January 2, 2006


Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Edu_RSS 2.0, January 2, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] Tomorrow I go back to work, and since my productivity will therefore nosedive (more on that below) this seems like a good time to release the current version of Edu_RSS 0.2. In the last few weeks I've gotten a lot done, and the system is now a complete whole, rather than scattered bits of hopes and ambition. This link is to a description; I also provide links to screenshots and downloadable code. People subscribed to Edu_RSS by RSS will notice a change in their feed as well, probably later today - the new aggregator is purring smooth as silk, the output validates, and so it is time to retire the cpu-munching older version. The list of feeds is changing too; I've tried to be inclusive, but have a look, and if you notice anyone missing that should be included, please send me a note.

Edu_RSS is important to me, because it's a concrete manifestation of the things I have been talking about over the last year as theories. You won't find classes or courses or any of that technocratical overhead in Edu_RSS. It's not an institution-based (and controlled) system, nor is it a learning management system, nor even (strictly) a personal learning environment. It's just you, your community, and the web, an environment where you are the centre and where your teachers - if there are any - are your peers. It is, I believe, the future - and where, one day, the next generation of Blackboards and WebCTs and Moodles and Sakais will make their mark. It's totally not what my employers wanted me to create - it's not proprietary technology, it doesn't lock down content behind a subscription wall, it doesn't embed eight levels of access and authorization. But I created it anyways, because I believe in it. [Tags: Subscription Services, Blackboard] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Rob Reynolds[Edit][Delete]: Technology Trends for the New Year, XplanaZine [Edit][Delete]XPlanaZine [Edit][Delete]Xplanazine [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Rob Reynolds consults the oracle and comes up with his trends for the new year. Good safe predictions in a year that, all things being equal, is pretty straightforward to predict: handheld convergence, gaming, blogging, podcasting, vodcasting, and social networking. [Tags: Networks, Podcasting, Games and Gaming, Web Logs, Portable Computers] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Graham Wegner[Edit][Delete]: Flattening The Pyramid Of Influence, Teaching Generation Z [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: Hits] In a world that needs millions of learning objects, what's wrong with this math? "My copy of CEGSA RAMpage magazine tells me that both the Aussie and Kiwi governments have committed more than $100 million to the Learning Federation project for 8000 Learning Objects. Using my LO calculator that works out to twelve and a half grand per object." What's more interesting that this reasoning is that it may, possibly, influence policy. "So read, learn, debate, remix, propose, add to and let's take back control of our profession. Do those higher up the totem pole really know what's better for students and their future than you?" [Tags: Learning Objects, Project Based Learning] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dave Cormier[Edit][Delete]: Wikibooks - A Project Suggestion, January 2, 2006
[link: Hits] You get the feeling now that things have been set in motion and that the final outcome is inevitable. Dave Cormier outlines his thinking behind "a well funded wikibook project as a viable alternative to the current publisher textbook hegemony." It's only a matter of time now, isn't it? Sure, there are things to think about, and Cormier begins to engage some of the issues. But the idea itself is inevitable. After all, who could stop it? [Tags: Books and eBooks, Project Based Learning] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unattributed[Edit][Delete]: Top Stories of 2005 For Academic Librarians, ACRLog [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] The post delivers exactly what the title promises. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Will Richardson[Edit][Delete]: Reinventing Ourselves in 2006, Weblogg-Ed [Edit][Delete]Weblogg-ed [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: Hits] Will Richardson talks about the trend toward change sweeping through the academic blogosphere. As David Wiley comments, "The notion of teacher as DJ may have been implied when people started applying the 'rip-mix-burn' metaphor to education, but lately I can't seem to get it out of my head." Yeah. Richardson adds, "But there's no doubt there is an energy around all of this right now, an urgency even. I'm feeling it in my own life, not just in the education sense but in a more global sense. What difference do I really want to make? What contribution?"

Quite so, and I find myself asking the same questions. And concluding that 2006 will be, of necessity, a year of change for me. I need to work on what matters to myself and the community and in an environment that supports that work, values it, engages with me on it. Where I work now, and where I live now, isn't working for me. I want to work in a place that sees me as something other than a means of transfering wealth from people and government to corporate shareholders, and to live in a community that has culture and diversity, new ideas and new ways of looking at the world. The sorts of things I am writing about and talking about aren't working either. Not because they're wrong - they're not, at least, not in my mind - but I feel a need to explore more deeply, to explore myself, my beliefs and values, and the world in which I live.

You know how you feel that you're on the verge of something important, but just can't wrap your mind around it? That's how I feel. Of course, I may just be deluding myself - I'm very good at that, and have deluded myself about a lot of things last year and during the course of my life. And I doubt that anyone will ever actually pay me to do the sort of things I want to do - we're all so wrapped up these days in funding competitions, commercialization, paperwork, and all that. And maybe there isn't a magic rainbow-land where every day of my life will feel meaningful and engaged and complete. And maybe I shouldn't be typing this, and maybe you shouldn't be reading it. But forget all that. This year isn't last year, and I will be charting new directions to points unknown. Maybe I'll founder, maybe not. But it's now, I think, or never - and I couldn't live with never. [Tags: Online Learning, Traditional and Online Courses, Web Logs, Academics and Academia] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Meg Spohn[Edit][Delete]: I Took the Green Pill, Megablog [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Leigh Blackall writes about and links to this post by blogger Meg Spohn, who was fired from her teaching position at DeVry over content in her blog (true to form, this happened with no warning and with no indication of what it was about her blog that offended them so). Reflecting on her decision to go public with the story, Spohn observes, "I was in the middle of an amazing community, and I didn't even know it." It seems to me that in a country that values its freedoms, incidents such as this should be viewed with some concern. [Tags: Web Logs] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Robert Paterson[Edit][Delete]: The Dumbing of Society and Corporate Control of Copyright - More on the Long Tail, January 2, 2006
[link: Hits] Good post with some engaging images looking at what happens to culture when it becomes a corporate commodity. Robert Paterson writes, "I see in this decision the relentless drive to dumb down all experience. The touching beauty and tenderness of the Pooh world and its relationships will soon be lost. As will the tragedy behind the story of a father, Milne, who could not show his real son the love and attention he needed but gave it instead to a son of his mind. Everything becomes crude and one dimensional missing the essence of Pooh. Even the art is now flat and crude." Sad. [Tags: Experience] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Albert Delgado[Edit][Delete]: HomePortals Home, Educational Weblogs [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: Hits] Content creation from multiple sources is all the rage (so I'm in good company). Here's a browser-based service that allows users to "build one's own modules and share them." And Marc Oehlert spots a reference to Ajax in a press release about the new Lectora content creation lunch box. [Tags: Online Learning, Course Modules, Web Logs] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Jonathan Calvert and Will Iredale[Edit][Delete]: Publishers Toss Booker Winners Into The Reject Pile, Times Online [Edit][Delete] January 2, 2006
[link: 3 Hits] Publishers talk a lot about the filtering and editing service they provide. An article like this shows that the service is dysfunctional. Why should we pay so much to them to provide this service, only to see it used as a mechanism for screening out and rejecting the best? [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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Stephen Downes

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Stephen Downes

Copyright � 2006 Stephen Downes
National Research Council Canada

Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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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


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