by Stephen Downes
August 14, 2007

Collaboration Tools and Web 2.0
I also have a video recording of this presentation, which I will be posting later. Presentation by Stephen Downes, Council of Ontario Universities, Online to Toronto, [Link]

Tendrils of Learning - Draft Slides for Bogota Preso
It's hard to believe that it has only been a year since I first visited Colombia. Now Jay Cross and Nancy White are enjoying Bogota's hospitality. Christian Stracke, Tony Bates and Christopher Dede will also be there. I wish I were there! But at least I have - via the conference website - access to a live streaming video feed of the morning sessions. Diego Leal writes, "We will transmit the morning sessions through the Colombia Aprende educational portal. We will have an english video/audio signal available, so if you are interested in any of the subjects scheduled, please feel welcome to follow the online transmission. The streaming URL will be active on Wednesday. More information (and Spanish feeds) through the Colombia Aprende Educational Portal. Nancy White, Full Circle Online Interaction Blog August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Distance and Learning
Dave Ferguson makes some interesting comments on a post on distance and learning I wrote last week, offering a great example: "At Amtrak, when I was in charge of training for the reservation system, we created a set of 'training trains' - imaginary trains running in the reservation system, using the same routes and schedules and fares as the actual trains." Dave Ferguson, Dave's Whiteboard August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

A Thread of Real-World Critique
I thought this was a great example that combined communication and community, learning, the open market, and collective wisdom - all centered around the design, production and sale of t-shirts. Do take a look - in my view, some of these designs are amazing. Christian Long writes, "Wanna know why it matters that our kids/students 'test' their best ideas on the open market? Because they get legitimate feedback and not a single cute 'atta-boy' pat on the head. It's not about the grade. But the results matter greatly." Christian Long, think:lab August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

10 Top Tips for Unplanning the Perfect Unconference
I put Ewan McIntosh's name in my slides today but never inserted the link. This is the link, from his post today on how to plan unconfereces. Also worth reading is Dave Winer on unconferences in 2004 and a video to show unconference participants. Ewan McIntosh, edublogs August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Google Selleth Then Taketh Away, Proving the Need for DRM Circumvention
One thing Google's commerical video service had was DRM, meaning essentially that your computer would call (Google) home every time you watched one of the videos you purchased. This week, Google shut down the service, leaving the people who (thought they) had bought videos high and dry. "By picking up its marbles and going home, Google just demonstrated how completely bizarre and anti-consumer DRM technology can be." Via Simon Willison. Ken Fisher, Ars Technica August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Four Slide Sales Pitch: Final Entries
Dan Meyer ran a fun contest on his blog, inviting people "to see how well you can sell yourself in four (4) picture-only slides. No audio, no video, no hyperlinks, no multimedia miscellany. Just pictures and text." And good for Neil Winton for retracting his first place entry after judges praised the composition of his slides - which turned out to be Apple Keynote slide templates. My personal fave? Jeffrey Pierce. Dan Meyer, dy/dan August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

A Proposal to Cut Costs and Increase Efficiency in Online Programs
The suggestions (such as "partner with textbook companies to develop custom texts / workbooks, with a guaranteed edition life of 3 years") aren't really my cup of tea ("more radical" suggestions are promised in future installments) but I think people will find this to be sound and practical advice. Certainly, I have seen successful institutions use many of the techniques described here. Susan Smith Nash, E-Learning Queen August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Curverider Secures Investment
Congratulations to Dave Tosh, Ben Werdmuller, and the rest at Curverider as the company behind Elgg has secured "investment from a group of Business Angels that will provide it with the financial ability to substantially develop its business and further invest in the development of its open source social framework, Elgg." What is also encouraging is that they will gain access to a "deep pool of business experience and guidance." Dave Tosh, Weblog August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Hey Web 2 Teacher -- Do You Want $100,000?
I'm not so ken to mention competitions, but this one - for obvious reasons - caught my eye. The MacArthur Foundation is providing the grants. "Awards will be made in two categories, Innovation Awards and Knowledge-Networking Awards. Innovation Awards ($100,000 and $250,000) will support learning pioneers, entrepreneurs, and builders of new digital learning environments for formal and informal learning. Knowledge-Networking Awards ($30,000-75,000) will support communicators in connecting, mobilizing, circulating or translating new ideas around digital media and learning." Sadly, it's only open to Americans. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

New Establishment Rising? The End Of the Flat Blogosphere
I personally don't think we've ever had a 'flat blogosphere' - from the beginning, there were A-list bloggers, and though they may have more readers - and make more money - today, the nature and the number of them hasn't really changed. Still, this article tries to make the opposite case, that "the 'short head' of the progressive, political blogosphere has undergone a transformation from a loose collection of small, independent, solo projects into a sophisticated media and activist structure driving the national political scene," a trend that, presumably, generalizes. A pretty good case, documenting things like group blogs, institutional blogging, professional blogging, and blogging communities. Via Joachim Niemeier. Chris Bowers, OpenLeft August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

The $200 Billion Rip-Off: Our Broadband Future Was Stolen.
In this post, Robert X. Cringely documents the reason why American networks went from being the best in the world to also-rans. "Americans," he writes, "were deceived and defrauded by many of their telephone companies to the tune of $200 billion -- money that was supposed to have gone to pay for a broadband future we don't -- and never will -- have." Robert X. Cringely, PBS August 14, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]