Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
October 7, 2002

Wireless Tech Gives 'Continuing Education' New Meaning This story gets some of it right - that wireless access will lead to new opportunities for online learning, that must new learners will be non-traditional students, that they will seek learning in short bursts. But contra the author, wireless is not going to herald the comeback of e-books (if anything, wireless will doom e-books to oblivion (who wants a special reader on top of wireless access? Not me)). Wireless will also change the nature of internet access in schools (and before long we'll have the usual run of stories about this new technology intruding into the teachers' lessons). By Lou Hirsh, Wireless NewsFactor, October 4, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Palm to Offer Basic Handheld For $99 We've almost hit bottom pricing in the handheld market as Palm's Zire will sell for $US 99. Though the Zire is basic, it won't take a lot to begin adding features so that anyone who wants a fully functional wireless internet device (audio phone services optional) can afford one. The rush will now begin to start selling subscriber services through these things - expect a peak sometime in 2004 with a crash late that year and a wide range of low-cost wireless services to become mainstream in 2005. By Jon Fortt, San Jose Mercury News, October 6, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Music Industry in Global Fight on Web Copies The summary from NewsScan says it best: "The Internet music-swapping firm KaZaA, which has assumed the successor role to now-defunct Napster, is being sued in a federal court in Los Angeles by the Recording Industry Association of America for copyright violations, but the RIAA has several problems to overcome. First, there is a question of geography, since KaZaA is everywhere and nowhere: its distributor, Sharman Networks, is incorporated in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, it is managed from Australia, its computer servers are in Denmark, and its developers can't be found. Second, there is an issue of jurisdiction: Sharman's lawyer says, "What they're asking is for a court to export the strictures of U.S. copyright law worldwide. That's not permitted. These are questions of sovereignty that legislatures and diplomats need to decide." And third, there is the question of whether giving people the tools (KaZaA's service) to break the copyright law is itself a copyright violation, even if KaZaA itself did not misappropriate copyrighted music." By Amy Harmon, New York Times, October 7, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Personal Knowledge Publishing and its Uses in Research Detailed analysis, history and discussion of weblogging as it is (or can be) used in research. The purpose of this article is to "help you grasp the significance of this practice and better understand how you might benefit from getting involved in personal knowledge publishing." The author - correctly, I think - points to the phenomenon of "personal knowledge publishing" as having "grown out of weblogging" and is "at the beginning of a growth curve that could make it an important vehicle for sharing knowledge and fueling innovation in years to come." By Sébastien Paquet, Seb's Open Research, October 1, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Nu Shortcuts in School R 2 Much 4 Teachers It's probably not as widespread as suggested by the article, but it should not be surprising that instant messaging habits are finding their way into student essays. I found this interesting: "You are so used to abbreviating things, you just start doing it unconsciously on schoolwork and reports and other things." By Jennifer 8. Lee, New York Times, September 19, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to Save the British Universities Lecture delivered by the Associate Editor & Chief Economics Commentator of the Financial Times in which he laments the decline of elite British universities and recommends as a cure the privatization of the system, increased tuitions and student loans based on the cost of learning. The case is not well made. The argumentation consists mostly of straw man rebuttals, innuendo, sweeping generalizations and misuse of statistics. And the primary points made to support his case - that people don't really need a post-secondary education and that attempts to increase access have failed in any case - are more likely false than true. By Martin Wolf, The Singer & Friedlander Lecture, September 26, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Historical, Literary and Theoretical Movements Towards a Postmodern Pedagogy Many of the trends in education today - including many of the trends I advocate - may be characterized as a postmodernist approach to pedagogy. This approach, which I sometimes describe as learner centered learning, emphasises greater freedom for students, a reliance on dialogue, and more (it is described in detail in the article). The author's intent with this essay is to show that much that appears new in postmodernism, especially when viewed from the standpoint of New Criticism, is rooted in history, and so, in a sense, "American literature, from its very foundation has always been postmodern." You don't have to agree with this theory to get a lot out of this paper, a paper which provides what postmodernists really like: context. By Jennifer Kehoe, Academic Exchange Quarterly, September, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Blogroll Me! Copyright © 2002 Stephen Downes