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by Stephen Downes
December 23, 2009

PLE Survey
Our PLE survey is now functioning - please participate at

Personal Learning Environments Survey
The National Research Council of Canada's Institute for Information Technology (Learning and Collaborative Group) has started a research and development project exploring the Personal Learning Environment. The project researches how new technologies can be used in a personalized informal learning environment and focuses on two dimensions: pedagogical and technical.

You are invited to participate in an online survey which will help us collect information about important issues and features in the development of a Personal Learning Environment through your own experiences and perceptions related to learning and your own use of technology.

For more information about the survey please click on the following link:

Development of the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED)
Watch for more of this: the Vanderbilt Assessment of Leadership in Education (VAL-ED). By Discovery Education Assessment. Yes - it's Discovery Channel; branching out into the assessment business, which works well with their (non-credentialed) learning business. Now, get a behemoth like, say, Pearson Education to partner with Discovery, and all you need universities (like Vanderbilt) for is branding. If that. Here's a sample set of items, here's a sample report. All you need now is a badge for your website. Now - if you think (like Russo - that it will be "one assessment to rule them all, think again. There will be multiple competing incompatible assessments (because that's how the free market works). Various Authors, Website, December 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Top 10 Edtech stories of 2009
The most cynical 'top ten' of the year award goes to Dave Cormier for his 'top 10 ed tech stories'. I have a couple of reactions. First, I think he flagged one of next year's tools of the year in Big Blue Button. Second, I think his number one pick is very over-rated - the Zephoria Incident, where a speaker was "trashed" on a back-channel during her talk. Why over-rated? Because when the same thing happened to me - two years ago (go to 9:30 in the presentation) it wasn't even story of the minute, much less story of the year. So why is it story of the year this year - because it's danah boyd? Because it's an A-lister? Dave Cormier, Dave's Educational Blog, December 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

One of the Biggest Risks is Being Too Cautious…

One of the biggest risks, says 'Professor Risk' David Spiegelhalter, is being too cautious. This is one of the insights in this short 6-minute video released as part of Cambridge University's Cambridge Ideas series. This video introduces the idea of the "micromort" - a one in a million chance of dying. On a bike, you get 20 miles per micromort, one tenth the 200 you get in a car. On a motorcycle, you get only 6 miles per micromort (presumably these are British statistics). Anyhow, what I like about this is that it's a nice open and informal way of presenting knowledge, using a technology that can be embedded anywhere. Related: TED videos that support learning. Dan Colman, Open Culture, December 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

ADL Demonstrates Federated Registry Prototype at I/ITSEC
A CORDRA-based repository federation has been demonstrated by ADL network partners. CORDRA - the Content Object Repository Discovery and Registration/Resolution Architecture - has been around for a while (I provide an overview here (and three years later, in 2007, call it vaporware - heh)). The prototype, called MFASR (Multinational Federated ADL Search and Retrieval), "provides near real-time delivery of training and performance support for common interest information that is tailored to the specific requirements of a given instance." There's a paper and demonstrations available at the site. James Xu, Geir Isaksen, Bill Railer and Giridhar Manepalli, ADL, December 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

How the OLPC Version 3 Predicts the Future of PCs

The proposed OLPC version 3 is so cool people will be clamouring for one, including me. And if they're sold for the target $100 price tag, and if they can manage to actually manufacture enough of them, then, as this article predicts, they'll be in everyone's hands or pockets. "That 8.5 by 11-inch screen makes this device far from being a curio destined to transform the education of kids in far-flung, poor corners of the world. As does the design, which was driven by Negroponte's request to make the thing 'extremely simple and practically frameless.'" Kit Eaton, Fast Company, December 23, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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