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by Stephen Downes
March 12, 2010

The Experience of Learning
This short talk summarizes the pedagogical model of personal learning that to me underlies the design of connectivist learning network methodologies. The presentation itself echoes some recent themes, while the questions took me into some very new ground reflecting on the learning experience itself. Part of the Networked Connectivism, Distributed cognition and PLNS panel at the Virtural Worlds Best Practices in Education conference hosted by Beth Davies (SL name: Michigan Paul). Moderator: LoriVonne Lustre. No slides; audio only. Presentation by Stephen Downes, 3rd Annual Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education Conference, Second Life, [Link]

DYI Garage Biotech

If today I were a young man with a hacker mentality, I'd be cooking up biotech in my garage. If I had a garage, that it. Tomorrow's Microsoft or Apple probably exists as just such a lab today, two or three people with an idea and an incubator. There's already a whole literature on do-it-yourself biotech. It's funny to see the reaction from the mainstream as almost exactly what we saw in the 1980s - in this video, even though utterly nothing happened, dig the full environmental suits, the drawn weapons and even the scary music in this 'news' report. Wow. Kevin Kelly, The Technium, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Deep Understanding
The connectivist answer to questions like, "when will I ever use this again?" is to focus on process, not content. Doug Peterson describes his experience, "Later on, there was a response by Colin Jagoe to Peter's original post "When will I use this again?". I answered, "Never, but that's not the point, you're working your brain to make it better able to solve problems that you WILL encounter later on." I love it and says so much." This is just the sort of story I told in my presentation today. But to use this kind of story, you have to talk to students about how they learn. They need to know why they are practising. It's no Karate Kid. You can't just make them do menial tasks with no understanding and expect them to stick it out. Doug Peterson, doug – off the record, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Collapsing to Connections
Oooo - George Siemens makes the leap from connectivism in learning to connective social organization. "What would a world of learning look like if it were based on a granular unit of change – like connections – instead of large impenetrable concept like 'accountability', 'school reform'. How can we structure educational reform in such a manner that anyone can participate?" Right. This is a model of distributed government - a shift from large, powerful, mass-based centralized institutions to government that is small, local and distributed, in which they, and the people that make them up, interact in an open and global communication and decision network (note that 'government as business' and even 'education as business' are the exact opposite of that). George Siemens, Connectivism, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

My iPhone Apps for Learning Solution 2010
This list of apps that support learning on the iPhone is worth reading on its own merits. I wouldn't recommend for learning a closed platform like the iPhone, but the sort of things you can do with this set of applications described the sort of support environment you want to develop in order to enable mobile learning. In particular, appls like Bento, a personal database application, have a lot going for them. Brent Schlenker, Corporate eLearning Strategies and Development, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Activity Streams and OAuth: a social web architecture
Ben Werdmuller nails what social networks will have to do to replace email. "Email has succeeded because it's open, standard and decentralized; for social networks to replace it, they must also be open, standard and decentralized." He continues, "For social communications to be as popular and ubiquitous as email, there must be one social web, and it must be owned by nobody. That means that each socially-aware site or application must implement the same social communication standards. If you look at HTTP (the protocol that the web relies on), SMTP (one of the protocols behind email) and file formats like RSS and HTML, the common thread behind them is that they're simple." This is exactly right. Ben Werdmuller, The Internet is People, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The New Writing Pedagogy
Good article describing the benefits of social networks to improve writing skills. Angela Pascopella and Will Richardson quote a teacher, Paul Allison: "My students are writing things that they are passionate about and willing to stick with and do research on and talk to other students about," he says. For example, one of his students wrote a blog post about abolishing school uniforms. "I don't think he would have written it if he wrote for the school newspaper. So it's like quasi-school. But it's what he wants to write about. And he'll get responses from kids in Boston and Utah." Via Miguel Guhlin, who links and authors a quality set of notes on the article. Angela Pascopella and Will Richardson, District Administration, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Twitter users not so social after all
Twitter is becoming a news feed service, where people follow celebrities, and not a social network. This according to this article in CNN. "In fact, a whopping 73% of Twitter accounts have tweeted fewer than 10 times according to a new report from Barracuda Networks, a Web security company." Julianne Pepitone, CNN, March 12, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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