Informal, Connected, Learning 2.0  
November 7, 2005 Jay Cross, George Siemens and I sat down and chatted in jay's Breeze conference facility last Friday, a conversation that - with some slides and some video of Jay in his office, was captured as a Breeze presentation. It's pretty loose and unstructured - viewers should realize that this is a conversation, not a presentation, and that we're trying to work our way through to some ideas, rather than to present some insight. Topics covered include connectivism, the role of corporate training, learner-centeredness and e-learning 2.0, and more. Expect audio issues as well (next time we should just lean on the folks at Ed Tech Talk for the use of their facilities ;)). View the Conversation. [Comment]
Megathinking for Higher Education  
November 7, 2005 Response to Roger Kaufman, Defining and Delivering Measurable Value: A Mega Thinking and Planning Primer. A good part of what is presented here in the dressing of new terminology is common-sense advice that has been with us, by means of business literature, for some time. [Comment]


D'Arcy Norman: WordPress 1.6 + Flickr Integrated into Media Manager, D’Arcy Norman Dot Net November 7, 2005
Stuff like this is going to be big. Very big. Combine Web 2.0 style access to remote content, RSS feeds, and whatever to Ajax style authoring tools and you get... magic! This is how students will write essays in the very near future; this is how you will compose learning resources. All open source, all open access, and with Creative commons licensed content (see below). It's in applications like this where a lot of the stuff that I write about that doesn't seem to have very much to do with online learning comes together and becomes very important in online learning. Related: SuprGlu - Web Service For Combining Content From Many Sources (eSchool News) - here's the SuperGlu site. Jay Cross also comments on SuperGlu. [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs, Schools, Open Source, Web 2.0] [Comment]

Adam Bosworth: Learning from The Web, ACM Queue November 7, 2005
I think this is a pretty important article, at least, the first half is, because of the advice it gives people who are trying to develop systems and standards. It repeats a mantra I have been known to utter on occasion: learn from the web. What, specifically? Well, things like this: "Simple, relaxed, sloppily extensible text formats and protocols often work better than complex and efficient binary ones." because they're easier to use, and when you want abillion people to use something, it needs to be easy. Or: "The wisdom of crowds works amazingly well. Successful systems on the Web are bottom-up. They don’t mandate much in a top-down way." Make it possible for people to do things, without telling them what to do, and they'll amaze you. Like the web. Via Tim Bray. [Tags: None] [Comment]

Dick Hardt: Identity 2.0, OSCON 2005 November 7, 2005
I have been sitting on this widely circulated video for a while, waiting to actually view it before passing it along in this list. Now that I actually have viewed it, I can pass it along with an enthusiastic recommendation. Much of what the author, Dick Hardt, says about identity has been echoed in these pages. Moreover, the 2.0 of Identifty 2.0 is the same as the 2.0 of e-learning 2.0 - it means an end to walled gardens, user control, transparent access to resources. The video is half an hour long and streams nicely, and is worth your time (even if it means sitting on the link for a few weeks before you get to it). More discussion at the Identity 2.0 blog. [Tags: Online Learning, Web Logs] [Comment]

Matt Biddulph: REST on Rails, XML.Com November 7, 2005
REST stands for 'Representative State Transfer' and is like web services on the cheap; it's a way to easily transfer structured information from one online application to another. Rails is a website framework that I have written about recently. Put the two together and you have REST on Rails. Mostly for geeks; pass on this one if you didn't like my Ruby on Rails stuff. [Tags: Ruby, Web Services, Games and Gaming] [Comment]

Announcement: Google Advanced Search Enables CC-Customized Searching, Creative Commons November 7, 2005
Good news on the search front as Google now supports Creative Commons searching. This will help people use the search engine to find content they can reuse without the fuss and bother of clearing copyright with publishers or, worse, unknown authors. Google joins Yahoo, which launched a similar service several months ago. [Tags: Books and eBooks, Copyright and Patent Issues, Google, Yahoo!] [Comment]

