By Stephen Downes
June 17, 2004

Whither the Semantic Web
The future isn't enterprise systems, proprietary databases, web services, Java runtime engines, or standardized ontologies. That's not what the web was, that's not what RSS is, and that's not the future of online semantics. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, June 17, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

NMC 2004 Summer Conference
The NMC 2004 Summer Conference has started and the Edu_RSS aggregator page is kicking into high gear. Check out this link to see what RSS can do for conference coverage. By Various Authors, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning From Disappointment: When Learning Solutions Fail to Deliver
A lot of e-learning disappoints, and it makes sense, as the author suggests, to learn from our mistakes (that's why I've learned so much). But to learn from a mistake, you have to correctly identify the cause of the problem. Is this list it? I'm not so sure. Some of the things seem plausible - the elearning was too expensive, there was no management buy-in, participants were not accountable. But some of the others seem dubious to me. By Jack J. Phillips, Chief Learning Officer, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Primer: Event-Driven Architecture
The focus of this article isn't exactly what I'd like, but it does provide a useful heads-up regarding the emerging idea of "event-driven architecture." Basically, the idea is that a computer system responds to changing external events rather than human input. This will have an impact on the design of e-learning technology (although the connection is not evident from this article). Something to keep an eye on. By Kevin Fogarty, Baseline Briefing, June 11, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Information and Communications Technologies in Schools Survey
More than 97 percent of Canadian schools have internet access, with the schools averaging one computer for every five students, according to this new study by Industry Canada. The bulk of these computers use "always-on" internet connections (as compared to dial-up, but a nice euphemism that masks whether or not the connections are high-speed). The article notes that these computers are aging, which signifies a problem to come. A ratio of five-to-one, I might add, is not satisfactory; computer and internet use works best when it is personal, and a much better ratio is needed to achieve that. By The Daily, Statistics Canada, June 10, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Swap Blockers Graduate to High Schools
Good overview full of links to primary sources (the way online news coverage should be, unlike the link deserts found on most news web sites) describing the trend of using P2P network blockers in high schools. Well, the micro-trend, anyways, since only a few schools are named. The problem with these systems - and this comes out in the article - is that they either scan every bit of traffic, which is a gross invasion of privacy, or they stop all peer-to-peer (P2P) services completely, which is overkill. By John Borland, CNet News.Com, June 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Q&A with Saul Carliner
I like Carliner's frank assessment of the current state of e-learning and his sober perspective on the predictions made by various e-learning pundits. In particular worth noting are the low scores given to e-learning on student assessments and the lack of knowledge of decision makers in the field. Carliner also expresses caution regarding the roles games, simulations and blogs will play in e-learning. Fair enought, but instead of looking at the specific technology we should ask about the trends these technologies represent: will e-learning continue to move toward a more student-directed model, as instantiated by games, simulations and blogs? By Lisa Neal, eLearn Magazine, June, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Blogging at MEA
Very nice summary of a panel at the Media Ecology Association (MEA) conference in Rochester featuring featuring Liz Lawley, Alex Halavais, Sébastien Paquet, Clay Shirky, and Jill Walker. Part of the conversation covered academic blogging and introduced some archetypical academic blogging formats: teacher, memex, public intellectual, institutional critic, & diarist. And part of it considered the difference between the specialist blogger, who can easily establish a readership in a niche area, and the generalist, "whose ideas simply defy easy categorization within disciplines. For these kinds of thinkers, finding an audience for their work can be like finding a needle in a haystack." By Collin Brooke, Collin vs Blog, June 11, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Canada and Copyright
Good summary of the recent history, current state and likely future of file sharing under Canadian copyright law. Things are good now in this country, but likely to go downhill fast if pledges to reform copyright law are acted upon. I wish there was a way to actually influence this legislation. But I've been in and around the political process long enough to know that there isn't. By Michael Ingram, Slyck News, June 16, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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