By Stephen Downes
December 17, 2003

OSS Watch Survey Findings: Interoperability a Major Factor in Educational Open Source Adoption
Fascinating: "In the study, the single biggest factor that Higher Education respondents mentioned as a motive to choose open source was interoperability through better standards support. Intriguingly, the single biggest factor holding back open source software adoption is ... interoperability and migration concerns." The problem, of course, is that commercial software - such as Microsoft - does not interoperate well with competing products, and so long as people use this crap software, interoperability will always be a problem (in this light, you may want to read report author David Tannenbaum's alternative explanations of this phenomenon). By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, December 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Scirus - Science Specific Search Engine
Scott Leslie picks up this good link to Scirus, a "search engine that focuses solely on sources of scientific information and returns results either from qualified web sites or from only scientific journals." This is what I would like to do (or see done) with educational technology journals, in combination with Edu_RSS. In the same post he also links to Joe Hart's EduResources Portal, "a site that aggregates annotated references to both discipline-specific and institutional repositories as well as resources on the use and creation of learning objects." In the same vein, you may want to look at the beta version of Eurekster, a search service that combines the results of searches by you and a set of selected friends - the beta password to get into the site is: cool By Scott Leslie, EdTechPost, December 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

ERIC/ACVE website
This is your last chance to use ERIC before it is killed. Judy Wagner writes, "The ERIC/ACVE website () will be taken down on Friday, December 19. The publications and links will be archived on several sites - probably available by the first of the year: Center on Education and Training for Employment, Texas Center for Adult Literacy and Learning, and California Adult Literacy Professional Development Project. By Judy Wagner, December 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Students Who Know Their Own Minds
Wouldn't it help teachers if they knew how students think and learn? Of course it would. But wouldn't it help even more if this information were shared with the students themselves? That's part of the philosophy behind one of several novel programs implemented at Gateway High School, a 400-student charter school in San Francisco. One student comments, "Psychology was probably the best class for me because it not only taught me how I learned and what I need, but it taught other people how I learn and what I need." By Ashley Ball, edutopia, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Maine Event
Overview article describing the Maine laptop program and the evaluations - uniformly positive - that followed. "Students, teachers, principals, and parents across the Pine Tree State are relaying success stories for which the portable computers are credited. Stories of sullen truants transformed into outgoing school leaders. Stories of leveling the playing field. Stories of environmental projects or oral histories benefiting and uniting not just the school community, but the community at large. Stories of teachers reinvigorated by a new way of teaching that encourages real-world problem-solving and individual student initiative." There is, however, a downside to the laptop experiment: it ends. "We won't have them next year," laments Skowhegan eighth grader Emily. "It's going to be like going back to kindergarten." By Diane Curtis, edutopia, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

School in Lyon County picked for Mars program
I continue to follow the Mars lander program closely, as my name is one of many etched on a CD that will land on the red planet January 24. By AP, Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Content Management and Collaboration Converge on E-Learning
Though this article is loosely written, enought of the meaning comes through to give a glimpse of a project at the University of Michigan that seeks to combine content management (especially of video assets) and e-learning. "The ultimate goal is a system that lets people input video using a hardware/software appliance like those available from Telestream or another vendor. The system would know from a log-in who the user is and in which folder to put the content. The text of speech would become part of content's meta data, making it searchable and doing away with hunting through audio and video looking for the relevant sound bite. End-users would need only a Web browser to peruse their rich media collections." What happens when we get simple, user-created video? For those with broadband access, the internet becomes much more interesting (and television comparatively dull). By Michael Pastore, Intranet Journal, December 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A new resource from Robin Good, this website provides information and help on conferencing and collaboration on the net. I like the style of the newsfeeds, and may steal the author-site design for my own lists. Also interesting is the set of discussion board (or 'phorum') topics, each with its own RSS feed. The site creator has also assembled a top flight team of experts; time will tell the role they play on the site, but if they do participate this could be one of the premier web desitinations on the subject. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, December, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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