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by Stephen Downes
November 16, 2009

Finally – an agile workflow

David Porter writes, "I've been looking, asking colleagues and associates for a straightforward description of an agile workflow for the creation or reuse of open educational resources (OERs). You'd think it would be simple to find. Nope. Not until today. While searching using 'simple, easy, agile' and other adjectives to describe 'OER workflow,' I finally got a hit that made sense." The filename suggests the workflow was authored by L.J. Rogers.
David Porter, conviviality, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Are online social networks a net gain for humanity?
It's the question of the day, I guest. Gardner Campbell reports that he has been asked this question "with real urgency behind it" twice this week (because, I guess, if social networks were not some sort of net gain for humanity, we'd have to shut them down!). "Is it a good thing that with these tools we expose so much more of ourselves to so many more folks? Who knows?" Well - it's a different way of living. For me, as someone who grew up in a small town, and who has long been used to the idea that people would know me, know of me, and know about me, anonymity seems to be the odd and perverse lifestyle. Would it be better if I grew up feeling obscure? That is the question I ask myself, and is for me the challenge I pose to those who would want to lock their children away from the world, away from publicity, away from being known, and into obscurity. Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Children in India get their own website
Helge Scherlund links to a new website called "which is specially designed for Indian children and is dedicated to their overall growth and learning on this Children's Day. The website offers a host of exciting and entertaining features." More from merinews: " it is important that Indian children know about Indian folk tales and stories from Indian mythology. Keeping this in mind, the website has specially dedicated a section to such Indian stories that makes the new generation aware about India's culture and heritage." Helge Scherlund, eLearning News Blog, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Top 100 Tools for Learning 2009: The Final List
To me what's interesting is not so much the list as the page of winners and losers (especially the big losers, like Bloglines) over last year. Jane Hart, Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment]

Google researching new protocol to speed up the Web
Over the years, many people have complained about HTTP, but nobody did anything about it (mostly because nobody was big enough to make it stick). Now, Google may enter the fray with an alternative, called, SPDY (no idea what it stands for; it doesn't appear to be documented, though I've written the developers and asked). SPDY basically makes three major changes: multiplexed requests (which means you can have multiple requests in the same channel); priority requests (so you can indicate what data is most important) and compressed headers (so you don't send the same information over and over). Bryan Alexander, Liberal Education Tomorrow, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

Changes in Media Over the Past 550 Years
It's a funny thing, how often I read articles that say, in one breath, that internet technology is one of those that "changes everything" and in the next breath talks about how people will still be paid for writing. You know, if everybody's doing it, people aren't going to be paid for it any more. Take reading - it used to be, kings and lords hired scribes not merely to write but to read their correspondence. And of course the average person would depend on a monk or a priest to read the Bible for them, much less any more mundane communication. Try getting yourself hired as a reader today! And imagine the laughter you would face if you boldly asserted that you would no longer share your reading unless people paid you money! David Sasaki, Idea Lab, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment]

Reporting with Mobile Phones: The Experience of Voices of Africa
In a nutshell, "Mobile phones offer a lightweight, non-intrusive means of covering communities that are in need of having their stories told. Voices of Africa meets this need by training local citizen journalists to tell the stories of their neighbors and neighborhoods." From what I can tell (I've asked) mobile phones are not really cheaper to use in Africa than they are here. Which means, from my perspective, they're still a really expensive way to transmit information (compared to, say, what internet costs me here). And i wonder sometimes whether all the marketing in favour of cellphones in Africa (and there is a lot, coming from sources like OECD and the World Bank) serves to disguise the extremely high bandwidth charges Africans pay. If you ask me (not that anyone does) internet users where bandwidth is cheap (like, say, here) should be asked to pay a surcharge to ensure that people in under-served areas (such as Africa) are not overcharged for the same service. Katrin Verclas, Idea Lab, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment]

Facebook Ads Now Let You Target Friends of Your Fans
Some contacts I had switched their profile pages over to fan pages, and asked that instead of following, I become a 'fan'. I wrote back that I don't 'fan' people, to which the general response was "Well I don't see why, but whatever." This is why, and now my friends are going to be thanking me, because they're not going to be spammed by enterprises that I was lulled into fanning over the last few months (I, on the other hand, am preparing for the deluge of friend-inflicted fanspam). Adam Ostrow, Mashable, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment]

How to become part of a blogging ecosystem?
So often, people create a blog, write a few posts,, and then wonder why they haven't attracted any readers (or they create a Facebook or twitter account, write a few posts, and wonder why they don't have any followers). To become somebody who is followed and read, it is necessary to become a part of the ecosystem. This in turn requires reading other people, commenting on their sites and participating in discussions, responding and reacting when people comment on your comments, and spreading the message beyond the confines of your blog (or social network) account. Lilia Efimova, Mathemagenic, November 16, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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