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Wed, Oct 25, 2006

Audio Blog on “Going Home without Going Crazy”

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday, you can listen online as Deborah Harper interviews Andra Medea, author of Going Home Without Going Crazy - How to Get Along with Your Parents and Family (Even When They Push Your Buttons). This 40-minute interview explores conflict in the family and suggest approaches to preventing or resolving it. Medea is the author of another book as well entitled Conflict Unraveled: Fixing problems at work and in families, and has taught conflict management at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago and elsewhere.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 25 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  

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Tue, Oct 24, 2006

Middle East Crisis Map Mashup by The Truth Laid Bear

Truth Laid Bear A nice example of a mashup combining different sources of information available on the web is The Truth Laid Bear’s Middle East Crisis Map. While it doesn’t appear to work in Apple’s Safari browser (try Firefox instead), otherwise the map is a facinating way to get a closer look at news from bloggers and regional and local papers exploring events in the middle east. Each city marked on the map can be clicked on to reveal news “geo-coded” to that locality, coming either from blogs or news outlets. You can also use the map to zoom in and take a closer look at the topography of a given area or switch the layout to focus primarily on news.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 24 | Filed under Research Tools  

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“Crisis at Fort Sumter” explores decision-making in government

“Crisis at Fort Sumter” is an interactive historical simulation and decision making program published in the early days of the net (ie 1996). Using text, images, and sound, the Tulane University-based learning object reconstructs the dilemmas of policy formation and decision making in the period between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November 1860 and the battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861. The program primarily focuses on Lincoln, both as President-elect and as President. Viewers place themselves in Lincoln’s position, consider the events that transpire, and choose a course of action at five critical junctures, called “problems.”

At each of these five junctures, Lincoln made a decision that helped determine the outcome of the crisis at Fort Sumter. In order to assess each problem and make a decision, advice is available from official advisors, such as cabinet members, and from various informal channels, such as newspapers, friends, and public spokesmen. The program divides the information about the Sumter crisis into nine chronological sections. The text within the sections also contains hotword links that permit viewers to explore information in a topical rather than a chronological manner and commentary links that provide additional information including material about debates among historians about events, action, or people. The site also contains an extensive bibliography on the civil war. (description largely from a Merlot clearinghouse listing)



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 24 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Fri, Oct 20, 2006

Educational RPG Storyteller game builder

A development worth watching at the open source project host Eduforge is RPG Storyteller, now in beta release. Developer Aaron Griffiths is working to make it easy for people to author role-playing games on either Macs or PCs.  RPG Storyteller is a Macromedia Flash game engine used to deliver a role-playing game based story. Role-playing games, or RPGs as they are better known, are narratives that include the reader as a character and engage that character in a number of choices, each which leads to a different consequence. In this way the reader can create their own unique experience of the story based on the choices they make.

RPG Storyteller authoring
The game/story is authored into XML (Extensible Markup Language) documents that are provided in the game engine package. These documents can be edited in any basic text editor. There are however a number of free-for-use xml editors that make authoring in the documents much easier, with features such as colour coded markup, excellent document navigation tools and well-formed document checking. Using the provided xml structures the author fills in the story details and configures the options in the story. Once saved, the game/story can then be run in RPG Storyteller engine.

RPG Storyteller start

RPG Storyteller sample map


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 20 | Filed under Tech News  

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Thu, Oct 19, 2006

This Week in (Peace and Justice) History

The [url=][/url] team has made their This Week in History collection of pictures and brief historical summaries of peace and justice events available online. The whole year is now viewable month by month. Conflict studies faculty and peace educators at all levels may find these useful to add historical content to ongoing classes. I know I do…

This Week in History


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 19 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Tue, Oct 17, 2006

100 Years of Peace Action

The Peace Pledge Union of the UK has put together a web presentation that chronicles 100 years of Peace Action, covering one decade at a time. This is a nice resource for historians and conflict studies scholars or anyone looking for a connection to people who have acted in the name of peace down through time. Also of interest is the large online archive of back issues of PeaceMatters going back to 1998.

100 Years of Peace Action


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 17 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Mon, Oct 16, 2006

Free Presentation Templates and Clip Art for Educators from Presentations ETC

The Educational Technology Clearinghouse at the University of South Florida has created a new online resource entitled Presentations ETC that trainers and instructors will want to be aware of. The new site provides high quality PowerPoint and Keynote templates and a huge collection of backgrounds that can be incorporated into your presentations or multimedia projects. Also available is a collection of royalty-free clip art. A friendly license allows teachers and students to use up to 50 items in a single, non-commercial project without further permission.

