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by Stephen Downes
February 18, 2008

The Reality of Virtual Learning
This is the text of the talk I presented to the Defense Learning Academy, Cornwall, Ontario, January 30, 2008. The slides and audio of this presentation are available here. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

WordPress.Com As OpenCourseWare

There has been a bit of a flutter on the ed tech side of things as the idea of taking open courses and converting them to WordPress documents or XML (or RSS) feeds gains ground. This has been around for a bit - I reported last year when Peter Shanks did it to Australian training packages. And the diagram above is my version of the sort of application being discussed today. So some might wonder what the fuss is. And others may question whether the mere open container constitutes a learning experience. But it seems to have gotten a kick over the weekend with Self Propelled Academic Messages (SPAM - heh :). And the new EduGlu is catching people's attention. And as Brian Lamb says, "once this stuff is inputted into WP, it can be quickly edited and adapted, right? Pieces picked out?" The point is, once we've got (what used to be) online courses in a form we can mess around with them, that's when the mashups and really creative acts (by students!) can begin. And hey, it made Tony's day - what more can we ask? Jim Groom, bavatuesdays February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Internet Software Patents
The arguments have been around for a while, but you just have to appreciate a masterful recasting. Here's Philip Greenspun: "I was asked 'Why didn't you patent this yourself, if you developed it first?' My reply was 'It only took me an hour to build; if I went down to the patent office after every hour of programming, I wouldn't get very much done.'" More on this from Alfred Essa. Philip Greenspun, Website February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Collective Intelligence? Nah. Connective Intelligence
This is exactly right: "(Surowiecki) makes the point that people do not think together in coming to certain conclusions, but rather than people think on their own and the value of the collaborative comes in the connection and combination of ideas. Each person retains their own identity and ideas, but they are shaped and influenced by the work of others. The concept here is related somewhat to Stephen Downes' discussion of groups vs. networks. At stake in these discussions (Surowiecki, Downes, de Kerchove) is how we are to perceive the individual in a world where the collaborative/collective is increasingly valued." That is why I, too, prefer the concept of connective (not collective) intelligence.

I also agree with Siemens that the difference will become more vital over the years: "For reasons of motivation, self-confidence, and satisfaction, it is critical that we can retain ourselves and our ideas in our collaboration with others. Connective intelligences permits this. Collective intelligence results in an over-writing of individual identity." It is not a coincidence that I am at the same time arguing for personal empowerment (Learn Yourself, Things You Really Need to Learn) as I argue in favour of connective knowledge. It's not that I 'put the individual first' or any such thing; it's not a competition. It's just that, for the whole to produce maximally reliable knowledge, the individuals must be as enabled and empowered as possible, which precludes subsuming themselves to a 'will of the majority' or some such thing. George Siemens, elearnspace February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Making This Blog Mobile ... in 5 Seconds
It takes a bit longer than five seconds. In fact, for me, it took about eight seconds. But now, thanks to this nifty service called Mofuse I have a wonderful mobile version of OLDaily. I will leave this active, so if you want to use the mobile version, you can continue to use this link. All you have to do is create an account and then enter the RSS feed of your blog (nothing seems to stop people from making mobile versions of other people's sites yet). Thanks to Ignatia for passing this on from Willem Karsenberg (Dutch). Various Authors, Website February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

It was only a matter of time before somebody duplicated Edu_RSS, and three or four years of lag-time seems to have done it. Mind you, the list of education blogs aggregated by blognetnews is less than a third of my own list. Well, theirs may grow in time. Blognetnews itself is an interesting creation, incorporating not just aggregation but all the tools of a web 2.0 site: sharing, rating, most linked, most popular, etc. If our experiences with other such sites is any guide, people will have already started trying to game the ratings services. The service has been cited by a number of bloggers, including Joanne Jacobs, Helge Scherlund, and Joseph Hart. Various Authors, Website February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Requirements of a PLE Framework
I suppose it was inevitable that we would move from discussion of the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) to the PLE Framework, a set of common functions that would underlie different instances of personal learning environments. Here Mohamed Amine Chatti lists a set of framework elements. The list starts off strong but fades about half way through. It would be interesting to see what a robust framework would look like - and how closely it would line up with the E-Framework. Mohamed Amine Chatti, Weblog February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

New York Times Article On Online Language Learning and 10 Such Sites
Curt Bonk summarizes and links to the language learning sites listed in this NY Times article, and adds a few suggestions of his own. Language learning especially has benefited from the use of the web, and especially from audio podcasting (hence the names of the sites that end in '-pod'). Curtis J. Bonk, TravelinEdMan February 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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