Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
December 11, 2002

Fast Buck Artistry? Most of the objections to the use of learning objects confuse what they are with how they are used. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, December 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Teach-Nology To quote the description from Spartacus (where I got this link), "This website offers teachers free access to 19,000 lesson plans, 5,600 printable worksheets, over 200,000 reviewed web sites, rubrics, educational games, teaching tips, advice from expert teachers, current education news, teacher downloads, web quests, and teacher tools for creating exciting classroom instruction." Note, again, the price (the gold membership for advertising content is a bit more - 8 cents a day). By various Authors, November, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Colleges Sending Teacher - Candidates To See the World I think this is an excellent idea - sending teachers to see the world before they are put into the classroom. And not just (as the story suggests) from the perspective of understanding their own students' cultures. A teacher that has a wider view of the world, wider, even, than the internet can provide, is able to see the same thing from multiple perspectives. Maybe not competely - you always see the world through your own cultural lens. But enough so that you can understand that the motives, convictions, and lives of people in other places are at once the same as those of the people living on your block, and at the same time very different. By Julie Blair, Education Week, December 11, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Using Digital Technology to Enhance Emotional Intelligence I don't particularly like the term "emotional intelligence" but I do like the concept. So I am encouraged to see work like this, which explicitly documents the use of instructional technology to promote a child's emotional well being. Now I've seen how people are able to learn how to handle social situations and try on various personals in multi-user environments. But this takes it a level further: a child's emoptional state is directly related to the display in front of them. "They get really excited when they're able to control their emotions to the point where they are able to turn the black and white forest scene into a beautiful, thriving meadow. It offers something outside of themselves to help them assess what's going on inside. That's very valuable." By Roberta Furger, George Lucas Educational Foundation, December 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Electronic Portfolio Boom: What's it All About? Just to be clear about this: I think e-portfolios are a good idea. But let's be clear about this too: the term 'e-portfolio' is only this year's marketing spin on an idea that has been around for a long time. As the article says, "A portfolio, electronic or paper, is simply an organized collection of completed work." An e-portfoilio, therefore, is the same thing, only online. Last year, before anyone had every heard of e-portfolios, we hand another name for it. Website. By Trent Batson, Learning Circuits, December, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

See No Evil: How Internet Filters Affect the Search for Online Health Information Because anything I could say would be blocked by email filters (I've already had trouble with this), I will let the authors speak for themselves. You'll have to go to the site to get details (but hey, I'm not being censored here... am I?): "Organizations that provide online health information for adolescents need to be aware of the potential impact of Internet filters on their efforts, given that nearly two out of three health sites are blocked by at least one of the filtering products when set at their most restrictive levels." This is a very good and straightforward report that cannot be read by most people using content filters. By Kaiser Family Foundation, December 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

FirstGov for Science Opens From the article: "A 10-agency alliance last week announced the launch of, a Web portal that provides free access to science-related reports, databases and other information from the federal government." The site is essentially a mammoth collection of resources, but I really hate the search: you have to select which of the databases you are going to search through, but you can only select ten, and then the results are listed according to the database of origin. This is just the sort of thing I mean when I complain about federated searches. Still - is a notable and worthwhile initiative. By Diane Frank, Federal Computer Week, December 10, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes