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by Stephen Downes
March 2, 2007

Are Blogs a 'Parasitic' Medium?
"Could the blogosphere survive without the reporting provided by newspapers and TV networks?" Journalists are fond of saying that blogs depend on them for news. What I observe is that newspapers are parasitic on science, research, education and technology (to name a few). Look at the stories in OLDaily, or in the blogs covered here, and you will see real people struggling with real issues. The journalists just watch and wait while other people to say things, invent things, or do things - then they move in, create their own self-appointed 'experts', and act like they own the story. What has in fact happened is that other people are now doing to journalists what journalists have always done to other people. We are taking back the stories we create in the first place. And if journalists feel a bit exploited, well, welcome to the club. Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Canada.Com Now ...American?
There is something very wrong with the fact that - the online home for CanWest media properties - is now American. Readers should note that the site, which reports on and invites comments on Canadian news, "no longer falls under the jurisdiction of Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act ("PIPEDA") nor be subject to's Privacy Statement." I seldom link to from this site because of the registration requirement. And it's this sort of thing that underlines exactly why I oppose the registration requirement, even if (ahem, Canadian) laws protect that data from being abused. Greg Locke, Canadian Journalist March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

What Is a Dublin Core Application Profile, Really?
This is a pretty good post, though the writing is pretty dense - if you are not deeply into metadata and application profiles then you might not be interested in this post. Basically, Dublin Core (as with any metadata specification) leaves open the question of which sort of descriptions ought to apply to which sort of entities in different contexts. An application profiles provides this determination. In this post, the development of application profiles as 'templates' or 'patterns' is discussed, what might be called 'description profiles'.

That said, work is progressing on a Education application profile via a wiki on the Dublin Core site. And Sarah Currier, in a post to the JISC mailing list, reports on the recent DC-Ed working session in Mexico. "Diane Hillmann mentioned at the Mexico session of the DC-Ed group that we should have some criteria for deciding on what vocabularies to consider: she is reported as saying they should be 'intelligently designed, maintained, and either have URIs or are willing to talk to someone about URI assignments.'" For my own part, it is not clear to me that vocabularies ought to be designed in advance of usage. But vocabularies that exist ought, perhaps, to be documented, providing that we understand that such an account is descriptive, and not normative. Pete Johnston, eFoundations March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Students Should Use Google Calendar
I don't really use calendars. Mostly, I just remember things, though I will on occasion resort to a list if it gets busy (while a student I relied on a crumpled sheet of paper with assignment due-dates on it, and these days my email folders for conferences carry the conference date as the folder name). So my experiment with the Google calendar, a tenuous foray at best, ended when Google messed up the login IDs by combining Blogger and Google and offering no way to migrate data from one account to another. But the experience was otherwise positive and there was a lot to like about Google Calendar. Students could do a lot worse. Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Youtube Banned In Victoria (AU) To Halt Cyberbullying
The edublogosphere has erupted at the news that YouTube has been banned in schools in the Australian state of Victoria (oddly, since YouTube bans are actually fairly common). But the cartoon in this post says it best: "Put bullying back on the playground where it belongs." And also, "One of my students recently pointed out that cyberbullying is simply an imitated form of mass media. Take Britney's recent breakdown and all of the media coverage that it has provoked. You can already purchase 'Rehab Britney' on eBay. If we are going to ban Youtube, why not ban mass media while we are at it." The adults of this world are very frequently vindictive, mean-spirited and bullying. Why should they expect their children to be any different? Alec Couros, Couros Blog March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

The Frontier of Education: Web 3D
This is the best post of 2007 to date. My feeling is that the Web 3D described by Vicki Davis here is a lot more likely to have legs than the weakly insipid Web 3.0 touted by the backers of the corporate semantic web. "The 3D web has really been around since the Sims went online and allowed people to virtually live next to each other. However, things like Second Life, Xbox live, Google Earth and World of Warcraft, are just beginning to show the power of networks and engagement of the 3D web. Now things like Moove and Kaneva are cropping up. The MetaVerse roadmap first met last year to discuss the 'pathway to the 3D web.'"

And more, "I think the next big browser will allow you to interact in 3D with any website. (Yes, Second Life is open source, but the environment is not!) Why should you have to 'join?' Shouldn't there be protocols and filters and standards for a 3D web browsing experience just like we have with a 2D experience of words and static photographs?" Quite right. And maybe that's what bothers me most about Second Life. It's not like they invented 3D. It's not even like they're taking it to a good place. They've basically hijacked the concept and advertised their way into prominence. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog March 2, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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