Welcome to the Wikiversity user page of John Schmidt. If you need to contact me in a hurry, the best bet is to send me an email or leave a note on my talk page. Hopefully in the future we will all be able to instantly link into video chat discussion groups. Maybe some day Wikiversity will exist as an immersive virtual reality environment. See Education in virtual worlds.
Multiple accounts. I have several Wikiversity user accounts such as User:JWS. Most of them are not used very much. "JWS" and "JWSchmidt" are the two main accounts. Others include User:JS (was renamed to User:JS~enwikiversity, User:JWSurf, User:JohnWSchmidt, User:clueless (was renamed to User:Clueless~enwikiversity), User:testnocookies, User:Trout of Doubt, User:Beetlebaum. These accounts have been made for several reasons: to "claim" account names similar to my own real name, to test how the MediaWiki software "treats" new accounts or for special learning activities.
The Rules. Feel free to edit this page, but since it is my user page, I usually get the last word.
I'm interested in exploring wiki technology as a tool for supporting online learning. I enjoy using Wikiversity as playground for learning. At the multi-lingual Wikiversity hub I have a special interest in the development of the Wikiversity research guidelines.
My Wikiversity projects and activities
Go here for the list of Wikiversity editing projects that was on the earlier version of this page. An alternative list is provided below.
My Wikiversity blog
My Wikiversity blog is where I sometimes write about topics I am trying to understand. The blog originated on this page and is really just an extension of my user page. Everyone is welcome to edit my user pages and add comments/questions. However, I always get the option of having the last edit on my user page!
Back at the start of the blog I spent a significant amount of time tracking the software problems of the Wikiversity website.
One of the most unique entries in the blog is an essay about wiki and virtual realities.
Some of the blog entries are rather mundane accounts of mundane editing tasks such as the January 2007 effort to make portal pages with easy-to-edit box-like sections including a section for featured content.
Sometimes I blog about issues at the level of the entire Wikimedia Foundation. Although I have spent most of my "wiki time" at Wikiversity since it launched, I still think of myself as a "Wikimedian".
In addition to personal learning blogs, I think Wikiversity should have some kind of "community blog". My original idea for this was more like a "magazine" (see: Portal:Wiki Scholar). Another alternative is to use the Wiki Journal format. It might be better to just use a commercial blogging service that can feed into Planet Wikimedia.
School of Free Learning
The School of Free Learning is dedicated to the idea that learners should be encouraged to explore the topics that are of greatest personal interest. Like all Wikiversity schools, the School of Free Learning is a content development project where Wikiversity participants can collaborate to create, develop and organize learning resources.
As a science geek, much of my wiki editing falls under the broad subject of science. I'm particularly interested in biology. While the term "biology" is new, interest in living organisms is integral to human nature. In Western culture, interesting writing about biology goes right back to the point where alphabetic writing reached the Western world. From Aristotle to Francis Crick, naturalists and scientists have been fascinated by the invisible forces that animate living organisms and generate our conscious experiences. The struggle against invisibility was a major theme in the development of biology. Life is nearly as old as the Earth and as evolved on Earth, life is made possible by special molecular processes and even most cells are too small to be clearly seen. A major remaining challenge for biology is to work out the details of how the specialized molecular and cellular processes of the brain produce memory and consciousness.
In an age of amazing advances in medicine and discovery of our biological origins, an interesting cultural phenomenon is that some religions continue to deny our biological origins. Commercial forces acting through politics probably warp the reasoned application of scientific knowledge more than any other force. Tobacco companies deny that smoking causes cancer, oil companies deny the costs of pollution and danger of human-induced climate change, drug manufacturers pressure government agencies to approve useless and harmful drugs.....entire mis-information industries exist to produce junk science and confuse public understanding of scientific issues. We need good science education and science journalism to keep politicians from being able to legislate contrary to scientific reality. The State of Kansas continues to teeter, torn between a political faction that views Darwinism as religion and another faction that views creationism as pseudoscience.
History of science is often taught as a story of discovery after discovery after discovery. It is tempting to ignore all the confusion and errors of the past. If scientific results are always tentative and open to questioning, how do we know which current ideas will later be shown to be incomplete or wrong? Sometimes the hardest part of science is escaping from what we think we know and finding ways to open our thinking to new ideas. Science fiction provides a playground for thinking about new ideas and exploring the boundary between the known and the imagined. New sciences can form and the boundary of science always seems to be shifting and being re-defined. Can we use new tools like wiki to keep up with the pace of change in science? Can new media like collaborative science fiction writing help keep our thinking free enough to keep pace with science-driven technological and cultural changes?
I hope Wikiversity can become a good source of learning resources for wiki in general, how to participate in Wikimedia wiki projects, and how to be a good online participant in the Open Culture movement.
|Tools for creating internet content|
Tools for image creation and manipulation
Tools for video creation and editing.
Tools for digital audio file creation and editing.
|See also: Digital media workshop - Related discussion: Free content|