November 3, 2006


Stephen Downes[Edit][Delete]: Understanding Learning Networks, Reprise, November 3, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] This is my last talk for a while, I think - I have no travel and no talks planned at all right now. This is a good thing - it will let me rest and reflect and even get some coding done. There are some changes coming to my work and my website which I need to prepare for as well. In the meantime, it was nice to have the time to explore the topic in some detail, and the very willing audience here at the Universite de Moncton was more than gracious. So here we have almost three hours of learning networks and where learning is going from here. PowerPoint Slides (almost the same as the ones from Spain) and MP3 Audio (28 megabytes, 2 hours, 45 minutes) (which hardly even resembles the other talk). [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Kathy Sierra[Edit][Delete]: Why Does Engineering/Math/Science Education in the US Suck?, Creating Passionate Users [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: 4 Hits] Kathy Sierra pretty much sums it up with this diagram:

Don't miss the dozens and dozens of comments (oh, how people respond to a good graphic!). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dave Snowden[Edit][Delete]: Communities of Practice, Cognitive Edge [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] I am very much in agreement with this post. Dave Snowden writes, "communities can evolve, but cannot be designed top down... you can not replicate the end point of an evolutionary process." He points to two disastrous approaches: "Creating an organisational template for communities of practice, with a full roll out plan, dedicated staff etc. etc. [and] Taking a paternalistic (or maternalistic approach) in which people are held to be children or kids needing help or assistance." Oh, how often I try to resist these two tendencies on the part of educators! Via elearningpost. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Tony Karrer[Edit][Delete]: Incredibly Cool! Vision of Future of Application and eLearning Development, eLearning Technology [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: 16 Hits] OK, I know why Tony Karrer is calling this "incredibly cool," but no, it's not, it's a mess. I know it seems really cool, because it brings so much stuff into a page. But I couldn't put my mouse down n it anywhere without clicking on something, windows would stay open, I have tabs piling up on each other, and through all of it I couldn't find anything useful, and there was no place to actually create anything. We're not there yet - Web 2.0 is going to be, more than anything, simple, not a horrendous desktop mess. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Lexa[Edit][Delete]: Open Source Learning Resources Repository, eLearning across the globe [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: Hits] According to this item, "European Schoolnet has recently released MINOR, an open source 'repository to store, manage, and exchange the multimedia assets produced by teachers', as it says in the news article they recently published. The application and source code can be downloaded from Sourceforge." MINOR stands for "Minor Is Not an Object Repository." Coded in Java, which means it's a pain to install and run (yeah, I know, my biases are showing - but I havenever seen a Java application run problem-free). [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Tom Hoffman[Edit][Delete]: You Can't Say "Free Software" in NewSpeak, ESchool News [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Tom Hoffman looks at the Education Map of the Decade I linked to yesterday and picks up on an omission I should have noticed: "I found this map's omissions to be chilling. Specifically, a whole range of technologies and new collaborative practices are sketched out, but there is not a mention of the role of free or open source software." Good point. I wonder what a map like that created by our community would look like. I wonder what software we could use to try. Suggestions? [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Lucy Gray[Edit][Delete]: Infinite Thinking Machine, November 3, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Lucy Gray recommends this site and posts, "Sponsored by Google and produced by WestEd, seven educators from the blogosphere are contributing their thoughts to this space. The real star of this blog, though, is the internet t.v show produced by Chris Walsh." I agree; this looks like a site worth following. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Andy Carvin[Edit][Delete]: The Semantic Web and the Online Educational Experience, PBS TeacherSource [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: Hits] Andy Carvin takes the occasion of the launching of the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) to discuss how the Semantic Web will change the way the web works. It's not a bad discussion, but I think it misses a very important difference between Web 2.0, properly so-called, and the Semantic Web, properly so-called. And that is this: the latter depends largely on formal specifications involving a lot of overhead, such as schemas, ontologies, web services, and the like. But Web 2.0 was developed using very simple and often informal protocols, such as RSS, FOAF and REST. There is room, of course, for the two approaches to co-exist and even communicate. Still, the semantic web is an enterprise-heavy approach, while Web 2.0 is the populist approach, and there is an ongoing tension between the two. Ironically, learning object metadata (LOM) takes the worst from each approach: it lacks the simplicity of Web 2.0, but it lacks the semantics formalism of the Semantic Web. [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Various authors[Edit][Delete]: DimDim, November 3, 2006
[link: 2 Hits] Leigh Blackall writes on TALO: "DimDim - open source web conference tool, is available as an alpha download. Dimdim is an open source web conferencing product with features like Application, Desktop and Presentation sharing with A/V streaming and chat. No installation is needed on the Attendee side and all features are available through a web browser." [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Lisa Sanders[Edit][Delete]: Ignore the Research and Trust Your Gut, Advertising Age [Edit][Delete] November 3, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] This is actually good advice. David Jones, CEO of global agency network Euro RSCG Worldwide "exhorted listeners to stop asking permission." He argued, speaking to advertisers (but he could just as well have been speaking to academic), "Our industry cannot delegate the creation of brilliant ideas to consumers. We have to be at the starting point," he said. "Consumers can take off from there." [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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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