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by Stephen Downes
January 17, 2008

One Prediction Already On Target
This is an idea that would have been revolutionary a few years ago, but which is becoming mainstream today: "We'll see more online rapid e-learning authoring environments come on the market, perhaps even open source." Clive Shepherd, Clive on Learning January 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Official Politically Correct Handbook
I guess today is a more politically oriented version of OLDaily than usual. That's OK; it is helpful to see the ideas at work behind many of the technologies and pedagogies we face today. In this item, the well worn euphemism of 'political correctness' is trotted out for our view. Such a wonderful word, it has really served its purpose well. What purpose? Very simple: by lumping all admonishments to correct language under one meaningless lable, you associate the very vile language of racism and hate with very innocuous language of minor miscues and impoliteness. This makes it seem like objecting to the expression of hate is really something very trivial, and that the people advocating 'political correctness' are being petty. In reality, the people who use the phrase 'political correctness' are trivializing and normalizing hate, making it seem like this really hateful and hurtful language is part of everyday speech, to which nobody reaosnable would object.

Now is Dough Johnson advocating racism here? Of course not. But he is using verbal shorthand that has been provided to him by - and serves the purposes of - people who use language to hurt people. Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog January 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

With Friends Like These ...
If I could quantify friendship, I'd be counting friends. Instead, I prefer to count on friends. It's that intangible that makes sites like Facebook - and sites like - so pervasive. And it raises questions about the political motivations of those behind Facebook. As Hodgkinson writes, "Facebook is one manifestation of this ideology. Like PayPal before it, it is a social experiment, an expression of a particular kind of neoconservative libertarianism." In essence, what has been created is a "heavily-funded programme to create an arid global virtual republic, where your own self and your relationships with your friends are converted into commodites on sale to giant global brands." Well, yeah. I think we all know that (if not, we should). The question is, even though Facebook pays the band, can it call the tune? I think that even if Facebook is a political entity, it is going after the wrong target. The left has never (except in the mids of its leaders) been about mass movements. It has always been about personal empowerment. Via Emma Duke-Williams. Tom Hodgkinson, The Guardian January 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

If You Worked a Bit Harder, You Too Could Afford to Be Me
Artichoke does a nice job of rambling through the arguments for and against privately owned schools. The rhetoric that goes back and forth leaves us uncertain of our moral ground, as we feel almost compelled to defend the existence of elite schools for the well-heeled privileged as essential for the welfare of poor people. We need to be wary of arguments that cast people as 'voting with their dollars' as well as with arguments that speak of 'wallet morality'. From where I sit, it boils down to this: where exclusivity exopsists, the rich will turn exclusivity to their own benefit, all the while proclaiming (from a pious moral perch) that it's for the good of the poor. The poor, meanwhile, silently remain poor. Artichoke, website January 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

A Welcome Smack in the Face On Open Courseware
Brian Lamb points to one of the many benefits of open access: "That Connexion's robust digital-to-print conversion features combined with advances in print-on-demand technology have allowed Rice University Press to rise from the ashes." And as he notes, Michael Geist nails it on the head: "Canadians pride themselves in being one of the world's most connected countries; however, the failure to lead on issues such the Open Courseware consortium and open access to the results of Canadian research suggests that we are still struggling to identify how to fully leverage the benefits to education of new technology and the Internet. Many of Canada's top universities may liken themselves to MIT, but the near-total absence of Canada from the Open Courseware consortium suggests that there is still much to learn." I agree. Canada needs to wake up. Brian Lamb, abject learning January 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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