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by Stephen Downes
January 6, 2009

What Educational Games Offer
Igen Oukan explains why I am wrong to say "don't build educational games". "No new users? Not easier to understand? Not adding motivation? Simply disguising an old method? Well, I'm not so sure." Also, Alan Levine explains why I am wrong to say that the iPhone is a fad. "[Even] if the iPhone is a fad, it is without doubt, IMHO, a game changer. If it were not, why are all the competitors rushing to make clones?" Igen Oukan, Learning Science Meets Game Design, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Magic of PHP + MySQL
This is a great little first lesson in PHP that does stuff people will actually want to do. I'm subscribing to the site to follow this series (I assume it's a series). If you want to teach yourself PHP (and, assuming it's a series) then get one of those cheap ISP accounts with MySQL included (feel free to recommend a provider in the comments). Jason Lengstorf, CSS Tricks, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

What Are the Best Metrics to Use to Measure ROI and Improve Your Blog's Content?
For me, the metric for success for this website (and the rest) is how much I learn from doing it. Because for me blogging isn't about raising money or generating churn or being sticky. It's about personal development. Learning, for me, comes from a variety of sources - not just the new things I read every day to create these posts, but the conversations I have, the fiddling I do to make my site work better, the challenges that come in the form of suggestions and ideas. Ah - but then, how to measure the learning? Well: can I understand what I read and, in public, summarize it accurately? Can I hold my own end of a conversation? Can I make my site work better (and, related: can I build good educational technology)? Can I respond to suggestions and ideals with innovation and creativity? Beth Kanter, Beth's Blog, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Educational Policy, Economic Literacy, and Inside HigherEd
Mike Caulfield takes Inside Higher Ed to task for the shallowness of its analysis. As Caulfield explains, "Higher faculty salaries don't translate necessarily into jobs, tax credits don't tap into unutilized productivity, and as much as tuition discounts may be needed, it's not clear that they put a single person to work or increase demand in the slightest." And he complains, "the author does not seem to understand what a stimulus package is supposed to do, or how it is expected to do it." Hard to disagree. Mike Caulfield, Tran|Script, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Edge Annual Question - 2009
It's hard not to enthuse about the Edge annual question (though I think the selection of authors is leaning too much toward media icons rather than to scientists). The question begs an imaginative response: "What game-changing scientific ideas and developments do you expect to live to see?" Some of the responses are pretty derivative ('A new kind of mind', 'A farewell to harm') but others are more engaging ('intelligent life from somewhere else','mastering death') and some are recursive ('This very exploration is changing everything'). Chris Anderson projects our own project: a web empowered revolution in teaching. And Mark Seligman suggests, "If we could only teach intuition, we could raise human intelligence substantially." Various Authors, Edge, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Top 10 IT Trends for Higher Education in 2009
Another list. Predictions include a renewal of Second Life, the rise of e-books, streaming media, and HD videoconferencing. And this: "Proprietary course management systems are heading for a brick wall." Via Bill St. Arnaud. Also, see Derek Keats on the coming year in IT in South Africa. Lev Gonick, Bytes From Lev, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Problems with One Laptop Per Child
The main problems, according to Benjamin Cohen, stem from the cultural bias that informed the project from the outset. "The project assumes equal global cultural values & regional attributes. It also assumes common introduction, maintenance, educational (as in learning styles and habits), and image values everywhere in the world. Furthermore, it lives in a historical vacuum assuming that there is no history..." Maybe, but it will take more than this sort of argument to convince me that the commercial and political interference with the project were rooted mostly in cultural difference, and better alternatives for children than (as suggested by the cartoon) than hoops, footballs, hand laundry and carrying things on one's head. Benjamin Cohen, The World's Fair, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

LiveJournal Cuts Workforce, Doomed?
LiveJournal is one of the original blogging and social network sites, but after 20 of 28 staff were laid off, it could be on the brink of collapse. Here's the original story from Valleywag with a link to an LJ staffer's blog. If you want to back up your LiveJournal account, you can use ljdump or ljarchive (see also here). LiveJournal server code is open source, but the code repository is currently showing a blank Apache screen (you can access the older SixApart SVN here, with install instructions here. Client code is available here. See also the LJ Code wiki. Thord Daniel Hedengren, The Blog Herald, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

Serialised OpenLearn Daily RSS Feeds Via WordPress
The idea of a 'serialized feed' is that you receive RSS feed posts according to some sort of schedule (usually one that is based on when you subscribe) rather than new posts as written. It's a bit more involved to set up than an ordinary RSS feed, but is ideal for online courses and similar events. Tony Hirst promises to look at this more seriously in 2009, and so do I. He writes, "I've spent a little bit of time putting together a WordPress MU site that republishes OpenLearn content in a blog format, and additionally provides a daily feed for the republished courses." Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, January 6, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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