Twitter Weekly Updates for 2010-03-22

  • To err is human: building a safer health system. Free book for download http://tinyurl.com/yzedbwk #
  • RT @amcunningham: A Culture of Fear and Intimidation: Reforming Medical Education http://bit.ly/cngjbU #meded #professionalism #
  • @Czernie Thanks Laura, there’s some good stuff there, will definitely use some of it #
  • @cristinacost responded to your comment and removed 1 of your duplicates 🙂 #
  • @cristinacost I figure that communication is about moving ideas between people, and you did it so well, regardless of typos 🙂 #
  • @cristinacost just reading your comment now, thank you so much for sharing 🙂 #
  • @Czernie Book looks great, saw Martin Oliver present at HESS in 2008, was brilliant. Would love to read anything else you have #
  • @ralphmercer I’m playing around with WordPress MU with the Buddypress plugin. Elgg is also supposed to be quite good. Both are PHP apps #
  • Gardner Writes: Assessment in a web 2.0 environment. Thoughtful post about the deep complexity of designing assessment http://bit.ly/9iqnTU #
  • RT @amcunningham: Post on #Conceptmap with #VUE from @neil_mehta http://bit.ly/9gNSMg #
  • @pgsimoes: “End of publishing as we know it” is interesting. See also “Lost generation” for original idea http://ow.ly/1nxvW #
  • @cristinacost Nice, brings back some good memories 🙂 #
  • @Czernie Thanks for the ppt, it’s great. Are you going to publish? Where did you get your sample ie. what departments? #
  • Collection of PLE diagrams http://ow.ly/1kV6v #
  • Jeff Jarvis’ presentation transcript from TEDxNYED. What’s wrong with education and some insights from media / journalism http://ow.ly/1kUSl #

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-03-01

  • Reflective practise and assessment at http://bit.ly/kgj1c #
  • Social media applied to online-only university, open courseware and peer-to-peer learning http://bit.ly/pQXsX #
  • Nice explanation of the semantic web by Tim Berners-Lee, in Scientific American (2001), so a bit old but still good http://bit.ly/e40PA #
  • A matrix of uses of blogging in education, prepared by Scott Leslie in 2003, at http://bit.ly/RK7Dt. Original blog at http://bit.ly/GjWhO #
  • Learning in and within an open wiki project: Wikiversity’s potential in global capacity building at http://bit.ly/18P7gv #
  • Web 2.0 storytelling: emergence of a new genre, about creating rich media with social media, quite cool, at http://bit.ly/rPKg3 #
  • Developing professional physiotherapy competence by internet-based reflection, at http://bit.ly/9rHSE #
  • Using micro-blogging in education; presentation on Slideshare, plenty of related slideshows as well. Available at http://bit.ly/CuOA5 #
  • Another slideshow about using Twitter for education, slides 3, 6, 11 are pretty cool. Available at http://bit.ly/7I32r #
  • Rehab+, a physio-related database from McMaster University (the home of EBP), providing citations 4 the latest evidence http://bit.ly/SuuPd #
  • RT @benwerd The people are the social network; the site is the tool that facilitates that network. #
  • If everyone opened up their APIs, could we have a web without the web? #
  • Who are the Net Generation (Gen Y)? http://bit.ly/8MhDi #
  • The disruption of textbook publishing, too expensive (time, labour, resources). Are digital books a solution? Wikis? http://bit.ly/279Ls #
  • Basic guidelines on how to design a questionnaire for conducting research in health (2 links – http://bit.ly/GPQLA and http://bit.ly/KKlZ5) #

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10th annual conference on World Wide Web applications

Yesterday I registered to attend the 10th annual conference on World Wide Web applications being held at the University of Cape Town from the 3-5 September. It’ll look at the impact of the web on our daily lives, focusing on four tracks or themes, namely; e-commerce, e-learning, e-government and e-society. Some of the presentations I’m interested in include:

