Thursday, July 08, 2010


Just a reminder that the first Open Rights Group conference is only a couple of weeks away. ORG say:
"We'll have training sessions about how to lobby your MP and more volunteer workshops. There'll also be discussions on the state of UK politics after #GE2010 and why this is a key moment to push harder for reform on digital issues from surveillance to copyright to DRM. The keynote speaker will be James Boyle, a founder of the modern movement to recognize, protect, and grow the intellectual commons. Sessions will include
  • James Boyle on the future of copyright, in London especially for this talk
  • Thriving in the Real Digital Economy: Cory Doctorow talks and then chairs a panel of artists.
  • Digital Economy Act: What's Next? (Tom Watson, Eric Joyce, Julian Huppert)
  • What is the 'Right to Data'? (Heather Brooke, Rufus Pollock)
  • Opening up the Data Protection Directive: Can of Worms or Opportunity
  • Dismantling the Database State (NO2ID, ARCH, Big Brother Watch) 
  • Theft! A History of Music (Jennifer Jenkins)
  • ACTA: A Shady Business (La Quadrature du Net, Becky Hogge)
The central London venue is well-served by public transport. These pages will help you travel to ORGCON by bus, underground (tube) and rail.

We want to help delegates with places to stay in London so let us know your needs. For now, you could try couch surfing!"
That's an impressive line up and I wish I could be there but personal committments dictate otherwise. They have 300 delegates booked up already to hear a very impressive range of speakers including James Boyle, Cory Doctorow and Tom Watson, Jennifer Jenkins and there'll be contributions from Liberty, NO2ID and Big Brother Watch.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Curing maths phobia

I've stuck the software version of the maths phobia cure I spoke about at GikiiV in Google docs.

and Andres will hopefully be making it available on the Gikii website shortly too.

It comes with a creative commons attribution, non commercial, share alike licence.  Tony Nixon developed the game and Karen Shipp produced the software. Both are gifted teachers.

I'm afraid it's Windows based (the OU was exclusively WinTel in the days we produced this stuff) but we'd be delighted if someone wants to adapt for Mac and Linux and other platforms.

In addition to the algebra game that I demonstrated at GikiiV it also covers a few extra things like circles, radians, degrees, angles and triangles, discounted cash flow and interest, brackets and substitution - basic numeracy we used to teach in our old Open University T102 Living with Technology course.

To try it you just need to download the zipped files, extract them (with WinZip or equivalent) to a single folder on your PC, double click on num3.exe and away you go.

The pre-test covers a range of stuff - it does a basic assessment of where the user is and then recommends parts of the old T102 course the student should study and which parts of the (CAL) software they should work through.

If you just want to start straight in with the counters game, then click on 'Section' and '1 Introduction to the game' and off you go.  We've been using this game at the Open University to cure algebra phobias for many years and as far as I know it has never failed in the classroom. I'd be interested in hearing readers experiences with it