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September 14, 2010

The New Social Learning : Book review
Jane Hart, Jane's Pick of the Day, September 14, 2010.

files/images/nsl.png, size: 15211 bytes, type:  image/png Jane Hart previews The New Social Learning (the post is too short, and too filled with quotes from the book, to dignify it with the title 'review'). The authors state, "it's the first book to showcase how social media tools can be used inside organization to connect people and spur innovation–both for learning and for improving the bottom line. It's chock full of case studies, examples, approaches to address the critics, and lessons learned." Maybe they should have consulted Jay Cross before making that claim.

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Text-to-Speech vs Human Narration for eLearning
Tony Karrer, eLearning Technology, September 14, 2010.

The field of online learning continually throws us the most interesting conundrums. Take, for example, text-to-speech, that is, spoken words generated by computer from printed text. It has been around for a while, and we're all used to the stilted computer voices reading us the weather or announcing the time. But is is good enough for online learning? Tony Karrer offers an extended discussion that includes this comment from a practitioner: "We have produced courses for 6000 people in the company and we are getting good feedback: 80% are satisfied, 10% love it and 10% feel offended. My conclusion is that the voices are 'good enough' for training applications."

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Rosen's suggestions for young journalsts worth reading
Doug Fisher, Common Sense Journalism , September 14, 2010.

This advice for journalists applies equally well to teachers and (especially) politicians and educational administrators. "Seeing people as masses is the art in which the mass media, and professional media people, specialized during their profitable 150-year run (1850 to 2000). But now we can see that this was actually an interval, a phase, during which the tools for reaching the public were placed in increasingly concentrated hands. Professional journalism, which dates from the 1920s, has lived its entire life during this phase, but let me say it again: this is what your generation has a chance to break free from. The journalists formerly known as the media can make the break by learning to specialize in a different art: seeing people as a public, empowered to make media themselves."

Rosen again: "The reason I showed you this clip is that it makes vivid for us a great event we are living through today: the breakup of the atomized "mass" audience and a shift in power that goes with it. What would happen today if someone on television did what Howard Beale did? Immediately people who happened to be watching would alert their followers on Twitter."

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Nine Important Trends in the Evolution of Digital Textbooks and E-learning Content
Rob Reynolds, the xplanation, September 14, 2010.

Nice summation from relentless resource gathering of important trends in e-textbooks and content. For one thing, textbooks are breaking apart. "The movement toward disaggregated content has been seriously afoot ever since iTunes appeared and we started talking about songs instead of albums." Additionally, we are moving gradually from plain content to applications. "Apps are big and going to become even more important. What we think of as a textbook today could very well become an app that serves as a simple framework for receiving mashed up or subscribed content."

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Harold Jarche, Life in Perpetual Beta, September 14, 2010.

Harold Jarche looks at Results-Only Work Environments (ROWE). He quotes Sugata Mitra's TED Talk: "Education is a self-organizing system, where learning is an emergent phenomenon." Also, "You can't motivate students, but you can kill what motivation they have," from Alfie Kohn.

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Learning by Doing
Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, September 14, 2010.

files/images/1408969054_905c6341ac.jpg, size: 178509 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I was asked in a conference presentation today about the reserach that supports learner autonomy, I thought George Siemens's answer was better than my own - I talked about the difficulty of evaluating learning outcomes when every learner is seeking to achieve different outcomes. George talked about whether we really need research to understand the benefits of autonomy - nobody would question whether autonomy in the workplace works, for example. All of that said, I think that examples like this post from Alan Levine abound - and this is the sort of example that has actually convinced me over the years. He talks about how he became a much better photographer in the unstructured and informal 'photo a day' exercise. That has been for me pretty much the way I've learned anything of importance to me, whether it be writing, coding software, parsing misleading newspaper coverage, or playing darts. Oh yeah, and photography.

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PLENK2010 Participant Feeds
Various Authors, PLENK 2010, September 14, 2010.

I've been pretty busy attending to PLENK2010 today, making sure the harvesting is working and fixing incorrect feed URLs (heh). One day this will all be turnkey, but for now doing one of these open courses still takes some work. Anyhow, we're up to 1138 registrations and 141 feeds. This feeds link will take you to the contributions being submitted by course participants. It's already pretty impressive. What we do in the course is aggregate them and display the contributions in the daily newsletter, like this.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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