One of the miniconferences I attended while at Linux.conf.au 2010 was on education. There I heard a presentation by Mark Osborne, the Deputy Principal from Albany Senior High School. This is the first large scale open source school, and the news have not gone unnoticed (see here and here, for example). There are several advantages to going open source in education, but perhaps one of the ones that I find more compelling, is that by using this type of approach, students are able to use at home the same software that they use at school without having to pay for individual licensing.
In another session centered on education, WikiEduator was brought up. I do not remember how it is I first came across this site, but I love it. My impression from browsing through it is that it is mainly geared towards Primary and Secondary education, and although a lot of resources are there already, it is clear that the site would benefit from more contributions <nudge>. (Bu the way, Albany High School is sharing their resources there.)
A similar teaching sharing space (which is probably more geared towards Tertiary education) can also be found in OpenWetware, which among other things, offers the opportunity to host courses on the site. This is a great opportunity to build collaborations between different tertiary educators in a way that is quite similar to WikiEducator. I am now looking at ways to contribute to this aspect of the site.
There is something that I like about these two sites over the concept of iTunes University. Although centered about opening education and making it generally available, I find the wikis are more amenable to collaboration between different groups of educators. Don’t get me wrong, I love iTunesU, and I am attending classes there, but I think a lot can be also gained from collaborative spaces.
If you are an educator looking for open resources, you might want to look at this link from @tabitharoder (who by the way also was behind the organization of the education miniconference at Linux.conf.au 2010).
And, it was recently pointed out to me by Cameron Neylon, that, at least in the UK Universities are considered commercial institutions. Therefore the Creative Commons 3.0 BY-NC-SA licence that this blog was under, does not extend to all educational use. I presume the same may apply in other parts of the world. I have struggled with this, and made the decision to change the licencing of this blog to a BY-SA licence, which is described by Creative Commons Aotearoa/New Zealand:
This licence lets others distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon your work, even commercially, as long as they credit you for the original creation. This is the most accommodating of the licences offered, in terms of what others can do with your works licensed under Attribution.
This licence lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under the identical terms. This licence is often compared to open source software licences. All new works based on yours will carry the same licence; so any derivatives will also allow commercial use.
You should now see the new logo up on this site.
Science Online 2010 was a great experience, albeit difficulties with flight changes that made me miss the last morning of the meeting. It was great to put some human faces to people I knew only from their online persona. The experience was absolutely brilliant, and I will soon be posting on some of the fantastic stuff I learned while I was there. In the meantime, you can read about what happened there from the large list of posts posted here and here.
Linux.conf.au 2010 in Wellington was my next stop. I am glad I went, despite being unsure of what I would get out of it. My main incentive was to learn a bit more what was going on locally in terms of the development of platforms that could facilitate Open Data/Open Science /Open Education, and I was not disappointed. Again, I will be posting what I learned there in future posts.
Some changes in the blogosphere
I was very sad to hear that Dave and Greta Munger have decided to stop posting in Cognitive Daily. I loved their blog, and having just met both of them at Science Online 2010, I can also say they are lovely human beings. The good news is that Dave will continue with his work in ResearchBlogging.org, so we can all continue following his thoughts there.
Cameron Neylon has created a new personal space online. This is one that I will keenly follow. Cameron is a great advocate for openness in science, and a fantastic writer. (I have updated the link on the Blog Roll.)
Celebrating science blogging
The final decisions on Open Laboratory 2009 were made earlier in January, and the final list of the selected blogs can be found here. I can only imagine what a great chore this must have been for all those involved in the final selection, so big kudos to all of them. Although this blog didn’t make it to the final list, I would like to take this opportunity for to thank whoever was behind nominating it, especially given its short life.
ResearchBlogging.org has now opened nominations for the best blogs discussing peer reviewed research. The site aggregates blogs that talk about peer reviewed research, and there are several blogs in Sciblogs that are registered on the site. You might want to consider supporting your favourite Sciblogs bloggers for the different categories. Many of these blogs started in 2009, so they are eligible for the new blog category.