The Podcast Academy

July 26, 2007

The Podcast Academy is a great resource for keeping up-to-date with whats happening in the world of podcasting.

 It can be found here – The Podcast Academy 

 For anyone new to podcasting I’d recommend listening to this episode.

Podcasting: The Concepts & Making Them Happen 

At Podcast Academy 2, held in 2006, The Conversations Network’s founder and Gigavox Media’s CTO, Doug Kaye, goes back to basics about podcasting. What started out as a hobby turned into the recording of hundreds of events, which otherwise would have evaporated without being heard. Kaye comments on how IT Conversations got started, and explains why he and other got into podcasting.

For some it is a passion, for others a means of promoting a message, for others still it is a means to archiving and distributing the vast wealth of events happening every single day. The numbers are up, millions of new listeners participate each month. Podcasting is filling the on-demand niche of topics that regular broadcasters would never be able to deliver.

The fact that podcasts are immensely popular is not enough, however. With many new podcasts each day, learning the basics is still a necessity. From finding events which interest you, to recording, producing and publishing podcasts via the internet, Kaye highlights some of the key points a beginner podcaster needs to know. Most important of all, however, is to get out there and do it, don’t get bogged down with specifics and be willing to change and experiment.


Education And Discipline, Bertrand Russell

July 20, 2007

Bertrand Russell is one of my favourite educators and I was hoping to find a public domain version of his book “On Education” which I love.  Unable to find the book I did discover this article which I think is worth reading as an introduction to his educational philosophy.

Education And Discipline

Any serious educational theory must consist of two parts: a conception of the ends of life, and a science of psychological dynamics, i.e. of the laws of mental change. Two men who differ as to the ends of life cannot hope to agree about education. The educational machine, throughout Western civilization, is dominated by two ethical theories: that of Christianity, and that of nationalism. These two, when taken seriously, are incompatible, as is becoming evident in Germany. For my part, I hold that, where they differ, Christianity is preferable, but where they agree, both are mistaken. The conception which I should substitute as the purpose of education is civilization, a term which, as I mean it, has a definition which is partly individual, partly social. It consists, in the individual, of both intellectual and moral qualities: intellectually, a certain minimum of general knowledge, technical skill in one’s own profession, and a habit of forming opinions on evidence; morally, of impartiality, kindliness, and a modicum of self-control. I should add a quality which is neither moral nor intellectual, but perhaps physiological: zest and joy of life. In communities, civilization demands respect for law, justice as between man and man, purposes not involving permanent injury to any section of the human race, and intelligent adaptation of means to ends. If these are to be the purpose of education, it is a question for the science of psychology to consider what can be done towards realizing them, and, in particular, what degree of freedom is likely to prove most effective.
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Disney, Childhood & Corporate Power

July 20, 2007

An excellent documentary on mainstream culture and its responsibility towards educating children.  The focus is on the Disney Corporation as one of the most powerful and explores the narrative and characterisation in its films, exposing sexist, racist, historically inaccurate and abusive values.  Contains interviews with cultural critics, media scholars, child psychologists, kindergarten teachers, multicultural educators, college students and children.

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Journals: Open Access and RSS

July 4, 2007


Last month five leading European research institutions launched a petition that called on the European Commission to establish a new policy that would require all government-funded research to be made available to the public shortly after publication.

In response, the European Commission committed more than $100m (£51m) towards facilitating greater open access through support for open access journals and for the building of the infrastructure needed to house institutional repositories that can store the millions of academic articles written each year.

The European developments demonstrate the growing global demand for open access, a trend that is forcing researchers, publishers, universities, and funding agencies to reconsider their role in the creation and dissemination of knowledge.

That requirement – called an open access principle – would leverage widespread internet connectivity with low-cost electronic publication to create a freely available virtual scientific library available to the entire globe.

Given the connection between research and economic prosperity, the time has come for governments, their funding agencies, and the international research community to maximise the public’s investment in research by prioritising open access.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Push for open access to research

After reading these BBC article on Open Access Journals I am convinced that they all should be and as a consequence signed the petition.  I think if all Universities made all research available to everyone for free, we would take a large step toward the betterment of all mankind.  Also many of the fee paying journal sites are failing to grasp the nature of the internet.  Many times I’ve been frustrated with the prospect of a great article only to find I’d need to pay a fee.  Aside from anything else, I’m not sure how these fee paying journals will compete.  MIT’s open access program has shown that it can be beneficial to offer your information and work for free, and I hope all Universities will follow.

I’ve passed the link onto a few friends who are still at University.  Although they were not that interested when I first explained it to them, they came back to me later raving at how useful the open access journals were.  They found that although the University offered them free access to fee paying journals, they were not a source they could use from home where they did much of their research and studying.


Private schooling key factor in career success

July 2, 2007

Interesting article in the Guardian on private schooling.

A study examining the educational backgrounds of the 500 most influential people working in politics, the media, medicine, law and business reveals that more than half had attended fee-paying independent schools. That compares with the tiny proportion of pupils – just 7% – who are privately educated.

The significance of private schooling for career success has declined only slightly during the past 20 years, the study by the Sutton Trust education charity found.

Dr Lee Elliot Major, the Sutton Trust’s director of research, said: “This analysis shows that the school you attend at age 11 has a huge impact on your life chances, and particularly how likely you are to reach the top of your chosen profession.

“We are still to a large extent a society divided by wealth, with future elites groomed at particular schools and universities, while the educational opportunities available to those from non-privileged backgrounds make it much more difficult for them to reach the top.”

Guardian: Private schooling key factor in career success

From what I’ve read elsewhere theres also a different focus in private schools.  There children are being taught to be leaders whereas in public schools children are taught to be led.  This might sound like a sweeping statement but I’d suggest not just dismissing it but instead investigating yourself to see what you find.  John Taylor Gatto would be a good place to start.

Games in Education

July 2, 2007

Games in Education video created by Mark Wagner and Michael Guerena of the Orange County (CA) Department of Education’s Educational Technology group. They have given permission to post. A really interesting video on games in education.  I completly agree that games can play a major role in education, when I got my hands on the Nintendo DS title “Brain Training” my first thought was “wow – I wish I’d had this as a kid!”  I think it could be an excellent tool.  I do think we have to be careful however.  I’ve recently finish a book discussing violence in western culture and its effects on creating a violent society.  I believe theres a strong argument against the use of violent games (I’ll explain my position on this in future posts).  To think that children could learn much about WWII by playing a war management game I think is stretching things, the important lessons remain the human experience for evacuated children and their bombed homes, to reverse this and have children selecting to bomb cities is a gross perversion. I think our schools should try to create a progressive education focused on the values of peace, human rights and non-violence.  In my opinion theres no justification for normalising violence to children.  Education establishments also bear a large responsibility, if we do allow any violent games into the education system, they could be played by every child in the country.  Even if the game has a very small effect of enabling violent attitudes this will be amplified over the entire nation. Read the rest of this entry »

Some fun: Retro Educational Games

July 2, 2007

I still remember all the old computer games we had at school.  I put up this image of Grannies Garden because its the only one I could find anything about.  I can remember lots of them clearly my favourites were

  1. Keyboard Skills
  2. King of the Jungle
  3. Grannies Garden  
  4. Wagons West
  5. Pob / Pod?

I guess they made a big impact on me, more so because my mum was a teacher at the school so I often had to stay late waiting on her to finish.  I used the time constructivly to achieve the highest scores on all the games.  Apparently my mum still uses the same BBC and I’m still top after all these years!  All that extra playing time must have paid off!