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March 21, 2002

1016757204 I have an all day event tomorrow and a drive back to Moncton, so tomorrow's issue will also be late. Like, maybe, out on Saturday (I'd rather take the time and do a quality issue than rush one out the door late Friday night). By Stephen.[Refer]

Observations on Training 2002 The second good article in as many days posted to the ELearningLeaders group, this item is a summary of reactions to the Training 2002 Conference just held in Atlanta. The best buzz, of course, comes from the trade show floor. It appears, from this report at least, that the e-learning industry slump that I have been projecting in previous issues has arrived (this is also showing in the stock price indices (I don't run those here because they're not the sort of thing I cover, but I read them)). The fragmentation of the industry is showing. The big players are moving in. Anyhow, have a read (and like yesterday, you still have to sign up to the group). By pseldes, Elearningleaders, March 20, 2002.[Refer]

Video Games Stimulate Learning This BBC item in today's elearningpost is accompanied by a BBC article from last November headlined "Learning games do not boost results." Perhaps the authors of elearningpost were using cut-and-paste to make a wry comment (I wish they would use their keyboard to make wry comments, but that's another issue). But as any OLDaily reader (and hence, reader of Seymour Papert) knows, the two stories, though they look like they contradict each other, do not. Games like Sim City are designed to be difficult, to challenge the player. But "educational" games are generally designed, as the television ads say, to "make learning easy." It's not surprising that exactly contrary design objectives would have contrary outcomes. (The November item is located at http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/education/newsid_1676000/1676869.stm ) By BBC News, March 18, 2002.[Refer]

Structuring the Unstructured OK, this looks really useful and I'd like to give you the scoop. Here's the skinny from the press release (edited to remove meaningless adjectives): "the new offering expands tagging output... the user control panel allows the definition of different tagging schemes for any type of document stream... discovers multiple relevant entities, facts and events buried within large textual repositories, richly tagged XML files, facilitating data reuse and the manipulation of content with other applications." After a loooong wait to get into the site (I'm still on 28.8) I get a one paragraph description, no pricing, and a Flash "demo" that I'm not willing to run. Information gained? Zero. Now I ask: why do some companies thing that this is an effective marketing strategy? Why even bother putting up the web page? By Anonymous, KMWorld.[Refer]

Safety Fears Limit Online Learning Well, think this through. Would you keep students home from school because they might meet strangers on the street, catch a virus, hear foul language, or otherwise encounter some form of danger? Of course not (though you would try to ensure a safer neighbourhood). Similar dangers exist on the internet, of course, and these are being used as a reason to keep children off the computer. But. Maybe it's not about fears. "For many children it is their enthusiasm for online communication - which for them included rapid, unmoderated interchanges, swearing, sending personal photos and e-mail address - which first motivates them to gain the ICT skills which transfer to more 'approved' activities," said Professor Livingstone. "Banning the former inhibits the latter." By Anonymous, BBC News, March 21, 2002.[Refer]

Finnish Virtual University Launched in English "just hours ago", unilingual readers such myself can now browse through "information about the on-line services offered by the Finnish Virtual University and by all the universities in Finland, specifically, on-line courses and support services that are available to students and instructors." By various authors, March 21, 2002.[Refer]

An Online Producer's Open Letter to Michael Kinsley For those of you who were at my seminar in Fredericton yesterday, this is the sort of thing (in part) that I'm talking about. During the seminar, I said that we need to stop thinking about online courses as publications and start looking at them as communication. What does that mean? Well, like this: "Web-based publications, from your competitor Salon.com to The New York Times Magazine, capitalize on this tendency in the simplest of ways: breaking up articles onto multiple, cross-linked pages. More sophisticated methods of engaging Web users include one you mentioned: having a journalist keep a kind of professional journal that elicits the story as it's reported, in small chunks day-by-day, or your nifty trick of using the 'voice of e-mail.'" By By Dorian Benkoil , Poynter.Org, March 19, 2002`.[Refer]

A World of Opportunity Power Point Slides from my presentation yesterday. A bit sketchy, as slides usually are; at some point I will follow up with an article. In a nutshell: creators of online learning should move away from the centralized 'publishing' model of the internet and embrace the distributed 'communications' model. By Stephen Downes, March 21, 2002.[Refer]


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