OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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August 9, 2011

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Camping in PEI
Stephen Downes, Flickr, August 9, 2011.

I have been camping for the last week or so on a beach on Prince Edward Island (I'm back in town now for a quick (and busy) visit; just as well, the camp site is now a flood zone after all the rainfall). I'll be there the next couple of weeks enjoying the quiet country and cycling all over the northern tip of the island.

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Review: The Edupunks' Guide, by Anya Kamenetz
Stephen Downes, Half an Hour, August 9, 2011.

Author Anya Kamenetz is the guest on this month's Institute for Distributed Creativity (iDC) list discussion. After a few comments back and forth I was moved to read her new booklet, The Edupunks Guide and offer this review. Although Kamenetz defends 'her usage' of the term (against Jim Groom, whom she says "helped" define 'edupunk'), my review makes it very clear, I think, that she offers an inferior and unhelpful view of do-it-yourself education.

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Access :: Future
Stephen Downes, Book, August 9, 2011.

Anya Kamenetz responds to my review saying "I've never read anything you've written (and yes, I've read plenty of your writing) that would be particularly useful, comprehensible or interesting to a bright 19 year old like Weezie, much less a 64 year old trying to earn a community college degree, like Melvin Doran, the LearnerWeb participant." Given all the practical advice I've offered in this space over the years, this seems a bit unfair.

Still, recognizing that it would be helpful were my advice offered in one place, I offer a compilation of my popular and useful work:

Access :: Future
Practical Advice on How to Learn and What to Learn
an e-book by Stephen Downes

This is just one book. I also have a ton of other material on really practical hands-on stuff (how to create RSS feeds, how to set up Drupal, how to create a radio station, etc.) which I'll compile and post some time in the future. And maybe I'll release the 'open education' book, the 'connectivism' book, etc. in the weeks ahead, if there's any demand for it.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Connectivism, Vocational Education, Books, Drupal, Content Management Systems, RSS]

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Education Needs a Digital-Age Upgrade
Virginia Heffernan, New York Times, August 9, 2011.

Commentary on Now You See It by Cathy N. Davidson. The book makes many of the points made here over the years. She summarizes, "When we criticize students for making digital videos instead of reading 'Gravity’s Rainbow,' or squabbling on Politico.com instead of watching 'The Candidate,' we are blinding ourselves to the world as it is. And then we’re punishing students for our blindness." Fair enough, and also: "The new classroom should teach the huge array of complex skills that come under the heading of digital literacy. And it should make students accountable on the Web, where they should regularly be aiming, from grade-school on, to contribute to a wide range of wiki projects." Learning by doing; how about that. Davidson has a blog, but it defaults to displaying only the most recent post, so you'll need her RSS feed (you'll have to copy the URL and read it in Google Reader or some such thing, as there's an XML coding error that prevents browsers from displaying it). More reviews from Reyn Bowman, Will Boisvert, Serena Golden, Anya Kamenetz.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Books, Project Based Learning, Video, Web Logs, Google, XML, RSS, Metadata, Online Learning]

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Leonard and Gertrude
Johann Pestalozzi, Internet Archive, August 9, 2011.

As part of the discussion around edupunk on iDC, Phoebe Moore writes, "I recommend Johann Pestalozzi's 1895 book Leonard and Gertrude, particularly the sections on 'Gertrude's method of instruction', 'The organisation of a new school', and 'A good pastor and schoolmaster: the opening of a new era'. The history of alternative education forms and methods is fascinating. Pestalozzi was extremely influential with his ideas on 'learning by doing'." Maybe, but I wouldn't exactly endorse what I read in Pestalozzi. Do note that the download is a 13 megabyte PDF of page scans.

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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