By Stephen Downes
March 3, 2004

Schools Targeted in Streaming Video Patent Claim
Don't bother reading the full article (you'll see what I mean). Everything you need is in the first paragraph, with the exception of two strategically deleted words: streaming video. As Mitchell wrote in his email, "It's like rubbing salt in a wound." I was thinking along the lines of "blood from a stone." By Corey Murray, e-School News, March 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Morning at RSS-Blog-Furl High School
Nice bit of visioning. "At around 7:05, Tom uses his personal Intrablog to upload an assignment on symbolism for his major American literature class. When he opens up the document online to check it, he Furls that too with his English login and it gets sent to a separate Web page set up on the English site for American Literature Best Practices. The rest of the American Lit teachers will get an automatic e-mail later in the day notifying them of his published “learning object” that they can use in their own classes." Of course, the problem is, after this nice productive morning the teacher has to travel to a school and spend a full day teaching the old fashioned way. You can't just add innovation to existing practice; sooner or later it has to replace something. By Will Richardson, Weblogg-ed, March 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

As Joseph Hart reports, "Mooter is a graphing search engine that yields a cluster display of inter-related web sites. Mooter resembles Kartoo - both yield a mapping of the semantic search space. Mooter is still in beta, but does look promising." I like the visual display of results clusters, and the results for a search on "Stephen Downes" were mostly appropriate. By Joseph hart, EduResources, March 3, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Risks of Quantitative Studies
"Number fetishism." What a great phrase. Reminds me of the screening for academic papers in our discipline. You may have a great point - but did you do a survey of 24 graduate students so you have some data to add to your paper? Anyhow, Jakob Nielsen writes (and I agree), "Number fetishism leads usability studies astray by focusing on statistical analyses that are often false, biased, misleading, or overly narrow. Better to emphasize insights and qualitative research." Now let's not forget, as the author notes, "it's possible to do good quantitative research and derive valid insights from measurements." But this isn't the sort of thing you whip up in a week of evenings. "Doing so is expensive and difficult." By Jakob Nielsen, Alertbox, March 1, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Sri Lanka: Transforming Government, Business and Society
Short article and links to a number of contacts related to the use of ICT in learning in Sri Lanka. "The vision of e-Sri Lanka came about in response to the observed impact in India of the use of technology in development, and in transforming government. It is a concerted effort by the Sri Lankan government to design and implement a comprehensive, nationwide strategy to harness the potential of ICT for the achievement of broader socio-economic goals." Via NextED News Digest. By Unknown, Development Gateway, January 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Publishers Steamed by US Ban
This issue, which has been simmering on the IEEE and open publishing lists for several months now, has broken out into the mainstream media where it is generating some heat under U.S. policy makers. A ruling from last September now prohibits U.S. citizens from editing work authored by citizens of several blacklisted countries. The concern is that such embargos should not apply to academic work, especially the academic work of an international standards body. By John Dudley Miller, The Scientist, March 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Nuclear Weapon of Digital Rights Law
The legal system is intended to balance the interests of people against each other. Protections for one person come at the cost of liberties for another, ownership of property for one person comes at the cost of need for another. When these balances are tipped too far to one direction or the other, the inherent fairness expected and demanded of law is lost, and it is not surprising when people abandon their faith in it, for justice, from their perspective, is to be found only outside its domains. It's hard to imagine, therefore, that anything different would happen in the wake of the proposed European Union Directive for the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, which removes from people rights they have had since time began, and which adds to the measure an enforcement mechanism resembling thuggery more than policing. "If you make a copy of a CD and give it to your mother, there are provisions within this directive for recording industry officials to raid your house, and there are similar provisions for doing things like freezing your bank account before there is any kind of hearing." Greater enforcement in the defense of an unjust law has never engendered compliance, and it won't here. It instead sets the stage for a prolonged conflict, an underground war of ideas and covert resistance, the infliction of needless harm on numerous innocents, and widespread distrust - and contempt - for a legal system that would allow this to happen. It was a bad idea in the United States, where the DMCA has forced any real innovation overseas, and it is a bad idea for Europe. It should be stopped, now, before it causes social and political damage that cannot be repaired. By Sebastian Rupley, PC Magazine, via ABC News, March 3, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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