JISC Get On Board Open Learning Bandwagon

Good to see that JISC have thrown their weight into getting open source learning into the virtual marketplace.

With any luck this will be the push required to make it “acceptable” to institutions to share their work.

Experimental Blog: JISC09 Last Post Open Learning Resources

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Free, as in speech

Image via Wikipedia

The Online College has a great post on free or open source tools particularly applicable to students.

From image editors to IDEs and to-do lists to web browsers you’ll find something of interest here.

69 Free or Open Source Tools For Students | Online College

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Open Source Image Programming

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Image via Wikipedia

Processing is

an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for
learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool.

For anyone looking to teach programming images it looks a good bet.

Processing 1.0

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dimdim is SmartSmart

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Image via Wikipedia

DimDim is a free, web based video conferencing utility. As they say:

With no software to download or install, Dimdim forever democratizes webbased live meetings. In seconds – right from your browser – you easily host or attend web meetings complete with audio and video conferencing, desktop and document sharing.

With Dimdim you can host meetings for up to twenty people at no cost. With no software to install it may be easier to use in institutions with locked down desktops.

Give it a try here:

Dimdim: Free Web Meeting, Free Web Conferencing, Meetup, Open Source, Net Meeting, eLearning, web conference, Unified Collaboration, Online Meetings, Online Training, Free Screen Sharing, collaboration, live meeting

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Virtual Machines

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Image via CrunchBase

When teaching it’s important to ensure that your machines are as bullet-proof as possible. The number of times I’ve had an operating system lesson ended early when the student has zapped their system are too numerous too count.

The obvious solution is to use a virtual machine such as VMWare, Parallels or Virtual PC. One of my favourites (and free, that may not be a coincidence) is VirtualBox.

As an Open Source product it’s free to use but, with Sun as its backer, it has the clout to match up to commercial releases.

Check it out here:

VirtualBox

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The Open Model of Education

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Image by Josie Fraser via Flickr

One of the most promising approaches to increasing attainment is the open model of education. Practitioners are well aware of the requirement to make materials accessible in many more formats (Blackboard, Moodle, WebCT, SCORM) than the traditional words on paper.

This new model opens up the possibility of learning anywhere and everywhere. For example, some of my own students access on-line materials via the web browser on the phone whilst commuting to and from work. This very openness is a major factor in their enjoyment and subsequent success in the course.

How do you make your learning open?

Education Innovation: The Open Model of Education

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Google Get Into Browsers

Image via CrunchBase, source unknown

Google live on the Internet and so it makes sense that they would want to influence the nuts and bolts of web browsing. To that end they have introduced their own browser, Chrome.

Some of the choices made in creating the browser such as multiple processes, secrecy mode and a brand new Java interpreter are interesting to say the least and are well explained in the accompanying comic. (It’s Google, of course it’s a comic!)

You can download the browser here (Windows only at the moment, Mac and Linux to follow). It’s certainly worth a look and, as the code has been open-sourced, it’s only a matter of time until at least some of the ideas appear elsewhere.

Browser wars in 2008. Who’d have thought?

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Victory for Open Source

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Image via Wikipedia

US Court rules in favor of “open source” copyright – Download Squad

Being a bit of an old hippy I’m keen on open source. The problem is that, in America, nothing is accepted until they’ve had a load of over-paid lawyers argue about it in court.

Fortunately that has now happened and open source copyright has now passed the Perry Mason test making it as legal as things get in the US.

This might smack of angels on pins but it is really important: it means that those who spend a lot of time and effort on production can expect their rights to be protected – even if the only right they want is to be recognised.

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