Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [About] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
December 17, 2007

Not the Edublog Award Winners
These are not awards, nor are they a 'top ten' type of selection (for one thing, if you were actually nominated for an award you were disqualified from this list, which kind of makes them the opposite of awards). They are some websites I felt ought to be highlighted for their quality, insight and contributions this year even though they were overlooked by the Edublogs. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Demand for Decentralized Social Networks
This is going to become a lot bigger. In a nutshell, the idea is that your blogging application - WordPress, say - should be your social network. As Om Malik describes it. So that insofar as data is winging its way from one site to another, you - using your own software - are in charge. See Jens Alfe on distributed identification. It's time for distributed social network applications. As in the DISO Project. Watch this space carefully. Aswath, EnThinnai Blog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

My Suicidal High School Years: A Happy-Ending Bullying Story
"I was bullied for two years in high school. Every day," writes Clay Burrell. "But this story does things differently. It's to the bullied. It tells them that, for me, over 700 consecutive days of bullying in high school was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It just took me a couple decades to realize that." I'm glad Burrell got past being bullied. I'm happy for him. But his perspective is simply wrong. Being bullied is not a good thing. It's not something students should simply have to tolerate. It's not - as Rick Mercer says in his video - enough to say that high school is the worst their lives will get. Because, for people who are bullied, it might not be - it might just be the kick-off to years of fears, depression and anxiety. I'm really glad things worked out for Burrell. But he must not fall into the fallacy of thinking that every bullied student can just pull himself up by his bootstraps. Clay Burrell, Beyond School December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Socialised Browsing
This is very neat - and not a surprising development. "Weblins are little Avatars that hang around at the bottom of your browser window. If you go to sites, you meet other characters and can chat, add them to your buddy list, etc." Wolfgang Greller, Wolfie's e-Blog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

More Thoughts On Eduspaces
The impending closure of EduSpaces is still top-of-mind for many people. "The big issue for me," writes Graham Attwell, "is whether when a small company develops such a product and service, it should be supported by the publicly funded education community." And an explanation for the closure has finally been posted: "we need to pay our bills, and it has become clear that the educational community is not the best way for us to do that." Well and good, but on the opposite site of the world James Farmer, doing pretty much the same thing, is doing so well he quit his job at the Age and is working on Edublogs full time. He writes that EduBlogs is ready to pick up EduSpaces accounts and points to a tutorial by Alicia Wyatt explaining how to move your content. On my site we read in the comments that Learning Landscapes for Schools may be able to accept some accounts. Discussion of the closure is now occurring fast and furious on the Elgg site. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Feed2JS Posts Personal Ad - Single, Lonely Open Source Software Seeks Eager PHP/RSS Coders
As the title suggests, Alan Levine is looking for someone to take over the care and feeding of the popular Feed2JS code. Alan Levine, CogDogBlog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

An Exception to the Google Rule?
I've seen this in a bunch of places today: "Trying stuff is cheaper than deciding whether to try it." That is to say, it's cheaper to hack together some Perl or Python script to see if something works and is popular than it is to do needs assessments, feasibility studies, and all the rest of the usual planning before product development. I think this is true - and as a corollary, I would add that "trying stuff is the only way for small companies or individuals to see if something works." Which is why I spend so much time (not enough, alas) messing around in Perl. Of course this page cites the exception that proves the rule. Via Kottke. dmarti, Linux World December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Cloud Computing Is the Way Forward Rather Than the Grid
This is a very interesting (but not altogether surprising) development: "Cloud computing is the way forward rather than the Grid. Organizations are not going to be sharing resources [where] you can definitely get resources cheaper from the cloud rather than having to maintain, and then share them with others." Bill St. Arnaud, Weblog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Screenplay for The Darjeeling Limited
One of the better movies I saw this year was The Darjeeling Limited. How nice to see the studio make its screenplay available for all to read on its website. John Gruber, Daring Fireball December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

American Students and Science
In the local bookstore - Chapters - in the science section, as of yesterday (when I checked) there were more titles containing the word 'God' in the science section than anything else. This is a recent thing trend that has been accelerating after their takeover by Indigo, a chain with what appears to be an agenda. I have no opposition to the discussion of religion and theology - I took a dozen or so religious studies courses in university. But the confusion of religion with science helps neither field. All this to lead to what I think is Chris Lehmann's best sentence of the year: "This is a crazy thought, I know.... but perhaps American students will do better internationally on the science tests when we start allowing our teachers to, you know, teach science." Couldn't agree more. Now come on Chapters Indigo - it's time to stop cheating the youth of Moncton out of their science education. Chris Lehmann, Practical Theory December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Didactics of Microlearning
I agree with George Siemens: "I find informal publishing in blogs and online articles more rewarding than traditional publishing processes. The feedback on what I write informally is more immediate and, as a result, plays a greater role in the subsequent formation of ideas. Writing a journal article, book, or book chapter, is concerned with presenting what one knows. Writing in informal spaces (such as a blog) is concerned with inviting others to join in an exploration of understanding a phenomenon not yet fully known." My interest in formal publication is, to be honest, pretty minimal. Not because I don't think my work stands up to scrutiny; I'm quite sure it does. But rather, because publishing it openly as I do exposes it to much more scrutiny than it would otherwise receive. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

A Few Months Back...
The Simpsons did a parody of Noah Kalina's Everyday video, a montage of photos of his face, one taken each day. But what makes the video work is the haunting background music by Carly Comando, and it's not so nice to see a report that she was not compensated for this work. I guess it's piracy only if students do it. If major corporations do it, it's just business as usual. Noah Kalina, Weblog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Copyright Delay Demonstrates the Power of Facebook

This is important writes Darren Kuropatwa. I concur. The Canadian government has delayed - but not canceled - the assault on reason a DMCA-style copyright law would represent. Michael Geist documents the rising tide of opposition to this bill (this website included) as demonstrated by an increasingly vocal facebook community. Other media have been taking note as well. See more on the copyright debate in Canada. I need to emphasize to all Canadian readers that this issue is far from resolved and that you should take action today in opposition to this pending legislation. Michael Geist, Weblog December 17, 2007 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]


This newsletter is sent only at the request of subscribers. If you would like to unsubscribe, Click here.

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter? Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list. Click here to subscribe.

Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.