January 27, 2006


Is E-Learning 2.0 For Real?
I have been participating in an online forum called the "Learning 2.0 Summit," a discussion that is (ironically) invisible to the wider web. Participants include people like Jay Cross, Robin Good, Mark Oehlert, Howard Rheinhgold, George Siemens, and a couple dozen more. This article collects some of my posts to date in that discussion.[Tags: ] [Comment]


Tom Hoffman[Edit][Delete]: Wireless Networking in the Developing World: a Practical Guide, ESchool News [Edit][Delete] January 27, 2006
[link: Hits] It's hard to imagine more important or practical knowledge for people trying to foster e-learning around the world than this. Tom Hoffman comments, "What's beautiful about this book is how well its authors understand the full range of skills and knowledge that a motivated team sitting in a village somewhere in the developing world needs to pull off a job like this." [Tags: Push versus Pull, Books and eBooks, Online Learning] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Ulises Ali Mejias[Edit][Delete]: Is Morality an Emergent Behavior?, Ideant [Edit][Delete] January 27, 2006
[link: Hits] I didn't mean for this week's newsletters to have morality as a theme, but a post today from Ulises points back to this link, making it three days in a row for me to touch on the topic. Perhaps that's just as well. In this item, he advances the proposition that morality is not based on reason (in fact, reason actually impedes it), but rather, "morality is actually an emergent behavior - in other words, a behavior exhibited by organisms acting according to very simple rules requiring little reasoning." If this is the case (and I believe something like it is) then it would seem to me that we sense, rather than infer, the morality (or immorality) of our actions. This sense, in my mind, is not the "moral reciprocity" that Ulises describes, not exactly, at least. It is more a sense of balance, of harmony, of being at peace with the world. [Tags: Newsletters] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: Guides to Metadata, CETIS [Edit][Delete]Cetis [Edit][Delete] January 27, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] If you find yourself mystified by the offhand references in this newsletter to metadata, LOM, Dublin Core, and other specifications, then this CETIS list of guides to metadata is a good place to get started. It begins with some links on metadata in general (what is metadata? why is it used?) and proceeds through some of the major types. [Tags: Newsletters, Metadata] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unknown[Edit][Delete]: Disney Launches Online Theme Park, Stuff [Edit][Delete] January 27, 2006
[link: Hits] I have long warned about what e-learning would look like when Disney got into the picture. That day has come. "Walt Disney has launched an online subscription service aimed at preschool children, completing its plan for what a Disney executive called 'an online theme park'. The advertising-free [except for the ubiquitous branding - SD], Playhouse Disney Preschool Time Online costs $US49.95 a year and is the most learning-oriented of Disney's internet subscription services for kids..." Here's the link to it. I tried it out on my desktop - a Linux system running Firefox 1.5 with all the plugins - and it punted me, saying it does not support Mac OS X. [Tags: Online Learning, Brands and Branding, Schools, Marketing, Subscription Services, Children and Child Learning, Ubiquitous Internet] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unknown[Edit][Delete]: How Do Developers Use HTML?, Google [Edit][Delete] January 27, 2006
[link: 6 Hits] Absolutely fascinating analysis of how HTML markup us used by developers, based on a Google study of roughly a billion web pages. Authors of metadata standards should look at these results (though they certainly should have observed these trends long before now, and yet, for some reason, don't take them into account). Perhaps the most telling - and characteristic - remark in the Google study comes in the discussion of the use of the body element: "One conclusion one can draw from the spread of attributes used on the body element is that authors don't care about what the specifications say. Of these top twenty attributes, nine are completely invalid, and five have been deprecated for nearly eight years, half the lifetime of the Web so far." Now we have to ask, when people don't care what the HTML standard says, why would they care what your standard says? A note on the graphics: the document uses SVG, which is in many cases not supported; they recommend using Firefox 1.5 if you want to see the images - of course, I am using Firefox 1.5 (on Linux) but the images are still blank. How hard would it have been to use the gif format instead? [Tags: Google, Metadata] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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Stephen Downes

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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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