Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
May 17, 2002

JCert The new website for JCert (Java Certification) is up, another example of the trend toward independent learning certification agencies. By Various Authors, May 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Conversation as Experiential Learning There is some good discussion here, but the insights need to be extracted from the weight of the theoretical discourse forming the bulk of this article. The "five dialectics of learning conversations" is an attempt to identify the major features of online discussions as they relate to learning. It's a good, if obscure, list (translated from continential philosophy to English): 1. the distinction between direct and indirect experience; 2. the roles of reflection and action; 3. self development; 4. interpersonal relationships; and 5. community and government. By Ann C. Baker, Patricia J. Jensen and David A. Kolb, May 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Learning Method has Kids Teaching Themselves Short article outlinging Seymour Papert's work in constructivism, notable because of the learning that appears to be occurring when kids teach themselves. According to the article, "Jenna Manatrey is only 6 years old, but the Norwalk first-grader can build a motor and write computer programs to run it." Stories like this make you wonder what colleges and universities will be teaching them when these kids are old enough. By Maggie O'Brien, Des Moines Register, May 17, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

News by the People, for the People Good overview of the development of, and potential impoact of, the weblog (or blog). The weblogging community is a classic example of information sharing through a distributed network and is creating enough of a ripple to change site rankings on Google and cause serious and concerned discussion on journalism lists. For those of you who are new subscribers following this week's Distance Learning Network conference this would be a good introduction. Your assignment: think of how the blog culture and technology can be adapted to the world of e-learning. Bonus points if you can come up with a viable business model. By Paul Andrews, Online Journalism Review, May 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Let's Get Animated The author makes a case for the ease and effectiveness of using animations instead of plain graphics. Though the focus is on animations as replacements for editorial cartoons on new sites - and therefore the examples (and there is a wealth of them) address political topics - this item is worth a look even if only to be inspired by some of the techniqes available. By J.D. Lassica, Online Journalism Review, May 14, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect] OK, here's one for you: if a student pays to access this online service to have his or her term paper reviewed and corrected, is it cheating? Click the [Reflect] button below if you want to voice your opinion. By Unknown, May 17, 2002 6:04 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Swarm Intelligence From the website, "Swarm Intelligence (SI) is the property of a system whereby the collective behaviours of (unsophisticated) agents interacting locally with their environment cause coherent functional global patterns to emerge." The site offers demonstration applets, groups, introductory links, presentations, publications and software. This page should give some of you a nice weekend project. By Tony White, Carleton University, May, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes