By Stephen Downes
March 17, 2005

To the High-Tech Employers: Sorry About Those Missing Skills
I am in agreement with the sentiments in this post and echo the author's request of the high-tech community looking for innovative and creative workers that it stop with the 'back to basics' and 'standardized' test regime that makes fulfilling that request impossible. Creativity requires, above all, freedom. By Brain Frieze, Kim Cavanaugh, March 16, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

I had a quick look at this because George Siemens linked to it - A9 has been all the rage for the last few weeks in the blogosphere - and I want to take a deeper look because of what I saw. Forget the article for a second - check out this search first, and note especially the buttons to the right. Try some. Now that's pretty nifty - but now check here nd look at all the other possible search sources. Now Edu_RSS could be added to this list with a one-line change, which I'll do tomorrow. And that's when I'll be reading about OpenSearch to get just the right syntax for this deliciously open - and exceptionally useful - specification. And I wonder how hard it would be to build a desktop version... the portable learning environment moves one step closer, doesn't it? By Various Authors, Amazon.Com - A9, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Electronic Portfolios and Dimensions of Learning
The article is pretty superficial, but it makes a point work repeating here: "Give students the academic freedom to help develop what makes a good portfolio." Now if you think about that, the concept of academic freedom for students, especially younger students, is a novel one. Since when have students ever had the freedom to define for themselves what counts as good? But it seems to me that in an age of ubiquitous multimedia, the development of such a capacity may be a critical skill. The rest of the article builds on this idea, so though the treatment is light it deserves a read. Via elearnspace. By Frederick Conway, T.H.E. Journal, March 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

winning through worst practices
OK, I've never published a book, not one that you can find in the discard bin at least, and I don't know anything about Chinese subs in San Francisco, but it seems to me that Highbeam Research deserves props for actually getting blogging and I sort of wish I had a job like RageBoy's. I say 'sort of' because I sort of already have a job like RageBoy's - nobody at NRC has ever told me what to write or not write in this space (though they've commented about some of my talks). But there are still some who feel I would be more productive if I were 'managed' - and so, yeah, from time to time I yearn for pure blogging freedom. Anyhow, the article is about blogging and how the way the press misinterprets things doesn't really matter any more. Good read. Via Joho. By RageBoy, Chief Blogging Officer, March 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

DfES publishes new e-Strategy
Link and analysis of a new strategy paper in Britain, DfES's Harnessing Technology: Transforming learning and children's services. "The aim in five years time, by using a more strategic approach, is to build the common ground that brings all our education and children's services to the critical baseline of being able to use the technology effectively. In ten years, building on the newfound capabilities of our workforces, our newly skilled graduates, and our new appetite for innovation, we could be anywhere - if we have the ambition and the imagination to go there." By Sarah Holyfield , JISC e-Learning Focus, March 17, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

JotSpot is an online wiki application (currently in beta) that can be used by anyone to set up their own wiki. There are some very nice features: a nice WYSIWYG page editor, the capacity to email content to a page, and a set of applications that can be plugged in to pages. Great stuff. As an example of JotSpot in action, see Lawrence Lessig's communal rewriting of Code and Other Laws on a JotSpot wiki. I have created my own version of a JotSpot wiki and set the permisions to allow anybody to edit pages, add pages, or do whatever, so feel free to give it a test run. Alan Levine also comments. By Various Authors, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

EdNA Groups
A great initiative: EdNA has launched EdNA Groups: "EdNA Groups provides free collaborative workspaces to support teaching, learning and research for all sectors of education and training. Each Group receives a space in which they can choose from a range of tools to facilitate communication and collaboration." The service has already seen a good take-up among educators. It is (interestingly) based on Moodle. By Various Authors, EdNA, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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