By Stephen Downes
February 28, 2005
Going Home - Our Reformation
If you read one thing this week, read this. One commentator described it as "brilliant... and beautiful... and inspiring." It is all of that, and more. It is a vision I support and that I and many other people I cite in this newsletter are working toward. The theme of coming home will likely resonate in my work for a long time.
Robert Paterson writes, "Is not our great problem that the great institutions of our time, government, healthcare, education, arts and entertainment, even business, no longer serve us but only themselves?
"Is not their organizational doctrine based on a dogma of control? Have they not divorced their world-view from observable reality? Is not this split from the laws of nature their dogma? Are they not prepared to fight to the death to preserve this dogma? Do we not see the entertainment industry as an Inquisition? Do we not see the IP industry as the agent of the controllers and not of the creative?
"Is not the new 'big idea' of our time to disintermediate the institutional middleman and to enable direct relationships? Are supermarkets eternal? Do we need factory universities to learn? Is our health dependent on a doctor? Is the news what we see on TV?"
Brave, brilliant, breathless stuff. If you miss this article, you are mising the essence of what this whole thing is about. By Robert Paterson, Robert Paterson's Weblog, February 26, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Future of FLOSSE: Interview with Stephen
Downes - Part 1
FLOSSE continues with its series of interviews, releasing part 1 of its interview with me today. As they did with Alan Levine, extrapolated from my remarks is a timeline of projected future events. Interesting. I think that the dates are a bit late - but then again, I always think things move too slowly, so maybe the dates are more accurate than I would pick. So here's the MP3 of Part One and we'll all wait with bated breath for Part Two. Also don't miss the interview with Teemu Leinonen, part of the same series. By Teemu Arina, FLOSSE, February 28, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
A Concise Guide to the Major Internet
If you don't know the difference between ISOC and IETF, and if you wonder who runs the internet, this is a handy, factual, brief and well written reference. By Alex Simonelis, Ubiquity, February 15, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Governors Work to Improve H.S.
Bill Gates: "America's high schools are obsolete. By obsolete, I don't just mean that they're broken, flawed or underfunded, though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean our high schools - even when they're working as designed - cannot teach all our students what they need to know today." By Unattributed, Associated Press, February 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
IBM Backs Open-source Web Software
IBM is announcing support for PHP. I would rather it were Perl, because I find PHP cumbersome. Still, it's absolutely a move in the right direction, and I'd much rather work with PHP or Python than Java. "IBM's push into PHP and scripting reflects IBM's disillusionment with the Java standardization process and the industry's inability to make Java very easy to use. 'IBM's been so fed up with Java that they've been looking for alternatives for years,' the executive said. 'They want people to build applications quickly that tap into IBM back-ends...and with Java, it just isn't happening.'" By Martin LaMonica, CNet News.com, February 25, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Gospels of Failure
Fascinating article on organizational failure. And if you mapped this article to my recent talk on blogging communities, you would find a near-perfect fit. From the article: "'If there's not a network connecting two departments, then one can bring the best data in the world to the other and it won't be trusted.' Krebs uses his software to help clients map out who knows whom within an organization -- he calls the maps 'organizational X-rays' -- and then does something decidedly less high-tech. He introduces people on the borders of the networks, creating opportunities for them to work together." By Jena McGregor, Fast Company, February, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
According to 0xDECAFBAD, 4suite "installs like Buddha". Not sure exactly what that means, but I sure like what I see in the program description: an open-source platform for XML and RDF processing, "4Suite is a library of integrated tools (including convenient command-line tools) for XML processing, implementing open technologies such as DOM, RDF, XSLT, XInclude, XPointer, XLink, XPath, XUpdate, RELAX NG, and XML/SGML Catalogs." Written in Python, which means you can go into the source and break it yourself. By Various Authors, February, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Planning for Neomillennial Learning
According to author Chris Dede, higher education institutions can prosper by catering to what he calls "neomillennial learning styles." According to Dede, these styles consist of "fuency in multiple media and in simulation-based virtual settings; communal learning involving diverse, tacit, situated experience, with knowledge distributed across a community and a context as well as within an individual; a balance among experiential learning, guided mentoring, and collective reflection; expression through nonlinear, associational webs of representations; and co-design of learning experiences personalized to individual needs and preferences." In other words (in order): podcasts and games; blogs; web conferencing; wikis; and personal publishing. But all - in a thread that runs tacitly through the article - under the guiding hand of a benevolent administration. Indeed. By Chris Dede, EDUCAUSE Quarterly, February, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
Is the Nightmare Finished?
Overview of the stock market performance of the major e-learning companies, including Saba, SumTotal (the merged Docent and Click2Learn), Blackboard, Centra and Skillsoft. The analysis? Mixed. Via ADL. By Unattributed, CheckPoint E-Learning, February, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
The New Chief Inquisitor on Campus
Article warning of increasing threats to academic freedom, and in particular, the regulation of speech that may offend students and of conduct that does not conform to the institution's mission. I am in favour of academic freedom, of course, and believe that academics should have a wide latitude constrained only by criminal law to express and argue for their beliefs. What makes me radical is that I believe this freedom ought to extend to everyone. Via ArtsJournal newsletter. By Frank Furedi, Spiked, February 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]
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Copyright © 2005 Stephen Downes
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