November 8, 2006


L.M. Orchard[Edit][Delete]: Firefox 2.0 breaks client-side XSL for RSS and Atom feeds, OXDECAFBAD [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: 11 Hits] Count me among those who doesn't like Firefox's new way of interpreting RSS feeds. Sure, I hate Feedburner styling. Still, at least I'm getting what I clicked on. The other option is to automatically subscribe to RSS feeds. Don't select that. At first I thought it was convenient. But twice in two days now I've simply wanted to see the content, not to subscribe - and Firefox efffectively made it impossible to see the content. Bad browser, bad. See also firefox, rss, xsl - from anger to apathy. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Dan Fost[Edit][Delete]: The Top 10 Lies of Web 2.0, San Francisco Chronicle [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] Heh. It's funny because it's true. ("It's all about community and sharing. But we told our venture capitalists that our exit strategy will make them rich. (Corollary: But you have to know someone to get into our conference/party.)") [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Andrew P. Smith[Edit][Delete]: The Role of Scale-free and Other Networks in Hierarchical Organization, [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: Hits] A nice easy read, some good (and knowledgable) discussion of networks, and a couple of interesting observations: first, that "the enormous complexity of the brain depends upon such a balance or interplay between differentiation and integration," Edelman and Tononi (2000) and second, "the basis for the scale-free organization lies in a positive feedback system," which of course OI knew but hadn't quite thought of in exactly that way before (because it implies that scale-free organization can be undermined (as it should be) via negative feedback. I know nothing about the origins of this paper, it being a reference to a Geocities site in an email that was cc'd to me last May (yes, I'm cleaning out my email). [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Sasha A. Barab and Jonathan A. Plucker[Edit][Delete]: Smart People or Smart Contexts?, [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: Hits] Interesting. "Ability and talent should not be viewed as constructs possessed by individuals but, instead, as sets of relations that are actualized through dynamic transactions... classrooms should not be considered merely as the sites where talent development takes place, but should actually be conceptualized as the context for a specific cultural milieu through which students develop understandings of what constitutes a talented interaction."

See also: Principles of Self-Organization: "An ecological model, or a model based on a relational ontology, grounded in current principles of self-organizing or spontaneously ordered systems, contextualizes (ecologizes) the learning situation and not only better captures the world as it is, but, we suggest, also dramatically potentiates the learner-facilitator interaction." Note that I am not the only one to talk about Boltzmann systems in this context. More from Sasha Barab (who really needs an RSS feed). Thanks, Sean, for the link. [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

George Siemens[Edit][Delete]: Knowing Knowledge, [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] George Siemens has now officially launched his book, Knowing Knowledge. The link above is to the website, which contains links to colour versions of the images, the print-on-demand version, the community, and the rest of the clutter that accompanies a publication release these days. But you can go straight to the book (PDF) from here. Kudos to George for release his book as free and open content (more than a few in our field recently have gfone the traditional closed-door approach to publication, violating the very principles they advocate in their texts).

There's a lot to like in the book, and Siemens's understanding of knowledge and learning shares a lot in common with my own. It is, of course, the differences that perplex me. Like, why he would write a book for business leaders. Or, why he insists on objectivity within a relativist epistemology. Or why, whenever he is challenged by orthodoxy, he gives up - there's always "a place" for things like hierarchy, formal learning, centralization, according to Siemens. Still, I like much much more in this book than I don't like, and the payoff for fuzziness and flexibility is likely to be broader acceptance, making my discomfit moot.

Also, see Siemens's presentation at the University of Manitoba yesterday (MP3 audio and PowerPoint slides) on social technologies. [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Chris Petter and Robert Clift[Edit][Delete]: Putting Learning Before Technology, of University Faculty Associations of British Columbia [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: Hits] In response to this discussion paper promoting Web 2.0 approaches to learning, prepared for the Campus 2020 process in British Columbia, the faculty associations responded with this criticism, attacking the document for its boosterism and noting that "Instead of basing their prescriptions on any critical analysis of what is working or not working in e-learning in British Columbia they describe what constitutes a catalog of technocrati hopes and dreams." The Faculty Associations are correct; the paper does go overboard, especially when it says Web 2.0 training should be "required". But by attacking a specific document they mask the impotence of their own thinking. It is tempting to compare the Faculty Associations' calls for further study to those of the global warming sceptics. When they write, "efficient and effective use of e-learning and its digital resources can only be properly brought about if properly studied, analyzed and reported on before being implemented on a wide scale," it is as though they had not lived through the last ten years. Come on now, let's move foreward. [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Chris Harvey[Edit][Delete]: My First Videoblog Entry, [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: Hits] Have a look at this. It was created using Blender, "a free program used for modelling, rendering three-dimensional graphics and animations, and interactive 3D applications," and the VLC media Player. Blender is cross-platform, as is VLC. This link explains how it was recorded. [Tags: ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Barry Dahl[Edit][Delete]: E-Learner Authentication, Desire2Blog [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: Hits] If you want to read about the incursion of totalitarianism into learning, you will want to read about 'The Device': "The device includes a camera, microphone, and biometric reader (finger scan), the device software evaluates input and compares to a pre-set threshold for sound and movement, excessive movement or noise activates the camera and microphone." The shiny sphere looks oh so cool, and at just $115 (paid by the student, of course) a pop, it brings you into the world of 1984 faster than you can say 2+2=5. Of course, as Barry Dahl says, "if someone is committed to cheating, then even the sledgehammer approach of THE DEVICE probably won't stop them." [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Edit] [Delete] [Spam]

Shaun Else[Edit][Delete]: Podcasting in Education, Maple Grove PS, Halton District Board of Education [Edit][Delete] November 8, 2006
[link: 1 Hits] The enthusiasm is palpable on this page as the author describes podcasting, links to coverage and success stories, offers curriculum and class plan ideas, and outline the (free) technology needed to make it happen. Via Lucy Gray. [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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Copyright 2006 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