By Stephen Downes
May 13, 2005

Formalizing Informal Learning
The title of this article is enough to make me wince but over the authors talk about creating supports for informal learning in the workplace rather than just hoping it happens. What needs to happen, they write, is that informal learning needs to be integrated into formal learning in the sense that it should be tied to measurable performance metrics. Of course, this isn't the point of informal learning at all - but I can see the point. It requires a very careful balance between respecting learner intentions, which in the end drive informal learning, and supporting corporate needs, which are addressed not through demand learning, but rather, by making appropriate informal learning resources usefully and widely available. I think that's where the authors end up with their recommendations at the end of the article, but it's not clear that they do. By Brenda Wisniewski and Kevin McMahon, Chief Learning Officer, April, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Enabling Mobile Learning
I was on the fence about this item but after mentioning it in my scrfeencast (see below) I guess I should include it. This is a good article; I was on the fence only because I'm not sure mobile learning is a special category worthy of special consideration. And you can see this reflected in the article: the features that characterize mobile learning are, arguably, those that also charaterize good e-learning generally. In addition, as the author writes, "people want 'anytime, anywhere' connections more than ever before." Quite true, and I'm always annoyed when my conference or hotel has no wireless connectivity. You'll also want to look at the useful glossary of terms at the end of the article. By Ellen Wegner, EDUCAUSE Review, May, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

My First (sloppy) ScreenCast
Alan Levine experiments with screencasting and is successful. Even better, he has provided instructions for the rest of us. You can view his screencast at his link. And also, you can see what I produced after following his instructions, made with Windows Media Eccoder, which recorded the screen, and SwishVideo, which converted it to Flash. The whole thing didn't cost me a dime (though it will cost me $50 if I want to keep Swish after the trial period). Anyhow, my screencast - a behind the scenes look at how I create OLDaily - is available here. It's 23 minutes long and it ends rather suddenly as I hit the wrong button near the end. Also, the sound quality is awful, especially near the beginning (I was just running too much extra stuff on the computer). I hope you enjoy it, and I'll probably make more. By Alan Levine, CogDogBlog, May 12, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Laptop Theft Prompts a Student-ID Shift at Oklahoma State U.
According to this article, staff at Oklahoma State are scrambling to implement a new student ID system after a laptop containing 37,000 student social security numbers was stolen from the school's career services department. University officials can lament now, but we have to ask, what were these records doing on a laptop in the first place? But the larger lesson here, because thefts of this sort are becoming commonplace, is that centralized identity repositories of this sort are inherently insecure. Not to mention portable. By Associated Press, ChannelOklahoma, May 12, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Open Source Software in Schools
The long-awaited BECTA report advocating the use of open source in schools has now been released. The report, kept under wraps because of the British election, was nonetheless widely discussed in the blogosphere. You'll find three PDF files on this site: the report itself, a case study, and an information sheet. By Various Authors, BECTA, April 13, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Tomatoes are Not the Only Fruit: A Rough Guide to Taxonomies, Thesauri, Ontologies and the Like
"Who needs buzzwords," writes the author, "when you can casually drop a 'polyhierarchical taxonomy' into a discussion?" This short guide will explain the meaning of 'polyhierarchical taxonomy' and other basic concepts as 'controlled vocabulary' and 'ontology' in order to explain these things "so librarians or IT people can’t blind you with science." Via Column Two. By Maewyn Cumming, UK GoveTalk, April, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

A Virtual World With Peer-to-Peer Style
I'm sure every MUD designer has dreamed of something like this: a massive multiplayer role-playing game (MMRPG) hosted not on a large central server but rather on the individual computers of each of its members. You control your own part of the universe, and can go from there to explore the rest of the world. A lot like the web, but with the characteristics and interactions of an online game. Solipsis finally realizes that vision. By John Borland, CNet News.com, May 9, 2005 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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