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Can a Child’s Creativity and Persistence be Assessed by a Game?
Katrina Schwartz, Mind/Shift, Dec 27, 2014

A 'stealth assessment' is "seamless and ubiquitous, providing important feedback to the student and creating a model of the learner that can help teachers tap the individual needs of each student." Consider, for example, the Physics Playground, where the laws of physics act as a pervasive force in the background, silently determining whether the scenario has been correctly constructed. Katrina Schwartz observes, "The key is to create a game that teaches the concepts students need to learn without messing up the unique engagement that good games provide."

Education Should Step Away from Apple Devices
Anthony Carabache, Authentic 21st Century Teaching & Learning, Dec 27, 2014

This is a conclusion I have already reached and is behind my decision to ditch my MacBook Pro, my iPod, and the horde of other knickknacks that go with an Apple purchase (because the spending on these things never ends). "After examining iPad implementation across the province, country and abroad over the last six years I have come to determine that it is simply not designed for shared use in education. This contradicts the very idea of what it means to collaborate – a 21st century skill we can all agree upon. It would seem that Apple’s philosophy when it comes to education is share less buy more."

'If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Manage It': Not True
Liz Ryan, Forbes, Dec 27, 2014

Of course the sentiment expressed in the title has always been false. It is even somewhat surprising how many people act as though it were true. One thing I like about this article is how easily it transfers to education. The author writes, "Teachers are actually managing something far more important than test scores. They’re managing, massaging, inspiring, reinforcing and jollying along the only thing that helps a kid learn, which is the energy and trust in the classroom." Via Harold Jarche.

I Will Not Post This
Dave Pell, Life, Philosophy, Dec 27, 2014

Subtitled "the coming age of self-censorship" this article discusses the way the internet critics pile on when you tweet or write something inappropriate - or, as in the case of Donald Sterling, get recorded tirading through a racist rant. The conclusion, writes Dave Pell, is that "these new realities will lead us down path towards self-censorship." He writes as though this is a bad thing. But let's think this through. The examples he raises are actually all pretty despicable. If by "self-censorship" he means "not launch into racist tirades," then my response is, bring on self-censorship. Students are always taught "be careful what you pur on Facebook." But a much better lesson is, "be careful what you do." Not because it might end up on Facebook, though it might. But because, if it's wrong when it's all over the internet, it was wrong when you did it in private too. This and the next item via Doug Peterson.

Outside the Skinner Box
Gary Stager, Independent School Magazine, Dec 27, 2014

Gary Stager reprises his restatement of Seymour Papert's educational philosophy in this article touting learning by creating and by programming. "The satisfaction, personal efficacy, and knowledge construction resulting from the act of making something is well established," he writes. "Schools embracing the energy, tools, and passion of the Maker Movement recognize that, for the first time in history, kids can make real things - and, as a result, their learning is that much more authentic."

Gates’ strict open access policy may have domino effect
Tania Rabesandratana, SciDevNet, Dec 27, 2014

According to this article, the open access policy adopted by the Gates Foundation may cause others to adopt the same requirement. When it is fully implemented in 2107, the policy will require that authors publish papers funded by the foundation in open access journals without an embargo period. Between now and then there is a transition period that accommodates embargoes. The author also quotes a journal publisher expressing concerns that the policy will make it difficult for authors in developing nations to publish locally. I still question this argument. The developing world will not be helped by preserving bad business models there. The sooner it can adopt global practices, and enjoy the same benefits as we have in the western world, the better.

10 Trends to Personalize Learning in 2015
Barbara Bray, Personalize Learning, Dec 27, 2014

There are some interesting thoughts in this post. The ten trends are divided into four quadrants: learning culture, learning environments, partnerships, and deeper learning. This allows Barbara Bray to look beyond technology and think about things like belief systems, competencies, advisories, project-based learning and assessment as learning. She writes, "It is about the learner making learning personal for his or herself. It is about teacher and learner roles changing....The current system of content delivery and focusing on performance instead of learning is not making positive changes for our children and their future."

