By Stephen Downes
December 24, 2004

Googlizers vs. Resistors
In a world where tomorrow is different from yesterday, controlled vocabularies and not only inefficient, they're dangerous. In a controlled vocabulary, not only can you not classify 'podcasting', you cannot even register its impact. Some librarians are getting this message. Others are not. Oh, and judging the effectiveness of a non-taxonomy based search by what Google can (only) do today? Mistake. By Brian Kenney, Library Journal, December 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

2005: The Year of the Digital Campus
I don't have a lot of faith in these predictions, despite their pedigree (the author is the V.P. of Education and Global Research at Sun Microsystems). Writes the author, "the educational landscape is transforming into a 'digital campus' - an information-rich and seamlessly connected environment that brings the world to a student's fingertips and lets the student move freely about the globe." Well maybe one day, but not next year. The emphasis on 'campus based non-campus learning' is misplaced. Universities may be providing greater access (or "anytime, anywhere access") - through wireless, for example - but only on campus. Portals are so 1998. Systems integration is (and will be) big, but ultimately, not worth the cost - and I cannot stress enough how big a mistake a "single unified architecture" would be (diversity is what wins, not monoculture). Digitization of content has been going on for some time now. Wireless systems, single sign-on and enterprise back-end. All campus based. Big deal. My prediction: a rough year for Sun as its business plan is based on income from institutions with a declining revenue base. By Kim Jones, T.H.E. Magazine, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

New Patents for ContentGuard
The SCO of the digital rights world, ContentGuard obtains more patents on access control. By Staff, DRM Watch, December 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Publish or be Damned
Haven't been able to listen to this RealMedia audio track, but Gerry McKiernan gives it raves. "Perhaps The Most Important Overview/Review on Open Access / Open Archives / Self-Archiving) Ever [:-) With All the Key Players [Yep - All!]" Well - not with me. Anyhow, look for this track under 'P' in the extensive list on this page - and if you don't like this item, you'll find a few more here you can listen to. By Unknown, BBC News, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Schools Chief: State's Districts Need a Shake-up
This is the tip of the iceberg. "Watkins said public schools face the same kinds of problems U.S. automakers faced in the 1980s with foreign competition. As students are lost to charter schools, public districts lose state funds. He said although revenue problems are real for some districts and not the fault of mismanagement, schools must rethink the way they do business." By Chris Christoff, Detroit Free Press, December 15, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Does Technology Enhance Inquiry-Based Learning?
This paper tries overly hard to be balanced, and in so doing obscures its most important observation: "If we expect all research studies on education innovations to provide a simple 'thumbs-up or thumbs-down', we are likely to avoid research methods that can yield important insights into the complexities of implementing major innovations in our schools." The context is discussion of the evaluation of the eMINTS program, a combination of learning technologies with constructivist methodology. The authors still call for randomized trials - one wonders how the teacher will 'switch on' and 'switch off' the constructivist and collaborative teaching methodology on demand. I know I couldn't. By Glenn M. Kleiman, COSN, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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