FunnyMonkey Blog

Bill Fitzgerald | March 31, 2007

Some interesting conversations going on around the intarweb.

First, Stephen Downes peeled back the first layer of the onion and described the goals of his project.

Then, there has been some discussion on social networks in general, and the Classroom 2.0 group Steve Hargadon has set up on Ning.

Steve likes Ning's low barrier to entry, while Dave Warlick, by his own admission, doesn't get it. Tony Karrer points out that a social network alone won't do it, but that some degree of common interest is required to unify the discussion. I'll leave my thoughts on Ning, the...

Bill Fitzgerald | March 13, 2007

With spring in the air, sap rising in the trees, sun warming the ground as it thaws our hope, it's only natural that our thoughts turn to code.

The Summer of Code, more precisely. Isn't that what you're thinking about?

We're submitting two proposals this year; the first is a collaborative effort with the Open Source Labs to leverage some of the functionality from Google's exposed APIs (and yes, I know, I know, I know). I'll be writing more on the precise spec over the next few days, so check back.

Our second proposal is up over on

For those who don't feel like reading about it elsewhere, here is the proposal:

1. Overview

This application allows users to...

Bill Fitzgerald | January 13, 2007

I've been wanting to find the time to write this post for a while, but different things (aka work, life) kept getting in the way.

For those who are interested in getting started in putting the different pieces of OpenAcademic together, here are some of the building blocks.

A Moodle 1.6 OpenID consumer:

This code was written by Kevin Jardine, with the install tested by Kevin and us.

The code is available here:

We have not tested this code in a shared hosting environment, but we have tested it in a few different LAMP stacks. For those of you who are comfortable working in a Linux environment, the install is pretty straightforward. The one main obstacle we encountered was with miscompiled gmp libraries, and we documented the fix for this in the ReadMe.txt that comes with the download. For the generally curious, you...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 20, 2006

As I've discussed here and here, there are risks involved with using free services offered by organizations who keep their code -- and your data -- out of your reach.

Google recently announced that they are shutting down support for their SOAP search API in favor of an AJAX-based API.

To translate the geek-speak: Google used to allow people to build applications that would use Google's search features, but return the results outside Google. Now, with the AJAX API, the results are displayed within Google. With this shift, Google has replaced a very useful tool with more limited option.

Admittedly, this is a pretty small shift. And, Google has a very good argument in that they don't have to give anything away for free -- and both of Google's API'...

Bill Fitzgerald | December 7, 2006

Note: Forward this to your "Shameless Commerce" division...

If you're going to be in Philadelphia at the end of January, consider making some time for any one of a series of workshops being hosted by Steve Hargadon at the Science Leadership Academy. The principal of SLA, Chris Lehmann is hosting the sessions: one on Moodle run by Michelle Moore on January 29th and 30th; one on Web 2.0 for educators run by Will Richardson on February 2nd and 3rd; and one on Drupal in the classroom run by yours truly.

In planning my session, I'm trying to build a training that allows educators to use the tools they learn...

Bill Fitzgerald | November 19, 2006

Some interesting thoughts about media literacy, google bombing, and white supremacism in a conversation started by Tom Hoffman and moved along by Will Richardson.

So, let's get some of the important stuff out of the way:

Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr.

Bill Fitzgerald | November 3, 2006

Looking for something good to do? Look no further.

Child's Play.

From the website:

Since 2003, gamers have banded together through registered Seattle-based charity, Child's Play. Over a million dollars in donations of toys, games, books and cash for sick kids in children's hospitals across North America and the world have been collected since our inception.

We collect no administrative fees or other charges, 100% of all gifts and donations go directly to our partner hospitals, to help make life a little brighter for a sick child.

Bill Fitzgerald | October 29, 2006

Will Richardson talks about some useful tools in a recent blog post. While the tools he highlights are useful, a few things were left out.

A few alternatives to consider:

Will highlights Google Blog Search and Google Custom Search. As an alternative, a school or a teacher could set up a Drupal site. Add in the leech module which copies blog posts -- or other content -- into the site. Then, add in the OpenSearch module and the OpenSearch client module. The result: a class-specific, fully searchable aggregation of selected resources. For more info on OpenSearch, click here.

Will then proceeds to highlight Vox. In his post,...

Bill Fitzgerald | September 7, 2006

The last few days have been busy. I flew in to Edinburgh from Portland for Curverider's first conference on social networking tools in education. My trip was relatively short -- I landed on Friday and left Tuesday. While in Edinburgh, I managed to squeeze in a few touristy bits and pieces, but a good portion of every day was devoted to meeting with these guys and this guy. The meetings took place in a series of pubs in Curverider's remote offices, and they were pretty amazing. In the space of three days, we covered a lot of ground, sorting out sundry details of the OpenAcademic roadmap -- including a timeline, the exact structure of the development site, and details relating to single sign on, tag and full text searching across sites, and moving content cleanly between Elgg and Drupal. All of these...

Bill Fitzgerald | August 24, 2006

For a K-12 language educator, teaching vocabulary presents some singular challenges. While we all agree that vocabulary is a critical skill, the agreement tends to disappear when it comes to how to present vocabulary in a classroom setting. Talking about words has the potential to expose students to the power and paradox of language; however, vocabulary instruction frequently descends to a balance between exposing students to as many words as possible, defining the words clearly, and keeping the class awake in the process.

The challenge: minimize the rote repetition, maximize the time spent using the words.

A. One way through the morass:

A teacher logs onto a web site and types a list of words into a form. When the teacher submits the form, the following web pages are automagically created:

  1. One page containing a master...


Subscribe to FunnyMonkey Blog