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by Stephen Downes
January 20, 2010

Deloitte Canada's Technology Predictions for 2010
These Deloitte predictions are very much in line with my own thinking.
- sales growth of e-readers will not reach expectations
- net tablets will be huge, and may revitalize newspapers and magazines
- IT departments will begin buying based on employee needs, not corporate policy
- cloud computing grows, but stalls somewhat over reliability and security Richard Nantel, Workplace Learning Today, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Do I Need to Know It, or Just How to Find It?
The idea of "knowing where to find it" is more complex than simply saying "I don't need to know it." It's a response to the suggestion that we need to train people to learn certain things ahead of the need, a body of "core know;ledge", if you will. But it is not a suggestion that people do not need knowledge, or that they do not need to remember things. Rather, it's a two-parter: first, that different people need to remember different things, so trying to teach them what they need ahead of time will be a failure; and second, that people will remember what they need to remember if they need it frequently and if they can find it when they need (which, interestingly, is exactly how memorization works, but without the context or interest: you force yourself to need to remember something frequently, and if you forget, you look it up right away and try again). Tom Werner, Brandon Hall, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

If the leaders don't get it, it doesn't happen
Looks like today is one of those days where I take things people say and argue against them. Like this post, which asserts, in the title, "if the leaders don't get it, it doesn't happen." Which is patently false; otherwise, there would never be underground slang, certain types of drug use, streaking, counter-revolutionaries, grass-roots movements, fads and fashions, and a host of other things big and small that leaders just don't get. The 'great leader' theory of change and progress is demonstrably false; history is littered with leaders who didn't "get it" and whose institutions changed anyways. Scott McLeod, Dangerously Irrelevant, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Metalearning and Learning Styles
Interesting take on learning styles: Clark argues you get more benefit by teaching against them. For example, "while verbal learners may like to read about something rather than actually try it, they do much better when they actually apply the skills (kinesthetic), rather than reading about it." My own take is that, while this may work on a one-time or infrequent basis, because of the novelty or irritation factor, if you try to do this every day you just end up with a bunch of bored and irritated students. Still, that's something that could be looked at (I guess, if you measure the "success" of learning as the retention and repetition by a student of a small instructor-defined set of data).

A couple of other things, though. First, it occurs to me that if there's no such thing as "learning styles" (somehow defined) then there are no grounds for student-selected or learner-centered learning; just put all instruction into the same box, and deliver it the same way, because individual preferences don't matter. Whiuch seems to me to be a reductio.

And second, people have got to stop repeating the old saw that "scientific studies can normally only prove what exists, not what does not exist." It's just not true! You can prove there are no dogs in my living room, that there are no 15-minute interruptions in gravity every hour on the hour, that there are no aircraft made of water (or even ice!), that there is no phlogiston, that there are no numbers greater than three and less than two. The old saw applies only to a special class of entities: entities that have no consequences, entities that are outside our experience, and entities that cannot be tested. Everything else can be known to exist or not exist. Donald Clark, Big Dog, Little Dog , January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

News Comes From Newspapers Shock
The flaws in this Pew study of news sources don't just taint the research, they destroy it. (Contra Delaney: when you have a bad and biased survey, you don't somehow by magic get a "gist of the results can't be ignored" - you just get bad data). When you ask a bunch of media people where they heard about a set of mainstream news stories covered in the mainstream news media, they will most likely answer "newspaper", "television" or "radio". A much better survey would be to collect a random set of people, to ask them "what's new?", and then ask them where they heard that news. You will get a very different set of 'news stories' (compare the gtop blog posts as ranked by Nielsen with the top news stories). And, therefore, a very difference set of news sources, since the blog post material wasn't even covered in the newspaper. (Can I say QED on this one?) Ian Delaney, twopointouch, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Crowd sourcing the European foresight study: your chance to be an expert
Note to Attwell: it's not "crowdsourcing" if you explicitly make an appeal to "experts." Nor is it "crowdsourcing" if you as a narrowly-based and self-selected group of people (ie., your readers) to make submissions to a response that will ultimately be filtered and presented by one person. It may or may not be a valid way of generating ideas or input (it has its strengths, it has its weaknesses) but it is not "crowdsourcing." (People seem to thing anything that involves a crowd is 'crowdsourcing' - which would render a rioting mob as an instance of 'crowdsourcing' - but the word actually has a fairly precise meaning - "the act of a company or institution taking a function once performed by employees and outsourcing it to an undefined (and generally large) network of people in the form of an open call" - the call has the effect of breaking the work into many small parts, each of which is individually and autonomously completed by different person; it is not a sampling or a polling or a collaboration). Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Pearson Gives $3 Million to New Leaders for New Schools
Doesn't it seem odd to see a publisher giving millions to people making purchasing decisions? I know, I know, it's charity and all, but still. "Part of the funding, spread over three years, will be used to develop a cadre of 15 educators, to be called Pearson Fellows. These fellows will be deployed to high schools in the New York City, Baltimore, and District of Columbia school systems." Sounds like fifth column work to me. You know, just saying. But for some reason, nobody finds this odd? And I wonder what a wider study of educators (making purchasing decisions or recommendations) directly funded by vendors would reveal? Via Russo. Dakarai Aarons, District Dossier, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Nine steps for choosing technology for social networking
This article describes a very standard approach to making a technology decision. But if you haven't seem how this is done before (or just want to see how others do it) the article is a nice clear guide. Tora Estep, ASTD, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Times to Charge for Frequent Access to Its Web Site
Although the NY Times merits an exception to my 'no registration'* policy, I will not be linking to subscription-based articles. Nor will I be reading them. Nor do I think they should show up in Google search results if all you're presented is a paragraph and a paywall (but, you know, money changes hands, the listings appear...). Anyhow, I'm sure they'll get some subscribers - mainly other journalists who depend on the Times for stuff to copy or who are paying just to try to make paywalls work. But not enough to save the ship. (*) I do not link to any sites that require that you register before you can read an article. The one and only exception to that policy over the years has been the New York Times. Richard Perez-Pena, NY Times, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

CUP traditions – the people with the funny pink hats
The funny hat tradition is new since my time with Canadian University Press in the 1980s. But the legacy of the national organization as a completely student-run organization is not. In fact, the large majority of Canadian student newspapers is entirely student-run - no professorial involvement or oversight at all! Here's Canadian University press coverage of Jan Won's speech at the convention (also 100 percent student run). The challenge from student blogs is very different for Canadian student newspapers as well. Many of the newspapers are already online and - as you can see from my old stomping grounds at the Gauntlet - thriving. I talk from time to time about how much I learned in five years working at the Gauntlet - but I forget to mention that this was a completely student-created learning experience. Bryan Murley, Innovation in College Media, January 20, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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