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by Stephen Downes
August 18, 2008

Student Voice As a Good Thing
Student voice is a good thing. But let us not delude ourself that the oft-substituted "carefully selected model students as scrutinized abd vetted by teachers student voices" is a good thing. The first questions we should ask are: who gets to speak, and what are they allowed to say? If the answers aren't "anyone" and "anything" then we're getting tecaher (or administrator) voices, not student voices. See also: Student silence. Artichoke, Weblog, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Why Open Curriculum Wikis Won'T Work
Here's the argument: "Curriculum is a statement of opinion - it reflects the author's beliefs about the nature of teaching and learning... Unfortunately, beliefs and philosophy don't make good subjects for open wikis... Without a guiding hand and point of view, anything added to a curriculum wiki will have no anchor in a common belief about the nature of teaching and learning." Strictly speaking, this is a circular argument. And people can express opinions collectively. They're just not very good at it - which is why we (as a society) so often fall for the canard of an Expert Voice that will put all our disputes to rest. (As if!) Sylvia Martinez, Generation YES Blog, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

REST Questions
The discussion over how web sites should talk to each other continues. Tim Bray launches a set of counter-arguments, generally of the form: "Just because UDDI never took off, you can't conclude that service registries are dumb." But I would take each of his points and inverse them: UDDI never took off because service registries are dumb. Tim Bray asks questions of the form "Is x good enough?" I prefer to ask, "What can we do with x?" Because I don't think we should be engineering our solutions into our technology, I think we should be using technology to engineer solutions. These really are two different ways of looking at the world. Tim Bray, Weblog, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Two Kinds of Freedom
I think there's a point here, though I have to say I've been finding a lot to question in Haskin these days. His point is that "Only one kind successfully gives us experiences of being free. The other kind is like an attractive bait that tempts us with the promise of freedom which is never delivered" where "Authentic freedom is found within situations" (including constraints and limitations) while "Pseudo freedom is sought after by escaping from situations' such as "acts of defiance, rebellion, or retaliation." I would rather say it this way (probably changing Haskins's meaning): freedom is proactive, pseudo-freedom is reactive. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

IMS Learning Information Services: The Motivating Pain
Michael Feldstein starts a series of posts on the "IMS Learning Information Services (LIS) specification that the SAIP [Student Administration Integration Pack, newly released by Oracle] implements." This post described the needschools had for a way to integrate their learning management system information with their student information system information. "In most places, after a teacher spends an entire semester working in their LMS grade book-the online, electronic gradebook with grades that are stored in a modern, electronic database - the teacher has to print out a copy of the students' final grades, log onto the SIS, go to the grade roster page for the class, and manually re-enter all the grades." It's this sort of thing - and I can think of a certain piece of time recording software that is the same way - that makes people hate technology. Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Lame and Lamer: 10 Dumbest Viral Marketing Campaigns
I just finished reading William Gibson's Pattern Recognition. Recommended; Gibson's most accessible novel in years. Among other gems, this: "You 'know' in your limbic brain. The seat of instinct. The mammalian brain. Deeper, wider, beyond logic. That is where advertising works, not in the upstart cortex." Fortunately, it's not an exact science (yet) as these ten examples illustrate. Dan Tynan, PC World, August 18, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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