By Stephen Downes
July 16, 2003

Welcome to (Company Name Here) High™
In the wake of recent efforts in the United States to make it harder to use schools to sell junk food to children (at last) comes a more sweeping idea: remove the commercialism from schools. Corporate sponsorship is everywhere: sponsored field trips, sponsored classroom materials, and more. The author writes, "if you think selling candy bars and sodas at school is a problem, you can agree that children identifying their schools with a supermarket chain or a paint company isn't so healthy, either. Perhaps then it will not only be tougher for children to buy candy, but also easier for them to run around gymnasiums that once again are, rather quaintly, named after human beings." Yeah. By Alissa Quart, New York Times, July 16, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Create and Sell Your Own books Using True Print-on-Demand Technology
It hasn't quite launched yet (take-off is July 28) but CafePress has launched an initiative that should give publishers pause: a means for writers to publish and sell their own books. What distinguishes the CafePress approach from traditional vanity presses is that the author does not have to invest a dime. Just format and submit your content (instructions and content converters are available) and wait for the orders. CafePress sells for a set price depending on the number of pages and the type of binding. What a great idea - maybe I should create a book. What do you think? By Various Authors, CafePress, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Adaptive Patterns in Authoring of Educational Adaptive Hypermedia
The idea of adaptive hypermedia is that online content would personalize its display given information about the viewer. If (writes the author) a student displays no motivation to learn the chiaroscuro technique, then on detecting this, the system would display a Rembrandt painting, "with the hope that seeing such a great painting will motivate them." The example is a little far-fetched. But the technique is sound. The problem, notes the author, is that there is no good tool for writing adaptive hypermedia, and hence the launch of a European Community project, ADAPT, "whose main goal is to extract adaptive patterns of educational adaptive hypermedia, and to use these in authoring." Interesting. Daunting. By Alexandra Cristea, International Forum of Educational Technology & Society, July 16, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RJC Video Throws Up IT Dilemma: Was Student Using Technology In The Correct Way?
this is interesting. "In the RJC incident, the student was reported as having used a handphone camera to film a teacher berating a classmate for a piece of work that had apparently not been done satisfactorily. The teacher was also captured on film when she — in a dramatic finale to her outburst — tore up the student’s work." The questions asked in the article get to the heart of the student-teacher relationship. Students are expected to show respect for teachers, but does this respect extend to the tolerance of inappropriate behaviour? Also, as Steve Outing comments in Poynter's E-Media Tidbits, "Rather than a teacher's word going against a student's, the balance of power shift thanks to this concrete evidence." By Kog Yue Choong, Channel NewsAsia, July 16, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

AOL Cuts Remaining Mozilla Hackers
It pains me to report this, but AOL is killing Netscape, ending the browser war that began seven or eight years ago when Microsoft launched Internet Explorer. On the heels of a settlement with Microsoft, AOL is, in a mass layoff, terminating the Netscape project. It did, however, provide two million dollars of seed money to the open source Mozilla project, which will continue with the Mozilla Firebird browser. Development will be taken over by the Mozilla foundation. Former Netscape staff are now posting to ex-mozilla.org. See Edu_RSS for continuing coverage as new developments unfold. By Unknown, MozillaZine, July 15, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Case for Patterns in Online Learning
Interesting accout of the use of patterns - "a generic approach to solving a particular problem that can be tailored to specific cases" - in online learning. Though some examples would be nice, the authors nonetheless show how patterns solve some current issues in online learning, describe and explore some pattern-writing languages, and discuss the "mystical aspect of patterns": "generativity, piecemeal growth, and the quality without a name." By David Jones and Sharonn Stewart, ERIC, July, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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