By Stephen Downes
October 24, 2003

League Bloggin': Learning Objects in the Real World
One of the earlier learning object projects, Wisc-online has seems to fade from the mainstream recently as more visible initiatives have come to the fore. But Wisc-online hasn't vanished; according to this report they have created a nice collection of about 1,000 learning objects. "Objects are not open source, they are accessed directly from a link to the Wisc online site, so the .swf files are not re-purposed in other contexts and the .fla files are not available. This is use for WTSC colleges, but outsiders can use but are asked to contact the author." By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, October 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Atom as the New XML-Based Web Publishing and Syndication Format
Comprehensive coverage of Atom, touted as a replacement for RSS. What's interesting about Atom (aside from the fact that they're finally decided on a name for it) is that it is being "created through an informal consensus process by volunteers in the Web developer community at large." There's a lot of material here, and the page is mostly useful to you only if you are an XML developer. If you want to conpare an Atom feed with the equivalent RSS, take a look at Edu_RSS, which supports both; here, for example, is the feed for learning objects. By Unknown, Cover Pages, October 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

EdNA Online adds ALIA RSS feeds to MyEdNA
This looks like a really good story that popped up in Edu_RSS from the EdNA RSS feed. But the link provided was to a registration page, and the link from EdNA's home page redirects to a login. I spent some time trying to crack the password system - I did, after all, create an account when I signed up for the RSS feeds a month or so back. But no go; I have no idea what my account was. There's probably a nice, upbeat story there. If anyone can tell me what it is, send me a note. By Who Knows?, EdNA, October 23, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Three R's: Reading, Writing, RFID
Schools have never been bastions of democracy and individual rights; we have seen over and over again how a students' right to freedom of expression, for example, is quite limited (hence the explusion of a Georgia student for wearing a Pepsi shirt on the school's Coke Day). So it is perhaps not a surprise to see the first major use of RFID tags to track people taking place in a school environment. "The charter school's 422 students wear small plastic cards around their necks that have their photograph, name and grade printed on them, and include an embedded RFID chip. As the children enter the school, they approach a kiosk where a reader activates the chip's signal and displays their photograph." Perhaps we should spend a little more time thinking about the sort of citizens our schools produce when their students spend their developmental years as the subjects of little dictatorships. By Julia Scheeres, Wired News, October 24, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The Lemma Dilemma
Jerry Fodor treats us to a retelling of the Stanley and Livingstone story, one in which Stanley first had to rule out the possibility that he was seeing Queen Victoria before uttering, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume." Fodor is reacting, in this review, to the non-inferential theory of cognition offered by José Luis Bermúdez in his book Thinking without Words. Fodor, of course, is well known for his belief that cognition is, in essence, a linguistic phenomenon, that we, quite literally, think in words. "English, or something like it, is prima facie plausible as a model of the system of symbols that we think in," he writes. I think Fodor is wrong, and the shallow arguments (and cheap dodges) he offers in this item do not change my mind. By Jerry Fodor, The Guardian, October 22, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

PrepCom3 Activity Report
Interesting account of how open access is being removed, bit by bit, from documents prepared for the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS). By Francis Muguet, October, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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