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by Stephen Downes
May 29, 2007

Is a Network a Community?
Dave Snowden writes, "All communities are networks, but not all networks are communities." And also, importantly, "Systems thinking has reached the limits of its contribution to our understanding of human systems, it is now inhibiting development and the confusion with complexity theory is dangerous." Meanwhile, Terry Anderson contributes this to the groups vs networks discussion: "one could also argue that an educational experience is not complete unless it exploits the affordances of groups, networks and collectives." One could - but it is far from clear that such an argument would be sound. Dave Snowdon, Cognitive Edge May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

And the Big News Is...
James farmer is giving up his day job. Yup, the founder of Edublogs is quitting his job at The Age (an Australian newspaper) and devoting himself full-time to Edublogs. "There are currently over 76,000 blogs on the sites and over 1100 new ones every week," he writes. I think this is fantastic. If I ran advertisements, I run one for Edublogs... free! James Farmer, incorporated subversion May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Current List of U.S. eLearning Patents and Patent Applications
It's a good list, but I feel sure it's incomplete. So I'll echo Scott Leslie's comment: "Efforts like this that keep the community appraised are immensely valueable. And I don't want to sound ungrateful, but much like the case with the Ed Tech conference listings I documented a while back, in this day and age we need to be looking at web-based formats and tools by default, ones that produce RSS and allow collaborative editing." Scott Leslie, EdTechPost May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Making Assessment Personally Relevant
There are many things I like about this post, but I'll highlight two: first, assessments are conducted by the students themselves, not some arbiter of learning achievement. Second, the scales use no numbers. They're not needed, not unless you want to portray (inaccurately) learning as some sort of contest. Which it's not. Konrad Glogowski, blog of proximal development May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Very good resource compiling a few dozen essays and reports on patents and patent law. Discussions include, but are not limited to, the Blackboard patent case. Via Lucychili. Various Authors, EDUCAUSE Resource Center May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Museums and Misleading Copyright
On one of my recent visits to Ottawa I has a sustained argument with the curators at the National Gallery over their refusal to allow photographs to be taken in the 'Canadian Wing' due - I was told - to copyright concerns. My protestations that th majority of the art in the wing was now in the public domain fell on deaf ears. So much for my intent to create a 'Canadian Art' collection on Flickr. Michael Geist raises the issue of such misleading claims to own copyright in a current column. "Many institutions," he writes, "go much further charging 'surrogate copyright fees' or 'user's fees' for public domain works or deploy technology to limit the potential uses of digitized versions of those works." They claim that their reproductions are copyright protected. yt th Supreme Court states, "For a work to be "original" within the meaning of the Copyright Act, it must be more than a mere copy of another work." I'm sympathetic with the museums' need for more funding. But this funding should come from the government, not from phony 'copyright fees'. Michael Geist, P2PNet May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Educational Podcasting for Teaching and Learning
The site describes itself as a "directory to locate quality podcasts from over 360 carefully selected podcast channels for educational use - ideal for teaching and learning activities with children, young people and educational professionals." Via Pete MacKay's teacher List. Various Authors, RECAP Limited May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

CLI Composite Learning Index
"Canada scores 76." So proclaim the authors of this CCL report on learning achievement in Canada an elsewhere, thereby propagating a completely useless and misleading piece of non-information. There's a lot of room for criticism of this report, but I'll just take on its major problem. The authors argue, "by using an objective, statistical method, the CLI effectively and reliably connects the dots between a community's learning conditions on the one side, and its social and economic well-being, or outcomes, on the other." Objective? Just what is objective about including a measure such as "average distance to the nearest religious organization" as an indicator of learning? Or "amount spent on charitable donations?" Or "amount spent on print publications?" Even a measure such as "percentage of people who have completed a university program" reflects a certain bias, one that supporters of trades and technology have worked for years to attempt to counteract. Objective? Oh, please. Various Authors, Canadian Council on Learning May 29, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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