Mar 28, 2006

Wikipedia presentation at University of Pittsburgh

For those of you who want more than just to watch me on your screen, you have the opportunity to attend my my 1:30h presentation at the University of Pittsburgh, organized with the help of the great people from the CIDDE department.

Learning Opportunities for Faculty: Wikipedia
presented by: Piotr Konieczny, a Wikipedia administrator and Dr. Carol DeArment, CIDDE

“Wikis,” a type of website that allows users to easily add and edit content, are especially suited for collaborative authoring. The most popular wiki is Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, which is the largest encyclopedia in the world and is in the Top 20 most popular sites online. Wikis in general and Wikipedia in particular have the potential to be both research and teaching tools. This workshop will provide an introduction to wikis and the Wikipedia, and promote discussion about how they can benefit University teaching.

When and where?
Friday, April 7  Noon to 1:30 p.m.
815 Alumni Hall
Center for Instructional Development & Distance Education

To Register: Contact Michelle Lane at or call 412-383-9729.

That's the official blurb. I can promise you that I'll try to make it as useful as possible: I'll be doing lot's of live 'how to' demonstrations, and I hope that anybody leaving this presentation will be able to go online and instantly implement the tools that I will be showing. Personally I believe that wikis (and Wikipedia) are the best thing that has happened to educational system since the introduction of blackboard (lower case). They have extreme potential in reshaping the classroom, finally breaking it from the rigid framework of the industrial era, and introducing it to the new digital revolution. Blackbroad (upper case) and similar tools might have been a good start, they did little more than just another tool to an existing classroom. Wikis, among other things, allow the studends to become not just the consumers of knowledge, but to be the creators themselves - with all the increased effectivness and feeling of self-realisation that comes with that.

Power to the wikis! And see you there.

PS. Please don't bring any rotten tomatoes or eggs :)

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Mar 27, 2006

Movie advert 4 (Potop)

Polish Student Alliance
in Pittsburgh, PA

invites you to the
Movie of the week
: Potop (The Deluge) - Part One

When? March 30 (Thursday) 8:00PM-10:00PM

Where? 4130 Posvar Hall (University of Pittsburgh)

Movie genre: Historical, action, romance

Year: 1974 Duration: 315 minutes Other: Color, Polish with English subtitles
Directed by Jerzy Hoffman. Starring Daniel Olbrychski as Andrzej Kmicic, Tadeusz Łomnicki as Michał Wołodyjowski

The Deluge, a sequel to With Fire and Sword, is also based on the 19th century novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz (a 1905 Nobel Prize Winner in literature), nominated for a Best Foreign Film Oscar in 1974. The setting is the 17th century Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, then the largest European state. The story take place in the 17th century during the Swedish invasion and occupation, known as The Deluge, which left Poland in ruins. A historical war epic on a grand scale, with many battles and duels, excellent costumes, props and scenery recreating this forgotten setting, the end result is a picture that looks like it was beamed straight from the 17th century, and the level of realism really adds to the immersive nature of the story.

IMDb rating: 8.4/10.

To be followed:

March 16 (Ogniem i Mieczem, Part 2 of 2) (1999)

Room opens at 7:00 p.m, so if you want to practice your Polish, feel free to arrive early and talk with us!

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Mar 23, 2006

Wikipedia news: Britannica strikes back, Nature counterattacks

Three months after well-respected journal Nature published a study that claimed Wikipedia is almost as accurate as the 200-years old Encyclopædia Britannica, the Britannica dinosaur has awaken from it's slumber and has striken back: Fatally Flawed: Refuting the recent study on encyclopedic accuracy by the journal Nature (and of course their responce had to be published in a pdf...). As might have been expeted, Britannica claims that "Almost everything about the journal’s investigation, from the criteria for identifying inaccuracies to the discrepancy between the article text and its headline, was wrong and misleading." The Nature has replied declining their request to retract the article and "rejected those accusations".

The story has already made it to mainsteam media, so you can keep track of the recent developments with Google News.

See also Wikipedia Village Pump (news) discussion on this subject.

And in releated news, this should stirr the waters even further: there is a paper coming in Journal of American History, claiming that "the prose on Wikipedia is not so terrific but most of its facts are indeed correct, to a far greater extent than Wikipedia's critics would like to admit".

PS. In case you wonder, Wikipedia has corrected all the errors by late January 2006. As for Britannica... who knows? They claim to have no errors, after all. :>

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Mar 22, 2006

Watch me live on videocast!

For the first time ever, you can see me live at a videocast! On 12:00 (GMT-5) at Pitt CIDDE's videocast website as I'll be talking about wikis and wikipedias in teaching. During the videocast (which should last about 20 minutes) you can send me questions via that website. Later you can download the videocast (or mp3 audio). Enjoy!

On a related note, I think people at CIDDE are doing a tremendous good job, experimenting with new tools and providing useful instructional movies about them - online and for free. Keep up the good job!

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Mar 1, 2006

1,000,000 down, how many more to go?

Wikimedia press release: March 1, 2006 The Wikimedia Foundation announced today the creation of the 1,000,000th article in the English language edition of Wikipedia. The article is about the Jordanhill railway station in Scotland, and it was started by Wikipedia contributor Ewan Macdonald. Wikipedia is a free, multilingual, online encyclopedia with 3.3 million articles under development in more than 125 languages.

Wikipedia Signpost notes that in terms of the number of articles, the English Wikipedia will have doubled in size in slightly less than a year, after reaching 500,000 articles last 17 March.

And we have still barely scratched the surface of the humanity's knowledge. I look forward to many, many years of Wiki's growth.

Although 2 million pool is closed (I voted for 20th June 2007, and feel preety confident I should be no more then few months off), feel free to guess when we will cross the 5 million articles treshold. I think I'll take some time before voting there, but I'd expect each next million will be much easier - so 3 millions should take no more then about two years. 20th June of 2008, perhaps? :D

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