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March 2005
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May 2005

School attendance tracked by RFID

WIRED -- Brittan Elementary School in Sutter, California, has received national attention for trying to launch an RFID program in January  to track students without properly notifying parents or students. The school wanted to require students to wear photo ID cards embedded with an RFID chip containing a 15-digit number assigned to each student to track attendance. Acrroding to Wired, the school cut a deal with a local maker of the technology to test the tracking system and receive a percentage of profits if the company succeeded in selling the system to other school districts. But after a group of outraged parents protested the plan, the school dropped it. But California lawmakers picked up on the story, and the incident sparked a discussion in the California State legislature about using electronic tagging.

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Online research provides easy access

TIPPINST -- In my personal experience, more students read and cite articles online than ones offline. Doc Searls points to an "effort to lead the movement of body of knowlege (now offline) to the Web, where autodidacts can have access to it". There are important issues related to the larger role of both scholarship and scholarly works in the world. One of the stumbling blocks is deciding what makes an article the right unit for scholarly communication. Searls poses the relevant question: "Why not blog it? Why not make it into a wiki?" Doing that would help scholarly information more efficiently find its markets. Then he blogs during the lecture session, and gets outed for his behaviour.

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Open University Course Uses CC Licence

OPEN -- Ray Corrigan, a lecturer at the UK's Open University, points to the first Open University course to be released under a Creative Commons licence. It's a course based on Larry Lessig's book The Future of Ideas ISBN 0375505784. You must register a proper e-mail address if you want to see the course, otherwise it's openly available. Tipperary Institute has several open courses available online, using the Moodle Open Source Virtual Learning environment. Johns Hopkins School of Public Health offer Opencourseware model with these six courses.

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Hiding behind PR

TRIBUNE -- The first column in the Sunday Tribune magazine opens with a salvo against PR professionals who are engaged by the health services sector in Ireland. "That our hospitals even see fit to employ public relations staff, from public money, is an absolute scandal."

Ann Marie Hourihane -- "Hiding behind PR people is an insulting Mater" in the Sunday Tribune magazine, April 24, 2005.

Gaming teaches

TIPPINST -- Both Tom Heffernan and Eanna McAteer completed separate third level projects incorporating a game element for primary school students. Their user testing told them that their pre-teen audience wanted to prove that they learned by testing themselves in a gaming situation. That is the same conclusion expressed on some and drawn by researchers at the University of London.

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Flickr Just Got A Million More

FLICKR -- In Tipperary Institute, we program with the Flickr API--just like hundreds of other web developers. That process just got cheaper by 50% and the number of people using Flickr's social networking probably jumped by 30,000 since yesterday's announcement that the Pro accounts became as affordable as a monthly phonecard top-up in Ireland. Nearly 40% of all those with use Flickr. I think it's the biggest time sink on the planet and well worth the slideshows it generates. I suspect there will be millions more people using Flickr for summer holiday snapshots now that this new pricing plan has hit the mainstream press. More details:

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Cross-cultural imperative

TIPPINST -- One obvious point of using Yahoo! 360 is you quickly become aware of the international reach of the program. I have "friends" on three continents. I have discovered that I need the Chinese fonts installed on every system where I access my Yahoo! 360 blog. Said another way, we need to install all flavours of Chinese fonts on all computers in Tipperary Institute because we have routine correspondence now with Chinese students and Chinese bloggers. This is probably good advice for all

Bonus Link: Irish Born Chinese weblog.