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by Stephen Downes
May 22, 2009

Implementing New Learning Technology? Choose the Right Pilot Group
Pilot tests are still popular among educational designers, as this article attests. But it is worth pointing out, I would say, that (small) pilot groups will misrepresent network effects. Often, something that works well with a lot of people will work really badly with a small group. Online discussions, games and simulations are among these. Often, the only test you can run is with a full audience, and not a pilot group at all. Karl Kapp, Kapp Notes, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Are You Disillusioned with Web 2.0?
Larry Sanger is disillusioned with web 2.0. Why? First, facelessness. "Frequently, we find ourselves in conversation with people we don't know.... The stunning diversity of humanity online does not make up for the annoying effects of anonymity and disembodiment." And second, "a variety of mechanisms that allow us to reward people who agree with us and punish those who disagree with us. Those are the tools of conformity and groupthink." It's all, he says, such a waste of time. "Are you seriously telling me that you make or foster meaningful friendships with all the silly tools and communities that exist out there?" It may surprise people, but I agree with him. I think that web 2.0 tools are woefully under-developed, the community and networking mechanisms unsophisticated. We need much better ways of creating rich and sustained interactions with each other online. (p.s. the Easter egg in his post is this link to, an as-yet unlaunched video learning site.) Larry Sanger, Citizendium, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Combined Models for Pattern Recognition

Interesting mixture of the Cynefin and TIMN frameworks, yielding the statement that "chaos is tribal", or in other words, "The kinds of order embodied in institutions, markets and networks fall apart when people act this unruly. Tribal order is what works. We gang together to realize some safety in numbers amidst the chaos and to improve our chances of survival." Also, we see that "complicated = markets" and "complex = networks", which seems right to me, and which explains why networks work where markets (which are based on mass and atomism) fail. Sorry about the diagram; Haskins made it tiny. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Distance Education Programs
This post will be especially useful to those worldwide looking for distance learning programs. Tony Bates offers some criteria for program selection, some notes on accreditation and program quality, and links to some programs. Tony Bates, Weblog, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

How I Sold My Book by Giving It Away
People ask, how can a writer make a living in the internet age? My own perspective is reflected more in the experiences of this author. The limited capacity and demands of publishers have been making it increasingly difficult for high-quality work to be published. How can a writer actually become published these days without being a product of a pre-fab 'hot factory' of mass-market novels? the answer lies in open content. "Distribution, creation, marketing and promotion-podcasting has given me the keys to all of these at a time when old avenues have vanished. It gave me control of my career." Dan Colman, Open Culture, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment]

Eucalyptus: Another App Unjustly Banned From the iPhone App Store
"Eucalyptus doesn't contain any books; it's just an application that retrieves classic books from Project Gutenberg and presents them in a nice way on the iPhone." So why was it banned? At least one classic book is deemed "objectionable" by Apple. Again (and again and again): using mobile phpones to distribute media may be favoured because of the vendor's control over the platform - but we cannot let the vendor keep control over the platform, because there will be no end to cases like this. Stan Schroeder, Mashable, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Pirate Bay Trial Fiasco Continues: Second Judge Removed for Bias
The quote that sticks out for me, from earlier coverage of this event, is something like "the publishers have brought corruption to the Swedish court system." It's a sad commentary, and to me points to the nature of the organizations opposing file sharing, downloading and open access. Pete Cashmore, Mashable, May 22, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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