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by Stephen Downes
March 5, 2007

How the Open Source Movement Has Changed Education: 10 Success Stories
I think the author's definition of 'open source' is a bit loose - how else could 'Google' get onto the list? - and I think that the definition of 'success' is even looser - how else could OpenOffice get onto the list - but the author has nonetheless made the point that open source (or open something) has changed learning, and for the better. Via Peter Suber. Unattributed, Online Education Database March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

E-Authoring Our Eduselves
Doug Noon raises the interesting thought that a student's portfolio is a way to evaluate his or her teachers. Not an entirely fair way (because, after all, what teacher can control his or her charges?) but useful enough to give a rough indication. "Not that I'd mind," he writes, "but here I am just making it up as I go! There's no standards for e-portfolios yet, are there?" More thoughts on student web postings from the Illuminated Dragon. Doug Noon, Borderland March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

What Is Web 2.0? Ideas, Technologies and Implications for Education
This is a very good report capturing some of the main ideas behind Web 2.0 and looking into some of the implications. If you are new to Web 2.0, this is an excellent introduction. The author depicts Web 2.0 not simply as a new set of technologies but also as the emergence of six major ideas: individual production and user generated content, harness the power of the crowd, data on an epic scale, architecture of participation, network effects, and openness. The author gets into the details quite well - there is, for example, a nice outline of AJAX, an informed discussion of SOAP vs REST, and a good sketch of the issues between Web 2.0 and the Semantic Web. At other times, though, the document reads as though written by an outsider - it depends too much on formal sources and people like Tim O'Reilly and Chris Anderson and John Seely Brown. And it addresses teaching and learning in just over a page, while devoting almost ten pages to the big problem of permanence of web resources (how did that become the major issue involving Web 2.0 in education?). The criticisms, though, are trivial - this really is an excellent report. PDF. Paul Anderson, Journal March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Quick Guide to New USAToday.Com Features
Interesting. USA Today has redesigned their website to embrace Web 2.0 features wholeheartedly. Is the world ready for a USA Today Social Network? As Scott Karp reports, the first reviews from readers have been negative. Very negative. But I wonder. The first complaint is from a person looking for the commodity prices. This must be the only person in the world getting their commodity prices from USA Today. That doesn't mean they're totally off-base. The front page is too busy. But what do you make of this comment? "If you move the mouse down on the way to the headline, you'll most likely mouse over another thumbnail." But why would you do that? You just read the headline. See also Ross Mayfield, Steve O'Hear. Unattributed, Website March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

Can the $100 Laptop Change the World?
The answer suggested by this article is "yes" and I am inclined to agree. As George Siemens notes, the first paragraph tells the story. "What if every child in the world could have a free personal laptop? Put some e-books on it, make it Web-capable, and add a palette of media tools so children could work on creative projects. Wouldn't that be incredible?" Yes it would. But there's a lot more to this story. Like, for example, how the development work proceeded. "These academicians have ideas and they aren't afraid to use them. One is that we learn by creating. Another is that education is a community-based effort and hierarchical institutions get in the way." Makes me realize that my own research organization has procedures in place to make sure something like this never happens. And like, for example, how it can be used. "Imagine a room filled with students capable of passing digital notes to each other at every point during a lesson." Leonard Low also comments on the OLPC project, saying they are too large to be considered mobile technology - a proposition with which I disagree. Laurie Rowell, eLearn Magazine March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]

The Best Animated Gif Ever Created, I Reckon
Before we had Flash video, we had animated gifs. Which reminds us again that a video is nothing more than a series of still images (one shown every 24th or 32nd of a second). This animated gif is, as Kottke says, a tour de force. Jason Kottke, Weblog March 5, 2007 [Link] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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