Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
August 16, 2002

New Directions How are new developments in learning theory and technology changing the face of education? This all day forum today at the Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison gives us a look at some of the themes that will come to dominate e-learning over the next couple of years. This article is a summary of the forum presentations and discussion surrounding them. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, Augvust 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Digital Disconnect: The Widening Gap Between Internet-Savvy Students and Their Schools It's not just my cynical perception. This Pew study concludes that students are far more adept than their teachers when it comes to finding creative educational uses for the Internet. "Many schools and teachers have not yet recognized much less responded to the new ways students communicate and access information over the Internet." By Douglas Levin and Sousan Arafeh , Pew Foundation, August 14, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Study Finds That Teachers Fail to Grasp the Web's Potential Generally straight forward description of the findings of the Pew study on teachers' uses and understandings of the web. Easier to read, and a lot shorter, than the full report. Heh. By Katie Hafner, New York Times, August 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Net Savvy Students to Teachers: You Just Don't Get It! More coverage of the Pew report. Looks at the "disconnect" between teacher and student uses of the internet. "This disconnect is only going to grow worse over the next few years, and its going to create a problem for educators," suggest the article. Teachers need to "use it, use it, use it, and use it again to do what school is supposed to be about learning about life and the world around us." Yeah. By Tom Regan, Christian Science Monitor, August 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

DePaul Develops Sign Language Translator This is interesting. As Syllabus reports, "A team of faculty and students at DePaul University's School of Computer Science has created a computer-generated synthetic interpreter capable of translating spoken English into American Sign Language (ASL). The program, dubbed 'Paula', uses speech recognition and sophisticated animation. Using the system, a hearing person speaks through a headset connected to the computer." By Various Authors, DePaul University, August, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Defining Your Objectives Useful article with a quick guide to designing your learning objectives for different types of instruction, including the online course. The article could use more detail - it lists things you should take into account, for example, but doesn't show clearly how this manifests itself in the statement of objectives. Readers will enjoy the sample project proposal at the end of the areticle. By Sarah Horton, Dartmouth College, August 15, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Judge Refuses to Halt UNC Qur'an Program What a relief - a North Carolina judge has allowed students at UNC to continue reading about the Qur'an. But I don't really like the reasoning. "The court finds that ... a student who elects not to read the book is not penalized in any way by the university," Tilley said to a courtroom of about 40 reporters and spectators. "This simply is not a religious exercise or activity," he said. So, what then? Does that mean that if the book were required in a course that it could be found illegal? Better toss out that C.S. Lewis, then. By Diane Suchetka, Charlotte Observer, August 16, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School We mentioned this book yesterday (in the Oblinger article) and elearningpost picked up the link today. The entire text of this book is online, which makes me happy. If you don't have time to read the entire work in one sitting then at least look through chapter 10 as the authors present their findings in an accessible, convincing manner. Most of what is in the book will be supported by instructors' (and students') previous experiences, but it is worth the look to see it all in one place, nicely presented. By John D. Bransford, Ann L. Brown, and Rodney R. Cocking, editors, National Research Council, December 31, 200-31 8:33 p.m. [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2002 Stephen Downes