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by Stephen Downes
April 22, 2008

Walter Bender On His Resignation From OLPC
Walter Bender has resigned from One Laptop Per Child (OLPC), a move that may represent the final collapse of the initiative into, well, something else. It was Bender's voice participants read when the newsletters came out, and Bender, perhaps even more than Negroponte, who personified the initiative. "My personal interest is in helping build a community of developers, educators, and learners dedicated to advancing the quality of free and open source software for learning and the sharing of pedagogical approaches in this community," he writes, which may lead one to infer that OLPC is no longer doing that. Wayne Vota, One Laptop Per Child News, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

New Tools Hint at an iGoogle Social Network
Google's 'social network' has long been Orkut, which has had a limited appeal. The company is now in the process of rolling out a rather more ambitions initiative, the shape of which is not always clear, but the dimensions of which are already impressive. Scott Gilbertson, Monkey Bites, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Laptop U: Where No One Looks at the Professor
This farce has left members of the edublogosophere uncertain whether it's real or a spoof. Christian Long looks at the nuances. Joanne Jacobs relied on her daughter for news. Dennis Coxe is sympathetic, wondering "when adults ceded responsibility for how learning should occur to the students." Me? I'll just say "it's spelled pyjamas" and leave it at that. Prof. Anonymous, Pajamas Media, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Flash and Server Side Access
This is the thin edge of the wedge that might, in the long run, be the end of XML. Because, as Simon Willison notes, "Google shut down their SOAP Search API." This replaces that. Mark Lucovsky, Google AJAX Search API Blog, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Quantitative Analysis of User-Generated Content On the Web
This is a very interesting paper that quantifies patterns in user generated content. First, "There is no such thing as an average user. UGC production is not a normal distributed process. From the contributing users, the majority contribute few items, whereas few contribute a lot." And second, "Three groups can be inferred from the data. 1) Amazon Reviews, Digg, FanFiction and SlideShare seem to have a similar distribution of contribution. The 10% of the users contribute from 40% to 60% of the content. 2) a group is integrated by the 'fatbelly' IPPs: Furl, LibraryThing and Revver. In those cases, the 10% of the users contribute between 60% and 80% of the content. 3) Scribd and Merlot form the third group. In this group, the most prolific sources seem to have a big impact in the overall number of items contributed." I want to venture as a hypothesis that the first group constitutes 'network' behaviour, and will demonstrated considerable diversity, while the second and third represent increasingly 'group-like', or less diverse, behaviour; that there will be characteristic network 'shapes' that correspond to each of these three groupings. Via Erik Duval's Weblog. Xavier Ochoa and Erik Duval, Web Science, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Two Approaches to E-Learning
This is a video from a presentation using Skype video I did on Saturday for an Educamp being held in Germany. I did the presentation without slides. There's also a video from George Siemens presented to the same conference. Stephen Downes,, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Welcome to Training O2
Another website offering free learning resources. "Training O2 is a social resource gathering site for Australian vocational education students and trainers. On this site you'll find links to over 15,000 nationally recognised subjects." the site's slogan is "Rip, mix, burn and learn." There are community elements as well as learning materials. Via Peter Shanks on Plaxo. Various Authors, Website, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Free recorder for Skype calls. Windows only. Via Chris Craft. Various Authors, Website, April 22, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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