By Stephen Downes
April 16, 2004

DND to form eLearning Partnership Lab with U.S.
Congratulations to Roger St-Pierre, Peter Hope and the rest of the crew at the Defence Learning Network (DLN) in Ottawa as an agreement is reach to form a research and development partnership lab in collaboration with Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL). The Canada ADL Partnership Lab will allow the DLN to continue its contributions and work with SCORM, and fittingly so, since DLN staff were integrally involved in its creation in the first place. By Press Release, Advanced Distributed Learning, April 4, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Student-Centred eLearning: But Not as We Know It?
This is such a delicious thought I can't resist passing it along: "how would (and should) your institution feel about the development of student-controlled learning object repositories, archives of past examination papers (perhaps incorporating commentary), file uploads, and peer sharing facilities etc?" By Derek Morrison, Auricle, April 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Manifesto for Collaborative Tools
Consider the problem of file sharing: despite the existence of many collaborate tools, we continue to send email attachments. "If the tools that purport to solve this problem are good, why aren't we using them?" Because the tools forget about good software. John Hibbs sent me this article the principles in which are as applicable to e-learning software as collaboration tools. Four basic rules are expressed: be people centered, be willing to collaborate (with other software vendors), create a shared language, and keep improving. "Computers should help us become smarter and work together better." By Eugene Eric Kim, Blue Oxen Associates, March 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How to Start Your Own Blog
Describes what a blog is, why you would want one, and what to do to get one. Many links and resources, with the comments from readers pointing to more. By Community Admin Team, Australian Flexible Learning Community, April 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Be Afraid - Very Afraid! Be Excited - Very excited!
Do you use web tools at home because they won't work through the school firewall? Do you spurn the corporate LMS, opting to work with open source instead? Do you turn your back on pre-structured content, allowing your students to build their own learning? Do you play with mobile learning technology? If you do, then you're disruptive, and your innovation is described and celebrated in this useful article. In the same vein, you may want to check out the "Introducing disruptive technologies for learning" symposium being planned by Seb Paquet and a band of wikified co-conspirators for Ed-Media 2004. By Marie Jasinski, Australian Flexible Learning Community, April 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Une école et son cybercarnet
Or, a school and its blog. This post, in French, announces the new blog system for the Centre d'Apprentissage du Haut-Madawaska. Accessible here, the project is the result, in part, of work by the NRC's Seb Paquet and Todd Bingham. Though what you see looks simply like just another blog, if you follow the links in the right hand column you find full class sets of blogs. The individual student blogs are still brand new; it will be interesting where these go over time. Seb notes that he will be writing about this on his site. By Jacques Cool, ConstellationW3, April 14, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

National Parks as Classrooms
I don't emphasize this as much as I should - online learning will succeed when it gets students out of the classroom and into the communities about which we are trying to teach them. In this regard, programs such as the National Parks Program play an increasingly significant role, as students, supported by mobile e-learning, get out into the forest to study the trees. If your picture of e-learning is row on row of students in computer labs taking self-study modules, change it. Online learning is about freeing students, not tieing them down to computer labs. By Alison Yaunches, Rural Roots, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Tipping Point: From Feckless Reform to Substantive Instructional Improvement
I really liked this paper, which is in essence a condemnation of centralized (and frequently top-down) 'strategic planning' and 'school reform'. The author notes that there is widespread recognition that this sort of process fails, and that a more distributed type of short-term programs and learning communities does more to promote learning. "School improvement is most surely and thoroughly achieved when teachers engage in frequent, continuous and increasingly concrete and precise talk about teaching practice... adequate to the complexities of teaching, capable of distinguishing one practice and its virtue from another." By Mike Schmoker, Phi Delta Kappan, February, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Via elearningpost, this link is to a nice collection of 'how-to' comics for 5-15 year olds. Great stuff; I love the marshmallow shooter. By Various Authors, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Future of Work: An 'Apprentice'-style Office?
This is something I have been advocating as long as I have been advocating things: "Democracy and freedom are coming to business." My view is that a nation is not democratic unless its institutions are demcratic, and these institutions include businesses and institutions (which are currently run as dictatorships or fiefdoms). The change, argues Tom Malone in his new book, The Future of Work, comes about because of information technology. And "this change may be as important for business as the change to democracy has been for government." And it may be as effective - if democracy is actually the best form of governance, why don't we use it in our institutions? By David Kirkpatrick, Fortune, April 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

FDA Approves Trial of Brain Implants
I get so tired of having to hit the keys on my keyboard; I want one of these. Also, it would be nice to have a place to store my memories (I could simply retrieve them through my artificial hippocampus). By Associated Press, Globe and Mail, April 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

From Weird to Wired": MPs, the Internet and Representative Politics in the UK
If elected representatives only used the internet, one might suppose, then they would see the benefit of online activities. But do members use the internet? This study is a fascinating exploration of the websites offered by British Members of Parliament. While figures suggest that 71 percent of Members have sites, a large number of sites are broken or cookie-cutter Epolitix sites, reducing the actual number to 48 percent. Of these, few offered any sort of interaction, almost no commentary on current issues, and were often out of date. When government representatives don't see the benefit of the internet for themselves, it seems to me, they will be less likely to see the benefit in other areas of endeavour. Many more papers on this topic are available at the Internet, Political Organisations and Participation page. By Stephen Ward & Wainer Lusoli, April, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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