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March 9, 2011

Feature Article
Progress and Learning
Stephen Downes, March 7, 2011.

I commented, here, "The best learning I've ever done has been on my own, working through a hard problem, by reading and then writing, either text, or software, or derivations. This is also the hardest learning I've done; most of the people I could talk to don't understand it well enough to explain it, and attempting to work it through leads to more confusion than clarity." Harvested from Half an Hour.

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President Obama Fights Bullying on Facebook
Zachary Sniderman, Mashable, March 9, 2011.

Barack Obama has launched an anti-bullying initiative on Facebook. The website supporting it is http://stopbullying.gov. I've uploaded the video to blip.tv because you shouldn't have to sign into Facebook to hear Obama speak on this issue.

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U.S. Government Funding For Open Education Materials a "Game Changer"
Michael Geist, Weblog, March 9, 2011.

Cyber-Law blogger Michael Geist picks up on the U.S. OER-funding story and adds his own worthwhile insight. "From a Canadian perspective, there are genuine risks that domestic materials will be forgotten as schools gravitate toward the U.S. funded free alternatives." This is one of the motivations for governments tro fund their own OERs, and ought not be lost in the debates over 'sustainability'. It's not just OERs that need to be sustained; cultures do too.

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Facebook Challenges Disqus, Releases Free Social Stats
Darnell Clayton, The Blog Herald, March 9, 2011.

Like Disqus, Facebook allows bloggers to use a Facebook application to manage comments. According to this article, "the ability for publishers to see the demographics of their users by age, gender, etc., puts Facebook well ahead of rivals like Disqus (who has a similar feature for premium users)." Maybe, but while I'm wary of giving my comments over to Disqus as it is (and hence, don't use it) I would be even doubly more reluctant to give them over to Facebook. Because with Facebook, data goes it, but it never comes out.

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ELT needs to get a grip on smartphones
Caroline Moore, The Guardian, March 9, 2011.

files/images/smart-phone-learning-007.jpg, size: 24217 bytes, type:  image/jpeg I assume that by 'ELT' the author means 'E-Learning technology'. It could also be 'English Language Training'. I don't know. It is never defined in the article. The case is otherwise well-made, though. The domain of online learning is shifting rapidly to include not only the desktop, but also various mobile devices. "The growth in apps for communication, gaming and simple utility (finding the quickest route on public transport) is phenomenal. Apps seem to be everywhere, often created for quite short-term uses: event apps, conference planners, even the small hotel in Berlin I stayed in recently had its own free app for guests."

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Randall Munroe, XKCD, March 9, 2011.

Just a placeholder post for future discussions of critical literacies.
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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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