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by Stephen Downes
December 17, 2008

Learning for the 21st Century
Jay Cross is reading the writing on the walls (and we saw a fair bit of that in Aachen). I endorse what he is saying here, but I would add that we have to include the grittier subtext of the same message: that we must reform our (global) system politically, economically and ethically - from a system that rewards dishonesty, exploitation and outright theft, to a system that values individuals and that responds to challenges by empowering people, not discarding them. That's the subject of today's newsletter (sent from a hotel room in Toronto, the result of an airline that has laid off most of its productive staff, and now is completely incapable of dealing with stress, or of meeting anything remotely resembling customer demand). Jay Cross, Informal Learning, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Education, Reform, and Assessment
This seems right: "the problems are ideological. Culturally we don't value education; we don't like 'smart people;' we don't trust or like teachers; we certainly don't trust or like professors. Furthermore, as Ken Robinson has suggested, we have a limited view of intelligence and creativity. We conceive of learning as a rational process, when rationality is clearly a poor articulation of how cognition actually works." Alex Reid, Digital Digs, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Who Are the Real Reformers?
The news media has yet to learn the new post-depression ethic. As evidenced in this observation: "I find this media frenzy bizarre in light of the fact that she has been on the job only 18 months and that what she is celebrated for consists of fighting the union, firing people, and closing schools." There is nothing to celebrate about busting unions, firing people and closing schools (or companies, or steel mills), but you would never know from a media that continues to fawn over such tactics (or to write appalling, unreasoned and ridiculous tirades against governments that stand up to them). If we are to get through these times, we must articulate a new set of ethics - because the old ethics, the State Formerly Known as Capitalism, are morally, socially and politically bankrupt. Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Your Brave Predictions!
I've made my own predictions from time to time. And I agree with Doug Johnson, the New Media Consortium's predictions are "are so 2008!" In my view, the NMC's methodology biases it toward short term linear projection. My brave prediction for 2020? A 28 hour work week (that's 24x7 uptime for efficiency, divided into 6 even shifts per week), with all the social and workplace equity inherent in the calculation. Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Laying Off George
Well, I'll just cite Zeldman on this: "George Oates is responsible for much of what is great about Flickr. George Oates is the last person a sane company would lay off. I don't know what to think about Yahoo after reading how they laid off George Oates." Jeffrey Zeldman, Zeldman.Com, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Cost Cuts Help Adobe Reel In a Profit
You really have to read carefully these days. What gave Adobe a nice profit this year has nohing to d with cost cuts - if you actually look at the text, the layoffs (600 jobs) are occurring in this month, December. After the nice profits. What kept Adobe in the black was the fact that its sales didn't tank - they actually increased a bit over last year. Which is good news. Or would have been, if Adobe didn't reward its staff for a profitable 2008 by trashing 8 percent of its work force. Which, because layoffs really hurt a company, sets the stage for a more difficult year for Adobe next year. You know, we need to adopt a new ethic for these times, an ethic that rewards companies that keep and value employees, and punishes those companies that treat workers as disposable. Associated Press, E-Commerce Times, December 17, 2008 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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