This blog is mostly professional, but may have some personal notes in it as well, as it affects my professional activities.

Its namesake stems from my PhD research into regional identities in the late eighteenth century in what is now southern Bavaria.

I blog about issues related to information literacy, access to library resources, the environment, and the Historical Geography of Rupertsland.

Some sources regarding his life and work.

Fischer, H. (1988) ‘Schön und vortrefflich’: die ‘Charte von Schwaben’: Ein kartengeschichtlich bedeutsames Werk zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts, in: Beiträge zur Landeskunde: Regelmässige Beilage zum Staatsanzeiger für Baden-Württemberg, Juni 1988, 3:1–8.

Fischer, H. (1988) Die ‘Charte von Schwaben’ im Massstab 1:86,400: Erläuterungen, in the series: Reproduktionen alter Karten, Stuttgart.

Fischer, H. (1993) Die ‘Charte von Schwaben’ 1:86,400, Cartographica Helvetica 7 (1993) 1–10.Gradmann, J.J. (1802) Das gelehrte Schwaben: oder Lexicon der jetzt lebenden schwäbischen Schriftsteller, Ravensburg.

Günther, Siegmund (1922) Eine Kartierung Oberschwabens um die Wende des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, Sitzungsberichte der mathematisch-physikalischen Klasse der Bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu München, Jahrgang 1921 315–330, 317n.

Wolfart, P. (2008) Mapping the Early Modern State: the Work of Ignaz Ambros Amman, 1782–1812, Journal of Historical Geography, 34(1):1-23.

"Ignaz Ambros von Amman" in Wikipedia [short entry but cites Wolfart (2008).]

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mobile Technologies Conference

I attended a Mobile Technologies conference at the U of M last week.

There was a fair amount of interesting discussion, some of it new, some of it too new to be useful. A couple of themes seemed to come up in the discussion, and I tried to jot them down before they flew.

Sustainability: There were several presentations that showed how rapidly mobile devices are being accepted by students (and how much slower by instructors). But this brings into question two aspects of sustainability, and here I draw on concepts of locally relevant technologies. Is a new fancy tractor really what a farmer in a poorly developed country actually needs? Yes you can plough many more acres in much less time with less people but oh the humanity... And with mobile technology, some myths to consider -- the paperless office was predicted a long time ago, and it hasn't happened yet. In fact, many people print off relevant e-mail letters (and no doubt some irrelevant ones as well). And these devices contain highly toxic silicon, gold, and other goodies. I'm reminded of an article I read some time ago, I believe it was in Geographic Magazine, that suggested that not only are these machines toxic to dispose of, but the vast majority of the world's silicon for the chips comes from an area in the Congo (couldn't tell you which one), and has been linked to the already hugely corrupt diamond trade (blood for diamonds etc). O.k. this didn't come up in the conference, I've not heard any further about this, but it crosses my mind every time I see somebody with a cell phone.

Diversity: the proliferation of these devices has the potential to create a hugely diverse community, haves and have nots, and yes, with the book, there have always been those that could read (haves) and those that could not (have nots), but we've made huge strides in the last half century or so, to bridge that gap.

Addressing the Divide: one aspect of the divide has apparently been addressed by the University of Bangladesh, and the Bangladeshi government. They have managed to make cell phones and cell phone use reasonably affordable. Canada has light years to go on this front.

learning styles: these vary hugely, and it is only one learning style that can reap the benefits of mobile learning. Personally the best learning I did was either in a tutorial / seminar setting or discussions with colleagues and instructors

There is some spectacular technology out there, and some highly talented instructors I'm sure. For those of us who are not as talented, I beg of you to explore and exploit your imagination and your critical reasoning skills to know when to 'fold up' your cell phones, and resort to the power of your voice to impart important / worthwhile knowledge.

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