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Design Elements in a Personal Learning Environment
Mar 04, 2015. 4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Keynote). Share

Disruptive Innovation in Universities
Mar 04, 2015. 4th International Conference e-Learning and Distance Education, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Panel). Share

Jenna Wortham
Om Malik,, Mar 06, 2015

Om Malik interviews Jenna Wortham. I wasn't sure I'd like it because I'm a bit indifferent to Malik (and the early name-dropping and depiction of his subject as "sassy" didn't help). But it's a good conversation and they go into some depth into what's happening at least in the U.S. version of the internet (I can't imagine "everyone has a bedroom just like mine" really being a global phenomenon). And there's a good glimpse of how a younger generation views a world in turmoil despite the promises of people like the editors at Wired, her former employer. "The bubble has popped. Not the tech bubble, but this idea that we live in this techno-utopian-post-racial world. That’s deflating, and we’re quickly realizing that yeah, the problems we face run a lot deeper and are going to be a lot harder to change." Jenna Wortham is a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine.


Online Conference Presentation Resources
Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, Mar 06, 2015

Oh I want to do something like this one day - I've listened to hundreds and hundreds of old time radio fiction over the last few years, I could probably do the genre - and it could be a great format for a presentation. Maybe I can round up some people like Jim Groom and do a proper radio broadcast. Karl Kapp offers his own version in this slide deck (which I actually read through end to end before realizing I was doing it) talking about games and gamification (and game elements...). Good stuff. Now, how does that go again? "Suddenly, a shot rang out...."

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Mar 06, 2015


Photos from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia


Identifying and Cultivating Student Leaders
Kylie Larson, Higher Ed Marketing Live, Mar 06, 2015

I spent pretty much the my entire university career as a 'student leader' first as a newspaper writer and editor during my undergraduate years, and next as a student association representative and president during my graduate years. I did not experience any "recruiting" efforts in my direction - quite the contrary, actually. I think this points to a difference between the relation between student associations and administrations in Canada and the US (outside North America I simply cannot say, but I imagine one or the other is common). Both student associations and student newspapers appear to be run as part of the university south of the border, while in Canad our associations and newspapers are fiercely independent of administration - so much so that I think it would be a scandal were it to be discovered that student leaders were being "recruited" by the administration. So I personally find this story a bit surprising and off-putting. Students don't need to have admnistrations recruit their leadership - they know who they are.

New Hi-Tech Police Surveillance: The StingRay Cell Phone Spying Device
Clarence Walker, GlobalResearch, Mar 06, 2015

I'm not sure whether they cover this on U.S. networks but it's interesting to listed to a report on Al Jazeera about the 'Sting Ray' surveillance system originally designed for use against terrorists but not in increasingly wide day-to-day use by forces across the country. The system consists of radio towers that emulate cell phone towers an trick mobile devices into sending access information, data and other information. The judicial logic allowing use is that it is not actually surveillance. "The government did not install the tracking device — and the cell user chose to carry the phone that permitted transmission of its information to a carrier," Gorenstein held in that opinion. "Therefore no warrant is needed." The ACLU lists police departments using the system. Here's an EFF report from a couple weeks ago.

Cathy N. Davidson Keynote Address at UNESCO X International Seminar
Cathy Davidson, Mar 06, 2015

Video from Cathy Davidson's talk "'Changing Higher Education from the Classroom Up' at the X International Seminar on 'Revisiting the Fundamentals of Traditional Curricula, R/Evolution: what “R” Would Mean for Education.' The conference was sponsored by the UNESCO Chair in Education and Technology for Social Change and was held at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya." I haven't reviewed the video but I've seen it referenced in a couple of places. I see Davidson as fairly conservative generally in her thinking but I'll be sure to review this one in the future to test my presumptions.

xAPI, LRS – The Interview
Craig Weiss, E-Learning 24/7 Blog, Mar 06, 2015

I was fortunate enough to meet with and converse at length with Craig Weiss while I was in Riyadh, so I thought I'd post a link to give people a sense of what he's about. He is, in short, a fountain of knowledge of learning management systems and related technologies. In this post he interviews Aaron Silvers (no slough himself) on the activity-recording specification called xAPI (aka Tin Can, aka the Experience API). Here is what it is supposed to do: "We want a system to be able to interpret, appropriately, consistently and reliably, the activity you performed and the context in which it was performed, no matter where it was recorded."

People Have the Star Trek Computer Backwards
Michael Caulfield, Hapgood, Mar 06, 2015

This is a great reconstruction of just what exactly is going on with the computers on Star Trek (the original series). "The Star Trek computer, at least in the 1960s, was not ahead of its time, but *of* its time. It lacked the vision to see even five years into the future... There’s no keyboard because there is no text, anywhere, on any computer on the Enterprise to edit... Why? Because computers were for math, stupid!"

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)

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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

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