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by Stephen Downes
February 15, 2007

Upcoming
Bee recommended this site on the TALO list a few minutes ago and it certainly looks like it's worth more time. Upcoming is a social events calendar generated by the contributions of members. Sort of like social networking for calendars. It sent me to the Toronto page (it must have read my .ca address and, well, just assumed) and lists everything from mesh, BarCamp, PodCamp and Idea City (I went to Idea City once in 2003, it was such a good conference, I would love to go back but it's just too expensive). Various Authors, Yahoo February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Web 2.0 Can Benefit the World's Poor
Web 2.0 applications are free, notes the author, and they are mostly web-based, which means people can use them without making a major investment, especially since "progress has been made toward providing access via internet caf├ęs, government installations, kiosks, and computing clubs." I am inclined to agree, and would observe as well that web 2.0 aplications are especially appropriate for mobile computing applications. Waleed al-Shobakky, SciDevNet February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

The Protestant Ethic Strikes Back: Open Source Developers and the Ethic of Capitalism
There seems to be some regression away from the original objectives of open source software, at least, if we are to judge by this month's First Monday. In one article, Tragedy of the FOSS commons? , the tragedy is an under-production or maintenance problem and that "institutional designs - norms, formal rules and governance structures - often help to overcome commons tragedies." Scott Leslie calls this article a "gem" but I am less enthused. In the other, the authors assert that "old and familiar modes of organization based on waged labor are increasingly a part of developer communities." Both papers highlight the role companies are playing in the development of open source software. The implication, it seems to me, is that the companies are using the developers, and therefore, changing the FLOSS culture. But I wonder whether the reverse isn't true, that it's the developers who are using the companies. Teemu Mikkonen, Tere Vaden, and Niklas Vainio, First Monday February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

What Is eLearning 2.0?
Nice non-technical overview of e-learning 2.0 that steps the reader through the essential concepts, getting quickly to the heart of the matter with knowledgable examples. Like this: "Hang on - I use Lectora and I already have 'drop in' interactions. What's different here? Well you do and its pretty much the same. But using add-ins instead of what the authoring tool provides allows me to choose best of breed." Yes. Exactly. Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Unanswered Question
Andy Roberts asks this, following the Connectivism conference last week: "My biggest unanswered question is about the politics of connectivism... If we embrace the theory and refer to it in our own practice then we are helping to spread an idea, a perspective, which has implications and consequences." I think it is clear in these pages that the understanding of how people know and learn carries with it political implications, as it argues for a set of principles - diversity, say, or decentralization - on the basis of improved learning and more reliable knowledge. It also, by postulating a distributed theory of knowledge, very clearly assigns to each individual an inherent worth or value. This in my view creates a political theory that some people would call radical (I wouldn't). That said, there is no need to 'spread' the theory. It will spread itself. The heart of the theory is that one should live his or her own values and principles, be true to oneself, and (as they say) speak truth to power. Andy Roberts, DARnet February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

In Defense of Lecturing
Readers know that I am engaged in a conversation with the people who learn from me. This blog is a part of that conversation, as are their writings on their own blogs or in the comments. A part of that conversation occurs in the form of lectures. One may wonder, why don't I step to the background and let people take charge of their own learning. Well, for one thing, they are in charge of their own learning; I do not tell anybody what they must do. And for another thing, it is no part of my theory that those who teach should become wallflowers. Teachers should model and demonstrate. And that includes a good impassioned discourse on the subject of their expertise. This article, which is a defense of the lecture, captures this. "Students benefit from seeing education embodied in a master learner who teaches what she has learned... as models of knowledgeable adults grappling with first principles in order to open their students' understanding." Mary Burgan, Change February 15, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

 

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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes
Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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