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by Stephen Downes
November 25, 2008

Who Are the Tarriers?
A long long time ago I was a child, and learned a folk song. Time went by, and by and large, I became the only person I knew who had ever heard of it. I clung to it, tenaciously, singing it to myself every once in a while.
And drill, ye tarriers, drill
Drill, ye tarriers, drill
For it's work all day for the sugar in you tay
Down beyond the railway
And drill, ye tarriers, drill
And blast, and fire.

So I guess it does exist, and I thank Lanny Arvan for bringing it back to me, appropriately in a longish post about the economy and students and the way we learn today.

You know, the topic of the posts below address the institutional modes of open learning as compared to the newer edupunk tradition. Except - the edupunks of today have a long and noble tradition. We are the tarriers - and while our songs exist outside the mainstream, they still exist, and still matter... Lanny Arvan, Lanny on Learning Technology, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Reading to Find: Rip-Mix Classrooms
With a nod to Mike Caulfield, I would venture to say that few courses have had the impact of our Connectivism course, shipped offered to several hundred people by George and I this fall (the 22,266 posts I have shipped written over the years have maybe also had an impact, but that' a separate matter). So it's fun to read this post by Will Richardson as he follows the implications of some of the articles related to the course. "I do know that these flow moments are, on balance, a good thing," he writes. "I love being lost in it. And it's almost as if I've done this enough to know that if I just give myself to it, the thing I'm supposed to find and learn will eventually make itself known, like it's finding me somehow." Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Open Content Is So, Like, Yesterday
This is a fascinating article, one that deserves more attention than I can give it in this short item. Chris Lott defends (what he perceives to be) the OER movement against (what he perceives to be) its critics - people like Brian Lamb and Leigh Blackall. These two veterans of open content and open access can defend themselves, and certainly don't need my help. But they are right and Lott is wrong - the point of the OER movement continues largely to be, as the OECD report states, Giving Knowledge For Free, while the real open content movement is about (in my view), "volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management and control." That doesn't mean people like Mike Caulfield do not work hard and do not deserve our support - they do. But, of course, all of us do. And that doesn't mean that the OCWC isn't one of the good guys - they mean well, but you know, it's about sharing control, and I see no evidence that the big universities, their professors, sponsors and advertisers are about to do anything like that any time soon. P.S. Tony Hirst on this is worth a read, too. Chris Lott, Ruminate, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

QRcodes in eLearning
QR Codes continue to receive an advertising push all out of proportion to their utility - something I attribute to their primary purpose, which is advertising. Despite this, some people continue to see a role for them in learning. I get the point, but I think that QR Codes will swiftly become obsolete when optical image recognition becomes more effective (eg., when the phone sees a rose, it recognizes it as a 'rose' and retrieves the appropriate information). Just as well - I am deeply suspicious of a type of code only my mobile phone can read. Inge de Waard, Ignatia Webs, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Good Intentions, Ignorant Elites, and Scoundrels
I don't always agree with Diane Ravitch (no big surprise there) but I can muster only a hearty "amen!" to this: "We live in a dangerous and dark time for schools. In many districts, the gears of power are controlled by non-educators who don't have a clue. They madly embrace testing and data and data-driven instruction because they have not a single idea about how kids learn and how teachers teach and what conditions are necessary to promote teaching and learning. This new breed also populates some of our nation's leading think tanks. Most of them have never taught; have never been in a classroom since they were students; know nothing of the history of education and nothing about research, but they know how to fix the nation's schools." Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

De Toekomst Van Online Leren
The article is in Dutch, but what you'll find interesting (I presume) is the wordle representation of my recent paper on the future of online learning. It's mostly what I would expect - though I confess I cannot recall having written the word 'golden' that many times. Wilfred Rubens, technology enhanced learning, November 25, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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