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by Stephen Downes
August 27, 2008

Trademark Sanity Restored
The US Patent and Trademark Office reversed its decision to grant Dell a trademark on the term 'cloud computing'. What is disturbing is that the trademark would ever have been issued in the first place, and that a company like Dell would have applied to own it at all. I can picture the conversation: "Let's trademark 'cloud computing." "But it's used all over the place." "Well, that makes it more valuable then! And it could be ours!" "Bwa ha ha ha ha." Bill Poser, Language Log, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Digital Natives
George Siemens offers this interesting quote from Chris Lott: 'Academics tend to err on the side of nuance and precision, eschewing generalizations and coarse labels. This is great for documenting cultural dynamics, but not so great for making interventions." Well, yeah - if interventions are what you want, then distortions and simplifications are what you're going to need. But perhaps in the light of this we should be questioning the ethics of making an intervention. Perhaps we should be asking what it means to do this, and to query whether we don't create more harm than good in the process. George Siemens, elearnspace, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Teachers Propose, Donors Choose
I hope people will band together and support these education projects begging for funding in this obviously needy nation. Joanne Jacobs, Weblog, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Kids to Government: Save Our Park
We had a nice story recently here in Moncton. City equipment moved into a local park to take out the aging playground equipment and, after doing some sewer repairs, replace the park with a parking lot. About 100 kids use the park, and enough of them were alert enough to stage a protest and block the workers. After four days, the provincial government stepped in and announced that it would fund the rebuilding of the park after the sewer work was done. People say to me sometimes: protesting doesn't work. I think it's pretty clear from examples like this that, if your cause is just, protesting does work (which is why authoritarian regimes like dictatorships and schools are so quick to clamp down on it). Aloma Jardine, Times&Transcript, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Some Media Companies Choose to Profit From Pirated YouTube Clips
This is a welcome development: "In the last few months, CBS, Universal Music, Lionsgate, Electronic Arts and other companies have stopped prodding YouTube to remove unauthorized clips of their movies, music videos and other content and started selling advertising against them." Not because I like advertising or anything (indeed, I wonder about using the same technology to remove advertising from unauthorized copies of my work) but because because it lets people use cultural content they way they have always used cultural content - as the starting point, and main ingredient, of a conversation. More,/a> from Google Blog, suggesting that about 90 percent of publishers are taking the 'monetize' option. Brian Stelter, New York Times, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Introducing Ubiquity
OK, this is sort of a good idea and in part a really bad idea. What's good about Ubiquity is the idea to enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. Letting browser users see what gets sent, and see what's returned, and to mess around with that, would be a great thing. But the part about a text-based command language for the web? Or the hackneyed 'organize a trip for me' scenario? No, this mostly isn't what people need. But don't let me be a wet blanket - some interesting stuff could evolve out of Ubiquity, and this - here, now - is where it's starting. More, from Mark Oehlert, Metafilter, The Blog Herald, Wired News.

What do I think we want? I think we want a way to take any part of any page, cut it out, and move it - underlying application logic and all - into another page. Combining them, so that if we move a bit from one page on top of a bit from another page, the one acts as input for the other. Being able to transform types - from application logic, say, to video of the process, or from visual representation, say, to a series of instructions. Being able to send them wherever we want. Doing this all visually - but able to toggle to the script, and to the messages, in case we want to tweak what we've dragged and dropped. Various Authors, Mozilla Labs, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Ever Notice?
Noticing is a form of pattern recognition (hence the link to the Gibson book of the same name) and pattern recognition is - in my opinion, at least - how we come to know. So noticing plays a central role in learning. On the one hand, it's a skill, that needs to be learned. On the other hand, it's an accomplishment, a way we know we have learned. This article depicts noticing as visual. But of could noticing occurs in all modalities. Steve Portigal and Dan Soltzberg, AIGA, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The DSpace Course
The Repositories Support Project has launched a training course for DSpace called (unimaginatively) "The DSpace Course". The course consists of twenty or so modules; each module consists of a document (in .pdf and .doc, .docx in some modules) and a slide show (in .ppt and .pdf). The course (perhaps it ought more accurately to be called a 'book' or 'document') is licensed under Creative Commons. Links throughout use the Handle system (I'd be curious to see how long before they break - here's the Handle link for the whole course). Stuart Lewis and Chris Yates, CADAIR, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Excellent Review of Dale's Cone and Its Bastardizations
This title will set off all the filters, so if you didn't get your newsletter today, it's because your spam filter is being a prig. Will Thalheimer links to a presentation describing some (but by no means all) of the uses of Dale's Cone of Experience to assess the relative merits of different teaching and leanring styles. Rereading Thalheimer's original post on this is relevant in light of some recent discussions on learning styles. "How did someone compare 'reading' and 'seeing?' Don't you have to 'see' to 'read?' What does 'collaboration' mean anyway? Were two people talking about the information they were learning? If so, weren't they 'hearing' what the other person had to say? What does 'doing' mean?" Quite so. We need to be careful about our vocabulary when we talk about learning, because there are numerous domains of discourse, varying from sensory vocabularies (seeing, feeling, sensing, smelling) through cognitive vocabularies (inferring, deciding, recognizing) though behavioral vocabularies (speaking, joining, creating, collaborating) - and further subdivisions among each of these! Will Thalheimer, Will at Work Learning, August 27, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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