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Permanent link to archive for Wednesday, September 05, 2001. Wednesday, September 05, 2001

Paul Howson: "Why not a revolution based around the idea of refining and simplifying what we already have?"

NY Times: "No wonder that executives at PC makers are walking around with dilated pupils and moist palms, hailing Windows XP as the savior that will deliver us from the tech slump, the recession and probably world hunger."

A new term entered my vocabulary recently thanks to David McCusker. The term is astroturf, it was used by John Dvorak in a 1998 article about Microsoft. Apparently the LA Times caught Microsoft simulating grass roots support, paying writers to sprinkle op-ed pieces around US newspapers that were favorable to Microsoft. Fake grass = astroturf.

Telegraph: "Boys seem to tackle some types of problem using only one side of their brain, while girls use both."

Justin Hall: "Wireless is undoubtedly the next revolution."

Glenn Fleishman: "The wireless network means that the Internet is a service, just like cell phone access has become a service. It means that wherever we are, whenever we want, we can call on the resources of the Internet or our desktop."

Charlie Jackson: "Voice control of devices, including computers, phones, handhelds, etc."

Kevin Lynch: "The challenge for companies like Macromedia is to provide integrated solutions to enable customers to easily design, develop, deliver, and display dynamic Web content and applications that result in a great user experience. If we can accomplish this, our customers will be best-positioned to build the next generation of the Web."

Seybold site: How to enter your vision. "Please edit your vision off-line and post it to the companion mail list where it can be discussed with other people who are interested in the future."

BTW, it's OK to post more than one vision. I'm getting ready to post my first. It involves SOAP and cellphones and builds on the wireless vision as expounded by Glenn and Justin.

Here's a feature request. The Seybold site is going to be seen by lots of people in the publishing industry. I'm going to make sure of that. Now, the design is less than optimal. I just used Bryan's Lemon-Lime theme. But I'd really like to have a lightweight design that incorporates elements from the official Seybold site, so they'll be proud to link to it, with less clutter. Just like 24 Hours sold both the idea of using the Web and created a pull-through for advanced tools for managing such sites, I want this site to raise the question "How are they doing that?" for the publishing people who see it. So if you want to show off your Manila skills, design me a new template that does this. Thanks!

24 Hours: "A Celebration of Free Speech on the Internet. A Demonstration of Web Energy. And Neat Net Tricks! "

John Robb: "Last night I got a chance to exercise my pilot skills."

Kottke: "X-M-L-R-P-C, find out what it means to me."

Is education the next revolution? 

Scoble: A Tale of Two Classrooms.

Wired: "Today, the distance learning market continues to grow, but much of the momentum has slowed. Many e-learning startups have gone belly-up, realizing the enormous costs of launching efficacious courses online."

BBC: "In the slums of Delhi, an experiment has shown how illiterate street children can quickly teach themselves the rudiments of computers and the internet."

Adam Curry: "You can integrate Internet technology into education without it being about the technology, but just using the technology to improve basic skills, such as writing, presentation, structural thinking and communication "

Adam and Scoble have discovered a secret. I have a story to go with this of course. In the late 80s, a freshly minted millionaire, totally nouveau riche, I got involved with a project led by Stewart Alsop and various wives of rich venture capitalists to bring computers into education. They gave money to game designers to create educational games for the kids. I felt that we should use the money to buy computers to put in classrooms, with email software, and let the kids use them. I had seen my own writing skills zoom by using email in the 70s on Unix systems. When the only way to communicate is through your writing, then writing skills develop. That's how I became a writer. And of course it did eventually happen. Today lots of kids use email and instant messaging and cellphones. They invent their own language. They're much better writers than my generation, which was raised with paper, pencil and typewriters as the tools for writing.

Following that principle, then the role of computers in education is simple. Make the tools available to students, teachers, administrators and families. Teach them how to use the tools (there's something educators should be able to do!) and kick back and just let them use them. See what skills each of the tools develops and provide that information to the people who create the software.


Last update: Wednesday, September 05, 2001 at 10:05 PM Eastern.

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