentation: Showcasing Australasian Educational Projects in Second Life

Wednesday June 20th 2007, 6.00pm – 7.30pm, AEST/Sydney time (1.00am PDT/SLT) (other time zones – http://timeanddate.com/s/dsz)

Overview

Jo Kay (aka jokay Wollongong) and Sean FitzGerald (aka Sean McDunnough) will host an event within the 3D online virtual world of Second Life, showcasing some of the Australasian educational projects currently being undertaken using the Second Life platform.

A number of educators from Australia and New Zealand will give brief overviews of their educational activities within Second Life. After the presentations there will be an opportunity to explore some of the educational spaces and projects featured.

Participants will be provided with landmarks and in-world resources to assist them to further explore the educational uses of Second Life in the future.

Outcomes

At the end of the session participants will have an understanding of:

  • A number of projects currently being undertaken in Second Life
  • Some possible educational uses of Second Life
  • How Second Life can be used for online presentations and web conferencing

Participants will understand how to:

  • Setup an account and login to Second Life
  • Participate in a Second Life event

Program

  • 6.00pm – 6.05pm: Sean FitzGerald (Sean McDunnough) – Introduction & Overview
  • 6.05pm – 6.15pm: Jo Kay (jokay Wollongong) – Sean & Jo’s Projects
  • 6.15pm – 6.25pm: Glenda McPherson (Glenda Arrow) & Malcolm Jolly (Malcolm Dalgleish) – The GippsTAFE Project
  • 6.25pm – 6.35pm: Kathryn Greenhill (Emerald Dumont) – Australian Libraries in Second Life (video)
  • 6.35pm – 6.45pm: Aaron Griffiths (Isa Goodman) – SL Educational Projects in NZ
  • 6.45pm – 6.55pm: Gary Hayes (Gary Hazlitt) – AFTRS & LAMP (video)
  • 6.55pm – 7.05pm: Lindy McKeown (Decka Mah) – Action Learning on Terra Incognita
  • 7.05pm – 7.15pm: Greg More (Dynamo Zanetti) – RMIT’s Spatial Information Architecture Laboratory (video)
  • 7.15pm – 7.25pm: Alan Levine (CDB Barkley) – New Medium Consortium and Aussie Trip
  • 7.25pm – 7.30pm: Jo Kay (jokay Wollongong) – Wrap-up

This one is in-world, so there is no need to register for the conference, just visit the amphitheatre at Jo and Sean’s Virtual Meeting Spacehttp://slurl.com/secondlife/Wasp/74/31/86/

For more info see: http://sleducation.wikispaces.com/enetworksjune07