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by Stephen Downes
August 11, 2010

Crowd Sourcing a Promotion Case…
I totally admire people who are willing to take a risk like this - Tony Hirst outsources his promotion case. He writes, "I have been told there is a need to "demonstrate clearly your claims of excellence in relation to the promotion criteria. The statement needs to inform the Academic Staff Promotions Committee of the contributions you have made at the Open University, and the impact and significance of these.... So racked with embarrassment at doing this ('tis what happens when you don't publish formally, don't get academic citations in the literature, and don't have a "proper" academic impact factor;-) I'm going to take the next 10 days off in a place with no internet connection…. but anyway, here goes: an attempt at crowd-sourcing parts of my promotion case…." Tony Hirst, OUseful Info, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

internettime Daily
Here's another one of those pages, this time from Jay Cross's Internet Time list. I've been following lists for a few weeks now (I subscribe to Alan Levine's, Jane Hart's and Doug Peterson's). I still like them, and they certainly keep me up to speed on the Twitter-posed links. But my biggest problem with them is duplicates. Not even duplicates between papers - that's bad enough - but the same link appearing day after day on the same paper. Contrast that to, say, OLDaily, which will rarely (and only by accident) post the same link twice. Jay Cross, Internet Time, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Heli on Connectivism: "I try to conceptualize the development of expertise in ill-defined, open questions." She writes, summarizing (?) Eteläpelto A. The Development of Expertise in Information Systems Design (1998): "complex cognitive skills are learned through the acquisition of large integrated chunks of knowledge. Chunks take the form of larger, more detailed conditions and actions of production rules. Larger conditions provide more precise specifications of the circumstances under which the action is appropriate. Reduction in the need to access declarative memory allows speedier rule-firing due to increase in the strengths of rules which are needed in each successful application." (Except... and here again maybe language is a barrier... humans don't fire rules. That's how production systems think, but humans are not production systems.)

Heli, Heli on Connectivism, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

A Vision for Learning: Back to School Activities
Following the link to the backchannel of this presentation takes me to Chatzy, a nifty little backchannel service. Awesome. Julie Lindsay takes the first ten slides of this presentation to prepare people for backchannel participation (it's a pretty good model to follow). The rest of the presentation is on e-learning at at Beijing (BISS) International School. She writes, "We looked at the role of e-learning at BISS, digital citizenship, digital learners and how we can improve classroom practice to best cater for their needs in a digital world. I also gave an overview of Flat Classroom Projects and played the Flat Classroom Conference documentary so that everyone at BISS is aware of what is coming in February." Julie Lindsay, E-Learning Journeys, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Changed but Still Critical: Brick and Mortar School Libraries in the Digital Age
Are brick and mortar school libraries still relevant in the digital age? I don't think so - unless it's a place where you can recharge your e-reader and maybe work out on the Wii. Doug Johnson, though, thinks that libraries are a little more relevant than that. "I would argue that the best school libraries are not just surviving, but thriving, in this new digital information environment – but not without seriously re-purposing their physical spaces." He cites three major ways in this two part (part one, part two) article: as social learning spaces, as multi-media production and presentation spaces, and as teaching spaces. Well - that kind of makes my point. None of these are uses we would typically associate with a library. What about the books? He writes, "Books will be available in multiple formats for a very long time. Print, audio and digital will continue to co-exist quite nicely much as radio, television and the Internet does now." You think? I don't. Doug Johnson, Blue Skunk Blog, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

From Teachers' Manifesto to Learners' Manifesto
I like the idea of a learner's manifesto, but this manifesto reads as students' instructions to teachers. That's not a manifesto (which is typically a call to action for ourselves) but rather a list of demands (or maybe preferences). A real learners' manifesto would contain a list of statements from learners about what we will do with respect to learning. For example, instead of telling teachers to "place more emphasis on the skills that will help young people to progress and prosper in the twenty-first century..." it would say "we will study 21st-century skills..."

This is not just a wording change. It's a change in attitude. It is a statement that we (learners) will take control of our own learning, and that no manner what it taught in the classroom, we will convert it to ways we can help ourselves learn critical thinking, focus on real-world problems, embrace diversity, and the rest of it. Or as I sometimes tell people when they ask about my work history: "if I just did my job as I was told, I'd still be doing that job. What I did instead was to transform my job into a way to accomplish my goals."
John Connell, Weblog, August 11, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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