Libraries Adapted to Digital Age
by Ledyard King and Robert Benincasa
July 28, 2008, Gannett News Service
“The Internet was supposed to send America’s public libraries the way of eight-track tapes and pay phones. But it turns out, they’re busier than ever. Libraries have transformed themselves from staid, sleepy institutions into hip community centers offering Internet service, classes for kids and seniors, and even coffee and video gaming nights. Some have classes on citizenship for recent immigrants or provide sessions on improving computer skills. Most provide wireless Internet service, and many consult teen advisory councils for guidance on how to attract young people.”
“At most libraries, traffic is up – in some cases, way up – fueled in part by the lure of free computer use, according to experts and a Gannett News Service analysis of state data. At the same time, budget pressures on cities and counties that provide most of the funding have forced dozens of libraries to cut back their hours or close. Books remain a staple, but libraries also offer DVDs, CDs and electronic audio books playable on portable MP3 devices. Many allow readers to reserve and renew items online.” . . .
Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?
by Motoko Rich
July 27, 2008, New York Times
“As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading – diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books. But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.” . . .
“Children are clearly spending more time on the Internet. In a study of 2,032 representative 8- to 18-year-olds, the Kaiser Family Foundation found that nearly half used the Internet on a typical day in 2004, up from just under a quarter in 1999. The average time these children spent online on a typical day rose to one hour and 41 minutes in 2004, from 46 minutes in 1999.”
“The question of how to value different kinds of reading is complicated because people read for many reasons. There is the level required of daily life – to follow the instructions in a manual or to analyze a mortgage contract. Then there is a more sophisticated level that opens the doors to elite education and professions. And, of course, people read for entertainment, as well as for intellectual or emotional rewards. It is perhaps that final purpose that book champions emphasize the most.” . . .
First It Was Song Downloads. Now It’s Organic Chemistry
by Randall Stross
July 27, 2008, New York Times
“All forms of print publishing must contend with the digital transition, but college textbook publishing has a particularly nasty problem on its hands. College students may be the angriest group of captive customers to be found anywhere.”
“Consider the cost of a legitimate copy of one of the textbooks listed at the Pirate Bay, John E. McMurry’s “Organic Chemistry.” A new copy has a list price of $209.95; discounted, it’s about $150; used copies run $110 and up. To many students, those prices are outrageous, set by profit-engorged corporations (and assisted by callous professors, who choose which texts are required). Helping themselves to gratis pirated copies may seem natural, especially when hard drives are loaded with lots of other products picked up free. But many people outside of the students’ enclosed world would call that plain theft.”
“Compared with music publishers, textbook publishers have been relatively protected from piracy by the considerable trouble entailed in digitizing a printed textbook. Converting the roughly 1,300 pages of “Organic Chemistry” into a digital file requires much more time than ripping a CD.”
“Time flies, however, if you’re having a good time plotting righteous revenge, and students seem angrier than ever before about the price of textbooks. More students are choosing used books over new; sales of a new edition plunge as soon as used copies are available, in the semester following introduction; and publishers raise prices and shorten intervals between revisions to try to recoup the loss of revenue – and the demand for used books goes up all the more.” . . .
Big Cable: FCC Internet Policy Should Apply to Colleges Too
by Matthew Lasar
July 24, 2008, ars technica
“If there is to be regulation, therefore, it must apply equally to all providers.” So wrote the National Cable and Telecommunications Association to the Federal Communications Commission today. The point? Plenty of colleges and universities have “network management” strategies too, NCTA asserts. The trade group has sent a carefully crafted list of these stated policies to the FCC.”
“NCTA vice president Daniel L. Brenner says that his chart proves that “virtually all of the nation’s top universities… restrict users’ ability to engage in activities that cause excessive congestion.” From the document it looks like NCTA staff grabbed U.S. News and World Report’s ranking of top colleges, rummaged around the schools’ IT Web sites, then selectively cut-and-pasted their stated computing policies in the filing.” . . .
“What does NCTA want the FCC to conclude from this documentation? As the agency ponders the specifics of sanctions against Comcast for throttling P2P applications, it should remember that such enforcement of the agency’s Internet Policy Statement must apply equally to everyone. But the better approach, Brenner’s letter concludes, would be to permit “different network providers to continue to seek out the network management techniques that are best suited to preventing congestion on their particular networks and maximizing customer satisfaction” – even if the institution serves students rather than customers, one presumes.” . . .
How to Successfully Moderate a Conference Panel, A Comprehensive Guide
by Jeremiah Owyang
Jan. 30, 2008, Web Strategy by Jeremiah
“Sadly, the value of most panels are really poor, and this is mostly due to the lack of moderation. Just yesterday, I heard that one nervous moderator asked the panelists to introduce themselves, then went directly to Q&A, providing little structured value to the audience. On the complete opposite end, I’ve seen one self-important moderator answer questions from the crowd, when it was his job to field questions to the panelists.”
Your Talking Financial Literacy – Podcast Series
hosts and producers Mark Gura and Dr. Kathleen P. King
This series of 24 podcasts investigates and reports on the state of financial literacy education in our nation’s schools. In addition to covering traditional dimensions, the series will ask: What is “financial literacy?” Is the answer to this question something of a moving target? Why must ‘financial literacy’ literacy as mission critical education be re-defined and re-established for young people now? How has the world, and peoples’ relationship to economics and financial literacy evolved to make this so important? The series will explore banking, saving, budgeting, credit, loans (including student loans), taxes, investing, entrepreneurship, and what does Joe Citizen need to know about global economics?
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