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by Stephen Downes
February 3, 2009

Creating Virality in Education - Some Thoughts
OK, I don't think virality is reality a word. It supposedly has to do with 'being viral', as in the sense of viral memes. This is not a good word to introduce to the language. Anyhow, the idea of this post is explore the idea of lmemes in learning, from the idea of 'blog memes', which are really nothing of the sort, to actual ideas that have caught on, like (say) edupunk. I explored the idea of memes about ten years ago in my paper Hacking Memes - if you're not familiar with it, have a look; I think you'll enjoy the ride. Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Stephen Downes Talks About OLDaily and Online Learning
This is an audio recording of an interview I did with Paul Miller of Xiphos. "We discuss OLDaily, before turning to explore Stephen's current research interests in such diverse areas as the Personal Learning Environment (PLE) and 'connectivism.'" On other online content, Robin Good has serialized my Future of Online Learning: Ten Years On, running the first installment today. Paul Miller, Xiphos, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

The Net Gen Education Challenge
Don Tapscott makes one of his infrequent forays into the online world to post a video asking teachers and educators, "How can we change the learning experience?" Don - haven't you noticed the whole web 2.0 blogging is schools learning communities 21st century learning connectivism edupunk moevement? Obviously not. Oh, you can win a prize if you play on his site. What bugs me is the 'as seen on CBC' bug on his website. Why does the CBC give this guy credibility over the many people in our country who are actually leading the way in new models of education? There are hundreds of people, maybe thousands of people, more qualified than Tapscott to talk about education in Canada. They could create an entire series on Canadian educators. Indeed, they should. Don Tapscott, Website, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , , , , ] [Comment]

Unions Are Not the Problem
It's time to put paid to the lie that is the assertion that unions are the problem. "The unions don't seem to cause low performance in the wealthy suburban districts that surround our city. They don't seem to be a problem for the nations that regularly register high scores on international tests. If getting rid of the unions was the solution to the problem of low performance, then why, I asked him, do the southern states-where unions are weak or non-existent-continue to perform worse than states with strong unions? And how can we explain the strong union presence in Massachusetts, which is the nation's highest performing state on NAEP?" Diane Ravitch, Bridging Differences, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The State of Data Sharing in Canada
Peter Suber links to a government report on the state of open access in Canada, mysteriously unpaginated and protected to prevent cut and paste, making it almost impossible to cite. The state of the state is not pretty: "Much of the research data being produced today is hard to access by other Canadian research communities, and is often not ideally structured to be as useful or as open as possible." And, "Researchers are reluctant to share data because they feel it is their intellectual property." Wait a second - is that true? This is not the researchers - this is the government organizations, like Statistics Canada and Natural Resources Canada, treating data like IP and charging for access. Peter Suber, Open Access News, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

The Google Settlement Will Not Improve Access Outside the US
See how commercializing open access can result in access being blocked? "Books which are public domain and wholly visible and readable in the US are not visible or readable elsewhere. And this copyright caution about territorial rights is unlikely to change..." Um, huh? More on this. Here we see Google asserting usage restrictions over public domain material. Peter Suber, Open Access News, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

It'S Culture, Not Morality
I think there's an interesting angle taken in this article. People often blur the distinction between legality and morality, reasoning (oddly and incorrectly, in my view) that whatever is against the law or even against the rules is also immoral. But rules do not reflect morality, they reflect culture, and culture changes with time. And so we see new attitudes toward some rules reflected in a way that impacts both copyright and plagiarism: "the student generation has embraced an entirely different concept of ownership, and students who would never shoplift feel no hesitation about downloading music they haven't purchased. And she notes how much students love to quote from pop culture or other sources - feeling pride in working into conversation quotes they never invented - in a way previous generations wouldn't have done." Scott Jaschik, Inside Higher Ed, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Corporate Social Media Governance
Rich Hoeg asks us to consider the question of access to and governance of social networking tools in Corporate America, linking to a post from IBM's Jen Okimoto on the topic. Now of course my own take on corporate governance is that it should be a democracy - nobody has yet offered me a convincing explanation as to why totalitarianism is acceptable in a corporate environment while repugnant in a civic environment. So my answer to the questions posed here is something along the lines of saying that individuals make their own rules for the use of social media, subject to the necessary legal provisions regarding intolerance and abuse, and otherwise governed through social sanction rather than corporate fiat. Rich Hoeg, eContent, February 3, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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