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April 11, 2011

Daily Papert
Gary Stager, Daily Papert, April 11, 2011.

So Gary Stager has a site that cites Seymour Papert every day and from time to time includes videos. So far so good. But he is using Vimeo and has selected the option that prevents embedding. So he doesn't want to share. I've commented on his site to complain, but he just deleted the remark without comment. So I'll complain here, where he can't delete me. What's up, Gary? Why won't you share?

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Using Skype in the History Classroom
Lisa Durff, Durff's Blog, April 11, 2011.

Neat video showing how to bring history to life with in-class Skype interviews.

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The Future Of YouTube Is Streaming Video
Tanner Godarzi, The Blog Herald, April 11, 2011.

Live streaming video sites have been around for a little while now - USteam was widely used by educators before bandwidth issues and intrusive advertsing took the shine off the rose, and Livestream has been a recent favourite. ds106 has been using something called justin.tv for live broadcasts. But of course all bets are hedged when The Goog wades into the picture, and so this weekend's announcement from YouTube that it has launched a live streaming service heralds the beginning of a new era on online video. And YouTube does it in a big way. Live Cricket from India. Or live streamed Mortal Kombat. I haven't found a way for average users to live stream video on YouTube, but can it be far behind? See also YouTube's blog post

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Is for-profit online learning the answer for developing countries?
Tony Bates, eLearning and Distance Education Resources, April 11, 2011.

files/images/Computer-lab-Tshwane-University-of-Technology-South-Africa-300x199.jpg, size: 18689 bytes, type:  image/jpeg Response to a recent post from John Daniel advocating for-profit online learning in developing countries. The ostensible reason for such a proposal, of course, is that developing countries don't have the resources to support public infrastructure such as higher education (or water systems) and so the people living in those countries should pay for them directly. Tony Bates supports the proposal, but adds two caveats:
- the primary goal should be to develop a high quality public education system that is open to all, irrespective of income, race or caste.
- US-based for-profit organizations continue to struggle exporting their model to other countries.
Personally, I think that if a country can't support an educational system through taxation, then it's certainly not going to be able to support it through privatization. The very best outcome would be that the system becomes available to the rich, while the poor are left out to dry. Making something for-profit does not magically make the impossible possible. Usually, it makes it a lot more difficult.

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Eight Phases of Workplace Learning: A Framework for Designing Blended Programs
Noise Professor, Noise Professor, April 11, 2011.

Schematic diagram of Jim Groom's Digital Storytelling course, #ds106. He writes, "It's not perfect, and already there are things that I want to add/edit, but it's a reasonable start. What I think the diagram shows is that the magic resides in the spaces in between. LMS is really CMS, and focusing on content entirely misses the point.

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Spare us the e-mail yada-yada
Unattributed, The Economist, April 11, 2011.

Have you ever received one of those emails with the lengthy disclaimer at the bottom - the one that says it was intended for the recipient only, that if should not read it if it was received in error, that the sender assumes no liability for the contents, etc.? Like me, you've probably just ignored as ridiculous the claims and cautions made. Just as well. "Lawyers and experts on internet policy say no court case has ever turned on the presence or absence of such an automatic e-mail footer in America, the most litigious of rich countries." What's ironic is that the most prolific senders of said waivers seem to be lawyers. "Company lawyers often insist on them because they see others using them." There should be a lesson in that. Via LifeHacker.

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The Netflix Effect: When Software Suggests Students' Courses
Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Education, April 11, 2011.

files/images/photo_11515_landscape_large.jpg, size: 9730 bytes, type:  image/jpeg The concept of recommenders has been around for ages - I first saw such a system in 1996; it was called 'Firefly' and was bought by Microsoft and quietly killed; I talked about them as early as 2004. So it's not surprising to see a project that reportedly 'recommends' courses to students a la Netflix. So we see this item about Austin Peay State Uni­versity automated system which "considers each student's planned major, past academic performance, and data on how similar students fared in that class. It crunches this information to arrive at a recommendation. An early test of the system found that it could lead to higher grades and fewer dropouts, officials say."

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Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media
The Council of the Ontario College of Teachers, Ontario College of Teachers, April 11, 2011.

This has been picked up by a few people. Rodd Lucier summarizes, "The Ontario College of Teachers released today, 'Professional Advisory: Use of Electronic Communication and Social Media', advising members to make appropriate use of social media with students." Most notable is the advice to keep one's social and professional lives separate, which in practice means not friending students. "Decline student-­initiated 'friend' requests and do not issue 'friend' requests to students... Avoid exchanging private texts, phone numbers, personal e-­mail addresses or photos of a personal nature with students." The document also cautions against rash or inflammatory commenting. The advisory is also available as a video (below):

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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