  • Trends in student use of ICTs in higher education in South Africa (Prof L Czerniewicz, University of Cape Town)
  • To opensource or not to opensource – the case for e-learning (Mr HS Oliver, African Online Scientific Informations Systems (Pty) Ltd – (AOSIS)
  • Electronic abuse in Web 2.0 based social networks: responsibilities for students, educational institutions and online intermediaries in South Africa (Prof M Kyobe, University of Cape Town)
  • A study about the use of Facebook for social encouragement among citizens within a community on the Cape Flats (Mr D Minani, Cape Peninsula University of Technology)
  • Assessing researchers’ performance in developing countries: Is Google Scholar an alternative? (Dr OB Onyancha, UNISA)

I’m really looking forward to the conference and will be posting here about my experiences.

How web 2.0 is changing medicine

The British Medical Journal published this article in December (2006), which may not seem like a long time ago in the traditional approach to academic publication but which in terms of the Internet is already old news. It asks, “Is a medical wikipedia the next step?”, a question I think is becoming more and more relevant as we see user-generated content proliferating in all spheres of our lives, but more and more frequently in the field of healthcare.

The author, Dean Giustini (librarian at the University of British Columbia Biomedical Branch), looks at the advantages of web 2.0 technologies or social software (e.g. RSS, blogs, wikis and podcasts) with particular reference to the creation of open content, improving access to information and the impact all of this has on medicine. We need to be asking ourselves how we can use these new technologies to better inform the way we teach, learn and communicate with our students and colleagues.

I think the final paragraph sums up my own opinion of the role of the Internet in influencing those of us who are creators and publishers of content:

“The web is a reflection of who we are as human beings – but it also reflects who we aspire to be. In that sense, Web 2.0 may be one of the most influential technologies in the history of publishing, as old proprietary notions of control and ownership fall away.”

Managing content 2.0

The past year or so has seen a move towards more sophisticated uses of the so-called “Web 2.0” technologies, a term that’s thrown around a lot these days and a formal definition of which is proving elusive. Rather than trying to define and structure it, I prefer to think of “Web 2.0” as an organic approach to computing…a merging of the traditional desktop application and online services. At some point I think there’ll be no difference between “online” and “offline” and indeed the boundaries are already increasingly difficult to make out. Google Gears, Adobe’s Integrated Runtime (AIR) and Mozilla’s Prism project are all looking to further blur the lines between the Internet and your personal computer.

Two good examples of the integration between desktop application and a user’s online experience are Zotero and Scrapbook. Both are Firefox extensions that are easily installed and have a shallow learning curve.

Zotero is fully integrated with Firefox and is described as a “next-generation research tool” that allows a user to capture relevant data from sources while browsing and storing that information in a local database for offline use. It “recognises” the structure of content and “knows” where to store information like title, author, publication and other bibliographic data. With academics and researchers spending more time finding their sources online, a tool that facilitates the process of managing content is most certainly welcome.

Articles discussing Zotero:

Scrapbook is another Firefox extension that adds a significantly enhanced note-taking feature to the browser. Users are able to capture sections of webpages (or entire sites) while browsing, edit text, make notes and add comments. Again, this content is stored locally for offline use.

Both of these extensions are examples of how new technologies are blurring the lines between “online” and “offline” and creating tools that take advantage of new approaches to content management. With the huge volume of information available today, a new approach to the managment of that content is necessary. Gone are the days when renaming a document is enough. Together with desktop search and tagging, tools like Zotero and Scrapbook are essential for anyone with a vested interest in managing a large volume of content.

Edit (07/07/08): I can’t believe I left out PDF Download, another Firefox extension that makes managing PDF documents within the browser a lot easier and more flexible.  Up until the latest release, my main use of it was the option to automatically download any PDF document, rather than open it in the browser, a process that’s really time consuming.  With the newest version, PDF Download also offers the option of converting any webpage you’re reading into a PDF, which I find really useful as I prefer working with PDF’s instead of saved webpages.