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by Stephen Downes
March 21, 2008

Three questions, and not the most imaginative of answers. To the first question, "What work related concern keeps you up at night," I tend to think of the worldwide need for equity and access to knowledge. And not "aligning with institutional mission" (does that really trouble someone? How sad). To the second question, "What is the most exciting trend in higher education," I tend to think of open learning, worldwide access to knowledge, and personal empowerment. Not, you know, "Offsite data protection." To the third question, "What is the most important characteristic of a leader," I would answer things like "integrity", "respect" and "honesty", and maybe "vision". Not "apply the appropriate behaviors to achieve optimum effectiveness." I raise these, not to make fun of the answers, but to raise the very serious question of how the dynamics of the conference change what would normally be thoughtful responses into corporate-speak. Are we that easily brainwashed? Various Authors, EDUCAUSE March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Note to Homeschoolers: Don't Be Psychotic!
I will admit that I am disappointed at the level of discourse that followed my recent video outlining my position. This post, from Dana Hanley, is easily the best of the responses, and engages the details of my argument in a constructive manner. A longer response is warranted, which I will undertake in a few days. The main response seems to be based on the idea that I haven't done any research. There is also quite a bit of attribution of motives ("he's an academic/bureacrat with a vested interest in *pushing* all this newfangled media 'education' stuff," for example). But mostly, the critics misrepresent the position I have taken. So, for the record, I do not equate homeschooling with abuse, I do not say homeschoolers are psychotic, I do not say that most parent-child relationships are flawed. Dana Hanley, Principled Discovery March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

A Vision of K-12 Students Today
This video borrows heavily from Michael Wesch and from the Shift Happens videos, but the production is a bit better and the text a lot easier to read. Via Graham Attwell. B. Nesbitt, YouTube March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Disaggregating PLEs #1 - PCVs: Personal (Portable?) Content Views
Tony Hirst continues the PLE discussion, linking to some previous posts and "'disaggregated' the PLE notion into personal content views and personal tool suites (when viewed from the user side) and portable content views and personal application provision (when viewed from an institutional perspective)." I'll finish coding, then I'll talk about this. Tony Hirst, OUseful Info March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Learning 2.0: The Power of Learning in a Networked World
Summary of a presentation in two parts (Part 1, Part 2) on network learning. It draws a lot from my own work and that of George Siemens, pulling it together into a nice package. John Connell, Weblog March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

QuickTime and a TIFF (or JPEG) Decompressor Are Needed to See This Picture
Something encountered along the way as I prepared the next item - people who create PowerPoint presentations using the Mac frequently include images Windows users can't see (it's because PowerPoint for the Mac uses the QuickTime compressor, which Windows doesn't support). It's a guge pain to remove and convert every image in a presentation. But if you are a Mac user and have slide shows like this, run the Macro described on this page. It's not hard if you follow the detailed instructions step by step. And I can attest that it works. Stephen Rindsberg, PPTools March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Second Life Server Not Going to Be Open Sourced Any Time Soon
While the Second Life viewer has been open source for a while now, the key to an open 3D internet econology is an open source server. "It appears now that this server will not be Second Life. "There are a lot of cases of monolithic design and improper trust relationships between components that would need to be addressed." Now I took a lot of flack last spring when I criticized Second Life for being closed and noted that they couldn't open source without causing the Second Life economy to collapse. I challenged their representative, who insisted it would be open sourced. "Yeah, that's likely," I basically responded. Well - to all those defenders of Second Life, here it comes: I told you so. So where does the future really lie? Well there's Croquet and Project Darkstar along with OpenSim. Doug Holton, EdTechDev March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

I spent some time (thanks Luc) a couple of weeks ago learning about SSH Tunneling. Now not all of your students are going to know about this, but it's well worth noting that this sort of technology can be very easily used to bypass school lockdowns and filters. Administrators can scan for particular applications - but that's like scanning for a particular book title in an effort to keep out books. Miguel Guhlin, Arund the Corner March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

It's a better way to search for Creative Commons licensed images on Flickr. Via Copyfight. Also: ignore all the hype about Google Scholar, the Internet Archive continues to scan 1000 public domain works a day. Various Authors, Website March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Continuing Professional Development: Pathways to Leadership in the Library and Information World
Proceedings from a conference on professional development and workplace learning for library and information professionals that took place in South Africa last year. There's a lot of content here, contained in a single PDF that won't allow you to copy and paste, making it cumbersome and inconvenient for researchers. The focus is on 'leadership' and the articles wrestle not only with how to deliver training but also the question of what traits constitute 'leadership' in a global environment. Other papers look at applied leadership, such as a product to document the legacy of the African National Congress. E-Learning is discussed in basic terms (Mason and Noord) with a focus on course development. Worth highlighting is Marielle de Miribel, who looks at different types of leadership. Also worth reading are Roberts and Black, who draw on Kolb to look at leadership learning from a theoretical perspective. "Effective leadership," they write, "fosters leadership in others. Perhaps it is as simple as that." Ann Ritchie and Clare Walker, IFLA March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Job Opening
We are hiring for the position of a Learning Design researcher to "participate in researching, surveying and analyzing existing standards and application profiles in the e-Learning field [and] work towards integrating research results within a software framework to be developed and commercialized by one of the project's collaborators."

Unrelated: The Canadian government is calling for submissions on a national science and technology policy. What should I tell them? Your suggestions would be appreciated. Press Release, Government of Canada March 21, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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