FunnyMonkey Blog

Bill Fitzgerald | March 12, 2008

I just came across this tool for Mediawiki:

This extends the possibilities for using mediawiki as a remixing engine for open content repositories that are otherwise closed. I particularly like the pdf to wiki functionality.

A tool like Send2wiki, combined with the WikiArticleFeeds Extension to generate RSS feeds for republishing/reorganizing in an open content repository would allow a great deal of flexibility for creating and remixing open content.

Bill Fitzgerald | March 11, 2008

I received this email today:

Has Technology Improved Your Home-to-School Connection?

ISTE's magazine, Learning & Leading with Technology, wants your opinion.

If you would like to share your thoughts on this topic, reply to this e-mail with a 25-50 word response by March 31.

We're going to select 6-8 of the best comments we receive (attributing them with name, affiliation, city, and state) and publish them in the May issue of L&L.

Not sure? Read the opinion of two other education professionals in the February edition of Point/Counterpoint in L&L on the Web:

Comments (25-50 words):

We really appreciate...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 26, 2008

While doing some research for a project I'm working on, I came across this video in the Prelinger Archives: a 1927 film providing instructions on how to use the new dial telephones.

My favorite line:

"Remove the receiver carefully so as not to jiggle the switch hook."

The original piece can be seen in context at


Bill Fitzgerald | February 23, 2008

LiveBlog of Matt Mullenweg's Keynote --

Streamed at (at least some of it)

Note: This liveblog is rough -- just notes, no editing

Beginning blog platforms --
Open Diary -- 1998
LiveJournal -- 1999

5 years ago -- based on B2

Over 7 million downloads

MM on what Bloggers want -- "Bloggers hierarchy of needs"

1. Expression
The most important tab on the WP blog is the Presentation tab -- allows people to change the theme

A lot of successful web 2.0 companies are successful because they protect users from spam communication

2. Public -- privacy is important, but publically available should be the default -- things that make it easier to connect/follow can have an exponential effect on growth/readership

3. Validation -- check stats to get a sense of readership

4. Form Dictates Writing wrt blogs


Marc Poris | February 19, 2008

A few more things to look into:

It looks like RDF is coming to Drupal. This has some interesting implications for learning spaces, and doing things that you just can't do in Blackboard.

And here, some very interesting thoughts on using OpenID and FOAF as anti-spam tools. Looks like you and your friends can get together and whup up on the spammers after all.

Bill Fitzgerald | February 18, 2008

From my comment on Gardner Campbell's blog:

Hello, Gardner,

As a few people have already pointed out, these are incremental moves -- Open Content has been around for a while, as have blog-based classes. I think most of us are in agreement that, in general terms, these are Good Things, and that these shifts are improvements over expensive textbooks and cumbersome, expensive, proprietary LMS's.

The incremental shifts, however, become more meaningful when considered together.

Pulling content from a closed repository isn't all that big a deal -- we've had rss for a while. But, putting high quality content into a container where it can be readily remixed and reused is an incremental step in the right direction.

Using this newly liberated content as the basis for constructing a course isn't that big a deal either. You can use a blog as the skeleton for a traditional...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 17, 2008

Introductory Notes

These are some thoughts in progress -- I've been thinking these things through for probably the last few years, but things have been getting more interesting of late.

Some of the blog posts that have helped shape my thinking here include:

Bill Fitzgerald | February 13, 2008

Over at weblogg-ed, Will Richardson has a post about, among other things, how teachers are increasingly networked outside their district, but not inside their district. As I see it, this is a pretty natural progression, and one that can be loosely compared to how people understood and used the web.

To paraphrase and expand on my comment on his blog:

From Will's post:

But one thing (again) that has really been sticky from EduConn was the idea that local connections support local culture (as well as a few other things, such as leadership, of course) and vice versa.

In many ways, this mirrors how the web itself was understood, and how use of the web developed. Initially, you had large companies creating user silos tied...

Bill Fitzgerald | February 8, 2008

9:30 -- Re-read Brian Lamb's blog post.

9:33 -- Poked around Stephen Downes' site, reading over some of the documentation on Edu_Rss. Really, I'm hoping to find an OPML file. Bingo.

9:40 -- Create a database on

9:42 -- Go to -- grap a copy of the 5.7 codebase, and the following modules: FeedAPI, FeedElement Mapper, Views, Views Bonus, Tagadelic, and CCK. At a later point, if nothing blows up, I'll probably add in Similar Content.

9:50 -- untar code. Realize I'm curious how long this will actually take, and resign myself to getting less sleep than I originally hoped. So it goes.

9:59 -- upload code to the server. Crack a beer. A good one.

10:04 -- bring site live.


Bill Fitzgerald | February 4, 2008

From Michael Feldstein, via the OLDaily.

It looks like Blackboard paid for Google adwords to have ads for Blackboard appear when people searched for "Open Source LMS" --

Image via Michael Feldstein

Unfortunately, the Blackboard ads appeared under the heading "Open Source LMS" creating the appearance that Blackboard is an open source product.

Image via Michael Feldstein

It appears that Blackboard has pulled the ad. And here I was, expecting to see a link to the "Blackboard Free Download" page, and their Community Support wiki.


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