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by Stephen Downes
December 25, 2009

Dad's Web Guide to Delivering Tot
Just-in-time learning: Googling "How to deliver a baby" on your Blackberry. Apparently a true story. "Everything happened so quickly I realised Emma was going to give birth. I wasn't sure what I was going to do so I just looked up the instructions on the internet using my BlackBerry. I was very, very nervous. I never thought I'd actually have to do it. The BlackBerry told me that when I saw the head, I had to support it." (The word 'tot', by the way, is only ever used in tabloid headlines.) Via Slashdot. Rob Singh, The Sun, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

It's about the conversation…
What's more important in a symposium, staging the debate, or presenting your own point of view? I know that many people, like James Clay in this post, will respond immediately that it's about the debate. It is, after all, about the short exchange back and forth, isn't it? He says, "If you can't get your viewpoint across in five minutes then you just need to try harder." Well, that's fine for debates about relatively superficial topics. But for my own part, it does actually sometimes take an hour to make the point. Like when I'm describing the way network theory informs learning design, for example. Or when detailing how a harvesting-based repository network is more efficient than a repository federation. Oh sure, you can make the point, maybe, but forget backing it up with reason and argumentation.

I have presented many one-hour presentations, and I don't consider them to be stifling the debate, I consider them to be - when properly linked and referenced to the wider community - part of the debate. The mistake, I think, is in trying to stuff an entire conversation into a one-hour format, or even a one-day format. It's a wider world with fewer arbitrary boundaries. When we are thinking of symposia, we should be thinking about the broader open-ended debate, not some event managed by one organization or one person. James Clay, It's about the conversation…, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Pedagogical Serendipity (or, how Twitter saved my Kindergarten lesson)
A teacher gets help via Twitter to find a way to teach kindergarten students about farms. The problem, of course, is that kindergarten students aren't going to be searching the web, doing reading on the subject, or any of the usual online learning activities. The solution? "Voicethread was the answer! It would give us the ability to "converse" asynchronously, using text, audio and video. Voicethread's navigation is dead simple; I know my kindergarten students can easily make their way through material presented that way" (Odd the way he links to VoiceThread five times - almost like a product placement). Kevin Jarrett, Welcome to NCS-Tech!, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Review of Distance Education Research (2000 to 2008): Analysis of Research Areas, Methods, and Authorship Patterns
Distance education research remains deeply entrenched in the teacher-student paradigm. So reads this study of 695 research articles in five leading journals over the last decade. The work is characterized, it seems to me, by a strong resistance to change. "The dearth of articles dealing with issues especially on the meso level (management, organization, and technology) is disappointing. In order to guide practice, practitioners in the field should not rely on under-informed trial and error..." Maybe so, but the bias in editorial selection tends overwhelmingly to small surveys of class-based practice. Olaf Zawacki-Richter, Eva Maria Bäcker, and Sebastian Vogt, The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Vicarious Learning and Reciprocal Altruism
Keith Lyons talks about vicarious learning via a 24-hour snapshot of Twitter learning. "Mark Drapeau (via Iggy Pintado 8956 tweets) provides some interesting insights about How to Win Friends and Twinfluence People. By coincidence I found a Graham Attwell (1960 tweets) tweet drawing attention to Howard Rheingold's (May 2009 post) Twitter Literacy. I have been following Howard Rheingold's output since his guest appearance on CCK08. I liked his observations." Keith Lyons, Weblog, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Learning: Then & Now
Nice set of slide images showing the sceptics that learning really has changed in recent years. Silvia Tolisano, inspired by a presentation called Learning 2.0 from Mike Lambert on Slideshare, says "it's not about the technology," but each of the images displays new learning using new technology. "It inspired me to build upon his version and create the following photo slides showing my vision of how learning has changed. I discovered over the last few years, that by creating visuals, I support my own learning and understanding." Silvia Tolisano, Langwitches, December 25, 2009 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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