by Stephen Downes
January 24, 2007
Re: My Second Life
No, what was wrong with it was that it was an ugly designed-by-commitee hack job.
Nobody owns HTML, TCP/IP, or DNS, but those all seem to be working out pretty well.
Anymouse, January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
If You Read Nothing Else Today...
It's about pragmatism, it's about letting the marketers run the show, and I think I agree with Graham Wegner when he says you should read both Sarah Puglisi on How I see NCLB impacting me and Marg O'Connell on Teacher bashing and the politics of education. Graham Wegner, Teaching Generation Z January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
Internet Culture and the Evolution of Learning
I signed the Cluetrain Manifesto when it first came out, because I thought it captured something worthwhile. But I have always resisted the definition of 'internet culture' as defined by the whole Whole Earth - Wired crowd. In my article The Digital Nation?, written in 1997, I called it what it is: a marketing ploy. "Should Heaven and Earth move, and we all reject the free-market system as fast as a flooded North Dakota farmer, we would still be digital citizens. Wouldn't we?" More from Tom Haskins. Jay Cross, Informal Learning January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
No More New Speak, Back to Old Speak
Leigh Blackall offers some old terms that may be viewed less suspiciously than the new terms. Like saying "social constructivism" instead of "Web2.0 and Socially networked software." Nice. Except that, to me at least, the two things are very different. And except that, if somebody is only willing to listen for four seconds, then I'm not going to have much to say to them. But then again, since I don't view reality as socially defined, I don't feel as much pressure to 'sell' or 'convince' people of something. And as in the next item, I don't view "pragmatism" as a good reason for doing something that's incorrect. Leigh Blackall, Learn Online January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
George Siemens introduces the newly launched Lotus Connections with the comment, "the majority of individuals will start using these tools once the strength of the tools (decentralization, modularization) is replaced with a model less pure in spirit, and more in line with how many people prefer to work (i.e. centralization for reduced cognitive load)." Yes, but then they'll stop using these tools, because they don't really work very well, and they'll blame people for making overstated claims about them. It's not a question of some sort of ideological "purity," it's about building something that works. When you centralize these things, you break them. More on the Lotusphere, via Luis Suarez, who offers many screen shots. George Siemens, elearnspace January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
My Second Life
Interesting. Description of a teacher's experimental forays into Second Life. "I was able to talk with other educators and bounce ideas off of them... all of this could be accomplished in an educational centered chat room, but somehow this was different." Great, right? Well, there's this: "I still probably won't make it back into Second Life anytime soon because I don't have the real need right now." And I worry about this, from a CNN article: "It's the ability to use Second Life as a platform for a whole new Net - this one in 3-D and even more social than the original - with huge opportunities to sell products and services." And more, as noted by PacRimX, "Linden hopes to control the standards for virtual worlds so that they become the equivalent of the HTTP and HTML standards that define the web." We had a standard, remember? VRML. What was wrong with it? Nobody owned it. We need to be careful, as I argued in 2000, to preserve our public spaces. Jeff VanDrimmelen, EDUCAUSE Connect January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
On "The Perils of Stargazing" and the NMC Horizon Report
Scott Leslie (who has just switched from Movable Type to WordPress and so now has comments working) defends the NMC Horizon Report predictions listed here yesterday, calling them "that actually seem to bear some resemblance to conceivable futures, not 'wished for' futures..." Well, maybe, but as I said yesterday, the NMC list isn't a list of 'futures', conceivable or otherwise, it's a list of vague fads or trends everyone felt safe predicting, without regard to whether it had already happened or whether it was just some corporate hype. For the record, I do prefer Leslie's list: automatic translation, intelligent tutoring, and distributed identity. If you want more ideas, you could look at the KnowledgeWorks Foundation's Education map of the decade. Also see Donna Desroches's nice overview of the blog conversations around related themes; be sure to read the comments too. Scott Leslie, EdTechPost January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
School of Thought: Why Aren't E-Textbooks Selling
You can probably guess what my answer would be to the question in the title: something about inflated costs, closed marketplaces, and stupid DRM. According to this article, the answer is "lack of knowledge, poor marketing and few choices." Yeah, right. That's what they said about New Coke. The more interesting bit, though, is an interview with the International Digital Publishing Forum's executive director, Nick Bogaty, who, as the article states, "wants to make file extension .ops to digital books what .mp3 is to music." OPS - the Open Publication Structure (OPS) and its sister format, the Open Packaging Format (OPF), are to textbooks what LOM is to learning objects, more or less. Mostly less; OPS is a bit like a formalized XHTML used especially for book publishing, while OPF plays the same role as IMS Content Packaging, with some interesting twists. Bridget Carey, Miami Herald January 24, 2007 [Link] [Comment]
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