Stephen's Web

[Chat] [Discuss] [Search] [Mobile] [About] [Archives] [Options]


by Stephen Downes
March 17, 2008

Black Monday: Bloggers On Trial
There has been a lot of web reaction to the forced closure of Al Upton's 'Minilegends' website, a classroom blog that has been in operation for a number of years. I have saved cache versions of the original page, another page, and the closure order on the site. Sue Waters links to the closure order and John Connell cites it. He also says it's about control, not education. Vicki Davis calls it 'Black Monday' and examines not only the Upton closure but also that of Intrepid Teacher Jabiz Raisdana. So does Warrick, who says, "It's corporate think." So does Derek Wenmoth. Miguel Guhlin thanks the Australians for "dumbing down" education to American levels. Doug Dickenson reminds readers of the rights of the child. Derek Wenmoth thanks Miguel Guhlin. Graham Hugs creates an icon in support of Upton. tech4teach posts the code you use to put the icon on your blog. Sue Waters looks at the issues of parental consent and the use of student images. Jacinta Gasgione says the shutdown is "wrong" and calls for people to stand up for him. And Alan Levine wonders whether all of these calls for support are enough. Vicki A. Davis, Cool Cat Teacher Blog March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Homeschoolers Vs. the State
An interesting debate has exploded into the mainstream as a California appellate ruling that bans homeschooling by uncredentialed parents. My own criticism of homeschooling has alwas been in line with the ruling by the court: it is a form of child abuse to subject children to an education at the hands of a person who is manifestly unable to provide it. But the debate also ties into questions about the aims and objectives of an education. Do we believe, with Justice Croskey, that "A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare?" We would be hard-pressed not to believe such a notion - but our sense of decency revolts at the idea of education as indoctrination. To be sure. But in response to the critics of the court's ruling, this: what is the education of a child by an unqualified or incompetent other than an indoctrination by a different name? I have in the past supported deschooling - but not the abandonment of a child's future to the whims of an uncertain learning. Joanne Jacobs, Weblog March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Emerging Criteria for Community Success
I don't always agree with people on the criteria for successful community because I don't always agree with them on the objectives for community. Not all communities need to be all things to all people - and in some important senses, we do not want the same properties across communities - we do not want the emotion, loyalty and passion that characterizes a football team, for example, to characterize our school boards - or our classrooms. That said, I think that the criteria for community success posited by George Roberts to be worth scrutiny, at least for those communities where there is shared intention, purpose or practice (ie., more like the football team, less like the classroom?). George Roberts, Weblog March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Pedagogy First? Whatever.
I am in the main sympathetic with George Siemens when he questions the doctrine that pedagogy ought to guide instructional technology. Though it may be for different reasons, as I am less comfortable with his suggestion that context' is "the starting point of planning to teach with technology." He asks, "How should we select technology?" And answers, "In my eyes, selection should be based on the funds available. The experience of the educator. The technology learners can already access. The intended outcomes of the program. And so on." My own take is that technology choice should depend on what we want to do, and that pedagogy - even in a learning context - is not what we ought to be doing. George Siemens, Connectivism Blog March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Digital Archive for Life Diagram
Another PLE diagram (except that it's an e-portfolio, except that it's called a 'digital archive for life', except that... oh, it's all the same thing, isn't it?). Helen Barrett, E-Portfolios for Learning March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Michael Feldstein summarizes a recent article on the Blackboard Patent case in T.H.E. Journal, which features an interview with Desire2Learn CEO John Baker. The tenor is that D2L will come out of this just fine, especially after having the judge approve their workaround. Baker states that $3.1 million is manageable, given their current cash flow, and that standardizing the clients on the new version will actually save costs in the long run. "Also, they're still cranking out product. Version 8.3 appears to be a fairly robust release with a lot more functionality than just the patent workaround." Michael Feldstein, e-Literate March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Stephen Downes On Personal Learning
Link to the Elluminate recording of my presentation last March 11 to Alec Couros's ECI 831 course. Alec Couros, Couros Blog March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Martian Headsets
Another great article at Joel on Software, this one on the (impossible) dilemma facing people (especially those at Microsoft) who want to create standards-compliant web pages and browsers. The problem is, there is no way to do this and at the same time to allow for those millions of people who have coded non-compliant websites (frequently in an effort to work with Microsoft's non-compliant browser). Spolsky argues that we should never have adopted Jon Postel robustness principle: "Be conservative in what you do, be liberal in what you accept from others." I don't agree, because I don't agree that this is the cause of the standards problem. I think it is that releasing a browser that does this to Google Maps

has to be a deliberate sabotaging of the competition. Standards are hard enough when everybody plays by the rules. They are impossible when Microsoft is playing (and - if it's not Microsoft, it's someone else). Joel Spolsky, Joel on Software March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

China Becomes Largest Web Surfing Country In The World
The inevitable has arrived. "There are 220 million Web surfers in China, a number which slightly surpasses the 217 million in the United States and makes the country the largest Internet-connected population in the world." It makes you not want to be a monolingual English speaker, doesn't it? Sean P. Aune, Mashable March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Bear CEO's Handling Of Crisis Raises Issues
Those people who think that public services, such as education, should be 'run like a business' (or even run by a business) should be thinking twice. Given a massive bailout on Friday, Bear Stearns (the subject of this 2007 story) was sold today for $2 a share, triggering a financial crisis in the U.S. Via Jezebel. Kate Kelly, Wall Street Journal March 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [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 2008 Stephen Downes

This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License.