Presentations ETC


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 16 | Filed under Tech News  

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Sat, Oct 14, 2006

Flash Map depicting Changing Control of the Middle East since 3000 BC

The Maps of War web site asks:
“Who has controlled the Middle East over the course of history. Pretty much everyone. Egyptians, Turks, Jews, Romans, Arabs, Greeks, Persians, Europeans…the list goes on. Who will control the Middle East today? That is a much bigger question.”
Watch their flash movie showing the history of imperialism in the Middle East for a graphic representation that covers the span of time from 3000 BC to 2006 in 90 seconds.  The map is downloadable as a swf file or can be embedded in a webpage using provided code.



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 14 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Sun, Oct 08, 2006

Interactive Campus Conflict Resolution History Timeline

I’ve just finished coding up a new interactive timeline that depicts some of the history of campus conflict resolution efforts in North America. The time span covered is 1968-2003 and the focus is mainly on mediation and ombudsing. You can scroll through the timeline and then click on various events or publications to see a bit more about them and sometimes find a link to more information. I built it using a framework from the Simile project at MIT.



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 08 | Filed under Conflict Resolution  

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Fri, Oct 06, 2006

Screencast on Information Mapping and Management using Compendium

Compendium is a free software package providing a flexible visual interface for managing the connections between information and ideas. I posted examples of its use in a conflict management context earlier. Of interest is a new book recently released that details the use of Compendium for Dialogue Mapping.

The recently updated package, available at no cost for Macintosh, Windows or Linux users, places few constraints on how you organise material. The developers’ particular interests are in visualizing the connections between people, ideas and information at multiple levels, in mapping discussions and debates, and what skills are needed to do so in a participatory manner that engages all stakeholders.

Ecosensus Screencast As the Compendium website explains, “many people use Compendium to manage their personal digital information resources, since you can drag and drop in any document, website, email, image, etc, organise them visually, and then connect ideas, arguments and decisions to these. Compendium thus becomes the ‘glue’ that allows you to pool and make sense of disparate material that would otherwise remain fragmented in different software applications. You can assign your own keyword ‘tags’ to these elements (icons), create your own palettes of icons that have special meanings, overlay maps on top of background images, and place/edit a given icon in many different places at once: things don’t always fit neatly into just one box in real life.”

To have a look at how this works in practice, do check out this new screencast by Simon Buckingham Shum showing off Compendium’s basic features. It is set in the context of the ECOSENSUS project which is integrating an opensource GIS tool with Compendium to support participatory environmental decision-making. Cool stuff, to be sure.


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 06 | Filed under Tech News  

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Tue, Oct 03, 2006

Audio Interview with Quaker Peacemaker Adam Curle

In remembrance of beloved quaker peacemaker Adam Curle, who passed away last week in London at age 90, I offer this link to an audio interview with Adam conducted by Scott London in 1998 for the Insight and Outlook program. You’ll need to have RealPlayer installed on your computer to listen to it. Here’s the program notes from the original presentation:

Adam Curle: “Peacemaking in Troubled Times”
As a peace scholar and long-time international mediator, Adam Curle has spent more than half a century trying to understand the roots of violent conflict. He has negotiated settlements and facilitated behind-the-scenes talks in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and, most recently, the former Yugoslavia. “It’s a very humble role,” he says in this interview. “I don’t know what is right for people of another culture. But I can help by being somewhat objective, seeing things as an outsider does, and sharing this vision.” Adam Curle is Professor Emeritus of Peace Studies at Bradford University in England. His latest book is Another Way: Positive Response to Contemporary Violence. (1998 description for audio interview)

Wooden Sculpture Made in
Honor of Adam’s 90th Birthday


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 03 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Sun, Oct 01, 2006

Jack Duvall Presents Excerpts from “A Force More Powerful” Documentary on Nonviolence

This webcast (RealPlayer required) first presented October 30th, 2001 features Jack Duvall speaking at the Martin Institute at the University of Idaho. He presents an extended excerpt from the documentary film he helped create entited “A Force More Powerful” exploring the use of nonviolence as a tool for resistance against oppression. Six different stories of nonviolent campaigns are featured. Full running time (with the question and answer period) is 1 hour and 27 minutes.



Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 01 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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Expert Interview Clips via Big Picture TV

Big Picture TV is a growing progressive online media channel that streams free video clips of global leaders interested in sustainability. You can browse an expanding archive of internationally renowned names including scientists, environmentalists, politicians, journalists, academics and activists. Our readers will appreciate the videos in the conflict resolution category (see listing of names on left side of page) or the one on war. Most of the clips are short (5-10 minutes) and many are appropriate as discussion starters for college courses. The online format requires Windows Media Player, but macintosh users can now view them too due to the availability of Windows Media Player for Mac and the relatively new free Flip4Mac quicktime plugin.

Johan Galtung on BigPicture TV

Johan Galtung on BPTV


Posted by: Bill Warters on 2006 10 01 | Filed under Learning Objects  

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