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by Stephen Downes
August 24, 2007

So what makes me happy on a rainy Friday afternoon? An article on Brad Fitzpatrick and the opening of social networks? And Facebook Feeds? Good, but that's Wednesday stuff. More discussion of books vs computers? Nice when people agree with me, also nice when they don't.

No, this is what makes me smile today:




       YA RLY
       NO WAI
           UP VAR!!1

That and a new Perl blog. Just helps me on this rainy melancholy Friday parse the time away. Kirrily Robert, Perl Buzz August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Doug Noon looks at the role of rules in the emergence of learning. "Friere said that freedom can only exist in conditions that are subject to authority. The student, he said, experiences freedom in relation to the teacher's authority.'" My reply. See also this engaging review of Chaos, Complexity, Curriculum, and Culture, suggested in the comments by Jeremy Price. Doug Noon, Borderland August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The BPR3 Icon Contest
There's a movement afoot to distinguish blog posts that report on credible academic work. A noble cause, but only reports on "peer reviewed research" will be so designated. I appreciate that the intent is to highlight reporting that is of something deeper than news clippings and press releases. Goodness knows we've seen enough of that in the blogosphere. But I really think that we should cast out net more widely. Is there an icon that I think would indicate that the things I cover are credible? No - but the fact that I covered them (in my eyes) lends them that credibility. Perhaps a better thing to do would be to put the icon on the original research (peer reviewed or not) to indicate that it was covered (approvingly) by a scientific or academic blogger. Via Cognitive Daily. Dave Munger, BPR3 August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

E-Learning Market Update (August 2007)
Good post that summarizes Adobe's decision to end production of Athorware and to support higher definition video in the next version of Flash (the company knows a strength when it sees it, I guess - more on this). It also looks briefly at social networking and what users want in an authoring tool. And this provides me with a nice generic post to mention a few things I've been saving.

Via Zeldman, Eric Meyer's CSS Sculptor allows users to quickly design CSS from one of 30 templates. Good, but would be better if it were free. Also, Google has launched a feature that allows you to embed maps in web pages. Nifty. Jane Hart, meanwhile, links to Tokbox , for providing video conferencing on a web page. Dan Colman writes about a surprising success, grammar podcasts. Also, researchers are studying how the plague would spread in World of Warcraft. One assumes it would spread the same way in Second Life, but you could buy a lab coat for $4.95 and study it on a private island. More on this. Richard Nantel writes about Pecha-Kucha, a tool that forces presentations to be no more than 20 slides long, and each slide of 20 seconds duration, for a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Doug Belshaw has launched, his new consulting company. Norm Friesen offers a Canadian perspective on internet research methods.

Hey, this was fun. Maybe I'll make a post like this a regular Friday feature. Unattributed, Kineo August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard, Competitor Reach Agreement to End Court Fight
Blackboard and iParadigms have settled their patent dispute out of court. The dispute arose when Blackboard filed what it called "preventative action" after acquiring the main competitor to iParadigm's plagiarism detection system, TurnItIn. The dispute was exaggerated by an agreement Blackboard and iParadigms had already entered to work together. Ben Hammer, Washington Business Journal August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Dalhousie Gets Facebook Animal Research Site Yanked
I don't know one way or another how Dalhousie treats its animals. But I am reasonably confident that the way to respond to criticism isn't to get Facebook to shut down vocal opposition groups. Facebook has been clamping down on its users' activities recently, also deleting profiles for groups and fictitious entities. This sort of activity elsewhere - at Friendster, for example - has sent users looking for freer alternatives. Via Michael Geist. Charles Mandel, CanWest News Service August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Twitter: an Evaluation
Terry Freedman spends a couple of months evaluating Twitter. "When Twitter first appeared on the scene," he writes, "I thought it sounded like a complete waste of time." And though he tries to be positive in his evaluation, it really reads like he found it to be a complete waste of time. "It can be fun, and it can be addictive too... so many of these sorts of networks that I can spend hours of an evening doing nothing except have conversations... So to some extent it's networking not to achieve something, but simply for the sake of networking." Terry Freedman, The Educational Technology Site: ICT in Education August 24, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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