July 18, 2006


Tony Karrer[Edit][Delete]: Better Questions for Learning Professionals, eLearning Technology [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: 7 Hits] My online presentation for today was delayed until Thursday due to technical issues, which is just as well, because Tony Karrer has come out with a set of "better questions". For example, "How can I provide a development process, tools and systems that foster informal learning in a way that I know will have impact on the performance that I care about and that is repeatable?" But - again - who is the "I" in this question? The learner? The teacher? The CEO? The way we ask suggests so much about what we expect for an answer, for better or for worse. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Mark Morton[Edit][Delete]: Evidence of the efficacy of Active Learning, EDUCAUSE Blogs [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: 4 Hits] No doubt people will enjoy this. The author writes, "I reviewed a number of studies of the efficacy of Active Learning, extracted the most salient passages, and pulled them together into a single document." Not that many examples, but how many quotes do you need like this? "Both within a class and between classes, classes scored higher and less variably on items testing materials presented via active learning compared to lecture, autonomous readings, or video without discussion coverage." [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dave Cormier[Edit][Delete]: educationbridges.net - An Elgg for Teacher collaboration, July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] Another new online learning community. Dave Cormier writes, "Alex and Arvind have set up an elgg at educationbridges.net. Go sign up. Join the party." That's all very fine, but when I see things like that, I always ask, "What's wrong with what I am doing here?" The point is, these communities always want me to go there - but then my comments are spread all over the net under different identities. I want to stay here - if an ELGG wants my comments, why can't it pull them from a (filtered?) RSS feed, and if it wants me to read the comments of it's members, why can't it send (via an API?) a comment? I'd happily support, say, a Blogger API or something. (Why is this so hard?) [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Alan Levine[Edit][Delete]: Still Head Scracthing at Technorati, Cogdogblog [Edit][Delete]CogDogBlog [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] The A-List blogosphere has been remarkably quiet about this, and people keep quoting Technorati State of the Blogosphere figures uncritically, but Alan Levine is quite right to question the aggregator's credibility. I also do my own ego-surfing and have wondered about the mysterious changes in ranking, inconsistent numbers of links, and just plain weirdness (like jumping from "19 posts in the last 7 hours" to "19 posts in the last 5 days" as happened as I typed up this item, a span of about 5 minutes). Technorati is one of the few aggregator sites that does not depend on RSS (it reads the blog HTML pages, so it picks up blogrolls and other unrelated links) and has recently been suffering from blog spam. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Artichoke[Edit][Delete]: He's Thrown a Kettle Over a Pub, What Have You Done?, Artichoke [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] I really don't like Artichoke's writing style - but I like what he says (which means he gets to write it however he wants). Stuff like this, for example: "Perhaps with minimally directed inquiry we are trying to implement a pedagogy for learning that confronts and compromises what already exists, we are introducing change into a fiercely defensive technology, AND most significantly we are using success criteria based on maintaining the same old same old." Right. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Craig W. Smith[Edit][Delete]: Synchronous Discussion in Online Courses, Learning Circuits [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] The article is subtitled "A Pedagogical Strategy for Taming the Chat Beast" and that gives a pretty good sense of his attitude toward chat. No chaos and disorder for him! "The sense of community and connectedness was overshadowed by frustration. I wanted to have the opportunity to interact with the students in a more spontaneous manner while still retaining some semblance of order that would replicate a seminar-type environment." Most of the suggestions have to do with keeping quiet when other people are talking and staying on topic. The thing is, though, chat is natively a multi-threaded environment (that is, people are used to conducting several conversations at the same time) and forcing it into a single thread makes it stiff and unnatural. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Graeme Daniel[Edit][Delete]: ScreenCasts and ScreenCasting, wwwtools for teachers [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] Graeme Daniel looks at the topic of screencasting with his usual thorough touch, offering links to advice and examples before looking at the use of screencasts in education. I especially appreciated his caution: "the relative ease of putting a screencast together can be something of a trap, and a considerable number of candidates for possible use as examples were discarded because they were taking forever to arrive, screenshots were too indistinct, sound levels were too low, speech was impossibly fast, or messages were poorly put together." [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Bob Jolliffe[Edit][Delete]: Aligning the Ideals of Free Software and Free Knowledge With the South African Freedom Charter, First Monday [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] The author observes that while "the free software movement (and related efforts in the fields of science and culture) draws upon a tradition of freedom rooted in an American libertarian tradition," it is important to align "efforts to promote free software and free culture with the rich existing tradition embodied in the South African Freedom Charter." Existing inequalities in property ownership cannot simply be entrenched, he argues, particularly in view of the IP 'land grab' taking place in Africa today, an appropriation that represents nothing less than a new colonialism. Quite so. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Amy Gahran[Edit][Delete]: Tracking News Ripples in the Public Conversation, Poynter Online [Edit][Delete] July 18, 2006
[link: Hits] We're beginning to see more structure enter the blogosphere as the idea of tracking blog 'conversations' takes hold. I first worked with this last year in Edu_RSS - click the 'conversation' link on this page (hint: the posts with more asterisks have more conversation). This article looks at a similar initiative from Nielsen's BlogPulse. I still think conversations work better when limited to a peer group (eg., your personal social network) rather than the entire internet - click on the Jay Rosen 'conversation' and see whether you can make any sense of it. [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
Bio, photos, and assorted odds and ends.

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

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Copyright � 2006 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


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