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by Stephen Downes
May 5, 2009

How Important Is WolframAlpha?
I remember when Google launched. It was very quiet. They had a hand-drawn logo. It was small, simple, and it really worked. In other words, the Google launch was exactly the opposite of what we are seeing from Wolfram Alpha. Based on the prelaunch alone (because I still haven't seen any actual working technology) I don't hold out high hopes. Dave Weinberger says, "Curation is a source of its strength. It increases the reliability of the information, it enables the computations, and it lets the results pages present interesting and relevant information far beyond the simple factual answer." Well maybe. But from where I sit, curation is its fatal weakness, the thing that means it can't adapt quickly to the environment and will always entail a high overhead. David Weinberger, Joho the Blog, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

The Lazy Professors
Dean Shareski and Alec Couros present their take on web 2.0, networks and learning. View it either as embedded audio in slides, or UStream. Dean Shareski, Ideas and Thoughts from an Ed Tech, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Solutions for Education
Apple has been getting so much publicity recently I thought I'd take a look to see where Blackberry has educational applications. And in fact, Blackberry has a whole site for education, including sections for students and faculty, along with some areas Apple probably left out, campus security and business intelligence. There's also this brochure on Blackberry solutions for higher education, and hundreds of Blackberry educational applications. Website, Blackberry, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Internet Use Does Not Equal Social Isolation
John Connell cites this study from Statistics Canada that refutes the claim that internet use makes people socially isolated. "Research is showing that the Internet is fostering participation with community members and in social organizations. To a great extent, this is basically an enhancement of existing relationships – people now have other media to connect them." I might add that for a significant part of the population - myself among them - the internet has opened vistas for socialization that would never previously have been imagined. John Connell, The Blog, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

9 Free Tools That Help Me Build Better E-Learning
I'm including this list here because it's a set of resources you might not have seen elsewhere, especially the video converter, SWF and FLV viewers at the end. Tom Kuhlmann, The Rapid E-Learning Blog, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Reviews of Evaluation in Distance Education and E-Learning
To review this review by Tony Bates of Mary Kennedy's review (in the latest edition of IRRODL) of Ruhe and Zumbo's book Evaluation in Distance Education and e-Learning - he didn't like it. "In brief, the book adopts a cookie-cutter approach to evaluation. The shape is nice, but you don't actually get to taste the cake." (I would review books too, but I live in Moncton, and all we have is a Chapters, so we don't actually get real books here, so I have to depend on what's online, and this book isn't). Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Information Architecture and Classical Music
I'm not sure I would call avant-garde cello 'classical music', but this, her fusion of cello and technology, is certainly interesting. I like the way the baggage cart sound blends in around the 8:20 mark. Anyhow, don't miss this. From the site: "Avant-garde cellist Zoe Keating ( covers "Time Is Running Out" by Muse in the pre-security concourse area of the international terminal at San Francisco International Airport." Dave Warlick, 2 cents worth, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Check Out This Two Page Blog Guide For Parents!
This guide is specific to 2KM, so you can just download it and use it, but it's a nice model of what can be done to help parents get the most out of a school blog. Sue Waters, The Edublogger, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Bangkok Post Points to Canada As Evidence That Special 301 Ham Handed Protectionism
The United States has placed Canada on a special watch list for digital piracy. We've all been having a good chuckle over that here in Canada, as there is nothing remotely pro-piracy in either our legislation or enforcement. Michael geist writes that the move (being blamed, probably wrongly, on the Obama administration) would probably backfire. He expands on this in The Mark. And today, the Bangkok Post sums it up: "Washington seems to be using its annual IP report to hammer nations to enact and enforce US IP laws, or suffer the consequences. This appears to be nothing but ham-handed protection of big businesses at the expense of free trade." Michael Geist, Weblog, May 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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