OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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September 7, 2010

Prensky's Solutions for Public Schools Are Woefully Simplistic
John Sener, educational technology & change, September 7, 2010.

files/images/tarballTH.jpg, size: 5336 bytes, type:  image/jpeg John Sener's criticism of Marc Prensky's proposal for education threw me for a loop. He writes, "The idea to distribute 55 million tarballs is extremely expensive and highly impractical." At first I thought he was talking about open source software, which is distributed in compressed packages canned 'tarballs'. But when I reviewed Prensky's proposal I realized he meant actual tarballs. Well, count me as among those opposed to spreading the Gulf oil spill across the entire nation by mail. But Sener's criticism, applied to software, gave me pause for thought. He writes, "such an effort would be seen as a 'Trojan horse' attempt to impose federal control over education, and face broad resistance as a result." This is, in fact, an excellent point. Software colonizes. It imposes order as surely as statutes and police. Which is why distributing 55 million tarballs would also be a bad idea.

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webOS 2.0 screenshots appear: QuickOffice, VPN support, Skype?
Lee Mathews, Download Squad, September 7, 2010.

files/images/webos-2-1283884755.jpg, size: 44534 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I got my Palm Pre mostly by accident - but I've since been convinced and intrigued by its WebOS operating system. It is, to my estimation, significantly better than Apple's iOS. WebOS uses Webkit to render web pages, a technology what itself is promising. Moreover, as the Wikipedia article states, "The webOS features significant online social network and Web 2.0 integration." So I'm intrigued, and I think there's something here that will push mobile computing well beyond the restrictive environment of Apple or even Android. Here, in the image at right, we see some signs of that. If HP (which now owns Palm) were to open-source it, we might really have something.

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The State of Online Graduate Degree Programs in Education with Concentrations in Leadership and/or Technology
George Lorenzo , Educational Pathways, September 7, 2010.

files/images/125pixelwideEnterImage.jpg, size: 23562 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Report surveying an number of online learning programs in education or educational leadership. Not too many surprises, including the assertion that "online graduate programs in education attract motivated learners seeking career advancement," but readers will find useful references and examples, and prospective students will get a good overview in a single package. Worth noting is a reference to the Speak Up report, which talks about "free agent learners." The report explains, "it should not be surprising that students are leveraging a wide range of learning resources, tools, applications, outside experts and each other to create a personalized learning experience that may or may not include what is happening in the classroom."

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Open Data: Empowering the Empowered or Effective Data Use for Everyone?
Michael Gurstein, Gurstein's Community Informatics, September 7, 2010.

files/images/26f3cc790b1e308c9034750098448cd1.jpeg, size: 2269 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Michael Gurstein raises the question of whether open data will favour only those with resources to use it. "What is necessary as well, is that those for whom access is being provided are in a position to actually make use of the now available access (to the Internet or to data) in ways that are meaningful and beneficial for them." He cites a well-documented case of land use data in India. But certainly keeping closed-access paper-based records can't be helping the poor; the less open the data the wealthier you have to be to benefit from the data. More from Marshall Kirkpatrick.

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More on e-books in Africa
Michael Trucano, EduTech, September 4, 2010.

More on ebooks in Africa - a summary of a World Bank report. Not a big study but potentially useful. "Baseline information was gathered in June on reading habits and other possible conditions that might influence affect and impact the experiences of 30 students, who were given e-book readers for one month. In July, these 30 students were brought together to share their experiences as part of a 'de-briefing workshop' designed to help guide the development of a true pilot project."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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