Category Archives: Education

The Tetra Collaboration

http://www.tetraproject.org/

The Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Hull, and the UHI Millennium Institute announce the formation of the Tetra Collaboration, (1) the outcome of a series of meetings and a major summit held at the University of Oxford on the 25th-26th September 2006.

The goal of the Tetra Collaboration is to coordinate activities across the member organisations so as to more efficiently develop and deploy open source enterprise applications of use to UK and European universities and colleges. By working together we can share common solutions to better serve the needs of students and academics, and each of the institutions named is committed to making tangible contributions into the collaboration (2).

The Tetra Collaboration will work together on projects that address the needs of education, research, technical infrastructure, service oriented architectures (SOA), federated systems, and application frameworks.

Tetra will demonstrate the potential of the JISC’s e-Framework, will be built on open standards and IMS specifications, and is committed to developing sustainable community source solutions for education (3).

One of the first Tetra projects will be to continue the work of the Bodington (4) open source learning management system to produce Bodington – Next Generation or Bodington NG. This will combine elements of the Sakai open source framework with the pedagogically strong Bodington toolset. A major design goal of Bodington NG is to develop and implement an SOA enterprise e-framework.

It will provide a smooth transition for existing Bodington users to the Bodington NG platform, preserving and extending the trusted enterprise functionality used daily by these institutions. The Tetra Collaboration is open to working with other institutions who wish to join this exciting effort.

Tetra will both maintain and evolve the Bodington user interface as well as making the Bodington toolset available to Sakai users. The joint effort between Sakai and Tetra will then begin collaboratively to merge the Bodington toolset with the Sakai framework, as well as extend the latter to accommodate the full range of Tetra’s pedagogical and institutional requirements.

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Apple officially announces iTunes U

Apple announced Wednesday that iTunes U is now officially available. I know that a number of our institutions have been working with Apple to get our sites ready. I am glad to see that the new section of the store is now freely available to the public. Currently, the link is placed prominently in the upper left hand corner of the iTunes store under:

  1. Music
  2. Movies
  3. TV Shows
  4. Music Videos
  5. Audiobooks
  6. Podcasts
  7. iPod Games
  8. iTunes Latino
  9. iTunes U

I am sure some will try to read more into the placement…  I suspect that because it is new it went to the bottom of the list.  It will be interesting to see over time if or how the placement changes.
http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/05/30itunesu.html

CUPERTINO, California—May 30, 2007—Apple® today announced the launch of iTunes® U, a dedicated area within the iTunes Store (www.itunes.com) featuring free content such as course lectures, language lessons, lab demonstrations, sports highlights and campus tours provided by top US colleges and universities including Stanford University, UC Berkeley, Duke University and MIT.

“iTunes U makes it easy for anyone to access amazing educational material from many of the country’s most respected colleges and universities,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes. “Education is a lifelong pursuit and we’re pleased to give everyone the ability to download lectures, speeches and other academic content for free.”

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iQuiz – the next assessment innovation on iPods?

I was intrigued by an announcement today about a new free application dubbed iQuiz Maker by Aspyr Media. To understand the significance of this tool, you must first take a look at the recently released $0.99 iQuiz game for the Apple iPod:

Test your entertainment knowledge in iQuiz, the fast-paced trivia game for your iPod. Test your knowledge of the songs, albums, and artists you’ve got on your iPod, or try out trivia challenges for movies, music, and TV. Make your own custom trivia packs to share, or play trivia packs created by others.

When I first heard about this new games, I had no idea that “trivia packs” could be authored by mere mortals. When I read the description of iQuiz Maker, the wheels started turning:

iQuiz Maker is an easy way for you to create custom quizzes for the iQuiz game for the iPod. iQuiz Maker works seamlessly so you can write, create, package and test the smarts of people you know and even people you don’t know. Download the free application today to begin putting the world to the test.

I wonder if educators will view this as an opportunity to perform some light assessment on the iPod. Podcasting is a hot topic these days it seems like being able to use the same device for multiple purposes would be highly valuable. I cannot say whether iQuiz is the right vehicle for that or not, but it does make you start thinking about the iPod in new ways…

Updated 28 April 2007 – Two new sites of interest:

  1. Apple has provided a sample Biology quiz on their Learning Interchange web site: http://edcommunity.apple.com/ali/story.php?itemID=11017.
  2. One of the commenters pointed me to their iQuiz Library site. There is not a lot of content available yet, but you will find a sample Spanish quiz linked.

Updated 21 May 2007 – Another new iQuiz content creation tool/site:  http://iquizr.com/

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Educational Gaming Observations

It was clear after last week’s Learning Impact Conference that the use of gaming for teaching and learning is a hot topic. Two of the areas of focus during the discussions were related to Second Life and content authoring. There have been two interesting recent developments related to these topics:

  1. After open-sourcing the Second Life client, Linden Lab has decide to open-source the server code as well. This now opens the door for some very interesting deep integration with other learning technologies. Will we embed the server in learning management systems like Sakai? This is fun to think about…
    Source: http://blogs.zdnet.com/social/?p=142
  2. We all agree that authoring engaging gaming content is a very difficult task. It will be a long time before instructors are building high quality games/simulations on their own. However, I do see some progress being made to make authoring easier and more ubiquitous: XNA Game Studio Express. This is a development environment for creating games that run on both Windows and the Xbox 360 console. The apparent goals of this project are to front load Xbox Live Arcade with a steady stream of innovative and independent arcade titles while lowering the bar to entry and making development fundamentally easier. However, I also see direct application to the educational space as well. Since this is all based on .NET, the code should be fairly portable.

What other interesting developments have you seen in gaming related to education?

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