OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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November 19, 2010

Feature Article
Two Kinds of Knowledge
Stephen Downes, November 19, 2010.

We can teach to support learning, or we can teach to support the production of social artifacts. We can teach the subject, or we can teach superficial behaviours. Two different types of knowledge. Two different sets of skills. If we want people to socialize, to conform, to follow rules, we'll focus on the repetition of the symbols and codes that constitute explicit knowledge, to have them become expert in what Wittgenstein called "language games," the public performance of language. But if we want people to learn, then we need to focus on the subsymbolic, the concepts, skills, procedures and other bits of tacit knowledge that underlie, and give rise to, the social conventions.

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Research on Mobile Learning
Graham Attwell, Pontydysgu, November 19, 2010.

One of the issues I have with academic research in education is that a great deal of time is spent arguing over definitions, drawing distinctions and creating terminology, and almost none explaining phenomena or identifying causes (it's almost as though educational researchers today reject causation as equivalent to behaviourism). Case in point: this summary of research on mobile learning offered by Graham Attwell. We get, for example, "John Cook (UK) develops the idea of mobile phones as mediating tools within augmented contexts for development." We have "Diana Laurillard (2007) has highlighted the mobility of digital technologies in providing 'opportunities for new forms of learning because they change the nature of the physical relations between teachers, learners, and the objects of learning.'"We have "Margrit Boeck (2010) says mobile devices are: making learners mobile." We have "Nial Winters (2007) suggest[ing] we have to address three mobilities in mobile learning – learners, technology objects, and information." And more, of that ilk. Nonsense! Not in the sense that it's all wrong, but in the sense that it's all meaningless. Call me a positivist if you must - but please, no more conceptual schemes, terminology, or definitions.

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PLENK in the whole world – almost?
, Heli on Connectivism, November 19, 2010.

PLENK2010 wrapped up today and it was a pretty impressive run, all told. We all learned a lot, and as this diagram from Heli Nurmi shows, the course had a global reach. Related: Rita Kop offers her reflections on modeling PLE-based learning.

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Dazed and Confused After #CETIS10
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus, November 19, 2010.

Brian Kelly writes, "I suspect that, in part, my unease may reflect personal experiences (first in the family, from the working class town of Bootle, to go to University, which provided me with new opportunities) ; political disagreements with the notion that what may be good for self-motivated students (such as those who have benefitted from attendance at fee-paying public schools) will be forced on those who will benefit from learning provided by traditional institutions (whether such learning is mediated by technology or not) and professional concerns regarding the questioning of the benefits of technology (again, I'm not saying that such questions shouldn't be asked)." I don't equate lack of motivation with the lower classes; quite the opposite - to survive at all, the poor must be motivated every day. It is the rich who can coast and have other people write their essays for them.

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Candid cameras and free speech in the lecture theatre
Tony Bates, e-learning & distance education resources, November 19, 2010.

Tony Bates expresses concern about the way people grab and post videos online, citing examples of teachers being caught behaving badly, and pointing to cases where the video has caught behaviour out of context. What is needed, he writes, is something like a code of conduct describing ethical behaviour. Of the professors? Oh, no, no, no. Of the people posting video, of course. But you know, my remedy is to (a) remond professors - and other people - that they should stop behaving so badly, and (b) remind viewers of these videos to demonstrate at least a little discernment when they watch them. It's not TV; you don't have to accept everything you see as the gospel truth.

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Teaching & Learning in a Networked World (Keynote)
Alec Couros, open thinking, November 19, 2010.

Presentation shared by Alec Couros covering the topic of learning in a rapidly changing world. We hear about informal learning, open content, participatory media, network literacies, and the culture of sharing.

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eXtending the Web
Steve Wheeler, Learning with 'e's, November 19, 2010.

We've been calling it the eXtended Web, or Xweb, or WebX, but maybe the better name is the 'metaweb', as suggested on slide 19, or even just 'meta'. So then we would have 'metalearning', 'metagames', 'metacommunity', 'metabusiness', and the rest. To 'go meta' would be to embrace the full extent of meta: not just the internet, not just the web, but mobile access, geo-location, haptic input, sensor networks, ubiquitous data, analytics, cloud and mesh computing, and the rest of it.

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20 Things I Learned About The Browser and the Web
Min Li Chan, Google, November 19, 2010.

Via Download Squad, the booklet from Google demonstrating the new HTML 5 capabilities is certainly beautiful, but I have to wonder whether we're not being dazzled by the flashy page-turning that stands in place of any actually useful features. I keep in mind Marc Canter's cautions about the functionalities from Flash HTML5 will need. And I'm wondering how I'm going to be able to embed one of these puppies as easily as, say, a YouTube video or Slideshare presentation.

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Exposing a Galaxy within the Brain
Unattributed, MIT Technology Review, November 19, 2010.

Lovely video. "A new imaging method developed at Stanford reveals the complex array of synapses in the cortex." There's probably a way to embed it but MIT isn't sharing.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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