By Stephen Downes
December 23, 2004

More December Oddness, and a Mystery Link ;)
So anyhow, I'm in Ottawa. Another odd day - I'm supposed to go to Montreal tomorrow but it's looking ugly and I'll probably cancel. My message light flashed, but my voice mail was empty - if you called me you were deleted. My cell phone is in my office in Moncton. NRC's normally unreliable email isn't working again (which is why I'm including some personal notes in the newsletter - I'm incommunicado otherwise). And my laptop, which has never worked properly since Windows XP was installed, is operating in fits and starts (mostly fits). Other than that I'm having a fine day, and we even managed to get on the leaderboard in trivia this evening (a rare treat, since Atlantic Canada is trivia-free). Thanks, everyone, for the emails and cards over this holiday period. Anyhow, expect sparodic newsletters over the next few days; I'll try, but with travel and relatives and the whole thing (actually pretty unusual for me - I prefer to hide somewhere and write or code over the holidays) I may not be able to get to this as much as I can. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, Dec 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

OLDaily Audio
My OLDaily Audio page - MP#s of my talks in proper podcasting form (the RSS is here). I have a few items to add - I set this up a couple months ago in respoinse to a request and forgot about it. Worth a mention in light of the next item. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, October sometime [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Texbooks or iPods?
I looked longingly at a Creative Zen today (what you should buy instead of an iPod if you're thinking of buying an iPod). Sound appeals to me - I've had a different sort of vibe from readers since posting my audio online (hard to quantify or even describe - let's just say there's a noticable difference in the feel of the responses). And though I have always thought I write as I speak, looking at some transcripts tells me this isn't so - when I speak there's a multi-dimensional multi-threaded aspect quite missing from the writing (get the feeling from this transcript from my talk in Canberra (and Part Two, unfinished - feel free to add to my transcriptions ;) So - maybe podcasting is the future? But unlike the people described in this article, I read much faster than I listen, and I type at about the same speed as I speak - so for me there's a speed advantage in text, a huge one. But I think maybe I'm the exception to the rule. So maybe podcasting will play a much larger role than I thought. Rod - if I buy the Creative Zen, do I get reimbursed? I have some research to do... By Derek Morrison, Auricle, January 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

The State of Standards at Online Educa 2004
Good summary of the discussions on learning technology standards at Online Educa Berlin. On the one hand, you have people like Wayne Hodgins saying "they're done, you just need to implement them" and on the other people are saying "but we need standards for collaboration". I still think that a lot of the standards discussion is putting the cart before the horse, as Hodgins says, "perfecting the irrelevant". The more I work in this field the more I think that we need some proper practice before we think about setting things in stone; dumping out content online was, as was commnted, a necessary first step - but e-learning is about to get a shake-out as it moves to a post-classroom post-institutional phase, and standards will have to be pretty flexible to keep up. Could we have even developed podcasting in learning object metadata? It's doubtful. By Wilbert Kraan, CETIS, December 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Persistent Education
What I didn't get to say in my discussion of the personal learning environment (PLE) the other day is that every student should get his or her own web server. Why? Well, moving off the institutional web server only does half the job - people's computers break down, they buy new computers, they want to access from a Cybercafe in Harare... you can't depend on a client side aplication. Anyhow, this article mentions this idea, among others, in a nice rant. By N. Lowell, Cognitive Dissonance, December 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Management by Objects
There's some genuinely neat stuff by Microsoft described in this article (yes - the words 'Microsoft' and 'neat' in the same sentence - who knew?) (and follow the reference to the earlier article where Monah is demonstrated). Perhaps there is nope for learning objects after all - I espedially like the XML rendering. By Jon Udell, Jon Udell's Weblog, December 22, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Some notes on Wikipedia
It's not just Wikipedia any more. Great set of links on Wikipedia related projects. By Simon Willison, Simon Willison's Weblog, December 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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