New Today

“Blogs are the Vinyl Records of the Internet”
Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, April 18, 2014
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I don't think this metaphor works. I accept that "personal blogging is retreating in favour of corporate social media sites such as Facebook, twitter, and tumblr." But it isn't clear to me that "Just as vinyl records are still listened to, and considered better than the digital format, they exist without having a real impact on the music industry." I think that the internet would be very different without blogs. There has to be more to life than Upworthy and Huffington Post.

I am the New Flickr. I am an Ass.
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, April 18, 2014

Alan Levine is not too pleased with the new Flickr interface. Neither, for that matter, am I. It's getting increasingly difficult to do the things with photos that give them meaning, like adding notes and comments. The 'sets' have been renamed 'albums' and are basically invisible now. I'm not sure how people can view my photos, if at all, other than through the photostream.

British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube
Press Release, British Pathé, April 18, 2014
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Another huge resource for open learning. "Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel. This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world." Among the favourtes are Wright Brothers First Flight (1903), Hindenburg Disaster Real Footage (1937) [HD] and Arnold Schwarzenegger Wins Mr Universe (1969)

When Evidence Backfires
Neurobonkers, Big Think, April 18, 2014

People like me sometimes are inclined to think that if people had more and better education, they would not believe anti-scientific myths. For example, they they were told that the Sun is in a cooling cycle, they would not be inclined to blame Sun cycles for global warming. Actual evidence, however, suggests that people continue to believe myths despite the scientific evidence. Myths provide explanations, and merely debunking a myth leaves a gap in that explanation. In some cases, the provision of evidence contrary to the myth can actually strengthen their belief in the myth. Why do I raise this? Education is not a magic remedy for misinformation. See also the Debunking Handbook (PDF) by John Cook and Stephan Lewandowsky.

Ethics and soft boundaries between Facebook groups and other web services
Frances Bell, Francesbell's Blog, April 18, 2014

Fances Bell explores some of the murky issues surrounding access to 'closed' sites and services such as Facebook groups. These are not accessible to people without a Facebook login, and as such may be inaccessible to people who for one reason or another don't want Facebook. But also as such, these may carry a presumption of privacy on the part of members, some of whom may think posting to the course group isn't 'public' in the way posting a blog port or web page is. Meanwhile, can you post what was said on one Facebook group (or mailing list, or whatever) on another Facebook group? What if it's a 'closed' (members only) group? Tough questions.

Educating Modern Learners Is Live!
Audrey Watters, Hack Education, April 18, 2014

Audrey Watters announces the arrival of her online publishing venture with Will Richardson and Bruce Dixon, Educating Modern Learners, "a site dedicated to news and analysis about the future of teaching and learning through a progressive education (and progressive ed-tech) lens." It will, sadly, cost you $35 a month to read. Not open content, obviously.

Literature is not Data: Against Digital Humanities
Stephen Marche, Los Angeles Review of Books, April 18, 2014

I don't think there's anything wrong with the digital humanities per se but I accept the criticism that it would represent a misapplication of big data. As Stephen Marche writes, "Literature cannot meaningfully be treated as data. The problem is essential rather than superficial: literature is not data. Literature is the opposite of data." In particular, "algorithms, exactly like fascism, work perfectly, with a sense of seemingly unstoppable inevitability, right up until the point they don’t.`Well fine. But why is this the case? I would say that it's because data (as we know it) is about mass, while meaning is based on context and connection.

5 Key Barriers to Educational Technology Adoption in the Developing World
Clayton R. Wright, Educational Technology Debate, April 18, 2014

I think this is the real challenge to talking about educational technology in the developing world: before you can get to educational technology you have to consider, if not overcome, these barriers. What are they?

  • electrical power
  • internet connectivity
  • training and professional development
  • value of teachers
  • sustainability

Most of these could be solved with money - and in a nation like Canada, they would be - but some, like electricity or internet connectivity, would require a great deal of money, because of the need to build social infrastructure before you can build a learning infrastructure. And most of the discussion around them talks about short-cuts or work-arounds: solar power, for example, or mobile internet. But you can't short-cut the last three, and that's why these problems are ongoing.

Links and Resources

(presentations include slides and audio recordings)
Videos: http://www.downes.ca/me/videos.htm
RSS Feed: http://www.downes.ca/news/OLDaily.xml
Podcast: http://www.downes.ca/news/audio.xml

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: http://www.downes.ca/post/38502

Social Network

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Contact: stephen@downes.ca Stephen.Downes@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
Skype: Downes


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.

Biographie

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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