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by Stephen Downes
March 29, 2007

OER Discussion Update...
Brian Lamb offers his own answerrs to recent questions on the nature of learning and open educational resources (OERs) and links in passing to the new OERderves blog. Cute name. "Even with the dramatic changes in the broader techno-cultural landscape in the past ten years," he asks, "how much has essentially changed with universities in the western world? Isn't it all too easy to imagine universities remaining essentially unchanged - or at least clinging to business as usual - ten, even twenty years from now?" Brian Lamb, abject learning March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

eLearning Trends
A whole bunch of links to his own posts, but they do hand together pretty well as a list of trends in the field. Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Why Penguins Have No Commanding Officer
The title says it all, but Siemens explains, "Perhaps surprisingly, humankind is the only species that operates 'leader intelligence' - the trust that a small group of leaders knows best for the whole group." George Siemens, elearnspace March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Creating ePortfolios with Web 2.0 Tools
Helen Barrett consolidates some of her work on e-portfolios and Web 2.0. "One advantage of Web 2.0 tools is that many of them are free, although WikiSpaces may place ads on the page. There is some concern about security in a K-12 school environment, so care should be taken when using these tools with children." See also these audio clips from some of her e-portfolio presentations. And see Derek Wenmoth's summary of Barrett's presentation in Wellington, an "overview of ePortfolios, what they are (or might be), where they are and where we might be headed with them." Helen Barrett, Website March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Learning with Networks
Terry Anderson, who is well known for his discussions of "various types and function of interaction in formal (usually distance) education contexts," looks at what John Dron calls the interaction between the student and the group. Now again, the word "group" is used loosely here - "Downes' sense of fluid, unbounded networks relates directly to the multiple forms, size and purpose of informal distributed synchronous and asynchronous collections of individuals that Dron refers to as groups." But, as Anderson notes, access to a network from a formal situation works differently than in an informal situation. And so he cautions teachers about what to expect when they access the network: the quality of interaction with the network will vary greatly according to the skill and experience of the student. It will also fluctuate from dead silence to blizzards of activity. "Dron also notes that the scale of interaction with groups stands in stark contrast to that of typical threaded discussion taking place within the confines of a formal institutional learning management system." Terry Anderson, Virtual Canuck March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

A bunch of people have mentioned TeacherTube recently - like YouTube, except for teachers. Some people have taken note of Mrs. Burk's 'perimeter rap' video - though I'm not sure 'chick' and 'nasty' are the most appropriate ways to describe what is really a nice video. See also Quentin D'Souza. Various Authors, Webgsite March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The Blogosphere As an Artifact of Distributed Cognition
Over on the other blog today I have posted a longish item called What I am Working On. It's another attempt to explain things like learning networks and distributed cognition (if I try enough times I'll eventually get it, right?). The sorts of things discussed in this article constitute the sorts of things I think about on a day-to-day basis - and while the author is showing how brains are different from computers, there is a flipside, which is, how computers could be the same as brains, but aren't, yet. Lots of room for invention. Like this, for example: "The brain uses content-addressable memory." What does that mean? The author says, "The end result is that your brain has a kind of 'built-in Google.'" Well, yeah. But: "memories are composed of linked sensory fragments -- odors, sights, sounds, and even body positions." So it's not content-addressing all the way down. Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

World Bank Head Speaks Out On Why Canada Is Needed in Africa
This article doesn't describe learning directly, though it is clear to me that Canada can play a role in this field as well. What the author, the president of the World Bank, stresses is that myths of African development - that "Africa is hopeless, aid to Africa is money wasted, and Africa can solve its own problems" - are no longer true. I don't know, one way or another. But I remain hopeful, and I certainly call for continued, and strengthened, Canadian investment in the future of Africa. Paul Wolfowitz, eLearning Africa March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Zenith Space Mission 2007
I always like stuff like this. Hosted by Yukon College, "This 12 hour space shuttle simulation is designed to give students an idea of what it might be like to be part of a shuttle crew or the Mission Control Team... On Tuesday, April 3, 2007 this Grade 6 class will blast off into space!" Virtually, of course. Various Authors, Website March 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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