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by Stephen Downes
March 1, 2007

Stanford President's $$$, Conflicts of Interest
I think this item is worth noting, given how often we are shown Stanford as a model of practice in the new public-private partnership entrepreneurial world. "The Wall Street Journal reports what the local media should have done long ago: Stanford President John Hennessy's myriad financial deals with Silicon Valley companies, including some fairly obvious conflicts of interest (which officials say aren't serious or have been dealt with)." Is this really the model of learning, online or otherwise, we would like to see in the future? How widespread is this sort of practice? Dan Gillmor, Backfence March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

And Now, the Animated E-Framework
Animation of the e-Framework (a set of coordinated tools to support e-learning). After clicking through a bunch of links (including a link-loop for the unwary) you get a 23 megabyte Quicktime that won't play on Linux. Which really in itself says everything you want to know (hint: YouTube exists now, we don't need unplayable video any more). Unattributed, Ferl / Becta March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Learning in Immersive Worlds: a Review of Game Based Learning
Substantial (73 page PDF) report on the use of games to support learning, including a section on Second Life. The report is well written and well documented but I am still uneasy with it, as it seems to me to take the perspective of the use of games by learning (eg., see the diagrams on page 36, and the conclusions on page 7 (eg. "Use of both leisure (commercial-off-the-shelf) games and proprietary games need to be embedded in practice effectively and in accordance with sound pedagogic principles and design."), which really seem to be in no way supported by the literature). Rather than using games in learning, I still think educators should be looking at how to use learning in games. Related: a greate example from GamaSutra of a game design document. As Clark Quinn observes, "they freely switch between lookup tables, flow charts, and other ways of representing their thoughts." Sara de Freitas, JISC March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

LETSI - The Proposed New International Steward for SCORM
There's a meeting coming up shortly in London for LETSI - that's 'Learning, Education&Training Systems Interoperability'. This is the body that is supposed to replace ADL as the custodians of SCORM, and to bring peace and harmony to the world of e-learning standards besides. According to the prospectus, membership is proposed to be limited to institutions who pay, say, $10K a pop. So you won't be seeing me there. What I wonder is why ADl couldn't vest the stewardship of SCORM with an existing organization. IMS, say. Or ISO/SC36. Or Creative Commons. More, from Sheila's Workblog. LTSC report (slides). Various Authors, SC36 March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Reject the Finish in 4 Fad
I took five years to finish my undergrad. That's because I switched majors in my second year (from Physics to Philosophy) and spent most of my first four years in the student newspaper office (where I got my real education). Yes, going straight through and finishing in four may be "efficient". But not very practical. Lesboprof, Inside Higher Ed March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Teaching Kids About Their Own Brains
I've read Hawkins's 'On Intelligence'; I thought it was pretty good. But this post reminds us how much knowledge is a matter of perspective. Long writes, "He believes that 'prediction is the fundamental component of intelligence.' Prediction? Prediction? Prediction?" Well, OK. That's not too far out there. From my perspective, pattern matching is the fundamental component of intelligence, reasoning that proceeds by means of similarity. But the very same phenomenon, viewed from a different perspective, becomes "prediction" (though not of the Hypothetical-Deductive variety). Christian Long, think:lab March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Campus Downloading Crackdown
The RIAA is attempting to convert universities into its own private enforcement arm (a lot the way librarians act as muscle for publishers). "We take this opportunity to once again ask schools to be proactive to step up and accept responsibility for the activities of students on their networks. It's not a legal responsibility, but a moral responsibility, as educators, as leaders transmitting values to their students." I think that the music industry has a lot of gall talking about morality. Here is the RIAA letter to university presidents. And here is the response sent back by David Ward, president of the American Council on Education (ACE). He writes, of 'technical solutions' proposed by RIAA, that "we believe the term 'solution' overstates the capacities of current technologies." More from E-Commerce Times. Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed March 1, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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