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by Stephen Downes
June 26, 2007

The Beginning of the End for the Industrial Schooling System?
I agree with Graham Attwell, that this is a significant development. Knowsley Council in Merseyside, which has 21,000 students, will be closing all of its eleven existing secondary schools. The district, which has languished with poort educational results, will be creating hi-tech learning centres. These centres will be open from 7 am, to 10 pm. "Youngsters will not be taught in formal classes, nor will they stick to a rigid timetable; instead they will work online at their own speeds on programmes that are tailor-made to match their interests." This is pretty much the system I and many others have been recommending for years, so this is a program which will be well worth watching. Graham Attwell writes, "I see this as the first big crack in the present model of schooling which dates from the first industrial revolution. And it won't be the last."And Joan Vinall-Cox writes, "this is where education should be going; this is the way learning works (will work) for many (most?) people." Graham Attwell, The Wales Wide Web June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Timeline Shows Web Browser Development Through the Ages
This is a pretty interesting document showing the development of the web browser through the ears ('the ages' is a bit much). The graphic, hosted on Wikipedia, is in Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) which means the display was a bit less than reliable (in Firefox on my Mac - your results may vary) but there is a Portable Network Graphics (PNG) format version also available, which will display just fine. Michael Calore, MonkeyBites June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

German Wikipedia Receives State Funding
In the recent discussions on Open Educational Resources (OER) I felt almost along in arguing for support of community-based content creation initiatives, as opposed to the megaprojects launched by large institutions that attract the great bulk of OER funding. But now comes this report that the German government will be funding the contribution of Wikipedia content. Not sure whether the Germans were listening to me or to someone else, but they were listening, which is the main point. Via Slashdot via Andrew Pass (where I left a comment in support of the initiative). Torsten Kleinz and Craig Morris, Heise Online June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

A new group blog started in Canada, "a group blog, inspired by, which believes all levels of Canadian governments should make civic information and data accessible at no cost in open formats to their citizens. The data is collected using Canadian tax-payer funds, and we believe use of the data should not be restricted to those who can afford the exorbitant fees." Various Authors, Weblog June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

And There We Have It...
This gets to the heart of the dispute between traditional educationalists and those of us advocating for change. In the Britannica blog, Michael Gorman writes, "Learning and education are enterprises in which the academically gifted prosper and are justified in prospering." John Connell responds, and I agree, "I prefer to see education and learning as processes by which everyone prospers relative to their starting position." The differences in 'academic gift' are greatly exaggerated, and are almost the sole result of nutrition, upbringing, and opportunity. The ascription to some of some sort of special academic gift is a prejudice born out of privilege, a bigotry of the worst sort. Because I believe everybody - everybody - can hit it out of the park. John Connell, Weblog June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Watch Out Second Life: China Launches Virtual Universe with Seven Million Souls
The past tense used in the headline is misleading; the story is only about an announcement that a Swedish company has been hired by the Chinese to build a massive 3D world capable of hosting seven million people at a time. Via Bill Ives. Vic Keegan, The Guardian June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Supreme Court Rules Against Student in Bong Hits 4 Jesus Case
The school principal prevails as the court rules that the event was like 'being in school' and that the banner - which read 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' - advocated the use of illegal drugs. Andy carvin analyzes the verdict, observing that a 'school sanctioned' website might in the future be ruled to be like 'being in school' and thus subject to school rules. Also worth reading: more commentary from Gary Stager. Andy Carvin, PBS Teachers June 26, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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