Firefox Campus Edition

The Internets seems to be a buzz today with the “new” Firefox Campus edition. It’s really just Firefox with FoxyTunes, Zotero, and StumbleUpon all pre-installed. But, it’s a great marketing idea. I know that there are people out there that haven’t installed any Firefox add-ons, because they are afraid to mess up something. This is a great way to show people that Firefox add-ons are not that scary. They are pretty cool. In fact, I need to uninstall some of them – because they do slow down Firefox if you have too many installed :)

Of course, this edition of Firefox is free.

I use FoxyTunes all the time, and love it. I have to admit that I never use Zotero or StumbleUpon – because I am just too busy to learn how to use Zotero, and too lazy to use StumbleUpon. But they are both great tools. I need to get over that and use them.

So, I wonder how long until they create a web developer’s version of Firefox. Can we create an EduGeek Journal version?

Matt Crosslin

Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

8 thoughts on “Firefox Campus Edition

  1. Katrina Adams

    Um… I’m just wondering why StumbleUpon was included in this campus edition of the browser. Anyone who’s used SU knows that it’s one of the easiest ways to waste several hours. Not exactly something you’d want to encourage students to do. :) Instead, I would have suggested adding one of the ftp plugins, a gmail plugin, and a bookmark synchronizer plugin. Much more practical. But just my opinion.

  2. Matt Crosslin

    Well, you notice that it is a campus edition, not an ‘academic’ edition. I actually waste a lot of time with FoxyTunes, so it can be a time waster, too. StumbleUpon is probably their way of including some type of social networking/ information sharing tool in the package. That kind of stuff is really popular on college campuses, so they probably need something to appeal to the college mindset. But, I tend to see StumbleUpon as an information sharing tool, and therefore a great educational tool. Not to mention a great research tool.

    I don’t know too many colleges that use FTP for much, and I tend to not use the FTP plugin, just because it doesn’t work as good as standard Windoze FTP in my opinion. The other stuff not being included may have to do with the owners of those functions not signing some agreement with Firefox – you never know.

  3. Katrina Adams

    Just curious — how exactly can SU be used for educational and/or research purposes? Roy and I use it extensively … when there’s nothing on tv and have time to kill. Basically SU takes you randomly to websites that are basically ‘dugg’ by other users. Sure you can see what random sites I liked by visiting my profile, and you can even subscribe to my RSS feed. But I’m not seeing what research or educational advantage you get out of this. … Other than randomly stumbling across a site that has famous artwork (or something similarly legitimate). But you can’t set it to only send you to ‘serious’ sites. You’ll get a whole array of sites — interesting and not.

    I’ve used FTP extensively when designing websites at UTD, UTA, and ASU … as well as at the school district I worked at for a year. And I hear through the grapevine that kids these days still use it for web development. (There’s a plugin — can’t remember the name, but I have it installed at home — that includes SFTP.) I used it extensively in my graduate work up at UNT. And I know it was used (granted, ‘back in the day’) when Roy and I were undergrads and he and his fellow classmates were working on the CS degrees. So, I’d say FTP is still a tool used. (That being said, ftp apps tend to be much more functional — the best I’ve found and swear by is Filezilla.)

  4. Matt Crosslin

    Well, like I said, I don’t really use the FF plug-in for SU that much, so I can only speak for what happens when I go to the site. If I go to the website section of SU, and search for something like ‘Educational Technology’, I get a whole list of interesting looking sites. I also see links to other related categories. Kind of just like I see when I search Google, except these search results are not randomly generated using some algorithm – they come from other users who have tagged them. Shoot – I may start using this site instead of Google. I like the results I get better.

    But – it is primarily more of a social site, and I can see why it was included in a campus edition package. Colleges are always pushing students to participate in social events to be ‘well-rounded’ and all. MySpace is in too much trouble all the time, and even Facebook is being sued – so SU would seem like a safe way to add a social aspect to the Campus edition. Remember – it’s not an ‘academic’ edition.

    I can say I never used FTP in any college classes, graduate or undergraduate. It is probably used in computer-oriented programs, but that’s only a small portion of the programs out there. I can’t see ftp being useful to Nursing majors, or business majors, or whole lot of other majors. Most university file storage spaces, like the new MavSpace, use a web based interface for uploading files. UTA is phasing out FTP access – or so they say.

