By Stephen Downes
March 24, 2005

Bookmarklet: Delicious Linkbacks
Nifty. A link that you can drag to your bookmark toolbar. Go to a web page, any web page, then click on the bookmark. You'll get a pop-up listing the comments people made about the page on del.icio.us. Via Tim Lauer. By Alan Taylor, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Googlebug Gaining Momentum; Ourmedia Not as Good As It Sounds
The main point of this post is to argue that using centralized services is a bad idea. Hence, for example, a bug in the Google search service cause widespread disruption. In the same vein, depending on a centralzied service such as OurMedia (or, as I have commented recently, Flickr) can for the same reason be a bad idea. "It'll be a central store of data, which is great until there's some kind of funding problem and the whole thing has to be dismantled." Right. Which is why I'm much more interested in what ought to be phase two of OurMedia - the release of the code to everyone, so that we can not just one but any number of such sites. A distributed network. Until then, I won't rest easy either. "The future, at least for me, is in distributed networks with front ends that aggregate everything together." Exactly. By Ben Werdmuller, Ben :: Weblog, March 23, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Creative Commons Search
For those (few) of you who don't know, Creative Commons is a type of license that allows you to use other people's work for free. In other words, it allows people to share content, rather than having to buy it from publishers. What will make Creative Commons really work is the ability to find this material. The Creative Commons website recent launched a Creative Commons search and this week's big news is the Yahoo Cretaive Commons search. All that free stuff, no evil copyright lawyers in sight. That, to me, is the best defense against the content predators of the RIAA, MPAA, CRIA and others. By Various Authors, Yahoo, March, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Help with Blogging Assignments
The value of this post is in the comments. The author describes a blog writing assignment he is using - an assignment that is failing to generate the sort of response he is looking for. Several good suggestions have been offered already - you may have more. I would probably refer students to my Guide to the Logical Fallacies (which I should really update - it has been ten years). or something that gives them a mechanism for analyzing and evaluating written material (there's such a dearth, and yet people who cannot critically assess writing are in an important sense illiterate). And I wouldn't have them criticize each others' work - there's enough peer pressure to conform as it is; let them criticize Instapundit or Dave Pollard or something. By Matt Barton, KairosNews, March 24, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Government Statement on Proposals for Copyright Reform
Two Canadian departments, Industry Canada and Canadian Heritage, have issued an important joint statement on legislation to be proposed covering copyright and file sharing in Canada. The document addresses short term concerns (with longer term items being subject to a consultation process). The document represents an increase in rights for publishers, but is far from the land-grab seen in the United States or in an earlier Canadian Heritage document. ISPs would be freed from liability, only courts would be able to issue take-down orders, and several rights (especially in performing arts and photography) would be extended. There is quite a bit on the use of digital material for learning, including extensions of traditional privileges (such as the display of materials in a classroom) to the digital environment (provided that "reasonable safeguards to prevent misuse" are employed, a stipulation that is not defined). Via Michael Geist. Additionally, via Tod Maffin, links to the full text of 700 submissions made to the government on the issue (the posting of which online was I think a fabulous idea, one I'd like to see repeated for other consultations). By Various Authors, Government of Canada, March 24, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Three Keys to Implementing a Laptop Program: Over-Plan, Over-Train, and Over-Support
This article is pretty well summarized in the title, though it is worth noting that the introduction of laptops into the classroom is only the first, and smallest, part ofa laptop program. Good read, especially if you're in the process of designing or implementing such a program. By Forrest Stone, Education World, March 2, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Creating a Supercommunity of On-Line Communities
If we understand our history, we understand ourselves. From our history: "In a few years, men will be able to communicate more effectively through a machine than face to face...We believe that we are entering into a technological age, in which we will be able to interact with the richness of living information -- not merely in the passive way that we have become accustomed to using books and libraries, but as active participants in an ongoing process, bringing something to it through our interaction with it, and not simply receiving something from it by our connection to it." This is the story of how Norbert Wiener, Jerome Wiesner, J.C.R. Licklider and many others invented cybernetic community. By Ronda Hauben, August 11, 1996 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

More on Fuchs & Woessmann
David Wiley expands on his critique of the study. "What possible, reasonable hypothesis could there be in which the mere availability of anything impacted learning? Would the availability of human experts (not interaction with them, now) improve learning? Would the availability of books? Would the availability of anything?" By David Wiley, Iterating Toward Openness, March 23, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2005 Stephen Downes
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