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by Stephen Downes
November 13, 2008

The (Lack Of) Wisdom of Crowds
Once again (*sigh*) the point of the Wisdom of Crowds and related writing (including my own) is not "the benefit of collaboration over individual effort." It's not about 'collaboration' (in its many forms at all). Nor is it that "the results of a group effort will usually produce superior results to the efforts of skilled individuals." There is a distinction between groups and networks that must be heeded if you want to understand things like 'the wisdom of crowds' at all. Failing to heed this distinctions is like looking at battleships and complaining that they don't fly. Richard Nantel, Brandon Hall Research, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

MOOCs Might Prove a Practical Answer?
Graham Attwell writes, "I had a fascinating meeting with two representatives of a Bejing school district last night... I started out as a sceptic about MOOCs but the meeting last night has changed my thinking." A podcast of the conversation has been posted. See also the comments, where Cristina Costa talks about her experiences with similar (but smaller) courses, and where I discuss the issue of numbers and participation in the CCK08 course. Related: Mohamed Amine Chatti sketches the architecture of a LaaN-Connectivist system. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

WikiPedia to Go (an Offline Download for Schools)
With 4 gigabyte keychain USB drives being available, you might want to consider circumventing district or school level blocking of Wikipedia by carrying your own personal version of the encyclopedia, selected and edited for in-school use by SOS Children. It's their edit, so you'll have to go by what they consider worth including. Still, it saves a lot of work, and hey, you might even convince the district to allow it. Just as a side note: this download (which is unbearably slow, sorry) consists of content carrying a variety of licenses: the GFDL Wikipedia content is distributed along with some fully copyrighted SOS content. How is this possible? Just be clear about which content is which. The whole issue of mixing open content licenses is easily addressed ion this way - isn't it? Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Live Blogging at DevLearn
Quite a bit of stuff from various bloggers from DevLearn. Mark Oehlert covers Tim O'Reilly in a CoverItLive feed. Sitting beside him, Jay Cross covers the talk in his blog. Clark Quinn offers a concept map of the O'Reilly keynote. Jay cross shares his photos. Michelle Lentz Twitters the event. Tony Karrer covers the eLearning Research panel. So does Jay Cross. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

mLearn08: MiLK: Students Building Mobile Learning Games in Higher Education by Debra Polson
Summary of a presentation at mLearn08: MiLK: students building mobile learning games in higher education by Debra Polson. Inge de Waard writes, "She showed showcases of custom mobile games. Debra motivates students to develop mobile games and they love it!... the students came up with activities and learned more then they bargained for. One conclusion was that peer assessment is a HIGH motivator. Students wanted to create GREAT games, because their peers would play the game and give feedback on it." This is consistent with the principles for effective online learning I have seen elsewhere - learning that is not merely student-centered but in large part student-created and motivated by public (authentic) performance. Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

mLearn08: Mobile ePortfolio's by Selena Chan
Summary of a presentation from mLearn08 in which Selena Chan presents on the "evaluation of a m-Learning pilot - narratives of workplace skill acquisition using mobile phones". Ignatia writes, "What really blew my mind was the fact that her apprentices choose their own mobile social media AND that they were not eager to learn in a classical style before they took up this apprentice role at the workplace. So this mobile learning really went into the real student-centered learning cycle as the learners choose what software apps to use and what to put on them and the learners learned without being the enthusiastic classical learners (yes, respect)." Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Classmates.Com User Sues; Schoolmates Weren't Really Looking for Him
I signed up for Classmates when it first came out and have endured a steady barrage of email come-ons from them ever since. I never paid them money, though, because I learned to mistrust the sort of things they were claiming. Others weren't so lucky. "Once he'd parted with the $15, Michaels learned the shocking truth: No one he knew was trying to contact him at all.'s come-on was a lie, and he'd been scammed." The site is the sort of thing that could have been a good idea, but which attempted to 'monetize' before developing a genuine user community, and has had to resort to increasingly desperate tactics to engage sceptical members. Ryan Singel, Wired, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Post Work Literacy
The Work Literacy project described here by Harold Jarche has numerous similarities with the Connectivism course george Siemens and I have been offering this fall, and many of the lessons learned are the same. For example: "a loose-knit online learning community can scale to many participants and remain effective; only a small percentage ~10% of members will be active; create the role of 'synthesizer'." Harold Jarche, Weblog, November 13, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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