By Stephen Downes
July 22, 2004

Show Me Your Context, Baby: My Love Affair with Blogs
"To call blogs literature would be to turn them into an elitist, edited, and vetted art, one which is contrary to their very nature. The complexity of what blogs and their reactionary, perfectly contemporary, accessible prose could mean to the future of sustainable storytelling, to truth in journalism and to the survival of democracy, is too great to call literature." We are not given democracy; we must take it. Freedom belongs only to those who would live free. By Kate Baggott, trAce Online, June 25, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Who Killed Literary Reading?
There is a point here. On more than one occasion I've stood at the news stand in an airport or a bus terminal looking at the selection of books; nothing better than a good read while travelling. And yet I am faced with nothing but pap - Danielle Steele occupies half the shelf, the magazine section is dominated by fashion and entertainment fluff, and the news consists of the seven second sound-bite called USA Today. Science? Nope, filled with astrology and fad diet books. To heck with it; I'll play Civ III on the computer (which has the odd distinction of being more historically accurate than the historical novels on the shelves (much less the Disneyfied version of things)). By Carlin Romano, Chronicle of Higher Education, July 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

"Emergent Learning" Is an Oxymoron
This point is fundamentally correct (and should be closely read by people talking about social learning): "Almost by definition, if you have the kind of self- and group-awareness that is usually entailed when we use the word 'learning', you canít have emergence. You can say that a colony of ants 'learns' what the best foraging strategy is, but it is the colony as a whole that 'learns,' not the individuals." And I like his take on the intuitive difficulty behind emergence. "The idea of a system exhibiting judgment when its components are dumb just seems...weird." Good stuff; have a look at the e-Literate blog as a whole, especially the post on informational cascades. I will have more on all of this in the future. By Michael Feldstein, e-Literate, July 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Leicester E-Learning Conference
Kind of a neat analogy: "Terraforming the environment for sustainable e-learning life." We can talk about what counts as good e-learning by talking about what counts as good terraforming. If your newly terraformed planet requires that its new colonists grow gills, it will not count as successfully terraformed. The planet must correspond to the actual living and breathing needs of the colonists. Now the online world, of course, is always terraformed. Yet given this, it's suirprising how many sites expect that students can breather underwater - or at the very least, ought to learn. View the link to the slides at the bottom of the article. By Derek Morrison, Auricle, July 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Mark Pesce: Open Source Television: Liberte! Facilite!! Egalite!!!
Disinformation is an interesting website and well worth a visit no matter what - I generally pop by once every few weeks. This item, a link from Robin Good, is worth considering in its own right. Now we are well short of prime time for internet video on demand - we are just at the leading edge of audio on demand. But yes, it is coming - you can see plenty of signs of it already (for example, in the last few months many online dating sites have started allowing their members to post short videos). By Mark Pesce, Disinformation, July 14, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Japanese Carrier Unveils Mobile-phone Wallet
Not what the headline suggests. The device is essentially a way to conduct wireless transactions - wave your phone at the scanner and the sale it deducted (accurately, one hopes) from your account. Fine. But what I wanted is what the headline suggests - a phone I can carry in my back pocket and that will hold by cash and cards. I am forever losing my phone (it is, in fact, currently lost) because there's no convenient way to carry it. Now if my debit card can be built right into my phone-wallet, that's fine too. Via NewsScan Daily. By Yuri Kageyama, USA Today, July 22, 2004 [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.