Ruby, Blackboard and the Challenge for Open Source  
October 24, 2005 Today's newsletter is coming from Toronto, where I'm at the Free Software and Open Source Symposium where I talked about why it is important for the open source software community to embrace open content. Slides are available online in S5 (opens in your browser) and as well audio - original (11.5 megabytes - may be too faint) and amplified (7.8 megabytes - may be too loud). [Comment]


Dave Cormier: E-Learning 2.0 - Why Bother?, Dave’s Educational Blog October 24, 2005
First-rate blog post reflecting on what e-learning 2.0 really means (and as far as I'm concerned, the name 'e-learning 2.0' is just convenient shorthand, not some branding exercise or anything like that, shorthand for what is already happening whether I'm around to give it a name or not). What Dave Cormier gets is that what is represented here is a new literacy, or as he says, that students have more literacies than their instructors. But, "The skills, or literacies, haven't changed. What has changed is what it means to 'know'. We will still learn this knowledge using our ability to work together (now more important than ever) and our memory will definitely be used diffently, but knowing is about connection. It's about communities of knowing..." [Tags: Online Learning, Brands and Branding, Web Logs, Visualization] [Comment]

Boris Mann: Distributed Social Networking, B. Mann's Consulting October 24, 2005
How to move things another step forward: "Whatever the pieces of the infrastructure are, we still need to be able to pass rich user profiles back and forth. We've got an RDF-based one in FOAF, we've got a microformat one in XFN, and we've got a desktop app-compatible one in vCard. What's missing? An extensible XML-based format for user profiles that is standardized and widely deployed." [Tags: XML, Metadata] [Comment]

Sean Gallagher: Sun Spins Off Education Project as a Nonprofit, EWeek October 24, 2005
Interesting. "Instead of 'No Child Left Behind,'" said (Sun CEO Scott) McNealy, "we [want] 'No Child Held Back.'" This is the thinking behind his announcement last Wednesday at EDUCAUSE "that it (Sun) is spinning off its effort to create an online, open-source educational resource library as a nonprofit organization." The Global Education Learning Community is "an effort to create open-source educational materials for primary and secondary learning, including textbooks and tests." Cool. [Tags: Online Learning, Assessment] [Comment]

Unattributed: Virtual & Managed Learning Environments, Learning Link October 24, 2005
Stephen Powell writes in ITForum (which I can no longer link to, thanks to a new login barrier): "I have been working on an evaluative framework for Online Learning Environments... From this work we identified three broad categories that need considering when making choices about ILE. These are:
- Learning - Focuses on aspects related to the learning process and pedagogical design.
- Administration - Focuses on the organisational, management, and administrational issues with the institution
- Technical - Focuses on both the technical and infrastructure requirements and support required
He also recommends this site, which looks like a good overview of resources which will help assess these factors. [Tags: Online Learning, Ontologies] [Comment]

Corey Murray: Schools Offered New Video Royalty Deal, ESchool News October 24, 2005
According to this story: "Acacia Research Corp., the California-based company that claims it owns a patent covering all streaming video and audio technology, says it has reached an agreement with university attorneys that opens the door for schools to begin paying royalties..." Personally, I think think this is ridiculous, and the idea that this company (that nobody has ever heard of) has 'invented' streaming media is laughable. (Note: this site will throw a registration wall after page one - which is also ridiculous, but in a different way.) [Tags: Copyright and Patent Issues, Schools] [Comment]

Sande Chen and David Michael: Proof of Learning: Assessment in Serious Games, Gamasutra October 24, 2005
I don't really like the author's distinction between 'serious' games where "serious games have education as a primary goal while video games focus on entertainment." That said, this is nonetheless an article worth reading on the task of evaluating educational achievement within games. Methodologies (which will be familiar to game players) include passage through tutorial sessions, game scoring, levels, completion evaluation and more. And all of that said, I wonder how much truth there is in this: "[Serious games] will not grow as an industry unless the learning experience is definable, quantifiable and measurable," Corti says. "Assessment is the future of serious games." Via ADL. [Tags: Online Learning, Experience, Games and Gaming] [Comment]

Press Release: Sakai and LAMS Integration Released, LAMS Foundation October 24, 2005
We knew this was coming, and now the announcement is here: LAMS and Sakai are now integrated (LAMS is a learning design tool, and Sakai is a learning management system). [Tags: None] [Comment]

Phil Jones: Alternatives to the Semantic Web?, Platform Wars October 24, 2005
What is the alternative to the semantic web? How about this: "I'll suggest the alternative to the SemWeb is the SynWeb, a web which doesn't need 'key identifiers'. A world with lots of online data, marked up with syntactic cues which make it easy to parse (eg. good old fashioned XML, or Markdown or YAML); more powerful tools and libraries for parsing and querying data with these formats; plus lots of programs which scoop up the data and combine them in interesting ways." I think there's merit to this. [Tags: XML, Metadata, Semantic Web] [Comment]

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Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

Stephen Downes

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