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by Stephen Downes
June 22, 2007

The ‘Cities Visited' Facebook Application
This is cool. I've been wanting this for some time. But why must I use Facebook to use it. Here's how it should work: I can use any number of clients (including Facebook) to create a 'cities visited' file. Something simple for representing lists, like say OPML. Then a view should be able to use any of a number of applications (including browser plug-ins) to view my list on a map. Or as a list. Or however they want it. And third parties who want to aggregate all the cities visited by, say, people from Metcalfe, can gather all our files together and create the mega-list. That's not so hard to imagine, is it? Not so complicated? Yet companies continue to refuse to offer such a useful service. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

eBooks: The Next Big Thing (Again)
Some people are heralding the return of eBooks again. I remain sceptical. Sure, there may be new devices and a new format. But like online music, what will make eBooks popular is not the e but the free. Establish the free market first. Only then can you even think of charging for (some) content. Oh yeah, and if you can refrain from suing your customers, it will go a lot more smoothly. Richard Nantel, Weblog June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

OpenLearn Unit Link Map
I think that when the mind-maps are relatively simple, and show some structure, as in the case of the wiki mindmap at the top of the page, thy can be an intuitive aid to understanding. Clutter them up, producing nothing more than long lists of things, as in the T180 diagram lower down in the page, and you produce no more understanding than you would have with a text-based bullet list. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

E-Learning 2.0: All You Need To Know
It probably isn't all you need to know about e-learning 2.0 but this article is a nice start, caturing the 'small pieces loosely joined' aspect and leading the reader through social networking tools such as Elgg and other social networking tools. From this, the author goes on to look at collaborative e-learning systems in more detail - though I would hasten to point out that there is a large difference between 'collaboration' in the sense of groupwork and 'collaboration' in the sense of cooperative networks. Harold Jarche's criticisms point, I think, in this direction. He writes, "any technology that we use for learning is a framework and... learning occurs within individuals and often as a result of social interactions between people." Richard MacManus, Read/Write Web June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Six Basic Truths of Free APIs
George Siemens links to this article and comments, "Web 2.0 is killing open source." I wouldn't go that far. That is not to say they do not pose a challenge. You seem to get a lot more functionality coding on top of Google search or Google maps. And yes, a lot of people are coding for, say, the Google API instead of creating open source applications. But as the article notes, if you live this way, you live only with the blessings of the company that created the API - and as we've seen, even with Google, such companies can be very self-serving (whither the Atom API?) and fickle. I can't see that catching the interests of developers in the long term. Nat Torkington, O'Reilly Radar June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

What If Higher Ed Funds Don'T Help Economy?
University officials have long been citing their economic importance as grounds for their support. Some critics have noted that this reduces departments like art and philosophy to irrelevance, but they have been largely muted. Well, now the other shoe may be dropping. "The study found that more state funding to higher education doesn't necessarily lead to higher growth, and in fact correlates negatively with high growth rates." The argument for the arts and philosophy remains unchanged: knowledge is of intrinsic worth to society. As for those institutions that placed the demands of knowledge second to the dictates of the economy? Live by the sword... Andy Guess, Inside Higher Ed June 22, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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