OER Newsletter – January 2013

We’re going to aim to have these out mid-month from here on out; as always, if you’ve got links that belong in one of the categories below (or if we’re foolishly missing a category), drop us a line! See the end for more info on the credits.

Open License

KA Lite [BY-NC-SA 2.0]
Historically, network connectivity has been the bane of teachers and students everywhere, and one of the biggest obstacles to deploying technology to ‘improve’ learning…when it takes 25 minutes of an hour-long block to get all the students on charged & networked computers, well, that’s not so nice. This offline implementation of Khan Academy’s openly-licensed content might solve at least some of those problems — it can be installed on any Windows or Linux server for use on a local network, or even on “roving vans.” Actually, their ‘more info’ sheet covers most of the use cases you haven’t yet imagined. The Power of Open, people…it’s a thing.

LoudLit.org [BY-NC-ND 2.5]
Free audio recordings for a number of classic novels, stories, children’s books, and poems. Nothing wrong with that. We gave a listen to part of Chapter 1 of Huck Finn…great voicing and sound quality!

RealWorldMath.org [BY-NC-SA 3.0]
From the site: “Real World Math is a collection of free math activities for Google Earth designed for students and educators.” In other words…fun. Credit: ES

Open Access

K-12 video curation, brought to you by some of the same folks who were behind the Flip video recorder (which enjoyed a brief, brilliant time in the sun before smartphones came into their own). Credit: ES

JSTOR Register & Read
Some of you may know about or remember JSTOR’s release of early journal content (content that had passed out of copyright back into the public domain), and this new program is equally exciting…for registered individual users, the company is making selected content from about 1,200 journals available for online reading. According to the info page (see the link), the content is “from the first volume and issue published for these journals through a recent year (generally 3-5 years ago).” Credit: Hamish M.

“Is Open Access Finally on the Ascendancy?” (BioScience)
This optimistic (and brief!) article has been making the rounds the past few days. Well worth a look, and OA is always worth the discussion!


FOIA Online (U.S. Department of the Treasury)
From the site: “As of December 10, 2012, the Department of the Treasury will implement FOIAonline in a limited capacity to receive FOIA requests and provide the processing status of requests identified by tracking numbers through FOIA online.” Credit: HNN

Still an invite-only beta (you can request one at the link), these folk “use brain science to help you learn faster and remember longer.” Credit: ES

Also still in the free invite-only phase (but there’s a demo). From the site: “Groupnotes is a collaborative tool that you can use to easily share, annotate, and comment on websites.” Credit: ES

A list making application…nothing new there, but this one’s got some impressive testimonials from
Credit: SR


Education to Employment: Designing a system that works (McKinsey)
Old news for a new year: there is a disconnect between education and employment; this downloadable report dives right on in. Credit: ES

Serious. Fun.

Trace Effects (U.S. State Department)
From the site: “A collaborative English language video game experience for students ages 12-16. Learn English and explore American culture through puzzles, games, and adventures in an interactive world.” Credit: ES

Impact of Major on Career Path for 15600 Williams College Alums (Satyan Devadoss, Hayley Brooks, Kaison Tanabe)
Notwithstanding the fact that it looks a bit like an anatomical drawing of muscle fibers (our apologies if you can’t un-see that now), and further notwithstanding that it’s peculiar to a single institution (Go Ephs!), this data visualization is pretty darn cool.
Credit: ES

Spent (Flash Game)
Some of us here are old enough to have read a lot of a certain series of “gamebooks”. And old enough, at least, to know that text-based adventures were one of the first going concerns in personal computer gaming. “Spent” is kind of an emotionally-serious upgrade of the classic Lemonade Stand, in which the player attempts to make a budget last all month in the face of all-too-common frustrations. Working students will certainly sympathize (but may want a little less reality in their gaming). Regardless, “Spent” is a great example of how people can use the Internet to communicate in compelling ways…creatives take note!
Credit: ES

Dead Sea Scrolls…at 1215 dpi (Israel Antiquities Authority, Google)
In an ancient OER newsletter, we mentioned the high-res Dead Sea Scrolls that Google had helped put online. Now, they’ve helped take it several steps further by assisting the Israel Antiquities Authority with launching the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library. 5,000 images in infrared and color, at 1215 dpi resolution. Awesome.

The concept is deliciously simple: the site presents real-world ‘maker’ challenges (DIY = “Do It Yourself”), which the maker can then complete, share back to the site, and earn “patches”. It’s all about climbing the mountain because it’s there, and many or most of the challenges can be done on the cheap. Almost completely random aside: The School of Life. Huh.
Credit: ES

ES = EdSurge (www.edsurge.com)
HNN = History News Network (www.hnn.us)
SR = The Scout Report (scout.wisc.edu/scout-report)

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