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by Stephen Downes
August 12, 2010

Because the Connectivism course won't start until January, we're offering a course on personal learning environments, networks and knowledge this fall. PLENK2010 will start in mid-September and will be structured along the same lines as the other courses we've been offering. In this case, though, we'll be looking specifically at personal learning environments. It will be facilitated by Dave Cormier and George Siemens along with myself and staff here at NRC, including Rita Kop. George Siemens has posted a notice on his blog and an information page on TEKRI, while I've set up the course website and a page on how this course works. Registrations are open now. Stephen Downes, Website, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

10 reasons NOT to ban social media (a twist on the meme)
A number of people have been playing off the Top 10 reasons to ban social media video parody produced recently. This post offers a rebuttal. "Here's what management is thinking: we'll pour resources into this, we'll spend a bunch of time and money on it, and people won't even use it. They'll go back to what they always do, and 3 years from now we'll do this whole dance again to different music." Luis Suarez also offers his own take. Dave Furguson goes Shakespeare on us. Gina Minks, Adventures in Corporate Education, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Do New Tools = New Learning?
I think new tools result in new learning because learning is based on experience and every tool provides its own experience. But it's not a straight line one-to-one relationship. There's a lot of overlap between experiences - most software has the same interfaces, much of the content looks the same whether on a PC or an iPad. But some new tools lead you into new experiences by giving you new capacities - blogging software to publish your thoughts worldwide, photosoftware to let you express yourself, audio and video software to let you explore multimedia, social networks to help you form and join communities. "What is not important is the individual software dependent skill. Click here. Then do this. Then that. Etc.," says Clarence Fisher in this post. "New tools are important. New tools give us access to information we wouldn't have without them. New tools give our students the ability to share, to network and learn in ways they wouldn't have without them." Clarence Fisher, Remote Access, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Bill Gates: The Internet Will Displace the Traditional University in 5 Years
There's been a lot of buzz in the blogosphere about Bill Gates's predictions about education in five years - and especially the prediction that ti will be online, and better, in that time. He argued, "that the cost of college needs to come down, and the only way to accomplish this is through technology and lessening the importance of 'place-based' colleges. That's how you keep college education open to all. During the talk, he went further and asserted, 'Five years from now, on the Web for free, you'll be able to find the best lectures in the world. It will be better than any single university.'"

More on the talk from Bob Sprankle ("Thank god for charter schools. There is no room for innovation in the standard system." - Gates), Donald Clark ("K12 school is designed to baby-sit kids while adults get on with their jobs/lives" - Gates), Presentation Zen (in the improvement of Gates's presentation style), The Chronicle ("Place-based colleges' are good for parties, but are becoming less crucial for learning thanks to the Internet" - Gates), and Eric Stoller. DanColman, Open Culture, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Mobile Phone Learning on the Move in Africa
Another post touting the potential for e-learning in Africa using mobile phones. But I can't convince myself to jump on the bandwagon - mobile phones are still expensive to use, their proprietary nature precludes any experimentation, and most phones in use in Africa are not smartphones, meaning at best they support audio learning resources only. Here's what we are supposed to think e-learning means in Africa: "audio files could be useful, as they allow students to repeat course content at any location or even while on the move." Right. But this means, mostly, traditional learning. "Pucher emphasised that simply listening to an audio file in most cases would not enable a listener to memorise the content – audio files should be used as a complement to traditional learning material." Instead of making the phone companies happy, international agencies should be thinking about how to get proper e-learning tools and support into the hands of Africans. Via Tony Bates., eLearning Africa, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

Canadian librarian leads worldwide digital revolt for free knowledge
"The world's knowledge is increasingly being held to ransom and available only to those who can pay the fees," says UPEI librarian Mark Leggott, who we are told by the Toronro Star is "is leading a digital revolt that is starting to go global." After Web of Science more than doubled fee, he launched the Knowledge For All Project, proposing an open citation index " that provides a comprehensive set of desired features, including searching, browsing, citation analysis, the ability to annotate and share data, links to author authority records, and links to full text articles." Leggott, far from being an overnight convert, as the Star story suggests, has a long history of supporting the web and open source in libraries. Lesley Ciarula Taylor, The Toronto Star, August 12, 2010 [Link] [Comment] [Tweet]

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Copyright 2008 Stephen Downes

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