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by Stephen Downes
December 14, 2009

Collaborative training departments
Collaborative training departments may well become the norm, even in large enterprises. The need for this is apparent in small to medium organizations, which are too small to provide training in-house. But large organizations will have to adapt, or be outpaced. This article "explores four major innovations that collaborative training departments will likely adapt and adopt [and] contrasts these developments with conflicted training departments' reactions to any change and to these changes in particular." Another way to think of the same thing is via this diagram from Clark Quinn. Tom Haskins, growing changing learning creating, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Virtual Worlds, Simulations, and Games for Education: A Unifying View
Are virtual worlds, simulations, and games for education all types of the same essential thing? I'm not sure I agree with this perspective, offered by Clark Aldrich, which depicts games, simulations and virtual worlds to all be more or less the same thing. However, Aldrich argues, "the ease with which players in a new virtual environment move from exploratory behaviors to more structured simulation structures also illustrates the connection among virtual worlds, simulations, and games." For example, "the aspects of computer game design, such as scoring mechanisms, scripted storylines, and competition-based motivation, can drive increased engagement in an educational simulation." Clark Aldrich, On Simulations and Serious Games, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

5 Higher Ed Trends NOT to Watch in 2010
Tony Bates: "If this is the way of the future, frankly I give up." He is responding to Campus Technology's 5 Higher Ed Tech Trends to Watch in 2010. He has a point. The article describes, first, fancier classrooms, and then second, computers you bring to those classrooms. Bates writes, "What next? Lecturers dressed as clowns, doing juggling? Come on, guys, the space-based lecture classroom is DEAD (actually, a zombie, as it's really still the living dead)." We also see from the five items whiteboards that are used in the classrooms and a rehash of the old 1:1 computer per student ratio. Maybe this set of predictions from ReadWriteWeb is better? Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

How To Make A Portable Version Of Winamp For Your USB Drive
Why isn't there an MP3 player into which we can just plug a USB stick full of music? The USB side of this has already been worked out: this article describes how to integrate the robust Winamp music player with your tunes on a USB drive that you can use as your own custom music layer on any computer. Why can't we just plug the same thing into a tiny, generic player? The idea that we should be limited by built-in memory (or, for that matter, built-in batteries) should be thought of as behind the times and archaic (it's a tribute to marketing that Apple has convinced people that they're modern and forward-thinking). Simon Slangen, MakeUseOf, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

A Twitter Feed For This Blog
Brian Kelly describes how his blog Twitter feed evolved, along with my own. Recounting the conversation we had after his Can Your Blog Survive Without Twitter post, he writes that he has "used the service so that new posts on this blog are automatically announced via the Twitter account. He also added a feed describing his upcoming events. We both separate the blog Twitter feed from our personal feeds. But there are two major differences between Kelly's Twitterfeed service, and my own, which was hand-rolled. First, his restates the title of the piece as the Twitter message. I wanted a more conversational style, and so select the first 100 or so characters of my post itself. Second, he uses the URL-shortening service. I use the slightly longer URLs in order to preserve the integrity of the link. I think these small changes result in a very different flavour of Twitter feed - though of course that is for the reader to decide. Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

A Web 2.0 wonderland
'Twas Brizzly, and the Stixy Hyves
Did Plurk and Tinker in the Waze;
All Moomeo were the Blogger posts,
And the Jing Googlewave'd.

With links. Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Mental Imagery and Implicit Memory
Stephen Kosslyn's work on mental imagery was very influential on my thinking about learning in the 1980s. Here Kosslyn and Samuel T. Moulton post a book chapter (in image scans - hard to read) summarizing the recent (2009) work in the field. This is hard research, drawing directly from experimental results. There are some good take-homes. For example, they write, "much of what we know consists not of facts or events that we can consciously recollect but rather of ways to behave or tendencies to process information in certain ways in certain situations." Moreover, "mental practice involves creating images you can imitate... imitation is a key element that underlies mental practice." The article goes on to describe the neural basis for imitation, and describes mental practice step by step (basically describing practice and reflection). Via Eide Neurolearning. If you want to see this in action, watch this video of a child playing a ukulele and singing - behaviour that is a clear example of this type of imitative learning. Stephen M. Kosslyn and Samuel T. Moulton, Harvard, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Open Access Encyclopedias
Good comparison of business and funding models for open online encyclopedias. The key, writes the author, is finding sufficient expertise to generate credibility, while at the same time keeping costs significantly lower than Britannica, which has to depend on a pay model to stay afloat. Steve Kolowich, Inside Higher Ed, December 14, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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