Chapel Hill Council meeting on YouTube

Yet another Chapel Hill video first created by Will Raymond, aka WillR. On his blog post Chapel Hill Downtown Development Initiative: The Debate, there are links to TWENTY ONE separate videos of twenty one different people speaking at a November 20th public hearing on downtown development. To make it real easy to choose which one to watch there are screen shots from the video of the people who spoke with their names captioned at the bottom.

I watched this meeting live on local cable access. It was incredibly long. So long that I can’t possibly remember all that was said. So long that I feel it excluded hundreds if not thousands of citizens from this important debate. How so? By requiring incredible stamina to watch and forcing people to catch it in a limited time window. (The hearing was one of many things on a long agenda.) Sure you can go to Town hall and borrow the VHS tape. But who is going to do that? (seriously) How many young people even have VHS VCRs anymore? Now with the video online the barrier to civic involvement is significantly lowered. Not just for residents of Chapel Hill but for the world!

Will’s blog post is also significant because it shows what local government information could be like. Didn’t the Town of Chapel Hill purchase, or consider purchasing, a video streaming server? Fact is the flash video post on YouTube by Will is more accessible than streaming video because the video player just works and the YouTube servers are highly effective. An expensive resource that many local governments can not afford.

Thanks Will for showing the way. Tell us all how you did it. 🙂

Camera use at Flickr

Justin hips me to this neat page on Flickr called Camera Finder. All kinds of data about what cameras the Flickr community uses. I suspect a lot of this info is gathered by EXIF (Exchangeable Image File) data. Its attached to jpegs and tiffs created by most modern digital cameras. Its then uploaded by Flickr users with all those great pics.

It appears Flickr has mined this meta data and turned it into usage graphs. On the same page are groups of photos taken by specific cameras sorted by interestingness. Included are pictures of the cameras and prices. Interesting sales idea. I’m sure this is only the tip of the knowledge iceberg.

A friend was recently searching for a new digital camera. I was trying to adviser her on which one to get. One of my suggestions was to “try before you buy”. Look at the results of the camera before you spend the $. Well now on Flickr you can look at pictures of different cameras and even see the settings they used to get the results. A pretty good consumer educational resource.

Its just these kind of Web 2.0 sales opportunities that result from data mining that business people are investing in. I guess you could call them advanced referrals.

Learn about others traditions

Chuck from Minnesota Stories has a wonderful video and blog post up called What Muslim Prayer Looks Like. Please go over to his site and watch it. Its a simple introduction to the religious culture of Muslims. We must learn about each other in this world if we expect peace to exist.

In light of the detention of six Muslim clerics by US Airways in the Twin Cities, it might be fruitful to show Minnesotans what a Muslim prayer looks like.

A telling quote from the story: A US Airways gate agent wrote that three of the men prayed in Arabic at the gate. “I was suspicious by the way they were praying very loud,” the gate agent said.

Other Thoughts: I think that many Americans ignorance about Muslims is fed by the lack of context in TV news shows. True you can’t encapsulate hundreds of years of history in each broadcast, but you can include educational writing. Editors of TV copy can be sensitive to all cultures when they work on witting. Directors of TV news shows should ask their on screen personalities to exude more love and understanding in their work. I’m not talking about hippy dippy stuff that conservatives across America cringe at. I’m describing a humble openness that encourages all viewers to learn more about what is being presented. Ask yourself TV executives, “Just how does my programing educate the world?”


College Leaders should blog

The New York Times has a interesting article in today’s paper and online called Erasing Divide, College Leaders Take to Blogging. It illustrates the pros and cons of College Presidents starting their own blogs. There are a few successful examples and a several rocky ones.

Sadly when a campus leader shares their point of view about education, even if its lock step with policy, there are always critics. But you see that is ok. I repeat criticism is ok. It is the beginning of helpful dialog. We must ‘battle it out’ in the comment section to find out what we share in common and where our differences lie. Then we can figure out how to mend them.

Universities should encourage direct communication among the members of its community. Transparency and openness is essential to educating young people in preparation for living in a democracy. Sure its going to be rocky. Yes some may use what you write as ammunition against you. But at the end of the day educating kids is what’s important.

We must have courageous College and University leaders take on this challenge. You can blog smartly. Just don’t write the first thing that comes to mind. Make several drafts. Share them with others. Have a marketing department or trusted colleague look at it. Mix in fun wittings with the serious ones. Think long and hard about how you’ll moderate comments BEFORE you start a blog.

I feel very confident that if the communication gap in the 21st Century that exists between students and their teachers isn’t made smaller we are doomed to see history repeat itself over and over. Isn’t that the antithesis of education’s purpose?

I extend a helping hand to any Teacher, Professor, Administrator, President, or Provost who would like to blog. Just contact me and I’ll help you start. Gratis.

Wii the Media

Right after I wrote the last post I came up with the title of this post. In case you didn’t notice its a pun on the phrase “We the Media“.

Can a video game console help Citizen Journalists? The Wii has an internet connection, a browser, a basic photo editing app (PhotoChannel), message board, avatars, etc. Some basic features appear to be missing, like a audio player, but this could change in future updates. Check out The Reasoning behind the Wii. I don’t own one of these suckers btw. yet? I’m living vicariously.

Will game consoles replace PCs as the tool of the masses to MAKE while we PLAY?

Wii and Newspapers

Newspapers have been trying for years to increase the number of young people reading there content with varying degrees of success.

Here’s an idea:

Partner with video game manufactures and push your content through their consoles. The Nintendo Wii, pronounced We, just came out to rave reviews. We’ll see how many units they sell.

Back in September I wrote about the Wii Newschannel and Forcastchannel. From Reading the news Nintendo style:

If I was a newspaper owner I’d be looking beyond the multimedia website and even hand held devices like phones and towards video game consoles. Especially if you want to increase the number of younger people who read your paper (15-35). This isn’t just some silly trend but the transformation of media before your very eyes. The construction of the home media center by Nintendo, Sony Microsoft, Apple, and others is seriously blurring the lines between genres that were once held in separate containers. No more.

I might just buy one of these Wii so I can learn how to format content for it. I hope Nintendo opens up their Newschannel to all. An API, Application Programing Interface, for the Wii Newschannel would be a good start. If the newschannel isn’t open it will fail. Simply because people can always get what they want from a computer and browser.

How about a game that makes it fun to aggregate content on the web? Make it fun for Mario to help you learn on the web. Neat!

Here’s hopping we have a future with literate youth. Increasing the ways they can access important information is key.