By Stephen Downes
April 12, 2004

What's the Blogging Point?
An important discussion is happening in the educational bloggin community right now, summarized nicely by Seb Fiedler: ""So what are the things we do with personal Webpublishing that go beyond what we have done in formal educational settings before? What are the qualitative differences for your personal learning since you have started to spend some time putting your stuff out there?" because if we don't ask these questions... "we will see thousands of teachers and instructors applying Weblogs and Wikis and who knows what to "make" others do the same stuff they have made them do before." You'll find the bouncing back and forth between posts from four separate bloggers (Smith, Richardson, Fiedler, Farmer) frustrating, but the question is vital: where is the locus of the blogging phenomenon? In the students? Or in their instructors? By Oliver Wrede, owrede_log, April 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Gurus v. Bloggers, Round 1
This is a fun article that makes a great point. The concept is this: line up the websites of eight design and usability gurus against the websites of eight bloggers who write on the same topics. Evaluate the respective websites for design and usability. The result, needless to say, is one-sided, and not in favour of the supposed experts. Which makes me wonder: what if we took the e-learning gurus and lined them up against the bloggers, and asked them to, say, use the internet to facilitate learning? How about Masie versus Levine? Hall versus Siemens? I think that the results are similarly one-sided, which makes me want to aks: what makes these 'gurus' gurus at all? By Andrei Herasimchuk and Donna Driscoll, Design by Fire, April 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Online Games
This is an odd article in that, while it describes and touts the use of games in learning, its understanding of what constitutes a game seems to be restricted almost entirely to the quiz show format, following the model of Jeopardy Millionaire. Sure, these are games, but it seems to me that online trivia is only a small part of the picture. Additionally, when the authors examine "why people play" they refer to a survey of instructors and suggest that games are played because they "maintain participant interest, relay concepts, [and] make the training more enjoyable and fun." Well, maybe, from an instructor point of view. But if they are not looking at the sorts of games students play, and why students play them, then they miss the concept entirely. By James Kirk and Robert Belovics, Learning Circuits, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Righting Copywrongs
The point in this article is simple and well-taken: legislators considering whether Canada's copyright legislation ought to be changed to prohibit file sharing ought to look at Lawrence Lessig's experiment in free publishing. "Here's Amazon trying do one thing: sell books. So why are they giving away a book that they're trying to sell? I think they understand, too, that this is a good way to get people into buying the book," Lessig said. By David Akin, Globe and Mail, April 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OCLC Research will harvest DSpace metadata
If there is a future in metadata, it seems to me that it lies in institutional (and individual) repositories and harvesting. I have been arguing this for a long time, but not everybody is convinced. This project, when completed, may sway some, as Google is teaming with a group of researchers to facilitate harvest and search of OAI compliant institutional repositories. Great stuff. See also the Chronicle article on this item. By Press Release, OCLC, April 9, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Squeak is a multimedia authoring tool used to generate learning by simulation, run as a plug-in (similar to Flash) and available as an free and open source download. The best way to understand what Squeak is about is to look at this Drive a Car demo (no downloads or plugins needed to view). Some good resources come with this site, including Kay's Scientofic American article pointing to the role of computer networks and simulations in changing not only learning but culture as well (a view with which I agree). Via Bonnie Bracey's post in WWWEDU. It is fascinating for me to discover huge projects and communities like this - no doubt Squeak is familiar to many readers, but it was new to me and no doubt will be to others as well. By Various Authors, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Once and Future King
Reaction to the Sun agreement with Microsoft. Government does not have the will to roll back Microsoft's monopoly and the company has the money to pay off any sufficiently strong corporate competitor, as it has Time Warner and Sun. The only thing that can stop Microsoft now, argues the author, is Microsoft itself. Good read. By Robert X. Cringely, I, Cringely, April 8, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.