Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [About] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
June 6, 2007

Julie Amero Granted New Trial
And I think this will have a much different outcome from the travesty that was the last trial. "Evidence heard by the jury and the state's theory of liability are materially inconsistent with [the] evidence." Andy Carvin, Learning Now June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

At 3M, A Struggle Between Efficiency And Creativity
This article is worth reading on a number of levels. In a nutshell, 3M - the company behind things like Scotch Tape and PostIt Notes - applied the Six Sigma program to increase efficiency. Dave Snowden summarizes, "DMAIC, the Sig Sigma equivalent of the Ten Commandments, says it all. Define, measure, analyze, improve, control." And it appears to have worked - 3M was a lot more efficient. But it was also a company that thrives on innovation and creativity. And it appears that Six Sigma may have engineered that right out of the system. "Perhaps one of the mistakes that we made as a company-it's one of the dangers of Six Sigma-is that when you value sameness more than you value creativity, I think you potentially undermine the heart and soul of a company like 3M." Via Cognitive Edge. Brian Hindo, Business Week June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Government Education Portal
According to the website, "The Government Education Portal points the way to authoritative online resources, news and events about education and training in Australia." I searched for 'Downes' (that's how I test such systems) and obtained exactly two results. I couldn't find a list of sites indexed (seems to me an OPML list should be a basic requirement these days). No RSS feed either, so there's no way to find out when new materials have been added. You can suggest sites; they must be "relevant to Australian education and training, apolitical, and non-commercial." Various Authors, Commonwealth of Australia June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Logo As a Symbol of Constructionist Learning
Documents the Logo computing language, famous for being developed by Seymour Papert as a teaching tool. The wiki contains a number of photos videos describing the language and showing students learning using it. Some of the material is quite old (from the 1970s and 80s), making this a valuable and rare resource. See also the Logo projects Wiki, by the same author. Cynthia Solomon, Website June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Semantic Technology Primer
This is a nice introduction to the concept of the semantic web. I especially like the diagram at the bottom of the document showing its progression into modal logic and axiology. Readers should note that this model of knowledge is controversial, not so much because of my objections (mentioned below) but because of the argument that knowledge is not reducible to atomic sentences (aka 'triples' in semantic web lingo). Unattributed, Wilshire Conferences June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Challenges of the Semantic Web
Podcast based on the recent eWeek article on the semantic web. Author Jim Rapoza questions Tim Berners-Lee, Eric Miller and me. A lot more detailed than the eWeek article. The responses in defense of the semantic web leave me a bit cold. It seems to me that what they are depending on is some mechanism whereby proprietary data can be 'hooked' into RDF, via a pointer, or translated into RDF, via XSLT. That seems to me to be a bit of a diluted semantic web. And even so, to also be a bit hopeful. Even something that should be straightforward, such as the translation of IEEE-LOM into RDF, turns out to be complex. Jim Rapoza, Emerging Technologies June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Machine Consciousness - Trends and Issues
Good overview of links and resources related to the phenomenon of consciousness and especially machine consciousness. Some glaring omissions, though, including Dennett's Consciousness Explained and Nagel's What Is It Like To Be A Bat. Graeme Daniel, WWWTools June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Present and Future of Personal Learning Environments (PLE)
This came out last December, but I don't remember linking to it. It showed up in my email this week. It's certainly too good to let pass by. The author offers a very nice overview of the concept of the personal learning environment (PLE) and developments to date. Ron Lubensky, eLearning Moments June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The World According to Wiki
Overview of the use of wikis to support corporate learning and document management. I think it's a good idea, because of some of the things mentioned in the article - multiple authors, the ease of text input, etc. However, we use a wiki at NRC, but I never use it. It is basically inaccessible outside the office. It has some weird URL I can never remember. I never know when it is changed. It isn't designed to support my own needs. So there is a lesson, I think. Either don't hire people who are like me, or ensure that the wiki is easy to access and relevant to the users. Michael Laff, Learning Circuits June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Could RateMyProfessors.Com Be Right?
So it turns out that there is a correlation thetween the very unofficial RateMyProfessor and more official evaluations. Of course, both could be equally wrong. Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed June 6, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]


This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.