Commons News

First Mobile Novel Launches in South Africa

Jane Park, September 30th, 2009

Mobile phones are the most popular means of communication among young adults in South Africa, as South Africans send 250 million text messages a day. This may be true for many parts of the world, where Internet connections are still in dial-up mode or even nonexistent. Through mobile phones, youth carry daily conversations via text messaging, as in some areas it is cheaper to send a text than to call.

Leveraging the popularity of mobile phones, the m4Lit project has launched the first mobile novel of its kind, or m-novel, in South Africa. Kontax, which follows the adventures of a group of teenage graffiti artists, is made specifically for mobile phones, and is available in both English and isiXhosa. It is being released chapter by chapter on a daily basis, with the first chapter already out. From the press release:

“The m4Lit pilot project aims to explore whether teens are interested in reading stories on their cellphones, whether and how they write using their cellphones, and whether cellphones might be used to develop literacy skills and a love of reading. Enter Kontax, an m-novel written on commission from the Shuttleworth Foundation by prize winning ‘mobilist’ Sam Wilson. Kontax is an m-novel made for mobile – and from 30 September readers will be able to access the dynamic teen narrative from their WAP-enabled cellphones, or from their computers. Every day another exciting chapter in the mystery plot will be told, with 21 chapters rolling out over 21 days. Teen readers will be invited to interact with Kontax as it unfolds on their cellphones: they can vote on and discuss the progressing plot, leave comments, download wallpapers and finally submit a written piece as part of a competition, with airtime prizes available for winning submissions.

…As part of the research component of this project, interviews with teens in Cape Town before and after the publishing of Kontax will establish to what extent this project changes South African learners’ attitudes to reading and writing, what learners think about m-novels, and whether the mobile medium as a literacy tool interests or excites them.

Global perspective
In inviting interaction from and discussion amongst its teenage readers, Kontax is aligned with leading global trends, and follows the success of audience participation in story writing found in Japan, where teens have been reading and writing novels on their cellphones in this way for a number of years. The popularity of the m-novel is clearly evident in Japan, where six out of the top 10 fiction best sellers in 2008 were m-novels that had later been printed in book form. The evolution of digital media has had a profound impact on the literacy practices of teenagers from east to west – in the USA, research has shown that through their computers today’s teens are reading and writing more than ever, not formally but on blogs, MySpace pages and via instant messages. Increasingly, SMSes and chats on their cellphones also form part of the “reading” and “writing” of digital literacy.”

Read the press release for more information. And if you happen to be in South Africa, you may want to attend the book launch at “the Book Lounge in Cape Town on Wednesday 30 September at 18h00. All are welcome, but should please RSVP to either booklounge@gmail.com or 021 462 2425.”

All Kontax content and story images are licensed CC BY-SA. Kontax is written by Sam Wilson and the m4Lit project is spearheaded by Steve Vosloo, 21st Century Learning Fellow for the Shuttleworth Foundation.

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Beatpick and Umedia Bring CC-Licensed Music To Italian National TV

Cameron Parkins, September 29th, 2009

logoNet label and music licensing company Beatpick has teamed up with Umedia, an Italian start-up, to provide Creative Commons-licensed music for Universication, a new TV series focusing on media and technology within the Italian university system. The show is broadcast across Italy, meaning that around 130 CC-licensed tracks will be played on Italian National TV throughout the show’s tenure.

Beatpick is also providing its CC-licensed music catalog for productions posted to Ustation, Universication’s online hub for user-generated video. These productions will take advantage of the free and open terms allowed by our licenses, giving student filmmakers an opportunity to use music within their productions legally.

Many of these videos will be broadcast on TV – by utilizing Beatpick’s catalog throughout Umedia have streamlined the process, allowing content to flow easily from non-commercial to commercial venues.

You can see a trailer for Universication online. Be sure to check out CC Italia’s post on the collaboration for more info.

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Announcing October’s ccSalon SF! (10/15/09)

Allison Domicone, September 28th, 2009

salon-sf

Creative Commons, KALW, and Chicago Public Radio’s Sound Opinions are pleased to present Chicago Tribune music critic and author Greg Kot in conversation with music journalist David Downs. Kot’s new book, Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, explores the changing face of the music industry. Downs and Kot will discuss the book, as well as how digital sharing and participatory culture are shaping how music is created and consumed. Audience questions and discussion will follow the conversation.

