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by Stephen Downes
June 25, 2007

I Love My Communities
Nancy White responds to one of my comments on communities. "Surely sameness characterizes many communities. But I think 'sameness' is not quite the right word in my most vibrant communities. It is some shared love." Of course - this is a type of sameness, and a case where sameness carries an emotional connection, about which I've commented elsewhere. Emotional connections are good - they support families and sports teams. But if you exclude people because they don't love the topic - that's not rational, is it? And should you be making decisions this way? Nancy White, Full Circle Online Interaction Blog June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Blaise Aguera Y Arcas: Jaw-Dropping Photosynth Demo
I don't like blogging stuff from TED because of their regressive admission fees policy. But you absolutely want to take the 15 minutes or so to watch this demonstration. This - rather than any Second Life experience - tells you what the 3D web experience will be like. Via Albert Ip. Tony Hirst, meantime, links to the same video as part of his presentation saying to Open University staff, in a nutshell, that "We ignore social networks and social technology platforms at OUr peril." I like the use of these examples to show people what's coming down the pipe long before it hits them. Blaise Aguera y Arcas, TED June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Vouchers Rack Up Strike Seven
A study showing that students using vouchers "performed no better on reading and math tests after one year in the program than their peers in public schools". Tim Stahmer, AssortedStuff June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Getting to Know Mozilla
Interesting item looking at the different communications modes employed by members of the Mozilla development team (they build the Firefox web browser, among other things). "There are multitudes of voices, and multitudes of channels of communication, because there were and are multitudes of participants in the open source project that has begotten the Mozilla Corporation." . Paul Kim, PKB June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Open Source Blogging Session and Other Early NECC Reflections

U.S. K-12 Edubloggers at NECC

American schoolteachers have officially discovered blogging, as their first EduBloggerCon, held this weekend at NECC, the American teachers' major conference, attests. As Will Richardson says, "yes, it's official... 'we' have 'arrived.'" More coverage from Christopher D. Sessums. School 2.0 perspective. Meanwhile, Gary Stager comments on the commercial orientation of NECC, asking "Has NECC sold its soul?" Julie Lindse, meanwhile, channels Dr. Suess. Vicki Davis, meanwhile, asks about tagging standards - now wait, wasn't the whole idea of the folksonomy that there were no standards? Why yes, it was. Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Computers Can Raise Attainment
A large study in Britain shows that the use of ICT "can" raise attainment in schools, but "Ofsted (The official body in Britain for inspecting schools) inspectors tended to disregard ICT, and computer use was inhibited by assessment methods, the study found." It's a classic case of testing for the wrong thing. "Assessment practices, particularly the requirement to complete all examinations in handwriting, are not aligned with schools' increasing use of ICT for students' writing," the report said. Via Seb Schmoller. Unattributed, BBC June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Internet Radio to Go Silent Tomorrow
Tomorrow (Tuesday) web streaming services will go silent to protest new royalty regulations that raise the cost of streaming music to a level greater than the revenues that can be earned doing it, making it in effect impossible for anyone other than the copyright owner (who pays no royalties, and of course won't be paying the artist any money) to do it. The royalty rates apply in the United States, so we can expect an immediate exodus to nations with lower royalty rates. I think they should move to Antigua. Jim Welte, June 25, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Viewing American Class Divisions Through Facebook and MySpace
I suppose there is any number of ways you can distinguish between the privileged and the unprivileged classes in America, from selection of cars to smoking and eating habits to location of residence. Danah Boyd finds one such distinction in the choice of social network, between MySpace and Facebook. One was designed for college students, and restricted to them until just recently. Guess which one is the domain of the privileged. Sheesh, like shooting fish in a barrel. Related: the Facebook confidence trick and Last FM comes to Facebook, and an utterly silly (and wrong) warning about the