Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
February 7, 2003

Introduction to XFML No this isn't some sort of oddball football league set up by wrestlers. It's an interesting variant on XML that recognizes that there are many ways to describe and categorize objects. As the author writes, XFML "provides a simple format to share classification and indexing data. It also provides two ways to build connections between topics, information that lets you write clever tools to automate the sharing of indexing efforts. It's based on the principles of faceted classification, addressing many of the scaling issues with simple hierarchies." By Peter Van Dijck, XML.Com, January 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Evaluating Media Characteristics: Using Multimedia to Achieve Learning Outcomes Nice short article describing a process and set of rubrics for evaluating the appropriateness of different media for different educational outcomes. "The following are the steps involved in selecting media type to achieve learning outcomes:

  • Determine the outcome. What will the student be required to do/demonstrate/produce at the conclusion of the lesson/module/unit
  • Rate the outcome according to Bloom's Taxonomy (or similar taxonomy detailing levels of understanding)
  • Determine media characteristics (see below)
  • Select media based on availability, expense, time, expertise, and general considerations"
By George Siemens, elearnspace, February 7, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Chipping Away at Competition I'll just post this and let readers draw their own conclusions: "in my office, for example, have a crappy little digital copier that automatically shuts down when it decides its toner cartridge is empty -- whether it's empty or not. We can't refill it. We can't buy an aftermarket toner. Hell, we can't even shake it and get a few more copies out of it. Our toner cartridge has an encrypted chip in it, so we no longer actually run out of toner, we run out of chip. The machine will work only if we put in a new, "genuine" replacement toner that likewise has an encrypted chip. And guess what -- the 'genuine' replacements cost about twice as much as similar toner cartridges for unchipped products." In all fairness, here's a reply. By Robert L. Ellis, PoliTechBot, January 31, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intro to an Open Standards Architecture This is a detailed and complex read, but one that rewards the intrepid as it contains a vision for a much more robust, useful, and interesting world wide web. There are some bits that need refining - why would we place all the content reviews in a shared database, for example, when they could be as easily distributed as content. There are some more quibbles, which will really need a more thorough investigation before I can comment. But the vision is right. The vision is right. By Marc Canter, Marc's Voice, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Looking to Profit From Patent Today's patent shakedown is from a company called Tect central, which claims to own the patent to conducting testing over the internet. But there's a twist: instead of sending the hired help to your place of business to demand monet, Test Central is looking to sell its, um, invention to some other company (who will then send their hired help to break your windows demand money). By Jeff Stacklin, Craintech, February 3, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

German Patent Office Mediator Wants Copyright Levy on PCs If Germany goes ahead with this plan to impose a copyright tax on computers, I have only one question: how do I get my share of the royalties for all the content I've made available over the internet? Oh, that's right: I don't. You have to sell your rights to a publisher to make any money through this sort of arrangement. What a scam. By Unknown, Out-Law.Com, February 5, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Bug Bytes Ah, this is what the internet is all about. This library contains about 40 clips of insect sounds. What grade 3 student could resist? Certainly not me. By Richard Mankin, USDA, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Landmark for Schools From the website: "This web site is dedicated to the idea that Information will be the raw material that drives the 21st century, and that today's students should be learning to build with information." A rich resource base; as one commentator said today on wwwedu, it "is by far the best website to provide resources for classroom teachers of all ilks. Nothing, including Kathy Sproke or MarcoPolo, comes close to it." By David Warlick, The Landmark Project, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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