July 13, 2006


Various authors[Edit][Delete]: TED Talks, July 13, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] I spent the afternoon listening to these talks (instead of preparing slide decks (bad Stephen, no cookie!)). Al Gore's talk was great ("Put yourself in my position..." he says, to general laughter). Majora Carter's talk was passionate and motivational. And Tony Robbins was a lot more lucid - and correct - than I had anticipated would be the case. Via elearningpost. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Tristan McCowan[Edit][Delete]: Approaching the Political in Citizenship Education, Educate [Edit][Delete] July 13, 2006
[link: Hits] This paper appealed to me, offering as it does a lucid and worthwhile comparison between the educational philosophies of Paulo Friere and Bernard Crick as it asks whether political education should be a separate subject, asks about its role in promoting conformity, and considers the dangers of indoctrination and the means of promoting political agency.

I liked the statement of Friere's position: "Contemporary society is seen to be characterized by oppression, whereby the oppressed are prevented from being subjects of history, and become mere objects, determined by other people's intentions and without real agency... that human beings must move towards increasing humanization." With this I certainly agree, though I am less inclined than the author to associate Friere with Rousseau's 'general will' - to be free of oppression is to assert one's own will in one's own way, not to be subsumed under a common will (this, too, is the key difference between my view of online organization, such as communities of practice, and that of various other writers). In this, then, I have more affinity with Crick. But I nonetheless see politics - and education, as they are indeed inseparable - as more than "reconciling different interest groups." It is to me essential that people realize themselves as agents who can act to determine their own destiny and to change the world.

This paper and others are featured in the first online edition of Educate~ is The Journal of Doctoral Research in Education. A brand new (and virtually empty) blog for Educate~ is also available, and I'm hoping the RSS feed will advise of new issues and papers. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Oehlert[Edit][Delete]: The Politics of RSS, E-Clippings [Edit][Delete] July 13, 2006
[link: Hits] I don't want to minimize the problems in RSS outlined here by Mark Oehlert (though I will point out that that the problems he describes, framing and spamming, are as old as the internet) but from where I sit they stem more from a misunderstanding of RSS than of any fundamental issue that needs to be fixed. They do not effect me at all, because I have never thought of the feed as some sort of 'broadcast' intended to capture 'market share' which would eventually be 'monetized'. The only thing reading these machine-generated feeds is other machines, and if the owner of one machine is silly enough to pay the owner of another machine for the privilege, that does not change my life, nor am I foolish enough to thing this is any sense revenue lost. The value of the feed is in the connection between me, the writer, and you, the reader (and vice versa, because it's always better when readers become writers) and these machine feeds do not interfere with that nor enter it in any way. They are completely outside the network, and there's no way for them to enter without our permission. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Alfred Thompson[Edit][Delete]: More on Educational Robotics, Computer Science Teacher [Edit][Delete] July 13, 2006
[link: Hits] According to Alfred Thompson, "Microsoft announced that they are partnering with Georgia Tech and Bryn Mawr to create a new Institute for Personal Robots in Education. This program is going to deliver robotics technology and curriculum materials for the computer science curriculum." Neat. Though it looks to me like Microsoft is taking on Lego. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Christopher D. Sessums[Edit][Delete]: Teacher Professional Development and the Learning Organization, Christopher D. Sessums : Weblog [Edit][Delete] July 13, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] This paper asks, "How can the notion of communities of practice support an inquiry stance by teachers?" By an "inquiry stance," he means "examination and reflection on their teaching practices with an eye towards improving or changing them." Communities of practice provide connections to other practitioners, argues the author, and they "provide the cognitive tools - ideas, feedback, models, and concepts - that educators can adopt." Maybe so, but it should be clear there's a lot more to it than this. Does it make sense, for example, to create a community of practice within a school, as opposed to across organizational boundaries but among people with whom you have more affinity? And why do people persist in treating communities of practice as though they were some sort of mini organization, with 'success factors' and other formal properties? [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Rachel Metz[Edit][Delete]: Google Has No Adsense.com, Wired News [Edit][Delete]Wired news [Edit][Delete] July 13, 2006
[link: Hits] AdSense Consulting, which has owned adsense.com since 1996, has finally given up telling people we are not Google and is selling the domain name - Google, which has meanwhile stomped all over the small company's name, has no comment. The least they could have done is let the company run Adsense Ads. But no, not even that. Meanwhile, in another story, the National Post decided it liked a blog post and simply ran the post in the newspaper without permission or payment. Stories like this just feed my scepticism about the ethics of copyright - it is something, it seems, you must respect unless you are large enough and rich enough to simply take what you want. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

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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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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