Tag Archives: open source

5 Not so Crazy Predictions for Education in 2012


It”s not not uncommon for geeks to do some wishful thinking a line any mortal hoping their tech dreams will come true in the new year to come.

Id like to make some predictions for 2012 as well. Just a few humble predictions and observations.

1. Education everywhere

And by everywhere I don’t mean the whole any device anytime anywhere hype. I mean, everyone in every part of the world (except cultures that don’t accept technology and our views of Education of course) will have access to quality Education and educational technology. We will see more initiatives such as EducateNCare, which encourages professionals to provide some of their knowledge and time to tutors children in developing countries online. With initiatives such as this, others will see the need to equip this on the other end of the connection, the local students and teachers. We’ll be even more aware of the need to capacitate professionals in their own native countries.

2. Open educational content will actually be OPEN

Many institutions offer open courseware and content for anyone to access. What we will see is more open source content out there, not just open access content, but content that can be reshaped, and shared forward with other educators and learners via a license such as Creative Commons.

3. Learning on smart TVs
With all these smart devices proliferating, Education should take more advantage of them and be, well, smart Education. eLearning is made mostly with the old desktop metaphor in mind. But thing about all kids of fantastic learning experiences we could have of we designed for different smart devices. I’m not talking just about mobile devices with gyroscopes, location awareness, multitouch interfaces, I mean even (smart) connected TVs. If even the good ol’ tube is changing; why cant we innovate in how we do education in it as well?

4. Micro-location learning and information

We’re all familiar with the concept of GPS devices or mobile map applications taking you from point A to point B with guided turn-by-turn directions and pop-up traffic/trip conditions and events warnings. However, these technologies are normally only for outdoors navigation. You’re lost inside a building. This is a problem that Google has taken on now with their new solution Google Maps indoors feature, which offers guidance inside buildings such as airports.  However, in 2012 we’ll see the rise of microlocation-based learning, which can provide guidance within buildings and institutions indoors. Imagine the educational uses of such mobile applications: exploring the workplace, accurately connecting with others inside of buildings to share information and perhaps serendipitously  meet up for lunch (yes, learning is about forging relationships with others with whom we share or not interests), on-demand information about machines as a learner walks by it. Better yet,  as the learner walks by that very same machine, s/he will  be prompted by an alert on their location-aware device that there is something wrong with it and that it needs repair, not only that, but the alert will show what exactly is wrong with it and give the user an option to follow an interactive strep-by-step repair “tour”. On the job support, information, and true task-based learning about specific concepts, tools, processes as the learner actually does it.

5. Education institutions will allow more social media

With the advent of better content aggregation and curation techniques, Education institutions will appreciate more of the educational applications of social media and feel safer in letting students access social media resources to learn. Youtube has recently released it’s Youtube EDU which allows educators and schools to allow access (mostly) to content they approve on their channel by using technologies such as filters. Students will be given access to a variety of social media services in school as these services start to offer options for content access based on some of the issues faced by schools, issues such as inappropriate or distracting content.

6. [Bonus Prediction] Motion-based learning gets popular and affordable

As devices like the XBox Kinect and Playstation Move start to become more popular, we should see more affordable motion-based learning experiences in the field. Moreover, we should see precise motion training and job aids coupled with Augmented Reality HUDs as employees try to solve real-life problems in the workplace.

Free Full Online Courses by Stanford University – Spring 2012


Several universities world-wide have made their courseware available in different formats over the years. A very popular format is that of podcasts on iTunesU or video lectures on Youtube. See, for instance, this broad list of “free courseware” offerings by major universities. Yale, for example, has made several past lectures available on their Open Yale website. The Open University lets students try course materials for free on their OpenLearn resources page, which. Often, these courses are nothing but pre-recorded videos and audio elements (not full interactive courses) made public by the universities as a form of community outreach (which is already great, don’t get me wrong).

However, Stanford University is blazing trails for open online courseware. Anyone (as long as they understand the recommended prerequisites)can sign up to take some of their courses online, free of charge in the Spring semester of 2012. The courses will consist of live lectures (which can also be see later in an archive), quizzes, and forums in which online students can ask questions.

