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by Stephen Downes
August 28, 2008

Learning Styles Don't Exist
So says Clive Shepherd , in another installment of the debate. I comment there and I'll comment here, briefly. I'm too involved in another writing project at the moment, but I do want to take some time to have this one out some time in the future. But to address a few things: first of all, there's no reason learning styles must be innate (though they may be, the way being left-handed may be); second, if you grant me learning styles in the extreme case (such as the blind learner), then you don't get to say learning styles don't exist; third, a demand for evidence does not require that I go along with Campbell Collaboration silliness; and finally, if you are going to say things like "the mechanism by which learning occurs" is independent of, say, perception, you'd better have a story. Clive Shepherd, Clive on Learning, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Ten Futures: Where Science Fiction Could Become Real
Apparently my article has made its way to Digg. Had to happen sometime. I'm enjoying the comments, mostly. The people who say I don't support my arguments at all should follow the one really important reference in the work - the one back to this site, where they'll find ten thousand sources or so. Various Authors, Digg, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

New Structures and Spaces of Learning: The Systemic Impact of Connective Knowledge, Connectivism, and Networked Learning
This paper lies right at the intersection of the questions "How do we change?" and "What ought we to change to?" This is a tricky place to be, because it involves sketching theories about user empowerment and people making their own choices while at the same time pointing to desired states and optimal outcomes. I'm not sure Siemens pulls it off (though it's a good try), mostly because of the last section, which is an extended defense of the role of the institution. I just don't see this happening: "A university becomes a connection forming organization, brokering relationships, providing opportunities for research, and continuing to serve as a critical, but neutral, place of discovery and advancement of knowledge." Too many conflicting tendencies. George Siemens, Website, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

An Effective Tool to Help You Memorize
OK, I haven't tried out this tool, because I have no real need to memorize anything. But Richard Nantel has, adding by one to the number of people in the world who know Sarah McLaughlin's Angel. I love the song but would prefer that only Sarah McLaughlin sing it. I'm sure you understand. Anyhow, the process is pretty simple: read the text, write out the text, summarize the text, have someone read the text to you, then paste the text in the box and try to recall the text from the one-letter clues provided. OK, fine, but can I learn Spanish this way? Hm, maybe not. Richard Nantel, Brandon Hall, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Social Media Makes This Course Stand Out
An example of the way the shape of online learning is changing, as this post outlines the different web 2.0 tools used by Alejandra Pickett to make her course come alive for the students. Tools used include Twitter, Jing, screencasts, blogs, podcasts, and more. Great stuff. Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

E-Textbooks May Not Be Cheaper Than Printed Ones, Report Says
A report, based on a survey of 504 students from Portland State University and the City Colleges of Chicago, was sharply critical of e-books. "They are expensive and impractical for a large portion of the student population." Not only are they more expensive to print out, the electronic versions cannot be shared or re-sold, and they expire after a set number of days (sometimes before the course is even complete). Via University Business. Gale Holland, L.A. Times, August 28, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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