    BUT – I do think that FTP would be a great tool to include in a web-developer FF edition.

  5. Katrina Adams

    Re: SU — I suggest trying it some time. While it does have its social aspect … although not really in the same realm as myspace and facebook … you’ll see what a waste of time it is (but in a good way). Still thinking it’s a total waste for a campus edition, even if it’s labeled ‘campus’ and not ‘academic’. Try it, and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

    Re: FTP — It’ll be a very long time until the rest of the academic world phases out ftp as UTA is supposedly doing. More people are using it than you think.

  6. Matt Crosslin

    Yeah – I’ve been trying it, and I believe now more than ever that it is a great tool for a campus edition. You see, I have never agreed with the statement ‘waste of time (but in a good way).’ To me, if any good comes out of it, it can’t be a waste. The word waste implies just that – it is a waste, and nothing good can come out of it.

    You also have to realize that my pedagogical beliefs are totally social constructionist all the way. That’s how much of a Moodle Matt I am. I don’t believe that learning only happens when you sit in the class, when you read the book, when you study alone, when you take the test. I believe that learning happens best when it is shared with others. When I see something like SU, I see something that totally fits into my pedagogical framework. It’s all about the sharing of information – which is also the foundation of the Internet as a whole.

    The problem some people have with social learning is that it is not as precise as individualistic learning. Other people may not be able to share with you the exact facts you need for your academic research. So, for an academic paper, SU would not work that great. But the random stuff you learn from other people on SU still has value, because you are still learning something. That is why I think that SU is a great campus tool – because it is a way to support the bigger picture of learning – the social picture.

  7. Katrina Adams

    I have no problem with social constructionist theory. I’m just curious, then, how exactly you think SU could be used effectively by students. (Be specific, please. I’m really curious.) Just to illustrate why I’m so insistent, I just installed SU on my work computer, and for fun, I’m listing the first few websites that come up for me:

    • ‘Sons that make their parents proud’ – random pictures of young boys doing weird things (top three on page: kid with frog sticking out of his mouth, three boys peeing in some plants, and a toddler grinning and holding a Playboy magazine)
    • Some website in Belgium that has random funny and/or risque pictures.
    • A humorous advert for Miller beer that looks like it was not created by the company.
    • ‘Real TV Links. Watch New 2007 Movie Free. Just click and watch.’
    • Pretty picture of a rain shower off in the distance over green, rolling hills.
    • ‘Japan Plans to Build Tallest Structure Ever’ – falls into my ‘waste of time, but in a good way’ category.
    • ‘Leash your girl’ – rather dumb advert for a fake product that’s basically a dog leash to put on your (female) significant other.

    (Maybe) fun for a laugh. But I repeat… a waste of time, but in a good way.

  8. Matt Crosslin

    Well, it’s the whole point that I have been making that it is a ‘campus’ edition and not an ‘academic’ edition. When you say ‘used effectively by students’ you probably mean ‘by students in the classroom.’ For classroom use, say I am working on a paper on Second Life. But, I’m not sure exactly what to do. So, I search Google for Second Life. I get a lot of stuff about SL, but nothing gives me any solid ideas. I do a search on SU, and I get a few wierd results, but then I get these results:

    • ‘Second Life: MySecondLiving.com: Show the world who you are in seco…’
    • ‘ABC News: The Future of the Workplace: No Office’
    • ‘There.com vs. Second Life – Computerworld Blogs’
    • ‘WWF wastes money on Second Life: No one will go to Conservation …’
    • ‘Second Life Newbie Guide.’
    • ‘BBC NEWS | Business | Fighting fakes in a virtual world’

    Right there – I get some actual ideas of what to write about. I may not actually end up using any of these sources, but I have used the peer rating system of SU to give me some ideas.

    My main point is that a ‘campus’ edition would not just include academic tools, stuff that has to be used ‘effectively.’ Students need to relax – they need to let off steam. They need to have healthy distractions – for mental health sake. To me, all of the links you have listed above, except for that stupid leash one, all still have value and are not wastes of time, because they entertain you, or give you some general information about something that you may not have read otherwise. To me, saying that it is a ‘waste of time, but in a good way’ supports my point. Even though I still contend that it’s not a waste if it is good.

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