Five Reasons the Conversations Have Moved from Twitter to Voxer
John Spencer, Dec 27, 2014

I don't know whether Voxer will replace existing social networks, but John Spencer's five reasons were enough to convince me to pay the $2.99 a month (quoted from his post):

  • The lack of badges, and metrics "likes" or "favorites" means we aren't playing Relational Fantasy Football. There are no rockstars.
  • We don't have to put on a public persona.  On Twitter, it often feels less about talking with one another and more about talking to the public.
  • While Twitter feels like this massive, loud meet-and-greet, Voxer feels like a hangout.
  • The multimedia element allows it to still be asynchronous (similar to Twitter or Facebook) while still feeling like the person is physically there.
  • Sometimes someone has a longer thought that deserves a little extra time.

My user name on Voxer? Downes.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
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Key Articles

Scholarly Articles

Cites:294 Educational Blogging (Local copy)
264 Learning objects: Resources for distance education worldwide (Local copy)
134 E-learning 2.0 (Local copy)
126 Models for sustainable open educational resources (Local copy)
88 The future of online learning (Local copy
75 Learning networks and connective knowledge (Local copy)
70 Design and reusability of learning objects in an academic context: A new economy of education (Local copy)
59 Resource profiles (Local copy)
40 Learning networks in practice (Local copy)
33 Semantic networks and social networks (Local copy)
35 An introduction to connective knowledge (Local copy)
27 Design, standards and reusability (Local copy)
23 EduSource: Canada's learning object repository network (Local copy)
22 An introduction to RSS for educational designers (Local copy)

(Cites from Google Scholar for an H-Index = 14)

Recent Popular Articles

The Purpose of Learning, February 2, 2011.
The Role of the Educator, December 6, 2010.
Deinstitutionalizing Education, November 5, 2010.
Agents Provocateurs, October 28, 2010.
What Is Democracy In Education, October 22, 2010.
A World To Change, October 19, 2010.
Connectivism and Transculturality, May 16, 2010.
An Operating System for the Mind, September 19, 2009.
The Cloud and Collaboration, June 15, 2009.
Critical Thinking in the Classroom, June 5, 2009.
The Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, November 16, 2008.
Things You Really Need to learn:

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About Stephen Downes

Stephen Downes is a senior researcher for Canada's National Research Council and a leading proponent of the use of online media and services in education. As the author of the widely-read OLDaily online newsletter, Downes has earned international recognition for his leading-edge work in the field of online learning. He developed some of Canada's first online courses at Assiniboine Community College in Brandon, Manitoba. He also built a learning management system from scratch and authored the now-classic "The Future of Online Learning".

At the University of Alberta he built a learning and research portal for the municipal sector in that province, Munimall, and another for the Engineering and Geology sector, PEGGAsus. He also pioneered the development of learning objects and was one of the first adopters and developers of RSS content syndication in education. Downes introduced the concept of e-learning 2.0 and with George Siemens developed and defined the concept of Connectivism, using the social network approach to deliver open online courses to three thousand participants over two years.

Downes has been offering courses in learning, logic, philosophy both online and off since 1987, has 135 articles published in books, magazines and academic journals, and has presented his unique perspective on learning and technology more than 250 times to audiences in 17 countries on five continents. He is a habitual photographer, plays darts for money, and can be found at home with his wife Andrea and four cats in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.


Stephen Downes travaille pour le Conseil national de recherches du Canada, où il a servi en tant que chercheur principal, basé à Moncton, au Nouveau-Brunswick, depuis 2001. Affilié au Groupe des technologies de l'apprentissage et de la collaboration, Institut de technologie de l’information, Downes est spécialisé dans les domaines de l'apprentissage en ligne, les nouveaux médias, la pédagogie et la philosophie.

Downes est peut-être mieux connu pour son bulletin quotidien, OLDaily, qui est distribué par Internet, courriel et RSS à des milliers d'abonnés à travers le monde. Il a publié de nombreux articles à la fois en ligne et sur papier incluant The Future of Online Learning (1998), Learning Objects (2000), Resource Profiles (2003), et E-Learning 2.0 (2005). Il est un conférencier populaire, apparaissant à des centaines de manifestations à travers le monde au cours des quinze dernières années.

Vision Statement

I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence. This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward.

Canadians who gave their lives in service in Afghanistan

Hundreds of my IAAF Track & Field Photos from Moncton 2010

My calendar

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