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by Stephen Downes
March 15, 2010

Assessment in a Web 2.0 Environment
Gardner Campbell sums up the difficulties inherent in evaluating learning in a web 2.0 environment. "I agree in principle that we who work in education should be able to describe what we intend to do, and that it is important that we find a way to demonstrate to what extent we have met those goals. But that principle is a principle of almost unimaginable complexity." What this means, he argues, is that the simple measures used today are not up to the task. "I really, truly do not think that Likert scales or uniform tests or other simplistic measures are up to the task of helping us map or understand this most profound practice we call 'education.'" Gardner Campbell, Gardner Writes, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Digital World of Young Children: Emergent Literacy
A Pearson Foundation white paper argues that:
* "Opportunities to engage with digital media increasingly prevail through the use of mobile devices – and in developing countries access to mobile devices is more commonplace than access to other technologies
* "Developmental milestones are changing as young people's access to mobile and digital technology grows.
* "Digital media positively impacts children's opinion of learning, providing engagement opportunities not always seen with print materials."
As always, I question the emphasis on closed mobile platforms (which, while publishers dreams, are harmful to open discourse - see the post about Apple below). Via Garry Putland.
Jay Blanchard and Terry Moore, Pearson Foundation, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

QOTD: a new Alexandria
Summary of a New Republic article that "discusses the continuity of the scholarly record in a richly allusive text." Dempsey writes, "I sensed three strands. First, the scholarly record is evermore diffused through media and formats, embracing source materials, and presents changes of identification and curation. Second, the licensed journal literature is enclosed behind paywalls, and current developments may extend that fate to the book literature. And third, the relevance of the scholarly record to the wider world and to future generations, and the influence of researchers, is diminished by this lack of access."

Remembering what happened to the first Library of Alexandria, I worry a bit about centralizing the archive (and about anything from the New Republic) but reading the article find a robust propoisal with the public interest firmly in mind. "Imagine that this library is electronic and in the public domain: sustainable, stable, linked, and searchable through universal semantic catalogue standards. Imagine that it has open source-ware, allowing legacy digital resources and new digital knowledge to be integrated in real time. Imagine that its Second Web capabilities allowed universal researches of the bibliome."

The argument for change from the traditional system of academic publishing is compelling, I think, and has two major threads. First, "If scholars continue to hide away and lock up their knowledge, do they not risk their own irrelevance? An immediately important debate, I think, is to be had over how academics fail to engage with their natural constituency (and former students): journalists, business leaders, lawyers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and civil servants." And second, "What if our next 'peasant poet,' as John Clare was known, twitters? What if he writes a blog or shojo manga? What if he publishes via a desktop or vanity publisher? Will his output count as part of legal deposit material? What if there is a masterpiece being filmed in Bollywood? What if one among many Nigerian novelettes, which typically address a young heroine's agonized choice between a village boy and a 'big man,' turns out to be written by a Jane Austen?"

Scholars of the future will be astonished at how few voices out of the collective six billion were ever actually remembered, and will wonder how we could let such a cultural tragedy occur. Lorcan Dempsey, Weblog, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , , , , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Secret iPhone Agreement (now public) and Apple User Ethics
The secret iPhone developer's agreement is now public. Here are the conditions Apple imposes on developers:
# Ban on Public Statements [by developers]
# App Store Only [for distribution]
# Ban on Reverse Engineering
# No Tinkering with Any Apple Products
# Kill Your App Any Time [Apple can]
# We (Apple) Never Owe You More than Fifty Dollars
Wesley Fryer, Moving at the Speed of Creativity, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book!
Terry Freedman has released a free ebook on Web 2.0 projects. The book of a compilation of interesting classroom activities using Web 2.0 technologies submitted by several dozen contributors. It's pretty light and breezy, but the information is well-structured (using a template that identifies things like age ranges, applications used, reactions and outcomes) and the content is clearly and well written throughout. Terry Freedman, Website, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Social media & workplace performance matrix
This social media matrix is pretty handy now and would be really handy with a large number of contributors. It lists organizations by sector, describes the social media innovation, and describes the return on investment. I'd like to see links referring to the case studies or other resources describing the innovation. Harold Jarche, Weblog, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Changing the System at a National Level
Good overview and discussion of Portugal's Magellan project. "Portugal has initiated an unprecedented roll out of computers in a device called the Magellan. Magellan is a small computer based on Intel's Classmate – dual boot Linux/Windows XP – that costs each student about 50 Euro (~$65 USD)."

I agree with Siemens's basic focus in thew discussion that follows, but wonder who is this "we" of whom he speaks? For example, he says, "We adopt catch phrases from popular media pundits. What we need is substance – a vision and a means to discover the suitability of that vision." Who is this "we"? Not me, I don't think. I know there's a writing tactic, where you identify with the audience and find points in common. But I'm not going to say "we" when I mean "you" or some specific pundit, popular or otherwise, who needs criticizing. George Siemens, Connectivism, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Here Is Where I Grew Up...
Inspired by Dough Peterson's My Childhood Community, I have collected some Google Street view images from my old home town. Here is where I grew up, the small town of Metcalfe, Ontario, about a half hour south of Ottawa. I was here from Grade 4 (moving from a suburb of Montreal) to Grade 12 (ages 10-18). This was a lot of fun for me (perfect work for a sick day), and would make a great activity for kids of any age, don't you think? Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

CSS Off Results
Those that like the minutia of design will really enjoy this list of winners from the CSS Off contest. The contestants were given a design to implement and the entries were judges against a strict set of criteria. So the pages look very similar, but the differences will stand out. These are experts at work and it really is a pleasure to look at the results.
Chris Coyier, CSS-Tricks, March 15, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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