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by Stephen Downes
August 5, 2009

How I use social media

More goodness from Nancy White, who is probably one of the most adept users of social media out there. "When the door to connection is open, watch who walks through and follow them, not those who stand at the doorway and naysay! And I'm not just talking about social media early adopters. I'm talking about people passionate about getting something done." That shouldn't (I would say) be taken as an endorsement of a non-critical stance. But if someone naysays, they ought to at least have ventured into the technology (and its community) to have some grounds for their criticism. Nancy White, Full Circle Associates, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Medical Papers by Ghostwriters Pushed Therapy
Another black eye for traditional academic journals. "Ghostwriters paid by a pharmaceutical company played a major role in producing 26 scientific papers backing the use of hormone replacement therapy in women, suggesting that the level of hidden industry influence on medical literature is broader than previously known." My own reaction is that this sort of thing is to be expected in a centralized and secretive article selection process. Via Inside Higher Ed. Natash Singer, New York Times, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

JISC Second Life guide helps lecturers teach in the virtual world
JISC has released a guide to Second Life. "Getting Started in Second Life answers some common questions like how to set up in Second Life, what the rules of the world are, how to plan lessons and how best to help students use it effectively for learning." It describes how to set up a character and move about, how to script objects in Second Life, how to facilitate learning, common mistakes and assumptions, and practical considerations (like reliability) for your institution. Pretty basic, but a sound introduction. Maggi Savin-Bade,, JISC, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

No diplomacy for Diane
Board Buzz summarizes this interview with Diane Ravitch: "Diane Ravitch does not mince words about privatizing education: privatization will not help us reach our goals." Indeed. Quite, the opposite, I would say. More from Ravitch: "The biggest downside of NCLB is that it has promoted false, anti-educational values. Certainly high test scores are better than low test scores, but that is not all that matters in education. What about science, the arts, history, literature, foreign languages? My hunch is that NCLB is doing nothing to reverse the dumbing down of our children and our society, and may even be accelerating it." Lucy Gettman, Board Buzz, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Learning Gets Social
Not a lot new here, but if you want references from Tapscott or Lee and bernoff, then this article touting informal learning will be useful to you. "There has been an enormous increase in people who want to share their expertise, opinions, and time through collaborative technologies, and these technologies are being adopted by society on a global scale as well as within our individual learning organizations." See also Tony Karrer and Harold Jarche, who both expand on the idea that companies that do not adopt informal learning will be marginalized. Tony Bingham, Training + Development, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

SyberWorks Media Center Presents a New Article: Best Practices for Building Student-Friendly Courses
Some people might like this item, but to me it illustrates the difficulty with the 'best practices' approach in learning. For example, one recommendation is this: "A course should consist of at most five lessons, each 30 minutes long or less. Most online courses should never run longer than 2 hours, and if one does, it should be divided into more than one course (each containing 20-30 minute lessons)." While this may be "best" for a certain set of students, it seems to me that this would vary a lot from course to course, person to person. Wouldn't it? Dave Boggs, The Boggs e-Learning Chronicle, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Another Stab at Making the 21st Century Classroom Concrete
Interesting exercise in an attempt to define what is meant by the "21st century classroom", which basically involves rubrics for various forms of critical thinking and media literacy. Tom, Bionic Teaching, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Web 2.0 vs iTunes U ?
There's an interesting discussion taking place on the JISC-Repositiories mailing list over whether universities should use iTunes to distribute audio and video content, or whether it should use its own website. As some commentatoprsa noted, universities can use both. Fine, but what is the consequence of that. Andy Powell writes to the list that the iTunes content shows up first on Google, as in the case of this test string, "University of Warwick No Paradise without Banks (of course, when I try it, the Warwick site comes first and the Warwick iTines site third - ymmv). "Whatever," writes Powell, "it does mean that you are (implicitly) encouraging use of the iTunes U version (and therefore use of iTunes) rather than the lighter-weight 'web' version."
Andy Powell, JISC Repositories, August 5, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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