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February 28, 2002

Canadian Students put Wireless Learning to the Test A consortium of post-secondary institutes and companies from the educational publishing and technology sectors have signed a contract to launch a mobile learning pilot program at two Canadian institutions during the 2002 fall semester, Seneca College and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT). The enterprise also includes a number of corporate partners, including McGraw-Hill Ryerson, Bell Mobility, Gemini Ernst & Young, Blackboard, Compaq, and Avaya. By NAIT, Press Release, February 27, 2002.[Refer]

Online Self-organizing Social Systems: The Decentralized Future of Online Learning Like the short item I posted to DEOS a couple of weeks ago and expanded in a number of posts copied (I think) to the Global Learn Day List, this paper discusses the concept of self organizing social systems in online learning. "We believe that the most significant bandwidth problem in online learning has nothing to do with pushing data through pipes. The idea of 'teacher bandwidth' analogizes students to data, and teachers to pipes, and formulates the problem thus: how many students can a teacher support in an online learning environment?" PDF format. By David A. Wiley and Erin K. Edwards, Unpublished, February 28, 2002.[Refer]

New Generation's Struggle: Public Education for All I agree with this view: "To say that all people have equal rights under the law is an empty phrase if some people do not know what rights they have and do not know how to secure and retain them. To say that we have representative government is an empty phrase if some people do not know enough to secure representation and hold their representatives to high standards. To say we are a democracy is an empty phrase if some of our citizens come out of school unprepared. That means they must be educated." By Karin Chenoweth, Washington Post, February 28, 2002.[Refer]

Computers Keep School, Parents in Touch School administrators considering the use of the internet to communicate with parents might want to look at this example from Montana. "The system can provide information on a student's daily schoolwork grades and attendance, end-of-term grades and descriptions of class assignments. Parents also can find comments from teachers about their children's work. Users can even request automatic e-mail progress reports on how their children are doing." By Susan Olp, Billings Gazette, February 28, 2002.[Refer]

Beyond the Box: How Will Television Evolve? If you thought the furor over Napster was something, wait until it hits the world of video. "If you want to see the future of television, go out and buy a TiVo," agreed Thomas McGrath, executive vice president of the Viacom Entertainment Group. "It's deconstructing the concept of scheduled TV. Over 80 percent of consumers with TiVo never watch a commercial at all. That trend will have dramatic economic consequences for the industry, he added, since networks won't be able to produce new programs without advertising revenue. "Nobody is prepared to say that there's been a sea change," he warned. "We're in the middle of a storm." By Julia Hanna, HBS Bulletin, february 25, 2002.[Refer]

Students' Learning Styles in Two Classes: Online Distance Learning and Equivalent On-Campus. This article begins with a light sketch of learning styles, drawing mostly on Kolb and Gee. Also some useful material on selecting a learning style instrument (which was posted yesterday on DEOS). I've never really been happy with traditional accounts of learning styles. Why, for example, would we say that people express a preference for either concrete experience or abstract analysis when learning? That's silly - neither is particularly useful on its own; both are vitally important. And what about the relation between personal experience and, say, accounts of others' experiences? Or storytelling and fiction and fables? I think each aspect of learning should be measured on its own, not as opposed to some other aspect, and that many aspects - probably hundreds - should be measured. The essay continues with a a description of some research, the results of which (of course) are useful only when viewed as part of an aggregate. The authors conclude that there is a difference in learning styles in students who study traditionally and students who study by distance. People shouldn't draw conclusions from single studies (this is a flaw in the template research students are taught): just report the results and move on. PDF file. By David P. Diaz and Ryan B. Cartnal, College Teaching 47(4), 1999.[Refer]

Why Games Work Brief but convincing white paper touting the advantages of games as learning aides. "It's is a different way to learn," says Ebbert. "It's an informal learning environment. The residents let their guards down, which makes them more receptive to new ideas, and they are more willing to challenge themselves." The white paper promotes a product called GameShow Pro designed to create Jeopardy style online quiz shows for students. By Dan Yaman, LearningWare Inc., Undated.[Refer]

Authors and Authority Actually, this interview with Umberto Eco is quite good. I especially like his comments on copyright and the future of books later on in the piece. But I disagree with his contention that without filters, people are unable to assess the quality of information on the internet. I would argue that, in the first place, there are filters, such as this newsletter, that people can learn to trust over time. And in the second place, people are (gradually) acquiring the critical reasoning skills that allow them to determine for themselves whether a work is of quality. Filters are necessary when the population is illiterate (in the broadest sense of the term), but once the population reaches a certain level of critical awareness, they are as qualified as any authority to make decisions for themselves. This is where the concepts of knowledge and democracy merge. By Gloria Origgi, Text-E, February 28, 2002.[Refer]

The Politico's Dilemma
Greg Hunter would like to campaign for office online, but he doesn't know how to do it without spamming. What Hunter needs to learn is the first rule of internet culture: you are what you contribute. By Stephen Downes


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