Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
March 10, 2003

Open Source Content in Education: Part 2 - Developing, Sharing, Expanding Resources As the author writes, "Preservation of openness and sharing (at an educational level) is critical for the creation of a culture that values innovation, progress, experimentation, and development." This article summarizes the major points in favour of open content and proposes an open content project, something I strongly support. If you are interested in helping create open educational content, join the discussion list the author has set up to support this initiative. By George Siemens, elearnspace, March 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Theory for E-Learning The current discussion paper for the International Forum of Educational Technology & Society, this paper takes the broad view of e-learning and posts a set of ten principles. I think it's a good discussion starter. I think that the resulting discussion will find these principles too narrow. For example, the author posits that "eLearning can be used in two major ways; the presentation of education content, and the facilitation of education processes," which leaves out a whole range of applications based on game playing and simulation. Additionally, he writes that "eLearning tools are best made to operate within a carefully selected and optimally integrated course design model," which again leaves out any sort of open-ended and undesigned learning. Finally, he proposes that "The overall aim of education, that is, the development of the learner in the context of a predetermined curriculum or set of learning objectives, does not change when eLearning is applied." This gets both the overall aim of education wrong, and understates the impact of technology. But like I said, it will be a great discussion-starter. By Mark Nichols, International Forum of Educational Technology & Society, March 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

RSS for Syndicating Information About Learning Objects David Carter-Tod gets it. "It is a net-like communication model for the net-based information we are referring to." This item is chock full of links to resources on using RSS in education. Via elearnspace. By David Carter-Tod, Serious Instructional Technology, March 7, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

eLibrary to Provide Research Service to Microsoft Office 2003 Users Pack up your research bags, put those learning projects on hold, wipe down the counters and lock the library doors. Microsoft is going to do it all for you. That's the message of this press release issued today by Alacritude, the company behind eLibrary. The gist? "eLibrary will be offered through the next version of Microsoft Office, Microsoft Office 2003... The new agreement enables Microsoft Office 2003 customers to conduct extensive research without leaving their Microsoft Office applications... eLibrary search results can appear in a 'research panel' within a Microsoft Office 2003 document and include article abstracts from newspapers, newswires, magazines, journals and transcripts, as well as relevant information from maps, photos and reference sources... The eLibrary service includes 13 million documents from over 1,000 sources - premium information that canít be found elsewhere for free online." The implications of this announcement are staggering because it gives a certain group of publishers exclusive access to a vast (paid) readership - and completely shuts out any writer not willing to give up their copyright to a publisher for a piece of the pie. By Press Release, Alacritude, March 10, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Rise of Netpolitik: How the Internet Is Changing International Politics and Diplomacy This is the sort of publication people working in net related fields should read on a regular basis. Not because they have anything to do with online learning or even the internet in particular, but because they help as an antidote against slipping into the rut of traditional thinking. What we once thought were constants - even basic things, like the elements of communication - are changed by the net. This paper explores that idea, showing how our usual means of communication lead to misunderstanding, and how in a multi-cultural and multi-contextual society we are going to have to take the time to make our thoughts - if not our words - clear. 263K PDF linked from this web page. By David Bollier, The Aspen Institute, Macrh, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-Learning Policy Implications for K-12 Educators and Decision Makers Good analysis of the state of e-learning in schools along with a number of policy recommendations. The thrust of the report is that while e-learning appears to be here to stay, more research is needed to assess its effectiveness and mechanisms are needed to help instructors using e-learning to communicate and implement their vision of learning online. "E-learning is about people and about using technology systems to support constructive social interactions, including human learning." By Various Authors, North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, April, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Social Software and the Politics of Groups We have made software more and more usable for the individual, argues the author, because it's relatively easy to design for the single user. But we are increasingly using software to moderate group experiences, and here questions of usability are much more difficult. How do we make software work for groups? We face problems we didn't face in previous technologies and we are seeking to define a functionality only possible over the internet. This article is an introduction to this worthwhile topic. By Clay Shirkey, Clay Shirky's Writings About the Internet, March 9, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright © 2003 Stephen Downes
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.