By Stephen Downes
October 2, 2004

Improv Education
Jay Cross gts funky with his take on personalized learning that is genuinely personalized (as opposed to, say, some swicthes that allow you to change the font, or a pretest that will channel the student into one or another predefined learning stream). "Today’s workers perform without a script. Everything’s impromptu.... Training was appropriate when actors memorized their lines.... When workers are actors, and customers the audience, CLOs must be more than drama coaches. They must prepare cast members to be agile, spontaneous and innovative. They must coax the audience into playing its part." By Jay Cross, Chief Learning Officer, October, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

And Speaking of the Ripping and Mixing...
Stew. That's a good word for what Alan Levine is describing. Blogdigger is a service very similar to Edu_RSS that allows you to define a set of feeds to be harvested and which sends out topic-specific feeds. As Levine says, "This is understanted and overly powerful. This is ripping up content from a collection of discrete RSS feeds and re-combining it into something new." Yes. Exactly. That's how networks work. The next question is - what are the many things you can do with such output? By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, October 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Networks Without the Net
Short item about ad hoc wireless networks that run independently of the internet. Distance is still an issue, but what happens to the idea of centralized control when people don't need the telephone, cable or any other service in order to communicate electronically? By Douglas Rushkoff, TheFeature, September 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Real Threat of Blogs
In my talks here in Australia I have recommended that people read Douglas Rushkoff. It's worth mentioning in passing that he also has a blog, which he updates from time to time. His observations often get to the heart of the matter. This one, for example: "I believe that the most dangerous thing about blogs to the status quo is that so many of them exist for reasons other than to make money." It's pretty hard to say that people will not produce content unless they're paid when there's so much of it about that was produced simply for the love of producing content. By Douglas Rushkoff, September 5, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Pattern Languages as Human Languages
Michael Feldstein is on the right track, mostly, with his exploration of the applicability of pettern language to learning. In this brief item, he asks, "Can we deduce sort of generative grammar of educational experience that enables us to string together these building blocks into 'sentences' of educational experience that are complete in both the functional and the humanistic sense?" And I respond - where was it written that language must be composed of building blocks strung together? By Michael Feldstein, E-Literate, October 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Stephen Downes' in Hobart - Nuts and Bolts session
Nice summary of my morning workshop in Tasmania. As the author suggests, this was commentary on the fly - no preparation, no notice of the topics I would be covering. It seems to have worked well as we covered a wide range of topics from public education to workspace learning to software development. By Janine Bowes, Reflections, October 2, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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