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by Stephen Downes
June 9, 2009

Sakai 3 Development Process
Christy Tucker provides a useful overview of a Sakai 3 development update (Sakai is an open source LMS being created by a consortium of universities) including a link to a rough prototype demo of the new version (I can't tell whether the link is to the prototype, or whether there's some other link, or whatever). Christy Tucker, Experiencing E-Learning, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

eLSACC New Calls for Use Cases
The e-Learning Standards Advisory Council of Canada is calling for use cases - see their website (linked above) for details. There are three requests: nomadicity and mobility, semantic information models and e-portfolios. (On a side note, it's good that the eLSACC has a website on which it posts these things, but it's time to get moving on the RSS feed so that the information can get out there. various Authors, e-Learning Standards Advisory Council of Canada, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

Discussing - A Conversation About Values and Media Literacy
It is worth pointing out that, in the absence of a compelling online presence on the part of educators, children are learning from sites like GirlsGoGames, Disney's Club Penguin, and ganz's Webkinz. The marketing on these sites is relentless, and as Wesley fryer remarks, "We are what we eat, both physically and intellectually." Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

In which I foam at the mouth a bit
The author of the post cited here is foaming at the mouth over claims that students' being digital "changed the way their minds work". She writes, "We are all human beings. Our brains all work (more or less) in the same way. It's all neurons and neurotransmitters and fun things like that." Yes it is. But where the (putative) change occurs lies in how these neurons and such interact with each other. Neurons connect with each other to form a neural network, and this network adapts based on input and experience. This is well-documented, and is called 'plasticity'. But, it is worth asking, are neural networks plastic in the way Tapscott describes? Tapscott writes, "They're used to multi-tasking, and have learned to handle the information overload." This is probably a mis-description. It would be more accurate to say "they multi-task and they have adapted to information overload." This removes the success-verbs, and depicts change rather than accomplishment, which seems more reflective of the actual situation. Sylvie Noel, Population of One, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

You Only Get This Type of Education in Class - Mythic Attributes of the Lecture
Good discussion of the use of the lecture in online learning, both on whether it is advisable, and on how to approach the idea. Given that the lecture has such a bad reputation, why do I produce so many of them? What I have found is that I do some of my best thinking though speaking. Giving a talk forces me to reconceptualize my thoughts. So for me, a lecture is inevitably a learning experience. As for my audience, well, I have often maintained that they learn very little from the content of the lecture, and much more from my mannerisms and approach. A lecture (like a demonstration) isn't a learning event (except for the speaker), it's an enabling event, a celebration of what we already know and believe. Lectures challenge, invigorate, enliven, enable and enlighten, but they do not teach (much). Experience teaches. David Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

13 More Tips to Help You Record Narration Like the Pros
This is a good list of suggestions and parallels my own experience - well, except for the use of a foam sombrero. I would point out that these same tips also apply to public speaking, except for the script (using a script is essential when you are recording, unless you are really good, because people can hear you searching for words (and it sounds awful). In public speaking, you have more latitude for off-script speaking, provided you do your searching for words silently, as pauses, rather than though the use of interjections such as "um" or "you know".
Tom Kuhlmann , The Rapid E-Learning Blog, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Online Push in California schools
The BBC is reporting that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to phase out textbooks in favour of internet resources. "Last year," says the article, "California spent $350m on textbooks and can no longer afford it." The online books will "have passed an academic standards review." More, from TeachPaperless, who laments the approach being taken and comments, "It appears that the State wants to replace its textbooks with... textbooks. Well, textbooks of the online variety." Unattributed, BBC News, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Enhanced Vetadata Tool - Finding Learning Resources Made Easy
'Vetadata' is the name given to learning object metadata used in the Australian Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. It's pretty much the same as learning object metadata (and is a proper subset of it), differing mostly in the use of VET-specific vocabularies, such as the Vetadata Educational Use scheme and the myfuture Industry Classification Scheme. The Vetadata Tool now includes a reload tool that can be used to create and edit Vetadata files.
Greg Bird,, Australian Flexible Learning Framework, June 9, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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