August 14, 2006


Unattributed[Edit][Delete]: Weblogs in the Classroom, DET, Western Australia [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: Hits] Good list of links beginning with some theory, then a number of examples of blogging in different disciplines, and finally, some discussions of practice. Curriculum Materials Information Services (CMIS) has many useful pages worth a look (check out football in Australia). Via Dave Warlick. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Graeme Daniel[Edit][Delete]: Wikis in Education, WWWTools [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: Hits] The usual comprehensive set of links from wwwtools, beginning with a backgrounder on the nature and history of the wiki, and then looking at the use of the wiki in education. A surprising omission is Brian Lamb's Wide Open Spaces: Wikis, Ready or Not, which should not be missed in this context (maybe they'll update the page). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Matea Gold[Edit][Delete]: In the Big Picture, The Small Screen Doesn't Appear To Be The Next Big Thing, Chicago Tribune [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: Hits] I think the jury is still out on this one, though my tired old eyes tend to side with the headline. But how do young and agile eyes react? 13 year old Kaitlyn Brown comments. "It kept stopping midstream and stuff," she said. "I didn't really like it, so I took it off. It was extra money, and I didn't think it was worth it." So we're in 'not quite there yet' territory. Too soon to write off - let's see how people like it when it works well. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Leigh Blackall[Edit][Delete]: Phone call with Stephanie Rieger - Yiibu, Teach and Learn Online [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: 31 Hits] The audio quality is spotty - not sure whether that's the Gizmo recording or noise reduction - but the content is interesting as Leigh Blackall chats with Stephanie Rieger on the creation of content for mobile devices. Blackall argues that instead of creating PowerPoint slides, a more usable (and sustainable) alternative is the creation of image stacks - just create a set of photos and number them sequentially. Of course, unless you're pretty handy with Photoshop, PowerPoint is an easier design interface - but there must be a program for converting slide shows to image stacks... isn't there? [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Marie Jasinski[Edit][Delete]: Go Conative - Where There's Will, You're Away!, Best of the Australian Flexible Learning Community [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: Hits] Marie Jasinski weighed into a post today with a reference to this article, her explanation (and celebration) of connation. "Conation is derived from the Latin verb conari, meaning to strive! It refers to the act of striving, intentionality, of focusing attention and energy and acting with a purpose to achieve a goal. In other words, conation is about stickability, staying power, strength, stamina and survival." If you haven't seen this item before, it's well worth a look, as is Jasinski's entire Educhaos series (list of articles at the bottom of the page). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: DROID, The National Archives [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] DROID is now open source. What is DROID? "DROID (Digital Record Object Identification) is a software tool developed by The National Archives to perform automated batch identification of file formats." Cool. DROID is a product of PRFONOM, a set of services that support digital preservation functions. The site has a good collection of related tools. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Michael Feldstein[Edit][Delete]: The Blackboard Patent Crisis at Two and a Half Weeks, E-Literate [Edit][Delete] August 14, 2006
[link: 10 Hits] Last Friday, David Jakes defended Blackboard. "Isn't Blackboard, Inc. just taking advantage of what is available to them as a corporation?" And in the comments, Jeff Utecht piles on. "Do I like what blackboard is doing? No. Can they? Yes. And all you can say is God Bless America. You might disagree with me but it's things like this that make America great."

Today, Dave Cormier responds. "It was my understanding that, in America, making a monopoly was illegal (whether or not blackboard is doing this, David and Jeff seem to be acknowledging that blackboard is 'cornering the market' on elearning)."

Desire2Blog brings an interview with Desire2Learn CEO John Baker "to talk about the Blackboard suit as well as a few other things about D2L such as their recent growth and even pandemic planning."

At the two and a half week mark the Blackboard patent crisis is showing signs of breaking out of the edu-blogospehere. As Michael Feldstein reports, Tim O'Reilly has blogged about the issue (see alsao Tim Lauer.

It has also hit the mainstream press as well. In a column printed in the Toronto Star and on the BBC website, Michael Geist compares the case to the recent RIM patent battle. He comments, "Educators in the developing world are particularly uneasy, given that many rely on distance education and the delivery of electronic course materials as a primary, more cost-effective method of education."

Harold Jarche compares Blackboard's actions to the IBM patent heyday. "'OK,' he said, 'maybe you don't infringe these seven patents. But we have 10,000 U.S. patents. Do you really want us to go back to Armonk [IBM headquarters in New York] and find seven patents you do infringe? Or do you want to make this easy and just pay us $20 million?'"

Alfred Essa explains that Blackboard's actions, though evil, are rational (I tend to think their actions are more like burning the entire industry rather than seeing it fall to open source). He also comments on the trivial patent claim.

John P. Mayer has a nice summary of the next steps in the litigation process. "I don't know whether Desire2Learn will settle, but that has to be the math they are doing right now. The cost of settling and paying a royalty to license the patent versus the cost of litigating the patent."

Essa meanwhile also links to Blackboard's spin machine. "Mr. Chasen's letter flatly contradicts Blackboard's own press release... Blackboard has yet to explain to D2L or any else in the world the scope of its patent. I suppose when your market cap is over three quarter of a billion dollars (797.4M as of August 11, 2006) and three quarters of your headcount goes to sales, marketing, and general administration (including retaining an army of lawyers and spin doctors), you can afford to spin the facts and try to bully a small privately-held Canadian company until it submits or goes bankrupt."

Tom Hoffman writes, "My reaction seems to be a bit more jaded than that of my colleagues. For me, the wake up call on this issue was probably this email to the seul-edul list five years ago..." Yes, nobody but Tom Hoffman was worried about this before the Blackboard case.

Still, he's right when he says this: "I hope that Beth Noveck's Peer to Patent Project can get some promotion and support out of this hubbub. They're making progress in creating a system to work with the US Patent Office to formalize online community review of new patents so that the process we're seeing now on Wikipedia can happen before patents are issued, rather than after." [Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Browse through the thousands of links in my knowledge base sorted according to topic category, author and publication.

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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.

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