When: Thursday, October 15, 7-9pm
Where: PariSoMa, 1436 Howard St. (map and directions). Plenty of street parking available. (Please note, the space is located up two steep flights of stairs, and unfortunately does not currently have elevator access.)

Light refreshments will be provided, and since we rely on the generosity of our community to keep us afloat, we’ll be accepting donations for CC at the door.

Check out the event posting on Upcoming and let us know you’re coming on Facebook. We hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it to the salon on Thursday (or even if you can!), we’re excited to also announce that the following evening, Greg will be doing a reading, talk, and book signing at the Booksmith on Haight St. in San Francisco. Come out to one of San Francisco’s premier independent bookstores for a more intimate evening with Greg. Friday, October 16th, 7:30 pm.

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The Guardian Talks With CC CEO Joi Ito

Cameron Parkins, September 25th, 2009

joi
Headshot B&W, Photo by Mizuka | CC BY

The Guardian just posted a great interview with CC CEO Joi Ito that, while focusing broadly on Joi’s work as an entrepreneur, spends substantial time discussing his role at CC.

The piece touches on a number of topics including how CC interacts with businesses, our commitment to RDFa, and how our licenses can be used:

The advantage of the range of Creative Commons licences is that it can be tweaked as the creator likes. “Typically a professional musician will choose a licence that prohibits commercial reuse to protect their income, which usually comes from copyright. But for instance a photographer, and especially an amateur photographer, may want to be well-known, so they focus on attribution. Documentary producers often say ‘no derivatives’ because they don’t want the story to change, but will allow commercial use so that movie theatres can show their work.”

Be sure to read the interview at the Guardian’s website or check out the full transcript here. You can also listen to the interview as part of the Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast.

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Opening Education–the little things you can do

Jane Park, September 25th, 2009

By now, you’ve heard and/or used the term OER (Open Educational Resources) a ton of times. Whether you’re an advocate for open education, promoting the use, reuse, and adaptation of openly licensed educational materials, or an everyday user of them because you find them convenient and effective for your teaching or learning needs, you have contributed in some way to improving the educational landscape for everyone, everywhere.

But there’s a lot of little things you can do to improve education and the educational process no matter who you are and where you’re located. These are things you do all the time as part of your professional or personal routines, such as filling out forms about your job or project, writing up summaries or abstracts on papers you’ve researched, or describing and tagging photos (aka adding metadata). These activities are also integral to the functioning of many open education projects, which depend on efforts from online communities consisting of persons like ourselves. A list of these projects are growing on OpenEd’s volunteer page, which currently points to projects like dScribe and AcaWiki. If your project could use help on a specific activity, please add it here! OpenEd is a wiki; anyone can edit.

dScribe needs descriptions for their medical images
dScribe has created over 200 images to aid instructors in their teaching, but they need to be made discoverable first! You can help by adding tags and short descriptions for one or two images. All images and their accompanying info will be licensed CC BY.

AcaWiki could use those summaries and abstracts you’ve written
AcaWiki makes summaries and literature reviews of peer-reviewed academic research available to the general public via CC BY, allowing people like us to easily find desired information. If you’ve written summaries and reviews for papers before, now’s the time to make them useful by uploading those files to AcaWiki. And if you regularly research and write up abstracts for class or for your own good, you can easily make uploading them a habitual part of the process. It only takes a couple of extra clicks.

We also encourage you to add your project or organization to ODEPO, ccLearn’s Open Database of Educational Projects and Organizations. Not only will this make your project more discoverable, it will enable better research across the landscape of open education related projects.

For other ways to get involved, see OpenEd’s Get Involved space.

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Online store relaunched! Now with shopping cart, fan photo gallery

Allison Domicone, September 25th, 2009

CCStickersoneyes

black and white buttons

superfrank

If you have not yet stocked up on any of our cool CC swag, now is the time to do so! We’ve relaunched our online store, now with shopping cart capabilities so you can order as many stickers, T-shirts, lapel pins, and buttons as you wish! All T-shirt sizes are fully restocked as well.

