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by Stephen Downes
March 28, 2008

Community Update On Patent Activity
Blackboard responds to the announcement today. They write, "This Office Action was expected and is the first step in a reexamination process that often takes years to complete. It has no effect on the validity of the patent, the lawsuit between Blackboard and Desire2Learn or the pending injunction against Desire2Learn." Not everyone, of course, believes this. Press Release, Blackboard, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Reexam Update - Patent Rejected
I'm more than pleased to introduce today's newsletter with some delicious news: the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected all 44 of Blackboard's patent claims. Now this is a "non-final" report, meaning that both sides can still appeal. But still, this is a serious setback to Blackboard. Announcement, Desire2Learn, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

OpenID and OAuth in the Browser?
Dion Almaer proposes for OpenID what I described for mIDm - putting your identity into your browser, changing it with a simple dropdown, and letting your browser sign you into sites. "When I was looking over Brad Neuberg's Paper Airplane thought experiment I noticed the single sign on feature, where you login to the browser, and then you are done. I realized that this is what I actually want." (Interestingly Neuberg's paper is published in May, 2005 - the same month I first posted on mIDm and the same month in which Brad Fitzpatrick first posted about OpenID). Dion Almaer, ajaxian, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

(The New) Bgblogging
Barbara Ganley has moved her blog. People wanting to keep up with her literate and insightful thoughts on language and learning will want to take note. Barbara Ganley, (the new) bgblogging, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Podcast: Challenging IT Leaders to Mashup, Twitter, Tag, and Poke: New IT Strategies for a Digital Society
I met Susan E. Metros in Nashville a couple of years ago, where she gave a fascinating talk about the language (and syntax) of images. In this talk, she looks at new technology and learning. From the abstract: "To educate and engage this new breed of learners, institutions of higher education are revisiting and revising the basic tenants of a general education by asking, What does it means to be literate in today's society? As educators transform the way they teach and conduct research, IT leaders also must alter their institution's IT strategy to best support a mobile, global digital citizenry." Metros, I would say, is uniquely placed to talk about expanding literacies. Susan E. Metros, EDUCAUSE Connect, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Wiki Vs Email
Good diagram comparing the process involved in collaboration using wiki and collabopration using email (guess which one is easier!). I would add that collaboartion using Google Docs (which I have some people here at NRC testing today - yay!) works the same as the wiki picture. One quibble with this post: why is there some sort of U.S. Military logo representing the 'wiki' option? I think it would be more appropriate to use a MediaWiki logo, or something similar. Miguel Guhlin, Arund the Corner, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

End of an Era
Debate is raging here in New Brunswick as the provincial government has chosen to scrap early French immersion and to replace with an intensive program starting in grade 5. I have mixed feelings. Early French immersion is a good thing, no doubt. But so-called "core French" is a bad thing - core French (a.k.a. French class) is what I took for twelve years without ever learning the language. And core French is what 80 percent of New Brunswick's English school population receives. In a bilingual province, every student should receive the government's best effort to teach a second language. Which is what I think the government is trying to do with the intensive French program. Now Harold Jarche may rail against introducing an "industrial school system", but I think it is that either with or without early French immersion. And I think we can move away from industrial style school while at the same time promoting literacy in both language. Finally - in response to the many comments I've heard over the last few weeks that "some people just can't learn second languages," I would observe that the French students in this province almost uniformly manage to learn both English and French - and they're not that much smarter than their English counterparts, are they? Anyhow - would I start intensive language learning earlier than Grade 5? Probably. Would I abandon it entirely in order to allow 20 percent can start earlier if they want to? No. Harold Jarche, Weblog, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Finland, Finland, Finland... It's Where I Want to Be
More on the education system in Finland. Again, I note that while - as wan McIntosh emphasizes - the Finns trust their teachers and their students, there are other factors at work: no private schools or homseschooling, no 'league tables' of school rankings. And in a wider sense: Finland is simply a more egalitarian country than, say, the U.S. or Britain (I don't think there are slums in Finland). And this is reflected in "the support of weak children" that is credited for Finland's success in PISA evaluations. Ewan McIntosh, edublogs, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Adobe Launches PhotoShop Express
Interesting. As Alec Couros notes, Adobe has launched Photoshop Express. I guess they got tired of losing the competition to a bunch of free photo editing sites on the web (like Picnik). You'd think they would be better than the competition, given that they know photos and Flash and all. But I clicked 'Register' only to be served a plain gray screen (on Firefox on MacBook). Maybe it's still downloading out there somewhere (my internet at the office is throttled by UNB, through which it flows)... I hope your experience is better. Also: see SlideRocket, which is an online slide editing tool. I can't get in yet (it's in closed beta) but it looks fabulous: "SlideRocket is a web application that provides everything you need to design professional quality presentations, manage and share libraries of slides and assets, and to deliver presentations in person or remotely over the web." Alec Couros, Open Thinking&Digital Pedagogy, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Spring Flings and Facebook Fun
Blackboard has started a Facebook group for its upcoming conference. It's an interesting idea, but the group, which is open now, will not remain open if the company's critics begin to log on and express their opinions. Kerry Jo, Blackboard, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

YouTube Versus TeacherTube
Written very flippantly (annoyingly so, even for me, which is saying a lot) this article nonetheless offers a glimpse at TeacherTube and a link to SchoolTube (where I found a fun video on Halo 3, but found it impossible to create a link to it). This article is marketing for a school finding service, but I pass it on because I think readers will find it interesting (and people from the University of Phoenix may want to reply). Oh, and this: do not, I repeat, do not follow the link to YouTube's 'education' channel. This is something Google may want to attend to. Shmuel Tennenhaus, SchoolFinder, March 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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