The current Spring 2012 semester offerings include courses on an eclectic variety subjects ranging from Computer Science to Game Theory, from Anatomy to Linguistics:

Computer Science 101
by Nick Parlante

http://cs101-class.org

Software Engineering for Software as a Service (SAAS)
by Armando Fox and David Patterson

http://saas-class.org/

Game Theory
by Matthew O. Jackson and Yoav Shoham

http://game-theory-class.org

Natural Language processing
by Dan Jurafsky and Christopher Manning

http://nlp-class.org

Probabilistic Graphical Models
by Daphne Koller

http://pgm-class.org/

Human-Computer interfaces
by Scott Klemmer

http://hci-class.org/

Machine Learning
by Andrew Ng

http://jan2012.ml-class.org/

Technology Entrepreneurship
by Chuck Eesley

http://entrepreneur-class.org/

The Lean Launchpad
by Steve Blank

http://launchpad-class.org/

Cryptography
by Professor Dan Boneh

http://crypto-class.org/

Information Theory
by Tsachy (Itschak) Weissman

http://infotheory-class.org/

Anatomy
by Dr. Sakti Sirivastava

http://anatomy-class.org/

Design and Analysis of Algorithms I
by Tim Roughgarden

http://algo-class.org/

Making Green Buildings
by Professor Martin Fischer

http://greenbuilding-class.org/

 

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List adapted from The Rohan Aurora blog.

Google Launches Its Own Open Source Learning Platform – CloudCourse


In an arena dominated by Moodle, Google launches its own open source learning platform: CloudCourse.

According to the blog “Open Source at Google”, the application was released with the intention of driving developers to develop Web applications with Google’s App Engine. The team encourages developers to look into the source code to find out how specific Web application development challenges were overcome. The team of developers at Google hopes CloudCourse to become a sort of poster child for App Engine.

But what can CloudCourse do? According to the developers:

Built entirely on App Engine, CloudCourse allows anyone to create and track learning activities. CloudCourse also offers calendaring, waitlist management and approval features.

CloudCourse is fully integrated with Google Calendar and can be further customized for your organization with the following service provider interfaces (replaceable components):

  • Sync service – to sync CloudCourse data with your internal systems
  • Room info service – to schedule classes in your locations
  • User info service – to look up user profile (employee title, picture, etc)

The technologies used to develop CloudCourse are: App Engine, Django, Python and the Closure Javascript library. According to the team that developed it: should be a breeze to install…

Let me know (in the comments here) what your experience is like if you do try to use ClourCourse.

Learning Languages with Open Source Resources and an Open Mind


Of course learning languages can be both fun and challenging. 

Still in Brazil (in my teenage days) I learned English mostly by listening to my favorite artists, translating their music and making up dialogs in my mind while taking a shower or walking down the street… yes, that crazy…

I also used to go on the ICQ website’s “people & chat” (back in the day) to the regional public chats in the UK, USA and other places were English is spoken as a native language. 

Playing free computer games (or cheap ones) like Age of Empires and watching movies also helped a lot.

It takes some effort and creativity to learn a language (and passion and persistence not to forget it).

That’s why I get so excited when I stumble upon posts like this one by Dmitri Popov about learning languages with open source and webtop applications…

Online File Storage is Evolving – Store, Use, Share Your Media Everywhere


I am a huge fan of having access to my files anywhere, anytime. On a friend’s computer, at home, on my mobile device (the iPhone), etc. Securely, of course…

I have written about file storage and sync’ing before, a lot of them are freemium (you need to pay for extra storage, more features, etc.). A few I’ve found have unlimited storage, like MediaFire.

Sometimes file storage is not enough, we need file editing capabilities on the go. Well, there is Google Docs. Zoho suite, Adobe Buzzword and many other collaborative editing tools out there.

Also, having a neat little Webtop (desktop on the cloud) can be an interesting concept as well and it is evolving little by little.

EyeOS and Cloudo seem to be the most evolved of those competing in this space.

Watch out for Tonido as well, especially for those scared of putting their files out there on a server controlled by other people, well, Tonido lets you easily share files from your computer with not need for uploads… basically unlimited storage (for as long as there is space on your hard drive)… not WebOS, but pretty close and might actually work better than “desktops on the cloud” for now.

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