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by Stephen Downes
February 25, 2009

Future of Online Learning - Stephen Downes
I'll create the presentation page when I recover from my cold; meanwhile, here's a link to commentary and the Elluminate recording of my presentation in Alec Couros's class last night. I thought it went really well; when I'm under the weather I don't dance around the concepts, which sometimes results in pretty good statements. Worth noting, over and above the "three Ls" (which should, in schools, replace the "three Rs"), this (cited by Karyn Romeis): "He explained that communities share knowledge, they don't give it away. He explored the difference between the two. Giving something away free of charge as a philanthropic or charitable act implies a position of superiority to the giver over the recipient, whereas sharing takes place between equals. So giving is a downward/vertical action, whereas sharing is a horizontal action... In much the same way - as an attendee (delightfully known as 'plugusin') pointed out - to convince someone of something implies a downward action, an intimation of the superiority of one position over another." Alec Couros, open thinking, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Exploring Social Media: Twitter Is Broken, Now What?
Sending an SMS or instant message to a bunch of people at once was a good idea (except in Canada, where Bell now wants to charge fifteen cents for each twit sent or received - which means the company would make more than $10 every time I updated my status). Setting up such a good idea on a centralized server was a really bad idea, which is why Twitter's 'fail whale' has become synonymous with, well, failure. So, how to fix it? Simple jumping ship to FriendFeed probably isn't the answer. "If Twitter is broken, then let's get specific. What needs fixing? How can it be fixed? If it needs fixing, why isn't Twitter fixing it? Why are they relying so much on third-party programs to improve Twitter functionality?" Lorelle VanFossen, Blog Herald, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street
I found this a fascinating read. There are lessons in this for educators (the same lessons as before, but people are paying more attention now). Note well the formula that was at the core of the meltdown: "It was a brilliant simplification of an intractable problem. And Li didn't just radically dumb down the difficulty of working out correlations; he decided not to even bother trying to map and calculate all the nearly infinite relationships between the various loans that made up a pool." The lesson is, you can't reduce complex things to simple formulae. Getting some is often not better than getting no answer at all. Felix Salmon, Wired, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Moodle Joins Forces with Google
From where I sit, this looks loke Google extending their Google ID to Moodle accounts. I could be wrong. But take a look at this and tell me what you think. "Moodlerooms, an online learning solution that can be used for K-12 classrooms, has collaborated with Google to integrate Moodle with Google Apps Education Eduction, which allows the two communication/productivity systems to work as one great tool. Moodle administrators can create user accounts in Moodle and Google in one step, and Moodle users can access Google features through Moodle using a single sign-on system." A single sign-on. Not OpenID. Bad. Unattributed, Tech&Learning, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Name the Next SCORM!
OK, well I confess I don't follow this at all. A few years ago, with great fanfare, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) passed the mantle of stewardship over the widely used SCORM (Sharable Content Object Reference Model) to a new, international, membership-based group. Today I read that "the community decided that it was time to abandon many of the outdated assumptions of SCORM and to rethink the interoperability of learning systems based on today's elearning imperatives and modern software practices." Good. But step one: the new name. Now I commented (in the LinkedIn discussion - I wasn't paying attention) that the name 'SCORM' was LETSI's major asset. But I read in one of the comments on the LinkedIn list, "It seems that the ADL may choose to hold on to SCORM and hopefully, there are signs of the IMS and ADL finally resuming a good working relationship." Does ADL get to do that? To give away the name and then, um, take it back? Anyhow, here's my suggestion: Distributed Objects With Net Enabled Support. Aaron Silvers, LETSI, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment]

How Technology Will Reshape Academe After the Economic Crisis
The impact of the economy on education is multifold, but some of it might be for good. 'One area where I predict fundamental change is the impact of open educational resources on the textbook market. Traditional textbook publishers have held an iron lock on the industry's model for too long, and universities have been tacitly complicit of the system. In the Web era, however, this oligopolistic business practice is imploding." Lev Gonick, Chronicle of Higher Education, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Slideshare Is the Best OER Site?
If you want to get learning resources from me, you don't go to OCW or any site like that. You go to SlideShare, for my slides at least, where you can select from 146 or so slide shows I've posted over the years. All CC licensed and (I think) all fully downloadable. Martin Weller asks, "Are people 'learning' from Slideshare?" Here's a better question: would they learn from my slide shows better if they were obtained from some somewhat open and federated educational repository? Martin Weller, The Ed Techie, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Recording Industry, Politicians Continue To Give Bogus Reasons To Support 3 Strikes In New Zealand
Michael Masnick hones in on th falsehoods being spread in the campaign to support the 'guilt upon accusation' law in New Zealand. "First up is that the country's Prime Minister appears to be flat-out lying when he claims that New Zealand has to implement such a plan to remain in compliance with international obligations. That's simply not true. He claims that other countries, like Australia and the UK have already implemented similar plans, but that's also not true.... Then, apparently with a straight face, the RIANZ claims that the evidence it presents to ISPs is 'highly reliable, well-tested and accepted worldwide.'" Michael Masnick, TechDirt, February 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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