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by Stephen Downes
January 12, 2010

Pedagogical Foundations For Personal Learning
In this talk I outline the differences between learning using a personal learning environment (PLE) and learning in an LMS. I argue that a PLE does what an LMS cannot do - it is designed to stimulate learning through an immersion into a community, as opposed to learning via presentation of facts. Pedagogy thus becomes the facilitation of skills for participation in such communities, which I tie to my critical literacy framework. Presentation by Stephen Downes, Learning Futures Festival, Leicester, UK., via Elluminate, [Link]

Managing Digital Rights Using JSON
In this presentation I describe a novel approach for the management of digital rights expression. The technique, which leverages JSON - Javascript Object Notation - does not involve parsing or processing of rights data, and not only does it solve the cross-domain scripting problem for rights expressions, it also provides an alternative to the language-based digital rights management patents held by ContentGuard. Presentation by Stephen Downes, 6th IEEE International Workshop on Digital Rights Management, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, [Link]

Content Delivery Networks
I attended a session on content delivery systems all morning this morning, an excellent talk delivered by Bruce Maggs (Duke University and Akamai). This post of my summary of the talk (warning: long and technical (but endlessly fascinating)). Lots to take away from the talk, but one of the really big ones was the way content delivery systems like Akamai put a real twist onto the whole net neutrality debate. Because they deliver so much content, they convince ISP and institutions to offer them in-house server space for free (thus greatly easing their incoming bandwidth load). This really increases the efficiency of the internet. But it also gives purchasers of a service like Akamai a huge speed and bandwidth advantage unavailable to people like me, who will never ever be offered free server space inside ISP and institutional networks. Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, January 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Debunking the Case for National Standards
This to me is the defining arguments against national standards. "Are all kids entitled to a great education? Of course. But that doesn't mean all kids should get the same education. High standards don't require common standards. Uniformity is not the same thing as excellence – or equity. (In fact, one-size-fits-all demands may offer the illusion of fairness, setting back the cause of genuine equity.) To acknowledge these simple truths is to watch the rationale for national standards – or uniform state standards -- collapse into a heap of intellectual rubble." When you begin to acknowledge that people are different, you are forced to acknowledge they may have different desires and needs and wants - and that this applies to their learning. The enforcement of national standards in the face of individual differences turns what ought to be an education system into an instrument for propaganda. Via Edurati Review. Alfie Kohn, Website, January 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Open Education: The Nature of Competence
Funders of online learning projects want them designed to provide specific competencies. Governments and corporations especially are thinking along these lines. In my talk the other day I talked about learning in terms of (what I called, for lack of a better word) capacities. In this post (not very likely a reply, but still related to my talk) Graham Attywell discusses the definition of competencies. You can read his account. I don't care much whether or not people assess for competencies - but I think that if you're trying to teach to those competencies, you're making a real mistake, because teaching to specific objectives is at best inefficient, and at worst includes non-recognized and harmful side-effects. Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, January 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Readings in Digital Design
A page full of readings for a digital design course the instructor plans to offer as an open course. "Open" in the broadest sense - accessible, transparent, connective, collaborative. "The list attempts to sample the breadth of digital design practices and approaches - so it spans cyberculture, architecture, product design, interaction design, and media art. It also mixes historical sources, academic articles, blog posts and web video, for the same reason, to give a sense of the range of contexts and discourses at work here." This looks like a winning course. Mitchell Whitelaw, (the teeming void), January 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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