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by Stephen Downes
May 28, 2009

Apprehending the Future: Emerging Technologies, from Science Fiction to Campus Reality
This is quite a good article that surveys a variety of ways of predicting the future, from the environmental scan to the Delphi method to prediction markets to scenario building. I think they all suffer from the same flaw. "The drawbacks are subtle and largely social. One problem is that Delphi outcomes can be driven by a desire for consensus, rather than actual agreement, meaning that divergent ideas can get quashed.13 In addition, the process can be resource-intensive, especially in terms of time." This is true of all four methods - even in the prediction market, risk is created not by being wrong but by being different. I prefer my own method, which I have characterized in the past as 'intuitive perceiver of patterns', as described in Gibson's Idoru. It's not a collective approach, but rather, an individual approach, where prediction is not a type of process, but rather, a type of expertise. Bryan Alexander, EDUCAUSE Review, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

The Cost Conundrum
I think, looking at things from the outside, that at the same time people are beginning to question the private health care system in the U.S., other people are pushing toward replicating that system in education. This article, then should serve as a cautionary tale. "...we have to ask is whether the doctor is set up to meet the needs of the patient, first and foremost, or to maximize revenue. There is no insurance system that will make the two aims match perfectly. But having a system that does so much to misalign them has proved disastrous. As economists have often pointed out, we pay doctors for quantity, not quality. As they point out less often, we also pay them as individuals, rather than as members of a team working together for their patients." Atul Gawande, The New Yorker, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Google Waves Goodbye to E-Mail, Welcomes Real-Time Communication
A couple of non-event announcements today, Google's Wave, a communication tool (replaces Outlook?) and Microsoft's Bing, a search tool (replaces Google?). You can't actually use either of these yet, so what you're reading from the various reports is pre-launch publicity. Michael Calore, WebMonkey, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Skype screen-sharing collaboration & feedback
I tested Skype's new version on both Vista and XP. The application itself works OK but I had to uninstall something called 'Skype Web Tools' in order to restore Vista to smooth functionality. You have to watch put for this - although not mentioned anywhere, if you just hit 'OK' without looking you'll also install something called 'Highlighting for Firefox', a Skype plug-in that works with your browser. This might be a useful application, but it was unstable for me, and I found the install to be somewhat sneaky. Anne McKinney, WISE Pedgagogy, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Reading situational responses

Good diagram summarizing the recent work combining various frameworks. But I really think the last (right-hand) column is wrong. 'Collaboration' should be associated with 'complicated' and 'cooperation' should be associated with 'complex'. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Conference Board Recalls All Three IP Reports
The Conference Board of Canada has recalled its controversial reports on copyright following revelations that the report was plagiarized and ignored the Board's own internal study. Micjhael Geist, Weblog, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Virtual worlds in education and Moodle
From the abstract: "The paper provides a basic overview of what virtual worlds are and how they can be used in education. We also provide a list of virtual worlds that are currently most interesting for educators, with a special emphasis on virtual worlds and tools which support integration with Moodle, a popular online learning management system. We conclude the paper with a brief overview of future trends related to virtual world use in education."
Alja Sulcic, iAlja, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

I have been exploring PhilPapers over the last week or so. PhilPapers is basically a directory of online philosophy articles and books by academic philosophers. Members monitor online journals and publications, and the site also accepts direct paper uploads. The site has taken off; there are now about 188,000 papersDIVRE - The DIsciplinary Virtual Research Environment. From the site has emerged a taxonomy of philosophy. The site launched at the end of January and now has more than 3,000 registered users. The service is being funded by JISC. David Bourget and David Chalmers, website, May 28, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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