And, since CC would be nowhere without the valuable support and positive energy of our friends and fans, we want to feature YOU on our store site. Send as many pictures as you like of your CC swag (on you, your friends, your pets, in nature – get creative!) to store[at]creativecommons.org as an attachment or URL, and be featured in our online photo galleries. Check out the shining faces of these very well-dressed CC fans.

Head over to the online store today and pick up some swag for you or your friends. Not only will you be supporting CC, but you’ll be able to spread the word about us to all you meet!

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Invitation to an International Conference on OER

Jane Park, September 24th, 2009

Open Education and Open Educational Resources: Challenges and Perspectives,” an international conference on OER, is taking place in São Paulo, Brazil on Oct 29-30. Supported by the Open Society Institute and Direito GV, it will focus on “[bringing] together international and Brazilian OER projects and experiences [to set] the debate on policies to foster OER.” The conference is open and free to all, and simultaneous translations will be provided. From the invitation,

“As countries worldwide move to implement open education projects, and developing
nations in particular look to use the Internet to replace outdated and insufficient
educational systems, an examination of existing work is in order. It is important to provide
a map of lessons learned, and to understand how existing projects can be connected to
one another to create the largest possible impact for both educators and learners. Our goal
is to examine these broad issues within the lens of a detailed examination of the Brazilian
experience applying ICTs to education in policy, technology, pedagogy, and the impact of
the emerging concept of “open educational resources” in both theory and practice.

This conference will present results and discuss recommendations from the OER Brazil
Project, funded by the Open Society Institute. The conference aims to open the door for a
richer discussion focused on OER through sharing information on international and
national OER projects. The idea is to transform the conference into a working group and
draft recommendations for future public policy for OER in Brazil, in preparation for the 2010
National Conference on Education.”



En Brasil se hablará de apoyar Recursos Educativos Abierto (REA) en politicas públicas

Educación Abierta y Recursos Educativos Abiertos (REA): Metas y perspectivas, es un ciclo de conferencias que se llevará a cabo en Sao Paulo, Brasil el 29 y 30 de octubre financiado por Open Society Institute y apoyado por la facultad de Derecho de la Fundación Getulio Vargas.

Lo interesante de este evento es que presenta los resultados y pretende discutir las recomendaciones del proyecto OER Brasil financiado por Open Society Institute. Con ocasión de esta conferencia se reunirán proyectos brasileños e internacionales que tienen como foco de trabajo los Recursos Educativos Abiertos (REA, que son los OER por su sigla en inglés) y experiencias en este campo con el fin de poner sobre la mesa el debate en torno a las políticas públicas.

Con este fin se espera que los asistentes conviertan la conferencia en grupo de trabajo que proponga recomendaciones concretas de políticas públicas en la materia como preparación para la Conferencia Nacional de Educación que tendrá lugar en 2010.

El evento y sus resultados son importantes en la región pues de implementarse una decisión de este tipo en el sector público brasileño tendríamos un antecedente importante y relevante para apoyo de quienes creemos en los beneficios de una educación abierta y más accequible apoyada por las Tecnologías de la Información y las Comunicaciones (TIC).

Para quien interesen las conferencias y/o pueda asistir, el programa puede consultarse desde la página de la Fundación Getulio Vargas y la asistencia no tiene costo.

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Clicking “Refresh”: A New Look at Fair Use in the Digital Age

Jane Park, September 24th, 2009

For those of you in the NY area in October, the New York City Bar has a thought provoking panel discussion coming up on fair use in the era of blogging, Twitter, and Facebook. The panel members hail from the U.S. District Court, the Associated Press, and Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, to name a few. And in the spirit of this topic, I’m going to quote from the site now,

“This panel discussion will address the ways in which copyright law’s fair use doctrine has evolved (or may be tested) in an era in which the rise of news aggregation, social networking, and a variety of other websites increasingly allow internet users to combine and transform content from endless sources of media. How transformative are on-line montages and mash-ups? Is the aggregation of headlines or content from news providers infringement or fair use? Does posting copyrighted content on a user’s Facebook or Myspace page undermine the market for that content? When does a blogger’s summary of an article appropriate enough content to constitute copyright infringement? Panelists will offer a broad range of perspectives on these an other issues from the bench, bar, media industry, and legal academy.”