Jenny Levine: Digital Utes, The Shifted Librarian November 7, 2005
Another Pew report (is this a new one? I've lost track - they must be paid by the piece). The usual: "12 to 17-year-olds look to web tools to share what they think and do online. It also said they were much more likely than adults to read and have a weblog. The report found that those who did have blogs were far more likely to remix and share music and images." Summary with links to articles and commentary. More here: "an astounding 57 percent of online teens in the U.S. create online content and 19 percent are remixers." Only 19 percent? Methinks the youth are being careful about what they tell the pollsters. Will Richardson also comments on the idea of 12 million teenage content creators. [Tags: Web Logs, Adults and Adult Learning] [Comment]

Bill Ives: Academic Bloggers – Blog and Perish?, Portals and KM November 7, 2005
More coverage of (the dangers of) academic blogging. Some people still ask, "What is the purpose of broadcasting one's unfiltered thoughts to the whole wired world?" If such a person had followed this forum over the ten years of its existence, they would have no such question. And they understand why running the risk of being wrong, or appearing stupid, in public is well worth the reward. Indeed, from my perspective, Crooked Timber's Henry Farrell has the more accurate take: "For these academics, blogging isn't a hobby; it's an integral part of their scholarly identity. They may very well be the wave of the future." That's where I think I am. The future. [Tags: Web Logs, Academics and Academia] [Comment]

Michael Geist: The Canadian Move Toward Open Access November 7, 2005
Follows up on Arthur Carty's editorial a couple weeks ago advocating an open research agenda in Canada. The author makes the (accurate) point that the canadian research environment could be much more open, and that policy and legislation is tending to close it more than to open it. "The failure to include policy reforms to facilitate the unlocking knowledge is an embarrassment," he writes. "Canada has a world class Internet infrastructure and has experienced impressive growth in university based research and development.... If Canada is to maintain that growth, we should follow the advice of our new national science advisor. Science and research success depends on tearing down barriers, not erecting them. A national commitment to open access is the right place to start." Hear hear. Also of note is a new book, edited by Michael Geist (and freely available online), called In the Public Interest: The Future of Canadian Copyright Law. I haven't read it - I'll buy it in dead-tree version should our local Chapters ever decide to start selling books again (instead of cheese, trinkets and yoga mats, which is what passes for product in their bookstores these days). Also: Michael geist speaks on Canadian copyright law at the University of Alberta (11 mB MP3). [Tags: Canada, Copyright and Patent Issues, Experience, Research, Podcasting] [Comment]

Various authors: Isle of Man Photographic Society November 7, 2005
So I have been trying to track down my roots to the Isle of Man (my grandfather may be from there, and there are certainly people named Downes on the island) and I ran into this site, full of beautiful photos of the island. Naturally, I had to pass the link along. [Tags: None] [Comment]

Sujatha: Beyond Blogging: Volunteering at Akshara III, Everyman's City November 7, 2005
This initiative represents a new dimension in the relationship between blogging and education, as a group of bloggers gets together to assist with a reading project in the primary schools in Bangalore. Via Global Voices. [Tags: Web Logs, Project Based Learning, Schools] [Comment]

Ewa Callahan: Cultural Similarities and Differences in the Design of University Websites, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication November 7, 2005
I'm not sure how useful this is, but I nonetheless found this exploration of cultural differences in university websites fascinating. "Certain characteristics occurred more frequently than in other countries: use of photos in Sweden, art depiction in Greece, use of animation in Malaysia and Ecuador, pastel colors in Japan, etc." More articles, including a special section on culture in computer mediated communication, in the current issue of JCMC. [Tags: None] [Comment]

Projects & Collaborations
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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Stephen Downes

Copyright © 2004 Stephen Downes
National Research Council Canada


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I want and visualize and aspire toward a system of society and learning where each person is able to rise to his or her fullest potential without social or financial encumberance, where they may express themselves fully and without reservation through art, writing, athletics, invention, or even through their avocations or lifestyle.

Where they are able to form networks of meaningful and rewarding relationships with their peers, with people who share the same interests or hobbies, the same political or religious affiliations - or different interests or affiliations, as the case may be.

This to me is a society where knowledge and learning are public goods, freely created and shared, not hoarded or withheld in order to extract wealth or influence.

This is what I aspire toward, this is what I work toward. - Stephen Downes