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by Stephen Downes
May 13, 2010

Learning IS Social. It Just Is.
Bud Hunt argues that learning is social, something I argued against in Argentina. That is not to say that social phenomena play no role in education - that would be an absurd position - but rather to make the (important, I think) point that learning does not, cannot, reduce to descriptions of social phenomena. Indeed, this is where you run into dangers, where you run into such misconstrued notions as 'learning is alignment' or 'learning is commerce' or 'learning is conformity'. Bud Hunt, Bud the Teacher, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: none] [Comment] [Tweet]

Improving OER Messaging: A Heresy
David Wiley want to "unify" the messaging around open educational resources (OERs). But he deftly skips over the parts that disunify us, asking (cryptically) "Why shouldn't our messaging in DC focus on the phrase 'public domain'?" when he knows that the answer is "because it elides the whole question of non-commercial licenses, in favour of abolishing them." For me, one of the realizations I had during a talk in Argentina that the concepts of free "gratis" and free "libre" cannot really be separated - that you don't have "libre" without "gratis" (which is what makes a poll tax so pernicious). My own messaging has been consistent and clear throughout, and is crystallized in a single, simple, slogan: Free Learning. Which makes me wonder why Wiley has been so consistently opposed to the concept over the years. David Wiley, iterating toward openness, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

More thinking about the alignment project
This is totally not my approach, but a careful and detailed articulation of an alternative. It should be considered. "The aim of this project is to build distributive leadership capacity into institutional systems and processes to encourage and enable alignment and quality enhancement. It aims to make consideration of alignment a regular, transparent, supported and integrated part of common teaching practice, supported by effective systems and processes." I would criticize the duality the approach presupposes, between 'quality' (alignment) and the disorganized 'lone wolf' approach to teaching. David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Becoming a Network Learner Redux – Cultivating Attention and Other Network Literacies
Good set of slides from Scott Leslie on his keynote for TLT in Saskatchewan. Leslie reviews the ideas of network learning and the personal learning environment. See also his Northern Vopice conference summary. All this is very good, but we need as a community to be clear about the underlying values here. As Leigh Blackall states, in his analysis of Illych and Verne's Imprisoned in the Global Classroom, it is difficult to live up to our own principles, and "action is not possible because over time the agencies to which the proposals are made, have developed defence mechanisms such as departments and procedures." And Doug Belshaw draws our attention to the ambiguity of these principles. People are beginning to co-ope and gain credit for these ideas - it becomes increasingly important to be clear and concise, to articulate these ideas and to implement them. Scott Leslie, Weblog, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Yes We Did, Rahaf Harfoush
When you have your own organization, you can do a lot on the fly, which is what the Obama team did. But when you are tied to a national government or major organization, where most teachers live, and as the Obama team now finds itself, your options are sharply limited (especially if you're ethical - if you're not ethical, well, see below). What would be more interesting, therefore, than the book about how the Obama team used social media to win the election, would be how to use social media (or some such thing) to effect change and/or run the country. Not such a simple proposition. Ewan McIntosh,, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: ] [Comment] [Tweet]

Microsoft Office, Google Editions, and Educational Technology
We hear that if Facebook were a nation, it would be the third most populous on Earth. What we don't hear is that it would be less democratic, and more aggressively capitalist, than almost any nation on Earth. The default social surveillance setting would be used not only to generate revenue for its leaders, it would also be used to ferret out opposition and to stifle dissent (just like in the neighbouring dictatorship of Apple). I'm just saying... (anyhow, you don't want to miss this diagram of Facebook's privacy settings.) Rob Reybolds, the xplanation, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

A Long Handle on Shortened Digital Object Identifiers
Interesting take on the undistinguished history of digital object identifiers and the handle system. Proposed as a means to ensure persistence of reference to resources and to manage access in digital rights management schemes, DOI and Handle met with receptive audiences in the publishing industry - and nowhere else. From my perspective, the system imposed a cost overhead in order to create an addressing system that was less reliable than the traditional URLs we use now (because you would be blocked access if the system went down, or if you didn't have the 'right' to access the resource). Eric Hellman, Go To Hellman, May 13, 2010 [Link] [Tags: , ] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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