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by Stephen Downes
March 19, 2008

Arthur C. Clarke

One day I pulled a book titled A Fall of Moondust off the public library shelf. I was ten or twelve or so, and it was my first experience with science fiction. Since that day, Arthur C. Clarke - and the legions of science fiction authors who followed him - have taken me on a journey of wonder and speculation. I would not be who I am without science fiction, and in particular without Arthur C. Clarke.

Other commentary, from Wired (interviews and correspondence), Steve Wheeler, Dan Colman (video of Clarke), John Gruber (Clarke's diary), Scott Beale (video), news article on Yahoo. Various Authors, Wikipedia March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Twitter Etiquette
"If someone has 1000+ followers, but only follows 30+, are they 'misusing' Twitter?" This question of 'Twitter Ethics' is asked and answered here. My own perspective: I have Twitter followers (who get my Facebook status updates as Twits) but I follow nobody on Twitter. Is that a misuse? I have had people (sometimes rudely) suggest that it is. Because, I guess, reading 500 blogs isn't enough, I have to pay special personal attention to a select group of Twitters. The twitterati. The thing is - there is (and always has been) an asymmetry of communication. Which is simply this: it is easier to be heard by many people than it is to hear many people. It takes no effort at all to broadcast to 1000 Twitter users - the computer does it all. But following 1000 takes some commitment. We need to understand that the whole internet is like that. "It's a dip-in, take a scoop from the passing river kind of experience." See also Micro-Blogging Part Deux. Martin Weller, The Ed Techie March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Why No One Is Using Your Application or Website
The nice and simple explanation for why so many content management systems fail. Scott Leslie explains in more detail. "People like simple-to-use tools. If you give them simple, easy to understand tools, they will use them... You will not need to provide help documentation, training sessions, or PD release time. They will just use them. You will probably be threatened by the results." Scott Gilbertson, Wired March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The 5 Ps of E-Portfolios
The five Ps are: plan, ponder, promote, prove, preserve. How dull. After they 'populate' their portfolios, they should 'publish', 'propagate' and 'proliferate'. Absolutely essential! They should use portfolios to 'perster'. To 'pontificate'? I'd say. Ponder is good, but should include the capacity to 'project', 'predict', 'parallel' and 'pin down'. And while I support 'planning' I would like to see students using portfolios to 'plot' and 'priorize'. To say the least! Come on. Portfolios aren't for librarians... they're for 'people'. Andy Powell, eFoundations March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

So I totally don't understand any of it any more - Elgg, which became eduSpaces, and then closed down, and then was being taken over by TakingITGlobal, who then angered users with a weird agreement, is now reopened, and will not be closed down after all. Thanks Misja? "We have learnt many valuable lessons during this process..." No doubt. Graham Attwell also comments. Various Authors, EduSpaces March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Ivan Krstic Resigned From One Laptop Per Child!!
More turmoil at OLPC. Krstic explains, in part, "Not long ago, OLPC undertook a drastic internal restructuring coupled with what, despite official claims to the contrary, is a radical change in its goals and vision from those that were shared with me when I was invited to join the project." Related: post-OLPC - John Connell points to the digital desk. Wayan Vota, One Laptop Per Child News March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Analysis of Problem-Solving-Based Online Asynchronous Discussion Pattern
This is a somewhat interesting article, based on the analysis of students' unguided problem-solving conversations online. According to the authors, "compared to discussion activity based on a single topic appointed by the teacher, the problem-solving online discussion activity is more helpful for students' knowledge construction." but they also identify areas in which a teacher's intervention could steer the students toward more deep or meaningful conversation. Things I wonder about are whether the same pattern exists outside the classroom (because students may feel 'on stage' in a classroom and therefore perform to expectations) and whether the same pattern applies across media (such as blogging, say). Huei-Tse Hou, Kuo-En Chang and Yao-Ting Sung, Educational Technology&Society March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

T.O. Student Won't Be Expelled Over Facebook Group
Ryerson University has backed down - to a point - in its prosecution of a student threatened with being expelled for using Facebook. The student will still receive a zero for the assignments, though. Said one student, "I don't think the Facebook group is anything different than a group of students getting together in a library to work together in person. It's the exact same thing, just one's online." More coverage from the Globe and Mail. Janice Golding, CTV March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

What Planet Are You From? PlanetOU of Course!
RSS aggregation is (finally!) reaching mainstream, recently through the 'Planet' series of sites. The idea of things like Planet Ubuntu and Planet Drupal is that they aggregate feeds related to those services, so you can see them all in one go. So naturally we now have Planet OU (and associated RSS Feed, which aggregates feeds coming from The Open University. Also, here is a podcast from the Open University. Both from Tony Hirst, of course. Liam Green-Hughes, Weblog March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

More Than 50 Web Widgets for Your Learning Mix
I have mixed feelings about widgets. They're a great idea - I like the way they distribute dynamic data. But they're static in the sense that they bring you back to a single website. And I don't like the way they bog down. Hrm... J.T. Cobb, More than 50 Web Widgets for Your Learning Mix March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Another online video service - something that was inevitable after the widespread release of Flash-based video hosting software. This one looks like a good one. I tried it out (my ID on the site is 'downes'), including the recording and multi-party video chat. Via Dean Shareski. Various Authors, Website March 19, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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