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by Stephen Downes
April 5, 2007

Study: No Benefit Going High-Tech for Math and Science
As always, the story reveals more about the slant taken by the journalist than it does the actual study. One could equally say, "students teaching themselves using math and science software do just as well as those who are taught by a teacher." Same study, right? But a very different story, and implication. Associated Press., CNN April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Future Hope Against Today's Reality
George Siemens tries to find the 'balance' between the future vision and 'practical reality'. But there is no such balance. If you have some model, some vision, some end goal, then for every decision you make, the question becomes, "does this move me closer to my end goal, or not?" When people say something is "impractical" they're trying to say two things at once: that the thing is right, and the thing is wrong. Well, which is it? Me, I think education based on coercion is impractical, because it results in a generation that cannot think for itself. How often we have seen this in the past, with what miserable results! Perhaps George Siemens has a different sense of practical. But I think it's an illusory 'practical'. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Blog Opens On the Learner of the Future
Interesting use of a blog. "This year's AoC NILTA national debate focuses on the learner of the future. A debate blog is available online, which discusses the evolving needs of our current and future learners." Can't say much good about the design, though - is the sidebar on the home page just broken? And do the designers know that things look different in Firefox? Unattributed, Ferl Newsfeed April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Get Out Your Snow Shoes-Severe Snowstorms Hitting TV
What tipped the balance for me was the showshoe metaphor, accompanied by Wayne Hodgins's bold declaration that he's Canadian (nice to see - it always irks to see Alex Trebek turn his back on our country). Anyhow, according to Hodgins, the "'Snowflake Effect' (mass personalization) is deeply affecting TV." Yes, and about time. So long as it doesn't take away my morning news, which is really the only TV of any significance I watch. Well, that and Jeopardy. Wayne Hodgins, Off Course-On Target April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Future of Music
I had planned to buy set of keyboards (despite the fact that I can't play a lick of music) but I got Garage Band instead, an application that has derailed my exploration into video editing. So I know exactly the significance of the announcement that Nine Inch Nails (NIN) will be releasing their music in Garage Band format. Now of course I wish it were an open format - Apple is so bad in that respect. But still, as Tony Hirst comments, "Well, you won't be downloading MP3. Instead I'm looking forward to a time when we'll be downloading a Garageband-like mix to our Garageband-like stereos - its audio card will generate sounds using onboard synths and samplers and do a real time audio mix for you." Yeah! Tony Hirst, OUseful Info April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Second Life Brand Map
What's interesting about this map of Second Life is that it illustrates in a way no number or words could illustrate, this 'corporate utopia' of the world consisting almost entirely of islands owned by corporations or other large organizations. When the entire universe is privately owned, the idea of a common area does not merely become moot, it becomes dangerous and subversive. Via Pacific Rim Exchange. Unattributed, K Zero April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Flawed Metaphor of the Spellings Summit
In a nutshell, "Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings's ... proposals are so ... well, so ill-conceived [because] They rest on a faulty metaphor: the belief that education is essentially like manufacturing." The message is getting through, slowly. Daniel F. Chambliss, Inside Higher Ed April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Is the Medium the Message?
In this short commentary, Howard Gardner ponders, "the print, broadcast, and other communication media are merging; in the future, users may pay no attention to the source of, or the means employed by, converging media." Does this mean the medium will no longer be the message? For the other side, see this item where Roger Schank says, "Online learning can and should completely alter your view of education." Howard Gardner, Spotlight on DML April 5, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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