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by Stephen Downes
January 28, 2008

Digg Tips the Voting Scale to Favor Newcomers
Digg has adjusted its sorting algorithm in order to respond to persistent attempts to game the system. What I like is that it emphasizes diversity in its new system, so cliques of people cannot use mere numbers to vote for an item. Responding to Scott Karp, who calls this "the failure of completely open networks", I argue that this reflects a change in network design, not a change in openness. Scott Gilbertson, Monkey Bites January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Blackboard Bought Xythos
Blackboard continues its acquisition spate, buying Xythos, a content management system. Michael Feldstein comments, "This fits well with the trend we're seeing elsewhere, e.g., Moodle and Sakai both building JSR-170 repositories underneath all of their various LMS tools, ANGEL and D2L both selling some kind of content management add-ons, etc." Michael Feldstein, e-Literate January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

How to Stream Skype to Ustream (Mac)
For those of you using Mac computers, this is a nice snippet on how to stream Skype video through UStream. These instructions (fairly detailed, but not insurmountable) will help you "stream a Skype conversation to Ustream (2 to 100 participants) (and) record the video and audio of the conversation." Alec Couros, Couros Blog January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

I Wouldn't Steal
Video. Parody of the "I wouldn't steal" videos being shown at cinemas. I like the message: bring back sharing. Related: Michael Geist gives a talk to my old stomping grounds, the Canadian University Press, on the nature of the copyright reforms. Mike Linksvayer, Creative Commons January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Horizon Report 2008
The 2008 Horizon Report (PDF) is out and probably its most interesting prediction is of 'social operating systems', which it places in the 5-year range. This is actually a fairly linear prediction, following from Web 2.0 (which depicts the web as 'platform' - and what do you need for a platform? an operating system), which explains the references to O'Reilly. The predictions all have something to do with mobility, social connectivity, and user generated content. So in this way the report is accurately capturing current trends. Still, five years is a long time for a linear prediction - something is going to intervene. But what? Commentary from Derek Wenmoth, Judy O'Connell, John Connell, Vicky Davis, Gerry McKiernan. Various Authors, New Media Consortium January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Downescast 1
So here's my Kaltura Downescast, with video stolen borrowed liberated from YouTube. Still some bugs in the system; I don't like the way it just starts up, I don't like the way it looks, and my attempt to introduce the coverage of an African e-learning conference was a complete failure. Still - you can edit this video, add your own content, make it do whatever you want. How cool is that? Related: Gill Salmon's video on designing in Second Life is one of a series of videos on e-learning being offered on YouTube by CorpU. Stephen Downes, Kaltura January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

The Wii As a Platform for Learning
I totally have to get a Wii. Not for learning - but to play Wii baseball. Richard Nantel, Brandon Hall Research January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

9 Benefits of Twitter for Bloggers
This list is no doubt accurate - people do use Twitter to conduct research (or at least, to poll their friends), to extend their personal brand, to network, and more. But I think there should be a rule, that these 'benefits of' stories focus on unique benefits of the technology. What does Twitter help me do that nothing else does? Via Alec Couros. Darren Rowse, ProBlogger January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Is the Tipping Point Toast?
This is a very good article highlighting a matter of importance in communications and network theory. Following authors like Malcolm Gladwell, many people think that networks contain small numbers of 'influencers' who create and propagate trends. Advertisers work very hard to tap into these people, and more than a few writers and educators try to become one of these people. But such people have much less impact on the creation and spread of trends that is supposed, argues Duncan J. Watts. His models of network behaviour show that a message can just as easily circumvent one of these hubs, meaning that the hub is not necessary to transmit the message - and hence is not necessary to create or spread the trend. In fact, says Watts, you can't engineer the trends - when society is ready for a trend, it will spread, no matter where it originated. Clive Thompson, Fast Company January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Minds On Fire: Open Education, the Long Tail, and Learning 2.0
Readers of this newsletter will find the statements and themes in this article very very familiar. The authors note how new technology is changing the shape of knowledge, from a Cartesian view of knowledge as object and pedagogy as knowledge transfer, to a perspective of knowledge as socially constructed. This necessitates a change in what we mean by learning, from 'learning about' facts and data, to 'learning to be' the sort of person who, say, does physics. They look at immersive environments a bit before looking at the cycle of content creation, use and remix. The article is nicely written with nifty diagrams. John Seely Brown and Richard P. Adler, EDUCAUSE Review January 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]


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Copyright 2007 Stephen Downes

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