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by Stephen Downes
April 24, 2007

Competition Good for Changing the World
I'm in a period of busyness so I'm running a bit behind (getting involved in listserv disputes doesn't help) but I am thinking of new design ideas for newsletter posts (I like the overall design, but I want each post to be something more colourful, less linear, with more illustrations - something like the way I have been presenting each slide in my recent slide shows - let me know what you think) and I have a fabulous new name for Edu_RSS (which I really need to keep to myself for a bit). Meanwhile, the world continues furiously apace. Like this wrap up of some of the impacts of the One Laptop Per Child project collecting a half dozen links I wanted to feature here. Wayne Hodgins, Weblog April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Re-Framing Education for the 21st Century
Summary of a talk, with a lot of good links, on Web 2.0 in education. Just one thing (and this has been bothering me for some time now). He writes, "Colleagues and friends in East Lothian have been doing some stupendous work in this area." Quite so. But what about West Lothian? How come we never hear from them? There's a story to tell there - and I want someone to tell it! John Connell, Weblog April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

YackPack For Education
Jane Hart has been performing a real service listing new educational applications (or applications that could be used in education). Today she highlights Yack Pack for Education. A YackPack creates a group of people that can converse with each other in real time or leave voice messages for each other. More. According to the site, "YackPack can quickly improve educational communication. Motivate students, give quality feedback with ease and communicate clearly with students, parents and administrators." And, of course, the appeal is that it's "a private and secure space that's safe from outsiders." Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

The Evolution of Learning Management Systems
Do learning management systems have a future? According to this article, "The trend is towards learners tracking their own learning results, using either personal learning environments or e-portfolios." So does that mean the end of the line for learning management systems? There remains room for innovation, argues the author, in personalization, "automatic generation of motivational messages", facilitating learner control, 2D and 3D environments, and service-oriented architectures. These seem like pretty slim pickings to me. But as the blog post (and not the article) notes: "As long as there is a demand for tracking and reporting of courses, assessments, and achievements within large organizations, I believe there will be a demand for some form of learning management systems." Gary Woodill, Weblog April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Better Networked Learning
Michael Feldstein writes, "VLE designs tend to be relatively lightly informed by praxis. Likewise, networked learning practitioners are limited in terms of envisioning how the VLE should work because they often do not know what is possible" (Aside: I dislike the word praxis - it's just the word practice with an attitude). He suggests that this communication might be accomplished by bridging two linguistic forms (neither of which I like, particularly), use cases and pattern languages (which in turn can inform an organized collection of best practices). "We can translate theoretical research into empirically validated best practices through design patterns," writes Feldstein. "Suppose further that we can then translate those best practices into software design through use cases. If so, then we will have a complete process for driving learning and cognition findings into the fabric of our networked learning programs, both in teaching methods and in software design." I'm uneasy with this - it's hard to articulate why, exactly - but I don't think software should be designed to 'do things' so much as it should be designed to 'create capacity'. I know that's not a very clear distinction. But it's like the difference between 'process' and 'creation'. Via Seb Schmoller. Michael Feldstein, ALT Newsletter April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Software Patents: Why Should We Care?
"Imagine a world," writes Alfred Essa, "in which Socrates not only originated the dialogue form of inquiry but also filed a patent claiming "intellectual property" rights for his invention and then vigorously enforced his patent against the Sophists to ensure the 'purity' of his learning method." This situation gets at the heart of the problem with software patents - they allow people to claim the ridiculous as 'intellectual property'. But we also need a strategy for what to do in an environemnt (such as the U.S.) where software patents are legal, which Essa provides. No surprise, then, to see Seb Scholler describe the article as "worth reading." Alfred Essa, EDUCAUSE Review April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

From YouTube to YouNiversity
Henry Jenkins has been getting some media recently, probably a result of his recent books on culture, blogging and gaming. I saw most of his talk in Boston, and the text is the Web 2.0 line familiar to most readers. George Siemens picks up on this assertion: "To educate such students, we don't so much need a faculty as we need an intellectual network." And this is exactly right: "The modern university should work not by defining fields of study but by removing obstacles so that knowledge can circulate and be reconfigured in new ways. For media studies, that means taking down walls that separate the study of different media, that block off full collaboration between students, that make it difficult to combine theory and practice, and that isolate academic research from the larger public conversations about media change." Nice site design, too. Henry Jenkins, Confessions of an Aca-Fan April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Rethinking the iPhone
I think there is something to this line of reasoning: "Any sort of device consolidation, like what the iPhone possibly promises, is a pipe dream and runs counter to real and immutable trends. The problem is, nobody wants to admit that these trends exist-yet they do." And this strikes a responsive chord with me: "'m sick of being ripped off by the entire mobile-phone game." if you follow this link, read it quickly and get out - the relentless advertising on the page is really annoying and constantly blots out the text (is this the future of the net? Goodness, I hope not). John C. Dvorak, PC Magazine April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Make Internet TV
Though there are some small lapses (I really think there's a way for people to make Flash versions of their videos, rather than uploading .mov files or whatever to the internet) but these pale beside the fact that this is a really good guide, beautifully designed, well illustrated, complete and accurate. And they encourage people to submit additions and corrections. Via EduBlogs. Various Authors, The Participatory Culture Foundation April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

DrupalEd Is Ready For Download
I've had my headaches with Drupal, but it remains true that it is one of the easiest and most powerful applications out there. And as an open source software platform, you can't beat the price - nor can you beat the horde of developers. So there's good reason to celebrate with this week's launch of the DrupalEd distribution. "The goal of this site is to create a flexible framework that allows for users to set up a social learning environment or a more traditional learning environment depending on the needs of the learners within the site. With this current framework, both approaches are supported." Kudos to everybody involved. Bill, FunnyMonkey April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

RSS in Plain English
Another one of those hand and drawing videos, this one intended to introduce RSS to people who don't know about RSS. "if you know someone who would love RSS and hasn't yet tried it, point them here for 3.5 minutes of RSS in Plain English." Now that I've installed Flash 9 the videos work (it was an easy install but I wonder why it wasn't included with a regular Ubuntu update). Via Abject Learning, Beth's Bllog and about a dozen other sites. Lee Lefever, Common Craft April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

ACHUB - Arts, Music and Edu in SecondLife
Sometimes when posting a link I'm filled with mixed emotions. On the one hand, setting up a wiki for arts, music and education in Second Life seems like a good idea. On the other hand, many of the pages aren't created. But on the other hand, they post the password to the wiki on the front page, which is cool. But on the other hand, they are advertising conference space on 2L 'for rent'. But on the other hand, they link to this Boycott Blackboard page. Various Authors, PBWiki April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Welcome to COSL, Brian Lamb!
It's nice to see the people who have made important contributions being recognized. First it was Alan Levine, who got a nice job with the New Media Consortium. Then George Siemens, landing a position as an Associate Director with the Learning Technologies Centre at University of Manitoba. And now, Brian Lamb makes the list with a well deserved appointment as a research fellow with the Center for Open and Sustainable Learning. David Wiley, iterating toward openness April 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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