By Stephen Downes
December 27, 2004

Too Much Computer Exposure may Hinder Learning
The Woessmann and Fuchs report, subject of my recent paper Understanding Pisa, has hit the news again (one suspects someone is promoting this study with some vigor) and has become a subject of discussion at WWWEDU. In this item, I restate my criticisms of the report and add some additional commentary. By Stephen Downes, WWWEDU, December 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

DURL, a Search Tool for del.icio.us
In case you haven't seen this: overview of DURL, a service that lets you see who has flagged the same URL on del.icio.us By Roland Piquepaille, Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends , Dece,ber 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Experience as a Distance Learning Teacher Makes You a Better Classroom Teacher
Here is an example of the feedback-loop thing I talked about in my post to WWWEDU. "a whopping 85% of their faculty reported that their experience as online teachers 'will have a positive effect on their classroom instruction.'" Well, now. If you were measuring the effectiveness of distance learning, it appears worse than it is because distance teaching results in better traditional teaching. You can't just factor this out. By Michael Feldstein, E-Literate, December 27, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

E-learning on a Shoestring - Developing a Solution
Comprehensive, clear and well-written, this guide providing practical advice on how to develop e-learning on a shoestring will be useful to any organization looking at low-cost (and often better) alternatives to a commercial solution. At the very least, readers should look at this document to learn about all the alternatives not available in the closed commercial environment. For more links and information, visit the author's Moodle installation at pelion consulting, post comments on the wiki, and more. By Frankie Forsyth, Australian flexible Learning Framework, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Patents Edict Likely Next Week
While software patents have stalled in Europe (thanks, Poland!) the government in India is quietly introducing them - and yet software patents are the one thing most likely to kill that country's nascent software industry. Via Slashdot, which has more links and commentary. In Europe, they are trying to sneak software patents through under the guise of agriculture and fisheries legislation - that should be a warning, a clear warning. By Unknown, Business Standard, December 25, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Internet to ITU: Stay Away from My Network
These days I wonder whether our open internet is soon to be a thing of the past. There is no real need for open communication on the part of those content, software and telecommunications companies controlling large parts of the net. Indeed, freedom to communicate creates for them a number of problems, everything from viruses and spam to piracy to political activism. In a document released earlier this month, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) proposes the solution: it will run the internet. Ross Radar translates for us: "If you let us fix it, we will create a perfect environment for you in which no one will be able to do wrong." Radar points to the telecoms' inability to achieve such nirvana, which is fair enough. But more deeply, as theologans know, the vision is flawed. Without the capacity for sin, there is no virtue: and worse, without the capacity for sin, we are rendered incapable of recognizing virtue. We have to have a place outside the law from which standpoint we can recognize whether the law is being used for good, or for evil. Because there is a non-zero chance that the ITU - or anyone - who had sole control of the internet, would use it for evil. By Ross Wm. Rader, CircleID, December 21, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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