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by Stephen Downes
October 6, 2008

Five Minutes to Improve Schools
Pretty good rant in favour of progressive schools, realistic approaches to data ("good data is what kids do every day, not how they do on a test") and good models for learning ("Media lab - lifelong kindergarten"). "If you want to see what kids have learned, give them a project." Also, "They should not give us schools plus computers, they should give us whole new schools." Chris Lehman, Practical Theory, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Thomson Suing Zotero: More Info and More Thoughts
Michael feldstein takes a closer look and reconsiders his opinions on Thomson's lawsuit against Zotero. "I still believe that Thomson's argument (or this portion of it, at least) is logically valid. Unfortunately, it is also based on claims that appear to be factually false. Apparently, the Zotero team did create their own style format and is crowd-sourcing the creation of import styles." Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Download Edusim Alpha06 World Builder
I don't know why it needs to be edusim, but I like the concept otherwise. "Edusim is a free & opensource 3D virtual world for the school or classroom interactive whiteboard. Powered by the Cobalt project." Ria Rich Hoeg. Various Authors, Ning, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Becta Report On Benefits of Web 2.0 in the Classroom
Steve Hargadon reports on a Becta report pointing to the benefits of Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom. "Pupils feel a sense of ownership and engagement when they publish their work online and this can encourage attention to detail and an overall improved quality of work." Steve Hargadon, Weblog, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Big Internet
Alan Levine posts a set of bright and colourful slides to make the point that the internet is bigger and more varied that you can imagine. That seems like a trite point, but it's one that bears making, because we (people in general) have a tendency to think that we understand things when, really, we do not. Oh, and btw, my own unknown flower remains unknown. If somebody doesn't identify it soon, I'm going to name it after myself. Alan Levine, Flickr, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Putting What Works to Better Use
There's a case to be made here, and the point of the article is that, despite the fact that we know these are high-impact academic practices, we don't, for the most part, employ them. The full list of "high impact academic practices" referred to in this report is:

  • First-year seminars
  • Common Intellectual Experiences
  • Learning Communities
  • Writing-Intensive Courses
  • Undergraduate research
  • Diversity/Global Learning
  • Service Learning/Community-Based Learning
  • Internships
  • Capstone Courses and Projects
There's no link from the Inside Higher Ed article, and information online about this study is very hard to find, but I got the full list here. Also, here is a PowerPoint presentation from the survey publisher outlining some of the results. Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Which Is the Most Successful Network in History?
A thread in the Moodle discussion poses the question, "which is the most successful network in history?" It's an interesting question - but it raises the question, what counts as "successful"? Do ypou want a network where memes spread rapidly? What if the meme is a fatal idea, or a fatal diseases? One of the suggestions offered in this course is that an 'effective' network will offer checks and balances, so that the spread of ideas or memes (or diseases) can be constrained if it is harmful. Sui Fai John Mak, CCK08 Moodle Forum, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

CCK08 - Learning Formations
Viplav Baxi links to a series of posts on 'learning formations' written over the summer on the topic of groups and networks. One thesis that characterizes the posts is the idea that because networks do not have staying power, they never get beyond the 'forming' and 'storming' stages of group formation. Viplav Baxi, Weblog, October 6, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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