Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
July 29, 2002

What Will it Take for E-learning to Reach Potential Market Size? Heh. This little list is exactly what e-learning vendors are not doing. What will it take? A world where: buyers can choose which e they need; buyers know who they want to buy from; buyers can blend what they buy with other solutions; and buyers have better implementation experiences. To put the same point another way: suppose, if you wanted to buy a laptop, you had to: select from one of 150 brands (none of which would work both in your office and home); buy software that run on your (but no other) computer; and hire an expert to get the machine running. By Ed Arnold, Mass High Tech, July 22, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Wireless, Mobile & Handheld: Where are our Teachers and Students Going with their Computers? "IT will be individually owned, not institutionally owned." This is one of the major messages of this forward looking conference paper (KM for Educators, University of Melbourne, May, 2002) on the coming wireless revolution in the United States. experiences in other nations suggest that by 2005, the majority of American children will be wireless subscribers by 2005. This will have a significant impact on learning in and out of the classroom. By Sandra Wills, KM for Educators, May, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The ASTD E-Learning Handbook Jay Cross trolled this nifty little site in support of Allison Rossett's ASTD eLearning Handbook. Looks like a Jeopardy game (no questions, though, just answers - which is what I suppose people want). A fair amount of content, nicely organized. By Allison Rossett, McGraw-Hill, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

eBusiness in Education: Case Studies on the Effective Use of Electronic Business in the Education Sector From time to time I suggest in this newsletter that there is a link between e-business and e-learning. Not that anybody doubts that, I suppose, but the connection between the two is drawn in rigorous detail in this comprehensive report on the use of e-business practices by leading educational institutions in Australia and around the world. This is a significant read, and to be honest I had time only for the (detailed and comprehensive) executive summary, a work that stands well in its own right. "The important focus needs to be on users rather than on the availability of technology for eBusiness." By John Mitchell, National Office for the Information Economy, May, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Processed Book Nice draft version of an essay posted for comment looking at diferent ways to think of online books. I really like the approach as the author considers the book as portal, the book as self-referencing text, the book as platform, the book as machine component, and the book as network node. Good forward looking piece of thinking. By Joseph J. Esposito, Kernerman Dictionary News, July, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

In a Do-it-Yourself World, Who Needs Librarians? Good article that examines the role of the librarian in a world where everybody can search for resources online. The upshot of the article is that, since searching for online materials remains difficult to do well, there is a continuing role for librarians. Yes... but. It's still early days. The need for librarians is caused mostly by poor search skills on the part of users and unadequate online reference services (including difficult to access private databases and article banks). But I still agree with this: "[Librarians] are valued for their knowledge of constantly changing technology. They are needed for their ability to sift through a fast-growing information universe. And they are trusted for their skill in analyzing and assessing the quality of online sources." MS-Word Document. By Scott J. Wilson, Putting Knowledge to Work, June 9, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Ethical Hacker Faces War Driving Charges It is apparently illegal to test public wireless networks for security flaws, even if you're a security expert. Seems to me there is a big flaw in this legislation, one that encourages people to keep wuiet about security flaws. Jargon note: "war driving" is the act of driving around with wireless receiving equipment seeking accessible wireless LANS. Second jargon note: "ethical hacking" is the act of hacking not for personal gain but to test systems for security. By John Leyden, The Register, July 26, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Schools May Get to Use Pirated Software A Malaysian official says schools in that nation may be allowed to continue using pirated software. "Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the exemption for such institutions and organisations was to encourage usage among Malaysians and speed up computer literacy among students." By Hamdan Raja Abdullah, The Star, July 28, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes