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January 28, 2002

National Learning Infrastructure Initiative Today's newsletter is coming to you live from the 2002 NLII conference in San Diego (and hence is being distributed on San Diego time, a bit later than usual). The link is to the conference website, and if you have several weeks with nothing to do, you can read the pre-meeting reading on the conference website. More on NLII tomorrow. By , , .[Refer]

The Parsimony of the Explicit I think there's something important happening in this article but I'm not quite sure I can put a finger on it. Elearningpost summarized it as follows: "David Weinberger: Most Web designers try to control the users? experience. Some try to shape it. And a precious few try to become that experience." That's not bad, but it misses the fact that most of the article is a response against a view proposed by the W3C's Charles Munat to the effect that, "a web site is data, relationships among data, and transformations that may be applied to that data. These are all abstract. For us to interact with a web site, the data/relationships/transformations must become concrete. In an ideal world, the user would have complete control over how this process of um, reification, for want of a better word, occurs." Weinberger's view. The response is, essentially, that if you separate the content from the manner in which the content is presented - that is, if you separate the medium from the message - something important is lost. Now here's the important part: I think that both Weinberger and Munat is correct. The reader must create the relationships and the presentation, and yet, these must also be created by the deisgner. How how how? Solve this, and you've solved the fundamental problem of learner centered learning. By David Weinberger , Darwin Online, january 25, 2002.[Refer]

How the Wayback Machine Works At today's conference I've found myself thinking a lot about the relation between knowledge bases, learning bases, and personal student learning management systems (there's a paper, or a product, there). This article touches on some of those themes - it is a description of how the Wayback Machine is able to archive some 100 terabytes of material written by 10 million people. What I like (among many other things): it's written in Perl. Yeah. By Richard Koman, O'Reilly Network, January 21, 2002.[Refer]

Assessment for Understanding So what's new in assessment? Hint: it's not standardized testing. "It's a system of assessment, not a single instrument," says Urban's co-director Ann Cook . "It's a system based on a number of components, it goes on all year long, and it culminates in certain kinds of tasks that demonstrate what students can do." By Roberta Furger, George Lucas Educational Foundation, January 22, 2002.[Refer]

The introduction of information technology in Fjölbrautaskólinn viđ Ármula Description of the incorporation of information and communications technology in a school in Iceland. Before you say "how quaint" keep this in mind: students have laptops and the school has a wireless LAN. In addition to class materials, many aspects of school administration - such as attendance and scheduling - are handled by the system. The author writes, "One of the benefits of computerised groups is that the dropout rate is considerably lower than in traditional classes. Students in these groups become more capable in areas such as organising their own time, searching for and gathering data and increasing their computer skills." An interesting observation. Yet I was told in a session earlier today that students can't organize their own learning. Hey, welcome to the Internet Age. By Solvi Sveinnson, SMC Resources, May 16, 2001.[Refer]

Intel Seeks Teachers' Stories OK, here's one I can't comfirm, not completely, but it appears credible at first glance (judge for yourself): From Leah dawn to the WWWEDU mailing list: "Intel is looking for teachers who are using computers and/or related technology in interesting and innovative ways, and who are willing to share their story as part of the Intel new Innovation Odyssey. Stories can be cutting edge or practical and everyday from anywhere in the world. Stories can occur during school, after school, or in a non-school setting. The setting can be a kindergarten or a community college, a two-room school, a home school or a 4,000-student mega-high school. Everyone submitting a story, even if not used, gets a free computer microscope or digital camera." I checked out the web page and they do have a subscription list with the content described, so there seems to be something to this. One thing - OLDaily is never ever going to be able to give away cameras for submissions. Ah, well. By Leah Dawn, Intel, January 28, 2002.[Refer]

Harvard Syllabus Appears on U. of West Georgia Website To judge from recent scandals - of which this is one - the problem of plagiarism appears to be as much of a problem at the professorial level as at the student level. By Alexander J. Blenkinsopp, Harvard Crimson, January 23, 2002.[Refer]

Online College Classes Surge in Popularity We may have reached the turning point in online learning... this is the second article in as many weeks pointing to the rise in popularity of online learning. Not as insightful as last week's press release from Open University (it's still in 'gee whiz' mode, rather than analysis), there are still some good quotes from students pointing to the advantages of online learning. By Brian Wheeler, Jackson Citizen Patriot, January 27, 2002.[Refer]

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