Wall Street English

This is not Sakai related, but I thought folks might enjoy it….

One of the things I’ve noticed about France is an increased emphasis on learning English. It is fast becoming the lingua franca of Europe–when Slovenians and Swedish and Spanish get together for a conference or business meeting, they speak English. And it seems that Parisians, at least, are quick and even eager to switch to English when they recognize my American accent. So the French are learning English. There are billboards all over Paris advertising English language classes and our favorite is “Arretez de massacrer L’Anglais,” featuring an injured English bobby or Scotsman in a kilt with a broken arm.

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rSmart Sakai Customers

In case you didn’t see it amid the rush of news coming out of Educause, rSmart recently issued a press release highlighting some of their recent Sakai customers (pilot and production users). These include the following organizations:

  • Antioch University
  • Apeejay Education Society (India)
  • California Northstate College of Pharmacy
  • Holmes Corporation
  • La Salle University
  • Performance Learning Systems
  • Shepherd University
  • TAFE New South Wales (Australia)
  • TAFE North Sydney Institute (Australia)
  • The Earth Institute at Columbia University
  • University of Baltimore
  • University of California, Merced
  • University of Hawaii
  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

You can read the full press release here, but I especially liked this quote:

“Many of our clients start with small pilot implementations consisting of a few courses or a department using Sakai,” reports Karen Crawford, rSmart’s Director of Client Support. “We’re very pleased to see these pilots succeeding. Their success has increased usage and adoption of Sakai, and this increase is reflected in our strong renewal rate.”

Congrats to rSmart. And thanks to them for helping to get the word out about Sakai!

Virginia Tech Sakai Conference

All I can really say is “Wow, what a great conference”. It’s Wednesday morning and I’m watching Aileen Y Huang-Saad, winner of the 2008 Teaching With Sakai Innovation Award, give a presentation on her use of Sakai in the classroom. It’s great so far and I’m sure, after watching her presentation in Paris, that it will continue to deliver. But this post isn’t about her talk or even the award (although we did announce the 2009 Award, with thanks to rSmart and IBM as sponsors).

The thing that’s been great about this conference is that it is totally focused on using Sakai, mostly in teaching and learning (including a great thread on portfolios) but also touching on project collaboration use cases. Based on an informal show of hands, about half of the over 130 attendees have never attended a Sakai Conference before. About 2/3 are either faculty or directly support Sakai users at their organization. The focused energy and sharing of expertise is really energizing.

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New Sakai Commercial Affiliate in Brazil

people-edu-brazil-logoWe’ve been hearing about a lot more Sakai activity in South America. Emblamatic of this, I’ve been in conversations with an educational services company in Brazil: People Brasil Educação Ltda. I’m happy to announce that they have decided to join the Sakai Foundation as a Commercial Affiliate.

People Brasil Educação Ltda. was founded in 1996 with focus on Professional Education and Technology, including IT Content Course development, Training, and Support to school partnerships. The company is oriented to Technological Education, as well as the development of products and services to Primary, Secondary, Technical and Higher Education Schools.

It has its own team of content development instructors, authoring, and pedagogical specialists. It offers over 200 Course Titles for the technological area.  People Educação has been in the e-learning business since 2000 and is the first Brazilian Company to become Sakai Commercial Affiliate. It will provide schools with Sakai technical and pedagogical support such as installation and configuration services, development of pilot projects, hosting, training, content development, data migration,  and customization.

You can find out more about them on their website or by writing José Antônio Neto at joseantonio@peopleedu.com.br.

Please join me in welcoming People Educaçã Brazil!

Board Elections

Sorry, but I’ve been unexpectedly off the grid for most of the week. I took vacation and joined my wife’s family on a visit to her grandfather’s home town–Sestri Levante, Italy.  The house we rented did not have internet access and I’m slowly working my way backwards through nearly a week’s worth of email.

I can’t resist responding to Chuck’s recent blog entry about board elections where he advocates that only Higher Education representatives serve on the board of the Sakai Foundation and even suggests it might be worth amending the bylaws to this affect. I certainly disagree with amending the bylaws–we have an election process and that should serve to reflect the desires of the membership. If you don’t want commercial representatives then don’t vote for them, simple as that.

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