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January 7, 2002

Microsoft Device to Bridge TV, PC I've concluded that Bill Gates (or someone high up in Microsoft development) reads my web page. It's hard to conclude otherwise when Microsoft's new Mira platform contains almost completely the features I've been describing for the PADs (Personal Access Devices) students will use in online learning. "We refer to them as a media pad," said Richard Doherty, president of research firm The Envisioneering Group. The pad is part of Microsoft's .Net strategy, an important component of the paradigm shift from viewing software as a product to viewing software as a service. By Michael Kanellos and David Becker, CNet, january 4, 2002.[Refer]

'The Future of Ideas': Protecting the Old With Copyright Law The New York Times meets Lawrence Lessig. This review of 'The Future of Ideas' is a bit less than kind, characterizing Lessig as an idealist and his book as a manifesto, or, more accurately, what would be a manifesto if only it were "short, rousing and to the point." While the reviewer seems to admit that Lessig has a point - that copyright lawyers are stifling innovation and creativity on the internet - he seems to feel that the book misses its mark. "Certainly," writes the reviewer, "artists are equally to blame for the drying up of America's cultural commons." Well, no. With some noted exceptions - Metellica springs to mind - the copyright actions are bing undertaken almost exclusively by large corporations, publishers. But like I said, it's the New York Times - hardly a disinterested observer - meeting Lawrence Lessig. By Daniel Zalewski, New York Times, january 6, 2001.[Refer]

GeoLearning Integrates PrimeLearning.com?s Library of Online Business Skills Training Courses Normally I wouldn't carry a press release like this, but this is typical of items that cross my desk every day and readers should be aware of this trend. The outline is simple: PrimeLearning.com has developed about 300 hours of AICC- and SCORM-compliant online business and professional development content, and this content has been integrated into GeoLearning?s learning management system. Why is this significant? First, educators should be aware of the volume of portable learning content being created by commercial content producers; this announcement represents only a small fraction of the total. But notice, also, that even though the content is 'portable,' it is still being tied to a specific learning management system. Primelearning.com's content is no threat to other producers so long as it is tied to GeoLearning's platform; GeoLearning's platform is no threat so long as it offers only PrimeLearning's content. But this isn't a stable situation: PrimeLearning wants to distribute its content as widely as possible, and GeoLearning wants to import as much content as possible. I think there are logistical barriers - just how much content, for example, can GeoLearning bundle before content selection becomes cumbersome? But I think it's a matter of months, not years, before the dam bursts and we are flooded with content available on all systems. Those who have investments in eLearning (and especially eLearning content) take note. By Press Release, GeoLearning, january 7, 2002.[Refer]

Batten Down the Hatches! How to Protect Outlook From Attack Even though it's simply not safe, institutional policy requires many office workers and staff to use Microsoft Outlook for their email. Worth reading then is this quick guide to some free and shareware software that will protect you from the worst of the Outlook viruses and security leaks. By Preston Gralla, ZD Net, January 7, 2001.[Refer]

Sites Abound to Aid Do-it-yourselfers Another trend to be on the watch for is the increasing number of do-it-yourself learning sites. This article (sorry about the formatting) surveys a number of websites devoted to providing self learning for the motivated reader. By Joyce Kasman Valenza, Philadelphia Inquirer, January 3, 2002.[Refer]

Innovations in Online Learning: Moving Beyond No Significant Difference "Leaders of the old paradigm community have a tremendous amount of time and energy invested in using the old rules," writes the author. ""The problem with applying old solutions to new problems in the world of online learning is that these applications tend to produce results that are 'as good as' what we have done before..." I think the findings in this paper are significant, echoing and supporting similar trends reflected elsewhere. The empahsis is on learning how to use internet technologies to do new things: customized and personalized instruction, for example, modular course construction and a distribution of content creation tasks. Nothing we haven't seen before, but certainly developments resisted, as this essay suggests, by the old guard. This analysis supports the new paradigm with numerous case studies and a comprehensive assessment of trends directed toward improving online learning. By Carol A. Twigg, The Pew Learning and Technology Program, 2001.[Refer]

Winter in New Brunswick Picture postcard perfection as a sultry snowfall seduces the camera... some images and some desktop wallpaper for your enjoyment and pleasure. By Rod Savoie and Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, January 7, 2002.[Refer]


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