By Stephen Downes
September 19, 2003

Important Learning Must Occur in Groups
The link to this item is messed up, but you can get to it from the blog's main page, to which I link here. The principle, expressed in the title, is largely derived from observations about language. For example: "Shared meaning is the difference between personal knowing and acquired understanding or social knowledge." And for example: "Lasting knowledge is knowing more than definitions, concepts and relationships, it is feeling what is right in a particular situation, requires personal engagement, passion and a community to emerge. Learning and knowledge require an ecology to thrive and evolve." Now I have talked a lot recently about the social nature of language, the idea of meaning as derived from use, and the community nature of knowledge. But just because you have bathwater doesn't mean you have a baby. That fact that there are some irreducibly social elements to learning does not mean that the whole thing is social. You can learn some things, in some ways, on your own, without a social network. Specifically, you need a social network in order to teach others or to learn from others. But that is not the whole of learning. Universal generalizations as expressed in the title do more to confuse the social nature of learning than to clarify it. By Spike Hall, Connectivity: Spike Hall's RU Weblog, September 17, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sun's Dumbass Trademark Policy
Some ridiculous trademark policy rules courtesy of Sun. These rules define how you can use the Sun trademark. Specific sentences are provided. Now I ask: can Sun tell you how we are allowed to refer to its products? More importantly: will lawyers now advise authors to change their copy in order to avoid a costly lawsuit? Because of copyright and trademark legislation - and the mere possibility of lawsuits - we are losing our control of the language, our capacity to speak and even think in a manner that opposes corporate policy. Some say I'm paranoid, but no paranoia of mine ever produced examples like this. By Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing, September 19, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Web Group Opposes ISO Fee Plan
From time to time I question the wisdom of sending important standards to standards bodies. Sending learning object metadata to IEEE or Dublin Core to ISO seems, to me, to involve a certain degree of risk. People look at me a bit funny - after all, these are standards bodies. Yes, but they're also corporate entities. The source of my misgivings? Well, items like this: the W3C is being forced to respond to a plan by ISO to charge royalties for the use of basic symbols such as currency codes. Yup, that's right, my use of the $ character or the .ca in my URL might incur a charge. I can't make this stuff up. I can't, really. By Evan Hansen, CNet news.Com, September 19, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Today's Optimization, Tomorrow's Bottleneck
There is a never-ending push from the other side to somehow extract more money from internet users, and typically this involves some sort of metering. Thus we see yet again another in a seemingly endless stream of proposals, this one masked as an 'intelligent' network that "can identify users and the applications used." This would be, in my mind, a Very Bad Thing, and not simply because we'd pay more for access (and don't kid yourself, we would pay more for access, if only to pay for the metering system). But it also endangers the network. I agree with Isenberg: "Price discrimination in the middle of the network is a risk to new app discovery and to free speech. We should keep the network stupid -- and put the 'for what' and "to whom" of price discrimination at the edge." By David S. Isenberg, isen.blog, September 18, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Universal Calls for Papers Collector
This is a very interesting and useful service - a central location for all calls for papers. Liz writes, "Itís called Papersinvited, and it collects calls for papers from conferences and journals worldwide." You can subscribe to given topic areas - I'll just get my list from Seb, though. ;) By Seb Paquet, Seb's Open Research, September 18, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Know a friend who might enjoy this newsletter?

Feel free to forward OLDaily to your colleagues. If you received this issue from a friend and would like a free subscription of your own, you can join our mailing list at http://www.downes.ca/cgi-bin/website/subscribe.cgi

[ About This NewsLetter] [ OLDaily Archives] [ Send me your comments]

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