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by Stephen Downes
February 12, 2007

Nature Medicine 2.0
A pretty ridiculous editorial, really. One would have thought more of Nature. "Everybody will eventually be famous to 15 people," reads the editorial. "In such a world, is there room for journals like Nature Medicine?" What appears obvious is that they haven't been paying attention - nothing in the 2.0 world prevents something from being widely popular (see next item). What changes is this: while the Nature editorial says, disingenuously, "Scientific journals, as it turns out, are also information providers," it means that scientific journals are not the only information providers, and that publications need to compete on the basis of merit, not on the basis of prestige or being the sole supplier in a monopoly market. Do we really have "a world divided into small tribes (some of which could well fit in a family minivan), in which the safety of being one of many people able to express their points of view has replaced the authority of experts?" No. That would be obvious - if they read something other than their own publication. Via Science Library Pad. Editorial, Nature February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Problems of New Media - The Book
This reconstruction of Gutenberg-era tech support, as a YouTube video, has been making the rounds over the last few days. I saw it first on Mark Federman's McLuhan blog. Mark Federman, What is the (Next) Message? February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Online Connectivism Conference
This page continues the discussion (and I guess the site will continue to function into the future) and, more importantly, houses full archives of the conference, including Google video versions of the actual live presentations. This is a really nice way to archive Elluminate presentations - much better than requiring people to download, install and run the Java Elluminate player just to get a playback. George Siemens, University of Manitoba February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Blackboard - Proving That Just Because You Know What a Blog Is, Doesn'T Mean You ‘Get It'
Scott Leslie is quite rightly grumpy after receiving being urged by a Blackboard PR Flack to cover its new social networking service. Grumpy, because the flack didn't even both to read his blog, which announced the service several weeks ago (and was widely cited in the blogosphere, including these pages, as having done so). "If you barge in waving your press release about, don't expect me to treat you any different than I would the vacuum cleaner sales guy who rings my doorbell during a dinner party." On the other hand - I don't get anything from Blackboard. So we know they're still capable of being petty. Scott Leslie, EdTechPost February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Toward a Theory of Discontent: What Can Learning Theory Contribute to Education?
"A theory is as much an assumption, a basis for belief, as it is an explanation, an ontology, or an understanding of things." So writes Christopher D. Sessums in this criticism of the theories advanced by George Siemens and I during last week's Connectivism conference. But this tactic of reducing all theory to the level of assumption, opinion and belief is misleading and, frankly, wrong. It's the tactic creationists use to make their fancies the scientific equivalent of the years of study and research that inform evolution. And in the same way Sessums argues that my own theory (which is not substantially different from that offered by George Siemens, despite the personification of Connectivism that seems to characterize some writing) "resists an explanation of how we overcome learning difficulties." Um.... huh? Sessums characterizes my and Siemens's work thus: "how do we design educational settings or social contexts for learning in such a way that they encourage and develop intentional learning." Perhaps he missed the bit where I said, "It's not a theory of intentional learning." You can't just wave your hands and say, "Oh I have "an instructional theory of discontent," whatever that means, and say, well, let's look at it from that perspective (or 'through that lens', as the jargon goes). Christopher D. Sessums, Weblog February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Applying the 80-20 Rule
Jane Hart asks, if "you have a £100,000 budget to spend this year, does that mean if you apply the 80-20 rule, you really only have as little as £20,000 to spend on formal learning? So what on earth do you do with the other £80,000?" It's a good question. And the answer is, of course, "access to 'learning' when they need it and just in time to do a task." But what does that look like? Because I access our organization's online resources basically never. How do you get people to look at them when they're needed, is ever? You have to look at the work flow. If you have a wiki, but staff have to stop what they're doing and open it up to use it, then they mostly likely won't. If you have a blog but staff have to access blogspot every day to use it, they won't. Because it's not part of their workflow. If I have £80,000 and worked in a normal office (ie., one where people start their day by opening their email) I'd hire someone to run a daily email newsletter (not once a week or once a month, because then they become Productions, over-engineered and not useful or habitual) linking to blogs, wiki pages and other stuff I'd encourage staff in various departments to produce. Jane Hart, Waller Hart February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Happy B-Day: Logic + Emotion Turns One
The Logic+Emotion weblog has been one of my favorites for, well, almost a year now. Author David Armano celebrates the first anniversay of the blog by releasing a year's worth of graphics in a PowerPoint presentation. Some good stuff here, such as 'Approach to Creating Experiences' (slide 18) and 'Visualizing the Network' (slide 25). David Armano, Logic+Emotion February 12, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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