July 17, 2006


Tony Karrer[Edit][Delete]: Informal Learning - Let's Get Real, eLearning Technology [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 31 Hits] I have a lot of stuff today, stuff I've been saving as well as some items I hunted down. Tomorrow I am presenting online at e/merge 2006 - Learning Landscapes in Southern Africa, and I have decided to offer my thoughts on how we can know E-Learning 2.0 will work, indeed, is working. The links today almost all apply to that question and will show up in my talk tomorrow.

Tony Karrer writes, "I'm becoming convinced that folks in the informal learning realm are quite willing to live with 'free range' learning. It's way too touchy-feely and abstract for me. If this stuff is important, then I want to:

He is reacting to George Siemens, who writes, "We have a rough end target (solve this problem, innovate, adapt, etc.)...and we really don't have a clear process (other than teams, meetings, and emerging collaborative spaces)." I don't think Siemens is right, really, but explaining why - and meeting Karrer's challenge - takes a bit of doing. More on this tomorrow. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

MCM[Edit][Delete]: The Pig and the Box, Push the Third Button Twice [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] Direct response to the recent 'Captain Copyright' cartoon released by Access Copyright recently. The author writes, "I made the book after hearing how the entertainment industry in Canada is keen on teaching young kids about how to 'respect' copyright. That was a bit heavy-handed, I thought, and otherwise despicable. Preying on small kids, brainwashing them so they believe what you're doing is honourable and good... Feh." Quite so. Via Michael Geist. [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Patrick Lambe[Edit][Delete]: What is Knowledge Sharing?, Green Chameleon [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] A couple of good reflections on knowledge sharing, including this one on types of knowledge sharing ("A pop fan sets up a website about her favourite Taiwanese boy band") and the follow-up on the reasons why we share knowledge. Via Column Two. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Miles Berry[Edit][Delete]: Becta/Futurelab Innovation Workshop, July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] Miles Berry blogs the recent Becta/Futurelab Innovation Workshop (Day One, Day Two). The best bit is the shared vision distillede from the first day by facilitation team: "To create an ecosystem and processes, fuelled by the ever changing needs and ideas of all learners, nurtured by the people that support them and delivered to help individuals achieve their full potential." Berry criticizes "the emphasis on individuals achieving their potential, perhaps without recognition of a wider benefit to the community or society," but some people might ask (with me) what the point of a society is if it isn't to help individuals achieve their potential. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Kathleen Fitzpatrick[Edit][Delete]: Introducing MediaCommons, Institute for the Future of the Book [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] "We imagine MediaCommons as a wide-ranging network with a relatively static point of entry that brings the participant into the MediaCommons community and makes apparent the wealth of different resources at his or her disposal." The commen ts are supportive, which is niced, but I would ask along with cel4145, "Installing and configuring a content management system website is the easy part. Creating content for the site and building a community of people who use it is much harder." [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

David Maister[Edit][Delete]: Why (Most) Training is Useless, July 17, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I'm going to modify the presentation (which is overly business centric) to allow the author to make the point more generally: "Bringing about change is immensely difficult. It requires that managers schools address questions in four key areas:

He concludes, "that's what I focus on - primarily trying to get people excited about the topic, so they will leave the session school actively seeking out the new learning for themselves." Via Jay Cross. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Jeremy Hiebert[Edit][Delete]: Jere Brophy, HeadsPaceJ [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 15 Hits] As Jeremy Hiebert writes, "most educational research on motivation implies coersion -- basically trying to answer the question: 'how do we get people to do something they otherwise would not?'" This is because, as Jere Brophy states, "Schools are established for the benefit of students, but from students' point of view, time spent in the classroom is devoted to enforced attempts to meet externally imposed demands." But what would students learn if simply left to their own devices? There is surprising little research. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Wade Roush[Edit][Delete]: Marvin Minsky on Common Sense and Computers That Emote, Technology Review [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] Marvin Minsky gets at what is in my view the core problem with most mechanistic (and virtually all rule-based) theories of learning: " the kinds of AI projects that have been happening for the last 30 or 40 years have had almost no reflective thinking at all." Right. You can practice all you want, but if there is no means to allow this to actually change your understanding, the practice is of no use. But what does 'reflection' amount to in a rule-based system? Especially one where rules are 'innate' or hard-wired in the mind? If you are told what to do, or told what is true, where is the mechanism for changing this? Reflection (crucially) entails autonomy. Via George Siemens. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Helen Barrett[Edit][Delete]: WebCT Conference, E-Portfolios for Learning [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Helen Barrett offers her reflections on WebCT's new approach to e-portfolios and (more importantly, in my view) links to the latest version of her ongoing e-Portfolio slide show. The presentation covers a lot of ground, of which I think the section on 'reflection' (near the end) is the most useful. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Oehlert[Edit][Delete]: Continuing to Play Around With Webtops, E-Clippings [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 21 Hits] I think Mark Oehlert has a point here when he says they are the interface of the future, and not only because webtops are so similar to the old Netscape Netcenters. No, rather, it's because what we are seeing in the commercial products - 30Boxes, PageFlakes, ProtoPage, Goowy - is remarkably similar to what we are seeing (in concept, at least) in personal learning environments. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Miles Berry[Edit][Delete]: Elgg and Blogging in Primary Education, July 17, 2006
[link: Hits] Short and fairly basic article about using ELGG to have students create profiles, blog, and comment on each others' entries. "A good way of promoting learner autonomy and voice." Via Dave Tosh. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Alan Levine[Edit][Delete]: Rendering RSS inside Media Wiki, Cogdogblog [Edit][Delete]CogDogBlog [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 7 Hits] This idea has been around for a while, but has often been difficult to implement. Don't know why, it just has. Anyhow, Alan Levine offers this nice version inside media Wiki. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Darren Kuropatwa[Edit][Delete]: Multi-Lingual Blog Tools Update and BLC, A Difference [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 9 Hits] Odd title for this link, but ignore it. Mostly it's a link to a wiki called Whiplash, which covers Web 2.0 tools. I'll be linking to it in my talk tomorrow. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Unattributed[Edit][Delete]: Relational Database Normalisation Process, databasedev.co.uk [Edit][Delete] July 17, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] In some senses, the Semantic Web is like a big distributed database. This applies equally well to less formal instances, such as the RSS network. As such, there are basic, well-known, principles for its design. One set of these falls under the heading of 'normalization'. The idea of normalization is that you don't needlessly duplicate data entries. That's why I wince every time I see an author name entered into an element as a string instead of as a reference (or link) to an author record. This article explains database normalization and offers some examples. It's a bit of work to get through, but if you design metadata schemas or systems, please have a look. [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

About Me
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You know, the ones that appear in refereed journals of Outstanding Rank.

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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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