by Stephen Downes
August 10, 2007
Future of Librarians
Jane Hart's compilation of top tools used by educational technologists has been widely noticed, but in an unusual way. Steve Bell at ACRLog noted that libraries and library resources weren't among the tools listed and suggested that this must be because the were inadequately publicized. I commented that "it might be because they are not actually very valuable e-learning resources as presently constituted." This discussion then made the Chronicle of Higher Education (and I'd like to welcome the new readers from the Chronicle, sent here via one of the magazine's rare forays into the edublogosphere). So it seems like a good day to link to this item, which was sent to me last week: a writer at DegreeTutor, an e-learning company, surveys librarians and asks about the future of that institution. Will Sherman, DegreeTutor August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: Online Learning] [Comment]
Am I Being Unfair to Blackboard?
Alfred Essa questions his stance in the light of developments in the latest Blackboard patent kerfuffle. Because it appears that iParadigms was in the process of asserting rights it did not have (and Essa looks at the contract and says to iParadigms, "What did you think you were signing exactly?" And Michael Feldstein comments, "one central, salient fact is clear: iParadigms was seeking to assert a patent for educational software."). OK, so iParadigms are just as guilty as Blackboard for contributing to the edupatents mess. Meanwhile, I think Essa quite rightly asks, "But if these APIs are truly 'open', why as a developer do I have to give up ANY rights to Blackboard?" Why indeed? Especially when you know that, if you open up to Blackboard, the company may go out, purchase your rival, and assert your business model against yourself - and you will have signed away your right to complain. Alfred Essa, The Nose August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: Patents, Copyrights, Blackboard Inc., Patents] [Comment]
Danah Boyd On MySpace and Facebook
"Our children are hyper-controlled... they're not allowed out of the house." There's a lot of truth to that, and I recall seeing a diagram showing how sharply reduced the permitted range of movement for a child or youth in today's society has become. I remember, when I was a kid, I bicycled as far away as Casselman and I hitch-hiked into Ottawa. I can't imagine being constrained the way many of today's kids are. Today, children and teens have to use online tools - such as Facebook - to interact. Jo McLeay comments on Mike Seyfang's mash-up video, in which "(he) need(s) to re-think (his) hatred of walled gardens (especially facebook lack of RSS). The reason - kids create walls to make interesting spaces in which to hang out." Jo McLeay, The Open Classroom August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: RSS, Canada, Google, Video, Books] [Comment]
Interesting. If you consider the concept of 'blended learning' you soon realize that many things can be 'blended', not just delivery models. Things like role, focus, and curricula. And if you can blend many things, then there is the possibility that different overt and covert curricula can be blended. "From this perspective the key affordances of e-learning, flexibility, community and individualisation are problematic. Against flexibility might be set a return to piecework and insecurity." Via Graham Attwell. See also George Roberts on community consolidation: "Communities don't just happen. There needs to be organisation, structure, coordination, focus and planning." Of course, some communities 'just happen' - lots of them do - Roberts is talking of a specific subset of communities, of intentional communities. George Roberts, Emerge August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: Web Logs, Wikipedia, Blended Learning, Security Issues, Online Learning] [Comment]
John Connell summarizes a talk by John Seely Brown regarding 'passion-based learning, "a highly collaborative and social mode of learning that he feels we should be moving towards in schools and beyond,... 'situations where students who are passionate about specific topics study in groups and participate in online communities.'" In a follow-up Connell wonders about the relation between knowledge and social construction. Knowledge, of course, is something that is personal. But it depends for both its creation and representation (in many cases) on social interaction, and so it is tempting to say that knowledge is essentially social, not personal. This would be a mistake - there is some knowledge that indeed is social - things it takes an entire society to know, like how to fly to the moon - but this is not the same as the knowledge you and I have, which exists entirely (and only) in our own heads. Also of interest: Connel links to this mind map of Seely Brown's talk, leading to a Link] [Tags: Australia, Philadelphia, Open Educational Resources] [Comment]
Money Trouble in Second Life
"Well, there goes the Second Life economy." That was my reaction after gambling was banned in Second Life a couple of weeks ago. "Claiming it means the end of the economy is a bit premature," said a commentator. Hardly. According to today's report, following a run on Second Life banks, "the entire Second Life economy--which could affect more than 8.5 million players--is in trouble." Via Liberal; Education Today. Meanwhile, Second Life is still reeling from the drubbing it took as Chris Anderson explains the feeling of emptiness and why he gave up on Second Life. Erica Naone, Technology Review August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]
Battle at Kruger
I know this has been all over other media, but after having visited Kruger National Park myself less than a year ago the sounds and images of the video resonate with me (I have my own videos of wildlife at Kruger, which I haven't posted yet - but nothing like this, but the sounds and the settings are very similar). Ewan McIntosh also comments. Channel Icon Jason275, YouTube August 10, 2007 [Link] [Tags: Video] [Comment]
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