Saturday, August 30, 2008

Update on the XO OLPC

Hopefully others will get together and form groups in their areas too and support health education projects and even personal health record projects on this platform.

Thanks for sharing all your wonderful "ramblings." I was particularly intrigued by your first idea about using the XO to teach health concepts. I am aware that the infant and child mortality rates in developing countries is a huge problem and that so many of the deaths would be preventable if proper hygiene were practiced. Health Education is certainly a critical piece of the puzzle.

This week our support gang group is going to be discussing possible ideas for educational content and this is certainly something we will look at.

You are correct in saying that the main focus of OLPC is education.There is, however, a lot of interest in using the XO for health applications. You will want to visit this page on our wiki:

And you will want to sign up on the health mailing list where you can discuss your ideas with others:

OLPC does not do fundraising. However, there is nothing to prevent you from doing something at Vanderbilt as you mentioned. In fact, you might want to start a campus interest group that could get involved in making many of your ideas a reality. We have a guide for starting a campus group on our wiki at:

One problem with your ideas is that OLPC doesn't sell XOs for anything other than education projects at this time. However, later this year weare planning to have another Give One Get One (G1G1) program. The donorsin this program are free to use their own XO in any way they choose.You can watch for news of the next G1G1 on our wiki at:

Now, let me just address a few of your other ideas...

Actually, both items 1 & 2 are education projects....maybe, if you could interest a group of schools in participating in a pilot project with these as a focus, you could do a regular deployment.

#3 Would be dependent on having wireless Internet service available which is a problem in many developing countries.

#4 Great idea

#5 Don't count on the hand crank being available. Solar panels however,are ready to go. If the workers are too far apart, you will need to have a server to allow them to communicate.

#6 A great idea. The American Red Cross Disaster Relief could use this one too.

#7 Alas, scabrous requires Windows. Most XOs will not have Windows available.

#8 Others have had some of these ideas too. Someone has already found away to hook up a stethoscope. Check this wiki page:

#9 Another good idea. Actually the Red Cross plans to have laptops with built in satellite Internet access soon. However, the XO wouldn't work for them since it does not access satellite Internet signals and doe snot run Windows (all of their programs are Windows based).

So the answer is, your ideas are good...not wild ramblings at all.

Please use the links I have given you to make contacts with other like minded folks and see if you can make some of your ideas happen!

Caryl OLPC Support Volunteer


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

While the standards world was besotted with terminology over the last 20 years, clinical modelling remained relatively unloved and under-resourced, with the occasional exception (eg GALEN) proving the rule. It may have been obvious that terms would never 'enable' the EPR without some structures to hang them on, but it has taken a while for this to get more serious attention in the informatics mainstream.

Clinical content standards development is now a fast growing area of informatics, and is one where clinical and informatics expertise needs to collaborate closely. In the UK, most recent interest in standards has focussed on openEHR archetypes and templates- eg NHS Clinical Models.

While the standards (and the standardised models) sort themselves out, the world moves on, with everyone and their dogs developing their own content, sometimes sharing it, usually not. Clinical content remains embedded in working systems, often wrapped in licensing agreements preventing sharing and re-use. Standardised tools are used, without any attention to copyright restrictions that might apply.

There has been previous work to address this, for example, 'Tools and Rules', but there is scope for something more long-term and 'open'.

The new site has just gone live as an open source portal for various projects working on the collaborative development and sharing of clinical templates and supporting documentation.

The project offers a web ‘shell’ for each collaborative project site, supporting groups, membership, news, blogs, newsfeeds, and wiki. Within that, the project is developing a range of plugins to support template building, mappings and other project-specific tools.

New projects are in preparation and will appear on the site over the next few months- each one is a little different and should build into an interesting collection. aims to become a long-term home or point of access to template development by many groups and in many countries. It is supported by a new company setup by Derek Hoy and Nick Hardiker.

[disclosure of interest: I am a lead developer of and partner in SnowCloud]

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Free Webinar: Accessibility of Next Generation Web Applications: An Overview of Web 2.0

Thursday, June 19, 2 PM EASTERN (New York time)
Presenter: Jared Smith from WebAIM
Register at:

The term "Web 2.0" is being used to describe new methods of using the web, innovative technologies, and next generation web applications. AJAX, blogging, wikis, content aggregation, tagging, and mashups arejust a few components of "Web 2.0". Even if we have not reached a new version of the web, these new technologies and ways of using the web represent a significant change.

Despite the issues that Web 2.0 technologies may have on accessibility, the very nature of these applications can potentially result in much higher levels of accessibility for people with disabilities. This session will provide an overview of what Web 2.0 is, how it can impact users with disabilities for good and for bad, and some approaches and techniquesfor addressing accessibility.

Register for this free Webinar on Web 2.0

Carolyn Dudas
Web Developer/Information Specialist
Penn State Behrend
4205 College Drive
Erie, PA 16563-1201

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

JISC webinar - Tuesday

The second day of the JISC Web 2.0 webinar - today the topic is 'Content Sharing'. The two speakers are Brian Kelly (UKOLN at Bath) and Graham Atwell (Pontydysgu). I am going to try 'blogging live' during the presentations.

Brian's talk is titled 'Content creation: Web 2.0 is providing the solution'; his presentation material is available on the UKOLN website at >>> He began with the proposition that our students are using third party Web 2.0 services already (eg Facebook, GMail, etc), and are often a lot better than those provided by universities' IT services. Even though many Web 2.0 services are in 'perpetual beta' (as opposed to the 'frozen' services provided locally by institutions), he suggests that this is akin to education where we should all be continually improving, ie in 'perpetual beta'. His talk focused on a range of issues around in-house development of services and using external providers, links, etc.

Graham's talk was titled 'Content creation and open educational resources' (delivered from Bremen in Germany). Open educational resources (OER - coined by OECD) is about creation and provision of open source tools, software, content, standards etc. He suggests that the biggest challenge of Web 2.0 to institutions is the concept of openness (as most education is based on closed, restrictive paradigms). Dimensions of openness are easy discovery, re-use, learnability, and community (to support the resources). He suggests some OERs have been very successful (eg the MIT open resources), but there are also challenges, as many repositories are not widely used, or re-used.

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