OLDaily, by Stephen Downes

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April 11, 2012

Tallinn, Estonia

I am in Tallinn, Estonia, for a conference on Myths and Reality in the e-learning age. Hotel internet is a little slow, so newsletters might not be all they could be, and most photos won't be available until I get home. You can enjoy this one for now, though.

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Dive into Responsive Prototyping with Foundation
Jonathan Smiley, A List Apart, April 11, 2012.

Good discussion of the new reality for web designers and therefore of the need for (and mechanics of) prototyping. The reality is simple: there are more and more devices all the time, and they all display the web differently. Think even of the different display and interface attributes of an iPhone, an iPad and a desktop computer. This article outlines the prototyping process and describes Foundation, a light-weight frontend tool you can use to create responsive prototypes.

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There Is No Invisible Hand
Jonathan Schlefer, Harvard Business Review Blogs, April 11, 2012.

Really important bit for network theorists to read: "After more than a century trying to prove the opposite, economic theorists investigating the matter finally concluded in the 1970s that there is no reason to believe markets are led, as if by an invisible hand, to an optimal equilibrium — or any equilibrium at all." The same is true of networks (after all, the same principles are in effect). Networks don't magically lead to goodness. To understand networks is, first of all, to understand that design changes outcome. That's why it's absurd to speak both of 'intervention in the marketplace' as though it were a bad thing, and 'network design' as though it were illogical.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Networks]

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Multiplayer Asteroids, Sans Asteroids
Scott Gilbertson, Webmonkey, April 11, 2012.

If you had spent as much time as I had standing in front of a console playing Asteroids at the local arcade, you'd understand why I have to run this item. "It started with a post on Seb Lee-Delisle’s blog where he claimed to have built a Node.js-based real-time multiplayer version of the classic Asteroids videogame (albeit without the asteroids). That turned out to be an April Fool’s prank, but the idea was compelling enough that now there really is a real-time, multiplayer Asteroids game on the web. It’s based on Doug McInnes’ HTML5 Asteroids and uses the as-yet-unreleased Firebase API." Ah, progress.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Gaming, Video, Web Logs]

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Crack the Coursepack
Michael Geist, Weblog, April 11, 2012.

Michael Geist writes, briefly, "A group of McGill students have created a new project- complete with informative comics and an FAQ - that explores alternatives to the traditional coursepack with an emphasis on open access and fair dealing." It's more of a web page than a project, but the comics are worth a look (and worth sharing) and the message is a good one: that professors should just upload or link to learning material rather than forcing students to pay inflated royalties to publishers. It also points to the key underlying weakness of the current system: "Because universities want to avoid being sued at all costs, they prefer dealing with Copibec. The downside: cost is ultimately passed on to the students and the taxpayers."

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Traditional and Online Courses, Books, Project Based Learning, Open Access]

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Google+ updates its user interface, refines navigation and photos
Cesar Torres, Ars Technica, April 11, 2012.

Google+ has a new look, characterized most of all by a huge swath of white space (this is the space that will later be filled with promotions and marketing, no doubt - it reminds me of Twitter's new home page, which has a tiny window for me, and huge areas devoted to making me follow Ashton Kutcher and Priit Hõbemägi (that's what it says today; vacuous celebrities vary by location). No RSS in or out? Nope. Google+ can change the design all it wants, it won't fix the basic problem that Google+ doesn't play well with others.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Navigation, Twitter, Usability, Marketing, Google, RSS]

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Texting With Teachers Keeps Students in Class
Stephen Noonoo, T.H.E. Journal, April 11, 2012.

Interesting take on an old issue. "For all the high-profile talk among educators grappling with whether or not to use cell phones in the classroom, the chatter has been far more hushed when it comes to using them to reach students outside it." The example used to lead the article makes the case nicely: a student texts her student to explain she's running late. Just like in real life! But a rural school in Saskatchewan has all kinds of reasons to want to communicate with students outside class, whether it be because of a blizzard or illness or simple truancy.

[Link] [Comment][Tags: Schools, Chatrooms]

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Site to Phone
Doug Peterson, doug – off the record, April 9, 2012.

Simple concept that fills a real need: "Site to Phone is a free service designed to send links and text from your computer to your phone or tablet."

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Copyright 2010 Stephen Downes Contact: stephen@downes.ca

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