By Stephen Downes
June 2, 2005

We Are All Apprenticing at Light Speed
If there is a theme for today's newsletter, it is probably this. "We are all improvising at some fundamental level; making it up as we go along. Instead of looking for someone with an answer to copy, we now have to participate in the invention process ourselves." You cannot learn it all - you certainly cannot learn it all ahead of time. Even as you read this newsletter, the speed at which innovation flies at you forces you to make decisions, to improvise - read this item, skip that; look at this software, discard that. As you read this newsletter, you are inventing your education (well, at least, today's education). But that's OK - that's the way it should be. By James McGee, McGee's Musings, June 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

"The Lowdown on Podcasting" (BusinessWeek Online Special Report)
Following a report in Business week, Mark Oehlert predicts it's going to get ugly. "I can hear all kinds of bandwidth being siphoned off the grid as thousands of aspiring DJ's, trapped behind the corporate facade begin podcasting their own indie shows... I always wonder though, what kind of indicator is a special report in BusinessWeek Online about a practice that was so edgy just minutes ago." Maybe, but podcasting may be what saves the bandwidth industry, which has been moribund lately. By Mark Oehlert, e-Clippings, June 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Today's Jots
Just another day in the neighborhood. More here. By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, June 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Higher Education at Risk
Good interview with Richard Hersh, former president of Trinity College (Conn.) and co-editor of the book Declining by Degrees, a critical commentary on the state of higher education in the United States (and probably elsewhere). I don't agree with everything (for example, I'm not sure it's a bad thing to evaluate graduates by SAT scores rather than GPAs (keeping in mind that SAT itself is far from a perfect indicator)). But there is some great commentary here. "When business groups in every major study of the last seven or eight years, and every major academic study, raised serious questions about what people were coming out of college with, no matter what age, then clearly there is some sort of crisis brewing." By Tim Goral, University Business, June 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Playtime in the Classroom
As the article notes, this may be news to people who don't play video games, but researchers are reporting that the use of these games improves learning. The author focuses mostly on "American pop science writer" Steven Johnson along with MIT Arcade and James Paul Gee. Mentioned are two of my favorite games, Sim City and Civilization (the two of which I have played almost incessantly over the years, though recently I have been recreating the Montreal Expos 2005 season on EA Baseball). By Jim McClellan, The Guardian, June 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Access All Articles
Coverage of the trend toward open access publishing. "The momentum towards free online publication of scientific research is becoming unstoppable." And I like this: "the UK's biggest non-governmental funder of biomedical research, has taken the historic step of announcing that, from October 1 2005, recipients of its funding will be required to deposit a copy of all resulting research articles in an online archive." By Matthew Cockerill, The Guardian, June 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

La directrice générale de la Télé-Université du Québec se fait rassurante
It has been in the works for some time now, but now it's official: Quebec's distance learning organization, Télé-Université du Québec (Téluq) has been absorbed by l'Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). Coverage is in French. Daniel Lemire observes, "To my knowledge, it is the first time a large university eats up a distance learning university. It brings all sort of fun stuff... for example, UQÀM has a degree in communication, so does Téluq... UQÀM has a degree in business, so does Téluq... and so on." By Unattributed, Radio-Canada, June 1, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Systems Thinking and Practice: Diagramming
This may all be old news to some people, but there is enough of a relation to concept mapping and to network analysis, both of which have been recent items of discussion in the e-learning space, to warrant inclusion here. Systems thinking is essentially the use of models to represent actions and influences in complex environments. It includes a method of diagramming that enables users to visualize these environments. This link is to a course offered by the Open University. It's mostly Flash-based, and if you view it without sound (as I did) a transcript is available. Watch for the incredible flying severed fingers. I haven't tried it, but you may also want to try the isee player, a systems thinking visualization tool. By Unattributed, Open University, Undated [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Measuring Digital Opportunity for America's Children
Using a technique called the Digital Opportunity Measuring Stick researchers surveyed children in the United States to determine whether information and communications technologies (ICTs) were improving their lives. Not surprisingly, they did, most specifically in the areas of health, education, economic opportunity and civic participation. Comprehensive study, good reference. By Various Authors, The Children's Partnership, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Intel Quietly Adds DRM to New Chips
Normally when a chip manufacturer introduces a revolutionary new feature it launches an advertising blitz. When it launches a feature none of its curtomers want, however, it keeps pretty quiet about it. That has been the case with Intel and its very quiet introduction of digital rights management (DRM) into some of its new processors. The chips are not without controversy, and not merely because they enshrine the Hollywood view of things into silicon. The details of how the chips work are being kept secret in order toi prevent hacking - but having undocumented chip functions creates a major security problem, especially when you consider that remote 'administrators' (whoever they are) can use the chips to disable remote devices such as printers of CD drives. Oh yeah, people really asked for this functionality. By Julian Bajkowski, Digit, May 27, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Devoid of Content
Would you want to ban content entirely from the classroom? Probably not, but Stanely Fish has a point when he observes that students are not taught the formal properties of language, "the distinctions - between tense, number, manner, mood, agency and the like - that English enables us to make." Having students create their own linguistic rules, I think, is also a good idea, helping them recognize the difference between the concept - the roles of adjective and adverbs, say - and the code used to express them. By Stanley Fish, New York Times, May 31, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Summer of Code
Google will be very popular with developers for a while as it sponsors students to create open source code over the summer. "Google will provide a $4500 award to each student who successfully completes an open source project by the end of the Summer." By Announcement, Google, June, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

[Refer] - send an item to your friends
[Research] - find related items
[Reflect] - post a comment about this item

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[About This NewsLetter] [OLDaily Archives] [Send me your comments]

Copyright © 2005 Stephen Downes
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.