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by Stephen Downes
October 11, 2007

IBM/Second Life Virtual World Collaboration
Linden Labs has taken what was probably the only path open to it - the development of open standards that will allow for interoperability between 3D virtual worlds. This virtually guarantees a robust open source virtual world server (and corresponding client(s)). The list of technologies that will be developed is impressive: 'universal' avatars, security-rich transactions (for the exchange of assets in and across virtual worlds), platform stability, integration with existing web and business processes, and open standards for interoperability with the current web. This is a deal they should probably have struck two months ago - when it could have been something like an acquisition, which would have rewarded Linden Lab's founders, and not just a partnership, which remains fraught with risk. Via Eduforge. Related: Chris Dede resurrects some old MUVE code to create the River City MUVEE. Press Release, IBM October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

ANGEL'S Open Source Move
This is interesting. Angel is a popular LMS, though mostly over on the corporate side of the house. The company has just incorporated a wiki into their product - but they did it by adapting the open source Tiddly Wiki. They've posted the adapted code as open source on SourceForge and even contributed financially to the Tiddly Wiki project. I agree with Michael feldstein, that they should be given kudos for taking the effort to do this right. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

One Tool Short of Fifty
Alan Levine comes up with (almost) fifty ways to tell a Web 2.0 story. He writes, "At least 2/3 of these tools I had never heard of, and now I am convinced there are more, many more out there... 36 of the 49 tools offered embed code- cut and paste code to put the media into other web pages. This is astounding!... [and] A good number of tools offered integration with other web sites via APIs." Alan Levine, CogDogBlog October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Zone of Privileged Development
Today's newsletter seems to be all about me. Me me me! Just kidding. But there's three items in a row here. The first item points to reaction to a review of Facebook I wrote for Innovate (registration required - I am really really sorry about that and complain monthly to the editor). Steve Bingham captures the main idea nicely: "FB is a social network in the same way that a university is a place where certain people learn to network. If that is true then Facebook is not failing to bring educational content to the world; rather, Facebook is succeeding at being the essence of the university." Mark Aberdour also comments on the review. Steve Bingham, Weblog October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Bogong Moths in Sydney, Starlings in Rome and Edu_Bloggers at Conferences
"You cannot have a truly distributed creative system without there being open channels between (all) nodes." So wrote John Hopkins on the idc list. This caught my attention as being wrong (but interestingly so), prompting me to write a post on a truly distributed creative system. Immediately after finishing that post, I read Artichoke's lament that "it was disconcerting to read through the 427 Ulearn07 Hitchhkr links and find so little analysis and so much flocking sentiment." Why was this, I wondered? Artichoke linked to Josie Fraser, who wrote about homophily, the idea that "similarity breeds connection." With the structure of networks fresh in my mind, I wrote a post on homophily and association, arguing that this is just one of four ways networks get created (the other three are proximity, back-propagation, and Boltzmann connectivity). Moreover, it is one of two group-forming mechanisms, based as it is on similarity and identity. Groups are characterized by emotional attachment to an idea or cause. Hence the 'me too' posts, as posts consisting of statements of loyalty to the group will be most valued by the group. And when you define the similarities narrowly, the members of the group have nothing to say at each other). Artichoke, Weblog October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Sounds of the Bazaar 14
Graham Attwell completes a two-part audio interview of me in this edition of his regular podcast. I talk about using the internet to change the way we approach learning. Here's the interview: Part One, Part Two. Graham Attwell, Sounds of the Bazaar October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

No.2 With A Bullet
Grahem Wegner loks to this interesting new service, something called Learning Signal from Social Rank. Whate we have here is a service that looks at blog posts in a community (presumably defined by topic - such as 'e-learning', but we are not told what blogs constitute a 'community') and ranks them according to (a proprietary blend of?) citations, comments, and the like. It's a good idea, difficult to pull off (I've been trying stuff like that with Edu_RSS but the sorts of server loads it creates are horrendous) and even more difficult to make relevant.

Comparing their list with my list is interesting. Ranked at the top right now is Dissertation 2.0, a nondescript post (sorry Wesley) containing no real content, zero links from other blogs, but which is linked three times from other Wesley Fryer posts and has seven (questionable) comments - this community in particular likes to pump its members up. So the algorithm will take some tweaking, and probably needs metrics like readership, influence (sure, it linked - but did people follow the links), community (ie., treating a community link as a self-link, to highlight posts with reach as opposed to posts of mutual support). Graham Wegner, Teaching Generation Z October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

CERIF 2006 - 1.1 Full Data Model
The CERIF (Common European Research Information Format) is a model format to manage Research Information designed for the European Current Research Information System. There's some good thinking here - but once again, I have to ask, why build this entirely from scratch, with no real recognition that anything else exists? For example, one of the core entities is 'Person'. Well good - we could use OpenID, FOAF, and the like. But no. It's all set up like a database, so you're working with a person ID (not a URI) and you're up and away (here's the ER diagram that shows what you're in for). I also wonder why the other core CERIF entities are OrganisationUnit, ResultPublication (which sometimes shows up in the diagrams as ResultPatent) and Project. I ask this because I'm wondering whether you want to create a set of (institution-based) core elements. Anyhow, there's a lot more to this whole project, and it's great reading if you like this sort of stuff. Brigitte Jorg, Current Research Information System October 11, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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