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by Stephen Downes
August 15, 2007

Research and Guidelines On Online Social - and Educational - Networking
I've been working all day on code, trying to speed up some functions (my website has been staggering under the load recently) and also to implement OpenID (which crashed my server this afternoon - it's frustrating to work with very badly documented pre-alpha modules). So I'm a bit hesitant to put too much into today's newsletter. So I'll keep it brief today, beginning with this item on the most popular social networking activities. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day August 15, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Paper Battery Offers Future Power
You have to admit, this is pretty cool. "Flexible paper batteries could meet the energy demands of the next generation of gadgets, says a team of researchers. They have produced a sample slightly larger than a postage stamp that can store enough energy to illuminate a small light bulb." Unattributed, BBC August 15, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Bogota Conference
The URL for the streaming media for the Bogota conference has changed. Now it is: . Ministry of National Education of Colombia, Website August 15, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Disney Asks UW to Retract 'Irresponsible' Statement On Baby Videos
We can expect more of this. Disney, which produces 'Baby Einstein', an infant training video that was panned in recent research, has written to the administration of the University of Washington asking them to require a retraction of 'irresponsible' statements. "Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help infants' language development," the university reported in a press release, following the publication of the work. Disney is of course free to criticize the research. But the tactic of communication with administration and demanding retraction reminds one more of the scholarship of thugs, not researchers. This is likely to become more common with an increasing commercial presence in the field of education. Via University Business. Paul Nyhan, Seattle Post-Intelligencer August 15, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Tenure and the Public Sociologist
Interesting article on the public sociology movement and the attitude of academia toward a discipline that works outside traditional classes and journals. Public sociologists work inside the community, doing things like, say, redesigning soup kitchens. The perspective of the article is that there must be some sort of peer review in order to assess the discipline. Academics would review portfolios consisting of "research reports prepared for non-academic groups, research on the effectiveness of policies or programs developed by the tenure candidate for community groups or government agencies, op-eds or testimony before government bodies." Review is a good thing, surely. But why formalize it? And why restrict it to the 'peers' of academe? Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed August 15, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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