The discussion will be held on Wednesday, October 7 at 6pm, so be sure to register (for free) and drop by.

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Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America

Jane Park, September 23rd, 2009

Last year Latam Commons 2008: Public Domain, Creative Commons, and Open Education was the first meeting of CC leads in Latin America, and also the first meeting to focus specifically on open education and OER of its kind. Though I blogged briefly about its success in December, the fruits of the meeting have shown itself over time, as Latin America has been working towards greater openness in education and otherwise, with our very own Carolina Botero joining as a ccLearn liaison for that region of the Spanish-speaking world.

Now, the particular results of that first meeting are recorded for the first time, in both English and Spanish in the same report, Open Education: First meeting of CC leads in Latin America. The report was a joint production of CC Latin America and ccLearn, and is licensed CC BY so it can be further translated into other languages sans the hassle of a middleman. We urge you to check out the summary of the first meeting. As we continue to acquire better information about the open education issues in the Spanish speaking world, we hope to better facilitate communications within and beyond the region; for example, productions like this and translations of relevant CC blog posts should ideally reach interested people regardless of where they live or what language they speak (and read).

Speaking of blog posts, two more Back-to-School blog posts are now available in Spanish, Back to School: DiscoverEd and the Back to School Conclusion: The Open Trajectory of Learning. The translated versions are posted just below the English, and as more translations come in, we will add them to the original posts. All relevant blog posts will be tagged Latin America, so that you can see Latam open education news at anytime in one place.

And in Spanish, thanks to Carolina Botero and CC Latin America:


Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina.

El año pasado tuvo lugar la primera reunión de líderes de CC en América Latina: Latam Commons 2008: Dominio Público, Creative Commons, y Educación Abierta. Esta fue también la primera reunión que se enfocó específicamente en educación abierta y REA (Recursos Educativos Abiertos, OER por sus siglas en inglés). Aunque ya se había blogueado brevemente sobre su éxito en diciembre, los resultados de la reunión se han ido mostrando con el tiempo, América Latina ha venido trabajando hacía una mayor apertura tanto en educación como en otros temas, al punto que Carolina Botero se unió oficialmente como enlace para la región hispanoparlante.

Ahora, los resultados particulares de esta primera reunión aparecen por primera vez, tanto en español como en inglés en un mismo informe titulado Educación Abierta: Primera reunión de líderes CC en América Latina. El informe fue una producción de CC América Latina (ccLatam) y ccLearn, se encuentra licenciado CC BY por lo que puede ser traducido a cualquier otro idioma sin intermediarios. Los invitamos a revisar el resumen de esta primera reunión. De otro lado, una vez tengamos una mejor idea sobre los temas de educación abierta que le interesan a los hispanoparlantes podremos concentrarnos en comunicaciones más efectivas, por ejemplo, en lograr que producciones como ésta y traducciones de entradas del blog de CC relevantes para esta audiencia puedan llegar a sus miembros.

Respecto a las entradas en el blog aprovechamos para contarles que hay dos nuevas entradas de la serie Regreso al Colegio están disponibles ahora en español: De Regreso al Colegio: DiscoverEd y De Regreso al Colegio, conclusiones: El camino abierto para el aprendizaje. Las versiones traducidas se agregan al final de la entrada en inglés y, a medida que otras traducciones lleguen las iremos agregando allí. Todas las entradas de este tipo en el blog serán etiquetadas Latin America, para que puedan registrar las noticias de América Latian a cualquier hora en cualquier lugar.

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Spot.Us Expands to L.A.

Cameron Parkins, September 22nd, 2009

Spot.Us, a nonprofit project from the Center for Media Change that aims to pioneer “community funded reporting” (previous coverage here), is expanding to Los Angeles! From Spot.Us:

Spot.Us is expanding to Los Angeles and we are doing so with USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism. Needless to say, we are very excited about the opportunities and possibilities. The main Spot.Us homepage will aggregate pitches from both the SF Bay Area and Los Angeles regions. You can go to Subdomains to find pitches specific to those regions: la.spot.us and sfbay.spot.us.

The move is a collaboration between Spot.Us and USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism and could pave the way for additional cities to be added to the Spot.US umbrella in the near future. Read more about the transition, as well as general information regarding the future of Spot.Us, at its blog.

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