November 30, 2005

OLDaily

Brian Lamb: Ready for Prime-time Players? On the Reliability of Tagging..., Abject learning November 30, 2005
Brian Lamb asks, "is the emergent approach really ready for prime time? Because it's easy to talk trash about BlackWeb and other corporate behemoths, but at the end of the day reliability matters." Well sure (though it's not like Blackweb offers access to distributed content through syndication either). But I have long held that centralized syndication networks and categroization - like Technorati and tagging - are inherently unstable. Think distributed - think Technorati, but not as a centralized app, but as a localized one, that you (and not they) run. [Tags: Content Syndication, Networks] [Comment]

Paul Baker: News from the Wisconsin Center for Education Research November 30, 2005
Paul Baker writes in, "I produce a podcast at the wisconsin center for education research. Topics deal with teaching and learning, professional development, math and science education, school psychology, early child care, assessment and intervention in special education, education policy, and higher education. These podcasts may be of interest to students considering careers in education, and to practicing teachers pursuing professional development." [Tags: Online Learning, Assessment, Schools, Research, Children and Child Learning, Podcasting] [Comment]

Various authors: Yiibu November 30, 2005
Yiibu has been mentioned in the last few days by a number of commentators (for example, here), and it's interesting enough to pass on. Essentially, the idea behind Yiibu is that small content applications (called 'widgets') can be created and shared through RSS under a Creative Commons license. These widgets may be played not only on your computer, but also on your iPod, PSP or smart phone - they are, after all, nothing more than collections of JPGs with a viewer. I analysed one of the widgets, which is created using an authoring environment called OpenLaszlo, which essentially takes a bunch of resources and combines them into a single package viewable in (say) Flash; what Yiibu does is to combine the Flash with the raw resources and present it as a downladable zip package. What would it take, I wonder, to substitute a simple Javascript viewer instead of Flash? Then I could create a new widget just by editing the XML (though possible at the cost of rendering it viewable only using web browsers), something I can't do with Yuiibi (I tried). [Tags: XML, Web Logs, Metadata] [Comment]

David Davies: Amazing Plenoptic Camera, David Davies' Weblog November 30, 2005
This is very neat: "A group at Stanford University have created a plenoptic camera that takes a single still image but uses software to allow the focus to be set after the picture is taken." [Tags: None] [Comment]

Scott Jaschik: Twisting in the Wind, Inside Higher Ed November 30, 2005
I think that this article raises a good point: that academics who are sued for the content of academic articles should not be left 'twisting in the wind' by their institutions. But it sidesteps a more general issue: that the threat of lawsuit acts as an effective censor against people without the means to defend themselves, academic or not. It raises the question of whether justice ought to be available only to those who can afford it, or whether it is something that ought to be available to all members of society. Students, for example. [Tags: Academics and Academia] [Comment]

Derek Morrison: Collective Intelligence in a Corporate Higher Education Setting?, Auricle November 30, 2005
Commentary largely focused on my E-Learning 2.0 paper, but raising the question of the nature of changes to be expected by academic institutions. If other writers are any guide, then these institutions can expect to be governed by an increasingly corporate ethos. But while some corporations have embraced the potential of collective wisdom, most remain entrenched in a command and control model of governance. Academia's reaction to web 2.0, in other words, might be to move itself away from the governance model suggested by web 2.0. I thing this is a good argument and sounds a needed cautionary note. I have long been critical of the command and control mode of governance just because the concentration of management in a few hands means that the corporation is unable to respond appropriately to a complex environment. This corporate model, if applied to academia, would be equally dysfunctional. Does that mean academia should not change, then? No, that doesn't follow either. We need a distributed model of corporate governance, and this model should govern both academia and the next generation corporation. [Tags: Academics and Academia] [Comment]

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Stephen Downes

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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